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20th Carnival of Radical Feminists : January 2009


Many thanks to all the contributers kiss.gif - 884 Bytes, with a special thank you to Carnival organiser, Heart, at Womensspace

Collecting submissions for the 20th Carnival this month has turned out to be packed with great material again, and its heartening to see/hear our voices still going strong on the web. While we had no specific theme, many of the submissions, references and links we received were on topics that have the most conflict between women at various crossroads of the personal with the political. In some cases, we have also used public news media sources and other public-access material and blogs to provide background information. We chose to lead-in this time with the global sex trade with Part 1 of the documentary "Not For Sale" promoted by the European Women's Lobby.

You can view the full 30-minute documentary on their website at: Not For Sale


Sex-Trading = Slave-Trading?
We have placed posts on this topic separately. To view, click on the title.

The main conflict here is between the abolitionist view and the regulationist (or reformist) view. Generally speaking, radical feminists are abolitionist, seeing it as a form of human slavery and an abuse of human rights. Whereas liberal reformists tend to focus on harm-minimisation policies through industry regulation, and establishing a binary between willing choosers and unwilling (forced) prostitution.


Other Features

Race Divide

The first half of 2008 saw a competitive primary (or Party pre-selection) race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for Democratic Party nomination for the US Presidential election, which triggered tensions in some sections of the feminist internet sphere, primarily in the USA.

Following Gloria Steinem's op-ed piece in the NYT in January, a number of north-american feminist critiques appeared, such as by Jennifer at the Mixed Race America blog: Do we have to choose between racism and sexism?


Some tangents developed into a more general discussion of racism within north-american feminism, for example Suzanne Reisman at the blogher blog: Racism in the Feminist Movement.

Black feminist Jennifer McClune at Celies Revenge blog, provides thoughts on her own experiences of sexism in her post: Some Thoughts on Choosing Sides

Jeyoani provides a thoughtful post on the intersection of racism and sexism at Womensspace blog Jeyoani on Racism, Privilege and Woman-Hating

Others felt that public misogyny had become so extreme, intense, widespread and violent, that it deserves more attention as an issue in its own right.

Daphne Merkin at Alternet speculates on the social acceptability of misogyny in: The Bitch and the Air-Head: Women-Bashing makes a gut-wrenching comeback.

Anglachel also speaks on the political acceptability of misogyny in a series of posts in her blog Anglachel's Journal



Australian feminists also faced conflict over race during 2008, concerning the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) a.k.a. the 'Intervention',.

In 2007, the former federal government declared a form of martial law as a 'national emergency' in many Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory, in response to a report on high rates of child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities.

Some Indigenous and non-Indigenous activists and feminists supported the imposition of apartheid-style social and welfare laws as being justified (at least partially), others like Linda Ford, did not:



The August 2008 publication of Germaine Greer's essay around male rage, "On Rage", and her media interviews sparked more controversy, with claims that she was being racist.

Some feminists felt that Greer's essay was using racism to excuse male violence against women, as in Skepticlawyer's blog post: What happened to Greer's Feminism?.

Others disagreed, as in Kim's post on LarvatusProdeo blog: 'On Rage' - Book Review, noting Greer attempting to highlight the erasure and denial of responsibility of white male violence in the debate.
Another commentary on race in the context of the Intervention, is a post by Lauredhel on Hoyden-About-Town blog: Race Double Standard



Seriously PETA, what is wrong with you?

Many of us recognise strong connections between the abuse of women, animals and the natural environment, and in-principle, once supported organisations like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). No longer, as the ends do not justify the means - its continuing use of sexually degrading images of women to raise public awareness of animal abuse in its campaigns, are angering many feminists.
From the Mighty Crankosaurus blog: "...PETA fills me with such rage it almost makes me want to eat a hamburger, just to spite it.."
.


Reviews

  • Red Letter Year - Ani DiFranco
    Brittany Shoot at the Feminist Review blog, reviews Ani DiFranco's recent album..."Her life and work is all about putting forward ideas for radical action, and this album is no different. Red Letter Year finds our indie heroine a little older, wiser, and a bit more hopeful".

  • Things Without A Name - Joanne Fedler
    Review of a recent published fiction novel by Joanne Fedler - a woman's personal story of her journey and her experiences as a legal aid counsellor in a women's support service for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors

  • Human Rights Film Festival
    Allecto at Gorgon Poisons blog highlights a selection of films and documentaries from the Human Rights Film Festival on its 2008 Australian tour, including 'Intervention' :"...based on interviews from a cross section of the aboriginal community living in and around Alice Springs, Intervention discusses town camps, quarantine laws, ration cards, alcoholism and the shame and disempowerment that has ensued as a consequence of governmental intrusion."

  • The Terror Dream : Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America - Susan Faludi
    Britanny Shoot at Feminist Review Blog reviews Susan Faludi's latest book exploring changes in American socio-political culture in the years following September 11.

LINKS

The-Fury : Australian Radical Feminism

Radical Feminist Carnivals!
ampel_24.gif - 4231 Bytes. Gender Crossing

Similar to the differences in the political positions on prostitution/pornography, the main conflict here is while some strands of feminism include trans-sexualism, most radical feminists do not, as Margaret Jamison at Arooo blog points out in her post: By Any Other Name

Womanistmusings blog in Black Men, Take Off The Dress, views Black drag, or gender minstrel performance in pop culture as offensive; ".. The genderized minstrel show is the perfect example of the ways in which race and gender intersect. It is the visible representation of the oppressed, becoming the oppressor. What black men who perform the gender minstrel show fail to understand is that the same power that allows them to demean women in this manner, is what allows whiteness to perform racist acts, as a prime example of racism."

The essay Whose Biology-is-Destiny Around Here Anyway?, also discusses the role of trans-sexualism in erasure of female human experience of sex-based oppression.

In 2004, the UK enacted the Gender Recognition Act, which allows trans-sexuals to change their legal gender. Pollystyrene at Cows Gone Wild blog in If this is Justice, then I'm a Banana describes the operation of the legislation, its impact on related legislation such as the Sex Discrimination Act, and the implications of legally defining what a "woman" is, based on social gender stereotypes.

In November, Julie Bindel in her UK Guardian magazine blog post : Its Not Me. Its You. , responds to trans-community criticism of her nomination for a journalist of the year award by a gay rights organisation.

Women's Global War of Terror

Some submissions we received were of individual women's personal stories around male violence against women, from a variety of countries, with some submissions including links to news stories over the past year. Such violence is a common thread in girls and women's lives across the globe, from incidents of harrassment, to widespread rape and torture used as a Weapon-of-Mass (female) Destruction in war.

  • Guard at Kotla Ferozshah
    Nandita Saikia, (India), on her Cold Snapdragon blog, describes her feelings in response to the behaviour of a security guard on her visit to a Delhi tourist site: "..at the back of my mind, there lay the thought … that my safety is more important than some man's hurt feelings..."
    Nandita continues the theme of her discomforting experiences as a woman alone visiting historic quarters including a 500-year-old mosque in: Old Delhi

  • Noha Roshdy
    Fantasia (Egypt), on her Fantasia's World blog, comments on the case of Noha Roshdy facing extraordinary social disapproval for pressing criminal charges on a man for public street harrassment in Cairo. "...That's the way you are viewed by harassers out there.. for them, ... You are just a whore who has to shut up after being sexually assaulted."

    Marwa Rakha (Egypt) at Global Voices Online blog in November, reports on backlash following the Noha Roshdy case of two sisters reporting to police, being detained for 6 hours and assaulted in her post..Victims, Keep your mouth shut!
    "Despite the fact that the two girls did give up their right to file a report and begged to go home in peace, the officer who abused them said that he insists on taking them to court for assaulting him.."

    ".. Shaimaa and Heba found out that the bus driver who offended them has been replaced by 100 resentful males whose memories are still fresh with what Noha did to her offender. They have decided to make every girl who dares think that she could be another Noha... regret even thinking of stepping up." .

    Egyptian women formed a Facebook community group, Kolena Noha (We Are All Noha) to fight the injustice. By Nov 20th, Progressive Muslima News Blog reports on Cairo police response in arresting 400 teenage boys in a "crackdown on flirting", also noting that "...contrary to the mythology, women wearing hijab are not exempted from these assaults."

  • Unacceptable, but Excusable
    Anglachel, (USA) on her Anglachel's Journal blog, writes of how misogyny is often excusable and how this affects her life..."Of all the men I know … there are exactly two who have my absolute trust that they will not do me harm… I'm married to one, and the daughter of the other.
    Every other man I am around is on my scale …
    (a danger/threat scale)... I don't have a choice about remaining ignorant of the behavior of the men around me, because it very much is the difference between life and death. Every. Single. Day."

  • The Padlocked Vagina : Congo
    Womensspace blog reprint in April with permission of Suki Falconberg's report on the mass rape of the women of the Congo: ..."After gang raping women and girls, soldiers are piercing their labia and padlocking their vaginas shut.....To intensify the cruelty, soldiers are even shooting women in the vagina, destroying their systems so completely that numerous operations are necessary—....Six-month-old girls have been raped to death."

  • Women only trains: Japan
    In Sept 2008, a letter to the Japan Times comments on Japan's increasing use of establishing more women-only cars on commuter trains, in dealing with chikan (train-groping), which similarly to some other countries, had become " .... such a problem that the authorities established special cars for women to allow them some peace on their daily commutes."

    A short mini-documentary information video can be viewed at Flower Trains

  • Super Free (Gang rape) Club : Japan
    Short video documentary clip reporting on the organised gang-raping of women students in Waseda University's 'Super Free' Social Club.

  • Military Sexual Trauma (MST)

    VetWOW (Veterans: Women-Organising-Women) is a US-based veterans advocacy group that is "..dedicated to the thousands of women survivors who were sexually assaulted while serving in the military and never spoke up."

    An interview with VetWOW Assistant Director Laura Watterson can be viewed at:Laura Watterson speaks on MST

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