politics

All posts in the politics category

Stuff I Dig Volume 1

Published October 13, 2013 by Fat Heffalump

As part of trying to get back into the swing of things, I’ve decided to attempt to do a semi-regular post of things that I find online that I really dig.  Be it interesting articles, fatshion, artworks, things that make me laugh.  A kind of potted view of the things I post all over the internet, be it Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or anywhere else I lurk about.  It gives me a chance to signal boost some cool stuff, and to talk about the things I dig with you all.  Sometimes it might have a method or layout, other times it might just be a hotch potch of stuff.

I really encourage  you to share stuff in the comments that you’ve been interested in, but please keep it to positive stuff – no posting some shitty journalist hating on fat people, or any other douchenozzle behaving badly.  Let’s not give those people the signal boost.  Though thoughtful and kick arse responses to douchecanoes are welcome!

So, let me see, what have I been into lately…

Fat Activism

Gradient Lair on Thin Privilege and Intersectionality

A powerful piece from Rebecca Shaw on coming out as fat.

Kyla the Great’s tips on dealing with haters and harassers.

My favourite piece of the past few days, Elizabeth Tamny on the visibility of fat people and THAT Elle cover with Melissa McCarthy.

Caitlin Seida writes about how her photograph was stolen online and set upon by Reddit trolls.

Fatshion Inspiration

My lovely friend Bek, she of Colourful Curves, wrote an excellent guest post on Suger Coat It on how to do fatshion on a budget.

Check out these amazing paua shell look nails by karengnails:

paua nails

Here’s Jodie of Fat Additives looking as fierce as fuck in Autograph:

fat additives

I made such a noise of awe when I saw this photograph of Leah from Sweet Tea Kisses:

sweet tea kisses

I loved this post from Maiya Mayhem on fashion rules for fat girls:

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 1.33.41 PM

Feminism

I love this piece by Laurie Penny on the idea that feminism needs re-branding.

Skepchick on why she doesn’t go to the police when she is on the receiving end of online threats and harassment.

A Good Cause

You know how hard it is to find a decent bra?  Well, some women have it way, way harder than we do.  And we can help them by sending them bras in pretty much any condition (yep, they need them that bad!)   So you know those bras you have kicking around that have a broken underwire, or don’t fit you?  Send them along to the Uplift Project.

Cuteness

Hear the mighty lion roar!

If you follow me on Tumblr at all, you know that I am totally besotted with Tom Hiddleston.  I mean look at how pretty he is:

hiddles 1

hiddles 2

No really, he’s delicious.  Look, here he is practicing swordplay for the upcoming production of Coriolanus (which I have tickets to a broadcast of!)

Nipples!

Nipples!

Food

Look at how gorgeous this polka dotted cake is!

polka dotted cake

Laughs

Read the reviews on these sugar free gummi bears.  Maybe don’t read them in public (or at the office lunch table like I did – I got stares!)

Jess of Ghost of Enid has done this brilliant set of Tony Abbott: Minister for Women posters.  Political statements are so effective when infused with humour.  Here’s an example:

minister for women

And here’s Kermit the Frog doing his take on Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”:

wrecking ball

Other Fab Stuff

Does anyone want to buy me a house?  I mean look at this library:

dream library

Music

Let me finish with the most kick arse girl band you will see in a long, long time.  You need to watch to at least 2 minutes in to get the full benefit.

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An Australian Day of Shame

Published July 20, 2013 by Fat Heffalump

Today I need to talk about something off my usual topic.  Because something so unbelievably shameful has happened in my country in the past 24 hours and I need to speak up.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, announced a new “hardline approach” to refugees arriving by boat in Australia.  This new “hardline approach” means that people arriving by boat and without a visa will be sent to Australia’s Manus Island facility in Papua New Guinea for assessment and, if found to be refugees, they will be settled in Papua New Guinea.

I find it so hard to put into words the shame, disgust and despair I feel at this announcement.  Today I am deeply ashamed to be an Australian.  I’m ashamed that our political leaders would behave in such an inhumane manner to vulnerable people who have every right to seek asylum in Australia, vulnerable people who are fleeing for their lives.  I am ashamed of the lies that have been spread by both those in politics and the media around “boat people”.

Before I go on, I want to make it clear that Papua New Guinea (PNG) is not some kind of rosy haven for people.  It is not a safe place for people who are already fleeing their own countries of origin for the very same reasons they are likely to be targeted in PNG.  Religion, gender, sexuality, political beliefs etc.  Our own government has issued a warning against travel to PNG because of the high level of crime, violence, disease and risk to women.  This is not some safe little nook we are tucking these already vulnerable people – it is a poverty and crime stricken third world country.  Australia even offers asylum to Papua New Guinean women because it is not safe there for many of them.

There have been so many lies spread about refugees in the media and by politicians.  Many of them are debunked here.  This slogan of “stop the boats” as played as a fight to end people smuggling, a dangerous and inhumane practice that preys on desperate people by charging them large amounts of money to be smuggled into Australia by boat.  I agree, people smuggling is a deplorable trade and needs to be addressed, because desperate people die at the hands of these people smugglers.  But don’t think for a minute that this is what “stop the boats” is really about.  It is not punishing the people smugglers who profit off of the desperation of refugees at all, it’s punishing the victims.  People who have nowhere else to turn and cannot remain where they are, who are forced into using people smuggling to attempt to get themselves and their families to the safety of Australia.  This does not stop people smuggling at all, it simply forces it further underground, makes it more dangerous for the refugees and makes more money for the people smugglers.

I am not fooled for one moment that this “stop the boats” rhetoric is about stopping people smuggling.  It’s a catchy dog whistle for the media and politicians to stir up the ignorant, the bigoted, the xenophobic of Australia.  The people who respond to the “stop the boats” dog-whistle don’t care for one moment about stopping people smugglers from profiting from refugees, they only want to keep people out of their country who they deem as unworthy.  They don’t care about stopping the thousands of people who simply don’t go home after having a holiday in Australia and decide to live here permanently because our quality of life is better than in their home country, because those people tend to be white people.  But those who are fleeing for their lives and are the tiny number that attempt to get here via people smugglers tend to be brown people, people of religions other than Christian and/or people who do not speak English.

Australia through most of my life has been known as The Lucky Country.  And yes, while we’re doing it tougher lately than we are used to, we are still extremely lucky.  We have weathered the global economic crisis better than almost anywhere else in the world.  We have a lot of privileges that many other places in the world doesn’t enjoy.  The climate is good and we enjoy most of the produce we need grown right here in our own country.

But we also have thousands of kilometres of empty space.  We are mostly affluent (though we could look after our own vulnerable people better, but that is a topic for another post) and we have political, religious and gender freedoms that many other places around the world do not have.

We also have an ageing population that cannot sustain itself.  The very people most complaining about the number of “immigrants” Australia has are those who are going to complain that there are not enough people doing the work that it requires to maintain the country.  We need more people with skills of every kind, and more people who will have children who can be given an education to grow into skills we need.

As I do every Saturday morning, I sat in my local park and had brunch.  I looked around at the people sharing the beautiful park.  I heard several languages floating across the green, coming from families feeding the ducks and turtles, showing their kids the eels swimming in the lagoon, enjoying coffee in the gazebo.  I saw every shade of skin and mode of dress I can think of enjoying that lovely park.  And I thought about all those people who were able to come here 10, 20, 30 years ago or beyond, who now live here and are part of our community.

I thought about my friends and colleagues who came here as refugees.  From Vietnam, Poland, El Salvador, Eritrea, Iraq, Croatia and many other places.  I thought about their kids, who I have watched grow up from littlies running around to be young adults today who are getting an education, or who are already in the workforce.  I thought about what lovely people these kids have grown up into, how they all have such strong values of family, work ethic, appreciation for what they have.  I thought about my friends and colleagues who have enriched my life with language, music, food, and other culture that they’ve introduced me to as I’ve known them over the years. I thought about the number of great artists, musicians, writers and thinkers that have come from refugee backgrounds.  I thought about these people who contribute to making Australia such a strong, prosperous nation.  I’ve worked along side so many hard working people who came here as refugees, or are the children of refugees, who have participated in building communities that support each other and better the world they are in.

These are the kinds of people who we have just slammed the door in their faces.  Those who are fleeing their own horrors and looking for us to open our doors to them with compassion and humanity are the people who 10, 20, 30  years down the track will be contributing the way the refugees of the past are now.  These are the people whose children will get a decent education and become the doctors and nurses and teachers and engineers and librarians and farmers and architects and you name it along with Aussie born kids and make Australia strong and productive.  These are the people who will bring wonderful new foods, wonderful new art, music and writing, great thinking and learning with them.

Yet we as a nation have just slammed the door in their faces and told them that they are unworthy of joining us.  We have sent them off to further desperation and violence, yet we tell them they are not worthy of joining us.  How wrong we are.  We as a nation are the ones who are unworthy.

We need to make ourselves worthy of the greatness we have achieved, and have the potential to achieve again as Australians, regardless of whether we were born Australian or became Australian.  We MUST NOT be silent about this shameful declaration made by the Australian government yesterday.

I urge every one of you to speak up, no matter in what small way.  Whether it is sharing this post or other articles speaking up about the inhumanity of the government’s decision on your social media, participating in this campaign to contact your local Member of Parliament, writing your own post or letter to the media, participating in any of the rallies or walks that are springing up around the country, or simply just calling out the ignorance and lies being perpetuated by the people around you in your life.  If nothing else, put all of the political propaganda you receive in your junk mail in an envelope and send it to your local Member of Parliament marked STOP THE LIES.  Hell, even put it back in the post box (mark it “Return to Sender” in big bold letters) and let Australia Post deal with thousands of returned junk mail.  Even if they’re just recycling it, they have to report back to the political parties (who pay for them to distribute the propaganda) how much of the mailers “failed”.  Can you imagine the mess they’d have if we all did that?

You may think that you can’t make a difference.  But you can, and no action is too small.  The more of us who work together to speak up the more our voices accumulate volume.  Sign a petition.  Share some articles.  Tell people that you find xenophobia and ignorance unacceptable.  Just don’t be silent on this.  Silence tells politicians and the media that you agree with them.

Challenge “stop the boats” with STOP THE LIES.

Let’s Not Toss the Baby with the Bath Water

Published October 10, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

There has been a lot of talk today about how it’s all well and good for Prime Minister Gillard to stand up in parliament and call out the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott, for his hypocrisy about misogyny*, but many claim her own conduct/policies on other matters render her speech redundant.

While I agree, that Prime Minister Gillard (who I am no great fan of generally speaking) has a lot of work to do on issues like equal marriage rights, refugees, indigenous affairs, social support for single parents, and other issues, I think dismissing her speech yesterday undermines just how important the topic of misogyny from our political leaders is to the women of Australia.  Indeed, the women of the world.

We as a nation have watched our first woman Prime Minister treated in a manner that no male politician would ever be be subjected to, both in parliament and in the media.  We as a nation have heard the man who wants to lead our country, suggest that half of the population, women, are less adapted to exercise authority or to issue command.  We have heard this man suggest time and time again that women are somehow inferior to men.  Again, he is referring to half of the population of the country, whom he expects to vote for him to lead them.  On a regular basis, this man and the politicians he leads have referred to any woman in the Labor party as “the handbag hit squad”.  This is the man that said in an interview (therefore on the public record) “What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing…”

Misogyny and sexism are rife in daily life in Australia, and when the man holding the highest position in the political opposition in this country AND who expects the Australian people to vote for him to lead the country, makes statements like those Prime Minister Gillard quoted, and I have shared here, is it any wonder?

Prime Minister Gillard has a responsibility in her role, not only as the Prime Minister but as a woman in such a position of high rank, to represent the women of Australia.  Yes, she represents all Australians, but being a woman herself, and being the example of a woman in public life and power, how she allows herself to be treated, reflects on how she allows all Australian women to be treated.

Yesterday, she stood up and said “Enough.”  She stood up and spoke out against an issue that affects half of the population of her country directly, and the rest indirectly, whether they wish to admit it or not.  This is not some trifling matter to be thrown away because other policies and positions she holds do not come up to standard.  If you are a woman in this country, and you expect to be treated with basic respect as a human being, then the speech Prime Minister Gillard made yesterday should matter to you.  It should be significant to you and to this country, regardless of whether or not you align yourself with the Labor party or Prime Minister Gillard herself.

Yes, we need to keep pressuring Prime Minister Gillard on other issues.  We need to make it clear that there is still much work for her and the Labor party and indeed parliament to do to earn our votes and to successfully lead this country.

But we also must remember that in one regard at least, she has taken a significant stand for the women of Australia.  In her words:

the Leader of the Opposition should think seriously about the role of women in public life and in Australian society because we are entitled to a better standard than this.

We are entitled to a better standard than this.  All women, everywhere are entitled to a better standard than they are currently receiving, all over the world.  And to that, I say thank you Prime Minister Gillard, for finally standing up on one of the most important issues facing Australian women, all women of the world, today.

* a transcript of the entire speech can be found here.