Clementine Ford: Uncompromising

UQ Journalism student Sophie Meixner’s recap of the “Are Women Invisible?” seminar by Clementine Ford and the UQ Women’s Collective.

“Uncompromising.”

It’s the attitude Clementine Ford has always taken in her approach to feminism. But with the recent resurgence of the ‘feminist’ tag in popular culture – from Emma Watson’s speech to the U.N. to the shocked reaction to Germaine Greer’s comments on the Duchess of Cambridge – it was a good time to hear the young writer’s insights firsthand.

On Friday October 3 Ms Ford joined members of the UQ Women’s Collective for an informal but passionate discussion entitled “The Invisibility of Women in the Media.”

Warm, engaging and prone to an off-the-cuff tangent or two, Ford began her speech by quoting the first paragraph of Susan Faludi’s iconic feminist treatise Backlash, which warned in 1991 of a growing feeling of hostility toward the feminist movement.

It was an infuriating reality, Ford noted, that many concerns of the now-23-year-old book (older than some students in the room) still applied so seamlessly to young women today.

Though young women continue to live in a society where powerful male politicians see fit to legislate to curb their reproductive rights, where domestic and sexual violence against women are real and continuing threats, and where not even our own Prime Minister is immune to sexism, Ford argued women are rendered invisible by a pervasive “yay, equality!” mindset in which we’re told “the fight for equality’s been won” and so to “shut up” because “feminism’s over.”

This is a problem for young women today, Ford said, because feminist progress is not seen as an urgent, or even necessary, priority. The complacency may lie in segments of society who believe feminism has gone too far the other way, viewing men as the “abused chattel” pitted against educated, go-getting women who are “not just equal now but superior.”

The outcome is a flurry among young feminists to avoid seeming too hostile to male recruits – a mistake that Ford says British actress Emma Watson succumbed to in her much-praised speech to the U.N. last month, in which she urged feminists to strive for men’s issues as well as women’s.

While Ford commended Watson for her bravery in using such a global platform to speak about gender inequality – and noted there’s certainly no “right” way to “do” feminism – she warned against “bending and scraping” merely to render feminism more “male-accessible.” Men don’t need “hand-engraved invitations to participate” and then a “cookie” when they do: indeed, the least we should expect is for men to be allies to the feminist cause already without expecting something in return.

While it’s true gender equality continues to hit massive milestones, it is a simple fact that feminism is not finished, and the gains the movement achieves should not be used as an excuse to “shut us up.” This is where Ford’s “uncompromising” attitude comes into play.

“Radicalise,” was her advice. “If they think you’re a man-hater because it’s the only way to minimise you, then let them. Women have been invisible for far too long – it’s time to demand our place now. If a man chooses to be an ally, great, but there are so many people who need to be given space in feminism before we need to worry about giving men space.

This is because in Ford’s version of feminism, nobody is be a feminist merely to serve to their own interests. White, educated feminists may have the privilege of fighting for seats on boards and equal pay, but there are still groups of women further marginalised by society.

For instance, just as able-bodied women may be unnecessarily sexualised by the media, Ford observed that some disabled women are fighting for the right to be viewed in a sexual way. The same perspective is needed if we look overseas to the countless atrocities still committed against women, from sex slavery to genital mutilation to the simple denial of an education. “Statistics are your friend,” Ford noted, and with circumstances like these still existing all across the world, any argument that feminism is “over” starts to seem awfully dangerous.

“Women have been invisible for too long,” were her final words for the audience. “It’s time to demand our place now. It’s not up to feminists to make space for men, it’s up to men to use the space they already have in society for feminism.”

Conservative commentator Andrew Bolt dismissed her in 2012 as “just some feminist with bared tattoos” (a moniker she seems a little too happy to adopt). And it’s true that someone like Clementine Ford, who writes so articulately, who holds her opinions so resolutely, can seem like an intimidating figure to some. But the woman we encountered at UQ on Friday was warm, funny, open to ideas, and, above all, relatable.

The UQ Women’s Collective is to be congratulated for bringing Clementine’s insight onto our campus. Hopefully this is just the beginning of a vibrant campus culture in which feminist issues, which affect all of us, are heard, debated, and encouraged.

~ Sophie Meixner

“Are Women Invisible?” Clementine Ford Seminar – Photos and Live Recording

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The UQ Women’s Collective is pleased to announce the complete success of our event UQWC presents: Clementine Ford. Author, social commentator, and feminist Clementine Ford spoke on the topic of women and girls in the media at UQ on Friday, October 3rd to a full room of excited and engaged feminists. Ford is indeed an eloquent, sassy, and vital voice in modern-day feminism, unlike the world according to Andrew Bolt, who says she’s ‘just some feminist with bared tattoos’. Here are some great photos by UQWC member and photographer Talia Enright, with Clementine and the event’s main organiser and host, Amy Jelacic:

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We also have a recording of Clementine’s talk. Due to technical difficulties, the first five or so minutes of Clementine’s great speech has been cut off. But please enjoy the rest of her hour long talk and Q&A session as an audio recording here!

Thanks once again to all the UQWC members and the UQ Union who helped to make the day possible. You can find more photos of the day at our UQWC facebook page!

~ UQWC

Updated for 2014: Women’s Hotline and Resource List

Women’s Hotline and Resource List
For the Brisbane area, or available online
(Information is up to date as of 17/02/2014)

 

Important Numbers

  • Emergencies on St Lucia campus – Ph: 3365 3333
  • Police, fire fighting and ambulance services in emergencies – Ph: 000
  • TTY/voice calls – Ph: 133 677; dial ‘106’ for emergencies: then dial ‘PPP’ for Police, ‘FFF’ for fire and ‘AAA’ for ambulances.
  • National Relay Service calls – Ph: 1300 555 727 (ask for ‘000’ for emergencies) – http://www.relayservice.com.au

 

 

UQ Contacts

 

 

Mental Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Physical Health

 

Sexual Health

  • Family Planning Queenslandhttp://www.fpq.com.au/
  • Children By Choice (Unplanned Pregnancy and Abortion Counselling)http://www.childrenbychoice.org.au/
  • Brisbane Sexual Health and HIV Service – Floor 1/270 Roma Street, Brisbane QLD 4000 
  • Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sexual Health Unit – Level 2: 270 Roma Street, Brisbane QLD 4000

 

Abortion Information and Services

  • Children By Choice (Unplanned Pregnancy and Abortion Counselling)http://www.childrenbychoice.org.au/
  • Marie Stopes International Australia Clinic (sexual health info, abortion counseling, abortion services) – 18/8 Catherine Street,
 Woolloongabba QLD 4102, http://www.drmarie.org.au/locations/#QLD
  • Options Clinic (abortion services) – 1st Floor, 383 Wickham Tce, Spring Hill, QLD, Brisbane
  • Greenslopes Day Surgery (abortion services) – 687 Logan Road, Greenslopes, QLD, 4120
  • The RU486 Pill (medical abortion drug on PBS) – http://ru486.org.au/

 

 

Gender and Sexuality

 

Counselling and Support

 

Welfare

  • Homeless Persons Information Queensland (HPIQ) – Ph: 1800 47 47 53
  • Brisbane Homelessness Service Centre http://www.bhsc.net.au/need-help/need-help-with-housing
  • Women’s Legal Servicewww.wlsq.org.au
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Legal and Advocacy Servive – Ph: (07) 3720 8892 http://www.atsiwlas.com.au/
  • Centrelink: Youth Allowance, Austudy – Ph: 132 490
  • Centrelink: People With A Disability – Ph:  132 717
  • Centrelink: Child Support – Ph: 131 272

 

Compiled by Emma Di Bernardo.  

Call for Submissions: ‘At The Movies!’

We’re calling for submissions for the Market Day edition of Wom*news, the UQ Women’s Collective zine, “At the Movies”.

Do you have an opinion piece, essay, poem, short story, list, photo set, comic strip, review, interview, or anything else, about a movie you’ve seen lately? We’re accepting all types of submissions from members and allies of the UQ Women’s Collective from now until January the 15th.
Your work will be featured both in the hard copy of our zine, the pdf version and as a post at the wom*news website.

Please: 
• Send your submissions, cover art, and any queries to Jessica and I at uqwnews@gmail.com.
• Read our content guidelines carefully; trigger warnings are a must, and any offensive or phobic matter will not be accepted.
• *Reference any sources in our super easy referencing style (found here: https://womynews.wordpress.com/submission-info/referencing-guidelines/)

Thank you,
Nadhia, Jessica, Molly, Isabel and Laura
The Wom*news Team

Our new zine dream team!

725_529897050381560_966953456_nHey, Wom*news readers and fellow bloggers in the feminist sphere!

Rosie, Emily and I are sad to announce that we’ve decided to move on from being part of the Wom*news zine dream team – but excited to announce the fab people who’ll be replacing us!!

Nadhia Rahmatika and Jessica Bahr will be co-editors. You’ll be hearing from them over summer semester about the next issue of Wom*news!

Isabel Manfield and Laura Manton have signed up as co-designers, and Molly Eliza will be joining the team as website mod.

From all of us, thank you for helping us make Wom*news great, and we look forward to see what the new zine team will dream up! Look out for the next issue of Wom*news in early February 2014 – submissions will be called soon!

~ Emma

Reclaim The Night 2013 recap

Trigger warning as this piece references r*, sexual assault and victim blaming.

This year’s Reclaim The Night (RTN) was an inspiring night of rallying, marching and local talent. Last friday night, women-identifying people came together at Queen’s Park to hear speakers turn the tables on victim blaming with tips like “How Not To Rape – men, carry whistles to alert others you’re going to rape! And remember to stay in packs!”.

Hear Kara de Groot explain more about this year’s RTN on 4zzz.fm.

Despite the police weirdly making everyone hurry up through the march (apparently they only had a half an hour window to escort the march…), and a few randoms who decided to walk through the rally, the night was full of both celebration of being women who will not stand for violence in our society and respect and remembrance of those we have lost to sexual violence. We chanted “Blame the system, not the victim”, “Not the Church, Not the State, Let Women Decide Their Fate” and “No means no, it doesn’t mean maybe, don’t touch me I’m not your baby!” down the streets of the CBD to applause from onlookers and touchingly, male allies who welcomed us back to Queen’s Park.  Speakers included those from the RTN Collective, Senator Claire Moore and the UQWC’s own Madeline Price, who shared the following evocative beat poem:

I should not fear
four little words I repeat
backed by blasting dubstep beat
that echoes from the club
that I just left

I should not fear
walking our shared streets
the police on the beat
there to protect me
from your drunken hands
and broken minds

I should not fear
our public places
our private spaces
our university campuses
our schools
our homes
and the willingness of the public
to attribute blame

I should not fear
persecution for walking at night
objectification if my skirts too tight
this slut-shaming
victim-blaming
women-hating
society
that I was born into

I should not fear
that I am seen as a piece of meat
rather than the person within.

A big shout out goes to the Brisbane RTN Collective, who made this year’s rally and march a smash success. The t-shirts and badges made were amazingly designed and the night was well organised.

The UQ Women’s Collective led the march – a spontaneous decision made because we had the largest banner! Below are a few of my photos of the night plus a photo of the t-shirts from the RTN Collective facebook page (please don’t use these pictures without my permission or credit – email uqwnews@gmail.com first.

If you’d like to get involved with next year’s Brisbane Reclaim The Night, you can find out more info here.

~ Emma Di Bernardo

Thanks to Madeline Price and Kara de Groot for sharing their work for this post.

Discussion Topic: Who’s Your Fave Non-Cis Man in Public and Why?

The UQ Women’s Collective asked its members to share their favourite public people for Wom*news #11!

Lana Wachowski – her brain is just plain beautiful and she articulates her transition during her infamous speech just amazingly well. – Rowan

 

Mine is clearly Courtney Love. She is/does everything a woman isn’t supposed to be/do, while giving zero fucks. She’s also crazy, but I kind of love that. 

– Joanna

 

Personally, I love Sally K Ride, and Amelia Earhart! Both have made huge steps forward for women in previously male-only professions, and are general badasses.

 – Celeste

 

Catherine Deveny. Controversial opinions but stands by them. Appreciate her work speaking out against the church, Anzac Day, unpaid work and body image! She reminds me to be less apologetic and deferential. – Ruth

 

Kristen Stewart – she’s made ads raising awareness about RAINN and sexual assault.
– 
Emma

 

This may be controversial but Lena Dunham because she is unapologetically honest and flawed. – Molly

 

Ke$ha for rainbow-y glitter-filled magnificence or Felicia Day for continuing to work in nerd spheres. Both for being unapologetically awesome. – Shannon