Down Under Feminists’ Carnival! Ninety-fifth Edition

Down Under Feminists Blog Carnival!

Image description: Down Under Feminists’ Carnival logo, with title surrounding a green women’s sign with Southern Cross inside.

Kia ora koutou! Welcome to the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival, chock-full of blog posts and great writing from around Australia, Aotearoa and the Pacific.

I’m Thalia, a New Zealand lawyer-turned-minister-turned-mother-turned-writer-turned-development-worker. You are very welcome at my place.

This is my first time hosting, and heck, it has been a lot of fun. Of the nerdy, reading half the internet kind. I’ve been trolled on Twitter for daring to ask Australian tweeps which feminist writers they recommend I should be reading, but it was totes worth it, as between email submissions and the kind reply tweets, I have discovered dozens of new-to-me writers, and so many thought-provoking pieces.

I’ve basically included everything. So please, go and make yourself a smoothie or a cup o’ tea and get comfy. Prepare to open 342 new tabs on your browser. And prepare to leave encouraging comments on the posts you enjoy, eh?

As always, the categories and headings are just one attempt at imposing some order, and of course most posts fit in several different slots. Hopefully you’ll still find what you’re most interested in, and also spot some things that aren’t in your usual path.

Thanks for having me! And I think there are still some hosting slots open for this year, so let Chally know if you’re keen to give it a go (recommended!)

Celebrating and Trolling IWD2016

One of the reasons this month is mammoth is that so many of us wrote special stuff for International Women’s Day, on March 8, or #IWD2016, a hashtag which even created a women’s sign emoji on Twitter.


Women hold up half the sky | Tash McCarroll Photography

Women hold up half the sky | Tash McCarroll Photography | Image description: Black and white photograph of an African woman in traditional dress, with caption ‘Women hold up half the sky: International Women’s Day March 8th.’


Many of those excellent pieces are sprinkled through this carnival. But here are some of the facepalm moments of the day:

Rebecca Shaw kindly rounded up tweets from some of the many men (apparently unable to use Google) snarking on Twitter about the (supposed) lack of an International Men’s Day.

Going broader, Jess McAllen pointed out some IWD2016 fails to make you cry-laugh:

In case you missed the Beyoncé memes and “go girl” quotes clogging up social media, yesterday was International Women’s Day. In accordance with age-old tradition, many men and corporations marked the day with ill-advised social media posts, uncalled-for opinions, and old-fashioned screw-ups, where they would have been better to follow Paula Bennett’s famed advice to Jacinda Ardern and “zip it, sweetie”. Here, in no particular order, are the six worst New Zealand contributions to International Women’s Day.

[Read all six at The Spinoff.]


Image description: screenshot of EasiYo's Facebook page announcing a special pink EasiYo make is available for International Women's Day. |

EasiYo may have missed the point of IWD2016.
Image description: screenshot of EasiYo’s Facebook page announcing a special pink EasiYo make is available for International Women’s Day.


The lived experiences of women

Here are some beautiful, honest, and sometimes terribly sad, personal essays published around IWD2016 on what it is like to be a woman, right now, for these women.

A Wellington Woman


Little Red Jottings


Feminism is the radical notion that women are people |

Image description: White words on a purple brick wall say ‘Feminism is the radical notion that women are people’. Quotation of Marie Shear.


Sexism and the workplace

Rachel Chisholm Hansen reveals that the gender pay gap begins with childhood pocket money, and draws connections between that frightening fact and highly gendered clothing and toys for kids:

In 2013 Westpac Australia was researching a new app designed to help parents and children keep track of chores and pocket money. They found that boys earned an average of $48 for 2.1 hours a week of chores, while girls spent 2.7 hours but only earned $45.

[Read more at Freedom Kids.]

Natasha at The Maybe Diaries tells us what she hates about being a woman working in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics):

3. I will consider myself lucky if I am able to do my job without abuse.

This is the scary one; I mean the really life changing, scary fact about being a woman in the IT industry. I can spend the rest of my career working my backside off to be the best PM I am able to be. I can be promoted, maybe one day reach the top of the industry, but I can’t speak out about the way women are under-represented and poorly treated in my industry without an unconscionable level of risk.

Zoe Scheltema writes about double-standards for ‘professional dress’ at work:

I have a friend who works for a large Auckland advertising agency that recently gave their staff reviews. It went well, but there was one area in which she was told she could improve – her footwear. According to senior staff, she didn’t wear high heels often enough. Her colleague in a different department was told to improve on the fact that she didn’t wear enough makeup to work.

[Read more at The Spinoff.]

Melinda Tankard Reist introduces a new book by Skye Saunders on workplace sexual harassment in rural Australia:

I had to ask for access to a bathroom once a month because I had my period! So eventually instead of access to a bathroom, they got me access to a Toyota so that I could drive away to a toilet. So the entire crew knew exactly when I was cycling every single month. And … they used to piss in the connecting pipes for me to discover when I got back from the drive. And looking back on it now I also realise that the blokes were also pissing on my boots when I was gone – I see now but at the time I was just so confused and baffled by it all.

– Female miner, aged 21, Whispers from the Bush, Skye Saunders.

[Read more at Melinda Tankard Reist.]


Maya Angelou Each time a woman stands up for herself

Image description: Portrait of Maya Angelou, with a quote from her: ‘Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women.’ Image via Sue Fitzmaurice’s Facebook page.


Check out this horrifying list from Avril E Jean of things that are designed for men by default (it goes far beyond the workplace). Some crowdsourced examples:

“Toilet flush buttons at our work. It took about 3 of us able bodied women to attest that we found it very difficult to push the button, so anyone with any kind of finger strength disability (eg mild arthritis) would find it impossible. Hadn’t occurred to the men who had by default strong fingers. (it was a very daft design where you had to push a single finger into the wall). At least they did listen after it was more than one of us saying that and changed it.”

Seatbelts – they squash boobs and have to be adjusted to fit so they don’t go straight across the body. they also have to be adjusted to go around hips, not directly across the body.

[Read more at Avril E Jean.]

This piece from a university academic is a brilliant illustration of the practical value in the workplace of also being a mother:

The lesson for me was that the emails from students were not a request for special treatment, but a request for human recognition. Like my 2 year old, the basic need to be acknowledged was important to their self-esteem and their ability to cope with the things life threw their way. It was like they wanted me to know that they were not lazy or a bad person, but just had a rough week and could not cope with the work.

[Read more at Throwntogetherness.]

Angela Priestley examines unconscious gender bias in employment:

Others justified a gender pay gap due to women being unable to network with clients because of family commitments. 

I don’t think women are the problem.

[Read more at Women’s Agenda.]



Stephanie at No Award talks about the weather:

The four seasons are an artificial colonial imposition upon us in Australia, no matter your town or city or region. When you say trite things like ‘it’s hot for Autumn’ in March, which is still a part of the hottest time of the year, or ‘it’s dry for Spring’ in October in Perth, what you’re saying is, ‘My mind has accepted the artificial imposition of seasons by the British, people who wouldn’t know hot weather if it slapped them in the face, and it did.’

[Read more at No Award.]

Cushla Parekowhai recounts a conversation between two Māori women on film-making in Aotearoa New Zealand:

There is so much in the Pākehā psyche I want to know about. I want to know what motivates their destructiveness. I want to know what motivates the neurosis they have about living here. I want to know about their relentless need to cut everything down to size, to destroy the kauri forest, to shape the land not for people but for sheep and cows to live in. I want to know about a mentality which manicures its grass and builds fences. I want to know about what motivates Pākehā because I don’t understand them. I think if Pākehā made films about themselves and addressed their own issues then Māori would be much better off.

…Pākehā film makers are just not up to it. They should just leave Māori concerns alone. That’s what I say. I really think Pākehā are avoiding having to deal with themselves, their own crises, lack of action and flawed social analysis.

[Read more at Wellywood Woman.]

Celeste Liddle writes about the invisibility of Aboriginal women in Australian history conversations:

For when it comes to Australia, Aboriginal women have fought and survived the absolute worst of it. Our stories give vital insight into what is needed to ensure we are striving for a more egalitarian society where such horrors are never repeated. A “herstory” in this country will never be complete without the voices of Aboriginal women.

[Read more at Daily Life.]

Indigenous women and their stories

Laura Goodall at Mātau Taiao lets us know about a Māori Television series exploring Māori approaches to science, presented by scientist Ocean Mercier:

Project Mātauranga is a television series that celebrates Māori innovation in the science sector. There are thirteen episodes that show how Western Science and Māori knowledge systems are combining to provide solutions to problems. Presented by Dr Ocean Mercier, Pukenga Matua/Senior Lecturer at Victoria University, each episode investigates Māori worldviews and methodologies within the scientific community and looks at their practical application.

“Māori have always been scientists. Science has allowed Māori to live, work and thrive in the world for hundreds of years,” Ocean says.

[Read more and see clips at Mātau Taiao, SciBlogs.]

Bree Blakeman has a Geertzian moment:

I started pacing up and down the verandah and then up and down outside the Red House, shouting to everybody and nobody, as one does at such times. Not a ripple. Everyone went about their business as usual as if the angry white women wasn’t about to lose her shit. And then something gave. I really did lose it. I marched back onto the verandah and, hollering my intentions and grievances, pulled one of the men’s hunting spears from the roof rafters and stood on the edge of the verandah waving it wildly:

Nhä dhuwala ŋarra!? Wakiŋu!? Gäna ŋarra nhina-ndja!!? Gurrutu-mirriw ŋarra!? Rakun-thirri ŋarra yukurra! Bäythi-ndja! Rakun-thirri ŋarra yurru, gurrutu-miriw!

(What am I here!!? Am I wild, without kin!? Am I standing here alone!? Without kin!?! I am becoming dead! But whatever! I will become dead here, without kin!)

[Read more at Fieldnotes and Footnotes.]

And then Facebook was racist:

Case Study: Facebook bans Celeste Liddle

Celeste Liddle has had her Facebook account shut down.

Banning me for this reason (twice now) is racist and sexist, not to mention downright offensive. It shows a complete lack of respect for the oldest continuing culture in the world as well as the inability to educate oneself about these practices. It also shows that I have, in fact, been maliciously targeted and instead of penalising this malicious behaviour of people who would report me for this, you’ve targeted me.

Here is the article which keeps getting me banned from Facebook due to your alleged “community standards”. I suggest you actually have a look at it and educate yourselves. The sheer idea that women elders from the oldest living culture in the world are deemed “nudity” is so incredibly offensive, I don’t know where to begin.

[Read more at Black Feminist Ranter.]

Here, published at New Matilda, is the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre’s annual International Women’s Day address Celeste Liddle gave, the illustration of which led to the Facebook ban. In it, among many other profound things, she makes the exact point the Facebook banning later underlined:

Aboriginal women are not acceptable. Older women aren’t acceptable, particularly if their breasts are pendulous rather than perky. Women being semi-naked for the purpose of taking part in women’s culture are not acceptable.

If they are going to be semi-naked, it needs to be for the enjoyment of men.

Finally, Aboriginal culture is unacceptable. We are a colonised landmass and therefore we should be doing everything to merely fit in, rather than celebrate our difference.

[Read more at New Matilda.]

Liz Conor reflects on the situation at New Matilda:

That elder women are still cast as illegitimate within modern visual relations is galling not only because of the unique and exemplary authority and respect that should be accorded to Aboriginal elders. This form of dehumanizing is also painful to witness because of their valiant struggle to protect their children and grandchildren from the worst interventions by white administrators, and to pass on their way of being while coping with their own trauma, deprivation and grief.

[Read more at New Matilda.]

Scarlett Harris writes more broadly about social media and women, with reference to Celeste Liddle, at The Vocal.


Case Study: Kim Kardashian, Richie Hardcore and disappointment with male ‘allies’

When Kim Kardashian released a naked selfie, you can bet there were patriarchal body police aplenty. One of her critics was Richie Hardcore, a celebrity supporter of Lizzie Marvelly’s #mybodymyterms campaign.

His initial comments, and failure to accept critique from women about their offensiveness, featured in Jess McAllen’s excellent round-up of IWD2016 ironies:

Then, at 9.11pm, Kim Kardashian posted a naked selfie on Twitter. Feminist/boxer/radio DJ Richie Hardcore – who helped front the #mybodymyterms sexual violence campaign – responded the next day by agreeing with an Instagrammer who said Kim was flaunting some terrible values. “Good words brother, Tautoko,” he wrote in a now-deleted ode to wokeness. “We need to teach healthy ways of validation”

We’ve been here before. A woman takes a picture of her body because she’s feeling like she looks great that night, or is simply comfortable with her genetics, and people respond like they’ve just seen a racy picture of Marilyn Monroe fluttering down the lane on their way to buy Brylcreem from the tobacconist. Kim became famous after her sex tape was leaked without her consent, yet when she willingly owns her sexuality, we’re suddenly awash in people trying to tell her what she can and can’t do.

[Read more at The Spinoff.]

Lizzie Marvelly then issued a statement mention a hope of a meeting to sort through the problems, and commentators pointed out the problems with pressuring a woman to have a face-to-face meeting with a man perceived as dismissive of women’s concerns:

Next came an apology from Richie Hardcore which seemed genuine, until he also said his critics were ‘not that successful outside Twitter’ and called them c***s. Yes.

Coley Tangerina’s response to the whole sorry business (which she also documents clearly) was this excellent piece, focusing on the experience of women feeling disappointed with male allies:

Most women are DEFCON 1 exhausted by men who get platforms in social justice. Imagine having someone say they’ve got your back and then letting you down constantly. Like one after another, just when you think you can trust someone – BAM. Every single time.

Then imagine those people get societal kudos for applying the bare minimum of decency to marginalised groups they don’t belong to. Imagine they get listened to about issues that affect those marginalised groups more than people who actually experience those issues. Then imagine every time you feel frustrated or publicly despair about the situation, people tell you to stop turning on your own and be thankful for people who want to help.

[Read more at Tangerina.]

Further, from Leah at Being a House:

I’d like a world where women don’t need empowerment simply because the world isn’t constantly trying to disempower us. I’m especially tired of this word “empowerment” being hijacked by people who simply want to put us back in a conservative box. I’m not empowered by women who get naked OR women who dress conservatively. I’m disempowered by people who want to have an opinion about what women should be doing with their bodies. It doesn’t make me want to dress conservatively out of respect for myself. It makes me want to hide my body out of shame and fear of judgment.

Get out of our lane you phoneys, I’ve decided I don’t want you on my team. I’m good without you, thanks.

One of the silver linings of all this sexist bullshit we’re writing about is, well, the great writing so many people are doing about it. And so at least three writers contributed fantastic responses to Richie Hardcore’s subsequent put-downs about critics who supposedly just snark on social media and don’t ‘do’ anything.

Leah Damm quantified her ‘success outside Twitter’:

My daughter woke up beside me, patting me on the cheek, giving me her sweet little pecks and babbling away at me. She is joy incarnate. It never ceases to amaze me how perpetually joyful and affectionate this kid is. The afternoons are a little more hazardous. And by the end of the night, when I realise I managed to keep everyone alive and in one piece – SUCCESS.

[Read more at Being a House.]

Stephanie Rodgers pointed out that talking and doing are not mutually exclusive:

At its most basic: how do you build any kind of action without talking? Without discussing the situation, defining the problems, creating solutions and spreading the word?

“Just talking” is probably the single most important step in activism. Even if you’re “only” talking to yourself – even if surviving a society which hates you is the grandest goal you have. Even more so when you want to change the whole world.

[Read more at Boots Theory.]

And Scuba Nurse talked about the importance of calling out ‘minor’ sexism:


Violence Pyramid by Ashley Fairbanks |

Image description: Persona A: “It was just a joke! Why do you care?” Person B: “Sexual violence exists on a pyramid. Your joke contributes to a culture of violence.” Pyramid of five layers: 1: the top, pinnacle = murder; 2: rape, sexual assault, physical, emotional and financial abuse; 3: harassment, threats and verbal abuse; 4: traditional roles, glass ceiling, rigid gender-based stereotypes, 5: sexist/homophobic/transphobic jokes, problematic language, objectification.
Artist: Ashley Fairbanks, used with kind permission.


When we look at the Violence pyramid above, far fewer people are actually assaulting and physical hurting people than there are making horrible jokes, degrading other people and using problematic language to perpetuate issues. So for every person out there literally saving lives, we need 100 at home explaining to Uncle Jack that his emails are gross and offensive and no one wants them. 50 people need to be online showing their friends that they CAN speak up to racist FB posts. 20 people should be on twitter, expecting more of allies, and speaking up for people being harassed and abused. 5 need to be brave enough at work to ask a colleague to explain how that offensive joke was funny.


Māmari Stephens at Sparrowhawk/Kārearea writes about giving up her reliance on social media for Lent:

In fact my use of social media reflects back to me things about myself I would rather not acknowledge; moments I would rather keep secret. Those times when I have hovered over posts, waiting for likes, comments and shares. The times I have lovingly crafted seemingly casual put-downs of other people just to show my superiority. The times I have wrestled with someone I don’t know about something I know little about (and care less about) just to be RIGHT; or even worse; just to see my own post (thus hear the sound of my own voice). The moments I caught myself thinking in status updates.

[Read more at Sparrowhawk/Kārearea.]

On #IWD2016 Wellington Chic is grateful for the survival story of a mother and daughter caught in the Christchurch earthquake five years ago (trigger warning for disaster trauma.)

Sarah O’Neil contemplates a season of change in the garden and life:

This Easter I am going to reconnect with all the things in my life that give me joy and hope.  I am going to spend time in the garden and remove the things that shouldn’t be there.  I’m going to clean up the clutter and debris that has built up in the corners and are beginning to block access to the good places in my garden.  I’m going to look at my garden in a new light and decide if there are things that really need to be changed and set about making those changes with a grateful heart.

[Read more at Sarah the Gardener.]


LGBTIQ+ Community

Ju writes a weary and optimistic piece for IWD2016:

My underlying point to these statements is of course that, women no matter their background or ability, trans* and non-gender-binary people, do actually have a right to expect their societies to reflect their lives and also to be liveable for them

[Read more at The Conversationalist.]

Six writes about life on the street in central Auckland.

“Get a job,” spits a young adult pedestrian.

“Thanks man. Great idea. I so wish I’d thought of that. Tell ya what, you tell me where they are handing out the jobs to middle-aged, over-qualified transgender women and I’ll be first in line. When do the doors open?,” I ask with sincere interest.

[Read more at Public Address, and follow Six usually at Tranzspotting.]

Case Study: Safe Schools

The Australian conversation (if that isn’t a misleadingly civil description of what’s been going on) on the ‘Safe Schools’ programme has been well covered by feminist writers this month.

Rebecca Shaw at SBS Comedy:

It seems people are terrified that queer people are attempting to force children into becoming queer, by doing things like “making them aware of others who are different” and “teaching them empathy”. We are not trying to make children queer; we are just trying to help children who are already queer. We are also definitely not trying to turn toddlers into miniature rainbows using science.

[Read more at SBS Comedy.]

Rebecca at Bluebec analyses the government’s proposed changes in some detail.

No Place for Sheep says the LNP is playing gutter politics with Safe Schools.

Rebecca Shaw looks at Cory Bernardi’s bullying behaviour.

Body positivity

Women’s bodies, objectification, the male gaze, body-shaming, slut-shaming and more were the subject of many thoughtful pieces this month.

Scuba Nurse likened support for body positive, not-slim women as a canary down a coalmine:

I suspect that if you want to know who the effective allies are, look around you at the feminists on your feed that don’t fit the young, slim and cis bill, check who THEY are still following. I get the sinking feeling we may be the chubby canaries of feminism.

When I was a child, in the 80s, I had some Lithuanian relatives. One of them visited us and was taken to Chadstone Shopping Mall – and was disconcerted by shops and stalls that were devoid of customers. She asked – who was allowed to buy the food there? Who could afford it? When told ‘anyone’ she was stunned. Where were all the queues of people wanting to purchase this magnificent food? Why was there any left?

[Read more at Avril E Jean.]


Yes! 'The only thing that keeps me going is how brilliant and amazing I am.' |

Image description: black and white e-card on a pastel blue background. A 1950s woman is looking at a card. The caption says ‘The only thing that keeps me going is how brilliant and amazing I am.’


Friend of Marilyn examines the legality of weight discrimination in New Zealand:

Living as a fat person means experiencing daily micro aggressions. For example, I avoid morning tea because of the inevitable “I’m so fat, I shouldn’t eat that” and “I was bad last night; I had dessert and a cocktail” conversations from those around me. Every time I turn on the television, log online, or wait at the bus station, I’m likely to be presented with fat hate. Everywhere I go, I’m reminded that I’m a bad person who must make bad choices and isn’t holding up my part of the social contract.

Kath at Fat Heffalump writes to model Ashley Graham about the use of the term ‘plus-size’:

I get that you don’t want to be called a “plus-size” model because let’s face it, you’re not a plus-size woman.  Unlike myself and so many other women who shop at the stores you collect cheques from for modelling their clothes, your body is not fat.  To anyone walking past you on the street, you’re just a woman, and a very beautiful one at that.  But when I walk down the street, I’m a fat woman.  Nobody is going to dispute that fact.  That’s where the vast chasm lies between the models who are chosen and paid to showcase clothes for fat women, and the actual women who are buying them.

[Read more at Fat Heffalump.]

Kath has also been invited to a Fat Studies conference in New Zealand.

Crazy Mother Crafter asked people not to comment on her daughter’s body:

When I was little I still remember the first girl at primary school who called me a ‘fat pig’ her name was Ashleigh we were 8 I threw out the sandwich I was eating and refused to eat lunch at school again.

Little Red Pen noticed a body-shaming meme featuring women in their 70s:

I’ve seen a meme floating around Facebook and it’s really grinding my gears. I won’t link to it, but it originated on the page of some bloke called David Beansprout Beare or Paul Apple Foxi or some such. It shows two women. One is very muscular, is in gym gear and is smiling at the camera. The other is in a flowered blouse, has soft grey hair and it looking out of a window with net curtains on it (subtle touch, that). The caption says, “Both of these women are 74 … what choice are you going to make?”

[Read more at Little Red Jottings.]

Melinda Tankard Reist reports on the findings of a study on the effects of pornography on adolescent sexual practice:

If there are still any questions about whether porn has an impact on young people’s sexual attitudes and behaviours, perhaps it’s time to listen to young people themselves. Girls and young women describe boys pressuring them to provide acts inspired by the porn they consume routinely. Girls tell of being expected to put up with things they don’t enjoy.

Some see sex only in terms of performance, where what counts most is the boy enjoying it. I asked a 15-year-old about her first sexual experience. She replied: “I think my body looked OK. He seemed to enjoy it”. Many girls seem cut off from their own sense of pleasure or intimacy. That he enjoyed it is the main thing. Girls and young women are under a lot of pressure to give boys and men what they want, to adopt pornified roles and behaviours, with their bodies being merely sex aids. Growing up in a pornified landscape, girls learn that they are service stations for male gratification and pleasure.

[Read more at the ABC.]

Rhianna Lennox writes about body hair at #500words:

I’ve been warned that one day I might have the kind of job that will require me to shave in order to appear ‘professional’, and to make others feel ‘comfortable’. I just wonder why infantilising women and reinforcing patriarchal beauty standards are a part of  ‘professionalism’? My choices about my own body and my own self-presentation are private, personal choices.

[Read more at #500words.]


Lupita Nyong'o on beauty |

Image description: Picture of Lupita Ngong’o, Academy Award-winning actor, with quotation, white on brown: ‘And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.’


Also at #500words, Natasha Matila-Smith has a two-part series on women’s bodies in art and social media, called Invisible Bodies:

This over-celebrating of thin bodies as vessels for bravery and revolution feeds into a culture of fat shaming. As a result, the fat woman’s body is still relatively invisible and excluded from these ‘revolutionary’ art spaces.

[Read more at #500words.]

In ‘Weightless‘ Rachel Cox writes about how good blogging has been for her, in many different ways, including body positivity:

If you are feeling weighed down and your self esteem is at an all time low, please find something to do that brings you joy. Take a step into the passions that give you a sense of success and provide you with useful feedback about who you truly are. Every single person on this planet is worthy, has something to give and a soul purpose.  Ignore those stupid detractors in your head or in your ear. Tell them where to go. You have much more to do than spend your life anchored to a negative perception of yourself. Find your thing. Find your self.  Let go of the shackles and heavy burdens you carry, you’d be surprised how much easier it is to travel without the weight of all that.

[Read more at The Chronicles of Rach.]



There were some excellent pieces on women’s health and health inequities this month.

Jane Chalmers and Cat Jones introduce us to the clitoris:

Did you know the clitoris is a large and complex organ? If not, it’s probably not your fault: in anatomical textbooks, few words and diagrams are devoted to understanding the clitoris. Most label the very small portion of the organ visible on diagrams of the vulva, when in fact it’s almost entirely under the skin.

[Read more at The Conversation.]

In Your Local Train Station Can Predict Your HealthMelanie Davern, Lucy Gunn and Rebecca Roberts connected where people live with how well they are:

Health-based inequities occur for many reasons. They are exacerbated, however, by a lack of access to job opportunities and services – such as public transport and mental and physical health care – which determine health outcomes.

[Read more at The Conversation.]

Scuba Nurse wrote about cardiac health in women, with medical references aplenty, and started with this exhortation:

  • We need to believe women when they say they are in pain.
  • We need to believe women when they say something isn’t normal.
  • We need to stop assuming physiological symptoms are related to psychological issues.
  • We need to believe women when they say they can’t keep going like this.
And I need to start trusting myself.
Take a minute to think about the last time you listened to your body and did what you felt you needed to do to take care of yourself.
Vincent van Gogh, Noon Rest from Work.

Vincent van Gogh, Noon Rest from Work. Image description: two farm workers are lying asleep next to a haystack, their scythes beside them.

An anonymous writer shared what it’s like living with infertility and the hope of getting pregnant (trigger warning):

It’s turning down dream jobs in case you get pregnant as soon as you start. It’s trying not to plan too far ahead while simultaneously trying to plan something to take your mind off the fact that another month has rolled around and you’re bleeding again. It’s feeling like you can’t move on, or sideways, or anywhere really because maybe this is your month and this time next year you’ll be a mum and not care about that marathon you’re running for charity or that trip home to see your family or those other commitments that require a gestation longer than a couple of months.

[Read more at Mama Said.]

Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles summarised the latest research on the Zika virus (particularly dangerous for foetuses) and how it might affect people in New Zealand:

If we have the ‘right’ species of mosquito here, for Zika to establish in New Zealand, we would need those mosquitoes to feed on a person with Zika in their bloodstream, then go on to feed on someone else, who in turn could be fed on by another of the ‘right’ species of mosquito and so on. While we still have relatively small numbers of infected travellers coming in to NZ, the risk is low, but it shows that we can’t be complacent. I think everyone who thinks they may have been exposed to Zika should take all precautions to avoid being bitten by mozzies, even here in NZ, and to make sure they use condoms to minimise the chance of passing the virus on to their partner(s) and creating more cases.

[Read more at SciBlogs.]

At The Hand Mirror, Morgan Healey and Alison McCulloch ask whether an early New Zealand obstetrician and gynaecologist ought to be honoured by a medical organisation:

Is it possible or even prudent to erase the hateful and bigoted aspects of Gordon’s past in order to glorify her positive contributions? Does the past really have such little bearing on the present that we can selectively ignore part of an individual’s complex biography without consequence? And what does it mean for modern obstetrics that a founding member of the profession believed that contraception and abortion were social evils, and professed the racial superiority of white/Pākehā people? We believe it is dangerous to assume that the prejudices of the past have been eradicated and that the legacies of social reformers can be re-imagined anew, their harmful beliefs stripped neatly away.

[Read more at The Hand Mirror.]

Alison McCulloch also argues for increased pharmacy-based access to contraceptive medication:

Back in the 1960s, when the Pill became available in Aotearoa New Zealand, the New Zealand Branch of the British Medical Association (the precursor to today’s NZMA) decided it would be unethical for doctors to let unmarried women get their hands on it. Doing so, it was argued, would be akin to doctors giving extra-marital relationships a stamp of approval, and the NZMA wasn’t about to do that.

If you thought doctors keeping us from the Pill for our own good was a thing of the past, think again. Sure, it’s no longer under the guise of protecting our moral purity – (most) doctors have (mostly) given up on that argument. Now, it’s all about protecting our health.

[Read more at The Hand Mirror.]

Sarah at Write-Handed gives a cracking top ten list of things she has learned through experiences of chronic illness and disability:

9. Find out what health services are available in your town

– Ask, ask, ask. I have found out about numerous support services over the course of the last three years, none of which I knew existed. Many times, I stumbled upon them accidentally, or someone just mentioned them offhand. Some possible questions:

  • Does your town have a Pain Clinic?
  • Is there a hydrotherapy pool at your local hospital that you can use?
  • Can you get physiotherapy through your hospital or GP?
  • Is there free or low-cost transport for people with illnesses or disabilities? (Ie, we have the Red Cross van in Nelson).
  • Is there any free or low-cost exercise programmes you could join if you wanted to? (We have the Green prescription in NZ).

[Read more at Write-Handed.]

Sarah also has a message for everyone asking her when she’s going to have kids:

I don’t care what your views are on motherhood. I don’t care if you had a kid when you were 19 or when you were 45 or you’ve chosen not to or you’re some guy who has Opinions on women’s rights to reproduce.

The answer is the same. Stay the hell out of my uterus. Thank you.

[Read more at Write-Handed.]

Nelly Thomas gave the Pamela Denoon lecture on IWD2016, speaking about sex and sexual equality, which you can watch here.

Hilary Stace celebrates the life of pioneering autism advocate Marion Bruce.

In the 1960s, Marion Bruce was one of the first parents in New Zealand to get a diagnosis of autism for her son. So rare was the diagnosis considered at the time that it could only be confirmed by a visiting expert from London, retired child psychiatrist Dr Mildred Creak, when she came to visit her Quaker relatives in Wanganui.

[Read more at Access.]

And let’s finish this section with a good news story. Rachel Cox is in remission:

I grinned at him, waved, and walked out of that clinic.  Past all the chairs where people less lucky than me sat, round shouldered, weighed down by their health burdens. Past reception, where my file would be handled for the last time. Through the foyer, past the best barista in Auckland, who has served me more coffees while I’ve been in my hospital nightie than in my street clothes.

[Read more at The Chronicles of Rach.]


Government and Party Politics

Emma Hart says same-sex marriage legislation shouldn’t be the subject of a plebiscite:

This is why having referenda (or, okay, plebiscites) on human rights issues is inherently degrading. In this case, it means giving a platform for some people to be called child molesters, to be told they’re not fit to raise their children, that they are simply less human than other people.

[Read more at Up Front.]

Five years on from the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster, Rebecca Priestley writes about the need for more input from scientists in public debate about nuclear power:

Public scientists today are increasingly restricted in what they can say to the media. To enable public participation in any future decision-making about nuclear power we will need public scientists willing to answer questions from the media and the public and take part in an informed dialogue on the topic. Nuclear power attracts controversy everywhere, but is likely to do so more in “nuclear-free” New Zealand than elsewhere.

[Read more at SciBlogs.]


Susan B Anthony quote: No man is good enough to govern a woman without her consent. |

Image description: Black and white picture of Susan B Anthony, with quotation, white on black: ‘No man is good enough to govern a woman without her consent.’ Image via Daily Kos.


At an IWD2016 public celebration, Deborah Russell calls for more women to stand for local government:

If standing for council is not the right thing for you, how about shoulder tapping some other women you know. Maybe some of them would be good. Perhaps you know ngā wãhine Māori who have been working in their iwi and on their marae. Perhaps you come from a migrant community, and there’s someone there who would be great. Maybe you know a nurse, a mum, a business woman, a teacher – someone who would do a great job on council. Tell them. Shoulder tap them and ask them to stand.

[Read more at A Bee of a Certain Age.]

Deborah also writes about multinational companies avoiding paying tax at Left Side Story:

Top multinationals pay almost no tax in New Zealand.

Multinationals are taking advantage of their ability to charge internal fees, and set royalties, and increase the “cost” of products sold from one part of a company to another (transfer pricing), to shift profits around the world, preferably into jurisdictions with very low corporate tax rates. It’s a comparatively simple thing to do, even when there are robust anti-avoidance laws and intense scrutiny of transfer pricing practices.

[Read more at Left Side Story.]

Jess Berentson-Shaw responds to media coverage of a report on childcare with the role of government in improving the situation:

We don’t believe the solution to these issues lie with parents at all. Suggesting that parents should use the findings to weigh up these risks and benefits and make a clear choice belies the reality of an entire system of broken housing, labour market, welfare, social and early childhood education policy that needs fixing.

So without further ado here are 10 ways we could fix the problem without telling parents they need to think harder (read ‘feel guilty’) about what happens to their children when they go to work.

[Read more at the Morgan Foundation blog.]

Emily Writes also responds to the coverage:

And if you don’t like the fact that many parents have to put their children into care in order to get by, do something about it. Support families. Support government policy that supports families. Be an employer that offers flexibility to parents and pays enough that a family can support themselves so their children don’t have to go into care. Support businesses that make their workplaces family friendly. Stop yelling “In my day” at parents who are struggling.

[Read more at the New Zealand Herald.]

Jess also writes about the New Zealand’s government’s use of big data to identify at-risk children:

The first point to note is that this won’t fix the big issue facing families, which as we have discussed before is poverty and the best way to fix that problem is giving them money. While the majority of poor parents won’t fritter away extra money as the public might preconceive, there is a small core of families for which money won’t make a difference. So while the idea championed by Mr English won’t fix the big problem, it might in theory be part of the solution.

[Read more at the Morgan Foundation blog.]

Māmari Stephens is looking at the 440-page revamp of New Zealand’s social welfare legislation:

Cos make no mistake, here there be earthquakes and tigers… When I am teaching my welfare law classes I often have to point out a kind of now-you-see it, now-you-don’t magic trick that passes for legislative reform in this area, whereby new provisions are jammed into the old Act but closer inspection reveals there has just simply been a shuffling around of old provisions that might conflate existing tests, but really, the status quo continues to a large degree.

[Read more at Sparrowhawk/Kārearea.]

Stephanie Rogers did a special #IWD2016 edition of her usual roundup of the #nzpol activity of the women of Twitter.


Case study: The Kiwimeter and New Zealand identity

In March, the online ‘Kiwimeter’ quiz tool was launched, as a joint venture between a university and a broadcaster. It asks you some questions and then gives you a label of the kind of New Zealander you are. It’s been a bit of a debacle.

Thoughtful critiques have come from Tze Ming Mok at Public Address (further below) and Madeleine Chapman at The Spinoff:

The purpose of the survey is to answer that oft-asked question “what kind of Kiwi are you?” I didn’t know that there were specific categories but as soon as I discovered this, I became filled with self-doubt about my place in this great nation.

[Read more at The Spinoff.]

Tze Ming Mok started with this damning insight:

The Human Rights Commission is wrong. It’s not racist for a survey to put up a statement that captures everything liberals and radicals hate about latent anti-Maori attitudes, and ask whether you agree or disagree with it.

It’s a perfectly reasonable way to measure how anti-Maori people are.

[Read more at Public Address.]

But then she couldn’t keep away and wrote this expert critique of the poor execution of the survey, drawing this conclusion:

But because the overall effect of ‘Kiwimeter’ is one of causing emotional distress and feelings of marginalisation for Maori, even if due to incompetence, then it’s ultimately a racist effect. And as we know from our Human Rights Act harassment definitions, intent doesn’t matter; effect does. I’d like to thank folks on Twitter for sharing their experiences with me on this.

[Read more at Public Address.]

Then Stephanie Rodgers at Boots Theory gave us the inside scoop. She was part of the original sample of respondents who answered the much larger survey that this one was based on, and she even kept the questions and could compare and contrast:

This section was in both surveys – pick how proud you are from 1 to 10 about various NZ things like its history, arts and literature, etc.

But the precursor survey didn’t have a “skip” option, and included one item Kiwimeter doesn’t:

Its social welfare system.

Which is … interesting. It’s something I would say forms a strong part of my national identity.

[Read more at Boots Theory.]

So if the Kiwimeter is insufficient as a means of discussing national identity, at least we have some brilliant writers this month doing so in ways very much worth reading.

Here’s Lamia Imam, writing on the intersection of government, politics and national identity, in a book chapter republished on The Pantograph Punch:

I was born in the Year of the Peter Dunne, but I was also born in the year of New Zealand declaring itself a Nuclear-Free Zone. I choose New Zealand as my home because its people and its society have the kind of values I have. People knowingly make certain decisions, but they make many political decisions because they are misinformed. My hope is that perseverance can change that. I dream about evidence-based policies and rigorous public debates, and New Zealand is small enough for us to make those things happen. I want to be a part of that conversation and I want to be a part of that future.

[Read more at the Pantograph Punch.]

Refugees and global social justice

Randa Abdel-Fattah discusses conflict in the Middle East and asks if human rights are for all humans:

The last challenge is personal and it is a request to reflect on your own emotional and activist alliances, and to question the basis for why you may feel stronger about one cause or one group than another.

…Doesn’t it shame us as feminists in 2016 that Indigenous women will die younger than all other women in Australia? Where is our outrage about the NT intervention? About Indigenous deaths in custody?

Turning to the global. We are very good at campaigning against FGM or veiling practices, for example, but where are these voices when Israeli occupying forces refuse to issue travel permits to women in Gaza and the West Bank and prevent them seeking life-saving treatment for breast cancer?

[Read more at New Matilda.]


'I am not free when any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.' Audre Lorde quote on freedom |

Image description: Black and white photograph of Audre Lorde; white quotation on purple background: ‘I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.’


New Zealand Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy writes in support of the #doublethequota movement to increase New Zealand’s woefully small refugee intake:

Whether they are fleeing Syria, Myanmar or Afghanistan, the people coming to live alongside us have fled horrors we can only imagine: this is not a lifestyle choice, this is about survival. The moment these people and families have begun their new lives as Kiwis they are no longer refugees and the sooner we all start calling them New Zealanders, the better.

[Read more at The Spinoff.]

Emily Writes contrasts two experiences of pregnancy, in light of the global refugee crisis:

When did you know that this is no place for a new baby, that you had to run? That you had to find a home somewhere so far away from the home that you had? So many lives were living on the roads that you were walking, could you picture your child crawling in safety as you walked that road?

…We must never forget that it’s grace and luck and privilege alone that means we do not have to cross a raging swollen river for our babies. We must never forget our duty, the ties that bind us to mothers no matter what stars we sleep under with our babies.

[Read more at Mama Said.]


Refugees welcome |

Image description: A white sheet hangs on a metal fence at a port, reading ‘Refugees welcome’.


Joyce Chia argues against a proposed law change that would remove protection from asylum seekers in Australia:

These changes mean that a person now has to prove they could not move to any other country that might be “safe” – even if they would be destitute there, and even if that place is “safe” only because local militias or warlords control it.

[Read more at The Conversation.]

Development entrepreneur Fiona McAlpine has some ideas for engaging with the realities of global hardship:

Humans have a limit on the amount of tragedy we can absorb, but we shouldn’t have a cap on empathy. For every depressing news update from the field, there are thousands of stories of hope and inspiration.

[Read more at New Matilda.]

At SciBlogs, Sarah-Jane O’Connor reports on an Australian study with disquieting news for how scientific resources are hoarded in the rich world:

“If you dig a little deeper, it gets worse,” Wilson said. “The science conducted in these countries is often not led by scientists based in those countries and these scientists are also underrepresented in important international forums.” She said that added up to a widespread bias in the field of conservation science.

[Read more at SciBlogs.]



Cat Noakes-Duncan writes about the experience of having two sons with autism spectrum disorder:

I am starting to realise, the older I get, that all of us are walking around with our fears, sufferings, disappointments. Some are more obvious than others. I am tentatively beginning to discover joy in my weakness. My boys are not sad, they don’t feel weak and vulnerable, I do, me! I feel weak, vulnerable, alone. I know for myself, I need to stop caring so much about how I am perceived by other people.

[Read more at Humanasite.]

A New Zealand writer tells the story of the traumatic birth of her daughter (trigger warning):

I remember seeing her, the midwife lifting her into the world, purple and covered in vernix. A beautiful sight. I remember her being laid on my stomach. And I remember her being taken away again. And then they are running, running. And my mind has already gone.

[Read more at My Flatpack Life.]

Emily at Mama Said writes about sleep deprivation and the light at the end of the tired tunnel:

All of the judgements and assumptions and ignorant comments sit at the bottom of a clifftop. Above are countless mothers who stand and face the roaring waves each night and say:

This will pass

[Read more at Mama Said.]

Bella Horlor is also sleep-deprived:

I just ate half a sugar free chocolate cake for breakfast and I nearly put my electric kettle on the stove top for the second day in a row. I’ve got so many coffee cups around the room that my baby found one tipped the dregs into the floor and started rolling around in the puddle. It was so old the milk had curdled. Then she vomited.

[Read more at #500words.]

Another mother in the trenches has an encouraging word (amidst some very beautiful writing: do go and check her out):

This is how I know I’m not really a ‘bad parent’.

Because every time they have pushed me to the edge. Every time I swear under my breath. Every time I snap and take away a toy just so I can get them to listen. Every time I lean my head against the door frame for a split second thinking they might just magically go to sleep in that pause. All of those are not the summation of my parenting, because every time, in the end, I open the door and I hold them.

[Read more at My Flatpack Life.]


What to do if you see someone breastfeeding in public | Handbag Mafia

Image by Amy Ahearn at Handbag Mafia.


Amy Ahearn at Handbag Mafia has a satirical guide this month: ‘What to do if you see someone breastfeeding in public’:

Your comfort is paramount in this situation. Why should you have to turn your head to look elsewhere? It’s basically a one-way ticket to whiplashville, my friend. You should let her know this, as that is not a lawsuit she will want to deal with. Injury, psychological trauma, medication, heat packs… It’s all possible; does she really want to take the risk? Much simpler for everyone if she take her hungry kid and breastfeed in the toilet. She can rest her water bottle on the sanitary disposal bin, after all. Some places even provide seats in parent’s rooms, right next to the change tables and nappy disposal bins.

[Read more at Handbag Mafia.]

Rebecca Shaw also has some handy advice on this topic:

Everyone has a phone now! … Play candy crush, read an article, or perhaps Google: ‘Why is it important for babies to be fed when they are hungry?’

(Spoiler: it is so they do not die)

[Read more at SBS Comedy.]

No Place for Sheep enjoys being down among the women:

I remember this connection from the time when my children were little. Hardly anyone in my female peer group had family available to help, so we assisted each other with reciprocal child care, and time out just to be alone. We got through long days with babies and toddlers by spending them together, women and children, at somebody’s home, in a park, at the local swimming pool. This is where I first learned to bond with women, and at the heart of our bonding was our love for our infants and our shared anxieties about being good mothers.

For me, these times down among the women were and are profoundly feminist experiences.

[Read more at No Place for Sheep.]



Andie Fox at Blue Milk has been writing a few small-but-perfectly-formed posts about having a new partner (and other things). For example:

The building of bunk beds implies another level of commitment and not just because we do this together on our weekend, and not just because it means our children are sharing bedrooms, and not just because it means the selling of furniture I had bought, and not just because pictures need to be rehung and shelves shifted to accommodate the height; but because in building the beds, for a while the parts spread across the room, displacing everything until I am short of breath, and when that happens he notices, reassures me.

[Read more at Blue Milk.]

Lynley Hargreaves interviews Angela Wanhalla, who has been researching women in the Pacific who had children with Second World War military personnel. There are some very sad stories:

When American Servicemen went overseas they brought American laws with them, including laws preventing interracial marriage in the United States. If a woman did manage to marry her American partner, she still faced other barriers. Women had to meet the nationality requirement of being 51 percent or more white in order to be given a visa by consular officials so that they could gain entry to the United States. I’ve seen the US consular records for posts in Fiji and New Zealand and these show clear instances where consular officials suspected someone of not being 51 percent or more white so investigated their whakapapa to determine ‘blood quantum’. These could be very intimate, quite invasive investigations into family history.

[Read more at SciBlogs.]


Feminists raising children

Natasha at The Maybe Diaries is writing up her entertaining and informative conversations about politics with her son (I think he’s about six years old).

 If you don’t already subscribe to the YouTube channel Smarter Every Day, I would really suggest you do because it is nothing short of awesome. Destin recently had the chance to interview President Obama and what they discuss around feedback loops (or lack thereof) and how that is changing the nature of political debate (by generating lots of shouting) really clarified a couple of things for me:
1. My children need to be invested in how countries are run.
2. My children need to be able to see past pomp and circumstance in order to make sound choices.

[Read more at The Maybe Diaries: Part One and Part Two.]


For IWD2016, Lucy AitkenRead at Lulastic and the Hippyshake hosted a special link-up.

International Women's Day awesome blog link up :)


Lucy’s own post was about finding snappy ways of breaking down sexist stereotypes in conversation:

We need to come up with a few succinct phrases we can spill when someone pops up with a stereotype like this.

“Oh ha, yeah ha ha (BEGIN WITH A BENIGN CHUCKLE ALWAYS) actually most scientific evidence suggests the differences between the male and female brains are negligible”

I totally suck at those information filled yet snappy retorts.

[Read more at Lulastic and the Hippyshake.]


Colours are for everyone - and heaps of other ideas of things to say with kids to help them experience freedom |

Image description: a baby sits in a white bucket, surrounded by coloured balls on the grass. Title: ‘Colours are for everyone’ + 38 more phrases for feminist parenting.


Perhaps channelling the same frustration, I compiled a collection of phrases adults can use to help kids navigate patriarchy and grow into great feminists. Some examples:

‘We all help with all the jobs’

The single biggest thing that would change women’s experience of work and family life would be a generation of men who did as much housework and caring work as the women in their lives.

Imagine if we could be the parents who raised that generation? Feminist parenting is powerful!

‘Are you listening to his/her/my ‘no’?’

I use this a lot, in all sorts of contexts.

Sometimes it’s refereeing kids who are trying to convince each other of what the next game will be. Sometimes it’s to interrupt someone nagging me. 

Every time I say it I feel like I’m doing the world some good. Everyone needs to know that their ‘no’ will be respected.

[Read more at Sacraparental.]


'I'm the boss of my body' SUCH an important concept and phrase for child safety and for dismantling rape culture - and one of a great list of phrases for feminist parenting |

Image description: a baby sits in a white bucket, surrounded by coloured balls on the grass. Title: ‘I’m the boss of my body’ + 38 more phrases for feminist parenting.


Hadassah Grace used her spoons on a conversation about a similar article, talking to a huffy MRA about whether saying that boys need to learn the value of consent is a sexist proposition. Click here for the screenshots of her conversation.

Scarlett Harris surveyed the new Barbie landscape:

Lucy AitkenRead also wrote about trusting children to continue learning through play and exploration as they grow:

So your kid gets to 3 or 4, and so far so good. They have learnt EVERYTHING they need to survive and thrive. Very little passes them by. Most children can move and communicate, some can click their fingers and some have had room in their brain to learn the entire script of Cars.

Then they turn 5 and everything changes.

[Read more at Lulastic and the Hippyshake.]

At Girlactica, Shona Riddell writes about New Zealand-Dutch woman Laura Dekker, whose parents did trust her to learn by herself:

At age 14, Laura sailed alone from the Netherlands to England. English authorities were unimpressed and ordered her father to take her home; he told them she was fine to sail alone, but they placed her in a children’s home until he arrived to collect her. He came over, put her in her boat, and flew home alone.

[Read more at Girlactica.]


Gloria Steinem quote-we-ve-begun-to-raise-daughters-more-like-sons-but-few-have-the-courage-to-raise-our-sons-more-gloria-steinem-177470

Image description: Black and white photograph of Gloria Steinem, with quotation, white on black: ‘We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.’


Handbag Mafia wrote about school uniforms.

If a young person is going through all of the usual pressures as well as questioning their sexuality and/or their gender identity, it makes sense to do what we can to make this easier and more flexible for them. Rigid gender-based uniform policy doesn’t really benefit anyone, so why aren’t all schools moving towards more inclusive policy around school uniforms?

[Read more at Handbag Mafia.]


Violence against women

Trigger warning for this section: violence against women

Celeste Liddle published her Molly Hadfield Oration:

As it stands right now, Aboriginal women are 38 times more likely to be hospitalised due to domestic and family violence than other women in this country. We are 3 times more likely to be victims of sexual violence. We are 70 times more likely to receive an acquired brain injury requiring hospitalisation due to domestic violence. Always, the policy and media responses to these things seem to focus around heavy-handed approaches: removing things from the community like the ability to purchase alcohol, the right to spend one’s money as they please, the micro-management of lives, while at the same time, they defund shelters, women’s groups, legal services and health services. They remove the very things which enable women to seek assistance, become independent and pursue justice. As I said last year when talking at the “Putting Gender on the Agenda” conference in Alice Springs, the last thing Aboriginal women need is to be further structurally disempowered.

[Read more at Black Feminist Ranter.]

Poet Fleur Adcock wrote about her marriage to New Zealand writer and ‘good keen man,’ Barry Crump:

Beating up his current woman while winning the hearts of all the others he encountered was Crump’s way of coping with the world which had treated him so badly. He was not just a colourful but basically amiable rogue; he was also a chronic liar and a bully. His violently abusive father had turned him into a sadist, and he had survived his childhood only thanks to the devotion of his sister and mother. Naturally I knew nothing of this at the time, but even if I had I doubt whether I’d have been sufficiently self-aware to understand how unwise I was to marry such a damaged person. I was realistic enough, however, to get out in time and make my escape to England barely a year after meeting him. His subsequent wives were less fortunate.

Larissa Sandy and Anastasia Powell write about the connection between workplaces and violence against women:

Workplaces can be a key setting to prevent violence against women but prevention programs are often thwarted by some leaders who don’t see it as a workplace issue, our research shows.

…International research shows that greater inequalities between men and women increase the risk of violence against women. Workplaces can contribute both directly and indirectly to improving gender equity in our community and to building cultures based on respect. It is partly through workplace recruiting, hiring, and pay practices, that Australia still has a gender pay gap of 17.9%.

[Read more at The Conversation.]


Social justice practicalities

Heather makes her own Easter eggs from fairtrade chocolate, and gives a full run-down, with pictures, on how to make your own creme eggs:

On Wednesday, my friend Anna came over for our annual Easter egg day, where we make Easter eggs together.  You can’t buy fair trade Easter eggs in New Zealand (except for expensive artisanal ones – even the boring hollow Cadbury eggs don’t seem to be on sale this year).  We want Easter eggs to eat and give away, but not at the expense of people being enslaved and abused to make the chocolate, so, for some years now, we’ve made our own 🙂

Heather's fairtrade Creme Egg Bunnies |

Heather’s fairtrade Creme Egg Bunnies.

[Read more at Little Notes.]

Kim at The Coastal Creative rounds up New Zealand-based ethical options for Easter (or thereafter, right? Right?)

Victoria Metcalf writes at SciBlogs about Kids Greening Taupō, an educational initiative for environmental regeneration:

The Kids Greening initiative is based on the work of Greening Taupō, a community organisation with a mission to increase the native flora and fauna of the town for the benefit of its people, businesses and the local environment. Kids Greening provides the link between local schools and Greening Taupō, where students are actively involved with collaborative projects working towards achieving this mission.

[Read more at SciBlogs.]

Coley Tangerina urges child-free people to think before saying ‘I don’t like kids‘:

Women with kids are marginalised. Kids are marginalised, globally and locally. Proudly declaring you “don’t like” an entire section of the population under – 12? 16? What’s the cut off? – isn’t a reclamation of your autonomy, it’s just being a jerk about tiny humans.

[Read more at Tangerina.]


Broadcasting and Publishing

Madeleine Chapman has some pragmatic ideas about how to get people to watch women’s sport:

We have tried to practice gender equality in a number of codes, particularly cricket, basketball, and rugby, and have only been rewarded with small crowds and little-to-no interest. What women’s sport needs more than equality is equity; for watching women play to feel equal to watching men.

[Read more at The Spinoff.]

Then she finds some more bad news as the men’s and women’s cricket World Cup experiences highlight the disparities:

Things started looking shady as soon as the teams left for India. ICC had paid for all the men’s teams to fly business class, while the women’s teams flew economy. Australian Cricket chose to cop the cost of the upgrade themselves. New Zealand Cricket decided against it for the White Ferns.

[Read more at The Spinoff.]


This is my Mum, playing hockey for New Zealand in the 1970s.

This is my Mum, playing hockey for New Zealand in the 1970s.


Student newspaper Massive published an article on students doing sex work, and put a graphic image of sexual violence against a sex worker on the cover (yes, in 2016, student magazines are still doing this shit). Hadassah Grace writes:

Massive Magazine, the student magazine of Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand recently got a new editor: Dudebro-in-Chief Carwyn Walsh, who’s literary credits include this abso-fucking-lutely hilarious “satire” about breastfeeding mothers squirting breast milk all over cafes and injuring unsuspecting men with their blocked milk ducts. His aim as editor is to give the magazine “a healthy dose of edginess and humour” which as we all know is dudebro-speak for rape jokes, racism and sexism. So edgy.

[Read more at Hadassah Grace. Trigger warning: the cover image is reproduced in the blog post, after a warning and a fair way down the article.]

Collective Shout member Angela writes on their website about her two-year struggle to have a sexist billboard removed:

FEBRUARY 2016  (Two and a half years on)

It is now March 2016 and despite the fact that the ASB ruled the ad was in breach of industry codes, the ad remains in plain sight and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Self regulatory cooperation of advertisers? Is this a joke? The system is broken.

[Read more at Collective Shout.]

Scarlett Harris laments the omission of a WWE star wrestler from its Hall of Fame:

Now that WWE has entered the “PG-Era” in which it’s beholden to corporate sponsors and advertisers, having a porn star in its Hall of Fame just won’t do. This is a far cry from the “bra and panties matches” and bikini contests heyday of the Attitude Era.

[Read more at Harlot.]

Marianne Elliott writes about Lena Dunham, her critics, and the crime of being an unapologetic woman:

Women are asked to be grateful and gracious when they receive uninvited and unwanted attention from men. But if they dare call attention to themselves, especially to the parts of themselves that are unacceptable or unattractive to men, they are, in Cook’s words, ‘self-dramatizing’, ‘narcissistic’, ‘nauseating’ and ‘desperate for validation’.

[Read more at Marianne Elliott.]

Maria McMillan laments the loss of billsticking anarchy:

We needed to talk to each other more than ever. We needed to say particular truths to each other so we wouldn’t forget. We needed to organise, to raise spirits, to rally. The streets were our chatroom, our Facebook, our Twitter, our small press, our email list, our website, our gallery, our newsletter, our zine. They belonged to us, and to the nights smelling of paste and the people who would wake each morning to something new. To the goofy kid fresh from the country who saw that a city was a place which could be changed overnight by anyone with a Vivid and some glue.

[Read more at The Spinoff.]


Arts and Literature

Anna at Flaming Moth asks who our favourite Shakespearean women are:

Rosalind in As You Like It was probably Shakespeare’s most popular heroine for a long time, with Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing running a close second. Perhaps Juliet is his most famous female creation, though Lady Macbeth may be the most discussed. Cressida would be the most maligned, though the contrarian Bernard Shaw found her delightful.

[Read more at Flaming Moth.]

Poet Paula Green (who posts poetry news and thoughts almost daily at New Zealand Poetry Shelf) noticed the lack of women in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards shortlists and supplied some of her favourites that weren’t recognised:

Women  produced astonishing books in 2015. I reviewed their poetry books on this blog and praised the diligent craft, the exquisite music, the sumptuous detail, the complexities that challenge and the simplicity that soothes. I have lauded books by women that have moved me like no other, and that have contributed much to the possibilities of what a poem might do.

I am gobsmacked that not a single one made it to the shortlist.

[Read more at NZ Poetry Shelf.]

Paula Green also profiles poet Selena Tusitala Marsh in several posts this month, including this one with a video clip of her performing in Westminster Abbey.


I love a good book list! Here's a goodie: 59 brilliant books by women that aren't 'difficult' :)

Joanna Russ’ How to Suppress Women’s Writing, cover detail, via Lilit Marcus. The text on the image reads: ‘She didn’t write it. But if it’s clear she did the deed… She wrote it but she shouldn’t have. (It’s political, sexual, masculine, feminist. She wrote it, but look what she wrote about (The bedroom, the kitchen, her family. Other women!) She wrote it but she only wrote one of it (‘Jane Eyre. Poor dear that’s all she ever…) She wrote it but she isn’t really an artist and it isn’t really art (It’s a thriller, a romance, a children’s book. It’s sci fi!)’


A prolific male blogger wrote a very male-heavy list of great but ‘accessible’ books. Here at Sacraparental, I offered to balance things out with this version full of brilliant female writers. There are 61 books listed, plus another few dozen in the comments. Something like ten each are Australian and New Zealand authors. Please add your recommendations if you click through!


I love a good book list! Here's a goodie: 59 brilliant books by women that aren't 'difficult' :)

Image description: wooden bench on a boardwalk facing out to sea on a sunny day. Title reads: ’59 brilliant + accessible books by women.’


Wyoming Paul has noticed a similar trend:

The book world, like the world-world, shows sad signs of gender bias. To work in a bookshop is to become an anthropologist of sorts, specialising in the genus Biblio Lector (or book reader/buyer, for those who are not fluent in the anthropologists’ pretend Latin). Generally the species is kind and gracious, with only subtle expressions of sexism; however on occasion a remark is made that makes the anthropologists…gag a little.

[Read more at The Spinoff.]

Ju continues her Australian Women’s Writing reading challenge, and this month reviews Thief of Lives by Lucy Sussex.

At No Award, Liz Barr introduces us to Chinese historical drama, Empress of China:

I did not come into this expecting hilarious boarding school hijinks, but then, I’ve never watched a Chinese drama before, let alone an historical Chinese drama. Maybe this is standard for the genre, and I need to put lots more of these shows in my face.

[Read more at No Award.]

And Kath at Fat Heffalump has a tribute to Nurse Kellye from M*A*S*H:

In an era when women of colour were scarce on our TV screens and women who were not slim and “pretty” by conventional standards were almost always the objects of ridicule, seeing a consistently positively portrayed Asian-American woman with a short and chubby frame is SO refreshing.  We know that Nichelle Nicholls is a trailblazer in television with her role as Uhura in Star Trek, but has anyone ever acknowledged Kellye Nakahara for her 165 episodes of pure badass awesomeness in M*A*S*H?  We almost never see women like her in roles today, so there is no doubt at all that she too, was a trailblazer for her time.

[Read more at Fat Heffalump.]


 Nurse Kellye, played by Kellye Nakahara.

Image description: Three women in army uniforms. The one in the foreground is Nurse Kellye, played by Kellye Nakahara in the sitcom M*A*S*H.


Liz at No Award also looks at Supergirl and the ambivalent feminism of Cat Grant:

It’s really the fandom that has wholeheartedly embraced Cat as the uberfeminist, and I find that disquieting, because we can do better.

[Read more at No Award.]

Shona Riddell at Girlactica profiles Australian photographer Effie Baker (1880-1968):

Effie was fascinated and converted to Bahá’í that same week, the first woman in Australia to do so. She started travelling around Australia and New Zealand with other believers, teaching the faith but also trying to regain her health after contracting lead poisoning from licking her paintbrushes to wet them instead of using water.

[Read more at Girlactica.]


For your podcasting pleasure

Dear Mamas is a new podcast from Emily Writes and Holly Walker:

[For the March podcast we] were joined by Dr Katie Bruce. She is the director of Just Speak which is an AWESOME organisation. Just Speak is a network of young people speaking to, and speaking up for, a new generation of thinkers who want change in our criminal justice system.  Pretty cool aye? I met Katie through Mother’s Network. We are both volunteers – she is a facilitator for their amazing groups for mums, and once upon a time I was in her group. Katie has a three-year-old son and she lives in Wellington with her husband. We are good friends and I’m really grateful she joined us for this podcast.

On the Rag:

This is On the Rag, a podcast hosted by Alex Casey which looks at, laughs at and questions the state of women in pop culture, news and the world. To dissect February’s issues in the muggy heat of The Spinoff boardroom, she is joined by comedian and author Michele A’Court and marketing guru and longtime good mate Zoe Scheltema.

This month: Barbie, the simple joy of changing a flat tyre on a car, Kesha, Josh Drummond’s stellar “I am a feminist” piece on and Michele gives her tip on how to read the comments. Have a listen below, or download here on iTunes, or here on Stitcher.



So many thoughtful, hilarious, insightful, wise women writing wonderful pieces, this month and every month. To make sure you see the next DUFC, bookmark the website and/or follow Chally on Twitter for regular reminders.

And if you’re so inclined, you can also follow me on Facebook (for daily links and resources), Twitter (for general ranting) and Pinterest (for plantations of links including my Gender Politics board).

Ka kite ano.

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18 comments on “Down Under Feminists’ Carnival! Ninety-fifth Edition”

  1. Emily Reply

    This is AMAZING! Thank you so much for investing so much time and effort in preparing this carnival. It’s such a great round-up. I feel very honoured to be included among such incredible wāhine. Thank you kare.

    • thaliakr Reply

      Oh, that’s lovely to hear. It was one of those eek-am-I-doing-this-right? posts and I’m glad it seems to have turned out well!

    • thaliakr Reply

      Great! As Chally says, it’s not too late for next month!

      I’ve already started a draft email to collect posts in to send off to Mindy at Hoyden about Town for the next one – I keep spotting things that were just over the boundary 🙂

  2. Rebecca Reply

    Wow, that’s an amazing amount of work. I’m in awe. It’s going to take me days to read through this 🙂

    • thaliakr Reply

      Enjoy! It’s a bit weird that I’ve read all the links and everyone else has so many treats still to unwrap 🙂 Of course, you’ve read a good half – so many great leads from your emails. Thanks so much!

  3. Chally Reply

    Just incredible. It’s going to take me absolutely ages to read through this and I am going to love every minute. Thank you so much for all your hard work.

    Heather, that post was published in April and so is eligible for next month’s carnival – please submit it or anything you’d like.

  4. Pingback: Go see the 95th edition of the Down Under Feminists Carnival! | Zero at the Bone

  5. Pingback: The 95th Down Under Feminists Carnival is up! – Hoyden About Town

  6. Pingback: Ninety-Fifth Edition @ Sacraparental | Down Under Feminists' Carnival

  7. Kerry Tankard Reply

    Lots of familiar names in here, and heaps of new-to-me ones, as well!
    Best curated Downunder Carnival I’ve read.
    Must start writing more regularly, again!

  8. Ju Transcendancing Reply

    What an amazing carnival – thanks so much for including me! Also, thank you for all the hard work that went into putting together the carnival, it was great to spend the last few hours reading through it.

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