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Gender: Female
Hometown: Canberra
Home country: Australia
Current location: 149°7'51"E, 35°16'42"S
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 35,686

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Breaking feminism's waves

I hope this hasn't been posted before, but this is an old article I found when I was doing some googling today and reading up on the wave thing, which I now believe even more than ever is a pretty divisive construct. I liked this article. It made heaps of sense to me at least...

The women's movement isn't about angry prudes versus drunken sluts. The generational struggle is over power, not sex

Can we please stop talking about feminism as if it is mothers and daughters fighting about clothes?

Second wave: "You're going out in that?"
Third wave: "Just drink your herbal tea and leave me alone!"

Media commentators love to reduce everything about women to catfights about sex, so it's not surprising that this belittling and historically inaccurate way of looking at the women's movement – angry prudes versus drunken sluts – has recently taken on new life, including among feminists.


The wave structure, I'm trying to say, looks historical, but actually it is used to misrepresent history by evoking ancient tropes about repressive mothers and rebellious daughters. Second wave: anti-porn. Third wave: anything goes!

But second wave was never all anti-porn – think of Ellen Willis, for heaven's sake. It even gave us the propaganda term "pro-sex". The ACLU is jampacked with feminist lawyers of a certain age. In fact, feminists in the 70s and 80s had the same conflicts over pornography that are playing out today among young women over raunch and sex work.

You wouldn't know it from the media, but there are plenty of young feminists who do not see pole-dancing as "empowering" and do not aspire to star in a Girls Gone Wild video. Ariel Levy's Female Chauvinist Pigs sold very well on campus. These women don't fit the wave story line, however, so nobody interviews them. The pairing up on sex issues is old/young, with the older feminist representing sour puritanical judgement.

And that's really strange. After all, today's "asexual, hirsute" 60-year-olds were the original sex-drugs-and-rock-'n'-rollers. In some ways, they were more sexually radical than today's youth, because they made a bigger break with conventional ideas of sexiness. Many a grey-haired women's studies professor was a braless free spirit back in the day. In fact, some of them still are. Nobody wants to hear, though, from middle-aged women with relaxed and generous views about sex, let alone who are still having it. Relaxed and generous do not a catfight make.

There is a generational struggle going on, but it isn't over sex. It's over power. For 20 years, young feminists have complained that older women have kept a lock on organisational feminism. Robin Morgan famously told young women who protested that her generation wasn't passing the torch to "get your own damned torch. I'm still using mine." So, tired of being assistants and tokens, they did. Branding themselves as a wave was part of it. By staking their claim on youth, they branded older feminists as, well, old. And old, in America, is not a good thing to be.


Posted by Violet_Crumble | Tue May 29, 2012, 07:16 AM (18 replies)

Rock’s ‘secret feminism’

I found this earlier this evening when I was googling for guitar tabs. It's written by someone called LonerGrrrl and I thought it was pretty good, seeing it involved my favourite band of all time and feminism. I'd always been aware that they'd done Rock For Choice and Eddie wrote an article about reproductive choice, which I'll post if I can dig it up, but I'd never listened to a song like 'Why Go' and picked up that it was in any way pro-feminist, but I blame that on all the mumbling with the lyrics. The video linked to in the blog is a crap version of 'Daughter' so click on the one in this post to get a really awesome version of 'Why Go'

I really liked this article by Amanda Marcotte, Nirvana’s Secret Feminism. Not only because it focuses on Nirvana’s, and more specifically, Cobain’s, pro-feminist ethos (something too often overlooked in those umpteen ‘the REAL story of Nirvana!’ features malestream rock journalists like to trot out over and over again); but also because she highlights the profound impact a male rock band can have on the lives of their female fans and the pleasure and validation we can get from listening to their music (something too often overlooked in those umpteen ‘Riot Grrrl RULES! Dude music does nothing for us grrrls!’ features feminists like to trot out over and over again).

But why only focus on Nirvana? Pearl Jam also, “broke with the sexist norms of the era, choosing instead a pro-feminist public stance and song lyrics”. (And like Nirvana have also reached a 20-year anniversary- though not just that marking the release of their seminal album, but the successful 20-year career that followed too. Don’t burn out before your time. Steel yourself & bust through the bad. Know the joy of survival, of being Alive.)

Songs such as Why Go, Daughter and Betterman are as feminist as anything Bikini Kill ever put to tape. Eddie Vedder has made pro-choice and anti-rape statements on stage. He scrawled Pro-Choice on his arm during the band’s MTV Unplugged performance in 1992. They’ve Rocked for Choice. They’ve hung out with Gloria Steinem. Toured with and heart Sleater-Kinney (I’d never heard of Sleater-Kinney until I got into PJ. Now I heart them too). And you can find ripostes to this generally fucked-up capitalist war-mongering patriarchal world in which we live in a fair few of the band’s song lyrics and from other stuff they’ve said over the years.

In fact, that whole ‘grunge’/early ‘90s ‘alt rock’/whatever-you- want-to-call-it ‘scene’ was largely pro-feminist. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden too, all consciously set out to do rock ‘n’ roll in a different way to the hair metal bands that dominated rock before them. Out went the shit lite riffs and unoriginal lyrics, and in came guitars that soared and sludged and rattled raw and heavy in a myriad interesting and beautiful ways; songs that struck the whole heart/mind/soul. Here was a bunch of male rock musicians who were openly sensitive and intelligent, who weren’t afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves. Yet Cobain/Vedder/Cornell were also still quite masculine. But it’s this “man-womanly/woman-manly” (to quote Virginia Woolf) combination, which for me, made ‘grunge’ music, and the men who made it, so different, sexy, inspiring… and feminist.


Posted by Violet_Crumble | Thu May 24, 2012, 07:27 AM (7 replies)

Chilling effect of the Nakba Law on Israel's human rights

By Roni Schocken | May.17, 2012 | 4:25 AM

The court ignored the infringement of free speech stemming from the very existence of the law, as opposed to one stemming from the law's application.

By rejecting the petition calling for the repeal of the Nakba Law in January of this year, the High Court of Justice ignored the violation of human rights inherent in the danger that institutions may now preemptively refuse to fund activities that involve the exercise of free speech, for fear of financial sanctions.

The High Court argued that time was not yet "ripe" for such a request in its ruling against the petition filed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Adalah, the legal center for Arab minority rights. The Nakba Law grants the finance minister the authority to impose harsh fines on government-funded organizations that budget expenses for (among other things ) marking Independence Day as a day of mourning.

"The petitioners request the repeal of sections of the law that have not yet been used by the finance minister, and there is no way of knowing whether, when and under what circumstances he will use the authority granted to him," the decision read.

Since the petition was rejected with the argument that it was premature, the High Court did not hold any sessions on the substantive issues the petition raises, despite the court's noting that they "are likely in certain situations to go to the root of problems dividing Israeli society."

"Nakba" ("catastrophe" in Arabic ), is a term used to describe the suffering of Palestinians, including the 700,000 who lost their homes, in the war that led to the establishment of the State of Israel. The short decision, just 19 pages, not only failed to address arguments that the Nakba Law infringes on the Palestinian Arab minority's right to free speech and equality with regard to its historical memory; it also refrained from dealing with the important argument raised by the petitioners: the chilling effect of the law on carrying out various activities for fear of financial sanctions.


Posted by Violet_Crumble | Fri May 18, 2012, 09:19 PM (0 replies)

Thank you, Russian immigrant to Israel, for Nakba Day (Bradley Burston)

Alex Miller will go down in history as the Israeli politician who tried his damnedest to erase the memory of the Nakba - and, in doing so, made the Nakba an indelible part of our lives.

It is customary for our people to honor fast days, memorial days and festivals by studying commentaries on their origins, the symbols and rituals of their observance, and the ways in which they connect to our own lives.

Therefore, this week, to mark Nakba Day, I've been learning about the events of 1948, and the heritage and the sorrows of Palestinians – thanks in no small part to a Russian Jewish immigrant to Israel, Alex Miller.

If for nothing else, Miller will go down in history as the Israeli who tried his damnedest to erase the memory of the Nakba - and in so doing, more than anyone, made the Nakba an indelible part of our lives.

In 2009, Miller introduced a Knesset bill which would have made taking part in a Nakba Day event punishable by arrest and up to three years in prison. The prison sentence was later struck from the bill in order to pave way for its becoming law in 2011.

But Miller's Nakba Law still casts a shadow over events marking the day. Legal experts have noted that if schools or other state-supported institutions merely read the names of Palestinians killed or forced to leave their homes in 1948, they could be fined at the discretion of the Finance Minister.

Is it relevant that Miller, a resident of the settlement city of Ariel and a senior member of Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party, was born and raised in Leonid Brezhnev's Moscow?


btw, I just noticed you have to pay to subscribe to Ha'aretz to read full articles. Is there some way around it other than googling for the article title and hope it's been posted somewhere else?
Posted by Violet_Crumble | Fri May 18, 2012, 09:03 PM (46 replies)

Hatred of women exists in the West as well as the Arab world

Ruby Hamad
May 3, 2012

'WOMEN have very little idea of how much men hate them,'' wrote Germaine Greer in The Female Eunuch. So outraged were men that wives reportedly took to concealing their copies by wrapping them in plain brown paper.

More than 40 years later, Egyptian-American commentator Mona Eltahawy has caused a storm with her Foreign Policy essay, Why Do They Hate Us? ''They'' being Arab men and ''Us'' Arab women. Forget America's so-called inequality, Eltahawy implores, ''The real war on women is in the Middle East.''


As an Australian woman of Arab Muslim background, I have often been struck not by how different but by how similarly women are treated in the West and in Arab/Islamic cultures. In both societies women's sexuality is treated with suspicion and distrust.

Muslim women are required to dress ''modestly'' to ward off attention from men. With the onus on women to alleviate male desire, victims of sexual assault are likely to find themselves blamed for their attack.

So too in the West. How many rape victims have had their sexual history and choice of clothing called into question? How many times have we wondered if ''she asked for it''?

They may not be required to cover their hair or faces, but Western women are derided for being sexually active in a way men never will be, as Sandra Fluke, the US college student who testified before Congress about the necessity of including birth control in health insurance, can attest. Fluke was called a prostitute and a slut by shock jock Rush Limbaugh.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/hatred-of-women-exists-in-the-west-as-well-as-the-arab-world-20120502-1xz7a.html#ixzz1tnwjzFdJ

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Thu May 3, 2012, 06:20 AM (10 replies)
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