#womenwrites: women’s unpaid labour, Femicide, decolonising education & Leila Abouela

Making women’s unpaid work count, by Anne Manne

” … Citing the 2016 census figures, Plibersek said the average woman did 14 hours of housework and family organisation per week and the average man fewer than five, while women did three quarters of the child care, and 70 per cent of caring for elderly or disabled family members or friends. “The Australian economy, Australian society, rests upon women’s unpaid work,” said Plibersek. “As Marilyn Waring – the founder of feminist economics – once said, ‘What we don’t count, counts for nothing.’” …

THE MUSEUM, by Martha Blow

It was in my fourth year of university that I came across Leila Aboulela, shelved under ‘suggested further reading’ for a seminar on a Postcolonialism course. Indeed, before taking this course, my exposure to non-western writers within required reading was limited to the obligatory inclusion of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart in my second year. Although Aboulela’s novel The Translator occasionally crops up on postcolonial syllabi, it is her unflinching approach to colonialism in ‘The Museum’ that captured my attention and caused me to question museum ethics and neutrality. The 1997 short story’s value has not gone unrecognised elsewhere: it was the first winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2000. The 19-page tale paints the story of Shadia, a Sudanese woman studying at Aberdeen, and her acquaintance with a fellow student – a long-haired Scot named Bryan. The predominant theme of the story is the struggle of communication between colonialism’s ‘predetermined groups’, and while Bryan and Shadia begin to bridge the gap in communication, this is halted when they visit a local museum at the story’s denouement, culminating with Shadia’s announcement, ‘I shouldn’t be here with you. You shouldn’t talk to me…’ (Aboulela 18). …

Six women killed in five days, you need to engage with this crisis, by Jane Gilmour  via @smh

As I write this, six women have been killed in the last five days. By the time you read it, there could well be more dead women making a small blip in the news cycle, but a blip is all they’ll get. No outpouring of national grief and rage. Just a blip. Compassion fatigue, it’s called, apparently.

Our compassion is fatigued by the daily drain of women being beaten, raped, assaulted, ignored, dismissed, blamed, ridiculed, murdered. How exhausted we all are by the violence women live and die with. …

Questions academics can ask to decolonise their classrooms, by  Shannon Morreira & Kathy Luckett

The curriculum is not just the “stuff” that students must learn to be knowledgeable and skilled in a particular discipline. It’s about more than just content.

Sociologists of education argue that “curriculum” is a highly ideological hybrid discourse. This means that it includes implicit ways of knowing, ways of doing and ways of being – as well as content.

In South African universities, curriculum issues came to the fore during a series of nationwide student protests between 2015 and 2017. Students have argued that what’s being taught in university courses is imported from the global North and doesn’t draw enough on African-based research and the work of academics from the global South. Students have also argued that course materials don’t take the backgrounds of most South African learners into account in terms of culture, language or method. …

#womenwrites: on misogyny, hate crimes, emotions and transphobia

When Bindels speak* by Kathleen Stock 

… Somehow, though, in recent years, a respectful concern for the well-being of trans people has supposedly morphed into a literal claim about category membership: trans women really are women. That is: trans women belong unambiguously in the category of women; the concept of woman literally applies to them. For most trans activists, this is supposed to be true whether the trans woman is a post-operative transsexual, or a trans woman on hormones, or whether she belongs to the significant proportion of trans women who are neither. She ‘is’ a woman, whether she transitioned in her teens, or in middle-age; whether thirty years ago, or yesterday. Moreover, for many trans activists, not only are trans women literally women, but if they have children, they can be mothers. If they have female partners, they can be lesbians. They can be victims of misogyny. And so on. One by one, the familiar words women have used to describe themselves tumble like a chain of dominoes. …

I am a female writer and I am tired of being asked to talk about my emotions by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich 

… I was seated in front of a microphone, onstage at a large outdoor literary festival in Adelaide, Australia, when my interviewer asked, “But what exactly did your grandfather do?”

I paused. We had already established that I’d written a memoir; that was, after all, why the festival had flown me there. We’d already established that the memoir partially concerned sexual abuse I’d experienced as a child. We’d even already established that my grandfather had been the one to commit it.

The audience sat on folding chairs on the lawn in front of me: a couple of hundred people, their faces expectant. It was a beautiful day, the height of the Australian summer, and birdsong filled the trees. I looked at the interviewer, a balding British man with a proper manner. Such a gorgeous afternoon, such a nice trip, so far. He hadn’t really asked that, had he? He couldn’t have. Or perhaps, in that last naïve moment, I was hoping he’d be the one to realise what he was asking – take it back, undo it. …

‘TERF’ isn’t just a slur, it’s hate speech, by Meghan Murphy  via @FeministCurrent (pub. 2017)

Last week, a 60-year-old woman was beaten up at Speaker’s Corner by several men. She was there with a group of women, who had chosen the historic corner of Hyde Park as a meeting place, before heading off to a talk called, “What is Gender.” The men who punched and kicked Maria MacLachlan had come to protest the women on account of their interest in feminism and in discussing the way new conversations and legislation around “gender identity” could impact the women’s movement and women’s rights. The protestors did not frame their anger and inflammatory rhetoric in this way, though. Instead, they labelled the women “TERFs” (trans exclusionary radical feminists) — a word that has come to signify a modern witch: to be silenced, threatened, harassed, punched, and — yes — killed.

The idea that feminists who question the notion of “gender identity” should be beaten and murdered has very rapidly become accepted by self-described leftists. We’re not just talking about Twitter eggs, here. Men with large platforms who are publicly associated with Antifa and groups like the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) have amplified the “punch TERFs” and “TERFs get the guillotine” message proudly, with the support of their comrades. In reference to The Handmaid’s Tale, many have taken to saying “TERFs get the wall.” …

Misogyny is a gateway belief, justifying abuse, by Heather Brooke  (behind a paywall)

The police have a problem with women. They resisted investigating gangs who sexually exploited girls. They failed to take seriously victims who reported the black cab rapist John Worboys. This dismissal gave criminals impunity to commit more crimes. “It is the whole system that has failed,” a victim of Worboys said after she’d had to bring a high court case to challenge his release. …

My body, my rules. My life, not yours’, by Tamsin Selbie 

Eliza Coulson, who is 20 years old, turned her personal experience into award-winning art after she was sexually harassed by a man she had just met.

“He made me feel as if it was normal, although I knew I felt uncomfortable,” she says. “I was scared.”

The events contributed to the creation of a project on “self-love, self-worth, and self-empowerment”.

“I used my art as a means to process what I’d had been through,” she says. Now, she uses her art as a means to empower others.

A year later, she was named Young Photographer of the Year at the Scottish Portrait Awards 2018. Eliza has told the BBC Scotland news website how art helped her channel positivity into her life and the lives of others.