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The Eighth Carnival of Feminists

The feminist blogosphere, as other Carnival hosts have observed, is enormous. On the one hand, it's so encouraging that so many women and men are grappling with the issues of gender. On the other hand, it means that this is at best a small glipse of the hugely entertaining and inspiring stuff that is out there. We would like to thank the many, many people who nominated things and nice-as-pie Carnival creator, Natalie Bennett. Any misreadings are our own.

Posts are grouped in broad subject areas, and are in no particular order. For previous carnivals, go here.

Labour market

The Happy Feminist points out that women who work don't just do it for the money and often have a 'calling' - a point that is so often obscured in mainstream discussions of working women and the supplementation of the male 'family' wage. From a happy feminist to bad_feminist [sic!] who has written a very heartfelt post about feeling overshadowed by the man she loves. Thus spake Zuska takes on the lack of gender mainstreaming in Stanford's chemistry department's maternity policies (babies in geek-land!?!) while, sticking with the academic theme, Aspazia at Mad Melancholic Feminist asks 'are gender preferences in hiring always sexist?'. Shelley at Burningbird also reminds us that the many women working on the 'front-line' of feminism in male dominated fields are often discriminated against by feminist themselves in 'Feminists and Other Snobs'.

Over at Redemption Blues, there's an interesting interview with a female funeral director encountering the difficulties of working in this male dominated profession; 'Dust to Dust'. Kameron Hurley of Brutal Women applauds the firing of a pharmacist who was refusing to sell the emergency contraceptive Plan B. Amen!

Domestic labour

Speaking of the right to choose, Ginmar explores the assumption of free choice in relation to this excellent post by Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon and this, equally excellent, post by zuzu at Feministe. Both of these posts discuss the extent to which the proliferation of 'labour saving devices' have really saved women's labour, or indeed, added to the pressure women feel in the home. Bookdrunk at Rhetorically Speaking... also discusses the division of domestic labour in 'so I married an arse'!

Culture and aesthetics

Femme Feral at the fantastic Fluffy Dollars takes an in-depth look at politics of celebrity culture including the beginnings of the world's first (I'm guessing!) online museum of the depiction of women in populist gossip magazines. Femme's looking for your thoughts so check the post out here. Moving on from the glossies, Roswitha at Resistance is Fertile delivers a suitably scathing account of the homogeneity of the covers, or should that 'coatings'?, of chick-lit novels. Apurva Mathad has written a fascinating post at My Life, My Words looking at cultural expressions of gender in the traditional Indian Bharatnatyam performance. Not unlike so much of Western culture, women therein are portrayed as either 'obediant wives' or 'great mothers'.

That's not the case in Commander in Chief, a US show about a woman President, which Figure writes about in this post.

Re-appropriate carries a great post by Jenn on the media obsession with obesity. 'Modern Day Freak Show' describes how the posterior of an overweight woman has come to be emblematic of today's 'fattist' culture. Still on a 'beauty myth' tip, Candace of Muse and Fury fame wants to know if she's a bad person for dissapproving of her colleague's, admittedly ridiculous, choice of footwear (i.e. spike heels in the middle of a Canadian winter!).

As the Superbowl just happened (whatever that might be) it seemed timely to note Vanessa at Feministing's post on the success of women-oriented NFL merchandise.

The geeks

One of the most damaging misconceptions about women in science and engineering is that their choice to leave (or not to enter) the profession is based on a personal antipathy towards the subject. Mickle the Hourly Bookseller calls bullshit as she describes her 'choice' to leave physics.

Another woman with a difficult professional choice to make is model Anina, who has been told by her agency to knock her technology blog on the head or get removed from their books. Apparently fashion and technology just don't mix, and women need to choose between the binary opposites of bimbo and geek-girl. Media Girl outlines the issues.

Open source, which one might have imagined would suit women's socialised-to-collaborate selves, turns out to be more pissing contest than knitting circle. Thank goodness for the Debian Women, who are addressing the gender bias in Linux development, according to Arbusto de Mendacity.

Rants for the Invisible People has produced a fabulous post on her own geek experiences, which critiques the false dichotomy of emotion vs logic, while wondering why women seem so deflated by technical failures while men are so emboldened by their tech successes. Wee Hours, a fellow geek, writes about getting the "dumb girl" treatment.

John from Mind on Fire is a male gender geek, who wonders whether there is a place for men in feminism? Hell yeah, say the Gendergeeks.

Gaming and fanfic

Fanfiction (where amateur authors play with characters developed for TV / cinema / fiction / comics) and gaming both offer scope for messing around with concepts of gender and sexuality.

Online gaming magazine The Escapist has an article this week about a boy who likes to play girl characters, in part because they remind him of the hot geek girls who talked to him at school. Interesting, says Andrea from, but actually geek girls aren't there for you. sidekick Ariel also responds in "The Male Gaze on Virtual Drag" on her other blog, New Game Plus.

Scheming Reader says that "fandom creates multi-generational communities of women who work together to overthrow patriarchal suppression of women's erotic impulses". She also meditates on a feminist analysis of women writing homoerotic slash.

Dr. B introduces the controversy around World of Warcraft, in which a guild was prevented from advertising itself as "GLBT friendly" because that might "provoke" other players to break the sexual discrimination policy.

Discrimination against lesbian women

An organisation who would do well to review their equal opportunities policy is the Floridian medical centre who sent a lesbian woman away with literature denouncing homosexuality after a routine checkup. Pam from Pandagon has the story.

Feministe's Jill writes on the potential negative implications of "conscience clauses" on medical treatment of gay men and lesbian women.

Blogging for Choice

Blac(k)ademic's excellent poem on her motivation for blogging challenges white feminists to broaden their focus from abortion (and equal job opportunities) to more universal issues.

"Blog for Choice" has certainly been a moment when there has been a lot of attention paid to reproductive rights. New-ish blogger Molly Saves the Day reminds us that pro-forced pregnancy rhetoric has only recently focused on the 'personhood' of foetuses, and was originally all about the male medical establishment clamping down on female midwives autonomy.

The Disillusioned kid highlights the nonsense of expecting any individual to sacrifice their own physical autonomy for nine months to benefit a parasite, while Modem Butterfly wonders why her request for a tubal ligation is ignored or dismissed by every OB-Gyn she comes across.

Scribblingwoman writes about abortion in Canada; Andrea from Vociferate challenges the bullshit raging in the UK leftwing press about late-term abortion; Joanne from Emergence reminds women who don't want to have abortions not to have them; and Irrational Point from The Soapbox inspires us to action.

Amanda from Pandagon has an absolutely amazing post on framing the pro-choice argument.
While it’s accurate to call what we oppose “laws banning abortion”, it’s also accurate to call it “forced childbirth” and “government mandated pregnancy”. That’s framing in a nutshell–instead of invoking people’s mixed feelings about female sexuality and reproduction, invoke people’s fear of tyranny.

Relationships and singleness

Anti-Platell Natalie Bennett writes a very thought-provoking post about singleness: increasingly relevant in an age when levels of childlessness are returning to more normal levels, and many women are electing to remain unpartnered.

Science Woman reflects on the irksomeness of having a professional name and a married name. (Series continues here and here.)

New blog JellyFishConsciousness has an interesting post on equality within relationships, and how we do (or don't) unpack our own gendered expectations of these.

Sex-positivity and porn

Andrea (from Vociferate) sends out a challenge to so-called sex-positive feminists in "Do my boobs look empowering in this?". Andrea (from responds. Busy Nothings has reached a happy compromise, and owns both On Our Backs and Off Our Backs.

Advanced patriarchy-blamer Twisty bewails the incursion of porn-lite Maxim into India. Churlishly.

Violence and religion

Violence against women is a fear or reality that every woman alive has to live with. Kirsty from Kblog points out the parallels between domestic abusers and those who abuse animals, and Antheia from Mad Melancholic Feminista has a really moving account of seeing her own experience reflected in that of a young rape survivor.

Ink and Incapability writes about women and new religious movements, cults and sects. Pamela Taylor has an excellent post up on the rhetoric of the liberated hijab, which asks whether women can really impose their own meaning on the head covering.


A lot of very moving goodbyes in the feminist blogosphere this week. The Feminist Spectator says farewell to Wendy Wasserstein, Bitch PhD gives us a beautifully-written moment of contact with Coretta Scott King, Ann Bartow from Feminist law professors waves off Sandra Day O'Connor, and MzNicky at Tennessee Guerilla Women thanks Betty Friedan for her contribution to the movement. (Bitch | Lab however, would rather thank Betty's cleaner and babysitter.)

The Gendergeeks would also like to thank and wish good luck to someone leaving us in a different way. The incomparable Lauren announced her departure from Feministe a few weeks ago. Lauren, you are fabulous, a generous and talented writer, and we will miss you a lot. We wish you all the best in everything you do, and hope that you will hang around in the comments.

Next time on the Carnival of Feminists...

The next Carnival is being hosted by fellow Celtic feminists Mind the Gap, on February 22nd. Nominations should be sent to mindthegapcardiff AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk, to arrive no later than 19th February.


  • At 11:18 PM, Sour Duck said…

    Fantastic issue, Emma and Emmy. I tip my bill to you. - SD

  • At 11:20 PM, Emma said…

    We tip our geek to you - for nominating so assiduously. It was very helpful!

  • At 1:01 AM, tekanji said…

    Hahaha, Ariel's my sidekick. I'm so making her a costume.

  • At 1:14 AM, scribblingwoman said…

    Great carnival!

    (One picky point: the two links to posts on Betty Friedan go to the same page).

  • At 1:40 AM, tekanji said…

    Another picky point: Dr. B's link is broken :<

  • At 1:46 AM, Anne said…

    Another wonderful carnival! Thank you! The farewells are particularly poignant and a fitting send off. I was interested in the Superbowl/football merchandising post, too: for all that my husband and I dislike about the culture surrounding the game, it can be a good game and Seattle was playing (my home town). Fascinating to watch our three-year-old daughter respond to the ads (she LOVED Jessica Simpson hawking pizza, for example). I was also interested to see an ad for SlimFast with some happy, big women dancing with the pleasure of being on a diet that's easy to follow...

    So thanks for the great collection. As ever, it's taken me to lots of places I wouldn't have gone without it!

  • At 5:04 AM, Lake Desire said…

    Andrea, you can make my costume so long as it's a giant hen. They don't call me vegan warrior for nothing!

    Great job Emma and Emmy!

  • At 7:52 AM, Emma said…

    Thank you very much picky people! I have fixed Dr. B's link, and changed the second Betty link.

    We clearly suck at teh proofing!

  • At 1:04 PM, Winter Woods said…

    Brilliant well done!

  • At 2:57 PM, Natalie Bennett said…

    Yes, brilliant job. Thanks!

  • At 5:49 PM, Katherine said…

    Just to be unoriginal, this is a brilliant list. So much to read and learn. Thanks.

  • At 6:56 PM, kate.d. said…

    hooray! i was just wondering this morning about when the next carnival was coming out! it looks great. i can't wait to start clicking away...

  • At 7:02 PM, Disillusioned kid said…

    Nice one! Thanks for the link.

  • At 11:27 PM, s said…

    Thanks for the hard work (and thanks for the inclusion--I've gotten about 10 times more traffic today than I normally do!). I've already started reading all the fabulous posts.

  • At 12:35 AM, Penny said…

    I think this link is broken:

    'Modern Day Freak Show' describes how the posterior of an overweight woman has come to be emblematic of today's 'fattist' culture.

  • At 3:58 AM, Ricia said…

    thank you!

  • At 9:44 AM, roswitha said…

    Wow, you guys. Proof that feminists are some of the hardest-working people in the world. Thanks a bunch. I'm loving the links, Also, very pleased and proud to be a part of it. :)

  • At 12:15 PM, TP said…

    Great job, thanks for putting a great issue together.

  • At 1:25 PM, Andygrrl said…

    Holy crap, I'm in the Carnival of Feminists and I didn't even know it!

  • At 9:18 PM, Ally said…

    Fantastic issue, thank you!

  • At 3:28 PM, Brandon said…

    This carnival looks like great stuff!


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