Saturday, March 08, 2008

International Talk-Down-to-Women Day?

It's great that the NZ Herald has decided on International Women's Day to continue their long standing tradition of telling women how to behave 'appropriately'. I am of course, referring to the offensive piece of psuedo-journalism titled, "Be a lady - not a blokette - women urged".

There are two messages here. One is a warning against the effects of over-indulging in alcohol and having unsafe sex- a very important message. The other is the incredible double standard that the writers and those involved in this article hold to women compared with men- it's condescending, and it's outdated.

"Spokeswoman Christine Low said along with a rise in unsafe sexual behaviour, one in four women had revealed they could not remember what they did when drinking alcohol. She said that kind of behaviour led to women potentially putting themselves into situations with life-changing consequences. [...]"There is also the increased possibility of becoming the victims of physical and sexual violence.""

It makes my blood boil whenever I read anything that suggests that women are responsible for keeping themselves safe from sexual attacks. The responsibility and the blame is not theirs to carry, and blatant sexism masquerading as a public service announcement is insulting at best and insidious at worst.

Reading this article critically, it tells us that it's acceptable for men to act a certain way, but not women. If the message is really that people should be mindful of how they take care of their bodies, by taking precautions around sex and by not over-indulging in alcohol, then why is the article not directed at all people instead of just women? By targeting this safety information only to females they are reinforcing the idea that men can police themselves whereas women need "guidance" to tell them what is appropriate- which according to the Herald, is to "act like ladies".

"The National Council of Women said New Zealand women were blazing across political and economic barriers, but socially seemed to be confusing empowerment with what had been historically classed as the domain of stereotypical male behaviour."

Well now, it's possible I'm confused, but that seems pretty patronising. It's saying that if a woman acts in a way that could be read as stereotypically male, she's not being empowered, she's being confused. Here I was, thinking that empowerment was the ability to behave in the manner you think best befits you, regardless of stereotypes. If binge drinking and unsafe sex are typically male behaviours, I feel sorry for the hyper-testosterone afflicted among us- being male (according to the Herald and the NCW) means consistently exercising poor judgement and making unwise sexual choices. Perhaps the Herald should focus on the male population should future advice need to be metered out on the topic?

"Women needed [sic] to realise that empowerment does not disenfranchise them from being a woman", she said."

Ms. Low seems to see empowerment and womanliness as being essentially oppositional- it's obvious from her statement that "being a woman" is something that you can forget about easily if empowerment comes your way. (Watch out women, empowerment coming! Hold on to your breasts!)

"Ms Low saod [sic] women needed to know it was perfectly acceptable to act and behave like a woman and not a "blokette" with something to prove to their male counterparts."

I wonder what Ms Low's version of acting like a woman looks like. It obviously doesn't have anything to do with acting irresponsibly. Because what woman would act irresponsibly at times?

The main problem that I have with this article is that it propagates the oppositionally sexist idea that women and men should act in separate, distinct ways- and if women act in ways that men are expected to, they are confused or trying to prove something to men. I wont argue that men and women aren't different a la social constructivism- even if I do feel that gender conditioning has a lot to answer for. What I will argue for is the equal treatment of women and men; public service announcements should be just that- announcements to the public- not an opportunity to preach to women about how people outside of themselves wish them to act.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Don't Go Changin'...

Since I killed off the events listing portion of this blog I haven't had any ideas on how to utilise this space. I came by today and did some late summer cleaning, deleting all the 'LezEvents' listing posts (thanks to the anonymous person who commented and advised me my links needed an update- you kick started the clean up).

Happy HERO 2008,


Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Sound of a Car

The Sound of a Car is a play by the award winning young lesbian writer, Thalia Hen. It is the story of a girl who falls in love with her best friend, and is being performed on Friday September the 7th at 10:30am. Come to the Herald Theatre at The Edge at Aotea Centre to experience a great performance and to support a local queer artist.


The Sound of a Car
A Play by Thalia Hen
The Herald Theatre (The Edge, Aotea Centre, Auckland CBD)
For booking information call Aotea Centre on (09) 309 2677

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Artisan Craft Market

An Auckland lesbian couple are holding an arts and crafts market on the 30th of June at the Eden Activity Centre in Balmoral. Food will be sold and a raffle will be held, the proceeds of which go to 'The Lonely Miaow', a charity which cares for stray and abandoned cats in the greater Auckland area.

Features at the market include:

- Quality Handmade Goods: Homewares, food, clothing, childrens wear, jewellery, toys, art, etc...
- Childrens area with toys
- Food and Drink
- Charity Raffle

The organisers are also looking for more vendors (especially all you crafty queer women out there) so if you are interested in selling your wares please contact Sonya on 021 990 676 or


Artisan Craft Market
Saturday June 30th 2007, 12-3pm
Eden Activity Centre
487 Dominion Rd, Balmoral
Cash only (ATMs within walking distance)

More information about The Lonely Miaow charity can be found at

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Stacy Bias and DykeTees

Those of you who know who Stacy Bias is, already know about DykeTees, and, the online community that she created for queer women. You may even know about her efforts to combat fatphobia, her FatGirl Speaks show (and upcoming book), CupCake parties, bellies are and T-shirt store . She's also co-edited (and contributed to) a lesbian erotic fiction book 'Up All Night'. She created 'Pussy Pucker Pots' and 'Literati Lip Balm'. For those of you who've missed the phenomenon that is Ms Bias, you can find out more about her and her exploits on her official website, .

The latest news is that DykeTees have increased their sizes to go up to a 5XL (formerly topped at 2XL). This is a result of much lobbying on Stacy's part to Cafe Press. Her radfatties designs also go up to 5XL.

Some of my favourite designs:

And for the larger ladies...

(I'm Even Bigger in Japan, I May be Fat But Your Mom Seems to Enjoy it, Fat People on a Plane: Don't Like it? Don't @#&%ing Fly)
You can also get the designs on caps, boxers, mugs, mousepads, greeting cards, journals, camisoles, bags, pillows, postcards, badges, stickers etc...

All designs © Stacy Bias 2007.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I <3 Female Orgasm

'I Love Female Orgasm' is an education program in the United States that promotes sex education with female empowerment. It's run by a (f-m) couple, Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller. They basically tour college campuses and teach with a humourist approach- their program is inclusive of people of all genders and sexual orientations.
While we in NZ may not be able to take part in this interesting course, we can support their project by visiting their online shop- they have very inexpensive t-shirts, posters and a range of buttons for sale, and a portion of the proceeds of all sales goes to a Breast Cancer charitable organisation.
I've just bought 6 buttons (badges) for $6 + $2.25 post USD (all up less than $12 NZD). They don't have an international shipping option on their site so if you are interested in making a purchase please email them from the website or at, they're really lovely people to deal with.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A lesbian poem by Mary Dorcey

An ungrammatical poem
by Mary Dorcey

And you,
the rain on our skin,
the sun beating,
you - sweet, guileful sister
of pleasure,
you said in my ear

my mind turning
my body in your hands
you said,
say my name
when you come

and I did
say it,
your name
say it as well
as I could,
coming so many times

which is perhaps why
rain beating, sun on the skin
I say it still sometimes,
your name, when I come
so long after
you went.

(from the book Beautiful Barbarians: lesbian feminist poetry, ed. Lilian Mohin, Onlywomen Press, London, 1986)