It’s officially been a big day.

A big day, a crazy busy week, a hectic month, and a hell of a year.

Perhaps by way of example, I can provide an insight into the busyness of the last week or two by describing the number of messes we’ve had to clean up this evening. Firstly, there was wine glass that smashed when the box of straws were being pulled from the cupboard. The straws were destined to go into the banana smoothies that the kids were having for dessert. Glass went everywhere. Quite possibly into the waiting smoothies, so not only did the bench have to be cleaned up but the shakes had to be remade.

Then there was the glass of port that was knocked over, all over the computer desk and keyboard. And lastly the dog knocked over a couple of pot plants, smashing one ceramic pot and getting potting mix in the basket of clean washing that was sitting below the coffee table upon which the plants had been placed.

We are supposed to be celebrating tonight, for today the final hard bound copy of my thesis was submitted this morning. Finally. For it has been a long, slow journey. (I started in 2001, close to ten years ago. I studied part-time, deferred at one point, had two kids. My thesis was a very stop/start enterprise. But, it’s done now, truly done and dusted). Apparently it will all be official next week when I receive the letter that declares that I’ve officially qualified for the degree of PhD. (Woohoo, WOOT! And all that jazz!).

So this morning while I was somewhat preoccupied with the lovely bound copies of my thesis that I received yesterday and had to get to the right office today, our dog was taken to the vet to be desexed. In the extra rushed morning rush I completely forgot to send with my daughter the music for the song she had chosen to sing in today’s audition. She was trying out for her school’s talent show that is being held next week. It wasn’t until I pulled up at school to pick her up this afternoon that it dawned on me that she’d gone to school without it. As she came out of the gate I apologised, but was complimented by one of the teachers on her strong clear voice. Apparently, she had gotten up and managed to sing “A whole new world” fairly well without any musical accompaniment. Phew. So she made it through the audition, and will be singing in next week’s show, with or without the music, the choice is hers.

So the beagle has been inside all evening (knocking things over due to his surgery collar) while he recovers from his operation, so we decided not to go out to celebrate the finally submitted thesis. Perhaps festive season fatigue is also factor in our decision to keep things low key tonight. We had the lad’s Christmas concert last night, my work Xmas party tomorrow night and my husband’s the following night.

So I’m sharing my news with you tonight. It still feels surreal at the moment. It’s kinda hard to get excited right now. I mean, I’m quietly excited. That’s the problem with being as laid back as I am, excitement is more of a slow burn than an intense flare.

I just said to my husband “I’m hoping next week’s letter makes it feel real. I still feel as if someone could pull the rug out from under me, like I haven’t crossed my “i’s” and dotted my “t’s”. ” He replied “There’s your problem, you crossed where you should have dotted and dotted where you should have crossed”. Oh Frack! ;)

Anyhow, enough from me. I hope that the silly season is not wearing you right out and that joy, friendship and love come your way. If you need some good reading, please check out the latest Down Under Feminists Carnival, its full (as usual) of feminist goodness and awesome writing. My current plan is to finish my glass of port and get a good night’s sleep. Night!

The Down Under Feminists Carnival is here!

And I do mean literally here! Because this month I am pleased to be your host for the 21st Edition.

So let me pour you a cuppa (how do you take it?) and let’s enjoy this over high tea, shall we?

Well that’s January been and gone. What has happened in the last month?

It seems to have been a quiet month on the blogging front, what with the summer heat and rain and holidays and back to school and the myriad of other things going on this time of year, but there is still plenty to enjoy in terms of feminist writing.

The New Year has been seen in:

And we’ve been wished a Happy New Year! by Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty. And there has been some farewells too, leading Queen Emily to question The legacies of trans-exclusive feminism at her post at Hoyden About Town.

There has been some great discussion about things relating to the domestic sphere – the home, house and family concerns.

Tansy Rayner Roberts has been Writing While The House is Messy at tansyrr.com.

Parenting is a perennial topic, and January saw discussion of the added complexities when the parenting is being done by a step-parent. Stepmum Of The Year wonders Rights? What rights should step parents have? and Stef at A Touch of the Crazy is inquiring Does stepparenting = step-mothering?

Meanwhile, Sophie at 2 B Sophora paints a poignant picture of One woman and her guard.

As usual with feisty feminist writers there has been some great posts relating to Race, Rights and Identity

A shiny new coin muses on taxes and toilets. Tigtog, at Hoyden About Town, looks at Complacency, Indifference and Intent (or lack thereof) in terms of the discussion around the attacks on Indian students. Chally makes it clear that Disability is not your analogy at Zero at the Bone, and she examines The Privileges and Pains of Passing. Stephiepenguin examines her racial identity and muses and it looks like… posted at 天高皇企鹅远.  In examining identity and insults girliejones wonders Do some insults hurt less?

January 23 was Blogging for Choice Day  – this year with the theme of ‘Trust Women’

Deborah – In a strange land,  asks that we  Trust women, and Tigtog was also Blogging for Choice,  at   Hoyden About Town.

In addition to trust, respect was also a bit of a reoccurring theme this month.

Chally reminds us of The importance of women’s friendships at Zero at the Bone.  Deborah In a strange land sends a Note to Mike Rann: the title is “Ms”. Pharaoh Katt asks that we respect children and their bodies and not  Name and Shame them at Something More Than Sides.

The disrespectful and denigrating of image of the older woman as the ‘cougar’ seems to be an increasing presence in popular culture and thankfully this is being critiqued.  Fuck Politeness writes of Karaoke and cougars. Julie at The Hand Mirror suggests that there has been Vileness, and a bit of irony, from Air NZ and she gives us More on Air NZ’s cougar rubbish. The Luddite Journo asks why Those damn cougars just won’t lie back and think of England ?

Posts pertaining to politics and activism.

Deborah at In a strange land gives us A fabulous resource for feminists, womanists, disabilism activists, equality activists. January’s been an interesting month politically and Rachel Hills at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman has Sex advice for my future children… inspired by Tony Abbott. At the frogblog,  Catherine Delahunty asks Will Cathy Taewa get answers from Paula and Nick?

Posts pertaining to Body image and Sexuality

The bad news, according to The Dawn Chorus, is that Female Ejaculation Doesn’t Exist.   Also, did you know that Jennifer Hawkins does ‘real beauty’ wrong – In case you hadn’t realised blue milk examines the fallout from ‘that’ magazine cover.

Posts pertaining to fashion and rape culture – unfortunately paired together because all you need to know about rape culture has been encapsulated on some men’s T-shirt

(trigger warnings for the links to the posts in this section)

Chally, writing at Feministe looks at the offending and offense shirts in Today in selling misogyny and LudditeJourno has learnt that from said fashion items that It’s not rape if you yell surprise. If that’s what being sold and worn does the existence of such Virtual realities: Sydney University’s “pro-rape” Facebook group surprise anyone? It doesn’t surprise Chloe  at Feministing.

The dismissal from court of a particular gang rape case has led to Emma Hart at Public Address fantasising about chocolate mousse aerosol cans so that we can get All Together Now.

The rules of consent still apply in a group sex situation. Which is why it also doesn’t help when, at the other end of the spectrum, people say that women can’t consent to group sex, or will only do so under social pressure, or maybe only think they do because they’re buying into a male viewpoint. Both viewpoints assume that group sex is always one woman and a group of men. Both remove the emphasis from whether the woman said yes or no – because how can I have the ability to say no unless I also have a meaningful ability to say yes?

Of course, someone has once again blamed Feminism for the rise of raunch culture, but the news with nipples has been writing about Feminism and dolls in order to set them straight.

Posts pertaining to the Media and Movies

Rachel Hills presents Sex & The City and the great (feminist?) quest for love at her blog Musings of an Inappropriate Woman.

Lauredhel gives us Arsevertising*: Will You Be Ready For Your First Time? posted at Hoyden About Town. And she also examines That Homebirth Study in South Australia that was blatantly misrepresented in the media, also at Hoyden About Town.

Tansy Rayner Roberts  at tansyrr.com gives us a review of The Princess and the Frog.

Miscellaneous Musings

Kiwi back in Sydney! gives us a lovely walk through the Melbourne: CERES Garden. Jo Tamar at Wallaby has been Talking about mansplaining…. While meganwegan at Craft is the New Black reflects on Honesty, Anarkaytie gives us a Follow-up to academic feminism to be found at Anarkaytie’s Weblog.

Writing and Sci Fi

girlie jones not only looks at  the latest in female presence in SF ToCs but she asks do You know what’s fun to read in the debate on gender disparity in SF? .

And to see the carnival off, Whileawaying invites us to a Book Launch!

Well, its been lovely hosting you. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the tea and the writing.

Next month the carnival will be at Fuck Politeness‘ place. And don’t forget to submit (see here) – your own posts and those of other down under feminists that you’ve enjoyed reading this February.

Today’s Post: Feminism + Activism

The thirteenth Down Under Feminist Carnival is up and is this month being hosted by Demezla of SAHM Feminist.  Demezla moved house while organising this month’s carnival, so, wow!  I am impressed at that level of commitment and the effort involved.  So go read what feminists down under have been blogging about during the month of May  (and let me tell you, it wasn’t all rugby and rape).

One of the focuses of last month was a call to activism by Lauredhel of Hoyden About Town.  Lauredhel wishes to bring to everyone’s attention the detrimental changes that are being proposed for access parking, under a scheme to “harmonise” the rules nationally, rather than the state by state system that functions currently.

The proposed new regulations would create huge problems for many people with disabilities. Lauredhel has the details here,  and an open letter to disability organisations that you can sign-up to. She’s also got a post about what really pisses her off about abuse of access parking, and it’s not what you might think.  Details about the current state and territory criteria can be found here.   Lauredhel articulates why this is a feminist issue.

Beppie has created a form letter to be copied and sent far and wide so that the proposed changes can be averted.  This letter can be modified as you wish, to suit your own circumstances and to include any additional ideas that you might have:

[Date]

Dear [Name OR Sir/Madam],

I am writing to express my concern regarding the scheme proposed in the discussion paper, “Harmonisation of Disability Parking Permit Schemes in Australia*”. The proposed scheme excludes a large proportion of people with disabilities who are adversely affected by regular parking. It does not make sufficient provisions for individuals who require a walking stick, or who use shopping trolleys or prams as alternative assistive devices. It also excludes individuals with disabilities who, although they are able to walk short distances without assistance, are negatively impacted by the requirement that they use distant or inaccessible parking. Consequently, it significantly reduces the number of Australians with disabilities eligible for a Disability Parking Permit, including many of those for whom access to accessible parking is a necessity for living everyday life.

Under current schemes, persons capable of walking only short distances without pain or other incapacitation can use disability parking spaces to access workplaces, educational institutions, healthcare services, shopping centres, and public facilities such as libraries and parks independently. Under the new proposal, these individuals will lose their independence, and be forced to rely on the assistance of others, contributing to their social and political isolation. People likely to be adversely affected include (but are not limited to) those who suffer from illnesses such as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, those in the early stages of degenerative diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, those with severe mental illnesses, and those who experience high levels of pain from past injuries etc.

In addition to having a profound negative impact on the independence of many Australians living with disability, this scheme also reinforces the harmful and narrow notion that disability must be visible—via the use of various medical mobility aids—before it is considered legitimate. If implemented, this scheme will particularly adversely affect those Australians who live with ‘invisible’ disabilities, who already suffer significant discrimination within the community.

This level of discrimination against people with disabilities is unacceptable in a nation dedicated to giving all of its citizens a “fair go”. People with disabilities are important contributors to the nation, and thus it is imperative that you expand the eligibility criteria for Disability Parking Permits before this scheme is implemented, for the sake of all Australians—but especially those who live with invisible disabilities.

Yours Sincerely,

[Name]

Emails can be sent to:
accessparking@fahcsia.gov.au

OR snail-mail to:
Australian Disability Parking Scheme submissions (East Wing)
FaHCSIA
PO Box 7576
Canberra Business Centre ACT 2610

Deadline for submissions is 5pm AEST Friday 31 July 2009.

I urge you to act on this issue.  Email or write to the above address and your state and federal members.  Click on the above links to gain a deeper understanding of an issue which I have only superficially addressed here.  Join the facebook group! If these proposed changes go ahead it is going to make life a lot more difficult for thousands of people, people for whom life can be a daily battle and who often have the least (physical/emotional) resources to fight this.

Acknowledgments to Lauredhel, Beppie and Demezla.

Celebrations, belated and otherwise

Well break out the champagne, congratulations are in order.

On the one hand I missed my blogoversary last week, oops.  On the other hand, this blog must be a similar age to the Down Under Feminist Carnival because this month is the bumper birthday edition! Yay!  The 12th Carnival is being hosted by Chally at Zero at the Bone.  Lots of good stuff there, so go read and enjoy.

Details of all previous carnivals can be found here, and a list of carnival contributors can be found here.

It’s (Down Under Feminists) Carnival time

and it is being hosted by Penguin Unearthed and this month it has a workplace focus.

Also I was totally slack and missed the last one which was hosted by HellOnHairyLegs.  Sorry about that.  Stuff happened and months went past and I didn’t blog for a little while.  (Between you and me it is quite likely that other times will come when I again won’t blog for a little while.  The thesis is due to submitted next semester and as there this a lot to be done between now and then there will be times when I have to turn my back on this blog for intervals).

In the mean time let us bask in the hope of Obama’s victory and have the audacity to dream of a better future.  In the spirit of the happy election result I will save my critique of American educational reform for another day.

The next feminist blog carnival is on the way

Hoyden About Town have put out the call for Down Under Feminist Carnival submissions at Penguin Unearthed, who is hosting this month:

I’m particularly keen to have posts with a workplace focus, so all workplace submisions gratefully received.

But all feminists posts are welcome, and if you don’t have your own blog, don’t be shy, feel free to send me a post that I can put on my blog for you.

The submission form is here, but it’s down right now, so feel free to email me on penguinunearthed at gmail dot com instead. Submissions due by 31 October.