News Roundup – April 2013

Spiffing Sports

Over 100 of Australia’s best and brightest sportswomen have converged on the nation’s capital for a one day conference, to celebrate Canberra’s centenary and recognise The Canberra Times’s award for ”Best Coverage of Women in Sport in 2012” by the Australian Sporting Commission. The conference will wrap up with a list of Australia’s top 100 female athletes: among those to be honoured, star swimmer Dawn Fraser and sprinter, Cathy Freeman.

A five-stage Tour of Britain for female cyclists is in the final stages of planning, to take place in the spring of 2014. Race director, Mick Bennett, confirmed the decision to European media and outlined the need for an increase in publicity within the arena of women’s competitive cycling. “It seems an obvious and logical step forward given the strength of women’s cycling in this country and the enthusiasm for the sport generally… It’s a great sport and all that is needed is more opportunity for the women to race.”

The first ever round of the Tasmanian Women’s Motocross Championship was held on March 23rd, and saw 14 women compete in this typically male-dominated sport for the first place title. Sarah Knee, a local racer from Launceston, currently competes in both co-ed and women’s only races and was delighted with the opening of the women’s championship to support the increase in female participants. …

They Said What?!

Alex Bilmes, editor of British Esquire magazine, has defended his publication’s “honest” portrayal of women with a few particularly unenlightened statements at a 2013 London panel discussion on ‘Feminism in the Media.’ Sifting through his quotes was an ordeal unto itself; the following comments are perhaps the most cringe worthy offerings. “I could lie to you and say we’re interested in their brains as well, but on the whole, we’re not. They’re there to be beautiful objects. They’re objectified.”

We’re at least, or possibly more, ethnically diverse [than other magazines]. More shape-diverse. We also have older women. Not really old, but in their 40s… Cameron Diaz was on the cover three issues ago. She’s in her 40s.

Brazil’s human rights boss has warned that gender equality could undermine the classic maternal roles of women and turn society, quote unquote, ‘gay’. The following comments are excerpts from Marco Feliciano’s recently published book. ‘When you stimulate a woman to have the same rights as men…. her part of being mother starts getting diminished… I see a subtle way how this affects the family, when you stimulate people to release and liberate their instincts.’ Feliciano has been slammed by Brazilian Feminists for his views. Economics professor Hildete Pereira de Melo, from the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, has labeled the statements as ‘delusional, misogynistic and homophobic.’ Which just about sums it up, really!

Women of Words

(Trigger Warning: this news segment contains a brief mention of sexual assault and rape.)

Melbourne writer and Herald Sun contributor, Alice Clarke, has responded to the recent trend of celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry rejecting Feminist labels. “It’s OK, I guess, not to be a feminist,” she writes in a recent column. “We all get to have our own opinions and that’s great (though if you don’t believe in equality, you have some issues to work out).” Her article tackles the current problems of gender stereotypes and victim blaming in cases of sexual assault – the message to women being, don’t invite rape, instead of a much needed educational standard that teaches people not to commit rape. She ends by imploring men and women to embrace Feminism, to understand that the fight for gender equality in Western society is not null and void but an absolute necessity.

Jackie C. Horne, a writer, independent scholar and author of the site Romance Novels for Feminists, has come out in celebration of a modern wave of romantic literature that moves beyond the “bodice ripper” genre popular during the 1970s. She recognizes these authors as taking ideas that were once novel or provocative – the idea of powerful, self possessed heroines – to be givens. Houston author Delphine Dryden is very much aligned with Horne’s views but still sees problems for women in the world of erotic literature, noting that some writers are too quick to fall back on tropes of slut-shaming and female helplessness. She posits the presence of heroines who can make choices as a critical starting point for Feminist authors – a woman who acts, rather than being “acted upon.”

SAVE Gender Studies at UQ!

The proposed eradication of the Gender Studies major at UQ – part of a wider scaling back of humanities subjects across the country – has sparked fierce opposition from UQ students and members of the UQ Women’s Collective. The first meeting of the counter campaign, ‘Save Gender Studies at UQ,’ attracted over 30 students and staff on the Great Court at St Lucia. An educational forum is planned for Thursday, April 11th, to precede a larger rally in opposition of the university’s cutback. Members of the Women’s Collective will be handling a social media campaign through the creation of a video, informing viewers on the importance of gender studies at a tertiary level.

If you consider yourself a bit of a tech head/actor extraordinaire/directorial genius and like to get involved in the video (or in any other aspect of the campaign) check out the Facebook page online or express your interest within the UQWC Facebook group!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/SAVE-Gender-Studies-at-UQ/498494313540373?fref=t

~ Laura Howden

Bibliography

Clarke, A. March 3rd 2013. ‘Whisper It: Feminism Can Work For Men Too.’ Accessed on the 21st of March from http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/whisper-it-feminism-can-work-for-men-too/story-e6frfhqf-1226589503181

Gallagher, B. March 21st 2013. ‘Tour of Britain 2013: Women’s Edition on the Cards.’ Accessed on the 21st of March from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/cycling/9946577/Tour-of-Britain-2013-womens-edition-on-the-cards.html

Kamm, R. March 23rd 2013. ‘Magazine Editor Compares Women’s Beauty to Cars.’ Accessed on the 23rd of March from http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/magazine-editor-compares-womens-beauty-cars/1802701/

Littaur, D. March 21st 2013. ‘Feminism Turns People Gay, Warn’s Brazil’s Human Rights Boss.’ Accessed on the 21st of March from http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/feminism-turns-people-gay-warns-brazil%E2%80%99s-human-rights-boss210313

Luther, J. March 18th 2013. ‘Beyond Bodice Rippers: How Romance Novels Came to Embrace Feminism.’ Accessed on the 21st of March from http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/beyond-bodice-rippers-how-romance-novels-came-to-embrace-feminism/274094/

Polkinghorn, D. February 27th 2013. ‘Boost for Women’s Sports.’ Accessed on the 21st of March from http://www.canberratimes.com.au/sport/boost-for-womens-sport-20130226-2f4cy.html#ixzz2OSmoGmqs

Sanders, P. March 23rd 2013. ‘Women Making Their Mark in Motocross Arena.’ Accessed on the 23rd of March from http://www.examiner.com.au/story/1385770/women-making-their-mark-in-motocross-arena/?cs=95

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