All posts tagged: feminism

What Shame and Guilt Tell Us About Abortion

Have you seen those Emily’s Voice ads about family? The one with the woman who explains how she fell pregnant at 18 and was told her life was ruined? (watch it here) These ads, which have been running for the past few months on Tasmanian television stations, reveal in a frank and joyful voice how things turned out well in this real life teen pregnancy story. “Now, with a uni degree and four beautiful kids, I know I didn’t ruin my life or have to give up my dreams to have them – they became part of the dream. I wanted my baby and I wanted my degree – and I got both.” I’ve seen some strong opposition to the ads on Facebook, including a petition to ban these “vile ads”, and I understand there was a complaint or two lodged with one of the television stations, but I fail to see what is offensive about a woman who chose to keep her pregnancy, a woman whose choice resulted in a beautiful family. Such reaction is …

Are You a Vashti Feminist or an Esther Feminist (or neither)?

Friday is International Women’s Day, an occasion to peer back through history and say, “Gosh, we’ve come a long way!” I guess it’s a day to say thanks fellas, for letting us vote, wear trousers and earn a decent wage. You’re so good to us (sorry, I couldn’t resist). But it’s also worth considering what feminism means, now that we’ve got a woman as PM, not to mention Governor General and our own Premier (tick), women can serve in frontline combat roles (tick), and workplaces are being encouraged to provide flexible work arrangements so that mum can carry on with her career (tick). We’ve got it good in Australia – still lots to be done in places like India, the spate of horrific rape-murder cases being the most chilling kind of reminder. But what is feminism? What’s it mean to you? We’re not likely to agree on this one, probably because women’s liberation in Australia is no longer about tangible imperatives like the right to vote and access to a fair pay. Today it’s about …

I Am Woman (?)

Womanhood to a girl is about as clear as an adolescent’s complexion. From birth, Miss Infant is decked out in pink and purple, sparkles, bows and love-hearts. Tiaras and fairy wings are a fashion accessory like a pair of D&G sunnies and they are encouraged to accept the title of ‘princess’ or ‘fairy’. All the while, Little Miss is watching her mum manage a job, housework, fitness and kids. At school, Miss Teen might learn about the liberation of women, how they fought for the right to vote, fair wages and abolishing discriminatory laws. They might learn about the glass ceiling too and be encouraged to take up any career they like – if it’s a male-dominated sphere, so much the better. Meanwhile, she flicks through magazines showing lean and bronzed female bodies, interviews of the woman clown (she juggles many balls) and headlines about weight, sex, beauty, success and happiness. Miss 20s takes all these conflated ideas of womanhood and translates them into her own self-image. She sees the princess and the fairy, the …