Viewport width =

Issue 13, 2018

Issue 13, Vol 81: The Feminist Issue

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

News

  • A Whale of a Scheme

  • School of Classics, Art History & Religion is Under Threat

  • Student Loan Cap Extended

  • Sexual Harassment Scandal Brings Down a Million-Dollar Student Campaign to End Sexual Violence

  • International Student Fights Against Power Tripping Property Manager

  • Scarlett Johansson’s Not-So-Honourable Legacy

  • RIP Illot Cafe

  • The Party Line

  • Editors Part Way With Craccum

  • Political Round Up

  • Auto Play Support Group Created

  • Sexual Harassment in Film Industry – Big Surprise There

  • Gender Pay Ratios at Universities

  • Features

  • Of Nips and Strip Clubs

    When I first met Lucie, she was making plaster castings of people’s nipples. She used the stuff that dentists use to mould people’s teeth, because it held its shape the best. She told me it was for her art. The castings came out white, and very delicate at the edges. You could see every little crevice […]

    by

  • It Could Be Better

    It could be worse, right? Women in NZ can vote, we’re not married off at 12, and genital mutilation isn’t a rite of passage. So what the hell are feminists in NZ complaining about? Tara Ó Súilleabháin investigates. My journey advocating for women’s rights started only a couple of years ago while volunteering for JERA International, a human rights […]

    by

  • WTFeminism

    Wikipedia says: “Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes.” There are at least 7 sub categories of the feminist ideology: Liberal Feminism: Has a strong focus on legal and political rights for women, […]

    by

  • Of Nips and Strip Clubs

    When I first met Lucie, she was making plaster castings of people’s nipples. She used the stuff that dentists use to mould people’s teeth, because it held its shape the best. She told me it was for her art. The castings came out white, and very delicate at the edges. You could see every little crevice […]

    by

  • It Could Be Better

    It could be worse, right? Women in NZ can vote, we’re not married off at 12, and genital mutilation isn’t a rite of passage. So what the hell are feminists in NZ complaining about? Tara Ó Súilleabháin investigates. My journey advocating for women’s rights started only a couple of years ago while volunteering for JERA International, a human rights […]

    by

  • WTFeminism

    Wikipedia says: “Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes.” There are at least 7 sub categories of the feminist ideology: Liberal Feminism: Has a strong focus on legal and political rights for women, […]

    by

  • Arts and Science

  • Beneath Skin and Bone

    This tale is one of glowing tussocks and toi toi, Māori legend, tikanga, and karaoke. It takes the audience from their seats and into a tale about whānau and the secrets we keep to protect one another.
    Trae Te Wiki (25) is joined by her younger sister Tial (11) onstage. Together they make up the cast of two, which somehow feels like more than two people. I am heartened to see young Māori wāhine showing off their talents in theatre; the Te Wiki sisters presented this story with a fresh sense of vulnerability that is often lacking in younger actors, living and breathing the story they had signed up to tell. They made the story their own — and with Trae Te Wiki as the writer, I’m guessing some of it may have been.
    I was excited to see Neenah Dekkers-Reihana’s name on the bill. Based here in Pōneke, Neenah has acted in The Candle Wasters web series Happy Playland and Bright Summer Night, both sponsored by TVNZ, and presented her own original piece This is What it Looks Like, about the depths of depression at Bats Theatre in 2017. You could say I’m a fan. Rather than acting, this time she shines her talents from the director’s chair, bringing some beautiful moments to the stage.

    The live music on the side supported the action on stage and either had you laughing or on the edge of tears. Large lighting screens showed active silhouettes of the past, and real leaves scattered around the stage gave off the most wonderful crunch and smell whenever an actor stepped on them.
    Taking an old Māori tale and setting it in 2018 was a powerful demonstration of how so much meaning has been lost due to colonisation. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing these young Māori women tell their own stories of whakapapa. I believe strongly in the importance of minorities having access to spaces to tell their own stories.
    These three are a strong team and I hope they get to present this piece to more audiences as time goes on. I want to see more from young people in the New Zealand theatre scene. Shakespeare can move over for the next 500 years, it’s time for our stories to be heard.

    by

  • No Common Ground

    Hard to Handle
    Feminism is something that is necessarily impossible to isolate from other matrices of power, but also something that can subsume indigenous modes of being, and methods of resistance, into a narrative that is too general, and thus, reductive. With this in mind, I want to think about a common theme that emerged at the recent No Common Ground symposium, co-organised by the Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, The Dowse Art Museum, and Enjoy Public Art Gallery— the use of materiality to escape conventional frameworks of interpretation. No Common Ground explored histories of queer practice, mana wahine, and feminist art, so in my discussion of materials, I don’t want to assume that these are aesthetics of feminist art, but acknowledge that these are more widely used to resist institutional narratives.
    Something about innovative materiality can make an artwork hard to handle. Whereas media like painting, photography, and traditional sculpture carry the weight of historical connotations with them, new materials can elude this. What does it mean to be hard to handle though? Something that is slippery and challenging. This is the other part of being hard to handle; a perception that the ideas contained within the physical form of an artwork are too difficult for a public audience. Categorising something as “hard to handle” from an institutional standpoint is dangerous, as it is a way of avoiding responsibility for not creating space for narratives that are not normative and Pākehā.
    Materiality is mobile, too. Pieces of detritus come together, snaking along a floor, objects that were meant to be ephemeral, made permanent but still somehow in flux, maintaining an ability to be rearranged, to become invisible, and to disperse. In Embodied Knowledges, currently on at The Dowse, Vivian Lynn’s Lamella Lamina (1983) installation combines architectural tracing paper and residue from Lynn’s methods of processing that involved asphalt, water, and oil pigments, and then the murky and translucent cylindrical forms are held by nylon line. The specificity of Lynn’s medium, created for this work, means that it is not confined by expectations. It can slip between states.
    So, maybe mobility is the only thing we have. This kind of contingency of materials can also be seen in the work of Mata Aho Collective, who contributed to a panel at No Common Ground. They use Māori textile techniques and collaboration to produce large scale woven works. Kiko Moana, which was presented at Documenta 14, gets its vivid blue colour from tarpaulin, the kind that would be used to cover a car in a garage or for a hāngi pit. The familiarity of blue tarpaulin in Aotearoa, distinctly outside an art space, and its foreign-ness within it, means that Kiko Moana lets its viewers find their own way in.
    Embodied Knowledges is on at The Dowse until 28 October.
    The earth looks upon us / Ko Papatūānuku te matua o te tangata is on at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi until 23 September.
    Margins and Satellites is on at Enjoy Public Art Gallery until 4 August.

    by

  • Chris Dave and the Drumhedz

    Despite having a name that sounds like it was concocted by a 12-year-old idiot, Chris Dave and the Drumhedz was a musical experience that shook me to the core. I walked out into the Courtenay Place evening feeling as if I had just witnessed Miles Davis touring Bitches Brew, or Sun Ra and his Arkestra, or Herbie Hancock.
    Chris “Daddy” Dave is on that level. A master of his craft. A genius of sound.
    Before the show starts there is a heat in the air that is felt more in the bones than in flesh. People already know they are about to get their minds slayed. Two crowd members can’t handle it and begin frantically making out as if they are strapped into a nosediving 747 and want to get in a final facefuck before their lips are melted into their skulls.
    Suddenly the lights dim, and a myriad of overlapping vocal audio fills the room. Onto the stage the musicians walk. Four men, oozing cool like a third degree burn oozes pus, sit at their instruments. The keyboardist, Bobby Sparks, who with bandana, hooped earring, and gold bangles and looking like some kind of jazz pirate, stands surrounded by his keys with a bottle of Glenmore whisky on the case. Chris Dave sits at his batshit drum set, deconstructed cymbals spiral alongside him. No other percussionist has ever looked worthier of calling their stool a throne.
    The band erupts. To call it a cacophony does not do the group justice. Sure, each member flails at their instruments, pushing it to the absolute limits of their craft, but cacophony insinuates an uncontrollable mess, and The Drumhedz are nothing if not in control.
    The guitarist, Isaiah Sharky, incredibly has the ability to scat a vocal melody of the exact guitar line as he plays it. The bassist, Nicholas McKnight, works within a constantly moving time signatures while managing to keep funky, sleazy, and cool all lined up in a row. The boss man, Chris “Daddy” Dave thrashes, bashes, and fucks up everything you thought you knew about beats and bandleading. He does this while staying in a pocket so tight you would have trouble slipping a 20 cent piece into it. The band is at times smoother than gelato and at others faster than “Through the Fire and Flames” played on Guitar Hero on expert level. At times I could swear that the man I was watching drum had four arms. Being a witness to such a performance is both exhilarating and terrifying. Terrifying because I could literally feel my face melting into my lap at every passing second. Exhilarating because duh. Every band member shredded to the point that they could shred no more. It was the first time in my life I had involuntary leapt out of my seat to give a standing ovation. The Drumhedz earned it.
    With these words I wish to grab you by your ears and get in your face, baring my teeth, bad breath projecting hard into your olfactory senses as I implore you, GO AND WATCH SOME FUCKING JAZZ. But please remember to bring a spare face. It is highly likely that yours will be melted off.

    by

  • Good Girls

    Good Girls follows three frustrated American mothers as they “break bad” by robbing a grocery store in order to make ends meet. This robbery is complicated by the store’s connection to a Detroit gang and their money laundering syndicate, leading the women further down lives of crime.
    The strength of Good Girls lies in its cast. Christina Hendricks plays a housewife spurred to take charge of the household and clean up her husband’s (Matthew Lillard) mess after he binds them in significant debt and fails to keep his dick in his pants. Mae Whitman plays her broke sister who faces the problem of losing custody of her genderqueer child Sadie. Retta plays a waitress who that she is unable to afford the medication required for her ill daughter. The moments of comedy and banter between the friends as they complain about their coworkers, deal with bullet holes in their mini-van, and find injured gangsters in their children’s beds are genuinely funny and absurd. The cast’s chemistry and power is most apparent in the show’s well developed characters. Most of the characters sympathetic and lovable despite taking very immoral and heinous actions, due to the deftly carried out script.
    The show ramps up the stakes as often as it can. The protagonist’s decisions multiply their problems, forcing them to gravitate further away from their “good” suburban selves. The issue with raising the stakes as often and incrementally as the show does is that the narrative slows down and meanders towards the second half of the season. The writers clearly had an ending in mind, however the show does hinder itself by putting the characters in a multiple episode limbo where pressing problems are uncharacteristically swept aside to deal with sub-plot lines. Perhaps the writers prefer to set these problems up for future seasons, but it does come at a cost to the show’s overall pacing.

    Good Girls has strong emotional arcs as well as moments of genuine comedy and absurdity. However, it struggles in weaving these differing tones together. While some jokes are well written and situational, many are just witty observations or sarcastic comments. While these comments and observations lend themselves to the characters’ quirky personalities, there are instances where the characters leap to dramatic outbursts and heartfelt interactions only seconds after making jokes about needing more mimosas. This may have been done in the interest of showcasing actual human interactions but it can be jarring when a character set up to be pathetically laughable is suddenly drunk and forcing himself onto one of the women before returning to his weaselly brand of comedy. The show tries to mix these different tones together in ways that shows such as Breaking Bad and Desperate Housewives have done, but struggles because it leans so hard into comedic quips and gags, as opposed to small character-driven moments of comedy which flow into moments of vulnerability.
    Despite these slight tonal problems and minor pacing issues, Good Girls was a genuinely enjoyable watch. Available to stream on Netflix right now, if you’re looking for an entertaining show about suburban mothers being badasses and consistently getting themselves stuck in shit-sand, Good Girls is for you.

    by

  • Winter Warmers: Home Alone

    In times of cold wintry blasts, being alone can either mean you are lurched up in blankets feeling warm and snuggly, or dredged up in your bed with an empty wine glass. It could also mean neither of these options, because I don’t know your life. But for Kevin McCallister, he spends his nights ingeniously setting up delightful machinations and traps for people trying to rob his house.
    You should know the plot to this movie by now. A large wealthy family forgets one of their children on route to an extravagant overseas trip, leaving the child to fend for himself and guard the house from infiltrators. Honestly, this film’s premise could be passed for many types of house infiltration horrors if it was not a children’s comedy. Then again, you don’t watch this movie for it’s unlikely premise, you watch for the funnies.
    The movie is filled with gleeful hubris and buffoonery. The traps themselves are wonderfully set up to be ludicrous, brilliant, and hilarious all at once. But the comedic gold really comes from the execution of reactions between Kevin (played by Macaulay Culkin) and the robbers Harry and Marv (played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern respectively). You just have to see it and enjoy; the actors’ facials really heighten the experience.
    Home Alone is one of those movies you can just go to with a spoon and an ice-cream tub (yes even in winter) and just let go. Let go of all the pressure of assignments, relationships, work, and life. It is comfort food for the soul. So, if you need a winter warmer, Home Alone is an excellent choice.

    by

  • Winter Warmers: About Time

    From the English joy that brought you Love Actually, snuggle yourselves down for the masterpiece that is About Time. Usually the phrase “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry!” is a stink cliche that tells you nothing about the actual content or flavour of the film. However, you will genuinely laugh and cry because Domhnall Gleeson (yes, Brendan’s baby boy), national treasure Bill Nighy, and love of my life Rachel McAdams are acting angels sent down by the Film Gods to deliver the most quintessentially human performances possibly ever.
    The quirky sci-fi facet of About Time (I’ll let you guess what it is), is not twee or flashy, but used to phenomenal effect to study the catapulting of characters through the spectacularly messy business of life. Gleeson’s character, the protagonist Tim, is aided by his Papa (Nighy) and his family, who you will one hundred percent wish adopted you. But even a loving family cannot deal with the pressures of dating; Tim must go at this alone with the help (?) of his newfound skill.
    Unlike the other namby pamby fluff films of yesteryear, About Time does not gloss over or bedazzle the difficult things in life. For once the audience gets the guts and glory of life with children, complicated relationships, and essentially being a human adult, all with great soundtrack choices such as Jimmy Fontana’s absolute banger, Il Mondo.
    So step aside Love Actually and every fairytale ever, because shit’s about to get realistic, and (once you stop happy/sad sobbing) you are going to love it.

    by

  • Sex at Dawn

    I thought I was every bit the sex-positive, feminist Wellingtonian stereotype up until I started this book in my dentist’s office and he happened to ask me what I was reading. A more-uncomfortable-than-necessary conversation ensued, which was only cut short by him putting his hand inside my mouth. Considering what we had just been discussing, that was similarly uncomfortable.

    After a long day of navigating academic texts, non-fiction can be an unappealing section of the library to approach in your free time. You know what’s not unappealing though? Sex. I issued Sex at Dawn from the library with the air of superiority of someone who is more sexually liberated than their fellow library-goers in the nearby Public Policy section.

    Sex at Dawn brings together archaeology, sociology, and all the other -ologies to paint a picture of how prehistoric humans used to get it on. It argues that monogamous sexual relationships were popularised by the advent of agriculture and the formation of structured societies which relied on a gendered power imbalance to function. This stands in stark contrast to traditional scientific understanding that humans evolved to prefer monogamy, down to a biological level.
    In many ways, Sex at Dawn reads as if someone tried to convince their girlfriend to consider an open relationship, and then conducted an extensive research project on why it’s a good idea after she refused.
    Listen, I’m here for polyamory and open relationships. That’s not my issue. Where I feel betrayed by this book, though, is how it calls itself an account of the prehistoric origins of sexuality. A more accurate description would be that it’s a book about non-monogamy, which uses prehistory to makes its case. And so, initially expecting just to learn some kooky sex facts that I could whip out during dry conversations, my brain is now jammed with 300 pages about why relationships are doomed. What am I supposed to do with that? What do I tell my boyfriend?
    Once I regained my trust in this book though, I began to appreciate it for its critique of the sanctity of science. In essence, it argues that science is entwined with the cultural circumstances under which it is conducted, and that conceptions of human sexuality have been intrinsically shaped by this bias. Many of the foremost thinkers on sexuality arose from the Victorian era, arguably one of the most sexually repressive times in history (turns out Darwin was kind of a prude). As a result of these cultural prejudices, scientists developed a very particular understanding of why humans have sex. Women are generally painted as the submissive receptors of sex from men, who want nothing more than for their genes to flood the population. Monogamy is believed to be evolution’s way of ensuring that women don’t sleep around, and men don’t accidentally raise a kid that has a different baby-daddy.
    What if we let women do what they want, though? What if we broadened our interpretations of a familial unit, though? Would our species collapse into heathenism, or were scientists mistaken about the purpose of sexuality? Sex at Dawn examines a number of prehistoric societal arrangements that didn’t rely on single-partner relationship dynamics, where people had a lot more sex with a lot more people. These relationships defy the traditional narrative that humans are naturally monogamous.
    Whether or not you buy into the case put forward by Sex at Dawn, it’ll certainly make you rethink the reasons behind your next Netflix and chill session. All in all, did I learn much about sex from this book? Not really. Did I learn to question the scientific presumptions that influence public thought and government policy on sexuality? Yeah. Did I read a lot about monkey genitalia? Also yeah.

    by

  • BANG!

    BANG! is a Radio New Zealand podcast about sex, relationships, and intimacy. In light of the release of Season 2, I sat down and had a chat with producer and presenter of BANG!, Melody Thomas.
    For those who haven’t heard of it, how would you describe BANG!?
    It’s a podcast about sex and relationships and intimacy. I use a mix of talking to people about their experiences — which is where I get the real joy from, having people open up to me in a really amazing way — and a little bit of talking to “experts”, so academics or sex therapists who put things into context and talk about the wider picture.
    I’ve often felt that in New Zealand, talking about sex and sexuality openly is definitely taboo. You’ve spoken about it being something that people think is “dirty” or wrong to talk about. Have you found it hard getting people to open up?
    Weirdly, no. I really expected to find that. I think I’ve got a slightly biased sample, in that people who are willing to talk to me about their intimate lives are that much more open about it to start with. That said, a lot of the time I do go onto the street and ask people questions — I’ve spoken with people about their earliest sexual memories and the ways their parents talked to them about sex, I even hit town on a weekend and interrupted a bunch of dates and every time I’m amazed by the fact that people are willing to go there with me. It’s like they’ve been waiting for permission, that’s how it feels.
    Has making this podcast changed your own outlook on sex and intimacy?
    I was always someone who liked to talk about this stuff, which is why I got into it in the first place. But it’s definitely opened me up to a ton of sexual experiences I had no idea about before! I’m also hugely unfazed when it comes to talking about sex now. Like, I knew talking about this would break down taboo, but I didn’t expect to be able to talk to my family members about their sex lives — which is where I’m at now. I don’t have that visceral gag reflex anymore, I just find it all very interesting.

    Are there any topics in Season 2 that you’re particularly excited for?
    I’m excited for the first one because I just finished it and it’s really fresh in my mind. I went into it thinking let’s hear some stories about how people lost their virginity and how they felt about it, and ended up coming out with a real question mark over whether the concept of virginity was even valid. The thing about that was that it doesn’t tie up neatly, I don’t have an answer, which as a storyteller, you can want sometimes.
    I think what I got from it was that maybe it’s a meaningless concept, so there is no answer?
    Yeah, and why do we hold onto it when it can cause so much anxiety for people, or make them feel really bad?
    Another episode I’m excited about is the one on masculinity. I’m also really nervous about it, because it’s not as relatable to my personal experience, I don’t have a natural understanding. But that’s also why I’m doing it. It feels like there’s a current rejection of the model of masculinity that we’ve accepted for so long, and a lot of men are genuinely confused or afraid about who they can be and where their place is. It feels like a lot of that anger gets misdirected, and I’m keen to understand that.
    I find that really interesting because I’ve always thought that breaking down the stereotypical idea of masculinity would be a liberating thing.
    Yeah, same. And I think in a lot of cases it can be, but one of the “experts” I talked to — this psychologist and researcher Zac Seidler — talks about how we might have broken down some of the ideas of traditional masculinity but we haven’t really offered up a bunch of other options. And in that place is a void, where men are kinda lost and confused. He thinks we need to give men other options in order for that to feel liberating or empowering for them.
    I also talked to James Nokise, who is a comedian and activist, and he talks about how we can’t just say “men are the problem, you guys need to figure this out for yourself” — because even though men do hold a certain amount of privilege, in many cases they are also vulnerable, and if we don’t help them then everybody suffers. It’s kind of a tough pill to swallow, but as he also points out the answer needs to be societal. This can’t fall on any one group’s shoulders.
    In between Seasons 1 and 2 there was the Me Too movement, has that changed anything for you going into Season 2?

    Yes and no. Obviously it would be a huge omission for the Me Too movement not to be part of the series — it’s been incredibly important for so many men and women, me included. But I am a woman who has lived in this world for 33 years, so one thing the movement didn’t do was surprise me. Issues around consent, coercion, and the ways people experience the world differently based on gender and sexuality were always going to be a part of BANG!
    Are there any other episodes you are particularly excited for?
    There’s going to be a frequently asked questions one which will be fun. I’m answering some of the questions that have mostly come back to me from listeners but also some of the questions people get all the time that they actually would rather not – things like asking a lesbian “how do lesbians have sex?” or “who’s the man in your relationship?”, or someone in a wheelchair how they have sex… that kind of thing. I figure if we answer some of those questions once and for all in the podcast then anyone who relates can just send people a link the next time they ask! I’ve also interviewed Māori academic Ngahuia Te Awekotuku about what sex and sexuality looked like in the Māori world before Pākehā arrived, which is fascinating and something I had no clue about before starting the podcast — that one is really important.

    So how do you go about answering the questions?
    Just depending on the question — whether it’s something an academic or expert would best answer or something I just need to talk to a “real person” about based on their experiences. It’s tricky as well, because you don’t want to rope in one lesbian to be the advocate for all queer sex, ever. I’m just taking it case by case at the moment.
    Do you have any thoughts on podcasts as a medium?
    I just love podcasts. I think partly my love for it is a reaction against how I feel about media. Especially working inside media I see this trend towards giving people what they want and making sure it is easily digestible and happens within 3 minutes. I love that with podcasts you can hit play and learn about something that you never thought you even wanted to learn about. You spend half an hour or even an hour inside that so there’s time for the story to unfold. I think maybe people are feeling a bit of a lack of connection with other people generally in the world at the moment, and it’s a really nice way to feel like you really hear and empathise with someone else.

    by

  • About the Author ()

    Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

    Add Comment

    You must be logged in to post a comment.

    Recent posts

    1. SWAT
    2. Ravished by the Living Embodiment of All Our University Woes
    3. New Zealand’s First Rainbow Crossing is Here (and Queer)
    4. Chloe Has a Yarn About Mental Health
    5. “Stick with Vic” Makes “Insulting” and “Upsetting” Comments
    6. Presidential Address
    7. Final Review
    8. Tears Fall, and Sea Levels Rise
    9. It’s Fall in my Heart
    10. Queer Coverage: Local, National, and International LGBTQIA+ News
    Website-Cover-Photo7

    Editor's Pick

    This Ain’t a Scene it’s a Goddamned Arm Wrestle

    : Interior – Industrial Soviet Beerhall – Night It was late November and cold as hell when I stumbled into the Zhiguli Beer Hall. I was in Moscow, about to take the trans-Mongolian rail line to Beijing, and after finding someone in my hostel who could speak English, had decided