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International Women’s Day Picnic 2pm Friday Argyle Square

6 Mar

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Come join us on Friday for a cross campus International Women’s Day picnic and a chat about women and media. Food, conversation and sun will be provided. The picnic is a collaboration between Melbourne, RMIT, Swinburne and LaTrobe Wom*n’s Departments. The picnic is at Argyle Square (off Lygon Street) and will start from 2pm. Here’s the Facebook event!

This friday marks the 106th birthday of  International Women’s Day. From the first demonstrations in Russia in 1917, a trigger for the February Revolution, the day has been a time for activism by women and for women.

The lives of women have changed, mostly for the better, but IWD remains as a reminder of what is left to do. The theme of IWD this year ‘A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women’ is an assertion that this year, like the years before it, we have been asked to observe terrible violence against women flashed on our tv screens and printed in our newspapers. We have observed how these experiences have been twisted and exploited. How they have been ignored or explained away.

Women and media can get complicated. It connects us, allows sharing of experience, spreads knowledge. It has created new forms of activism and expression. Yet often the stories of women are contorted. Representation of women is like looking into a funhouse mirror, just off. That is if they’re there at all. It’s not surprising, on the whole it is not women who control the production of print, television or film. Females owned only 6.8 percent (91) of 1,348 full-power commercial television stations in 2011, compared with 5.6 percent (66) of 1,187 full-power commercial television stations in 2009 (Federal Communications Commission’s Report on Ownership of
Commercial Broadcast Stations). Despite the prominence of women in 2012’s presidential election, male front-page bylines covering the election at top newspapers outnumbered female bylines nearly three to one (4th Estate Project).

It’s time to talk seriously about the presence of women in the media. It’s time to talk about how we can take control over our own stories.

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Girlzone is WEEKLY now

21 Aug

In addition to out big semester focus (Semester 1: Rad Sex & Consent/Semester 2: Bluestockings Week) the Wom*n’s department does stuff all over the place (WAC, stitch n bitch, FFFFilms & Girlzone) every week to create community and a space for students to learn and grow as feminists and people and friggin’ make friends and all that stuff you’re meant to do at uni.

So here’s the thing, due to popular demand: Girlzone is WEEKLY now.

At 1pm on Thursdays in the Wom*n’s Room.

There’s free tea and cake and donuts and other grrls who are queer or questioning. Lemme make this clear: that can mean bi, pan, trans, poly, celibate, lesbian, and not-quite-sure. Like seriously, you are welcome.

It’s now necessarily a queery-style brain-breaking ideological conversation (not that it’s off-limits), it’s just a chill time to chat with others socially. And eat cake.

The Facebook event is here. You don’t have to press attending if you don’t feel comfortable with people on your Facebook seeing, but know you’re welcome 🙂

– Amy xx

NOWSA 2012 wrap up

24 Jul

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Well, we are all back safe and sound from NOWSA 2012 (the Network Of Women Students Australia conference in Canberra) just in time for the start of semester. We had a great time and learnt a lot! A huge thanks to the ANU collective for organising it.There is more posted to www.nowsa2012.com about what we all got up to.

I’m a bit late posting here about it, and I’ll keep it brief. But in huge news, our collective decided to bid to host the conference at Melbourne Uni in 2013… and we won!

We hope this will mean that many more students from Melbourne Uni, other universities in Melbourne, and all around the country get involved and come to visit next year!

Bluestockings Week

28 Jun

Hello everyone, and hope you’re enjoying your uni break! The website has been on a bit of a hiatus as we’ve all slogged through exams & essays, then got the flu, then kinda gone into holiday mode a bit, but also still working away in the background organising our NOWSA collective. Only a week until we go away to Canberra… can’t wait!

In the meantime, we wanted to let you know about a big Semester 2 event that is in the works. We’d love any interested people to get involved – you don’t need any special experience or knowledge, just some enthusiasm and keenness to meet new people! Run in conjunction with the National Union of Students, it’s called Bluestocking Week:

Bluestocking is a campaign which celebrates women in higher education. The ‘week’ will run from the 6th-17th of August. This year’s Bluestocking Week will focus on the original bluestocking themes of celebrating women’s intellectualism; advancing feminism through education; and rebelling against social constructs that prescribe roles for women’ including those of class, race, sexuality and culture, that restrict women’s freedom of expression and thought – and we will add a modern (or postmodern) twist. Bluestocking Week is coordinated by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) Women’s Action Committee (which has representatives from each State) and the National Union of Students Women’s Department. Events are being organised at national, divisional and university level. The project will be launched by Jane Garrett MP and Jeannie Rea, President of the NTEU at La Trobe University, Eagle Bar (event details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/196702417124126/)

In terms of what’s happening at Melbourne Uni, that’s where you come in! We’d love you to be part of the organising collective. Please drop us a line at womyns@union.unimelb.edu.au if you’d like to be a part of making the week happen, and getting your thoughts and ideas about women & higher education out there.

Happy uni break everyone!

– bel

Rad Sex & Consent update

2 May

Well we are about to start day 3 of Rad Sex & Consent and it’s been awesome so far! Today Nina Funnell – a special guest of the Wom*n’s Dept – will speak on consent.

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*trigger warning for mention of sexual assault*
Nina is a courageous woman who turned a horrific experience into a platform to campaign for the rights of all Australians to live free from physical and sexual violence. In 2007, Nina experienced an awful attack by an unknown man before she managed to escape. She reported the incident to the police and then broke her story to the media in an attempt to reclaim control of the situation.

Since then she has written numerous articles for the media about violence against women and has become a public spokesperson for survivors of assault. She volunteers with The Step to the Future Foundation and last year she travelled across Australia speaking to over 15,000 high school students and students at six universities. She is a member of the management committee of the NSW Rape Crisis Centre and takes every opportunity to raise the community’s awareness and understanding of this important issue. She has also worked with national football clubs and organisations on issues of gender awareness & assault reduction.

You can read some of her articles here.

Hope to see you today at 1:30pm at Joe Nap A (near Rowden White library – level 2 union house), or if you can make today, there will be 2nd wom*n-only consent workshop tomorrow in the wom*n’s room at 11:30am!

Feminist discussion group: Femme identity & femininity

13 Mar

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Tomorrow’s FDG topic is femme identity and femininity. We want to talk about how we approach femininity in feminist and queer communities and in our own lives, and discuss issues of empowerment, autonomy, gender policing, internalised misogyny, and choice. We will be discussing whether feminine expressions can be reclaimed in a space of self-love and power and what it means to identify as femme.

As usual, all welcome, and it doesn’t matter how much you already know or don’t know about this subject!

1-2pm in Mary Cooke rooms (level 2 union house – next to Rowden White library & George Patton gallery)

Links:

  • Cosmoqueer: The Femme Issue (PDF)
  • GET YOUR ANTIFEMININITY OUT OF MY FEMINISM.
  • Femme Wikipedia Entry
  • Zine “On Being Hard Femme”
  • “They’re not femme! OR Who has the monopoly on femme?”
  • Excerpts from that chapter from Nobody Passes “And then you cut your hair: genderfucking on the femme side of the spectrum”
  • http://queerfatfemme.com/about/why-queer-fat-femme/
  • some of my best friends are FEMME
  • What’s happening in 2012

    29 Feb

    We have big ideas and a big year planned in 2012. All of our events will be free or subsidised for students at the University of Melbourne.

    Continue reading

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