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(no subject) [Nov. 16th, 2009|01:16 pm]
In a couple of weeks, it will be the 20th anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre.

A quick history lesson for those who havent heard of it - On December 6th, 1989, Marc Lépine murdered 14 women and injured 4 men and 10 women at an engineering school called École Polytechnique de Montréal. Lépine, the son of a mysonginistic father, had long complained about women moving into non-traditional roles, and, as he seperated out and shot the women in the classroom, claimed he was "Fighting feminism". His spree targeted women, and his suicide note blamed feminists for ruining his life.

From this massacre sprung the Canadian National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, held on December 6th. On the second anniversary of this awful event, a group of Canadian men began the White Ribbon campaign, which urges men to speak out, and do something about, violence against women. This quickly became an international event. White Ribbon Day in Australia is November 25th.

Unlike so many other campaigns to 'help' women (dont get me started on the 'save the boobies!' breast cancer campaign held recently, or the victim-blaming of the teenage binge drinking campaigns, or *any* rape prevention campaign...), this one focuses squarely on changing the behaviour of the perpetrators, not the victims. This is no 'dont walk down dark alleyways' campaign, instead giving men the opportunity and responsibility to speak up amongst their peers, and change the culture that gives permission to men to hurt women. This isnt well-intentioned men saying 'hey ladies, you need to do XYZ to be safe', it's men saying to other men 'This is wrong. This is not OK. We will not make a place for this kind of behaviour or attitude in society'.

I linked to this last year, but I'm going to do so again, because it's a good little piece (Andrew O'Keefe is the chairman of the White Ribbon Foundation in Australia), and is a great example of how to go about being a good ally.

I also like that the campaign goes beyond 'buy this $2 ribbon one day a year' and promotes social change through ongoing projects.

So if you see one of the ribbon sellers over the next week, it's a good place to direct your spare change. Teaspoons. We'll get there in the end.
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(no subject) [Jul. 6th, 2009|12:05 pm]
[Current Mood |thoughtfulthoughtful]

So this is yet another sobering look at feminism on the front lines (though I think it's rather innacurate to call it the 'new' feminism - women have been losing their lives in the battle for equality for a long, long time). The thing that really stuck with me though, and I blame hanging out with Team Ranga and the Tee-Esses yesterday, was the first paragraph:

For many women, the difference between life and death is a piece of string, a clean razor blade, a fresh bandage and a bar of soap. That's why a pitiful amount of money can save a woman, or a newborn baby, or both. And that's why, while the Australian government is expending hundreds of millions of dollars fighting a war in Afghanistan, civilian volunteers in Australia are sending thousands of simple birthing kits (bandage, blade, string, soap, plastic sheet) to Afghanistan, because it is one of the most oppressive places in the world to be a woman.

The WHO estimates that over half a million women die in childbirth every year, 99% of which are in developing nations. For every woman that dies, there is an estimated 30 women who suffer injury, infection, embarrasment and lifelong disability and pain.
That's 15,000,000. That's *way* too many zeros.

If you're looking for a NFP to support in this new financial you could do a lot worse than the Birthing Kit Foundation or the Addis AbabaFistula clinic, or any of the other organisations dedicated to providing resources to help women maintain their reproductive health, safety and dignity.
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(no subject) [Jun. 1st, 2009|10:59 am]
[Current Mood |sadsad]

George Tiller, a prominent American late term abortion provider, has been assassinated in his church over the weekend. Mr Tiller had previously been shot in 1993, and had his clinic bombed in 1985.
Mr Tiller's clinic is only one of three in the COUNTRY that performs abortions after 21 weeks.

At this stage, ties to anti-abortion groups are still being investigated, though the cynnical part of me doesnt doubt it for a second.

This is an utter tragedy, not only for Mr Tiller's loved ones, but for all the women he will no longer be able to help. This man fought for over 35 years to bring women the choice, support and means to exercise autonomy over their bodies. We have lost an incredible advocate.

"Women and Families are intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and ethically competent to struggle with complex health issues -- including abortion -- and come to decisions that are appropriate for themselves." - George R. Tiller

edit: reading some of the personal accounts of this wonderful man floating around the blogosphere is utterly heartbreaking.
As is the poison being spewed by anti-abortion protesters.
How long until we live in a world where we get to decide for ourselves what to do with our own bodies? Anyone want to hit fast forward for me 'til we get to that point?

edit 2:
Edited to add links for donations if you have a spare couple of bucks:

Family Planning
There's a bunch of WOmen's health services links Heretoo (NSW based).

Planned Parenthood
Medical students for choice
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(no subject) [Feb. 12th, 2009|12:07 pm]
Here's another curly one for you, raised in the lengthy thread from yesterday:

Freedom of speech.

I mentally butt up against this concept all the time, because Im torn as to my stance on freedom of speech. We dont have constitutionally protected freedom of speech in Aus, but it's still an interesting proposal.

Freedom of opinion? Absolutely. Go for it. Believe whatever you want, and more power to you.

But taking those opinions and putting them out into the public sphere, especially on a large scale? That I have concerns with, and more so when opinion is presented as hard fact.

And here's the thing: If we uphold freedom of speech, we uphold it for everyone, including people actively promoting ideas or concepts that set out to harm or hurt or destroy. We uphold the right of people who want to say that rape victims were asking for it, that POC are born to be criminals, that a woman's body is not her own, or that people with disabilities should be euthanised. It's the fetid, dark, nasty flipside to the shining ideal of freedom of speech for all.

What happens when that person is in a position of power? A minister, politician, or public figure of some kind? Do they have a greater responsibility to have, as James so succinctly put it yesterday, greater 'presence of mind' and 'empathy' in expressing their opinions than Random Citizen? Or do they have the same indivudal rights as someone with less of an impact on the public consciousness?

If we uphold freedom of speech, we also should expect to have our opinions challenged, dismantled, or called into question. The ability to say something doesnt mean it will be respected. A person saying 'No, you're wrong' is exercising free speech, too.

There are, of course, laws in most countries surrounding things like hate speech or incitement to violence, so in a way, there is never a true state of absolute freedom of speech, at least not on this planet.

As mentioned at the start of the post, it's something I struggle with. From a logical standpoint, I know that if I want to demand complete freedom of speech for myself, I should give equal opportunity to everyone to voice their opinions, no matter how wrong I might think they are. But then I come up against people like Danny Nillah who's hateful statements make me want to wrap tape around his mouth and never let him speak again.

What do you think? I dont claim to have any answers, but it's an interesting ethical and moral debate.
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(no subject) [Dec. 12th, 2008|02:20 pm]
An interesting followup to the 'can you eat healthily on the cheap' discussion that happened a week or so ago.

A few points I picked up from the article, for your ponderance whilst reading:

  • the author admits to the massive amount of time and energy required to source and cook the meals she prepared, time and effort that would be unrealistic for a lot of people
  • She appears to have a culinary background, which will give her a greater working knowledge of food preperation and extension
  • she doesnt, IMHO, pay enough recognition to the incredible privilege she has of access to good cook books, and internet sites and forums to help guide her meal plans
  • Im guessing she's in a fairly metro area, and will have access to cheaper produce than someone further out in the suburbs, or in a rural area
  • She's only fitting this budget to her dinners. I'd be interested to see what her lunches and breakfasts are like.
  • Her vegetable intake is quite low. Over a week, that's not an issue, long term, that's going to lead to problems.
  • there is no mention as to whether she is using existing spices, oils and condiments. They would have a significant impact on her budget otherwise

I do like the focus she puts on re-using ingredients to save waste. Im guilty of the latter myself, and will be endeavouring to cook a bit smarter.

All in all, an interesting read, both for itself, and for its highlighting of some of the privileges we take for granted when talking about eating healthily.

edit: And speaking of extravagant, I think I need to save up for a few of these next year. How awesome!
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For pooheadfriend [Jan. 14th, 2005|11:48 am]
[Current Mood |amusedamused]

If Bowie was dead, he'd be rolling over in his graveCollapse )

and according to my bank statements, Deb gives good elipsis. Its important that you all know that.
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more paco [Aug. 27th, 2004|11:55 am]
alright, my lovelies.
It's Friday, more commonly known as 'bored day'

I have a challenge for you.

Meet Lord Paco Cheers Thanks That Was Lovely Oi Oi Buono Chang

he's the smoovest dog in townCollapse )
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