Carnival of Feminists No 25

Welcome to the anniversary edition! Yep, the carnival is one year old, but, I think, well beyond its wobbly baby steps. Twenty-four bloggers have hosted the carnival; there’ve been (at a very rough count) about 1,000 posts linked and commented on, and, from some of the figures that have been reported to me, probably approaching 100,000 page impressions. That must translate into thousands of readers. You’ve all contributed to the success of the carnival. Thank you!

(Should you be catching up, you can find a complete listing of carnivals down the right of the home page.)

I thought it not unreasonable to bring it back “home” for the anniversary edition. I’d welcome comments, suggestions for the future, and of course, always, new volunteers to host. (Ragnell on Ragnell’s Written World has just collected some thoughts about the experience of hosting.)

You don’t have to be a “big” blogger; you don’t have to be any particular “type” of feminist – I aim only for as broad a mix in philosophy, geography and speciality as possible. Then, while I have some suggestions as to how to proceed, and will always be available to answer questions and help out, the carnival will be yours for that edition, to do with it as you will.

So enough of the navel-gazing; to the carnival proper…

I’m going to privilege this time one sort of post that I’d really like to see more of in the carnival – celebrations of women’s contributions throughout history (including recent history). So often, it seems, women who were prominent in their own times are lost to societal memory within a generation or two. Yet they can be an inspiration, a source of ideas, hope.

WOMEN OF HISTORY

First, a celebration of lots of women: on Feminish, parts one and two explore The March of the Women, 5/6 October 1789. Was the French Revolution a Women’s Revolution?

More personally, on Walking the Berkshires, Tim Abbott reflects on his “Aunt, Het”, Esther Gracie Ogden, suffragette. Her Christmas poem for 1914 read in part: “When the vote is won and the talk is done the jokes she will not resent, / For you can bet we’ll all vote for Het, when she runs for President!”

And Sappho on The Sappho Manifesto, celebrates her Revolutionary of the Week, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jennings, who played a big part in getting public transport in New York racially desegregated.

I’m going to exercise here my “host’s right” to a link, to point you to the autobiography of Ann Pettitt, who might be called “the woman who started the Greenham Common protest”. Inspirational!

Also on more recent history, Louisefeminista on Stroppyblog celebrates Debbie Harry: uber cool and still going strong…, while on A Distant Soil, the death of cartoonist Hilda Terry is mourned, and her life celebrated.

But even famous dead white males can sometimes turn out to be better than you think: on And gladly wolde (s)he lerne, History Geek finds that even Chaucer had a feminist streak.

Finally in this section, Indian Writing celebrates a man who has helped millions of women to a better life, Nobel peace prize-winner Muhammad Yunus.

RIGHT FOR TODAY (OR NOT)

But maybe that is a bit too historical for you. So bringing things right up to date, I’ll point you to Basket of Puppies: A Blog for Apathetic Whores, who went to panel on
women and animation and left severely disappointed by the apathy and the lack of analysis. But she’s vowed to fight on.

So do you want to be a desperate housewife? On Gender and Computing, Hilde Corneliussen finds that some game designers are looking to the female market. But is this a good thing?

Some history, however, just keeps repeating itself. On Earmarks in Early Modern Culture, she reports on the furore over a sexist cartoon in a University of Amsterdam publication. Very Fifties!

THIS FORTNIGHT’S DEBATES

Much of the topical debate of the past two weeks has been about Muslim women’s choice (or not) to wear various forms of clothing. On the Guardian’s Comment is Free, Salma Yaqoob calls for respect for other women’s choices. “Visibly Islamic women were already feeling vulnerable, a vulnerability this unwanted media frenzy has only worsened,” she says. On Cruella-Blog, Kate Smurthwaite offers theopposing view, that women who wear the veil are “victims of extensive long-term cultural brain-washing and intimidation from their own families and communities”.

Since that’s been such a dominant part of recent feminist blogosphere, I’m not going to include any more posts on this subject in the carnival. If there’s some post on this subject that you think I should have included, you’re welcome to leave a link in the comments.

Another biggie has been the decision of a certain “feminist” blog to take porn adverts. There are again many posts on this; I’ll point you to that on I’ll Go to the Foot of My Stairs, which seems broadly typical of many of the posts that I’ve read. Again; additional links in the comments are welcome.

AS WE’VE SAID

But there are some arguments that just have to keep being repeated, in the hope that for some, some of the time, the message gets through. On Abyss2hope: A rape survivor’s zigzag journey into the open, Marcella Chester explains how frightening are demonstrations of the sheer ignorance of some anti-abortion commentators.

And on IVF, Kaite on Grandma Was a Suffragette offers some thoughts on suggestions thatthirty-something women have their eggs frozen in the hope of future children. Infertility is not a disease, she says, and the chances of success aren’t great.

Then there’s the classic “can you be a feminist and a fashionista?” debate. Winter on Mind the Gap reflects on how specific to issues of white middle-class femininity this can be. She also points to some other discussion of the issue that prompted her musings.

But you certainly can’t be chained to the kitchen, a model of female life that Sarah Louise Parry on Diary of Barbie’s Worst Enemy finds just keeps being repeated.

Getting around the cabinet table is, however, far from easy, as Helena Handbasket on Sisterhood and Solidarity finds, in her survey of women in Australian politics.

TIME TO ADDRESS

Some issues, however, are more newly on the agenda. Bitch PhD is promoting National Advocates for Pregnant Women, while Majikthese explains why safety at work is a huge issue for (mostly female) social workers.

And Zimbabwe is considering a domestic violence Bill – probably, I believe, its first. Bev Clarke on Kubatanablogs responds to an opponent of the measure. That ties with Belledame222’s discussion on Fetch Me My Axe of the relationship between socially defined masculinity, male experiences and violence against women.

Then there’s the whole born-again fundamentalist Christian stuff. On Sara Speaking, a frank account of why it can be so attractive to teenage boys: they’re “totally uncomfortable with having a girl willing to explore her sexuality out loud, a girl willing to take charge, instead of just putting up with shitty kisses and clumsy fumbles between the knees.”

And finally in this section, on Jo’s Journal, the battle for legislation against discrimination on the ground of sexuality in the provision of goods and services. Jo’s been a driving force for this – why not lend a few words of support?

THE HORROR FILE

Whilst I’m keen to ensure that the carnival accentuates the positive (as the song goes), there are many horror stories that deserve to the told.

This account, from Wannabe Indian Punkster, contains a horrifying statistic:
In the last 15 years, almost 2800 women were slaughtered in the name of witch craft
. “Seven hundred of those 2800 women were murdered between 2004 and 2005.” (These are, I believe, figures for India alone. Worldwide, the figures would certainly be much, much worse, if almost impossible to assemble.)

And on Woman of Color Blog, an account of an attack on an indigenous women’s radio station in Mexico, by the ruling party.

UNCATEGORISABLE SHOULD-READS

I think pretty well every carnival contains the “others” section – posts that no host, no matter how creative, can quite manage to tie into a narrative flow. These are this carnival’s:

    Being a mother is hard work: Kactus on Superbabymamma sets out one day.
    For a “laugh or you might cry” moment, visit I See Invisible People, and see the amazing bra dryer.

A FINAL CHEER

I started with a few positive celebrations of women of history, so thought I’d finish with a few more celebrations and congratulations. Shark-Fu on AngryBlackBitch celebrates all of those who work
to end domestic violence
. Creepy Lesbo lists the ways in which lesbians are coming out everywhere.

On Mental Mayhem, Natasha celebrates female journalists being celebrated for their courage. (Among them Gao Yu, Jill Carroll and May Chidiac.)

On Composite: Thoughts on Poetics by Liz Henry, a celebratory account of a poetry evening in New York – and how so many female poets got involved.

The Happy Feminist celebrates two women who fought back against male attackers – one of them a 19-year-old sex worker who cleverly trapped a policeman who was regularly raping her.

We can, and do fight back, just like women have through the millennia – and just as, in its small way, I hope the Carnival of Feminists will keep fighting back…

****

The next carnival will be on A Blog Without A Bicycle. You can use the nomination form or email ablogwithoutabicycle(at)gmail(dot)com.

Help to start the next year of the feminist revolution – the revolution that goes back to 1789, and beyond.

31 Comments

  • October 19, 2006 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Carnival!

    Thanks so much Natalie, this is looking fantastic – I want to read it all right away this morning! And a big thank you for including mine. Very kind.

  • October 19, 2006 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful carnival. Thanks so much for organizing this and on reaching the 1 year mark.

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  • October 19, 2006 - 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Great work, Natalie! I’m enjoying all of it. Thanks for including me.

  • October 19, 2006 - 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant! Gosh I can hardly believe it’s been a year.

  • October 19, 2006 - 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday Carnival! And many, many happy returns of the day :)

    Excellent job Natasha – so many good things to read. Thank you.

    And thanks for including me, too.

  • October 19, 2006 - 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Natalie….

    *tuts*

  • Pingback: Carnival of Feminists #25 is up… « Well I’ll Go To The Foot Of My Stairs…

  • October 20, 2006 - 2:15 am | Permalink

    Hey, thanks for the shout! And happy anniversary!

  • October 20, 2006 - 5:41 am | Permalink

    Let me chime in with the anniversary wishes! Thank you again for a brilliant initiative, which is the perfect platofrm for becoming acquainted with feminist writers. This Carnival has certainly set the standard when it comes to showcasing serious output, may it continue for many, many years to come!

  • October 20, 2006 - 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Happy Anniversary, Carnival — and holy shit, whoever nominated my poor drunk post: THANK YOU!! *hugs*

    (I’m actually so grateful that I feel bad mentioning it — but the link is incorrect, it should be to here instead. Still — thank you thank you thank you!!)

  • October 21, 2006 - 12:07 am | Permalink

    Thanks for all your kind comments, and apologies Sarah. This wasn’t drunken carnival blogging, but very, very tired carnival blogging between midnight and 3am. If anyone finds any more errors, please tell me!

    And thank you all for your contributions!

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  • October 22, 2006 - 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, happy birthday!

  • October 22, 2006 - 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday and thanks for the nod!

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  • October 22, 2006 - 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Congrats!! I can’t believe the carnival has already hit the one year mark. Here’s to many, many more!!

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