Today in Ableism

Kate Moss says she can’t pose for photographs because she has “facial Tourette’s

Ok, sister.

Three legally blind women refused service in a Moonee Ponds restaurant because they had their guide dogs with them. From The Age:

La Four Seasons manager Mason Hawkins agreed the women were told they could not bring the guide dogs into the restaurant, but said the women were offered a table outside.

“They were really rude and refused to compromise with us,” Ms Hawkins said.

“It was nice weather, I couldn’t see what the problem was,” she said.

I would argue that the problem isn’t the nice weather, but the fact that you run a public establishment and don’t know anti-discrimination laws.


Julia Gillard vs Tony Abbott in Celebrity Deathmatch.

Would anybody like to see a video of the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, giving Tony Abbott a serve about his disgraceful misogyny in Parliament today?

Oh you do? That’s what I thought.

You’re welcome.

Transcript behind the fold.

Continue reading

Let Me Tell You About All The Things I Do To Stay Safe (or, Jill Meagher is not a cautionary tale)

My local pub – my favourite place to drink – is really close to my house. It’s so close that, on a clear day, you can see it from my end of the street. Getting from there to here requires crossing a main road, and then walking along streets lined with residential homes on both sides. It’s quiet, and it’s familiar and I walk from here to there and back again ALL the time.

Last weekend, whilst making a trip only barely longer than mine – also from her local bar to her home – 29 year old Brunswick woman Jill Meagher was kidnapped, raped and killed. Early this morning, her remains were discovered in Gisborne, 45 kilometers from where she was last seen on Sydney Rd. The internet exploded today with condolences to her husband, family and friends, and as well as with the usual warnings from armchair concen trolls to young women to “be careful, and take precautions”.

Commenter GIW at 3AW says:

There have been so many incidents of rape, assaults, harrassment and murder but still women don’t get it. You do not venture out on your own in the wee hours of the morning especially after you have been drinking, why is it so hard for that message to sink in.

And there are many other sentiments the same. Be careful girls, don’t walk alone at night, don’t get too drunk, don’t wear high heeled shoes. BE CAREFUL!!!11!!!!1ELEVENTY!

Let me tell you about all the things I do to stay safe, every time I leave my house alone at night. EVERY TIME.

  • I carry my keys in my hand after I have gotten off the tram, because they are sharp, and because it gets me into the house quicker.
  • If I know my partner will be awake, I text him when I have gotten off the tram and he meets me at the front door so I don’t have to unlock it.
  • I cross to the other side of the road if I pass someone who makes me feel uncomfortable.
  • I check my reflection in shop windows to figure out if the man who is walking behind me is getting closer on purpose or if he just happens to be travelling in the same direction as me.
  • I promise my friends (and make them promise me) to text as soon as I get home, so they will know I made it safely.
  • If it’s not too late, sometimes I telephone someone so I am talking to someone as I am walking alone.
  • I routinely text my partner as I am on my way home, letting him know where I am at the various stages of my trip, so he’ll have evidence of where I was if he ever needs it.
  • I avoid making eye-contact with passers-by.
  • If there is a group of men on the street, I will hurry by as inconspicuously as I can.
  • If I am going somewhere on my own, I almost always wear flat shoes, in case I need to make a run for it.
  • I wear sunglasses and headphones on public transport so that people will feel less inclined to strike up a conversation with me.
  • As soon as I get off the tram, however, I remove both sunglasses AND headphones so I can see and hear what is going on around me.
  • If I can see my shadow from street lights, I keep an eye on it to make sure there’s not another person’s shadow too close to me.
  • If I am carrying an umbrella I take it out of my bag and carry it in my hand, so that if I need to use it to hit someone, I can.
  • I walk on the inside of the footpath, nearest the buildings, so that it would be harder for someone to pull me into a car, and so that I don’t have to squeeze through groups of people coming in the opposite direction.
  • Once, I was on a tram home quite late, and a man struck up a conversation with me. He made me feel SO uncomfortable that I got off the tram at a different stop than usual simply so he would not know which tram stop was mine.

I am sure there are a million other things I do that I haven’t listed here, simply because I don’t even notice that I do them. And furthermore, I would wager that many, many other women do these things, or similar things, to feel safer when they go out on their own. All that’s left to do from here is either never leave our houses again unless in the company of a manfriend, or start squarely blaming the perpetrators of these crimes against women instead of pointing the finger at the victims in an attempt to mitigate blame.

I refuse to become a shut-in. I refuse to let fear scare me into not living my life on my terms. I refuse to be blamed for the crimes committed against me and my sisters. What happened to Jill was an awful, terrible, violent crime, but urging young women to “protect themselves” absolves bad men of the blame for the crimes they commit.

Clementine Ford said today on Facebook:

Seriously. Those concern trolls publishing statuses today and tweets reminding women not to be naive about their safety need to be shamed in the public square. Jill Meagher was not raped, murdered and casually discarded because she was silly enough to believe that the street at night didn’t pose some risk for her. Those things happened to her because someone chose to do them – because some people still deeply hate women and believe they are entitled to desecrate another human being for their own satisfaction. We do not solve that problem by ‘reminding’ women that the rules are different for them and urging them not to be so cavalier about their precious, vulnerable selves. We begin to solve it by placing the blame where it is due – on the shoulders of those who think its their right to do these things to another human being. If it’s too unpleasant for people to dwell on that, the urges and actions of people who despise women so much they could do this to them, then they should shut the fuck up and leave the grown ups to talk about it.

FFS. Don’t insult her memory, or that of other women who’ve endured sexual violence, by making the take-home lesson that women need to be more careful. You know what would really help women? Living in a world where their fucking rapes and murders weren’t turned into cautionary tales.

RIP Jill. I will remember you.

She is exactly right. What happened to Jill Meagher is not, and should not be a cautionary tale. It is a tragic, violent crime, perpetrated by a bad man. That man is to blame. Not Jill, not the drinks she had on Friday night, not her high heeled shoes, or the time of night that she decided to walk home.

I wish to extend my love and best wishes to Jill’s husband Tom, and her family and friends both here and abroad. The coming days and weeks will be very trying for them and I hope they will be able to draw strength from one another and from all the good people of Melbourne who banded together this week to help the Victoria Police and the SES find out what happened to Jill.

May eternal light shine upon them all.

Geraldine Hoff Doyle

<br />
Geraldine Hoff Doyle, was a 17 years (in 1942) while she was working at the American Broach &amp; Machine Co. when a photographer snapped a pic of her on the job.<br />
That image used by J. Howard Miller for the “We Can Do It!” poster, released during World War II. </p>
<p>Mrs Doyle died on December 26, 2010, aged 86. She will be an icon forever.

Geraldine Hoff Doyle, was a 17 years (in 1942) while she was working at the American Broach & Machine Co. when a photographer snapped a pic of her on the job.

That image used by J. Howard Miller for the “We Can Do It!” poster, released during World War II.

Mrs Doyle died on December 26, 2010, aged 86. She will be an icon forever.

(Source: stangefruitandwildthing)

Further to my Leisel Jones post earlier…

In response to some tweets I have been getting (from someone who can’t read sarcasm), I would like to point out that I don’t actually think that Leisel Jones is fat.
I think she looks lovely. I was using sarcasm to reflect the hatefulness of the Fairfax article back onto itself.

Are we clear?

Leisel Jones Is Fat

Leisel Jones in in London for her 4th Olympic Games, the first Australian swimmer to achieve such a feat. She has won eight medals on the Olympic stage since her first Games at the age of 14, in Sydney. She has set world records in the 100 and 200m breaststroke on numerous occasions, in some cases breaking the record that she herself had set. She is, by all measures, one of Australia’s finest athletes.

And she’s fat.

Oh god, stop the presses. A 26 year old woman has hips and a belly.

A grubby piece of reporting at the above link, complete with a gallery of photographs of Liesel bending over, sitting cross-legged on the floor, standing next to Kenrick Monk and Stephanie Rice, and doing her stretches. Thrown in for good measure are some photographs of her modelling a completely different swimsuit in 2008, which we can look at and compare the slim, svelte Liesel of then, to the huge heifer of today. If you wish, you may also compare Leisel to Kenrick Monk and Stephanie Rice, because don’t you know all swimmers are meant to have THE SAME BODY?? Oh you didn’t? Maybe you haven’t been reading Fairfax news today.

A great big steaming FUCK YOU to the mainstream media.

Leisel Jones is an athlete, and a damn good one at that. She’s also a 26 year old woman, and has, from what I can tell, a perfectly normal body for a 26 year old female athlete. She’s not the tiny little 14 year old that she was 12 years ago in Sydney, and nobody should expect her to be. This sort of grubby reporting is what’s responsible for the self esteem and body image issues that young women have. Are you TRYING to incite eating disorders, Fairfax?

“Some feel that Jones is not in the best shape and is treating London as a farewell tour, not taking it as seriously as she had the previous three Games, where she won a total of eight medals.”

“Some feel?” Who are these “some”? Or are you just making things up as you go along, Fairfax? It’s not enough to take a low swipe at a successful athlete, you have to muddy it even further with ugly speculation and hearsay?

Her coach says:

‘She’s a different sort of athlete. She’s not a 14 or 15-year-old girl who is doing 10 really hard sessions a week. She’s probably at the end of her swimming career. She’s been doing nine sessions a week, and two gym sessions a week coming into this, and we were really happy with her from coming off Santa Clara [in California, where she swam faster than she did at Olympic trials].”

The lady GOT INTO THE OLYMPICS. They don’t just let you in because you’ve been to lots of other Olympics. You have to qualify, which means you have to meet a certain benchmark. If Leisel’s body shape truly impacted on her ability to swim, she’d not be at her fourth Olympic Games.

Leisel says:

“The fourth Olympics was more important to me than medal tallies…The fourth Olympics was the one that was unique and was mine and that was more important to me, because that showed longevity, and longevity and integrity are probably two things that are more important to me…I’m just proud I’m here because this has been probably the toughest journey, the last four years.”

Integrity. Something that Leisel Jones has in spades and that the mainstream media seems to be SORELY lacking these days.

What I Missed – 24th June to 8th July

Sex therapist and clinical psychologist Bettina Arndt takes us back to the 1940’s as she suggests that women in defacto relationships are wasting precious breeding time, and that Julia Gillard, our nation’s most senior unmarried, childless woman may inspire other young women to live in defacto relationships and miss out on having children. Despite, of course, the fact that Ms Gillard does not currently live with her partner.

There is not much more that I can say about the article that the internet hasn’t already said, so I will leave it to Catherine Deveny to reply to Arndt’s frankly puritanical article here. Twitter hashtag #wastingpreciousbreedingtime has proven a tongue in cheek response to the article.

Facebook have clamped down on nudity, removing pictures of a naked porcelain doll from the fan page of Sydney-based jewellery designer Victoria Buckley. When Buckley set up a protest group against this decision, also on Facebook, it was shut down too.

New South Wales Greens have called for the decriminalistion of abortion in that state as a national poll of some 800 Australians over 18 confirms that 61% of respondents believe abortion should be lawful without question in the first trimester, and that 26% believed it should be lawful with good reason.

New PM Julia Gillard stands behind Labour’s Internet filter, saying that the proposed filter is an effort to control the “dark side” of telecommunications technology. Quick, somebody register!

Oh, and we are currently up to Day 79 of the Gulf Of Mexico oil crisis, with still no end in sight.