Newsletter

Queen Vic newsletter – Issue #17

June 2017

Continue reading

    Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off

    Women of Colour are Superheroes Too

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    By Yen-Rong Wong

    DC’s film Wonder Woman has been released, highly anticipated since DC announced it was in the works about a year ago. From all accounts, it seems to be doing quite well. I’ve seen photographs of mothers and daughters of all ages dressing up as Wonder Woman, getting involved in a culture that sometimes can seem reserved for ‘nerdy white boys’.

    It may have been this stereotype that pushed me away from comic books and superheroes in my childhood. It really should have been my cup of tea – I gobbled up fantasy novels like there was no tomorrow, and there was a while when I entertained the idea of having superpowers, even though my rational brain knew I probably couldn’t fly or move things with my mind. Now I’m a little older, and have become increasingly invested in many things superhero-related.

    I recently visited the Marvel exhibit at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, where costumes and props from all of the Marvel films are on display. While I admired the intricacy of the costume and set designs, and enjoyed seeing collections of comic books on display, I also came to realise why I probably didn’t like superheroes when I was younger. It was because I was unable to see myself in any of them – and even now, it seems as though we still have a fair way to go.

    While it is true that there are more women involved in and fronting shows about superheroes (see Jessica Jones, Agent Carter, Supergirl, to name a few) – they all white women. The word “woman” seems to only mean “white woman” – ethnically diverse women have to deal with the pleasure of having their ethnicity slapped on for good measure. The issue also goes far beyond physical representation. The way in which women of colour are portrayed or discussed in such shows – as sidekicks, followers, damsels in distress, or the “exotic” seductress – is problematic. Women of colour are more than just flat stereotypes and they deserve more than the lip service that seems to be paid to ethnic minorities in the name of “diversity”.

    Such a phrase has, in some instances, become almost tokenistic. Progress in this area is slow even though it has been proven, time and time again, that shows starring women (and people) of colour do quite well. Marvel’s Agents of Shield stars a bunch of women of colour, the most prominent being Melinda May, played by all round badass Ming-Na Wen, and Daisy Johnson, who eventually becomes Quake. Daisy is played by Chloe Bennet (born as Chloe Wang), who readily admits that once she changed her last name to something more “Western”, she started booking more jobs.

    On the flip side, Marvel also came under intense criticism for casting Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange, a character who originally hails from the Himalayas. When Swinton commented on the controversy, she lauded the director for “[deciding] to reimagine the Ancient One as a woman. People shouting loud and proud about needing more diversity in Hollywood cinema have got us right behind them.” This is all well and good, but feminism is intersectional – it has to be. Surely it would not have been a terrible shock to the system for the Ancient One to have been Asian and a woman?

    There are those who claim that films with people of colour as leads (let alone women of colour) would do poorly at the box office – and yet this has been disproven, time and time again. Jordan Peele’s satirical horror film, Get Out, has raked in US $241 million, blowing its US $4.5 million budget out of the water. In contrast, Matt Damon’s film, The Great Wall, which is set in China and plays right into the white saviour myth, was a relative flop at the box office. Additionally, the 2017 Hollywood Diversity Report, conducted by the Bunche Centre, offers more quantitative evidence that “increasingly diverse audiences prefer diverse film and television content”. The report also found that “films with relatively diverse casts enjoyed the highest median global box office receipts and the highest median return on investment.” The evidence is there, if you bother to look for it. A film with a woman of colour superhero will sell.

    Interestingly, comic books themselves have become more ethnically diverse, with characters like Lunella Lafayette (Moon Girl), and the reintroduction of Iron Man as a young black girl. I can only hope this trend continues, and spreads to similar representations on screen. Marvel has recently announced that they will be making Captain Marvel, a film based on the comic book series, Ms Marvel. The current Ms Marvel series, written by G. Willow Wilson, a Muslim woman, features Kamala Khan, a teenage Muslim Pakistani American girl. I hope Marvel will see it fit to cast Ms Marvel in this iteration.

    It will be another step towards telling girls and women of colour around the world that they, too, can be superheroes.

    Yen-Rong is a Brisbane based writer, and the founding editor of Pencilled In, a magazine dedicated to showcasing the work of Asian Australian artists. Her work has been published in The Guardian, The Lifted Brow, Catalogue Magazine, and Djed Press. You can read more of her words at inexorablist.com.

     

      Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off

      Saving up for the cost of womanhood

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      By Amy Gray

      Last month’s article “The Cost of Womanhood” by Jane Gilmore resonated with our readers and spread like wildfire across social media.

      It also prompted a lot of questions, like this letter we received from Zoe via our Facebook page.

      Hi, I just read the article on your page about ‘john and mary’, that showed the economic circumstances of a man and a woman through their lives. I am a 17 year old completing yr 12 at the moment, and a proud feminist, yet one planning on going into the low-paying area of social work and who plans to have kids one day. That article/story has made me feel rather hopeless, what can I do to avoid that situation? Do I need to ensure that I can be completely financially independent for my whole life? Do I need to not have children? To go into a higher paying job? It’s easy to feel financially doomed as a millennial, and though i work two jobs and am better off than many of my peers, my future seems bleak in that department. Any advice?

      This is something every feminist comes across in their struggle for equality – what can be done?

      QVWC contributor and editor Amy Gray shared a lengthy reply to Zoe. We want to share this with you, a reminder that for every problem a feminist finds, there is often a solution.

      Hi Zoe,

      Thank you so much for your message. I’m glad the story moved you but am sorry you’re feeling bad about it.

      You are not without hope and it sounds excellent you want to help others with social work. Things are hard as a millennial and even harder trying to pay off Uni but there is still a path.

      At the heart of QVWC is the mission to help women empower themselves economically. Part of that means becoming financially literate (you can get training for that and we will have some events coming up if you’re in Melbourne) and learning how to budget and manage your finances through to saving, responsible consumption, taxes, investments, etc.

      But the other part is realising how gender discrimination plays out financially. You’re on that path now thanks to Jane’s excellent article and once you know how discrimination works, it’s easier to resist or plan around.

      Thinking about Mary, how would she have done it differently? Central to this would be Mary deciding her economic stability was one she should shore up independently or negotiate with John to maintain greater autonomy.

      Perhaps she could have insisted John reduce his hours at work because child rearing should not be the sole job of women. It’s the same with house chores, still overwhelmingly done by women, even when men are at-home caregivers.

      She could have insisted on going back to work full time to ensure her own career progression, or gone back part time and studied to give herself professional development, leading to promotions and higher pay (and thus superannuation). She could have developed her career into one that wasn’t subject to gendered economic penalty (i.e. admin is often considered a woman’s job and therefore not highly paid). She could have pushed for higher pay earlier on, something that statistically women find difficult, often due to cultural conditioning lest they be considered “bossy” or “demanding”.

      She could have increased her superannuation contributions (there are ways to do this before tax – accountants and financial consultants can help) or even looked for work at places that offer salary packaging (often non-profits) or higher super contributions (universities are one place but there are others).

      She could have saved a nest egg and invested it elsewhere. This is largely dependent on access to disposable income, which is an intersection of privilege that some don’t have, but still, every cent saved into a nest egg is a cent saved that can grab a scrap of interest.

      Many women are also developing what is known as a “fuck off fund” where they save anywhere from $2,000 and up so they always have access to emergency funds so they don’t have to endure abuse at home or unhappy jobs.

      Mary could have refused to quit her job and insisted that childcare was a joint expense between her and John (often it is assumed childcare is the mother’s expense). The unexpected loss from resigning to look after children full time is the loss of superannuation contributions and professional development that could lead to higher paying, secure and absorbing work.

      If childcare is too high a cost for John’s taste, then how much will he pay her to stay at home? A wage Mary can use to invest in her superannuation or other investments or savings funds. It’s a radical idea but so is the idea a woman earning money is too great an expense to the family.

      Home ownership is another thing – perhaps John and Mary could have held onto their flat and used it as collateral to move into a smaller second home, giving them an investment that would pay itself off before becoming an option for Mary’s accommodation when the divorce happened.

      But central to all of this is Mary considering her needs as well as her family’s and deeming them equally important. Women often submit themselves as less important – therefore the unpaid work – than their husband, which comes at a financial cost.

      This is then an area that can be open to abuse – financial abuse is part of the spectrum of relationship abuse. We’re sharing an article tomorrow with a link to resources that can help.

      The main thing to realise is that you are important. Your past, your present and your future is just as important as a man’s. So, your choices are important, as is your comfort and economic safety.

      Hopefully you’ve liked the QVWC page and have signed up for the newsletters. Keep on reading and get skilled up on how to look after yourself as you embark on your social work career and help look after others. But don’t be depressed about it all. You’ve got someone amazing in your corner: you.

      Best of luck.

      Amy Gray

        Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off

        Queen Vic newsletter – Issue #16

        May 2017

        Continue reading

          Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off

          Put a Feminist on it: why I’m sick of feminist fashion

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

          By Amy Gray

          As a writer, I’m a huge fan of window shopping: it combines the thrill of looking at things you can’t afford with the excitement of not buying them.

          One major clothing store has a range of t-shirts emblazoned with “feminist” and beanies embroidered with “Not Yours”, a cheeky defiance against entitlement. A bookstore promotes a new line of totes, again screaming out “FEMINIST” in bold capital letters. Another bag exhorts you to “Read. Resist. Repeat.”, while another utilises Trump’s dismissal of Hillary Clinton as a “Nasty Woman”.

          Later online, looking at winter clothes for my daughter, she could buy shirts and jackets with “Not Your Baby” or “No Man’s Woman”. It was a nice distraction from all the men screaming abuse at me on Twitter at the time.

          It’s reminiscent of a scene from comedy series Portlandia where they enter stores to “put birds on things” because they’re so damn popular. Nothing is safe from bird application.

          Perhaps feminism is the new bird. If we believe in a free market economy where supply meets demand, then there is obviously demand for feminism. There must be so many feminists out there demanding more tshirts, jackets, hats, bags and ephemera. They’re demanding more feminism, so the market is bound to follow them. Simple.

          Yet reality is rarely simple. The market isn’t suddenly feminist: the market is selling feminism.

          As Ruby Hamad noted in her keynote speech for QVWC on International Women’s Day and our interview, the craze for these clothes often masks the oppression of women in sweatshops, offering superficial representation instead of the complex work of structural change.

          This was perfectly illustrated when collaboration between Elle UK and the Fawcett Society used sweatshop labour to produce their “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” tshirt. Women in Mauritius were paid lower than $1 per hour to make these tshirts. As Sam Maher from Labour Behind the Label says, “this is an entire system of exploitation”. In this case, a tshirt made by exploited women of colour to satisfy the whimsy of white people eager to make a statement but not make change.

          Ruby’s point is as strong as it is ignored – our craze for superficial representation means nothing when it relies on the exploitation of other women. It’s ignored not because it is easier to wear a tshirt than actively lobby for structural change. Be a feminist, but don’t worry about doing feminist things.

          I’m not perfect here – four years ago, I helped create a short release of feminist-themed tshirts. There were slogans, names and imagery so people could proclaim their feminism. We found a local printer so we could support Australian business and chose a tshirt manufacturer that appeared to have strong ethics and was a member of Fair Labour Association.

          I later discovered that at the manufacturer’s factory in Haiti, workers earned $12 a day to make tshirts – it’s more than other factories on the island, but not enough to meet the average living wage of $28 per day. No matter the rate, it’s still small change to those running the billion dollar company.

          I had treated human rights as a checklist on my way to making something to sell. They didn’t change anything but made people fleetingly happy instead of permanently secure. I hadn’t interrogated what I was doing and its impact.

          In ‘No Logo’, Naomi Klein recounts talking with school students about sweatshop labour. Their response was direct – tell us where to shop instead. Klein reiterates it’s not about questioning where you shop but realising what we buy into sells out others.

          A tshirt won’t liberate anyone and a jacket won’t break the male gaze of entitlement. That comes from structural change – constant, vigilant work to ensure women have the same political, social, economic, professional and legal opportunity as men. It’s not available in shops, but it fits like a dream.

           

            Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off

            The cost of womanhood

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

            By Jane Gilmore

            The official gender pay gap in Australia is 16% (Workplace Gender Equality Agency). That seemingly small number adds up to a gigantic difference between men and women, especially as women age.

            Instead of dry numbers and statistics, let’s apply them to the lives of two average, middle class, white Australians – John and Mary – to see how economic discrimination affects women’s lives.

            John and Mary met at university and they quickly found work after graduating at 23. John’s accounting job paid $48,000 and Mary’s administration job $40,000. It’s a relatively small difference in wage so far.

            At 28 they married and were both promoted. John’s salary increased to $62,000 – he’d put in a lot of overtime and got yearly bonuses worth $10,000 over five years. Mary’s salary was $49,000, but she didn’t receive any bonuses or overtime as they are rarely available to admin staff.

            They bought a small two bedroom place close to the CBD, for $350,000 and, by the time Mary was pregnant, John got another promotion. His salary was now $68,000 with annual $5,000 performance bonus. Meanwhile, Mary’s employer offered her 6 weeks paid maternity leave and a guarantee that she could come back to her job after 12 months.

            When it was time for Mary to return to work, they decided they didn’t want their toddler in full time childcare – Mary could work a part time job and look after the child because John didn’t want to reduce his working hours with a looming promotion. Mary didn’t have any real prospects for promotion after being away from work for a year, so she returned to work 2 days per week.

            When the promotion finally came, John’s salary jumped to $90,000 per year with $20,000 worth of stock options. Meanwhile, Mary was earning $19,000 a year.

            They sold their apartment and bought a house in the suburbs for $900,000 when Mary got pregnant again. When the baby arrived, they decided the cost of childcare for two children under five would be almost as much as she could earn working two days a week. John was spending so much time at work that Mary quit her job so she could do all the work needed to run a house and look after two children.

            By the time the third baby was born, they were both 35. John was earning $105,000 plus options and bonuses, while Mary had no income, no superannuation contributions and no career.

            For the next five years Mary stayed home with the children. Because he had Mary at home to make sure all the daily tasks were managed, John could devote his energy into his job. He had a clean, comfortable home, good food, happy children and a fun social life.

            John continued to work hard and was made a partner at his firm. His salary went up to $130,000 per year and they had paid off close to one third of their mortgage.

            When they were both 42 and all the kids were in school, Mary got a casual job as a receptionist in the local medical centre for 20 hours per week with no paid holidays or sick leave. While her starting salary was $19,000, the same as it had been ten years before, John’s salary increased to $150,000 per year, plus bonuses and partnership equity.

            By this time, John and Mary started drifting apart. They were fighting a lot and John was often absent. Mary thought he might be having an affair, she was lonely and felt that he didn’t notice how much work she did to care for him and their children. John felt that she had no understanding or appreciation for how hard he worked for the family.

            Like one third of married couples in Australia, John and Mary eventually separated. John’s salary was $160,000 by then. Mary was still working 20 hours per week at the medical centre, but her salary hadn’t changed.

            After selling their house for $1,200,000 and sorting out their remaining $550,000 mortgage, they both had $325,000. John’s superannuation balance at the time was $200,000, while Mary’s was $43,000. As part of the settlement, she received $80,000 of John’s super balance.

            The children stayed with John one weeknight and every second weekend but stayed with Mary the rest of the time. John paid Mary $39,000 per year in child support.

            Mary asked for more hours at the medical centre, which increased her salary to $25,000, but she still had no paid leave.

            John used his share of the money from the sale of the house and bought another for $1,000,000. Mary couldn’t get a mortgage because she only had casual work and it didn’t pay well enough to make repayments on a house big enough for her and three children. She put the money in the bank, but often had to draw on it to pay living costs like rent, which was close to 40% of her total income.

            At 50, John paid off most of his mortgage using bonuses from work and selling a few stocks. His salary had gone up to $180,000 and his expenses decreased considerably after divorce. He increased his super contributions to 15%.

            Mary was still working at the medical centre, her salary had increased to $28,000 but her rent had gone up and she had had to move house twice. The money in the bank had gone down to $250,000.

            Two years later the medical centre was sold and Mary lost her job. Her two youngest children were still living with her so she still needed to rent a two bedroom house. She drew the remaining money from the sale of the house for living costs.

            Mary couldn’t get another permanent job. Despite having a degree, she had spent too long out of the workforce and her job at the medical centre didn’t offer any ability to increase her skills or get promoted. She got a few causal jobs through a temp agency, but most employers wanted younger worker for reception and admin jobs, which was the only work she knew how to do. She got around $350 a week from Centrelink, and John was still paying $30,000 per year in child support.

            When they were both 55, John was earning $250,000 per year, and had increased his super contributions to 25%.  Mary still didn’t have a job and John no longer needed to pay child support because all their children were over 18. She moved to a one bedroom flat and continued to use the money left in the bank to cover the difference between Centrelink payments and living costs.

            John retired at 65, he had paid off his house and his superannuation balance was $1,000,000.

            Mary’s superannuation balance was $139,000, and she had nothing left from the sale of the house. She was still renting the one bedroom flat, but was struggling to pay rent on a pension of $400 per week. She was in housing stress and had no prospects of changing her finances.

            She would live in hardship for the rest of her life.

            But this is no story – it’s fact. John and Mary are typical Australians. Gendered roles and discrimination have a direct impact on women’s livelihood. It impacts on the employment we’re able to find, the wages we draw, job security, our level of superannuation, the unpaid labour expected from us…and then we’re told anyone who works hard enough can avoid this.

            It’s time we stop avoiding the real cost of being a woman.

            The numbers are drawn from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Centrelink payment rates in 2017, Department of Social Services child support rates, and Australian Bureau of Statistics gender indicator data.

              Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off

              Queen Vic Newsletter – Issue #15

              April 2017

              Continue reading

                Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off

                Reaching Critical Point: Dealing With Online Criticism

                By Elizabeth Flux

                On a recent visit to my parents’ house I found myself looking through a bunch of my school reports from early childhood. I skipped past the praise for mastering simple arithmetic and spelling, noted my teacher’s acknowledgement of my fierce (and possibly too intense) competitiveness when it came to the class reading chart, and shrugged off my mediocre marks for art. Then I got to the Physical Education report. “Elizabeth is making good progress” the teacher had begun “but I grow increasingly concerned at her inability to hop.”

                My ears turned red in indignation for my four year old self. How very dare she I thought. What use is hopping in the real world anyway I countered to no one in particular, quashing the words “calculus” and “matrices” as they tried to fight their way to the surface. I’ve never been anything remotely resembling an athlete – my school sporting contributions included “using sports day as an opportunity to get ahead on homework” and “defiantly walking the 400 metre run because I was unfit and resented being forced to participate against my will” – but to see myself be criticised for it in black and white letters cut deep.

                Now that I’m an adult and a writer, I don’t get school reports to critique my work and my worth. Instead I get emails from editors, comments on articles and, from time to time, tweets from husbands, furious that I’d suggest something so outrageous as maybe wife-taking-man’s-name shouldn’t be done as a mere default.

                We all have an ego, and we all take pride in our work; to have someone either constructively (or, in some cases, maliciously) pick away at the idea that everything we put out into the world is perfect has the potential to really hurt. It’s strange; it’s as though when we receive praise we don’t really believe it; only when someone says something negative do we think we are finally hearing the truth.

                As a woman, as a feminist, as a writer and as a (sigh) millennial, criticism is constantly coming at me from all directions. The internet is ever-present: it doesn’t go home at 5pm, it doesn’t take holidays, and so along with this reality comes the potential for criticism anytime, anywhere. If I internalised all of it, I’d essentially become a human shell used only for the purposes of transporting hurtful words from bed to the couch to the fridge and then back to bed.

                So, I’ve patched together a way to deal.

                • Triage: all criticism is going to sting a little bit at the beginning. Let yourself feel that – but do it privately.
                • Don’t respond with emotion: don’t ever send an email or respond when you’re in the initial phase of dealing with feedback because at this point emotion has the upper hand over rationality and will most likely lead you to say or write things that you’ll still be cringing over in eight years’ time.
                • Take a step back: enter a mental fortress of solitude where emotion is not allowed, and everything is all very literal and rational and analyse if you have received constructive or non-constructive criticism.
                • If it’s constructive: constructive criticism comes from editors or someone pointing out a flaw in your argument or insensitivity in your wording. Take the lesson on board, and see how you might use it to avoid a similar situation in the future.
                • If it’s the second malicious or non-constructive criticism: you have two ways to go about it, depending on how Art of War you’re feeling. The first is, simply, nothing. Don’t engage. I have a theory that trolls and bullies are fuelled by the validation they feel when people respond to their angry button mashing; take this away and they sag and wither miserably, like every flower I’ve ever tried to plant ever, no matter how well I follow the instructions.
                • Or…the second option is to respond, however I say this with the caveat of having a goal in mind. Don’t respond simply for catharsis or to punish. Respond, constructively. “Goal” is a nebulous term. Your goal could be to discourage them from putting further vitriol out into the world. It could be to try and bring them around to your point of view. Again, if you decide to go down this route, first go back to the Fortress of Solitude and see what works for you.

                I remember, at the age of seven, standing in the playground and stopping suddenly and thinking: this is it. I know everything. There is nothing more to learn. I then headed back to class and learned that The Middle Ages existed. Oh and there was at least 9 years left of school to take in. Realising that you can never really reach the end of the rainbow is frustrating. Having someone else point out the ways you can improve just compounds this feeling. But there is no point in allowing criticism to leave you hopping mad – especially if you have an inability to hop.

                Elizabeth Flux is a Melbourne-based freelance writer and the former editor of Voiceworks.

                 

                  Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off

                  The Other Mother of All Questions

                  By Amy Gray

                  Advance reviews for Rebecca Solnit’s upcoming book ‘Mother of All Questions’ are appearing in the press and, as the writer responsible for the portmanteau ‘mansplain’, many are eager to discover how she feels about her choice to not become a mother.

                  Remaining childless by choice is considered an almost radical notion. It’s the declaration that the clichéd ‘having it all’ can mean having what you want, not what society expects. Rejecting any expectation of motherhood also forces us to look at gender and realise people and their choices are more than their biology.

                  But there’s another notion to consider, removed from the media attention surrounding Solnit and her excellent work. It’s almost as radical as the choice to not have children.

                  It’s recognising that motherhood is also a feminist issue. Not only is it an issue, it’s a huge one.

                  Having written about the politics and feminism of motherhood for many years, I’ve been struck by the almost determined refusal by many feminists to engage with or elevate the topic. 

                  Perhaps this is due to the current media environment. The demand for fast and cheap journalism relies on freelance writers. This often prices older women out of the market, due to the fact they often have higher costs (i.e. kids) than younger writers that can’t be managed through shared accommodation, parents or part time jobs.

                  When you have a mostly youthful and childfree group of writers trying to churn out feminist articles as quickly as possible, they will write about their world – a media cycle of popular culture and identity politics. This rarely covers motherhood.

                  Even niche parenting imprints don’t devote themselves to indepth feminist discussion. When it does appear, it’s softened with first person life lesson stories easily packaged between celebrity mums and lunchboxes. It’s another resistance to explore the visceral politics of motherhood.

                  This creates a cycle where younger writers drive the main feminist conversations, conversations that do not include motherhood, which makes readers think that motherhood is not a feminist issue. This was seen at the recent Feminist Writers Festival, which received complaints from festivalgoers that too much of their programming covered motherhood. 

                  In the original essay that sparked her book, the Mother of All Questions, examines Solnit childlessness but her piece is really about finding happiness in your life without apology, happiness away from society’s demands and in tune with personal desire and trauma. It’s a worthy topic yet the use of motherhood as a Trojan horse for the discussion scatters casual assumptions about it as a topic.

                  The throwaway conclusions are like a broken clock: they’re right twice a day, thoroughly misleading for the rest. A case in point is the choice of books over babies in reference to herself and Virginia Woolf. It’s a common cry that one cannot make both art and babies because both require devoted labour. While this works as a personal choice, it fails to answer the real question: why is motherhood so onerous it’s an either/or choice?

                  She tells her readers at the end “There are many questions in life worth asking, but perhaps if we’re wise we can understand that not every question needs an answer”.  But, this approach only works when you have enough privilege to avoid answering.

                  And there’s reason to resist answering the complexity of motherhood and giving it greater feminist focus in mainstream media, despite one reviewer describing it as a “ a subject that’s been written about to death in the feminist blogosphere”. Motherhood is not simply biology-meets-apologies-for-the-“mummy spam”-on-Facebook (sidenote: please stop apologising for taking up public space as a mother) and becoming a mother isn’t a signal you’re a privileged woman who no longer cares about life or the struggle towards personal fulfilment and equality.

                  If women feel the only way to make art is to avoid motherhood, we need to question why motherhood is such a burdensome bore unworthy of feminist discussion: motherhood is where sexism, stereotypes and internal sexism swirl into a poisoned chalice.

                  Motherhood doesn’t only usher in a baby: it often pits women against expanded financial, physical and emotional abuse in the home. It comes burdened with social pressure and dismissal, with expectations of how women must submit to the cares and advancement of others instead of their own. A woman faces heightened discrimination at work the minute she reveals she’s pregnant, risks being made redundant while on maternity leave and comes back to either reduced work or a complete block to her career or financial advancement while her superannuation suffers. And this doesn’t even take into account the financial and logistical pressures automatically delegated to her in order to find suitable childcare.

                  This is where we see the unexamined reaction against motherhood – women dismiss it as a feminist issue not because it is boring or irrelevant but because it is so overwhelming.

                  I’m not justifying motherhood, nor am I trying to win new converts – an ever exploding world population handles that. I don’t want to question women: I want to question motherhood, a form of feminine labour and exploitation as old as the world itself.

                  If that doesn’t make it a public question worth answering, what the hell is?

                    Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off

                    Queen Vic newsletter – Issue #14

                    February 2017

                    Continue reading

                      Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off