The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Posts Tagged ‘blogs’

Fifteenth Down Under Feminists Carnival

Posted by caitlinate on August 6, 2009


The Fifteenth Down Under Feminists Carnival (July 2009) is now up at Hoyden About Town. I always forget to mention it here but you should all definitely go check it out – and have a look through some of the older Carnivals too!


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Ladies, Do You Want Sam De Brito Instructing Your Potential Paramours?

Posted by Clem Bastow on September 12, 2008

Dawn Chorus pal Elmo emailed me this link with the subject “Is this serious – or has his account been hacked?” – and as soon as I clicked the link, my heart sank and my vagina closed over indefinitely.

In short, evidently I missed the memo that the Fairfax stable was going to turn its second biggest blog into a how-to guide for the sexually challenged, because today’s All Men Are Liars post is… well, here’s some edited highlights:

Say you’re kissing on the couch – don’t immediately dive your hand between her legs and start massaging her breasts like they’re mounds of wholemeal dough. Kiss her gently, softly, use your tongue judiciously, get the rhythm right. Bite her lips tenderly, then break away, give her a smile perhaps, smell her neck, touch her face, then start again.


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Posted in Blog Watch, Relationships, Sex And Love | Tagged: , , , | 11 Comments »

Samantha Brett: Feminism And Other “Deal Breakers”

Posted by Clem Bastow on September 3, 2008

Anyone who’s ever gone on a date, even if they don’t use the phrase, will be familiar with the concept of ‘deal breakers’ – you know, the little “bup bow” details that, superficially or not, turn you off a romantic prospect. For some people these are things like not wanting kids or voting for the Natural Law Party, for me it’s jandals and Oedipal complexes, for others it might be eating with one’s mouth open or a large collection of Ringo Starr solo discs. In other words, it’s just another of the myriad foibles that make us human and that make the mating game such a nightmare joy.

So, with so many possibilities out there for blog fodder, what do you think Samantha Brett (who, incidentally, seemed to have no problem crossing the picket line during the recent Fairfax journalists’ strike by filling in for striking columnists in the SMH) chose to highlight as possible deal breakers in a blog on the topic? Tattoos, nice men (because, you know, we’re all looking for rough, bad boy types), men who take ‘too much’ pride in their appearance (or to use her parlance, “When your boyfriend looks like a Dolly Magazine cover model and has better pecks than you do” – presumably she means “pecs” and not hens), and, naturally, feminism:

One frustrated reader who we’ll call S, reckons because she’s a feminist, she’s simply not datable.

“All my life I’ve been proud to call myself a feminist, even though it has sometimes caused me a few problems,” she writes. “I’ve always insisted that my boyfriends and lovers respect my feminist values, otherwise I was happy to give them their marching orders. But now I’m getting older and I find myself still single. My last boyfriend actually dumped me because he said that dating and feminism just don’t mix! Was he right? Is it time for me to forget my politics and focus on romance? Or can I have both? The clock is ticking – please help!”

If you’d like to place bets on whether “S” is a) an actual feminist, b) actually a reader and/or c) actually Samantha Brett, I have good odds on the answers being a) no, b) as if, and, c) duh.

My issue with this piece is not that Brett has suggested feminist values might be deal breakers to some potential partners, because that’s a conceivable, if not pleasant, situation (as The Louvin Brothers once said, Satan is real!). It’s that it’s such easy boot-in fodder for her post-fem audience and tone to suggest that feminism is a big turn-off to men – and that the example given, whether or not “S” is real, is such a naff, Ally MacBeal-esque depiction of a feminist (“Ooh, men can bow down and worship me, hear me roar, etc etc, except oops I forgot to have kids, quick, to the little white wedding chapel!”) and implies that it’s impossible to experience love and romance from within a relationship based on mutual respect and equality.

Posted in Blog Watch, Media Watch | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

Remember, This Man Won A Walkley Award

Posted by Clem Bastow on August 1, 2008

Those who’ve either followed the show or read the newspaper/blogs in the past few days will have heard that Kelly Knox – who was born without a left forearm – was the eventual winner of BBC3’s Britain’s Missing Top Model (our original coverage is here). So, you could forgive News Ltd (formerly Fairfax Digital) blogger Jack Marx for thinking it was newsworthy and, thus, worthy of being given the special je ne sais quoi that he dishes out on his blog, Jack Marx Live.

But could you forgive him for this?

She might have won a contract with a modelling agency and a photo shoot for Marie Claire, but the winner of Britain’s Missing Top Model will probably not be scoring commercial work from the following brands: Sterling; Malvern Star; Bullworker; Auclair Pittard; Lil’ Indian; Airfit; Crocket & Kelly; Steinway; Ringsport; Sea-Doo; Flygear; Moyes; Bally; Fender; E-Meter; Koastal; Taronga Zoo; The Clapper; Cheer Gear; Nippon Pedicabs; Kawasaki; Bodymaker; Jugglers World; Kelso; Sikorsky; Sherrin; Stanley Rogers; Callaway; Vic Firth; YMCA; Hohner; Rubiks; Semaphores R Us; Stradivarius; Spirit Poles; Musashi; Naughty Needles; Mixmaster; Precision Carwash; Rossignol; Swingaway; Redheads; Yamaha; Shredmate; Victa; Fiesta Music; Jetstar.

Note: that is the blog entry in its entirety. If you follow each of the links the “joke” quickly becomes clear.

This is precisely the sort of example of a media commentator doing something rancid and then being able to hide behind the old “Get a sense of humour, it’s just a joke” defense – you know, because it’s just “armless fun” (as one commenter put it). Because, geddit, she only has one arm! Champagne comedy there, Marx.

I can’t help but feel stuff like this (and this is only the ostensibly light-hearted tip of the discriminatory iceberg) is the reason – apart from ratings/controversy courting – that a show like Britain’s Missing Top Model was pitched in the first place.

Note to Marx: this isn’t comedy, or irony, or satire, and it isn’t “PC” or precious to say so.

Posted in Blog Watch, Media Watch | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Tracking The Jess Origliasso “Porn Storm”

Posted by Clem Bastow on August 1, 2008

News spread around the web like brushfire yesterday when PhotoBooth shots of “Jess Origliasso” from The Veronicas (I use inverted commas because no one – including her spokesperson from Warner Records – is certain whether the baps-out shot is actually her) turned up on Fleshbot (NSFW, der). Naturally, the reaction on the home front has been predictably, well, predictable. Here’s a selection of News Ltd headlines:

Jess Origliasso embroiled in porn site picture scandal
The Veronicas’ Jess Origliasso caught in porn storm
The Veronicas’ wild child in porn site storm

And so on. You get the sense the News stable is gearing up for some serious slut-shaming in their continued coverage; cop this excerpt:

Cementing her status as the wilder of the two siblings, Jess – identified by her distinctive tattoo on her bare upper back – is pictured with a suggestive expression in the sepia-toned image.

“Cementing her status as the slutty one” is what they really mean. (And I love the use of “suggestive”.)

What bothers me about these sorts of stories – and there are a lot of them these days, from the Vanessa Hudgens pics to the Kristin Davis shots – is that, inevitably, they are about “exposing” women as unstoppable sex machines (and, occasionally, revealing a male star’s gay secrets; nude scandals rarely seem to target straight male celebs, unless it’s in a high-fiving, “Go you stud!” manner).

There’s the implication that these women are somehow dirty or slutty (or porny) for having taken photos with/for someone they were (presumably) in a relationship with, which to me always seems like a perfectly normal bit of sex play (and let’s face it, taking dirty photos is pretty much vanilla these days).

And has it really come to the point where taking some reasonably tasteful sexy photos of oneself is “porn”? The shots might have ended up on Fleshbot, but they weren’t made for it.

The wailing in the streets seems at odds with the whole Cleo/Cosmo culture that tells us we should all be having incredible sex lives, but when a celebrity is revealed to actually be, you know, having an amazing sex life, the media gets in its time machine and presses in “1950s” on the destination keypad.

Posted in Blog Watch, Celebrity, Media Watch, Sex And Love | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Samantha Brett Has A Warning For All You Sluts

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 29, 2008

Once again Ms Brett has whipped up a “column” (blog) that seems to be all about how awesome it is to have one-night stands, with said enthusiasm being only a thin veneer over the same old post-fem slut-shaming and hysteria mongering. Check it out:

When broaching the topic over wines with friends, each had a pressing tale of a one-night stand gone wrong. One quips that she got a urinary tract infection from a guy she met at a bar; another was told that she’d be called the next day, only she hasn’t heard from the dude in three weeks, and the third caught crabs. Eek …

UTIs and abandonment and parasites, oh my! Brett goes on to mention that the paramount “rule” of one night stands is to use protection, which is a good point, but hang on, what’s that?

Not to mention that a third of New Yorkers have an STD, and it’s enough to force you to carry a pack of condoms in your wallet for life.

Thanks for the tip, Sam, I’ll remember that the next time I am having sex all over the Big Apple! Can someone tell her she’s actually not Carrie Bradshaw?

In the course of the blog she quotes another questionable study, and chooses to focus on the fact that some female respondents felt “used and dirty” the morning after and about half regretted it. No mention of the half that didn’t.

I for one am tired of Ask Sam‘s conservative dross dressed up as hip, happening modern chick lit. Here’s a thought, Sam: how about a blog on how sometimes, people have brief sexual encounters, do so thoughtfully and maturely, catch no STIs, have an awesome time and feel fantastic the next day?

Posted in Blog Watch, Sex And Love | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Jezebel’s Moe And “Condom-Gate”: Hang The STIs, Bareback Feels Better!

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 26, 2008

Another week, another Jezebel “controversy” – Jezebel writer (and star of the last Jezebel vs. the world debacle, and who this week joined and then left Radar within a matter of whiplash-inducing moments) Moe Tkacik has walked into another blogosphere fracas with her Thursday post, “Sex Without Condoms Is Actually Better Than Diamonds, People!”

Here’s an excerpt:

[…] I have only really engaged in bareback sex with the types of dudes who don’t fear HPV and whose diseases I don’t particularly fear, because the worst thing I can think of about most of them is the ensuing lifetime of awkward conversations, and the worst thing about that is that awkward conversations summon memories, and summoning bad memories every time you’re about to fuck a new person is no way to live, but, if you can smile and say (hypothetically!) “Hey, just so you know, I have [insert STD here], but I got them from this really hilarious guy who is still one of my best friends, so it was kind of worth it,” before you do it with a new person, it’s almost nice. Like: oh yeah, that was a good time.

My instinctual reaction was (and remains), man, when did women buy the “But it feels better, baybeee” line, too?

I know Moe has made a point of discussing her experience with STIs, and I commend her for that – such is the state of the world that people who have STIs (or have had) are made to feel as though a) they can’t discuss it freely because b) it’s gross or yucky or dirty. Like Moe, this is something I feel particularly strongly about.

But considering this, I find it hard to believe that Moe can be so glib about practising unsafe sex. Because you know what? It’s easy to buy the ‘bareback feels better’ line – until an STI stops the party.
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Posted in Blog Watch, Media Watch, Sex And Love, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

The Daily Mail‘s Giant Leap For Teen Body Image

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 17, 2008

File this one under “and they wonder why young girls have so many issues with their body image and self-esteem”: The Daily Mail has decided to chastise Rumer Willis (aka daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore) for her apparent “fashion faux pas” on the red carpet. Here’s their spin:

The 19-year-old daughter of actors Bruce Willis and Demi Moore left little to the imagination as she posed in an unflattering gown at the Power Of Paws launch party at the Helen Mills Gallery in New York.

The aspiring actress was clearly missing a bra as her skimpy dress just covered her youthful breasts.

Her overexposed chest wasn’t the only fashion mistake Rumer made last night – she also teamed her dress with garish yellow patent ballet pumps.

Yes, you read that all correctly. Here’s a photo of the brazen young hussy, included in the story:

Am I the only person who thinks a) she looks beautiful, fresh and young and, b) hardly “overexposed”?

Actually, the whole Rumer Willis blogger hate campaign seriously disturbs me. Gossip bloggers like Perez Hilton (no surprise there) have been attacking her for ages now, criticising her hairstyles, her fashion choices, and her apparently “huge” chin – and now, thanks to the curious trickle-up effect that high profile blogs are having on the mainstream media, it seems the newspapers (etc) are joining the party.

Putting aside the fact that there is absolutely nothing wrong with her face/body/life, do they not see how incredibly damaging it is to wage this sort of a reign of critical terror on a young girl (who has only recently turned 19) when you consider what other normal-looking teenage girls must think when they see Rumer attacked for the way she looks?

Fortunately Rumer herself is miles more mature than most of the gossip bloggers and trash magazine editors out there (from the Mail article):

Recently, the teenager hit back at internet gossips who criticised her prominent chin, which she inherited from her famous father.

At a press conference for The House Bunny, Rumer told US TV network E!: ‘Everybody has an opinion, and we live in America so you’re allowed to.

‘As long as you are comfortable with who you really are and your friends, and the people that are around you know that, that’s all that really matters.

‘Hopefully, young girls will watch this and feel confident about themselves and go, “OK, that girl’s not entirely the ideal of what a perfect picture is supposed to be and she feels confident and beautiful, then I can too”. If we can have the ability to do that, I’m very excited about that.’

Sometimes keeping a watchful eye on the celebrity/gossip/”entertainment news” machine leaves me feeling decidedly depressed, but the fact that there are smart young women like Rumer Willis starting to make themselves heard means there’s hope for the future.

Posted in Blog Watch, body image, Celebrity, Media Watch | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Facebook “Subvertising” Tells You To Take Your Weight-Loss Ad And Shove It

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 17, 2008

This is fantastic! UK feminist site The F Word reports on a project started by blogger Teresa Valdez Klein, taking the odious weight-loss ads that regularly appear on Facebook and turning them into positive body image affirmations; the click-through takes you to a body love website.

Here’s what she said when she started running the ads in April:

If you click it, it takes you to the Love Your Body Day website. I’m going to run the ad through April 7. I’ve set the maximum daily budget to the minimum of $5.00. I targeted it to single women between 18 and 30. I pirated the image of the Reubenesque Barbie doll from the Body Shop’s campaign in the late 90’s. Today, the ad had 12 clicks and 6,590 impressions.

This was the first FB ad she ran:

Since then Klein has run further body-love ads on the social networking site, largely taking existing FB ads, nicking their images, and subverting them to create a positive body image message. Here’s an example with the original and her ‘remake’ side by side:

Inspiring, isn’t it? And as Klein says in conclusion:

If you like this idea, why not try it yourself. It’s relatively easy to set up an ad to run for a few days, you don’t need to spend more than $5.00 a day and you can reach thousands of people. If even a few people do this, we can reach a wider audience with the message that we’re all tired of seeing ads on Facebook that try to make us insecure about our bodies.

Hear, hear! After all, it’s $5 better spent than on Cosmopolitan or Cleo or a weight-loss shake!

Posted in Blog Watch, body image, Watching The Ad Breaks | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Perez Hilton: You Gotta Be Fucking Kidding Me, Right?

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 15, 2008

Perez Hilton continues to make me weep for humankind. From the last day or so’s posts, first we have this piece on Jennifer Garner’s rumoured pregnancy. Here’s the, ahem, compelling evidence:

As if that helpful bright red circle wasn’t enough to make you see – you know, her totally massive stomach – Perez adds this corker

The pregnancy speculation is gonna go into overdrive now!

Jennifer Garner (with hubby Ben Affleck and daughter Violet) was spotted wearing a very big, flowy top at a park in Brentwood this past weekend.

Is that a bump?????

For real? “Very big flowy top”? Is that a bump? Well I don’t know, Perez, you tell me – it looks like a normal woman’s stomach! Oh but, right, if women don’t look like Megan Fox (seemingly the only female immune to Perez’s “wit”), then they must be fat.

And then, he ups his feminist credentials with a piece on Sienna Miller – here’s the charming title in full:

Slut! Slut! Slut

Yup, you read correctly. Here’s his justification for the outburst:

Sienna Miller has no shame!

The actress makes out with her married new boyfriend while on holiday together in Italy.

Because, you know, it’s all Sienna Miller’s fault. Poor, defenseless Balthazar Getty is clearly mentally impaired and incapable of stopping the big bad lady from breaking up his marriage.

Did Perez have his first orgasm while reading The Scarlet Letter or something? With each day my loathing of this sexist, misogynist, homophobic knobwrench grows exponentially.

Posted in Blog Watch, Celebrity, Media Watch | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »