Thursday, October 10, 2013

Actions and Interesting links (a bit of a catch-up)

After Opting Out
Judith Warner, who wrote Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety, in which she compared mothering in France with mothering in the USA , has this very interesting article following up on mums who stop paid work to be with their kids. What happens ten years after the opt-out? (Remember the media talking about mums quitting high status jobs when they have kids.) This is relevant to discussions I’m having with my friends all the time about personal decisions re working as mothers - what we gain and what we lose.

The Australian branch of the  Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement , A-MIRCI, has a new FaceBook page and are planning a conference in Melbourne next year (I hope to attend!). If you like the FB page you’ll receive updates of events on your news feed.
If you want to attend the conference, or submit a paper to present, here are the details. 

Motherhood, Feminisms and the Future
July 17-20, 2014
Melbourne, Australia
This conference will explore, examine, critique, theorise and respond to key issues
related to motherhood through matricentric feminist lenses. The central focus of
matricentic feminist scholars is mother/motherhood/mothering. Such a focus has
specifically grown in response to perceptions that second wave feminisms
overlooked maternal issues, concerns and challenges. Indeed many maternal issues
remain invisible despite ongoing difficulties experienced by mothers in various
areas of their lives. We welcome submissions from scholars, students, activists,
community workers, bloggers, mothers, and others who research in this area. We
are open to a variety of submissions including academic papers from all
disciplines, and creative submissions such as poetry, literature, visual and
performance art. There will also be general papers on mothering/ motherhood/ mothers.
If you are interested in being considered as a presenter for either a paper and/or workshop, please send a 250 word abstract and a 50-word bio by December 20, 2013 to: and

Mothering in Other Countries
A Cup of Jo has run a small series on  American women mothering in other countries: Norway, Japan, Mexico, Central Africa, Northern Ireland, Abu Dhabi, and India. It is interesting to compare the expectations, the community supports and the ways mothering is socially constructed.

Brave Girls Want

Have you seen this campaign? An alliance of people and groups are taking up advertising space in Times Square to protest the messages directed to girls. The appeal is to media creators.

We are here to ask media creators to expand their version of what it means to be a girl, and recognize our girls as whole, complex people and not as gender stereotypes. Stop profiting from selling girls short.

We believe that girls deserve better, because we know that the consequences to girls' well-being are serious.

We ask media creators to rethink products in development and ensure they teach girls to be strong, intelligent, and adventurous.

We ask media creators to rethink branding that pigeon-holes girls into the lowest common denominator (glitter, sexuality, hetero-normative femininity).

We ask media creators to elevate the elements that make the characters and narratives unique, instead of homogenizing the images and the merchandise.  

We ask media creators to practice corporate social responsibility now-- take the sexy out of childhood. Reducing female characters’ value to being about physical appearance and nothing more damages girls.

Well worth supporting!

And an article that illuminates what they are on about. It is about how the token woman in a story is expected to be a ‘strong female character’ thereby denying the range of ways you can be as a woman or girl, in a way that doesn’t apply to male roles because there are so many more male roles.

What do I want instead of a Strong Female Character? I want a male:female character ratio of 1:1 instead of 3:1 on our screens. I want a wealth of complex female protagonists who can be either strong or weak or both or neither, because they are more than strength or weakness. Badass gunslingers and martial artists sure, but also interesting women who are shy and quiet and do, sometimes, put up with others’ shit because in real life there’s often no practical alternative. And besides heroines, I want to see women in as many and varied secondary and character roles as men: female sidekicks, mentors, comic relief, rivals, villains. I want not to be asked, when I try to sell a book about two girls, two boys and a genderless robot, if we couldn’t change one of those girls to a boy.

France moves to ban beauty pageants for girls under 16 years old.

AND, do I have anything to say about Miley? Only this. If you want to be regarded as an grown-up, there are other ways to do it. Enrol in university (other child stars have done it - Jodi Foster, Brooke Shields, Natalie Portman) or do a show on Broadway (Daniel Radcliffe).

No comments: