Good Morning Feminartsy Community,
Clementine Ford broke a story in last weekend’s Saturday Paper about workplace sexual harassment of teachers by students – and the ‘boys will be boys’ attitude that allows it to happen. Ford’s piece demonstrates how far our collective inability and lack of desire to protect women extends.
Indeed, reminders of that lack abound this week. Public health campaigners in the UK claim new guidelines on the usage of vaginal mesh implants do not adequately take into account past experiences of women left with serious complications.
It is perhaps unsurprising that a lack of respect for women and their bodies runs so deep, given the enduring popular appeal of mutilated and dead women’s bodies as entertainment. Or – as Winnie Siulolovao Dunn discusses in an Overland long read – the representation of Pacific Islander women as ‘muses’ and/or as conduits for the self-actualisation of men (and white people in general).
As a documentary for the BBC explores, this lack of respect for women and their bodies also has a long and distinguished history. In The first home pregnancy test the US designer and inventor of the first home pregnancy test, Margaret Crane, discusses with documentary maker Maria Elena Navas that a lot of the initial resistance she faced came from the assumption that women could not be trusted to use the home test kit properly.
Indeed, it’s a miracle so many of us manage to get ourselves out of bed and dressed each day.
Dunn’s article is also a good reminder that the notion of ‘diversity‘ is as much about hiding who’s left out of the room as it is about describing who’s in it. Yet, at least in the world of contemporary literature, more and more voices are finding ways to break through and make themselves heard.
Weekend long reads this week include the meanings of cars and a lost Jai Alai player. And in a week that saw the loss of two impressive women filmmakers – Barbara Hammer and Agnès Varda – perhaps a film night would be a good option?
Or you could work on your pitches and completed pieces for the (extended!) LIMINAL Fiction Prize for Australian Writers of Colour and or Black Inc’s latest anthology Growing Up Disabled in Australia.
Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!