Mia Freedman: admirable writer and speaker

Just saw this speech from Mia Freedman about feminism and sex work last year. This was a few years after her comments on sex work on ABC’s Q and A which copped a lot of condemnation from other feminists – especially on Twitter.

I really love the way she spoke and I really admire her as a writer and commentator. Regardless on what you think on what she stands for whether on gay marriage, asylum seekers, sex work, or other issues, etc, I don’t think you can deny her passion, dedication and zeal for the issues she writes/ speaks about. I think she’s very authentic and speaks from the heart.

I haven’t always agreed with her or the way she’s gone about things and have expressed it a few times, including on one of my blogs, but never the less, her passion is admirable. Her talent for writing is undeniable. And she’s a great speaker. In the video, she didn’t stumble over her words once. Who wouldn’t like to be that good at public speaking!

As I have said before, she is a brilliant ally to the LGBTQ+ community. Despite what I think are her mistakes, her allyship is evident and, at least on my part, is appreciated. Her part in asexuality visibility will never be forgotten.

Her recent aim to ‘burst her bubble’ and talk to people she fundamentally disagrees with was very interesting to listen to. She admitted that she listened to/ read and interacted with people she agreed with politically and in the wake of the Donald Trump victory. In a bid to open her mind, she talked to ‘Sky News Australia’s Paul Murray, Daily Telegraph’s Miranda Devine and Andrew Bolt. I applaud all who were involved. All the hree conversations were very cordial on both ends. Freedman was very calm, and wasn’t combative at all. Murray, Devine and Bolt should also be commended for their conduct. It’s nice to hear such friendliness in amidst of never – ending reports of disrespect and a lack of acknowledgement of each other’s humanity. Kudos, Kudos, Kudos!

 

I truly think that Mia Freedman is people can look up to as a writer. She, along with others like Andrew Bolt definitely inspire me to keep writing and keep improving, including in times I really doubt whether I’m good enough to do this and take my writing further. For that, I’m grateful.

 

 

 

 

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Am I a feminist?

Lately, I’ve trawled YouTube and have been watching videos on different women and how they view feminism. A number of them classify themselves as “anti – feminist” or neither anti or pro feminist. Here are just some of the videos I’ve watched lately.

Content warning: coarse language

OK, that’s one of the videos I’ve seen in the past couple of weeks. I have seen others, but haven’t found them (note to self – keep titles of YouTube videos in mind or written down!).

Anyway, just trawling through the videos just then (there are MANY both pro and anti feminist videos out there), a question came to me – am I a feminist?

Well, it depends what you mean by “feminist”. These days, I believe the term has been hijacked by social justice warriors that have made women in particular run from the label. When you have “feminists” like Clementine Ford and Van Badham, I, like other Millennials want to run away from the label faster than you can say “I am woman”. Also, there are a lot of myths that have plagued feminism, like the 1 in 5 rape statistic in America that is apparently debunked:

 

Closer to home, feminists have been accused of pursuing trivial causes, while ignoring the suffering of women in the Middle East and Africa under Islamic rule. Feminists have also been accused of ignoring the domestic violence epidemic in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, particularly in the Northern Territory. To be fair to feminists, sites like Mamamia have reported on DV in ATSI communities, but it has been few and far in between from what I’ve seen, which, if I’m looking properly, is disappointing. Then again, it’s not hard to do. I’ve only written about the issue once. Then, there’s the whole political correctness overkill, trigger warnings overkill, etc, etc. Yep, it’s turned into a bit of an unfunny joke, really.

 

However, there are feminist blogs I do read and I do agree with some of the sentiments. Sites like Ravishly are very inclusive and do give voice to women of colour, as well as Caucasian women, including many LGBTQ+ women. I do have respect for how they allow women to talk about different struggles such as mental illness. Also, again, closer to home, last week, in light of disability awareness, Mamamia did a great job giving voices to women affected by a physical disability or looking after a grown child with a disability. Despite the criticisms I’ve made toward publisher, Mia Freedman, I do admire her for her advocacy a number of causes, many of which her and the rest of the Mamamia team do very well.

So, feminist publications do a good job in raising awareness about issues. But, am I a feminist?

To be honest, I’m actually not sure. I mean, I do write and care about women’s rights, yet, I’m critical of modern day feminism. Then again, I can see that, without going to the fringes, feminists can do good. I haven’t been actively involved in feminist activism or anything (I used to get quite involved on – line, but not anymore). I think if you take away the blown up statistics, the seeming exclusion of minorities, especially the plight of ATSI women, hypocrisy, etc, then I guess you could say, yeah, I am a feminist. It’s not perfect by any means, and like I said, there are people that give it a bad name, but I don’t think the overall cause in and of itself isn’t bad. If we, including me, as feminist can drop the double – standards, triviality and stand up for all women, then I think feminism can be made even better.

 

What are you? Feminist? Anti – feminist or something else? Who are feminists past or present that you respect?

Enough of mocking Malania Trump

Now that Donald Trump will be the President of the US, apparently, his wife, Malania is fair game.

 

Look, I can understand why people are concerned about Trump. I wrote about this in my post about the #safetypin campaign. But isn’t this racist and sexist? If anyone mocked Hillary like that, or Michelle Obama, there’d be outrage. But because she’s going to be First Lady with Donald Trump as President, it’s OK? I get why Andrew Bolt says “with the Left, it’s not the principle, but the side. If it was any other woman, the chance of this being tolerated would be nil.

 

It makes me think, when it comes to the treatment of women, whether it’s violence, mocking, teasing, etc, I can really see why people treat the Third Wave of Feminism as a complete joke – an unfunny one at that. On one hand, even the slightest offensive thing that’s said about… say Julia Gillard is condemned outright. Now, I argue that some of the treatment she received while she was Prime Minister in 2011 – 2012 –  like broadcaster Alan Jones saying that Gillard’s father “died of shame” only days after he died was appalling. He later apologised. Some of the things Trump said, especially on the tape about women was disgusting. Most people rightly condemned these comments. They were insensitive (on Jones’ part) and downright appalling on President – elect Trump’s part. Yet, there is nothing that I can see on Mamamia or Ravishly – site that’s usually good talking about not just women’s issues but racial diversity as well. Still, nothing. Now I get what Andrew Bolt means when he says: “with so many on the Left, it’s not the principle, but the side”.

 

Women like Mia Freedman try to argue about how important feminism and gender equality is. Well, how about start by treating all women as if they matter? How about condemning all sexism and racism, not just for a few? Otherwise millennials will keep running away from feminism and we’ll just be continued to be painted as nothing more than hypocrites.

Maybe I’m missing something. Have you seen any article, video, etc from a woman’s site condemning the mockery of Melania Trump? If you have, feel free to post the link in the comments section.

 

What’s In A Label?

On last night’s Q and A, Minister for Womwn, Michaelia Cash (not Michaela, apologies for that error last night), was asked whether she identified as a feminist. In response, Cash said that she didn’t care too much about labels, but gave into pressure by Mia Freedman and Penny Wong and reluctantly took on the label after expressiong passion for gender equality and putting an end to domestic violence.

I found the pressure for Cash to label herself a feminist was a bit much. It’s just that – a label. Labels, if used, should be a personal decision based on how an individual feels. So,why wouldn’t some people want to label themselves as feminists?

This came up a year or so ago with the – then Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop. Some conservative commentators theorised that Bishop didn’t identify as a feminist necause of the political ideology that often comes with the label. Maybe Cash feels the same way (if that’s how Bishop felt), who knows? And honestly WHO CARES?!

Are there issues that still need to be addressed in terms of gender equality? Of course. So let’s do the job that needs to be done! Let’s give more confidence to women to ask for pay rises or to be at a different rank (apparently one of the causes for the gender pay gap), let’s fight against domestic violence, make childcare more affordable, etc and forget the labels, or at least make them truly optional. Because a label is only a label if we don’t put anything behind it. It becomes more about semantics and endless unecessary talk, when it’s action that’s needed. I really like Mia Freedman’s work (a lot of it), and I respect the fact that she identifies as a feminist, but I disagree with her on the importance of the ‘feminist’ label. It’s a word. It’s the actions that count. Let Cash do her job. Any labels are up to her.

 

Did you watch Q and A last night? What do you think of the label ‘feminist’?

 

 

 

Mia Freedman on Q and A

Online publisher and former Cosmo Editor, Mia Freedman is set to appear on ABC’s Q and A tomorrow night. Minister for Women, Michaela Cash and Labor Senator, Penny Wong is set to be there too.

Feminism special? Wonder what’ll be bought up. I’ll be interested to find out. If it is about women’s rights or any topic  that I think is relevant to this blog, hopefully, I’ll write the post sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday. I mayask readers to share their thoughts on the issues also. Looking forward to it.

How Can We Discuss Personal Safety?

The murder of 17 – year – old Doncaster student, Masa Vukotic has put safety of young women in the spotlight, yet again. Last night on Sydney’s 2GB, Steve Price  expressed concern for his three daughters and the importance of talking to teenagers and young adults how to remain safe in public. However, on news.com.au, earlier today, Jo Stanley condemned police’s advice on how women should behave in order to feel safe, slamming it as victim blaming.

This isn’t the first time that controversy has erupted over the issue of personal safety and victim blaming. Susie O’Brien was was condemned last year over her comments about women drinking and sexual assault. Now, I’ve been a reader of Susie O’Brien’s blog for a while, and I can say, from what I’ve read that she doesn’t condone violence and discrimination. Period. Mia Freedman, a self – described feminist publisher and founder of Mamamia.com.au has also been accused of victim – blaming. Can we step back for a moment and answer this question? How should we discuss personal safety, especially for young people without it becoming a screaming match and accusations of victim blaming?

 

There are a few things that are often said that people shouldn’t do to ensure personal safety in public – not accepting drinks from strangers in clubs, meeting potential online dates in a well – lit and crowded public area, keeping an eye on drinks to avoid drink spiking and staying close to trusted friends when out. These are the ones I can think of that are mostly bought up. Does that mean that anyone who doesn’t do these things deserves to be attacked? Obvious answer: no, of course not. Does that mean that any attackers, in this case, Masa Vutokic’s alleged killer Sean Christian Price should be let off the hook if found guilty, because it’s seen that Vulkotic made some mistakes? Are you kidding me?! Of course not! But why can’t we have a frank discussno about how to keep ourselves and each other safe when out in public? Why, for example, are suggestions to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum for safety reasons always screamed down as victim blaming? (alcohol didn’t play a role in this case – she was underage). Something needs to be done. Yes, people say that the courts in Australia are a mess, but while we wait for that to be cleaned up, then what? Maybe a safety talk with young people may not be such a bad idea.

Mia Freedman

638406-mia-freedmanMia Freedman is probably one of the most outspoken and divisive media personalities in Australlia. Born in 1971 to South African migrant parents, Freedman pursued a journalism career at Australian Cosmopolitan aged 19. In 1996, she became one of the youngest editors to ever work at the magazine at only 24. After a short stint at Channel Nine, Freedman launched her site Mamamia in 2007. which receives about 2 million views weekly.

She hasn’t been free from controversy and public backlash. Last year, she caused outrage on “The Project” for saying:

We accept that gay people can’t change who they love and who they’re sexually attracted to, so why do we think that people who are sexually attracted to children can be rehabilitated?

This comment, whilst the panel on ‘The Project” (and Steve Price from 2GB by polycom) was discussing whether sex offenders registers should be made public knowledge. This comment caused a huge outcry, especially on Twitter. Anyone who looks at her website for more than ten seconds would know that the comment was a clumsy statement and that she is NOT homophobic.

Earlier that year, Freedman was sent death threats on Twitter after she slammed “Sunrise’s” David Koch for saying that co – host Samantha Armytage had “stripper shoes”. Freedman took that as a sexist comment, however, had both Armytage and Koch slamming her alarmism.

On her website, where she discusses women’s issues, politics, pop culture and other topics, there is plenty of fierce debate and criticism in the comments (although not all the posts are by her). She (and the other bloggers on the site), are strongly to the Left poltically and as such, some of the posts they make are sometimes deemed unfair or that the reporting is too biased. Frankly, in some cases, I can see where some of her critics come from, sometimes, However, one’s got to admire her passion and that she’s willing to stand for what she believes in and doesn’t buckle under pressure.

In many aspects, I think Freedman is a very admirable role model, for writers and non – writers alike. She stands up for what she believes in, she seems to have bounced back from all the criticism and her site, nearly eight years on, still gets much traffic (so many of her posts have an unbelievable amount of comments!). She also causes discussion and, i think, makes people at least think of where they stand on a number of issues, whether they agree with her and her staff or not. For that, I for one, commend her.

Did you read Cosmo when she was Editor? Do you read her blog? What do you think about her? (please keep comments civil and polite).