Missing the point

There’s a banner headline article in this morning’s Dom Post magazine, “Taming the trolls: tackling the internet haters”. It’s advertised on the front page of the newspaper, and it’s the cover story in the magazine, this time as, “Slaying the trolls: hunting down the internet haters”.

Dom Post front page, 9 March

Dom Post front page, 9 March

It’s not on-line, so you will have to buy a copy if you want to read it. But I wouldn’t bother. The story is blinkered, and narrow, because the reporter doens’t bother to talk to any women.

Which New Zealand bloggers does the journalist talk to? David Farrar and Cameron Slater, of course. And the not-so-prominent Aaron Hape, who runs the Monarchy NZ Facebook page. His major complaint? Once some republicans deliberately posted comments against the monarchy. Wow – big time trolling there.

There’s no attempt to talk to any women bloggers about their experience of trolling. And what we know now is that the abuse handed out on-line to women who dare to blog is outrageous. Check what PZ Myers says about it.

Yeah, the guys get it, too. I thought it was ridiculous before — I had Conservapædia raving about how fat I was, whole blogs dedicated to how stupid I was, and of course, frequent accusations of being gay — but once I got associated with feminism, the hatred reached a whole new level of shrieking. I’ve basically been declared an honorary woman by a whole new category of people, online atheists, who turn out to be worse than creationists, Christians, and Muslims. There are even more rants about my appearance, my ‘irrationality’, my sanity, than ever before.

And the scary thing is that when I compare what I get to what women activists get, I’m getting off easy.

Or James Faa, writing in New Statesman.

First up, there is something disturbingly misogynistic about online bullying. Yes: blokes, male columnists, undoubtedly get it too. But it feels as though there is something far more vicious, gender-related with respect to what women have to endure.

And then there’s the astonishing and horrid abuse handed out to Mary Beard, for daring to be a woman in public with expertise and opinions.

First, the misogyny here is truly gobsmacking. The whole site is pretty hateful (and what some of the comments say about Andrew Marr since he’s been ill are almost worse than anything).. but the whole “cunt” talk and the kind of stuff represented by the photo on right is more than a few steps into sadism. It would be quite enough to put many women off appearing in public, contributing to political debate, especially as all of this comes up on google..

There’s trolling on in the internet, deliberately posting perverse opinions in the hope of stirring up trouble, and then there’s vicious hatred. The Dom Post mentions the person who wished WhaleOil dead, and in one paragraph, it quotes a UK expert, talking about the hatred directed at women. But that’s it.

It’s a shame that the reporter didn’t think a little bit more broadly, and talk to some New Zealand women who are blogging. But perhaps that would have required him to do a little more than just hit the quick-dial on his telephone.

There’s someone for everyone

NZ Truth is due to publish its first edition under its new editor, Cameron Slater, tomorrow. (For my friends and readers in NZ, “Truth” is exactly the kind of newspaper you would expect with a name like that.) Being a social media type, Slater has set up a Facebook page for Truth.

And Truth NZ has a friend!

Truth’s Facebook page, with one friend. Screen capture taken at 9pm on Wednesday 7 November.

This friend.

DPF on Truth. “1 Friend likes Truth”

And really, all this shows is that just one of my friends likes Truth….

By way of disclosure, DPF is indeed my friend, on-line and in real life, and has been ever since we were students at the University of Otago together. I always enjoy seeing him, even if our political views are, well, somewhat opposed.

Sociable scholarship

My university ran a symposium for staff on 21st century scholarship, to which my lovely friend Cat Pausé and I contributed a poster.

Can’t read it? That’s because it’s a flat two dimensional representation of our ideas. But because we both blog and tumbl and tweet, we’ve set it up as a blog too.

Sociable Scholarship: the use of social media in disseminating and collaborating in the 21st century

Social media have broken down the distance between scholars and the larger world, enabling lay people to become active participants in the construction of knowledge, through offering ideas and data, recounting experience, and engaging critically with academic research. Academics no longer operate from the safety of ivory towers: they are able to engage with a much wider audience, in a conversation rather than a lecture, through the use of Twitter, Tumblr, blogs, discussion forums, etc. In this blog, we explore the use of social media in academic dissemination and collaboration. These Web 2.0 tools have broadened academic spaces, enabling the participation of different voices, and addressing the academy’s commitment to social justice.

Take a look and tell us what you think!

We’ll be adding to the blog in the next few days, with links to blogs and Tumblrs and other social media sites that we think exemplify sociable scholarship. Over summer we will turn it all into an academic article.


Attending the symposium itself was great fun. My university is spread out over three cities, and many of my colleagues are people I know only through e-mail and telephone and sometimes video link. It was great fun to meet some of them, especially the woman with fabulous shoes who reads this blog, and comments at another site I frequent. How lovely to find that we are colleagues.

And it is a privilege to work with Cat.

Forty-third Down Under Feminists Carnival

I’m delighted to be hosting the Down Under Feminists Carnival for the third time. It’s a great carnival, still going strong. I think down under feminism has a different flavour to feminism in other places, and I enjoy the company of down under feminists. I suppose it’s because we are quite a small group, so we tend to know each other and hear about each other quite easily. We are a community spread across two countries, and across the world, and I love being part of that community.


To start the carnival, please welcome some new, or newish, down under bloggers.

LessonsToBeLearned has joined forces with new blogger Ursa, at Smile: It Confuses People. Check out what Ursa has to say about a weight loss pill: Nightmare come true drug. She also looks at some Unimportant headline information.

At her own blog, LessonsToBeLearned has A conversation with her 13-year old self.

Can you be a feminist without knowing what a feminist is?

(I know both of these young women in real life, and it is a great pleasure, and an honour, to be part of their lives.)

Another newcomer to the carnival, Friend of Marilyn, who is also someone I happen to know in real life, as a colleague and friend. She is a fat studies scholar and blogger and broadcaster. Also, she sings fabulously. Check out her Tumblr too. And her blog post about Fat travel in Asia.

Joannie has recently launched a website as part of her doctoral work. On her blog, Rethinking Care, she writes about what she means when she says care.

Annanonymous has returned to blogging at The End is Naenae (for people outside New Zealand, “Naenae” is pronounced, “nigh-nigh”). She writes about her daughter choosing to study St Mary Magdalene:

M has chosen to research Mary Magdalene. She told me very earnestly that Mary Magdalene is the patron saint of sexual temptation, penitent sinners and – wait for it – hairdressers.

Liliana at Speculum de Lis writes about her great-grandmother who went to the altar and said no. Her name was Grace. Grace as an attribute is more than the light and air it connotes.” Thinking and writing some more, she wonders whether the story ended happily?

Jo has been writing at A Life Unexamined since the middle of the year. She looks at food ethics and food costs in The ethics of food shopping.

A new project in Australia, Settle Petal

s an online space for young feminists and our allies around Australia. It was created by the collective brain of a group of young women passionate about feminism, with the aim of furthering conversation and debate among young women around feminism and its future, and being a safe and respectful space to have those debates.

Settle Petal has a blog and an on-line forum. Check out their post on Reclaim the Night. (Trigger – assault)

Pohutu, Wilbefortis and Friagabi started Three Wise Women in September. Pohutu’s post, Mixed Up About Motherhood, points out that we, meaning society, and feminists, are all over the place about mothers and motherhood and Wilbefortis notices that the media might be even more sexist than Parliament.


At Hoyden about Town, Jo Tamar focuses on Rarely used laws. As it turns out, if you are indigenous, those laws are not rarely used at all. Also thinking about rules, Chally wonders In whose favour are the rules of politeness made?

While you’re thinking about rules of behaviour, consider the subtexts when people reach out to touch another person’s hair. Especially white people touching people of colour’s hair. Chally lays it out in her open letter to white people who like to touch my hair.


Fat Heffalump wonders how is it that designers can make fabulous clothes for Miss Piggy, but can’t possibly make clothes for fat people? And she writes an open letter to the medical profession, making a point that should be obvious, but isn’t: fat people are people.

We are human beings with lives, loves, emotions, needs, aspirations and value in society like any other human being. We deserve to be treated as such and allowed to advocate for ourselves.

In a guest post at Fat Heffalump, Foxie writes about fat hatred and discrimination on public transport. The post has reports of fat hatred and abuse in it, but it also has some amazing stories about people simply refusing to take it, and other people sticking up for the people being abused.

(TRIGGER – pictures of emaciated children) At Fat Lot of Good, Bri writes about people who starve their children because they are so scared of fat.

At lecta, Mary sets out the rules for talking to a very tall person about being tall. Clue: Don’t.


Trigger – all of the posts in this section discuss violence and assault.

tigtog has a datapoint on rape culture

This indifference regarding actual incidents of sexual abuse/exploitation/coercion is not an exception to the rule. People prioritise their existing relationships over justice for victims time after time after time after time, all over the world. This indifference towards the victims and the “standing by” the accused is actually the status quo.

WTF doesn’t even begin to capture this pearler:

Eighty-four per cent of people arrested for family violence are men. Half of all violent crime in New Zealand is family violence. The statistics go on. Perhaps the way to give men a chance is for women to appreciate their own femininity more.

The Queen of Thorns deals to it: Are you fucking kidding me, Naomi Madelin

At The Lady Garden, ColeyTangerina talks about what Zac Guildford has done well, and what he has done not so well, in apologising for his abusive behaviour while drunk.

Hexy is blogging at Feministe (go Hexy!). She writes about the White Ribbon Day oath and the problem of silence.

In New Zealand, Bob McCroskie had a “But what about TEH MENZ?” wail about White Ribbon Day. At The Lady Garden, Tallulah deals to the nonsense: In OMG WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ??!!1? news.

Scuba Nurse analyses Twilight and White Ribbon Day: An Ironic Jutaposition.

Megan has been travelling in the South Pacific for work. She writes about privilege.

Because while we whinge about Alisdair Thompson’s stupidity – not that that doesn’t reflect deeply held and offensive views – we forget that just a few hours in a plane ride away are women, quite literally, fighting for their lives.


The Hand Mirror devoted to a week to pro-choice posts, to coincide with NZ’s annual release of abortion statistics. Posts from that week include Maia on what it means to be pro-choice and support disability rights, Julie on Being a pro-choice mother, and Pohutu on Abortion as an act of love.

anjum was asked to speak to Pregnancy Couselling Services about Muslim perspectives around unwanted pregnancy.

if i’m going to be asked for advice, then this is what i’ll say: err on the side of compassion. provide support and safety for the living women who find themselves in difficult circumstances, and be slow to judge. that is all.

Smkreig argues that minors deserve a choice as well.

QuietlyQuestioning focuses on the Mississippi personhood amendment.


At The Hand Mirror, LudditeJourno talks about coming out as bisexual.

HighlyEccentric at The Naked Philologist writes about the phenomenon of being straight until proven otherwise, or a post with too many footnotes, drawing on research by scholars of medieval literature.

It’s that Ailes seems to think by carefully going down the list of “most likely to be queer” historical figures and ticking them all off as “not queer”, one can write the homosexual completely out of the history of homosociality.


Civil unions for gay and lesbian couples are on the agenda in Australia. Chrys at Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear wonders how history will remember Julia Gillard, and in a guest post on the same blog, Phil Browne describes the progress of the campaign: Browned off by bigotry: a campaigner’s insight into the Queensland Civil Partnerships Bill.


Time Magazine has a piece on the chore wars. Blue Milk takes it apart: Before we call a truce on The Chore War.

NwN at The News With Nipples talks about the difference in these equations:

Men + work + family = completely normal.

Women + work + family = wanting to “have it all”. Followed by “probably selfish”.


At a friend’s prompting, I wrote about the occupy movement and Christianity: On cathedrals, occupations and Machiavelli. (Many thanks to Bec for nominating this post.)

Dumpling at Mellow Yellow says that it’s time to take your individualistic ostrich head out of the colonial sand.

“What is colonisation all about? I mean that kinda stuff happens all over the world, it’s just what people do, it’s always happened. And it was so long ago.. You can’t really do anything about it.”

This was part of the conversation I had with a young gay asian man while a small, staunch and chipper group marching for decolonisation up Queen St, to the (re)occupy Aotea campsite. And it’s been on my mind ever since.


LudditeJourno discusses Diversity and MMP.

The Queen of Thorns writes about being told yet again to stop critising Labour because “you’re hurting the movement.”

Steph at Lady News is fed-up with the national sport of dumping on society’s “losers. And she’s had enough of the fetishization of BLOKES. Blokes in charge of New Zealand. While being manly.

Anne Else focuses on child poverty in New Zealand.


Blue Milk reports her mother’s experience of parenting as an ex-pat in Iraq.


An airconditioner salesman gets it just a bit wrong with Mim: How to very nearly not sell an airconditioner.

Jo Tamar, writing at Hoyden about Town, has some numbers on the number of female tradies.

Anne Else, at The Hand Mirror, describes Some advertising she received recently – it’s straight out of the 1950s.


FeminAust writer MsElouise thinks about powerful women, and her mother, and different ways of being feminist.

At Hoyden about Town, orlando pays tribute to Camila Vallejo, a prominent Chilean activist.

Sandra in Wetville writes about her mother, and someone that so many of us in NZ feminist blogging admire, Julie Fairey.


BlueBec on Being angry and her changing responses to her own anger.

Rachel Hills on Being a Bad Feminist.

To finish up, go listen to tigtog: It speaks! Podcast: Sexism, Skepticism And Civility Online.


Many thanks to the people who submitted posts for the carnival, especially Bec, Chally, Julie, and Helen, who all kept an eye on blogs about the place and sent in links, and also to the people who sent in links from their own blogs, and the new bloggers who made themselves known.

The forty-fourth edition of the carnival will be hosted by Mary at Hoyden about Town in early January. Submissions to mary-carnival [at] puzzling [dot] org. The carnival submission form doesn’t seem to working at present, alas.