*books 3

Books Read, 2017

Time for my annual struggle to remember how to post stuff with a future date. (ETA: Post it, then change the date. It says "postpone", but doesn't postpone it.)

Isaac Asimov. The Naked Sun.
William S. Burroughs. The Cat Inside.
Buchi Emecheta. The Joys of Motherhood.
Franz Kafka. The Castle.
Han Kang. The Vegetarian.
Frederik Pohl. Man Plus.
Daniel H. Wilson and John Joseph Adams (eds). Robot Uprisings.

Running fiction tally: white guys: 4 everyone else: 2

Notable short stories: Daniel H. Wilson, "Small Things"

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Refugee Update

newwavefeminism's posting on Tumblr, above, sums up the contradictory response of the West in general, tbh - certainly Australia's. This challenging essay by Dina Nayeri explores the gratitude expected of refugees - how we begrudge and resent giving the help we promised, how we expect to be rewarded for it - which I think connects directly to this hypocrisy.

Manus healthcare provider forced to leave for practising unlicensed (GA, 3 April 2017) "International Health and Medical Services replaced by skeleton staff from PNG company Paradise, providing detainees only basic and emergency medical care... Some detainees requiring medication for chronic conditions have been left without medication during the changeover." If those "chronic conditions" include mental illness, I can tell you from personal experience that a lot of people are going to get very sick very suddenly. As a diabetic, I shudder to think what other diseases are being left untreated. Behrouz Boochani: "The refugees are happy that IHMS left Manus, not because they think Paradise will provide medical treatment for them, but because they hate IHMS. IHMS was one of the main tools for torturing people in Manus during four years of suffering."

US officials fingerprint refugees on Manus Island as part of US-Australia resettlement deal (ABC, 5 April 2017)

Amnesty International report says billion-dollar offshore centre contracts should be made public (ABC, 5 April 2017)

Amnesty warns any company taking over Manus and Nauru camps complicit in 'abuse' (GA, 5 April 2017)

Filming 'Chauka' at Manus Island's detention facilities (The Saturday Paper, 8 April 2017) | Iranian refugee's film shot on mobile phone shows life inside Manus Island detention centre (ABC, 3 April 2017)

Former Australian journalist detained on Manus Island by PNG immigration officials (ABC, 7 April 2017)

Amnesty calls for release of refugee Loghman Sawari in Papua New Guinea (GA, 5 April 2017)

Offshore detention may hurt Australia's bid for UN Human Rights Council seat (GA, 7 April 2017) | Australians who blew the whistle on offshore detention to speak at global Women in the World Summit summit (SMH, 2 April 2017)

Details of Australia's asylum seeker boat turnbacks released in FoI battle (GA, 3 April 2017)

Gender update

IIRC the Women's Legal Service Queensland learns today if its budget has been slashed, along with other community legal centres across the country. I'll ETA the news here when I find it.

The good news: North Carolina governor signs bill repealing and replacing transgender bathroom law amid criticism (WP, 30 March 2017). The bad news: the new law forbids local governments in NC from protecting trans people. ETA: Meanwhile in Australia, For some transgender students, the school bathroom is a battleground (ABC, 1 April 2017). SA, WA, and Victoria have guidelines for schools - where are New South Wales'?

Email Australian politicians to tell them to stop stuffing about with plebiscites and just vote on marriage equality already.

What do many lone attackers have in common? Domestic violence (GA, 29 March 2017). "Paul Gill, a UCL lecturer who studies so-called lone wolf terrorists, told the New York Times last year: 'Having a history of violence might help neutralise the natural barriers to committing violence.' In other words, wives and girlfriends make good target practice."

Scrap the tampon tax to win the women's vote, Treasurer told (SMH, 28 March 2017)

#End12, and general gendery links

Reproductive Freedom

I made it to the pro-choice rally yesterday, late as usual, but in time to join the march to Parliament House. (In fact, I'm briefly visible in the video from it here. :) The speakers really put into context for me the need for women, for any person with a uterus, to be able to control this most basic aspect of our lives: sexual assault, domestic violence, homelessness, poverty, homophobia and transphobia, the denial of sex education, the constant attacks on services - to Women's Legal Service Victoria. Illegal and/or inaccessible terminations, and harassment at clinics and hospitals, are just part of the continual assault on our well-being. Or to put it another way: Never mind America, access to abortion is a 'nightmare' for many Australians.

The Greens are introducing a Bill to remove abortion from the criminal law in NSW, where it's still technically illegal, which means that women's reproductive freedom is always in danger, perhaps more so now than ever. Read about the Bill and email your representative at http://www.end12.org.au/.

Abortion is also illegal in Queensland. QLD Coalition MPs oppose reform, so a proposed Bill decriminalising abortion was withdrawn earlier this year, but has been sent to the Law Reform Commission in the meantime.

The Northern Territory has just decriminalised abortion and legalised RU486, as well as providing safe access zones around clinics and hospitals. RU486 still can't be legally used by women in South Australia and the ACT (as you may imagine, this isn't stopping its use).

Medical abortion access restricted by cost, distance and knowledge (SMH, 23 January 2017). "The study recommends policy attention is put toward preventing unwanted pregnancies and advocates for increasing medicare rebates to lessen financial burden, particularly for women beyond their first trimester."

Women going without food to pay for abortions: study (SMH, 23 January 2017). About a third of the women surveyed experienced financial difficulties.

Sexual and Domestic Violence

Fact file: Domestic violence in Australia (ABC FactCheck, 15 April 2017) | Australian police handle 5,000 domestic violence matters a week, up 7 per cent (ABC, 22 April 2016) - that's over a quarter of a million every year. | National Legal Aid calls for more funding after new figures reveal domestic violence a factor in 79pc of family law cases (ABC, 18 April 2017)

More than third of sexual assaults, homicides linked to domestic violence, ABS data shows (ABC, 13 July 2016) | Half the men who kill partners have history of domestic violence (SMH 29 April 2017)

Aboriginal mothers 17 times more likely to die from homicide, WA study finds (ABC, 13 July 2016). Indigenous mothers in WA are 6.5 times more likely to die from all preventable causes, including car crashes and suicide.

Hidden victims: Women on visas feeling trapped after domestic violence abuse (ABC, 5 April 2017)

Family violence a bigger health risk for women than smoking, drinking, obesity: study (ABC, 1 November 2016). "The burden of disease is a calculation of the impact of particular diseases and risk factors on an entire population. It is a measure of both fatal and non-fatal health impacts, which take into account the severity and duration of health conditions. The study found partner violence was among the top ten risk factors contributing to disease burden among all adult women... Among women 18 to 44 years, it was the biggest single risk factor when violence in all intimate relationships was included, bigger than smoking, alcohol use or being overweight or obese. When considering only violence by live-in partners, in this age group, partner violence ranked second only to alcohol use."

Sexual assault on Australian campus is a serious problem. Compounding it: University sexual assault policies are often 'inconsistent' and 'confusing' (ABC, 2 March 2017). In fact, the group End Rape on Campus Australia accuses unis of active cover-ups of rape. An opinion piece asks: Sexual assault: What is your university doing to prevent it? (ABC, 25 February 2017)

In NSW, accused domestic violence perpetrators are allowed to cross-examine their alleged victims, a deeply traumatising experience.

'Life-saving' Victorian domestic violence pet shelter program struggling to meet high demand (ABC, 28 February 2017) Safe Steps has a list of temporary pet care for Australians fleeing domestic violence.

Explainer: What happens when someone applies for a domestic violence protection order (SMH, 1 February 2017)

Female domestic violence victims being punished for acting in self defence, say advocates (ABC, 6 July 2016)

How 'Disney dads' are making life hell for their partners (SMH, 23 October 2017): how financial abuse can worsen after separation.

Direct link between sexual objectification of girls and aggression towards them (Medical Xpress, 24 January 2017)

Men who kill female partners, as opposed to strangers, get lighter sentences, Canadian study finds (CBC News, 22 November 2015) "'This may mean that women killed by male partners are still seen as property,' researcher says".

ETA: Technology-facilitated abuse: The new breed of domestic violence (ABC, 27 March 2017)


Women using IVF to choose the sex of their children break silence on 'gender disappointment' (Lateline, 27 February 2017).

Compare and contrast: 'We don't know if your baby's a boy or a girl': growing up intersex (GA, 2 July 2017). "'My entire pregnancy, I'd worried that I wasn't going to be able to love my baby because it wasn't a he and it wasn't a she,” she recalls. But when Jack was born, he was blue and floppy. 'Although it was awful at the time, it was the best thing that could have happened: I would have done anything to have made sure he was breathing again.' Her eyes fill with tears. 'Quite quickly, he was crying. The relief was unbelievable. He was a baby and he needed feeding. Making sure that he was cared for was my priority, not poking around in his nappy.'

Report on new estimates of the size of the lesbian, gay and bisexual population of England (Medixal Xpress, 3 February 2017): somewhere between 2.5% and about 6%.

Sexual Orientation, Controversy, and Science (Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 25 April 2016). "The most contentious scientific issues have concerned the causes of sexual orientation—that is, why are some people heterosexual, others bisexual, and others homosexual? The actual relevance of these issues to social, political, and ethical decisions is often poorly justified, however."

Photos: Two-spirit people throughout history (NPR, 25 October 2014)

ETA: How AP tallied the cost of North Carolina's "bathroom bill" (Washington Post, 27 March 2017). The state's pointless bathroom fascism will cost it "more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years".

More stuff:

From the recent debate over "Obamacare": Male GOP lawmaker asks why men should pay for prenatal coverage. The same reason women pay for cover for prostate surgery. Follow the link for the simple explanation.

Also from Up Over: 4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump. A blogger's analysis of 4chan, gender, and Trump, "the loser who has won".

Unconscious bias is keeping women out of senior roles — can we get around it? (ABC, 8 March 2017). The vicious cycle of affinity bias and how it helps maintain the glass ceiling.

Unpaid work contributes $345 billion a year to Australia's economy. Women perform about three-quarters of that work, including child care and domestic work. Paid work in Australia is still about as gender-segregated as it was twenty years ago.

Sex differences in cognition are small

(Mind Hacks, 14 February 2017). Or, to put it another way, there are no male and female brain types.

Remembering Nüshu, the 19th-Century Chinese Script Only Women Could Write (Atlas Obscura, 16 February 2017)


The tranquillising effect of some of my antidepressants seems to be cumulative. Over the last couple of weeks I've been getting dopier and dopier, until today I've barely been functional. I'm going to have to wean myself off the Escitalopram, starting tomorrow.
writing 2


Draft -1. SF short story. All the scenes are there, though there are bits of them that still need to be written out. It's about 11,400 words - looks like it'll end up at something over 12,000.