australia

The Value of a Comfortable Abortion

Untitled-e1447144340358When I was 19 I had an abortion. It was an obvious choice and one I’ll never regret. Fortunately, I lived somewhere where terminations were legal, accessible and safe. Still, the experience was in no way ideal.

My concern wasn’t ethics. Having been instilled with feminist beliefs from a young age, I knew better than to feel guilt or shame. It was the thought of the procedure that terrified me. I shuddered at the idea of stark white walls and clinical waiting rooms. The thought of entering a clinic seemed to me like crossing a threshold and handing over my ownership. I was a contradiction: this was what I wanted, but it intimidated me. For weeks I’d been living alone with the anxiety of my abortion. I wasn’t ready to give it away and make it real.

There were a lot of things I wasn’t prepared for. Protesters greeted me, throwing me immediately out of my comfort zone with their signs and pleas to ‘choose life’. In my head now things go differently. I say I did. I chose mine.

Read the full article at Feminartsy.

Image via Issara Willenskomer

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Musings: Cannibalism, Feminism and Holistic Claustrophobia

Apparently I blinked and feminism became an entity, developed a conscious filtering system and an eerily biased opinion on equality. I don’t like its purpose being dictated. Women in the media are now victims not only to the opposition but to their own team, under constant scrutiny for their place on the scale from one to feminism. Female celebrities are under increasing attack for their behaviour, simultaneously judged and celebrated by the infinite amount of voices to be heard, each with its own idea about the ‘right kind of feminism.’

Sometimes I get stuck in the big picture. The other day I was reading The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism & the Problem with Domination. Typically, Freudian theories of domination (that it’s an inevitable effect of human interaction) sent me spiralling into an existential crisis. Now, I’m tied down by possibilities and scales, handcuffed by the largeness of life, gagged by the perception that my actions and beliefs are completely inconsequential. I can’t write. I can’t talk. Sometimes it’s hard to think.

I call it ‘holistic claustrophobia.’ Don’t steal it.

I feel that secularisation is important now, that it’s the next logical step in progressive open-mindedness. As a group, surely it’s vital to embrace the individual experience of owning one’s own religion, finding a unique path of ideals and tailoring them over time, releasing labels of gender, sexuality and belief – forever weaving the tapestry of us – and embracing the fact that there will never be enough labels. Diversity through wholeness. Harmony. Polarities.

We have to find a balance, a way to maintain our individual ideals but keep huddling under the same umbrella: even the cannibals. As long as there’s no killing involved, I’m vocal in supporting those who have, but more importantly have needed to, devour a friend. But that’s an opinion for another day.

Chickens eat chicken and don’t get no hate.

If given the choice, would you save a life?

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Yesterday I registered as an organ donor. I’m 23, but I’d have done it at 18 if the thought had occurred. Luckily it did. It’s nice to know my consent is confirmed, out of the way, sorted. What difference does it make? I don’t harbour spiritual unease at the idea of my body being tampered with after death. I can save a life after mine has ended (up to ten, actually), enrich a family, and all I have to do is sign on the dotted line.

There are approximately 1500 people on transplant waiting lists at any given time in Australia. Last year in Victoria, 378 donors gave new lives to over 1000 people. But that’s still only 16 donors per one million people.

Click here to read my full article petitioning Daniel Andrews MP to implement a compulsory opt-in/opt-out registration system.

UPDATE: This has been republished by Centrethought – a cool website where uni students give their opinions about the world.

Image: Donatelife

Victimization of Innocent People? #NotInMyName

I can’t express how angry I was to read that an innocent Muslim woman had been attacked and thrown off a moving train in Melbourne this week. Immediately, I felt a mixture of rage, sadness and guilt.

Now, I’m not going to bang on about the injustice that took place. Although the act proved that there are still a number of Australians with misguided views on Islam, I like to think these people are few. Judging from my friends, family and acquaintances, most people are able to separate terrorist groups like ISIS from Islam, and recognize that mass generalization is entirely unfair and false.

However, there are Australians who don’t share this belief. And although they are few, hostility and violence against innocent people is occurring. It saddens me to think – as I do – that this Islamaphobic reaction stems from racism that, for some, has started to appear just.

The #NotinMyName campaign aims to educate the world about the difference between ISIS and Islam. Muslims, wanting to distance themselves from terrorist groups are speaking up and stressing that these acts of terrorism are not part of their beliefs.

However, some followers of Islam are offended by the campaign. Mehreen Faruqi at The Guardian writes, ‘I know the actions of ISIS are #NotInMyName, and I won’t be pressured to apologize for them.’

Faruqi is completely entitled to her opinion. And, although I disagree with her premise, I’m in no way allowed to think that she should take part in the campaign. I understand that, for her, having to make the distinction between herself and a terrorist could feel completely degrading.

Although education through the campaign is important, it’s unfortunate that people like Faruqi have to even consider defending their innocence. But in a way, I feel the need to defend mine, to distance myself from the Australians who would victimize an innocent person based on misguided beliefs or racial prejudice – not because I want to apologize, but because I want to show the world that I won’t stand for this behavior.

It sickens me to think tha20141001_192555t my city is becoming a place where people are unfairly unsafe, where Muslim women are targeted because an uneducated person thinks that their cultural and religious clothing makes them a part of a terrorist group that could not be further from their beliefs. It makes me sick to think that some may be using this ignorance as an outlet for their racism.

I can’t do anything to stop terrorism. But I can stress that ostracizing an innocent person based on their religious or cultural beliefs is a social issue that needs to be addressed. I’ll do what I can and show solidarity against those who would generalize a culture based on unfounded beliefs. No Australian, regardless of religion, should feel unsafe in my city.

ISIS is not Islam. Victimization of innocent people? #NotInMyName.