The F Word
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Feminism and disability rights are both about questioning social norms and removing obstacles to equal access. They look at social constructions of the body, identity and public space. What does ‘normal’ look like – and is there such a thing, or have we subconsciously agreed on an ideal that doesn’t actually fit the majority? To what extent should individuals change to fit with society, and in what ways should society itself evolve to meet different needs? What does an inclusive society look like?
We’ll look at how feminist analysis has helped illuminate some of the social institutions and cultural obstacles that impede the rights of people with a disability, just as disability activism has informed feminism. And we’ll find out how feminists with a disability express their identities, fight for their rights, and envisage a society that works for us all.
This discussion will be Auslan interpreted. If you're attending and require Auslan interpretation, please contact Wheeler Centre reception in advance of the event so we can reserve seating for you near the interpreter.
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‘We must adopt an intersectional approach to understanding the experiences of the LGBTIQA+ community with disabilities. Intersectionality provides us with a political framework to understand how multiple forms of discrimination are experienced and lived ... our identities don’t exist in a vacuum, they overlap and inform each other.’
Jax is a passionate activist committed to addressing the disadvantages LGBTIQA+ people with disability face. They adopt a social model perspective where disability is created by structural exclusion and ableism. Through their extensive work as a writer, workshop and forum presenter, university lecturer, spoken-word performer and theatre producer, Brown aims to challenge disability stereotypes and spotlight serious issues for change.
Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. Clarke is the ABIA and Indie award winning author of over nine books for adults and children, including the critically acclaimed short fiction collection Foreign Soil, the best-selling memoir The Hate Race, the Victorian Premier’s Award winning poetry collection Carrying the World, and the Boston Globe/Horn Prize winning picture book The Patchwork Bike, illustrated by Van T. Rudd.
She is the editor of Best Australian Stories 2017, and Growing Up African in Australia. Her forthcoming poetry collection is How Decent Folk Behave (Hachette).
Naomi Chainey is a freelance writer and filmmaker with a focus on feminism and disability rights. She has a degree in media studies.
Jessica Knight is a writer, performer and comedian based in Melbourne. She has appeared in The Emerging Writers Festival, Red Dirt Poetry Festival. Her writing has appeared in Meanjin and Scum Mag. Jessica is a 2018 recipient of a Creative Victoria grant that will help fund her one woman show, Mormon Girl, about growing up Mormon and how she disentangled herself from that belief system to became the unapologetic feminist she is today. Jess won this November's MOTH story slam by telling a five minute version of her Mormon Girl show.
Kath Duncan is a 50-something writer, activist and raconteur with many decades of feminist and disability pride under her belt. Kath works in social media, and has a background in journalism and teaching communications.
The official fight for equal representation for women is over a century old. You might think the battle would be won by now, but in 2015, the ‘f’ word is as personally and politically charged as ever. And despite great leaps forward – equal pay (on paper), paid maternity leave, our first female prime minister – we’ve still got a long way to go, baby.
The F Word asks where feminism is at, in culture and society, with a series of events that question our assumptions (Can romance be empowering? How can you be a religious feminist?), and highlight areas for change and inclusion, like disability and science.
We begin the series with ‘Bad Feminist’ Roxane Gay, who argues that feminist values can co-exist with contradictions: nursing a childhood affection for Sweet Valley High and wearing heels that hurt your feet doesn’t weaken your dedication to ending domestic violence.