Fresh links for July 27th through August 31st

Fresh links for June 20th through July 11th

  • Cities and Citizenship: Anti-Graffiti, Part 1: Aesthetics – An interesting take on the aesthetics of the anti-graffiti movement, and how it often co-opts graffiti to its own ends. Lots of interesting example pics from Sydney.
  • Revising The Revisionists – Excellent article about the 1898 armed coup and massacre of black residents of Wilmington, North Carolina. Reminds me of the book "Lies My Teacher Told Me", and of course Australia's own "history wars".
  • The Strongest Woman In America Lives In Poverty – This top weightlifter, on her way to the Olympics, can't afford to eat. She needs 3000-4000 calories a day while she's training, and relies on food banks. No sponsorships because of sizeism — they don't think she's hot enough, or something. She has an indiegogo fundraiser here if you want to help her out: http://www.indiegogo.com/loveforanolympian
  • Adaptation by Remix: Vidding Feminist Science Fiction – My friend Alexis writes about Chaila's Wiscon premiere vid, taking visual sources and creating a video for Octavia Butler's "Parable of the Sower" and "Parable of the Talents" that draws from the genres of book trailer, fanvid, and political remix.

“Utopia Girls”: I’m disappointed

Me, elsewhere: this is a crosspost of something I wrote for the Australian feminist blog Hoyden About Town. If you’re interested in comments, you should check there as well as here.

About a week ago, the ABC aired Utopia Girls: How Women Won the Vote, a documentary about women’s suffrage in Australia. I’d seen a few positive mentions on Twitter and Facebook, so this afternoon I went and hunted it down on iView and watched it.

The documentary opens with the narrator, Dr. Clare Wright, stating that:

These days, we all enjoy equal rights and seemingly endless choices. But just one hundred and fifty years ago, women were far from equal.

It’s nice that she thinks inequality is in the past, but she’s deluding herself. It would be facile to list all the groups who don’t enjoy equal rights in Australia (same-sex couples who want to marry being just one current and obvious example) but even if we limit ourselves to women’s rights and choices, it’s far from true. Women still earn about 15% less than men for the same work; abortion is still illegal or effectively so in Queensland; and take a look at the sort of misogynist crap that’s flung at Julia Gillard, Gina Rinehart, or the latest victim of a popular footballer’s rape if you want to see what attitudes to women in our country are really like.

So, no, Utopia Girls, the smug “we all live in a 21st century feminist wonderland” attitude doesn’t exactly fly with me. It’s not just inaccurate, it’s dangerous. Should we really be telling women there’s nothing left to work or fight for, or giving anti-feminists reassurance that women’s current concerns are unnecessary?

If that was all that Utopia Girls had wrong with it I’d be annoyed enough, but it just gets worse. The main focus of the documentary are the stories of a handful of middle class, white Anglo- and Irish-Australian women and their work for women’s suffrage in Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia. I can’t claim an exhaustive knowledge of the subject matter or the period, but it’s obvious even to me that there are voices missing here.
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Feminist SFF t-shirts

So, I finally discovered a website that will let me sell t-shirts that I would actually want to wear *. At long last, I can act upon all my suppressed t-shirt-making urges!

First up, and as a sort of trial run, I offer you the I-wish-I-could-have-been-at-Wiscon t-shirt:

Feminist SFF t-shirt: Russ & Butler & Tiptree & Le Guin

Feminist SFF rockstars t-shirt, available in fitted and straight-cut styles, including larger sizes.

If there were a superstar rock band of classic feminist science fiction and fantasy, the members would be Joanna Russ, Octavia Butler, James Tiptree, Jr. (alias Alice Sheldon), and Ursula K. Le Guin.

These t-shirts are 100% organic cotton, and are available in fitted and straight-cut styles up to 3XL (around 54″/135cm in circumference). The straight-cut style also comes in sizes down to 18″/45cm circumference, for smaller people. They’re available in black, charcoal, navy blue, chocolate, and a dark olivey green.

There’s also a zippered tote bag, in black only:

Feminist SFF tote bag: Russ & Butler & Tiptree & Le Guin

Feminist SFF rockstars zippered tote bag.

Sorry, no other items (coffee mugs, etc) are available in this design; I was limited by what had a dark background for printing. If there’s enough demand, I might do a dark-on-light version which would allow for more of the items listed here, so let me know if that interests you.

Buy a feminist SFF t-shirt or tote bag now.

Shirt orders are fulfilled by Printfection.com. This is the first time I’ve worked with them, so I’m interested in hearing how people find the experience. If you have any problems with ordering or shipment you’ll have to deal with them to resolve it, but I’d like to hear about it too so I know whether this is working out okay or not.



* In other words, they’re available in sizes and styles that fit me, in dark colours, and in this case — an added bonus — they’re also organic cotton, all at what I consider to be a reasonable price. You might be surprised how many t-shirts don’t fit even the first criteria. For more information see T-shirts at the Geek Feminism wiki. Back.