it could have been me a thousand times over

if you’re australian, especially from melbourne, you probably know about the jill meagher case. if not, here are a few news/comment links.

body in a shallow grave
Rape & murder charges laid as police find Jill Meagher’s body

can everybody please calm down about this jill meagher case
if like me you thought your information was inconsequential..
how many meters can i walk on my own at night?

it has been all over the social media (esp facebook) and the shit that passes for broadcast media in melbourne (there’s a media rant coming – you can feel it, can’t you). i probably shouldn’t post too much for legal reasons (although it’s unlikely i’ll be called for jury duty).

but it has been a case of news that spread really quickly. probably because she lived in an area that loads of my friends live in, everyone i knew posted her missing person’s FB post (i didn’t, because everyone i knew already had) and it was front page almost immediately. i must admit to being a teensy bit annoyed that every woman who goes missing doesn’t get this amount of attention, but nonetheless, i kept an eye on the case, even from berlin.

she is a 30-ish smart, confident woman who walked from her local bar towards her home at 2am. a distance of about 100 meters, if that. like she always probably does. in that time, a guy allegedly abducts her, rapes her, kills her and dumps her body 50kms out of town. he apparently lives in the next suburb over.

it could have been me a thousand times over.

i could still be me a thousand times more.

i am a 30-ish, smart, confident woman who walks home at night. i always have. i grew up believing in my right to my own safety and the smarts to carry that out. i have been accosted by dudes asking for handjobs, flashed at, sworn at, called slut/lesbian/whore/showusyourtits, been followed. its a fucking jungle out there.

but i will continue to walk home at night on my own, thanks very much. the only rights we have are the ones we use and if i don’t enact my right to walk in my cities, on my own, without the threat of violence based on my gender, i cease to have that right.

of course, the australian broadcast media, being the minefield of misogynist offal-bags passing for journalists and ‘media personalities’, have naturally used this case to highlight a woman’s choice to walk home after drinks at the local bar as proof that she is a drunk-whore-who-should-have-stayed-at-home-with-her-husband-and-that-she’s-asking-for-it-because-of-it and that’s-what-happens-when-you-don’t-live-in-the-suburbs-and-all-women-should-stay-at-home-from-now-on.

and of course you know what i say to them: get fucked.

you know, if i was in town, i would propose a big fuck-off reclaim the night street party as a memorial to jill (may she rest in peace) and as a middle finger salute to the men who decided that they still need to rape women, and equally to the chauvanist pundit motherfuckers who continue to blame the victim because they have yet to accept that men rape women.

guys, it’s quite simple: if you see a woman walking home on her own at night, don’t rape her.

if you have been raped, here are some peeps you can talk to about it:

rape crisis centre UK
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre
Rape Crisis Center (US)
Rape Crisis  (ZA)
Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre (CA)
Toronto Rape Crisis Centre (CA)
Rape Crisis Programs (NYC)
The Turning Point (LA)
NSW Rape Crisis Centre (AU)
Centre Against Sexual Assault VIC (AU)

 And if you have any further information on the Jill Meagher case, call Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000

UPDATE: to the person coming here after searching for ‘jill meagher dress like a slut’, you might wanna check yourself. hard. maybe against a wall.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SlutWalk

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

dear music media #1

this is just the beginning.

dear music media,

if a girl raps, she still a rapper.
not a rapstress.
not only is it a dumb word, but it’s insulting.
go learn something.

yours,

lauren

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

obligatory chris brown post

i just want to go on the record saying that chris brown and i are not related.

which is just as well: being related to a violent misogynist is hard work. half the women in the world know what i’m talking about.

breezy, who got pwned by busta rhymes in look at me now *(perhaps the grammy really needs to go to busta, huh), is a terrible blight on music, poetry and even crass celebrity. i will never get within a thousand miles of him, but i still feel the clunk of fear in my guts when i hear his name.

and i have never quite understood why he’s still out there, without so much as an apology or a sense that things really have changed. in fact, it seems to be business as usual.

i only really learned that he hadn’t become a pariah when i was doing the residency at collingwood last year and a 9-year old gorgeous girl, sonnie, loved chris brown and i had to include him in the mix tape. i never weighed in on people’s musical choices during that process, but when she said that she liked chris brown.

it’s for girls like sonnie that the thought of chris brown getting a grammy: more sales, air time, more weight – makes me sick to the bottom of my uterus. it’s girls like sonnie that boys like breezy get away with beating on. the only thing i could say to her that i really didn’t like him. that he was a nasty man.

and you know, honestly, i didn’t realise quite how nasty. last night i read the police report on mtv (like everyone else) and it’s quite shocking. the fact that rihanna is still an amazing confident performer after that shit is impressive.

and then i read the sickening buzzfeed link on twitter responses to c-brown. the ‘i’ll let you beat me’ feed. oh i almost vomitted. not to mention the revolting comments after their post.

this post by lamb beats wolf put it into another level of perspective (including the fabulous counter tweets by @JennyJohnsonHi5).

i do believe that people make fucked up mistakes, that change happens and that people deserve the chance to make things differently. i have lots of friends who have become amazing people, thanks to that second chance.

but from what i know of people who have fucked up, they have humbly admitted it, often publicly and they change.

and you know it – you can hear it in their voice. they disappear for a while, they pull back and work out how to be better. they don’t hire a crack PR team and keep telling people to ‘get all the way off my dick’ on twitter.

which i’m pretty sure is why there’s quite the furore over my man CB’s grammy thang. it’s not just because he’s a shit musician, or that we can’t forgive.
it’s not because we don’t understand the complexity of domestic violence.
but because we can see a liar from a thousand paces and when you reward bad behaviour, it says a whole lot about the world you want to live in.



domestic violence resources
http://www.dvrcv.org.au
http://www.thehotline.org/
http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/
http://www.speakout.org.za/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence_against_women
[map of the world’s data on women’s physical security]

*do yourself a favour, click on the lyrics starting with ‘ayo breezy’ and check out the ‘meaning’ behind them.

image source: lamb beats wolf, via buzzfeed.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

why i want to be a man

… there’s a post over at my friend rob’s blog about the usual fucking gender stereotypes. i’ve already said quite a bit over the years on that blog about the marketing/capitalist attitude to women. i’m sure that everyone is sick of hearing about it.

good, in a way.

and just as i was about to press ‘submit’ on yet another long rant, i realised that i didn’t want to vomit all over his blog again.

but i did have a fair amount to say, so here’s what i would have said over there, here:

rob, i know that it’s your blog, but bring on the can of worms. seriously. you guys have probably more power to make changes about the place of women in the world than anyone else i know. and if we have to have ugly, crawling arguments on the state of women and their continued disadvantage, so that maybe one day, some marketing manager from a global corporate company you guys keep decides that they’re going to go with a different tack that can of worms will have been fucking worth it.


i’m with peggy on it being fuckloads easier being a man because i’m sick and fucking tired of piping up every fucking time the age-old gender assumptions, or disadvantage come up. i’m sick of reminding everyone that women exist too and, wow, we’re human beings too.


i know that every time i do, a guy who is sick of the stereotypes also benefits, but fuckin’ hell – how about you blokes chime in some time.  


all you guys feeling boxed in by having to put up with the big tits blond bombshell “sex sells” line pipe up. 


or how about, if you’re feeling claustrophobic because you’re likely to be paid more, or promoted earlier than the ladies in your field, or that they’re more likely to be intimidated and harassed by their male superiors, go right ahead, talk to HR on their behalf –  i’m sure they won’t mind.


or fuck, if you feel like it’s getting a bit hot under the collar because 2 out of ever 3 women you know have been raped or sexually abused by a man they know – jesus – don’t let me stop you shouting about it. i mean, it must really fuck you off, right?






it’s not just the boring, insulting stereotypes as mothers, homemakers and neurotic latte-sipping lovers of the colour pink that is wrong with this kind of marketing. it’s that it’s all part of  making women feel bad about themselves as women that really fucks me off.




and andy, i love you, but ‘tell that to the man who can’t get access to his kids’? really? you have GOT to be joking.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

louise. trés triste.

IMG_6332-1

i’ve spoken about my love of louise bourgeois on here before. and my inability to spell her name first go. and now, it’s a super sad day for me to honour her whole life. she died yesterday, aged 98.

i have a few confessions to make:

i didn’t know who she was until i was 2 years out of artschool. (can i blame the fact that i was in the photography department? unlikely – i did women artists as a history/theory elective)

my friend and co-curator at project, moira kirkwood, saw the work i was making at the time and almost hit me over the head with her book, saying that i absolutely must see her work. i fell in love at first sight.

I was so lucky to see her retrospective at the tate modern, thanks to the goodness of feltbug – my fellow bourgoise-phile in london.
we spent aaages there and i watched all the films, drew extensively from her sculptures, pored over the drawing cabinet and pined over the massive pile of books that i couldn’t buy for baggage weight restrictions.

i also had a secret desire to meet her one day.

i know that she was super-old. that was part of what made her so inspirational to me. her longevity conquered all the bullshit of the artworld, of the patriarchical hegemony, of the financial/commercial conniptions. it endured and its endurance spoke volumes.

and now i’m super sad that she has passed away.

i’m glad that, in her lifetime, she received the kinds of accolades she deserved – massive public commissions, critical respect, institutional recognition. i’m glad that, because of that, her legacy will (hopefully) continue through the ages – that she’s not just some young, spunky, hip young thang that made the art boys pants warm and whose work eventually peters out.

tonight i think i might stitch an homage to the other LB:

je suis triste.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

ICELAND [UP]

ok, so this is a slightly leftfield post about how ace iceland is.

and this has been prompted by a couple of things:

firstly, my ace friend, sarah mosca (who took that pic up there) and her partner tim bruniges are over there working their arses off and having an ace time. by all accounts from the mosca project blog, the place is ace. if you’re in iceland, reading this, and you have the chance to work with these peeps, do so. it will change your life.

secondly, clare rae and victoria bennett – the gals behind the feminist project (next wave 2010) – posted the fabulous news (via the guardian) that iceland has started to challenge new zealand in being the country with supreme feminist credentials. they have a female prime minister (hello? australia? you’re in the 21st century now. it’s ok to trust people other than white middle-class men), who is openly gay AND who has taken the bold, but totally righteous step of closing down strip clubs and criminalising the sex trade.

the article is here, for the full story, but my first reaction was ‘like whoa.’ and i read a cracker of a quote: “i guess the men of iceland will just have to realise that women are not for sale”.

this feels very different to criminalising prostitution from a law and order point of view.

i don’t know whether it will make a difference or not, but how awesome would that be if a whole (albeit small) country decided that women’s bodies were not commodities and that the industry shut down. cut out the supply and the demand shrivels up.

even more interesting was to note her acknowledgment of the hard work that feminist lobby groups have done to bring about the change. politically, i’ve never heard anyone say that shit before. wow.

don’t get me wrong – the whole thing challenges my feminist ideas about the unionisation and decriminalisation of prostitution – which, in my mind, always sought to empower the women who decided to take on that profession. but perhaps that’s resigning to the inevitability of an awful role for women in society. and men, for that matter (as poor dears who can’t manage their urges). i don’t know right now. i think i need to hit the books again.

and of course, this whole decision is based on the old-school idea that it’s men paying for sex from women. but i wonder, in terms of queer sexual politics,whether this will be a massively awesome overhaul too.

either way, iceland [up].

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx