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I promised some frock-related posts this month, and they’re on their way!

First up is my favourite dress, my yellow shift dress. It’s a vintage Sandra Terry Australian made one, bought off my darling friend Anna! Shift dresses were first made popular in the 1960s, when clothing manufacturing became cheaper and skirt lengths became shorter. Shift dresses are no fuss and super flattering 🙂

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Yellow Shift Dress photo by Jaclyn Rogerson

 

Bold Mondrian graphics, black and white, op art, psychedelia, space-age looks- the 1960s is definitely my favourite era of clothing!

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Audrey Hepburn in Space Age

  • Biba Fashion House: When I was in London I visited Brighton when they were having the Biba retrospective exhibition on at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. Although I couldn’t afford to go in, there was amazing retro memorabilia of the fashion house for sale, and I bought my sister a compact mirror from there (ah, museum shops are always so good!).
  • Mary Quant was another fashion pioneer who made shift dresses popular.
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Mary Quant Mini-skirt

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Mary Quant 1960s

  • I remember looking at photos of Jean Shrimpton in high school (when I was fascinated by retro fashion) and thinking she was the most beautiful person in the world. And brave for going to the Melbourne Cup without a hat, gloves and rocking a mini-skirt. How fab!

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Jean Shrimpton with shocked onlookers!

  • And what would a post about 1960s fashion be without photos of Twiggy ?

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For the rest of October I’m raising money to donate to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. You can donate here to my campaign as part of Frocktober. Thank you in advance. xo

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tea time bitches

I can’t believe it’s October already! I’ve been sick off work this week with the flu, it’s been so boring and lonely-

BUT I’VE FINISHED BETTY ISSUE 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hooooooorayyyyyy.

 

BettyMagI’ll try and take it to the printers in the next few days!! Excccitttttinnnggg!

I’ve also introduced a new product to my etsy store; ten pages of Issue 2 delivered to your inbox for four dollars. You can check it out and read more here.

Happy, feministy events!

Last Friday night was a meet and greet at the Art School with organisations working with women around Hobart to meet with university students. I represented BettyMag but my boss was there too speaking about our work. It was a lovely night, although I’m pretty sure I was fairly drunk!

I got to meet some amazing women who I had only conversed with online so it was pretty exciting putting (3d,physical faces) to names!

meet inspirational women

The Tuesday the week before was WO MO #6.

WO MO (women’s movement) is run by the fabulous Ange Wilson and is always so much fun! It’s basically a space for women to get together and meet up, share a drink together and some nibblies and discuss feminist stuff!

WOMO

At WO MO: me, Briony Kidd, Ange Wilson (organiser) and Madeline Chung

READING:

I started reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte a few nights ago, and I love it so far!

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My copy was bought by my dad on the 21/4/1984 in Haworth, Leeds. Haworth is the village where the Bronte sisters and their family lived. It’s a village in Yorkshire, where my UK family is from on my fathers side. Dad always writes inscriptions on the first page of his book with his funky signature, date and place he bought his book. I try and make sure I do this whenever I buy new books too.

MUSIC:

Now that Holly is back from her overseas travelling we can have jams again! I’m really looking forward to collaborating with her, she’s so great at guitar! And my bass playing has improved so much just from being around her! Woohoooo.

 

multicultural boobies

Last nights election results were incredibly disappointing but unfortunately not surprising.. and it means we have a tough few years ahead of us in terms of social progression as a country. 

It appears now would be a good time to reveal some exciting news- I’m writing a book on self care for feminist activists. Truth is I’ve been working on it for awhile, but nothing was typed up. Today I made the conscious effort to type up and organise my notes into coherent paragraphs. And it feels fucking good.

Inspiration

Inspiration

Self care, yo! We’re going to need it.

In solidarity

Laura, ❤

 

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Trigger warning** if you do not like words that have socially attributed negative connotations, or natural bodily functions that may happen to half the population every single month for a good forty years of their lives- do not read on.**

I’ve got my menses, period, monthly- whatever you want to call it-at the moment.

I was excited for it this time, after feeling empowered by Inga Musico’s book Cunt for Betty Book Group. In Cunt, Musico describes embracing her period. At the discussion on Sunday night at The Winston (the new and improved Alleycat bar)- we were discussing our first periods, how this came about and where we were.

Cunt_a_declaration_of_independenceThat Time of the Month:

For me, I remember getting my period at around 12 years of age (a year after I had begun shaving my armpits). I remember my aunt was down from Melbourne and she gave me a hug. I assume my mother did too but I distinctly remember my aunt hugging me. This was a big deal and I was excited.

But cramps were the worst! And my excitement soon waned. I remember just being in agony for a few days every month. I went on the pill early at around 15 years due to crazy hormones including severe breakouts and mood swings. Now, I have an implanon (and adult acne). After reading Inga’s chapters on contraception and I had this strange sensation of wanting to scratch my implanon out. My periods have calmed down, but I (did) dread getting my period. The messiness of it all, the pain from my uterine muscles contracting and the dull pain in the tops of my legs. The thought of spending so much money every month on tampons and pads. Not to mention having diagnosed anaemia doesn’t help the situation much. Steak anybody?

After thinking more about Musico’s chapter ‘Blood and Cunts’, I decided to take control over my period and start reframing my period in a positive light from now on.

-Hey! I’m not pregnant! Woohoo! My body is functioning! It’s not icky, it’s a normal part of being a woman.

Thousands of women are all going through the same thing as me at the same time! –

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Moon Cycles:

I never knew that women’s menstrual cycles could be synched with the moon’s cycles or that there was any connection there at all.

“The Moon is the closest celestial body to our planet. The Moon’s pull on the Earth keeps us tilted on our axis, basically creating and keeping the seasons in balance for all living things! She also controls the tides and essentially all water on our planet, along with the water and fluid in our bodies. Before lights and other factors, most womens’ moon-times were connected with the Moon phases; usually menstruating around the New Moon, and ovulating around the Full Moon, following the 28-day Lunar cycle.- Marissa Moondaughter.

I purchased Marissa’s ‘Celebrate your moon-time’ e-course from Etsy.

Western society gives our periods a bad rep; they are ‘dirty’ and ‘gross’ and we need to keep them locked away and dealt with secretly to not disturb the rest of humanity. However, half the population of the world ‘deals’ with this phenomena on a daily/monthly basis. So, we women, have been trained to not like our moon-times and dread its arrival every month.

To reclaim this cycle as our own, I propose to not be ashamed of this natural flow and be proud of it! This is a time of month for us to honor, retreat, create, and rest in our sacredness and femininity.”

I didn’t realise that women were so connected with the moon and her cycles. I’ve always felt connected to her anyway, and having my period start over a new moon is kind of cool. Check out this link which has some tips to synchronise with the moon during your moon cycle.

Taking Control:

The other empowering thing I’m doing besides working on getting in tune with my body is talking to people about it. I took a hot water bottle to work yesterday to soothe my cramps. I talked to the wonderful women I work with about it. I didn’t feel shameful or dirty. I thought about how my cycle and looked up information about it, became curious about sea sponges, and reusable cloth pads.

Up until a few months ago, I didn’t realise we as women have real options besides Libra and Carefree (and the other disposable brands). Now, I’m so looking forward to my next moon cycle to try cloth pads!

Today, I attempted to make my own cloth pads. Safe to say I will definitely be buying some from Tasmanian based Moonpads because while I had fun attempting, my pads turned out to be an orange fleece, yellow flannelette disaster. Moonpads are so pretty!

Regular_web_mediumThere are many reasons for choosing cloth based pads instead of disposable- the environmental impact, the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome and the cost of disposables every month. I’ve been thinking about the idea of having plastic in my underwear all day- it just can’t be good for our bodies.

Need more convincing?

Disposable pads and tampons add to landfill. Not only are the pads themselves made from non-biodegradableable products, the packaging themselves (outer wrapper, individual wrapper, plastic strip!) also add to landfill. Even when cloth pads wear out because they are made from natural products, they can be composted!
There are approximately 5.5 million females in Australia between the ages of 12 and 51* (the average ages of starting and finishing menstration). If all of these used disposable pads and tampons, averaging 10 per month, that would add up to 660 MILLION pads and tampons added to landfill EVERY year. That’s a big pile!!!
Manufacture of disposable pads involves bleaching resulting in pollution to waterways from effluent, not to mention the chemicals and gels that provide the ‘superabsorbancy’ claimed by disposable pad and tampon manufacturers.– Greenchickadee.com.au

Another great site is the ever helpful Gala Darling-‘Ultimate Guide to Making your Periods Suck Less’. I love her idea tip about wearing your favourite underwear during your period.

Happy Moon Cycles! Laura

Today we went on an adventure up to Mount Field! It was my first time up there and we saw a huge waterfull and Lake Dobson. So beautiful, so cold!

I have a few exciting things to share with you-

1. The Reproductive Health (access to terminations bill) was passed in the lower house.

  •  HOORAY. There was an amazing Rally organised last Sunday, a few hundred people went and showed their support for the decriminalisation of abortion. Speakers included Julie Collins, Minister for the status of women, Cassy O’Connor, Minister for community development and human services, Susan Fahey, the managing solicitor of Women’s Legal Service Tas, local young women representing the younger generation and The University Union.
  • Very very empowering, very very inspiring. Now to get onto the Legislative council!! If you want to read a great write up about the debate, visit Jamila Fontana’s blog for a write up of the sexism here.

me-My poster for the rally. Mum said she saw me on the news bulletin and I was looking sullen. Haha!

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2. I have signed up for Blogacademy– I get to meet my radical self-love hero Gala Darling!!!

  • I’m heading to the Brisbane workshops in November…
The Blogacademy Girls

The Blogacademy Girls- Shauna, Gala and Kat

The Blogacademy is all about making the most out of blogging. I think I’ll get a lot out of it plus it means mini holiday!

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3. Ruby and I have organised a zine making workshop for next month! Cannot wait!

Woho

 

Eeeeeeh so much excitement.

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4. PLUS! I’ve been putting the final touches on BettyMag issue 2!

  • Photograph by the talented Abbie Calvert

    Photograph by the talented Abbie Calvert you can see more of Abbie’s work here

    I’m sure I’m missing lots that has happened by oh well- happy, exhausting and lovely times.

Laura ❤

FEMEN

FEMEN

Lately, I’ve been trying to refrain from blogging when I’m upset or angry for obvious reasons.

It’s not good to rant or share where you could be misquoted or taken out of context, or say something in the heat of the moment.Tonight is a different story. I am going to write and write and write until I feel like I’ve said all I need to say.

Last year, the ‘war on women’ in America scared the bejeezuz out of me.

It scared me how much power the Republican Party wielded, their incredibly archaic views on women’s reproductive systems, homosexuality, and science just to name a few. I followed the presidential candidacy race and I was genuinely relieved when Obama was voted in for a second term. America may seem like a world away, but it’s not.

Now, I feel like we have our own ‘war’ on our hands.

We are incredibly lucky in Australia. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again- I love living here. What I don’t like is the idea that there is bad stuff, bad people and bad ideologies being floated as “Life, Liberty and Legacy”.

Click on the photo to buy

Click on the photo to buy

The Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations Bill) was a momentous, courageous step forward for the Health Minister here to propose. I support it fully, to the extent of exclusion zones.

I support the idea that nobody is pro-abortion, but women deserve the fundamental right to decide when they are ready to have children.

Together, my friend Ruby and I put together a submission and petition to send to the Department of Health and Human Services. We had around thirty signatures.  Here is our submission:

My Body My Choice: Petition for the Decriminalisation of Termination of Pregnancy in Tasmania

My name is Ruby Grant and I fully endorse the proposal of the Reproductive Health (access to termination) Act 2013. I am a third year Bachelor of Arts student at UTAS with a Major in gender studies, and I have been on the Dean’s Roll of Excellence each year of my degree. Outside my studies I am an active feminist with a drive and a passion for gender equity issues. I am a feature writer for local young women’s feminist magazine BettyMag and have a blog at http://www.riseofthefembots.wordpress.com. I also facilitate a popular feminist book group.

I believe decriminalising abortion in Tasmania, the state in which I was born, grew up in, and currently reside, would have a positive impact on my life, and the lives of all the women close to me. Allowing all women equal and easy access to safe and legal abortions would give women control of their reproductive bodies. As a middle-­‐class tertiary educated young adult, I would have the emotional capacity and material means to have a child should I fall pregnant. However, at this point in my life-­‐course it would not be in a child’s best interests for that to happen. I believe there are many other young women in my position. This is not a selfish decision. This is not a frivolous decision. This is a well-­‐considered decision. Being able to have choice about how and when we bring another human being into the world, without being criminalised or stigmatised for our choice, is a fundamental human right for women, and Tasmanian law should not deny this right.

My name is Laura Kay and I fully support the proposal of the Reproductive Health (access to termination) Act 2013. I am the maker of BettyMag, Hobart’s premier feminist magazine for young women. Through the making of this publication I have had the absolute pleasure of working with women in the wider community to encourage, promote and share their goals and dreams. I consider myself an active young feminist in the community. I am a co-­‐presenter on Edge Radio 99.3fm community radio show Fem Tasm and I was on the Slutwalk 2012 organising collective. I completed my degree in psychology and sociology in 2012 and I’ve worked as a child and youth worker at Hobart Women’s Shelter for the last two years where I support women and their children escaping domestic violence and homelessness.

As a young Tasmanian woman, I believe the present legislation does not capture current societal values and believe it is time for change. I commend the Tasmanian Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne and her team on drafting this bill.
I believe placing abortion under the Criminal Code Act demeans women and their right to bodily autonomy. While I appreciate that this is an incredibly emotive topic, I believe that in 2013, it is a basic human right to have decisions around my body made between myself and my doctor, without state or church interference and without mandated counselling. Furthermore, I think the legislation should incorporate an interference zone. There is nothing ‘peaceful’ about shaming complete strangers about private decisions made about their bodies. As we have seen in America, abortion clinics have been bombed and doctors even murdered by zealous Christian fundamentalists. I think an interference-­‐free zone is absolutely vital for the wellbeing of Tasmania’s women and community attitudes towards women in general.
Finally, I fully agree with my good friend Ruby’s sentiments that it is not in the interests of a child to be brought into the world where it is unwanted. As a worker at the Hobart Women’s Shelter, I have seen the impact of unwanted children on mothers and how this impacts their economic, educational and social lives. To put simply, by allowing safe, legal abortions to Tasmanian women the whole of community would benefit.
Together, we feel that the extreme vocal minority should not win on this case.
We have put together a petition of people who support the proposal of the Reproductive Health (access to termination) Act 2013 and the following recommendations:
•    Places the law in a discreet Bill where it is clear and easy to find and understand;
•    Removes the need for two doctors to endorse referral before 24weeks;
•    Makes allowances for a doctor’s conscientious objection while ensuring appropriate referral to another doctor without those objections.
•    Provides for an access zone to prevent harassment of women and workers at clinics; and
•    Allows a conscientious objection for counsellors.
Thank you for your time.
Ruby Grant and Laura Kay

Working on the submission and petition and sending it to the Department of Health and Human Services was one of the most liberating things I have done lately. You can find out more about the act and the proposals here and at End the Confusion.

Tonight, now, coming back from a brilliant night with like-minded, independent and successful women, WoMo, or Women’s Movement organised by a very inspiring woman at Salamanca, I come to my computer for some congratulations to the people who made tonight possible when I see poison coming up on my facebook; The ‘Salamanca Declaration’.

Salamanca, my favourite strip in Tasmania, a place where I called home for four years when I lived one street away, and where WoMo gathered and shared ideas about how we can make the world a better place. The beautiful place that is Salamanca, Hobart, has been used to name a vile piece of bigoted “agreement” between the heads of churches around the state, to exercise their influence over the Tasmanian public and government.

The Salamanca Declaration is a gathering of heads of churches to yield influence on governmental reforms (from what I gather from their first press release and their website http://www.believeintasmania.com) specifically targeting access to safe terminations, euthanasia and gay relationships, successfully already talking about biological parents being the only way to have a safe family.

So what does this mean? It means the churches have been busy. It means they are feeling the affects of a secular community and they feel threatened. But I am not influencing how they live their personal lives, they feel as though they deserve to have a say or a RIGHT over my body.

“The Church has been stirred to become cohesive, united. We feel that our
key values are under attack and we need to make clear what we know to be
best for the common good of Tasmanians.
“We are upholding classical Christian values that affirm the sanctity of life, that
enable people of faith to quietly continue following their religious convictions
and that identify family as a privilege and a responsibility that establishes a

legacy for those involved and the greater community,” Clare Van Ryn.

How is this okay?

How is this okay?

How is   this      okay   in   2013??????

Tasmanian women deserve respect, they deserve bodily autonomy and they just deserve better!

Rant over. And apologies for the awful writing. I am in an awfully bad mood.

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This will be my one and only break-up post about Damon and I.

It’s close to two months since he broke up with me. When I was in Europe I did some dumb things and cheated on him. Stuff I apologised for the next day but stuff that obviously hurt him.

I had gone away thinking I was the luckiest girl in the world. I spent five weeks pining, and was almost jumping out of my skin for the whole two days travel back home. I literally ran across the tarmac to see him.

The next week was an uncomfortable one, something had changed.  He acted like a completely different person around me to what I had left. After I found out he had feelings for someone else, he told me he hadn’t wanted to see me or spend time with me when I got back. I felt like, and I still feel like, he broke up with me for someone else.. this has only been compounded by the fact that he met her while I was away, and has been seeing her since we broke up.

To put it lightly- I was/am devastated. I thought we had the best relationship I could ever even hope for, he was my best friend, confidante, lover and partner in crime.

I cried so much over the next few days that my lips were bleeding from dehydration.

BUT you know what? Things are going to be okay.

Because I finally understand what it means to feel happy being single, what it feels like to feel happy about who you are, and that I’m capable of good, passionate things.

I had to learn (quickly) to put everything into perspective.

Two weeks after I was broken up with, I got a call from my mum saying my grandpa had had an aneurism. It was the day of the One Billion Rising dance at MONA, and I was feeling so empowered and liberated that I was going to dance in revolt to past violent experiences. I danced and I danced for everyone I have ever known to experience sexual assault. I felt empowered and I felt great.

I rang mum in a mixture of happiness and apprehension. She said I should come to Melbourne as I might not get to see Grandpa again and it was more serious than she first told me. I boarded a plane that night. I wasn’t sure how conscious he was going to be when I got there and I was so angry and so full of regret for not spending more time with Grandpa. He had always been so kind, humble and loving.

The plane trip went quickly but painfully. After doing a Heathrow-Abu Dhabi-Melboure-Hobart trip two weeks before I was well and truly over travelling. And planes. And flight attendants. I cried and cried because it reminded me about how happy I had been just two weeks before when I thought I was coming back to my old life where I felt safe and loved.

My parents met me at the airport in Melbourne, they had previously spent almost three months in Brisbane before heading down to Melbourne to see Grandpa. Grandpa’s girlfriend/companion of over ten years Mavis had died a few weeks earlier and he had stopped eating. He was ready to die. It broke my heart when I went to the hospital and he was in a deep sleep, his feet twitching and his breath heavy. His body was wasting away. He was clammy and his skin looked papery. I was in a bit of shock I think as it took me ages to unwind.

I slept in Grandpa’s bed that night. The sheets had been changed but his room had his musty old man smell still. Although he had a two bedroom unit, he slept in the smaller bedroom, in a single bed, without any windows and just a skylight for light. All over the walls were pictures of his (our) enormous family- he loved us all so much. There were pictures of him and Grandma on their wedding day, photos of Grandpa from the war, photos of my dad and his siblings looking cheeky from fifty years ago, pictures of my cousins and I when we were children, and pictures of his great grandchildren. He was probably lonely, but every night I’m sure he was comforted by the photographs of people he loved and who loved him too.

Life was suddenly put into perspective when I crawled into his bed that night. Mum burst into my room at five in the morning. Grandpa had taken a turn for the worst.

At first I wasn’t even sure if I was going to go to the hospital as I was exhausted. But I’m so glad I did because Grandpa was conscious and registered we were there. I stood over the bed in my white fluffy eyelash jumper and probably looked like an angel to him, but at least I got to say hello-his eyes flashed recognition.

Half an hour later his breathing stopped and my dad’s eyes filled. Something had changed in the room, and he was gone.

I went home the next day back to Hobart. Between then and the day of the funeral is a blur. I wasn’t able to attend the funeral but my sister read out a poem she had written about Grandpa for Grandparent’s Day at school, year six. The same poem he had kept on his wall in his bedroom for over ten years. I heard the funeral was beautiful, but I had said goodbye in that hospital room.

Since Grandpa’s passing I’ve been trying to make the most of every day and little things.
I’m having lovely hot baths with epsom salts, I’m dancing around my room naked, I’ve taken up surfing, I’ve (attempted) knitting, I’ve been getting passionate about causes that matter.

Yesterday I went and got my last script for anti-depressants. My doctor told me it was almost two years to the day I was first prescribed medication. While I’m still grieving my loss of my relationship, every day is getting easier and easier and I’m enjoying being single for the first time. I feel ready to go off medication because I’ve slowly come to realise that my life is worthy of living. Grandpa died at age 92 with four children, fourteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Love is infinite, and I intend on living for at least another seventy years so I’m opening my heart up again to loving and receiving love.

And I was lucky enough to inherit something beautiful and sentimental from Grandpa; the glass bowl he would keep full of Sherbet Bombs to offer guests. There is nothing greater to remind me of Grandpa’s humility, love and kindness. 🙂