Showing posts from October, 2018

Pop Stars in Politics: The Impact of Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga & Beyoncé Speaking Out

It is no doubt a tumultuous time in our society today with politically contentious discourse emerging about women’s rights from #metoo to Dr Christine Blasey-Ford. Social media has lit up with relevant commentary either deriding or commending this movement to acknowledge and believe women’s accounts. Recently, three of the biggest modern female pop stars – Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé – have lent their powerhouse voices to the debate through varying public statements. Taylor Swift, previously known for being publicly apolitical, made the unexpected move of posting on Instagram outlining the egregious ways that Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn has acted contrary to women’s and LGBT rights and encouraging Americans to register to vote. Taylor described her fans, predominantly young women and teenage girls, as “intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people” capable of becoming agents of change. According to Vanity Fair, 65 000 new US voters registered nationally in the nex

The Problem with “Call-Out” Culture

When working through issues both political and social, it often seems we operate based on the way we wish things were rather than the way the world really is. You see this all across the political spectrum; anti-choice advocates operating off the idea that successfully banning abortion will be the magic wave of a wand that stops all abortions forever, when all available data suggests that, of course, this is not the case. This philosophy is also employed, to no great effect, in the War on Drugs (ban the drugs and no one will ever do them again!), immigration (stop the boats and refugees will stop coming!), and so much more.  Another socio-political technique in which this wishful thinking is evident is in "call-out" culture. For the unfamiliar, on paper, this is what it looks like: a respectful "calling out" of behaviour deemed problematic by peer advocates in order for equally respectful behavioural adjustments to be made and everyone to move forward in har

Book Review: Faking It by Lux Alptraum

Image Source: “… lies are strategic. Whether we are faking our orgasms or inventing boyfriends or concealing our pasts, women lie for specific reasons, ones that are often deeply connected to our very survival” (p. 224) Alptraum’s debut book Faking It is a provocative and progressive analysis of the restrictive stereotypes of female sexuality in our society. She writes in a passionate yet academic tone peppered with personal anecdotes and quotes from women from a variety of backgrounds. The central theme of Faking It revolves around the concept of women habitually lying as a means of protecting ourselves and attempting to embody impossible expectations. Alptraum’s arguments are thoroughly researched from a myriad of sources including historic scientific studies, TED Talks and legal statutes with pop culture references from When Harry Met Sally to South Park . The author demonstrates a breadth of knowledge of contemporary feminist theory with allusions to s

Self Care for Badass Feminists

It's not an easy time to be a feminist - but then, it never is! Whether it's keeping tabs on the debacle that is American politics, reflecting on the sad state of our own government's non-reaction to the national issues of female representation in positions of power and appalling rates of domestic violence, as well as the rising tide of conservatism globally - it can often feel like pushing a boulder uphill without rest or respite. We all know, and believe in, the slogans: never stop fighting! Resist! Nevertheless persist! They are all admirable sentiments and goals we should all aspire to. But they also encourage a persistence that is almost super-human - and it can lead to feelings of guilt and inadequacy when we need a break or, if we don't take one, when we inevitably burn out. This is why it's SO important to prioritise self-care - it's the fuel in your tank that allows you to get up and keep going. If you think of it that way, rather than as an indulgen

The Problematic Nature of Catcalling

Catcalling is a form of street harassment that primarily affects women across all nations. It is any form of verbal harassment to another person in public. Current laws have been changed in France regarding street harassment, with offenders receiving fines on the spot for up to 750 Euros ($1206 AUD). The legislation followed the circulation of a video where, after a street harasser was told to ‘shut up’ after catcalling a woman, he reacted by physically attacking the victim. The flimsy opposition to the amendment is that the ideal of French lovers will be destroyed, an ideal unrelated to the sexual harassment occurring in public. Street harassment is not a new phenomenon, but only recently have legislators have taken action. Other countries like Belgium, Portugal, New Zealand and some states in the US are up to date with street harassment laws. Countries like Argentina who experience high rates of femicide (gendered murder of women), have tried to address severe killing rates