Australian PhD candidate and sessional academic. Interests include: women's liberation, green living, women's health, babies and mothering.

I’m exhausted and the last 24 hours feel a bit surreal. My family flew up to Brisbane early yesterday morning to attend the funeral and wake of a very special lady, Jo, a true champion of social justice. We then flew back to Melbourne the same evening. I got home just after midnight and collapsed into bed.

I remember Jo telling me right before I moved to America in 2011 that I mustn’t listen to a man who wants me to give up school or any dream of mine for him: “we gave up everything for love” she said of the women in her generation.

Jo’s one and only grandchild, and a boy I love and consider my nephew was born only a few months ago. It was a moving experience sitting by him and seeing his bright, curious eyes study everyone’s faces as his grandmother’s coffin stood behind him. Life and death are such miracles. I want my parents to have decades of time with their grandchildren.

One of the speakers at the service said that death reminds us to reflect on our priorities and to reject materialism and conflict. I thought about how prevalent those themes are in civilisation. At the wake afterwards I was talking to guy who has spent his life fighting for social justice and we wondered if the Snowden leaks didn’t cause much of a backlash because everyone knows at some level how oppressive the military-industrial-congressional complex is and have just become numb to it, or because people are unsure about how to effectively resist.

Now I’m back home trying to figure out what material to include in the lectures I’m giving on feminism next month. I wish I could just sit back and play every part of this amazing cultural criticism by bell hooks to the students.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Can you explain a bit more about your stance on surrogacy? Do you feel it is exploitative in all circumstances?
friedarose friedarose Said:

If there is no exchange of money and it’s a close relative, that seems more ethical, but middle class white people using the bodies of poor women of colour to bear their children is just the epitome of exploitation. I agree with Professor Jeffreys who argues that the surrogacy industry has ‘separated childbirth from motherhood.’ It is telling that baby Gammy’s Thai surrogate mother described Gammy as ‘her baby’ and said nobody would ever take her baby away from her. I wouldn’t know as I’ve never carried a baby to term, but it must be the most profound experience to have a human life form from within your body, and traumatising to have to then hand that life over to someone else.

But remember that these sexist douchebags are simply doing what they have to do to meet the interests of capital. Until we fundamentally change our insane market-based economy the hiring preferences of employers will not change. The fact is, most women do have a child by the age of 40 and that does disrupt their employment over the course of their lives. If it was profitable to hire women of child-bearing age, employers would be falling over themselves to promote 28-year-old women. But it’s not profitable, it’s risky, and that’s how callous the system is. Until we move beyond seeing profit as the almighty god and start prioritising the community by, for example, shortening the work week and getting men to take on a greater caring role, things won’t change.

(via rigelandsirius)


Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Ferguson, MO and Police Militarization

This is amazing

This is so fucking sad.

Fantastic interview with sociology professor Charles Derber where he discusses his theory that the United States and other capitalist market-based societies are ‘sociopathic’…

— Catharine A. MacKinnon (1989)
Have to remind myself that ‘gender equality’ generally measures women’s success against a male standard. Men’s experiences are regarded as normative. This wisdom never really resonated with me while I was an undergrad pursuing what I thought was the same path as my male peers. The moment my sex necessitated some deviation from that path, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of vulnerability.

— Catharine A. MacKinnon (1989)

Have to remind myself that ‘gender equality’ generally measures women’s success against a male standard. Men’s experiences are regarded as normative. This wisdom never really resonated with me while I was an undergrad pursuing what I thought was the same path as my male peers. The moment my sex necessitated some deviation from that path, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of vulnerability.

The women who give birth to the children are called surrogate mothers, in an attempt to distance them from the “real” or commissioning mothers. Yet the surrogate mothers are the persons who have carried the infants in their wombs. They created them out of their flesh and blood for nine months.
They suffer not just the exploitation of having their bodies controlled by others – the buyers, agents and doctors – but then must suffer the psychological effects of having their babies removed. The pain of poor and often desperate women in other countries who are sometimes repeatedly pimped out to baby farms by male partners or families for profit is not considered relevant. They are expected to treat their bodies as factories and their babies as products that are unrelated to their humanness.
Sheila Jeffreys

I was in a shop today looking at bridesmaid dresses for my sister, and I told the shop assistant that my wedding is 10 weeks away, “oh! you’re leaving things a bit late” she said. Here I thought I was doing well. I’d booked everything and all that was left was a dress for my sister, but the Wedding Industry sees things differently.

How the hell did Khloe Kardashian plan a wedding in 9 days?

— Sheila Jeffreys, Beauty and Misogyny (2005)

In the minds of people justifying the abuse of Christy Mack, she took something that didn’t belong to her - her body - and gave it to someone who didn’t own it. In this collective narrative, she stole from a man and he had no choice but to punish her for it. Never let it be said that we don’t practice our own versions of honour killings.
Clementine Ford



So the wife of Ferguson police chief says community is “feral”. 

A wild cracker appears.

I can’t take this. I’m so ashamed on behalf of the white, privileged middle class. The wife of the Ferguson police chief has views you hear all the time justifying the dehumanisation and exclusion of POC. “They murder their unborn babies” um, what? Think about what determines whether or not women feel they can give birth… hmm… a stable income, access to health care and child care, and not fearing that your child will be shot for no reason probably gives you more confidence about bringing a child into this world. But when WOC do give birth, you know this lady would channel Ronald Reagan and scoff at the ‘welfare queens’ in her community. Fucking hell, we need to take ownership for what’s going on. Our wealth and opportunity are built on the backs of an underclass who are disproportionately black. We didn’t just magically ascend to this position of privilege because white skin imbues us with better decision-making abilities. We got here because we colonised, co-opted, massacred, and forced our way here.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
After going off hormonal birth control, how long did it take for your body to adjust? On hbc I have fuller breast and slightly more weight. Off it I feel like my body shrinks.
friedarose friedarose Said:

About 3-6 months. The side effects of going off HBC are quite stunning, really makes you realise how powerful that little pill is. My side effects were: smaller chest, more pimples, hair loss on head/more hair on face (that sucked). The extreme side effects went away though. Now I have clear skin and no chest sensitivity during my follicular phase, and a few pimples, some fatigue, and a sensitive chest in my luteal phase.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
I am certain that when my partner and I marry, I will keep my own surname. However I have no idea which name my children will have!! Hyphenated names seem a little silly to me & I can't come to terms with the children having only my surname or only his - it doesn't seem fair for only one parent to share the surname. How would you reconcile this?
friedarose friedarose Said:

Jon hasn’t expressed a preference, but I’ve suggested the kids just take his surname. Because he’s so impartial about things it’s easy to fall back on tradition. If he felt passionately about thwarting the tradition I think I would feel like I could take it on, because let me tell ya, I’d be explaining/defending a decision to give our children my surname for the rest of my life and I can’t do that alone.