feminist news round-up 30.09.12
jill meagher’s body found; suspect charged with her rape and murder
Jill Meagher, the Irish woman who disappeared without a trace from Sydney Rd, Brunswick in Melbourne in the early hours of Sunday morning, was found dead early Friday morning by homicide police. Meagher was with friends at a bar when she left around 1.30am to return home and never made it – her husband, Tom reported her missing around lunch time. Adrian Ernest Bayley, 41, of Coburg has been arrested and charged with Meagher’s rape and murder. Jill’s disappearance had prompted a number of women to come forward saying they’ve had experiences in the area with being followed and harassed – this combined with the CCTV footage from a boutique on Sydney Road allowed Bayley to be identified. The case has been sobering and distressing, and there has been a concerning amount of thinly veiled criticisms towards Meagher’s behaviour and how it may have contributed to her abduction. Clementine Ford addresses the issue of victim blaming here.
afl grand final to debut their first female goal umpire
On Saturday, Chelsea Roffey had the honour of being the first woman to goal umpire at an AFL Grand Final. Having been an AFL level umpire since 2004, Roffey is understandably ecstatic to be given the opportunity to umpire such an iconic event. Jeff Gieschen, head of AFL Umpires was quoted as saying it was ‘a watershed moment for the league’ and he had no doubts we’d be seeing more women as umpires in the near future. While Roffey’s appointment has been very well received there are some simmering accusations of tokenism, suggesting Roffey shouldn’t have made the cut after she made two allegedly contentious calls in the Sydney-Collingwood Preliminary Final. However, having been the backup goal umpire for the Grand Final for the past two years, it is safe to assume Roffey’s sex played no role in her appointment (shock horror). No doubt no one is more sick and tired of the sex politics surrounding her role than Roffey herself – hopefully she’ll be allowed to get on with it and do a kick arse job, without being constantly asked how it is ‘with the boys’.
female tafe students lose out in government cuts
The Victorian TAFE Association has just released a study detailing how female students are going to be more severely affected than male students when the government cuts around $290 million from TAFE budgets. Additionally, the estimated 65,000 affected female students are also likely to see a significant fee increase. The subsidies have hit areas of study such as business, hospitality and retail which see a significant majority in female enrolments, as compared to male dominated fields like agriculture and trades, such as bricklaying. Federal Skills Minister Chris Evans has predicted that the cuts will have a significant impact on the ability of women to enter and re-enter the work force successfully, potentially creating an even further gender inequality.
concerns over prevalence of female genital mutilation
Last week saw the arrest of four people after it was alleged they administered female circumcision on two young girls sometime in the past 18 months. Sheikh Shabbir Vaziri, 56, appeared in court over the offences while the other two women and man were charged and granted bail. Despite the illegality of female circumcision in Australia, it has prompted questions to be asked into whether it is becoming more prevalent. In 2010, the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne saw up to 700 women presenting with mutilation symptoms. Mutilation has no health benefits and not surprisingly leads to issues with ‘menstruation, sexual difficulties, chronic pain, urinary problems and pregnancy complications’.
survey reveals marriage less of a priority
A survey conducted by Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (who I can only assume were looking to draw some dubious connection between women watching movies and crying into their popcorn about not having a husband) has found 66% of surveyed women said they would prefer a promotion over ‘putting a ring on it’. Similarly, financial autonomy was preferable to a dream wedding. Tying in with third wave feminism, this should come as no surprise – the movement towards eschewing traditional roles as mothers and wives has been present since the power woman of the 80s first donned her shoulder pads and boofy perm. On top of this, 71% stated they’d rather go overseas than blow a wad of cash on getting hitched.
naomi wolf cops it over new book vagina
Just over a fortnight ago, Naomi Wolf, author of the fabled third wave feminism tome, The Beauty Myth, released her new book, Vagina. Contradicting the feministic reception to her previous book on the standards of physical beauty, Vagina thus far has been critically condemned (and censored – it appears on iTunes under the name V*****a). It has been accused of, among other things, endorsing the idea that rape victims shouldn’t be anonymous and being heterosexist (ignoring non cisgender women). There seems to be a general consensus that Wolf is now doing more to damage feminism rather than empower it, indicated by this book and her recent suggestion that the sexual assault charges against Julian Assange are ‘contemptible’. However, Wolf has also been defended against such ‘ad hominem’ attacks, and articles such as these contend Wolf takes the heterosexual view as she is herself heterosexual and she is simply addressing issues that are still scientific grey areas.
goddess of the world (amy poehler) denied emmy
Amy Poehler couldn’t emulate the success of her character from Parks and Recreation, Leslie Knope, by winning a well-deserved award at the Emmy’s earlier in the week – she was beaten by Julia Louis Dreyfus for her role in the HBO show Veep. Poehler has now been nominated seven times without success – three of those nominations are for her depiction of the vivacious and adorable Leslie on what is arguably best show in the world (no bias to see here, people, I speak only the truth). In what seems to be a prepared skit, Louis Dreyfus began reading out a speech that thanked Poehler’s show and her children, before Poehler ran up on stage to swap the speeches over. Dreyfus closed by saying, ‘isn’t it a shame Amy Poehler didn’t win?’ mimicking the thoughts of the Amy Poehler fandom all around the world. So despite the heartbreak, Amy Poehler once again loses the award but wins at life in general. See the footage here.