quot culi, tot sententiae

Michelle / Melbourne, Australia. Writer, medical student, cruciverbalist and cat aficionado. Creative subeditor at Lot's Wife and fiction editor at Voiceworks Magazine.

I am pro-choice, anti-bullshit and proudly feminist.

This blog features politics, gender equality, racial issues, pop culture and some daily shenanigans. All opinions my own. Join the conversation and drop me an ask. x


You’d think that being caught talking to myself in public would stop me from doing it again, but clearly not.

dontfindmearishta said: What's it like as a Muslim Feminist? Can you shed some light on this topic because so many people have this misconception that being a feminist and a Muslim at the same time is a bad thing?


I love questions like this! 

As Muslim feminists we face criticism from two aspects:

  • Criticism from muslims who think we’re “westernizing” Islam
  • Criticism from non muslims who think Islam is misogynistic

The simple answer to both is that feminism doesn’t try to change Islam, rather Islam has always had feminism built into it. Actually, it’s quite debatable that Islam invented feminism.

The Quran was revealed 632 AD, with numerous verses labelling men and women as equals. In 632 AD, Muslim women were given rights (through the Quran, as well as through prophet Mohammad pbuh). Rights that western women only earned early 20th century. 

Actually, while 16th century western men were deciding whether women have souls or not, 1st century Muslim women were already given the right to divorce, to work, to educate and be educated, to inheritance, to their own land and property, to half their husband’s wealth, to choose who to marry, to have their own opinions, and to be treated as equals to men (and on and on and on).  

Some of the verses from the Quran (revealed in 632 AD) include:

  • “And their Lord responded to them: ‘I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female - you are equal to one another.” [Quran 3:195] 
  • "As for those who lead a righteous life, male or female, while believing, they enter Paradise; without the slightest injustice.” [Quran 4:124] 
  • "Whoever works righteousness whether male or female, while he (or she) is a believer- We will surely cause him (or her) to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward (in the hereafter) according to the best of what they used to do" [Quran 16:97]
  • "O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness"…"live with them on a footing of kindness and equity" [Quran 4:19] 

Islam teaches that regardless of gender (or race), in the sight of God we are judged according to the good we do, and our level of faith. If God clearly mentions that men and women are equal to one another, why should anyone else act like men are superior? Superiority comes from culture, and that is the common misconception that people tie to religion. 

Now a question I always get is why Muslim feminists feel the need to use the word “feminist” if Islam already has feminism built into it. The simple answer is that even Muslims don’t know Islam has feminism built into it (hence the reason for the criticism we get), and that using the title “Muslim” no longer makes a statement that as a Muslim, you are aware of women’s rights. Islam definitely has feminism built into it, but not all Muslims apply that. Which is why we feel the need to use a separate word (in this case, feminist) to make that statement. 

This is really interesting perspective that I’ve never heard! There are many negative perceptions of Islam (in particular, its treatment of Muslim women) but this is a different one that gets ignored.

Too many young girls don’t know how to act when someone’s being inappropriate with them. They giggle or they try to brush it off. Don’t do that. Tell them to go fuck themselves - be a bitch. If someone’s being disrespectful to you, be disrespectful right back. Show them the same amount of respect that they show you.

Wise words from my Mom (via moonbrains)

Sometimes I try to see the best in people and their intentions, but after a white man in his 30s followed me out of the station to ask me if there was a “man in my life”, I think this quote is bang on.

(Source: smallfreelancer, via valedacem)


7 positive phrases we should be teaching America’s boys about masculinity

Common phrases like “man up,” “be a man” and “suck it up” are all part of this rhetorical tradition. What we usually want to communicate with these phrases is that our boys should learn to be independent, responsible, honorable and capable. These are all qualities essential to becoming a respectable adult man, but they are poorly communicated with chauvinistic, ambiguous phrases like “grow a pair” that send dubious messages about binary gender characteristics and what defines being a man.

Read more | Follow micdotcom

Yes, absolutely this!

(via huffingtonpost)

  • Men: If Orange is the New Black is so good with representation, why are all the men horrible?
  • Women: They're not all horrible. Bennett's nice. What more do you want?
  • Men: But he's clueless and irresponsible! And that's just ONE guy! How can you give me ONE decent male character in a slew of diverse female characters and call THAT representation?
  • Women:
  • Women:
  • Women:
  • Women:
  • Women:
  • Women:
  • Women: ...must be tough.

meanwhilenever said: 

I’m getting sick of adult people reacting to “you did something wrong” by going “but I didn’t INTEND to do something wrong” and backing it up with harmful excuses.

Ugh, absolutely. This article (x) is one I link frequently about how intentions don’t matter when apologising for the impact created.

If only we could teach this in schools!

You are 12. You’re at the library looking for some generic young adult fiction novel about a girl who falls for her best friend. Your dad makes a disgusted face. “This is about lesbians,” he says. The word falls out of his mouth as though it pains him. You check out a different book and cry when you get home, but you aren’t sure why. You learn that this is not a story about you, and if it is, you are disgusting.

You are 15. Your relatives are fawning over your cousin’s new boyfriend. “When will you have a boyfriend?” they ask. You shrug. “Maybe she’s one of those lesbians,” your grandpa says. You don’t say anything. You learn that to find love and acceptance from your family, you need a boyfriend who thinks you are worthy of love and acceptance.

You are 18. Your first boyfriend demands to know why you never want to have sex with him. He tells you that sex is normal and healthy. You learn that something is wrong with you.

You are 13. You’re at a pool party with a relative’s friend’s daughter. “There’s this lesbian in my gym class. It’s so gross,” she says. “Ugh, that’s disgusting,” another girl adds. They ask you, “do you have any lesbians at your school?” You tell them no and they say you are lucky. You learn to stay away from people.

You are 20. You have coffee with a girl and you can’t stop thinking about her for days afterwards. You learn the difference between a new friendship and new feelings for a person.

You are 13. Your mom is watching a movie. You see two girls kiss on screen. You feel butterflies and this sense that you identify with the girls on the screen. Your mom gets up and covers the screen. You learn that if you are like those girls, no one wants to see it.

You are 20. You and your friends are drunk and your ex-boyfriend dares you to make out with your friend. You both agree. You touch her face. It feels soft and warm. Her lips are small and her hands feel soft on your back. You learn the difference between being attracted to someone and recognizing that someone you care about is attractive.

You are 16. You find lesbian porn online. Their eyes look dead and their bodies are positioned in a way that you had never imagined. You learn that liking girls is acceptable if straight men can decide the terms.

You are 20. You are lying next to a beautiful girl and talking about everything. You tell her things that you don’t usually tell anyone. You learn how it feels not to want to go to sleep because you don’t want to miss out on any time with someone.

You are 15. Your parents are talking about a celebrity. Your dad has a grin on his face and says, “her girlfriend says that she’s having the best sex of her life with her!” You learn that being a lesbian is about the kind of sex you have and not how you love.

You are 18. You are in intro to women’s and gender studies. “Not all feminists are lesbians- I love my husband! Most of the feminists on our leadership team are straight! It’s just a stereotype,” the professor exclaims. You learn that lesbianism is something to separate yourself from.

You are 21 and you are kissing a beautiful girl and she’s your girlfriend and you understand why people write songs and make movies and stupid Facebook statuses about this and time around you just seems to stop and you could spend forever like this and you learn that there is nothing wrong with you and you are falling in love.

You are 21. And you are okay.

A thing I wrote after arguing with an insensitive dude on Facebook all day or Things Other People Taught me about Liking Girls

This is beautiful.

(Source: thesefirstfewdesperatehours, via iamayoungfeminist)

Friendzoning is a terrible thing. The idea of a friend zone is like a terrible, male…have you ever heard a girl say she’s in the friend zone? It’s a thing I think men need to be really careful about using. When they were kicking around titles for What If, before What If was chosen, I think that came up, and I was like, ‘No! Don’t do that!’ Do I think men and women can be friends? Yes, absolutely. Do I think men and women who are sexually attracted to each other can just be friends? Eh, it will probably become an issue at some point whether you deal with it, and talk about it and just move on, but it will always sort of get dealt with eventually…I definitely think the idea of friend zone is just men going, ‘This woman won’t have sex with me.’

Say what you want about Sex and the City, but for a series that ran from the late 90s to early 00s, they cover certain issues incredibly well. From the top of my head: abortion, infertility, sexual freedom, female pleasure, single parenthood, gender expectations, discrimination, bereavement, cancer, impotence, infidelity, ageing, relationships and, above all, friendships.

Sure, some things could have been done better. I’m not super thrilled about their representation of gender and sexual diversity, but at least they tried—and it’s important to remember that by no means was it ever meant to be the definitive television show for women entering the 21st century, nor a feminist manifesto.

Claiming that Sex and the City is ‘anti-feminist’ or ‘highly misogynistic’ is missing the heart of it entirely. Relationships with men may feature prominently at first glance, but they’re actually just filler for these four women’s lives as they navigate incredibly relevant and everyday feminist issues. Further, it’s incredibly problematic to view one woman’s life as being more or less ‘feminist’ as another’s—whether they choose to be sexually promiscuous or to remain steadfastly independent, the only thing that matters is that they made that choice themselves.

I’ve read so many essays about this in the last week (holidays, right?) and this is essentially all it boils down to—choice. Everyone has their own brand of feminism and that’s okay, but the fundamental right to choose is non-negotiable. And that’s all I’m seeing here.

Love or hate the show for your own reasons, but don’t make it what it isn’t.



If you want to help secure the rights of women all over the world go here.
If you want to help people from north korea go here.
If you want to help stop child labor go here
If you want to help people escape from their current situation go here
If you want to help refugees reunite with their families go here

If you want to permanently help the people who are still living in inhumane conditions all over the globe, that grow up experiencing war, violence and discrimination, be political! Go vote, write articles, educate every single person you meet, never shut your mouth, make people aware of the fact that we are still far away from global equality, freedom and peace.  

Please do not remove this caption, if you repost, link back to this post.

This is important.

(via eliseypoo)

How Racist is Australia? Pretty Damn Racist.



This is my response (originally published in Crikey) to Mark Sawyer’s article ‘How Racist Are You’ published in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald last week (http://www.smh.com.au/comment/how-racist-are-you-20140611-zs43h.html)

Dear Mark,

As a comedian I very much appreciated your satirical piece ‘How Racist Are You?’ published in The Age last week.  I think you captured the attitude and tone of Overly Defensive And Clueless White Man perfectly.  It’s actually  inspired me to write my own piece called “Hey Ladies, Pipe Down About Sexism.”
Of course, I’m being silly.  You didn’t write it as a parody piece. The truth is much more embarrassing. This is what you, and plenty of others, actually think: apparently racism is totes not a thing any more.
Being told by white people that racism is a figment of our imagination is nothing new.  I know well enough that when looking for some quality racism, the best place to start is with the guy screaming “I’m not racist!” You did not disappoint.
Thank you for the awkward list of times you didn’t challenge people’s casual racist comments.  As the kids say nowadays, cool story bro.  And maybe you’re right - there is nothing that justifies calling Australia uniquely racist. Not the specific genocide of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures and languages, an unparalleled migration history that banned non-white immigration here until the early 70s, or our one-of-a-kind anti-asylum regime.  These are things that happened pretty much everywhere, right?  But seriously, why let history and facts get in the way of a white guy’s Feelings About Stuff.
You’re correct, far right parties like One Nation are a thing of the past. But only because their rampant xenophobia was quickly co-opted, re-branded and shared between Labor and Liberal, making Hanson totally redundant.  In an era where our Attorney General openly defends the art of bigotry, Pauline’s services are no longer required.
You ask how many people alive are truly racist.  I don’t know the exact figures, Mark. But ask yourself if the life expectancy statistics that apply to Aboriginal people - well below the national average - would be tolerated if they applied to any other group in this country .  Ask yourself if our system of militarised  border protection and detention - recognised as exceptional the world over - would be acceptable to the Australian public if it was designed to intercept, round up and indefinitely incarcerate white people. 
These things cannot exist without a sizeable population of what you refer to as ‘true racists.’ The fact that, as a nation, we accept and allow such things to happen is not an accident or the result of simple misunderstandings. They are the calculated outcomes of generations of programming.  Maybe racism is less about white people making unfortunate comments and more about systemic inequalities that have become the permanent and invisible background noise of Australian culture.  To quote you, it may pay to look at the bigger picture.
It’s 2014, champ. Racism isn’t about segregated lunch counters and people refusing to shake hands any more.  Racism is about this country’s obsession with defining boundaries of inclusion and exclusion, and the pervasive and violent ways in which those boundaries are maintained.  Racism is about two major parties collaborating for years to convince a white majority, through various codes, that they are perpetually at risk of losing out to lazy Aborigines, ghettoised migrants, dishonest asylum seekers and suspicious Muslims.  Racism is a government using free speech rhetoric to facilitate racial vilification.  Racism is, in a climate of perpetual fear and hostility, The Age choosing to publish some childish nonsense about how there’s no such thing as racism.
You’re convinced things have changed. I’m pretty confident they haven’t.
Aamer Rahman is a standup comic and writer in Melbourne.  He is currently touring his solo show The Truth Hurts in the UK and does not miss Australia.
“Lean In” skirts the topic of privilege and fails to call for change beyond the personal level. Encouraging people to believe in themselves and pursue their goals can be motivational advice. But telling people that the only reason they have not been able achieve their goals is because they are not trying hard enough is turning a blind eye to the external issues that women and people of color still face.

“Faux Feminism”: bell hooks Calls It Like She Sees It

(Source: feminspire, via fortheunicornchild)