The 2nd Down Under Feminists Carnival

Welcome to the 2nd ever Down Under Feminists Carnival. It’s an honour and a delight to be hosting the carnival. In true trans-Tasman co-existence, I am a New Zealander now living in Australia, and I am so enjoying reading the words of women on both sides of the ditch.

There has been a magnificent response to the call for submissions – 51 at last count, although some were double, and even triple-ups. So I have been inclusively selective with this edition carnival, putting in at least one post from each blog, and sometimes more. And there’s a few more pieces that I noted myself.

On with the show.

The Sexualisation of Children

The sexualisation of children has been a hot topic in Australia in the last month.

Leading the carnival, a post from the inspiring feminist and mother Blue Milk, about the sexualisation of children and why parents buy into it: If parents can stop it, why don’t they?.

The Henson controversy – can pictures of nude children be art? Hoyden About Town Tigtog argues cogently that they can be: The Henson photo scandal: so many knees jerking, so little real debate, and follows up with her own experience: For the record. Audrey and the Bad Apples records her confusion over the whole debate: Warning: Henson ahead.


The abortion compromise in New Zealand has been rocked by a court judgement that most abortions performed are probably outside the rules set up in the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977. The blogosphere was alight with discussion, and no doubt there will be more to come.

Idiot / Savant has a run-down on the judgement, the blog on GayNZ gives a potted history of abortion law in New Zealand, and Stef the Ex-Expat sorts out the statistics at The Hand Mirror. She also thinks it’s bizarre to find she agrees with the anti-abortion lobby that the current law is an ass, but she reaches quite a different conclusion. Queen of Thorns reacts to the news with do-I-laugh-or-do-I-cry. In a guest post at The Standard, Julie advises If you’re against abortion then kindly don’t have one”. I wrote about why abortion is morally permissible, and even morally desirable. Lyn has a personal response to abortion.

In a more reflective mood, both at The Hand Mirror, Anjum worries about the religious fanaticism that will come into play, and Anna Mc thinks about Being Catholic and being feminist. In a excellent post, this is the bit that stands out for me:

The Church’s respect for human life is something which is very important to me. But whereas I interpret this message as ‘Get off your arse and do something about poverty, injustice and suffering’, others hear it as ‘Stand outside an abortion clinic and shake your rosary beads at a woman undergoing what may be one of the most difficult experiences of her life’.

After the initial flurry has died down, Julie thinks about the strategy from here.

Idiot / Savant has the cartoon in which Moreu captures the legislative choices on abortion oh so clearly.

Across the ditch, Lauredhel points out that the anti-abortion lobby is preventing cancer sufferers from using a drug that can treat certain tumours, because it can also be used for abortion: RU486 Import Restrictions in Australia.

The abortion debate is live and well and happening in Victoria too: Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony has the latest on the push to decriminalise abortion there.

And Emervents thesis-procrastinates by having a vent about the anti-abortion lobby.

Rape and other violence

As Lauredhel points out, it turns out that rape doesn’t need a rapist; all it needs is a vagina and the presence of alcohol. I guess that the Cairns police who believe that alcohol brings on being raped must have been talking to the Alcoholic Liquor Advisory Council in New Zealand, who still think that the Lisa ad is acceptable (see the links in the 1st edition of the Down Under Feminists Carnival). Julie updates us on the next steps. I urge you to go through to the comments thread on this post, and read the long comment from zANavAShi.

And as Anna says in a guest post at The Hand Mirror, certainly there wouldn’t be any rugby players involved. Not in rape. Oh no. They would just be young men out on the town having a good time and fending off eager groupies.

Then there’s the passive voice. Jo Tamar at Wallaby talks about about how “something happened to” whatever, not “someone did this”, when it comes to reporting violence.

To finish this section, Serafina’s poem about rape, and (somewhat unusually given that it’s a comment, not a blog post), a comment from Jackie where she describes the time when she escaped.

Women’s work

Another post from Blue Milk, about women and men Not Yet doing equal amounts of housework, even when both partners are in paid employment. Susoz points out that times have changed since she was in school, judging by the appearance of parents at sports days and other school events, but according to Ruth, the men are missing in action when it comes to mentoring at-risk kids.

Reading lefty blogs all the time, you can get the impression that we’ve made some good progress with equal parenting – but then sections of the Law and media have other ideas. Why do people use the word “babysitting” when referring to a father looking after his own children? Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony makes a grim point about which parent is held responsible for the deaths of children. She also writes a powerful post about a sole parent who is on the verge of losing all, because she simply cannot get care for her daughter during her work hours.

Craft mistress Helen reclaims some space for her work – a shed of her own.

And when it comes to paid work, it turns out that women are first in the firing line (from Hoyden About Town Lauredhel).

Childbirth and parenting

Rayedish deconstructs a 60 Minutes program on childbirth choices. The low down – according to 60 Minutes the word that goes best with “natural” is “disaster”.

Parenting is a challenge for most of us, and that’s without the difficulties casually thrown in the way for parents with disabilities. Lauredhel points out that many playgrounds are inaccessible for parents with disabilities.


Queen of Thorns notes that the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 has not caused the sky to fall in New Zealand. She writes about working as a receptionist in a brothel, and the types of men who frequented it. Unrepentant second wave feminist Anne Else tackles the same topic, and in particular, the need to protect women working in the sex industry, and elsewhere.

Sex and the City: the Movie

Make Tea Not War liked it, and Audrey and the Bad Apples loathed it – I guess you can tell that because she titled her post, “Sex and the Shitty”.

Media, advertising and images of women

Blogger on a Cast Iron Balcony deconstructs the story in the Four ‘n’ Twenty Pies ad: men don’t like girlie food. They also can’t wash clothes: 2 B Sophora has the goods.

The pictures of dismembered Summer Glau shocked me when I saw them; Hoyden Lauredhel discusses them.

Audrey and the Bad Apples takes on the f-wits who write comments on her newspaper column: William of Unley, she’s talking about you.

Silly columnists and hollering back

Tigtog shakes her head in disbelief at Allison Pearson who is upset that her teenage daughter is being taught about, gasp, sexuality, and I have a go at Planet Janet Albrechtsen, who likes to blame ‘teh feminists’ for any evils of the world.

Megan hollers back at some loud mouthed men during a trip across t’other ditch, between the North and South Islands of New Zealand.

Feminism in general: Great women and the need for feminism

Cate writes an ode to Andrea Dworkin, a woman who was “not a palatable feminist”.

Keri James writes about why we still need feminism. Here’s the bit that grabbed me:

There’s still a huge belief, especially amongst the older generations, that women are just different. And I agree. Biologically and physically there are differences. But when they use the word “different” it feels like they’re saying “inferior”.

That of course, would be what the AFL believes. Hendo asks why they won’t let girls onto the field. Clue: it’s because men know better than women what’s good for women.


Two posts that made me gasp.

HellOn Hairy Legs (great name!) rewrites Dr Who and Ms Enid Tak-Entity uses feminism to anaesthetise her crotch during waxing. Wow.


Business time:

Many thanks to everyone who sent in posts, and special thanks to Helen, Lauredhel and Julie, who kept an eye on the blogs about the place, and sent lots of links. Fantastic.

The Carnival home page is here. Carnival founder Lauredhel is looking for people to host the carnival, so let her know if you think you could give it a go. It’s great fun, and it’s easy enough to do. E-mail Lauredhel at her g-mail account to volunteer. She uses lauredhelhoyden as her user-name for the account.


25 responses to “The 2nd Down Under Feminists Carnival

  1. Fantastic, thankyou! I haven’t had a good read yet, but I will.

    Just a quick correction – my username at gmail is lauredhelhoyden, not lauredhel. But people can just as easily use the contact form at Hoyden About Town to get in touch.

  2. Fantastic work you! I am pleased to see a couple of posts here that I haven’t come across before, I look forward to discovering some new Aus/NZ feminists.

  3. Pingback: The 2nd Down Under Feminist Carnival is.. « blue milk

  4. Wow, great work Deborah! Some fabbo reading in there, just as well it is rainy here in Auckers 🙂

  5. “just as well it is rainy here in Auckers :-)”

    And here in Wellington.

  6. Awesome Deborah – I’m going to enjoy this enormously!

  7. Just a quick correction – my username at gmail is lauredhelhoyden

    Ooops! Fixed it.

  8. So much reading, so little time… Thanks for hosting!

  9. Pingback: Some reading to catch up on « Inner City Garden

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  11. Great carnival! I especially love the media section.

  12. Pingback: The Second Down Under Feminists Carnival « HellOnHairyLegs

  13. Make Tea Not War liked it [Sex and the City: the Movie], and Audrey and the Bad Apples loathed it – I guess you can tell that because she titled her post, “Sex and the Shitty”.

    Meh… I kind of disagree with both of them, because love and loathing are both strong emotions. But you’ve got to give everyone connected with this tosh props for being equal-opportunity offensive. When the closest things to a laugh comes from one character crapping her pants in foreign climes and another being brow-beaten over her public grooming we have a problem. Especially if you’re not the kind of person who thinks Judd (‘Knocked Up’) Apatow is the Oscar Wilde of our times.

  14. Thank’s Deborah, that’s some great reading for the weekend!

  15. Pingback: The 2nd Down Under Feminists Carnival « Wallaby

  16. Make Tea Not War

    I thought Knocked Up was hilarious. I must be a salt of the earth plebian I guess:)

    Great work, Deborah! Lots of good reading here

  17. I thought Knocked Up was hilarious. I must be a salt of the earth plebian I guess 🙂

    Good, because I can’t be arsed with any competition in the snotty elitist stakes. 🙂 In the end, I agree with Kaetherine Hegel that Knocked Up probably wasn’t intended to come out that way, but it is sexist. (I’d go further and say it’s pretty insulting to men too.)

    I’ll grant that Hegel and Seth Rogan are enormously likable actors (so are Steve Carrell and Katherine Keener, come to that), but does even damn project he’s involved in have to be about socially and emotionally retarded man-children vs. up-tight shrews? Freaks and Geeks was a hell of a lot more nuanced than that, but I guess (being the advocate of market forces I am) I’ve got to admit F&G was one of those critically acclaimed shows nobody but the critics actually watched. Knocked Up and The 40 Year-Old Virgin were massive commercial hits. What do I know? 🙂

    But I’ll just say this: Sixty years ago, the ‘battle of the sexes’ was a money spinner too. And I’ll stand up and argue that Spencer Tracey/Katherine Hepburn efforts like Woman of the Year, Adam’s Rib and Pat and Mike were genuinely witty, nuanced and even a wee bit subversive. Hell, Jane fricking Austen is more feminist.

  18. Hell, Jane fricking Austen is more feminist.

    Crikey! Those are fighting words, Craig.

    Not “feminist”. I’m with you there. It’s the “fricking” I object to. 🙂

  19. Oh dear… why do I feel a shade giving me a very significant glance and mulling over an lethal aside to deliver to “dearest Cassandra” as we speak. 🙂

  20. Thanks Deborah – some good reading here. I’m pleased to say we have had 2 men show up since I wrote that post- maybe a guilty conscience? But whatever – it’s good to see progress.

  21. Pingback: Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony » Blog Archive » Second downunder feminists carnival in a strange land

  22. Oh, I’ve been lost in blogland for hours and I haven’t made it through the first topic yet!

  23. Pingback: Down Under Feminist Carnival « HellOnHairyLegs

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