Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia

This video went around the globe, and rightfully so. Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister of Australia gave a heated speech in the Australian Parliament on sexism and misogyny, targeted at opposition leader Tony Abbott. Jezebel gave some insight into the history:

“Abbott demanded that Peter Slipper, the Speaker of the House, step down for allegedly sexually harassing an openly gay male staff member in a series of text messages, one of which apparently compared female genitalia to mussels. I know. Juicy already. Abbott then implied that if Gillard defended Slipper, she would be just as sexist as a gay man who talks shit on vaginas. Abbott said, “And every day the prime minister stands in this parliament to defend this Speaker will be another day of shame for this parliament, another day of shame for a government which should already have died of shame.””

Gillard’s reply is epic. You rarely see something like this in parliaments (unfortunately, because there would be room for some lecturing on our side of the planet as well). My favorite quote: “If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia he doesn’t need a motion in the house of Representatives, he needs a mirror.”

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One Billion Rising

The person behind One Billion Rising event is Eve Ensler, the author of The Vagina Monologues and founder of the V-day movement. What is the new movement about? One Billion Rising claims:

One In Three Women On The Planet Will Be Raped Or Beaten In Her Lifetime.

One Billion Women Violated Is An Atrocity.

One Billion Women Dancing Is A Revolution.

On V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, we are inviting ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence. ONE BILLION RISING will move the earth, activating women and men across every country. V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, our numbers, our solidarity across borders.

What does ONE BILLION look like? On February 14th, 2013, it will look like a REVOLUTION.

ONE BILLION RISING IS:

A global strike
An invitation to dance
A call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends
An act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers
A refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given
A new time and a new way of being

Many celebrities also started joining the movement, from Jane Fonda to Jessica Alba. Eve Ensler’s recent piece on OBR appeared in The Guardian on September 24th — it is definitely worth reading. And for the record, the one billion is not just a number out of thin air: it is a UN statistic. One out of three women will be beaten up or raped during their lifetime.  Plenty of reasons to rise.

Wearing nothing new

Once again, a little detour from (hard core) feminism. As I wrote in a previous post, I consider the issue of being environmentally friendly (or “green” as we now say) part of being socially sensitive. Sensitive to what is going on in the world and responding to it, consciously.

Part of being green (hate this expression by the way) means trying to buy second hand things. Furniture, books, kitchenware, and ultimately, or actually primarily, clothes. Most girls I know have been to clothes swap events, and most of them have shopped in second hand clothing stores. It is fun: partially social activity, partially treasure hunting, partially looking for a new piece for the wardrobe, and partially eco-friendly.

So my friends, here is a little inspiration by designer (and empowering female figure) Jessi Arrington on how to take this to the next level:

BirthMarkings – creative short film on accepting the body’s changes after giving birth

The International Museum of Women is, as the organizers say about the project, “an innovative online museum that showcases art, stories and ideas to celebrate, inspire and advance the lives of women around the world.” They are a museum without walls, and they give voice to women who are (all too often) unheard.

On this portal I found a video that is only 20 minutes long but it  touches on an interesting subject in an original way. The short film “BirthMarkings” explores women’s bodies after giving birth, and the self-image change that usually follows. Should these stretch marks be called scars? Why is no one talking about them, yet these are things that almost all of us have seen on our mothers’ (or on our own) bodies? Is this something to be ashamed of or is it something natural? The film raises these and other important question about (healthy) body image, motherhood and the (Western) concept of beauty. Margaret Lazarus, the film’s director only focuses on women’s tummies, and that I mean literally: the camera only shows the abdominal regions, and we only hear the women’s voices, but we never see their face.

As someone who has not (yet) given birth, I must admit I am afraid of all that lies ahead of me, of the ways this will affect my body (and soul). So I consider this shock therapy for myself: a lesson on starting to already get accustomed to the thought and learn to deal with it, as this will be something I have little control over. One of those things that affect so many women, but is rarely discussed openly.