News Roundup – January 2013

By Laura Howden

Australian Bites

Max Tomlinson – the former media adviser to LNP senator Ian McDonald – resigns after writing a scathing response to a courier mail article from April 2012, critiquing the lack of women in Queenslandʼs parliament.

Dr Carole Fordʼs article highlighted the drop in female representation in Queenslandʼs parliament from 49 percent to a mere 18 percent. Responding to the column via email, Mr Tomlinson advised her that, “like most women, you probably don’t possess the necessary drive, determination and decisiveness that men innately possess.”

He further argued for the so-called natural propensity of men to succeed. “Blokes dominate most areas of human endeavour because nature equipped them with something called testosterone…”

Dr Ford found Mr. Tomlinsonʼs position to be “extremely disappointing… It surprised me that in this day and age people would get angry about a request for women to have better representation in parliament.

Director Kristy Guevara-Flanaganʼs documentary, Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, opened in Melbourneʼs ACMI complex in December, 2012 and will run until the 13th of January.

The film explores the success and fate of Wonder Woman, and the wider disparity
between female and male heroines in the comic book genre. Danny Fingeroth, in his
book Superman on the Couch, ponders the lack of female protagonists in the pre 1990s
era addressed by Guevara-Flanagan.

If a woman was powerful – really powerful – she was either evil, or made evil by power.
With the notable exception of Wonder Woman, there hasn’t been a successful
superheroine who was femme but not fatale…

The documentary reflects upon the idea that, historically, people didnʼt believe a woman
could carry a show – and asks whether this is still the case today.

News Abroad

Media coverage is emerging of a growing trend in the USA nicknamed “stiletto surgery”, involving procedures such as toe shortening and injecting collagen into the balls of the feet: altering the foot in an attempt to make “fashionable womenʼs shoes” more user
friendly.

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons emphasized the potential medical
risks of cosmetic operations such as those performed in the world of stiletto surgeries,
ultimately advising against them. “Surgery performed solely for the purpose of improving
the appearance or size of the foot or ankle carries risks without medical benefit, and
therefore should not be undertaken.

Self-titled feminist political graffiti artist, Panmela Castro (better known through her work as Anarkia Boladona) is using the streets of Rio de Janeiro as a medium for pro-feminist, anti-domestic violence murals. She began this daring and creative form of self
expression “out of indignation,” and further realised the possibility for tackling local
issues using her talents.

As part of a family of women, one of the issues I perceived was that of violence against
women… I fight mainly for gender equality, that women have the same rights as men.
And when I say rights, not just in law: it is a right of cultural equality as well.

A turn around from previous years, officials now support her work in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. Boladonaʼs murals range in themes and symbols; flowers, dragonflies, Eves and witches appealing to a world where women possess social, economic and sexual equality.

Her organization, Nami (a play on the word “mine,” in carioca slang it means “woman”), uses urban art to promote womenʼs rights, particularly women of low economic means.

The above image depicts Boladona in front of one of her public murals in Rio de Janeiro. Boladona has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts at the State University of Rio de Janeiro.

Awe-Inspiring Athletes

Defender for the England Womenʼs football team, Sophie Bradley, has called for “greater rewards” for herself and her fellow teammates in line with recent advancements in the womenʼs league. The Professional Footballers Association is in talks to increase the
teamʼs salary contracts currently worth £16,000 a year; contracts which ended in
November, and saw the women of the English team go unpaid in December 2012 amidst
negotiations.

Sadia Ayoubi, a female Afghan power lifter, took home three gold medals in the 74kg
weight category at a recent competition organised by the Power Lifting Federation of
India. She competed against rivals from India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, China and
Kazakhstan, between the 10th and 14th of December, 2012.

Brisbane Roar attacker Tameka Butt and her teammates have the potential to, with a win against Canberra United on Sunday the 13th of January at the QLD Sports & Athletics
Centre, wrap up the womenʼs league premiership and score themselves the hosting
rights for a semi final game.

Australian cricketer Meg Lanning earned herself a place in the Australian women’s ODI cricket record book with a whirlwind century. Along with the efforts of her teammates, this ensured the Southern Stars retained the Rose Bowl trophy even before their final game. Her knock of 103, including 18 fours and three sixes, slipped her past former Australian champions Karen Rolton and Belinda Clarks.

~ Laura Howden

References

Frayssinet, F. 2013. ʻNew Feminism Tears Down Walls in Brazil.ʼ Retrieved from http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/01/new-feminism-tears-down-walls-in-brazil/

Hawker, P. 2012. ʻWhy Did Wonder Woman Never Enjoy the Success of Her Male Counterparts?ʼ Retrieved from http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/entertainment/movies/heroines-grounded-20121214-2bdxp.html#ixzz2HQxaDRaR

Ives, C. 2012. ʻSurgical Foot Alterations Allow Women to Wear High Heels More Comfortably.ʼ Retrieved
from http://www.examiner.com/article/surgical-foot-alterations-allow-women-to-wear-high-heels-more-comfortably

Jabour, B. 2012. ʻLNP Staffer Quits After Anti-Feminist Rant.ʼ Retrieved from http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/lnp-staffer-quits-after-antifeminist-rant-20120418-1x6bs.html#ixzz2HQqlP6OP

Jawad, S. 2012. ʻAfghan Female Powerlifting Athlete Wins Gold.ʼ Retrieved from http://www.khaama.com/afghan-female-powerlifting-athlete-wins-gold-medal-2067

Magowan, A. 2013. ʻEngland Women Need to Be Better Rewarded, Says Bradley.ʼ Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/20950874

Stannard, D. 2013. ʻBrisbane Roar in Prime Spot to Clinch Premiership in Final Round.ʼ Retrieved from http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/football/brisbane-roar-in-prime-spot-to-clinch-wleague-premiership-in-final-round/story-fnddgn65-1226551338890

Williams, R. 2013. ʻMeg Lanning Shatters Batting Records at One Day Level.ʼ Retrieved from http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/meg-lanning-shatters-batting-records-at-one-day-level/story-fnez46xc-1226548321105

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