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What is it with the French government and thinking that the solution to ensuring women aren’t being forced to cover their body in a particular way, is forcing women to cover their body in a particular way? Seriously, people, even if you think religious clothing for women is inherently and universally oppressive (which it’s well fucking not), how, tell me, HOW is the solution to impose different limitations on women’s clothing?

“Well, see, those damn Ismuhlamics were telling you nice ladies what to wear, but because we don’t like what you’re wearing, it’s now mandatory that you wear something of our choice instead. Ok?”

If they think it’s a breach of women’s human rights that they’re being forced to wear the burqua, why don’t they work on the problem instead of issuing a blanket ban on an item of clothing that women may be freely choosing to wear? Furthermore, how is banning an item of clothing ever a solution to anything?

Come on, French government, get creative. Find something else to blame as the supreme hellmouth of all antifeminist evil. Like … the Pussycat Dolls! Blowjobs! Pink! See? All on about the same level as blaming the burqua itself.

Toddler’s Senate Eviction ‘A Stunt’

Senator Hanson-Young says she was humiliated when Senate President John Hogg ordered her two-year-old daughter Kora to be removed from the chamber before a vote.

One of the most interesting things I’ve learnt about during my subject on masculinities this semester is how the historical model of a worker assumes that the person is a male head of household, and is therefore in possession of a full time domestic slave, ie a ‘wife’. When one is not in possession of this domestic slave, the standard full time work week becomes essentially beyond the capabilities of a single human being. It’s the consummate example of the supposedly ‘neutral person’ being a dood.

So Sarah Hanson-Young, not being a dood, and also being a mother, was probably bound at some point to be fucked over by her workplace. That sucks. Her child shouldn’t have been ejected from Parliament; Kora wasn’t running amok, crying, or doing anything else that could possibly have been construed as disruptive. It sounds like a combination of the Senate’s standing orders being a sexist fucking mess, and John Hogg having a huge goddamn stick up his arse. But, as with many stories about women in public life, this one has an xtra-special bonus round, where somebody wins a giant stuffed animal for impugning a woman’s disposition after the fact:

“There were definite alternate courses of action that could have shown you were more genuine in trying to not create a media event, because you don’t want to trick people’s emotions, you want people honestly [to] believe you were in a genuinely difficult position,” Senator Joyce said.

“If it was from a party that never effected stunts, you’d say ‘well, maybe it was a one-off’, but this is a party that is known for its stunts.”

He says Senator Hanson-Young should remember how important a senator’s job is.

“There are 21 million people who rely on the way that Senate votes, you’ve got to take that job seriously,” he said.

“Within that Senate are votes for things that might send people to war, that might get people killed. Do not ever lose sight of how important it is, the job inside the rails of that Senate chamber, and so this requires certain sacrifices.”

Oh, Bananaby, you absolute charmer! Being a woman who has a child is emotionally manipulative, unstable, uncommitted, flaky, stupid, and making a scene! I don’t know Senator Hanson-Young, but unless she’s a poorly programmed automaton, the suggestion that she would cause her baby distress to score a political point is fucking absurd. Maybe she was trying to make the vote on time, since Senators are only given four minutes from when the bell rings to assume their place? Maybe she doesn’t have a specially-built soundproof cage with feeding trough installed in her parliamentary office, in which she can deposit her inconvenient spawn at a moment’s notice during the days she sits?

Maybe Bananaby is a particularly egregious misogynist asscrunch, who’s never been the primary caregiver of a child and enjoys talking out his arsehole in order to score a political point off the back of a distressed baby girl. Maybe he needs to go back to Not Being a Sexist Dickmonger 101, issue a formal apology to Senator Hanson-Young and every working mother in the country, and get a fucking clue before he opens his spewhole.

I’m probably already on the record somewhere as saying that marriage sucks, but I thought I’d have another go at it, given that some hatemongering scumracket judges in California decided that homos aren’t allowed to get married to eachother. As indicated by the first half of that sentence, I too do not think homos should be allowed to get married, although my sentiment is only coherent for a highly specific value of the word ‘marriage’ (and yes, I do happen to love discussing highly specific values of otherwise everyday words). I know saying that you’re against gay marriage, in the leftist world, is commensurate with vomiting into a large tub every day for five years and then flooding a happy rainbow unicorn land with your saved up puke, but give me a minute to make a list of some stuff.

1. Under the current system, all marriage sucks. It’s an inherently exclusionary way of validating one kind of highly specific relationship and awarding it benefits based on outdated criteria. It rests on a set of heteronormative assumptions (possibly the most heteronormative assumptions of all, unless you count the ones in ads for washing detergent), mostly to do with the production of children. Married hetero couples, it is assumed, produce the most and the best of society’s children; therefore, the union itself must confer special, glittery benefits upon its partakers. Of course, those of us with giant communist brains realise that unmarried hetero couples, unmarried homo couples, single men, single women, polyamorous people, and various combinations of the above all take care of children in our diverse modern society. Some would suggest that taking care of children may be the best criterion for assessing whether a person should receive benefits for taking care of children, but shh. Don’t tell Family First.

2. Marriage privileges some kinds of interdependent relationships over others. Namely, ones in which the participants are assumed to be fucking. This is a clever social fiction that I don’t fully understand, and which mirrors another, more deeply rooted (lol sorry) social fiction: if you don’t fuck eachother, it’s not a real relationship. It’s funny and/or absurd to think of two people getting married who don’t fuck eachother, isn’t it? To think of two people living together, declaring next of kinship, having children, and demanding social recognition of their interdependence, without fucking eachother? I find this attitude totally bizarre. What if two siblings, or three or four siblings, want to raise children together, or just live together? A group of female friends? A couple and their friend? A polyamorous relationship with three people, one of the partner’s parents, and a cousin from interstate?

All of these are de facto possibilities, and, I think, possibly better possibilities. Who knows how many people would be happier in some kind of alternate arrangement that didn’t involve a socially compulsory man-fucking-a-woman, or, in places with gay marriage, person-fucking-ONE-other-person. Hey, kids, guess what? It’s okay to  have kids with whomever you want. It’s okay to not fuck that person, it’s okay to not fuck anyone, and it’s okay to live by yourself, hate kids, and use your fertile years to build giant sculptures of zombie pirates out of Lego. 3… 2… 1… go.

3. Marriage at the moment is a weird, squishy consolidation of church stuff and state stuff. Instead of bitching about that, check this out: France has a pretty good solution, even if it’s in its infancy and has a while to go before you can let it out of the house on its own. The idea is that “marriage” is definitely a religious thing, and specific religions can impose whatever wacky norms they want on it. Civil unions, on the other hand, are definitely a State thing, and imply, socially speaking, nothing about whomever is seeking to be a party to one. You can have one, both, or neither, depending on what you had for breakfast this morning.

Obviously, the glaring omission in the French version is that only two people can enter into it at a time, and it suffers from conflating adult interdependency with caring for children. I think the solution is that someone smarter and more hard-working than me has to invent either a new kind of union, or a modified Civil Union, that specifically refers to the responsibility of spooning mashed veggies into a snotty infant after 1.5 hours of poor quality sleep.

4. The gay marriage movement ignores many of its own. It ignores many of the reasons gay people might want to get married. ‘Gay people can’t marry eachother for immigration status!’ Well, maybe you should think about reforming your shitty immigration system. ‘Gay people can’t access their partner’s health insurance!’ Stop me, but maybe you should reform your shitty health insurance system. etc. It ignores polyamorous people, and in fact seems to spend a lot of its time refuting the conservatives who say that it might lead to poly marriage. This is pretty stupid, because they’re right: consenting adults, blah blah blah. It ignores the rights of trans people, who might have a lot more complicated and traumatic legal bullshit than cis gay people if they want to get married. In short, it’s pretty fucking bourgeois.

So that’s why Eleanor Carnivore is against gay marriage. There’s another post in here somewhere about whether or not gay marriage can be seen as a kind of baby step on the way up to something that actually resembles equality, but I’ve got dinner to eat and an assignment that was due yesterday to write. Also: I’m officially asking for submissions for another Ask Aunt Carnivore, which appears to have been my most popular post. So, are you bored? Gassy? Lonely? Angry? Email me at shesacarnivore@gmail.com ! I want to turn your problems into a mildly amusing and ideologically motivated blog post help!

How did I miss this? I blame you, my usually-diligent army of feminist informants! This is an essential document giving legitimacy to the fundamental rights of non gender conforming persons, a sorely lacking element of our supposedly liberal and accepting democracy! I realise that, like most sensible, inclusive, and just recommendations made by the Human Rights Commission it will probably languish in the margins of the government’s attention, but the fact that there is even a report about the blatant ridiculousness of official sex/gender recognition is really important. Every single time I go to tick the ‘female’ box it reminds me forcefully of the massive privilege I have as being someone whose sex and gender are a) congruent, and b) culturally acceptable and recognised.

Some of the recommendations of the report are relevant to areas of Australian law I didn’t even know existed, but which probably impact trans and genderqueer people every day of their lives.  I feel ignorant for not knowing, for example, that someone’s marital status could impact their eligibility for a legal sex change:

Recommendation 1: Marital status should not be a relevant consideration as to whether or not a person can request a change in legal sex.

Of course now that I read this, it’s obvious that the government would want to pour petrol over and set fire to any suggestion that two people of legally the same sex should be allowed to exist as married. I assumed that, if a person legally changed their documented sex, they wouldn’t be eligible to get married to someone of the same sex; but it never occurred to me that someone’s sex might be contingent on their being married already.  The level of fuckedness in that notion is just astronomical. ‘You’re married, therefore WE GET TO DECIDE WHAT SEX YOU ARE HAHAHAHAAAAA’ what the fuck? If I’m married, do you also get to decide my religion, or decide whether or not I identify as someone who’s likely to set you on fire with my mind? That is cisgender privilege on ‘roids.

Then there are the more obvious recommendations, the ones that address grindingly obvious bits of legal discrimination:

Recommendation 2: The definition of sex affirmation treatment should be broadened so that surgery is not the only criteria for a change in legal sex.

[…]

Recommendation 7: Documents of identity and processes required for the legal recognition of sex should not reveal personal information about a person’s past identity in relation to sex.

[…]

Recommendation 9: Where possible, sex or gender should be removed from government forms and documents.

NO REALLY?! People who are men or women shouldn’t have to undergo invasive surgery in order to be legally recognised as their correct or chosen sex or gender?! ‘WELL, you can be a woman IF YOU MUST, but only if you modify your genitals so that they look like something our tiny brains can easily identify as female.’ Sex reassignment surgery should be as easily available as possible for people who need or want it, but damn. You now have to be unmarried and surgically altered to change your sex. (And privileged in a million other ways that this report doesn’t mention.)

#7 is a really important one, I think. It definitely strikes to the heart of this weird cis-predominant notion that trans people have to tell everyone they’ve ever met that they’re trans, otherwise they’re ‘lying’  or ‘tricking people’ into thinking that they’re cis. This notion is really, really fucking dangerous, and is the bedrock of the ‘trans panic’ defence which is often used by violent transphobes in court after they’ve murdered a human being. It’s bizarre enough that the dominant culture forces trans people to disclose their personal medical histories in order to parse them on a gendered level, but that the ‘failure’ of trans people to do this often results in violence is hideous. Get this: it’s not a trans person’s job to tell you shit. You assuming anything concering their trans status is your own weird problem, and refusing to list a trans person’s sex as the only sex on their personal documents is a clear indication of the illegitimacy that trans identities have in our society. That somehow the identity that cis society gave them without their permission is any of anyone’s business. Because trans identities need to be interrogated, like this: ‘LIKE I KNOW YOU SAID YOU’RE A MAN, BUT, LIKE … WHAT ARE YOU REALLY?!?! LOLOLOL@@!’ (read: ‘my identity as a cis person is realler than your identity.’)

#9 is relevant to trans people and genderqueer people in really important ways, like passports; if some ignorant customs official thinks your gender presentation isn’t quite up to scratch, it can seriously impede your ability to travel. Same for drivers’ licenses. And considering the extreme level of harrassment that trans people are subject to by various government agencies, having anyone doubt the veracity of your official documents can be a one-way ticket to Police Brutalitiesville.  I think it’s also relevant to the change of gender norms in society generally, as well; it signals that your gender is not necessarily the cornerstone of your identity. I wouldn’t be unhappy about my electricity company no longer knowing my gender identity, certainly.

In summary, this is definitely a positive step initiated by the HRC, and I would be interested in reading the submissions they received from individuals and trans organisations in formulating their recommendations. It looks pretty good to me, but you never know how much important shit they got told by people that might’ve been ignored or left out.

This will be, I think, the feminist issue of our time: gendered bread.

GENDERED. BREAD.

Women come in all shapes and sizes but one thing they all have in common is the way their bodies work.

[…]

A healthy eating plan is also necessary for women to maintain a healthy weight and to help take care of their hearts, bones, breasts and digestive systems. The optimal diet for women is one which is rich in wholegrains, legumes, fish, low fat dairy and fruits and vegetables.

So if you  are part of this mythical race of women, whose bodies are all EXACTLY THE SAME, this bread is specifically designed for your borgified, mass-produced meat bags. Especially your breasts. This bread will take excellent care of your breasts, and help you to stay exactly as skinny as your production blueprint specified during fembot manufacture. It may or may not give your rich prospective husband a blowjob in lingerie.

However, if you happen to be a normal woman, whose body is completely different from all other women’s bodies and may or may not have breasts, this bread is probably just going to taste ok with Vegemite.

 

These days, men want to take more responsibility for their nutrition and health.

Fundamentally, men need to know that their body is much like a motorcar. Their body has the potential to be like a Formula 1 racing car, or a burnt out wreck depending on how it is managed and treated.

[…]

The foods that provide substances with care and maintenance functions for the human body are vegetables, fruits and legumes such as soy, and it is important to eat broadly from these foods daily.

While your woman is counting her vertebra and sexually servicing you with her new breadfound energy, you can fill up on manly carbs while you drive around the kitchen in your imaginary car: steering with your pecs, changing gear with your penis, and going ‘BROOOOOM!!! BROOM BROOOOOOM!!!’.

So obviously the benefits of this nutritionally advanced mixture of flour and water are manifold, but here’s a few they didn’t bother listing on the label:

  • Manufactures artificial physiological distinctions between men and women based on gender stereotyopes!
  • Presents men as more deserving of robust nutrients and women as in need of being slimmed and beautified!
  • Assesses men’s bodies as successful based on performance, and women’s based on appearance!
  • Erases differences between the bodies of individuals of the same gender!
  • Makes differences between products seem stark and healthful, when in fact both are virtually identical wholegrain loaves of fucking bread!

It just makes me wonder about the potential of this ‘different foods based on ridiculous stereotypes’ for making money. Queer bread, containing nine essential nutrients for the maintenance of a deviant and confused identity? Hetero bread, specially formulated to help you keep up the strenuous daily task of exercising straight privilege?! THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS.

Please suggest more stereotype breads. I will be sure to deny you loaf royalties when I sell the idea and make ill-gotten millions.

You know all those comforting fantasies we all have about the 1950s? When men smoked pipes, chuckled heartily, and drank Scotch in their slippers? When women used upright Hoovers, baked cakes, and turned to Valium to numb the existential pain of enforced domestic servitude? When disobedient children could be disciplined in the proper, loving, Christian manner of being hit by someone bigger and more powerful than them? Well, fantasise no more, because Christian schools in Queensland have looked deep inside their shrivelled, reptilian hearts, and decided to continue the tradition of teachers giving students a good, hard whack-around when they’re being unruly.

Bundaberg Christian College principal Mark Bensley said corporal punishment had become a drawcard for some parents because of a “lack of boundaries” at other schools.

“A growing number of parents come to our school and say the school got their attention because it uses the paddle,” Mr Bensley said.

[…]

“It is always administered in a loving way. In fact, we pray with them afterwards.”

Whoa, whoa, people. Premeditated violence perpetrated against somene less powerful than you is an expression of love? What is this, 1984? If you say it often enough, do you start believing it’s true? And then the poor kid has to kneel down in front of God and pray with the person who just whacked them!  The Creeposaurus Rex factor here is off the charts! Institutionalised coercive violence alert! Abort! Get Jesus and the rest of the dino-riders in, quick!

So this is in Independent schools, right. Corporal punishment in State schools in QLD was “banned” in 1995, if by “banned” you mean “incurred the mild, tut-tutting, non-binding disapproval of some lazy politicians”.

In Queensland corporal punishment was banned in schools by a cabinet decision of 1995, but this is still not legally binding, and the paradoxical situation has arisen, where, in spite of the school ban, teachers can:

“…continue to have defence to a criminal charge of assault if their conduct is determined to be reasonable under the circumstances.” (Personal communication R. Welford, Attorney General, Queensland, Feb 21, 2002).

So not only did the Queensland Cabinet in 1995  fail to care a ha’-penny about pupils in Independent schools, they also didn’t think it was necessary for abusive tachers to suffer any kind of, you know, punishment. Which is highly amusing to your narrator this morning! Teachers who disobey the Cabinet’s bannination of violence potentially suffer no actual consequences, but if your kid is being too unruly during playlunch, you’d better belive that’s a paddlin’.

This seems to be something relatively peculiar to Queensland, if this article is anything to go by. It details the various ways in which government schools in the sunshine state are “cracking down” on students doing heinous, disruptive things like not wearing scrunchies:

“I tell them their hair can be any colour that is found in a human being. The girls have to have their hair tied back in a ribbon or scrunchies. The boys have to have their hair cut above their collar.”

I remember back when I was a young’un at school, a whopping 18 months ago, the massive learning difficulties I suffered because my school didn’t enforce gender normative hairdos. Undoubtedly I would’ve been at an advantage if all the girls had worn beehives, and a military barber was contracted to shear the boys’ ears off. Just think, the principal whipping out a metre ruler, using it to make sure all the beehives were at least 10cm off the scalp, and then giving you a right smack round the calves if they weren’t. Now that’s the kind of wholesome, egalitarian learning experience that schools are trying to cultivate in Queensland.

Hey guess what!

Apparently violent attacks by white racists on people who look as if they might be Indian have been on the rise in Melbourne, and the Victorian police have put their thinking caps on, chewed the ends of their pencils, and come up with a brilliant and effective solution that treats the root cause of this repugnancy! This builds on their generally phenomenal policing techniques and all-around commitment to justice and proportional response, demonstrated in a laudable fashion by the time last year when they did not even for a second think of  shooting dead a child.

So back to how they’re comprehensively tackling racist violence to keep the community safe! Here it is: if you’re a person of colour in Melbourne, you need to stuff your laptop up your shirt and keep it down in the presence of normal, quiet white people. IT’S THAT SIMPLE! Sushi Das elaborates:

As long as I keep barking at top volume, deafening everyone around me, I put myself at great risk of attack. I’ve pressed this upon fellow Indians, but few agree with me. In fact, since Inspector Mahony made his comments, they’ve been hopping mad. I know because I interviewed a few of them last week.

“Isn’t it funny?” shouted one chap down the phone. “A First World country is telling Third World students: please don’t show your laptops and iPods because these things are objects of desire in this country!

[…]

I know I should be more like the locals, whose dulcet tones are world renowned. The Australian way of speaking is so much gentler, more sophisticated, reserved even.

As a white person who has NEVER, EVER been loud, uncouth or annoying on public transport, I completely sympathise with my fellow white people who just want a quiet train trip. Last time I wanted to make my commute more serene, relaxing, and European, I beat the shit out of an Indian person and stole their iPod. Worked a fucking charm.