Tag Archives: Farrago

From the archives: A Room of Our Own

28 Aug

This article was featured in Farrago in 2010.

Tuesday, August 17 2010 – by Esther Bohmer and Miriam Hamel-Green

In Australia, right now, one in every three women is sexually assaulted in her lifetime. In Australia, right now, one in every three women suffers mental health problems. In Australia, right now, one in every three women has at least one STI. Will one autonomous (women-only) space in Parkville fix all this? We don’t think so. But it is one step—and for many women, the first step—in addressing these issues for themselves.

The Wom*n’s Room exists, as the various—admittedly poorly maintained (2011 edit: now awesomely maintained!) —websites state; as both a safer space for women and somewhere to organise against that which makes us unsafe. The notion that in the last thirty years the University has managed to undo all patriarchal constructions is absurd. Yes, women occupy spaces such as lecture theatres, south lawn, bars and offices. But this does not happen free of misogynistic behaviour and danger. Men dominate discussion in tutes, women are verbally harassed around campus, and men are systemically privileged over women in academia, for example the topic “lesbians” is deemed too specific for a thesis, whereas we’re free to write 10,000 about one old, dead, white guy. And then there are the statistics mentioned above, which it is naive and dangerously unwise to presume aren’t manifested within our University Bubble. Women who recognise these facts and then choose to take action—such as those who participate in all the Wom*n’s Room has to offer—are not thus vulnerable cowards and victims; they are empowered individuals attempting to navigate society as best they can.

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Farrago: Autonomous Spaces

28 Jul

This article in Farrago talks about autonomous spaces. While the specific example here is the Queer Room and the Queer Department, it is easy to see how these ideas can apply to the Wom*n’s Room and the Wom*n’s Department.

“Autonomous areas, which are reserved for the use of a particular identity group, are not always popular. The charge of “reverse discrimination” is often levelled: why should any group have access to resources that aren’t available to the wider population? Another criticism that worries me more is that autonomous spaces can be too exclusive. If entry is based upon adherence to a strictly defined identity group, then people who would otherwise benefit from access may be made to feel unwelcome…”

Have a read, and leave your responses in the comments.

Farrago: Universities in trans-it

28 Jul

Farrago has a feature titled ‘Universities in trans-it’:

“Some things are not easily defined.

The word transgender, for example, can refer to people who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth, or to people whose identities may combine or move between traditional notions of male and female…”

Read the full feature at http://union.unimelb.edu.au/farrago/features/universities-in-trans-it and post any comments you have.


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