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
We live in a society that’s sexist in ways it doesn’t understand. One of the consequences is that men are extremely sensitive to being criticized by women. I think it threatens them in a very primal way, and male privilege makes them feel free to lash out.
This is why women are socialized to carefully dance around these issues, disagreeing with men in an extremely gentle manner. Not because women are nicer creatures than men. But because our very survival can depend on it.
Here are seven more key quotes from Ginsburg’s dissent in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby:
"The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage."
"Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community."
"Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby’s or Conestoga’s plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman’s autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults."
"It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage.”
"Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.”
"Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the [Constitution’s] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude."
"The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield."
A massage therapist who tried to sexually arouse a client at his Fletcher clinic was acquitted on Thursday of sexual intercourse without consent. He had admitted penetrating a client with his fingers in December 2012, but argued that he believed she was consenting.
She told the jury that she ‘‘froze’’ and could not believe what was happening, but defence barrister Paul Rosser QC argued that Mr Pratten believed he was doing what the client wanted based on things she had said and done.
He said Mr Pratten was ashamed of what he had done and conceded that he was unprofessional, but that he was not guilty of sexual assault.
During a recorded telephone conversation played to the jury Mr Pratten could be heard to tell the client that ‘‘I felt I was feeling your need’’.
‘‘I’m the sort of person that loves to help people, it was wrong of me, but it was what I thought you needed,’’ he said.
He told the client that he felt terrible about the incident, but added that ‘‘it was both parties, it wasn’t just one party’s fault … that’s the way I believe it was.’’
This is fucking unbelievable. Obviously we don’t know all the details in this particular case, but I can’t believe all the permutations of ‘it was her fault for giving out signals that she now denies’ that are widely accepted over the victim’s account. It makes me feel ill.
If there was no consent given, there was no consent.
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.
This morning, a friend uploaded pictures to Facebook where he was hanging out with a guy who has sexually harassed both myself and others in the past. I have never felt more physically ill in my life.
This is it. I’m done.
I’m done protecting someone’s identity when they clearly have absolutely zero respect for me or other women. I’m done with my polite silence being their safety net. I’m done with panicking about what I should do when faced with attending the same event as them.
Dear followers: please private message me or reblog to your own followers who may be able to help. Let me know your past experiences with outing people like this, even if it’s just to their friends, as well as how these efforts were received.
Most girls are relentlessly told that we will be treated how we demand to be treated. If we want respect, we must respect ourselves.
This does three things. Firstly, it gets men off the hook for being held accountable for how they treat women. And secondly, it makes women feel that the mistreatment and sometimes outright violence they face due to their gender is primarily their fault. And thirdly, it positions women to be unable to speak out against sexism because we are made to believe any sexism we experience would not have happened if we had done something differently.
I cannot demand a man to respect me. No more than I can demand that anybody do anything. I can ask men to be nice to me. But chances are if I even have to ask he does not care to be nice. I can express displeasure when I’m not being respected. But that doesn’t solve the issue that I was disrespected in the first place.
I can choose to not deal with a man once he proves to be disrespectful and/or sexist. But even that does not solve the initial problem of the fact that I had to experience being disrespected in the first place.
As a young girl, I wish that instead of being told that I needed to demand respect from men that I had been told that when I am not respected by men that it’s his fault and not mine. But that would require that we quit having numerous arbitrary standards for what it means to be a “respectable” woman. It would mean that I am not judged as deserving violence based on how I speak, what I wear, what I do, and who I am.
Does your brand of feminism remove barriers for women, or simply move them around? Does is expand options for women, or does it just shift them? You don’t liberate women by forcing them to choose option B instead of option A. What is comfortable for you might not be comfortable for someone else, and it’s entirely possible that what you see as oppressive, other women find comfortable or even downright liberating.
Before you think the girl in the middle is a strawman, let me tell you I used to be her, back in my misguided youth. I considered myself the standard to which other people should adhere. But that was stupid. It’s not up to me to tell people how to dress, and it’s much nicer to let everyone choose for themselves.
Some women would feel naked without a veil. Some women would find it restrictive. Some women would feel restricted by a bra. Some women would feel naked without one. Some women would feel restricted by a tight corset. Others love them. Some wear lots of clothes with a corset. Some only wear the corset and nothing else. What makes any article of clothing oppressive is someone forcing you to wear it. And it’s just as oppressive to force someone not to wear something that they want to wear.
Loving to Survive: Sexual Terror, Men’s Violence, and Women’s Lives by Dee L.R. Graham, pg. 112
I agree with all of this, but should point out to my lovely followers that consensual degradation, humiliation or pain infliction is not included. Nothing wrong with fetishes (as long as it’s respectful)!
Got beeped and cat-called as I was leaving the hospital. The goon in the passenger seat actually leaned half his torso out the window so that he could ogle me like he was some kind of dog. Keep in mind that I’m adhering to dress protocol and my pencil skirt goes well past my knees—and then add the fact that I’m already fuming over being objectified just a few minutes prior.
So basically that’s why I yelled ‘WAS THAT FUCKING NECESSARY!?' outside a hospital today in front of about 15 smoking psych patients and nurses.
A few months back, I was asked to participate in a debate on the topic of whether men should have to pay on dates. (I was “the feminist.”) It turned out that the male debater and I didn’t really disagree much on that topic. I said that, generally, whoever asks the other person out pays for that date, and then at some point couples generally transition into sharing costs in whatever way works for them. He was actually pretty happy to pay for first dates; he just wanted women to say thank you and to not use him. I had no problem with that.
I think he said that women should offer to pay half, knowing they’ll probably be turned down. I said, well, sometimes — but what if the other person invited you someplace really expensive? What if you agreed to a date with the guy and he spent an hour saying crazy racist shit to you and you felt like you couldn’t escape? This is what led to our real disagreement.
The male debater felt strongly that if a woman wasn’t interested in a second date, she should say so on the spot. If the man says, “Let’s do this again sometime,” the woman shouldn’t say, “Sure, great,” and then back out later. I said that that was a nice ideal, but that he should keep in mind that most women spent most of their lives living in low-level fear of physical aggression from men. I think about avoiding rape (or other violence) every time I walk home from the subway, every time there’s an unexpected knock at the door, and certainly every time I piss off an unhinged man. So, if I were on a date with a man who I felt was unbalanced, creepy, overly aggressive, or possibly violent, and he asked if I wanted to “do this again sometime,” I would say whatever I felt would avoid conflict. And then I would leave, wait awhile, and hope that letting him down politely a few days later would avoid his finding me and turning my skin into an overcoat.
The male debater was furious that I had even brought this up. He felt that the threat of violence against women was irrelevant, and that I was playing some kind of “rape card” as a debate trick. He got angrier and angrier as we argued. I also got angrier and angrier, although I worked hard to keep speaking in a calm and considered way. He was shouting and cutting me off when I tried to speak. I pointed out that the debater himself was displaying exactly the sort of behavior that would make me very uncomfortable on a date. THAT made him livid.
He then called me “passive-aggressive.”
I was genuinely taken aback. “Actually,” I said, “I call this ‘behaving myself.’” It’s a lot of work to stay calm when you’re just as furious as the other person, and that other person is shouting at you. I felt that I was acting like a grownup — at some emotional cost to myself — and I wanted credit, not insults, for being able to speak in a normal tone of voice when I was having to explain things like, “We can’t tell who the rapists are before they turn violent, so sometimes we have to be cautious with men who do not intend to harm us.”
Anonymous said: Have you read the gross article about David Choe admitting to raping his masseuse and then laughing and bragging about it. Society is gross.
God, I was so angry when I read that he claimed it was ‘art that sometimes offends people’. Like, no, you raped your masseuse (hint: it was the lack of consent) and your poor storytelling skills doesn’t change that fact at all.
Did you see his apology statement? It ends with: ‘In a world full of horrible people, thank god for us.’
TW: This post will be dealing with whorephobia. Specifically the kind leveled at full service sex workers. I got really worked up the more I wrote and I’m hoping my language isn’t offensive. I welcome feedback and other people’s opinions on…