Monday, March 21, 2011

"Gay marriage against my upbringing" I just I don't even

PM Julia Gillard: Gay marriage against my upbringing
Ms Gillard said she was "on the conservative side" of the gay marriage issue "because of the way our society is and how we got here".

"I think that there are some important things from our past that need to continue to be part of our present and part of our future," she said. "If I was in a different walk of life, if I'd continued in the law and was partner of a law firm now, I would express the same view, that I think for our culture, for our heritage, the Marriage Act and marriage being between a man and a woman has a special status.

"Now, I know people might look at me and think that's something that they wouldn't necessarily expect me to say, but that is what I believe.

"I'm on the record as saying things like I think it's important for people to understand their Bible stories, not because I'm an advocate of religion - clearly, I'm not - but once again, what comes from the Bible has formed such an important part of our culture."

Ms Gillard said she had a "pro-union, pro-Labor upbringing in a quite conservative family, in the sense of personal values".
This is like some sort of word salad, a mish mash of sentences randomly squished together in the hopes of confusing us, or distracting us, or something. I don't even know what this is.

Here is a list of possibilities:
  • Erasure of every Australian who doesn't believe the bible
  • Erasure of every Australian who wasn't brought up as a Christian
  • Erasure of Australians who have a background which supports gay marriage
  • Erasure of non-Australians who live here
  • The most amazing toeing of the party line I've ever seen
  • Perpetuation of the idea that culture is immutable and what has come before is what we should aim toward
  • Really shitty
Please feel free to add to the list.

Also you know how "we" got "here"? Through things so gross we don't actually talk about them (though we should). So maybe 'denial of evvverything' should also go on that list.

So far my favourite responses have been on twitter:

Hannah Gadsby:
I had a conservative upbringing too, Julia Gillard. That's why I hated myself when I found out I was gay. You could help prevent this cycle.
and my friend Josie:
You can't fault the logic, marriage equality is not traditional. Neither are women prime ministers, so I expect her resignation post haste.
Now, in this time of our atheist PM reminding us to read our bibles, I'd like to remind everyone that there is an equal marriage rally in Melbourne this saturday at 1pm. You should go if you can. And I know it's not quite the same, but go see a movie whilst MQFF is on. Though I guess it's not a part of our culture, whatever that means.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

women in print: brief panel notes

Last night I went to the Women in Print event at Readings in Carlton, being held for International Women's Day. The event was a 45 minute panel discussion with three panelists and a moderator. I rocked in, my belly full of burger but with room for one of the cupcakes I'd been carrying around all afternoon. Bamboo Gnome and I found a spot right up the front (we had been advised by Fi on the best places to stake out) and we settled in. I even took notes.

The panel started off weirdly, which is why I started taking notes. Louise Swinn (Sleepers editorial director) commented that actually maybe there are more women being published in Australian than overseas stats (and some Australian stats) would suggest. This point wasn't really engaged with, which I thought was weird given the whole point was to talk about Women in Print and what the status is.

Sophie Cunningham commented that when she was the editor of Meanjin, more essays were submitted by men; women were more likely, even when approached, to say 'I'm not an expert.'

There was some consensus that it's important for women to learn to be jerks* in order to get somewhere in print - they definately have to promote themselves, and push themselves forwards (and how this is exacerbated by the need in today's publishing world for authors to self-promote, and how unwilling many women are to do this). At points this almost veered in to 'if only women would push themselves they'd get published,' which is a little close to victim blaming if you're not examining the underlying themes of this. These themes were touched on a little, including a brief discussion of the second shift, but only in very Eurocentric ways. Statements such as 'only in the last fifty years have women had that exposure,' coming from an all white (seeming) panel, never fail to make me bristle.

Other things that make me bristle: "I don't want to get too Bolshie;" and the way these sorts of discussions always seem to revolve around or have an emphasis on terms and concepts like "penis writing" and "vagina writing." Way to be super cis-centric.

Overall it was an interesting talk (shame about the diversity), and it has reminded me that I should always say yes (if possible) when asked to give a talk.

*just to be clear: I think that a woman (or anyone) can be confident and promote oneself without being a jerk; however during this panel sometimes 'being confident' and 'being a jerk' were conflated so they seemed to be the same.