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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Jax Jacki Brown is a disability and LGBTIQ rights activist, writer and educator. She is a member of the Victorian Ministerial Council on Women's Equality, the Victorian governments' LGBTI taskforce Health and Human Services Working Group and the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s Disability Reference Group.
Maxine Beneba Clarke is the author of six books, including the ABIA and Indie award-winning short fiction collection Foreign Soil (2014), and the critically acclaimed memoir The Hate Race (2016), which is currently being adapted for the Australian stage. Her poetry collection Carrying The World won the 2017 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Poetry.
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 Melbourne based feminist, writer, poet and artist. She won a Creative Partnerships grant in 2014. She is the author of a book of poetry called Tongue Between Teeth. Her writing has been published in The Victorian Writer, and her artwork was shown in 2014 in a group exhibition at D11 Docklands, called Paper Dolls.
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.