Feminism: I’m doing it wrong?

Or am I doing it right? Should I be doing it at all? Is it something from a bygone era that’s fallen out of touch with modern society? Are we past its need altogether? I’ve decided to weigh in, so I’ve donned my Kevlar, grabbed a riot shield, and decided my biker boots work best with this outfit.

From what I’m seeing on social media lately, feminism has become a dirty word, so much so that it’s spawned an anti-feminist movement. Here’s one: Women Against Feminism. Yep, you read that right. According to their ‘about’ page it’s: Women’s voices against modern feminism and its toxic culture. Not an MRA page, sorry!

Confused? I know I am – as much about the ‘toxic culture of modern feminism’ as I am about the apology of it not being an MRA (Men’s Rights Activists) page. What you’ll find on the FB page are photo-posts of women holding placards stating why they ‘don’t need’ feminism. They appear to be strong, independent women prepared to stand up for their beliefs and their rights, which, ironically, is the foundation of feminism

Some of those placards are a little disturbing, and others are downright ridiculous. “I don’t need feminism to perpetuate the myth that 21st century women are oppressed.” I’m sorry, but what world are you living in? The world I’m living in is filled with oppressed women. It’s no myth. Let’s talk child brides, the denial of education for girls, and what of the the 234 Nigerian girls kidnapped earlier this year? Nope, move along, no oppression to see here.

nothing to see here

But maybe feminism only applies to those who live in ‘first-world’ countries, you know, ‘cause it’s hard to see beyond our borders, right? So let’s take a look the “myth” of oppression from that perspective. Feminism began as a movement and ideology for the rights and legal and social equality of women. Now call me a cynic, but that equality thing? We haven’t reached it. Equal pay? No. Workplace equality? Nope. Freedom from discrimination, harassment and violence? That gets a big hell to the no. Oppressed? Pfft!

Another placard that didn’t sit well with me was: “I don’t need feminism because my son should not be made to feel less of a person simply because of his gender.”

Yet feminism came into being because women were made to feel less of a person because of their gender.It’s not a movement against men, it’s a movement for equality.

As the mother of a girl and a boy, does my support of feminism mean devaluing my son? I call bullshit; I call a whole lot of bullshit.


Both my children deserve the same opportunities, the same rights. My daughter, however, is the one who may need to fight for those basic rights. I know the kind of crap she will encounter because of her gender. And no, I’m not being fatalistic. I’ve lived it. Most women have – #yesallwomen.

Will my daughter be whistled at and/or cat-called as she walks down the street? Will she be asked to take a drink order “honey” when she’s a journalist at a convention? (True story). Will someone believe it well within their rights to grab her arse while she’s out with friends? Will she be called a slut or a lesbian if she refuses another’s advances? It breaks my heart that she will encounter something that objectifies her, dehumanises her, reduces her to a particular sum of her parts. It also enrages me.

Statistically, my son sits much lower on that probability scale. Is that fair? No. Is it reality? Yes. Both my children have been taught their gender doesn’t matter when it comes to who they are or what they can achieve. There is nothing they can’t do if they apply themselves. Anyone that tells them different is full of shit (and will get my foot lodged firmly up their arse). Anyone who treats my children differently because of their gender will also get my foot firmly lodged up their arse.

My children are taught tolerance; they’re taught that we’re all equal; they’re taught to stand up for their rights and the rights of others. They know that words that marginalise another based on gender, race, appearance, faith, will not be tolerated in our home. They also understand that the world around them is filled with unfairness. It’s filled with bias, discrimination, wrong-doing and injustice. They also understand that neither of them has to be okay with that – not for themselves, and not for others.

As for those against feminism, and especially those women against feminism, you keep standing up for your beliefs, for your right to say what you feel and what you think, I applaud your absolute right to do so. Just as I applaud the absolute right I have to disagree with you. Feminism fought for those rights, along with so many other rights for women. (Check out this post for a great summation).

Me? I’m proud to be a feminist, and my husband and I are proud to be raising two more. Being a feminist doesn’t mean I hate men — I’m married to one and raising another. Being a feminist doesn’t mean I want to subjugate men. Author Mary Shelley said it best: “I do not wish for women to have power over men, but over themselves.”

feminism 1

So when I ask myself if I’m doing feminism the “right” way or the “wrong” way, I look at my daughter and my son, and I see the kind, compassionate people they are, and you bet your arse my answer is “the right way”.


Situation Normal, All F**ked Up

SNAFU: An anthology of Military Horror is out in the world! This massive tome, put out by independent Australian publisher, Cohesion Press, is the first in an annual military-themed antho. When owner and editor in chief, Geoff Brown, got in touch and asked if I’d like to be involved, I responded with a hearty HELL YES.

It’s been a good couple of years since I’d worked on an anthology (the last being Midnight Echo Issue 8) and I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed working with a slew of authors to weave a theme through their stories. And what a kick-arse bunch of stories they are. While I was only involved on the editing side of SNAFU, with over a thousand submissions, Geoff Brown has done a remarkable job in his choices for the anthology, and the stories within are a testament to the writers themselves. There are some cracker tales in this book, covering all manner of conflicts, time periods, and monsters. Ooh, we can’t forget the monsters! There’s a plethora of ghosties and ghoulies, born right out of your nightmares.

SNAFU cover art

With a veritable who’s who of the genre, there are stories from best-selling authors Greig Beck and Wes Ochse, plus a gritty Joe Ledger story from the master Jonathan Mayberry, and if you’re a fan of James A Moore (that’d be me), there’s a new Jonathan Crowley novella inside. But it’s not just about the big names, the stories from all the authors in this anthology are fantastic and I had a great time working with them and their tales – it was real pleasure, and if this is the mark of authors moving through the ranks, then the publishing and reading worlds are the real winners here.

The ToC is below, and if you’re looking for a great read, you really can’t go past SNAFU:

Blackwater – Neal F Litherland
Little Johnny Jump-Up – Christine Morgan
Covert Genesis – Brian W Taylor
Bug Hunt – Jonathan Maberry
Special Operations Interview PTO‑14 – Wayland Smith
Cold War Gothic – Weston Ochse
Making Waves – Curtis C Chen
The Fossil – Greig Beck
A Tide of Flesh – Jeff Hewitt
Death at 900 Meters – Tyson Mauermann
Holding the Line – Eric S Brown
Thela Hun Gingeet – WD Gagliani and David Benton
The Shrine – David Amendola
Ptearing All Before Us – Steve Ruthenbeck
A Time of Blood – Kirsten Cross
Blank White Page – James A Moore

And for those of you wanting to write some military-based horror? Keep your eyes on Cohesion Press for the next call for submissions.


Review: 809 Jacob Street (Marty Young)

It’s taken me longer than I wanted to get around to reading 809 Jacob Street – for no other reason than time. I read my books in order of purchase, and Marty’s book was a little ways down on my ‘To Read’ pile. And yes, I just called him Marty, so this review will come with a disclaimer: while I was not at all involved in the production of 809 Jacob Street, Marty Young is one of my mates and all ‘round good guy. Oh, and to top it all off, 809 Jacob Street (Black Beacon Books) won the Australian Shadows Award in the Novel category a few weeks back.

Righto. Let’s get started, shall we?

And we will begin with the act of a spoiler declaration…so…umm… SPOILER DECLARATION! READ ON AT OWN SPOILERY RISK!


809 Jacob Street follows the stories of Byron and Joey Blue (and to a lesser extent, Iain and Hamish), and their interactions with the town of Parkton, or more specifically, the house on Jacob Street. I was first introduced to Joey Blue via a short story Young wrote for ASIM #48 (Joey Blue and the Gutterbreed), so I was very much looking forward to reading more about him. Joey Blue is a down-and-out blue’s singer who now spends most of his time at the bottom of a bottle — so much so, his past is almost a mystery to him. But Joey is aware there’s another part of Parkton, a much darker side that hides in the shadows. And it’s coming for him.

It’s Joey Blue with whom we start the story, and Joey’s in a bad place. His friend Gremlin is dead, but that doesn’t stop him stalking Joey and begging for his help. Joey can see those stuck in the veil between worlds, and they can see him, too. They’re aware, and Joey knows better than anyone that once the Gutterbreed are aware, there’s no end to the torment. Joey must make the trek to 809 Jacob Street.

Next we meet 14-year-old Byron who has just moved from Australia to Parkton. And hates it. His only friends are two outcasts, Iain and Hamish. Right from the beginning, there’s something off about Iain, and as the story progresses, the reader’s given glimpses into a psyche that is truly damaged. Hamish, is more an unwilling participant in his ‘friendship’ with Iain, and like Byron, seems to be carried along on the tidal wave that is Iain’s quest for answers at the house on Jacob Street.

The house has a history of blood and violence known to all in the town, and Young has made 809 almost its own character within the story. Iain taunts Byron with legends surrounding the house, and the pragmatic Byron refuses to believe the hype, which sets him on a path that can only lead to one place.

Both Joey Blue and Byron are on a collision course with the house on Jacob Street, and there’s no doubting it’s not going to end well for them. Young ramps up the tension the further into the book you read, and while I knew we were heading for a blood-soaked ending, I couldn’t wait for all the players to step over the threshold of number 809.

There’s quite a bit of backstory given, especially where the boys—Byron, Iain and Hamish—are concerned. At times the pacing was a little slow, but that could be more to do with Young’s build-up of the house through Byron’s eyes. Still..

We’re given a few chapters from Iain’s point of view, and this furthers the reader’s understanding that nothing good can come of the boy’s entering the house, but you know it’s inevitable – Iain will damn well make it so.

While Joey and Byron live in entirely different worlds, they do cross paths, albeit briefly, but this has weighty consequences toward the end of the book. There’s one particular scene—Joey’s walk up Jacob Street—that still resonates with me. Young outdid himself with this scene – it’s so perfectly and vividly described.

I’m not going to spoil the end of this book for readers, but once in that house… things don’t go well for anyone. But it’s in the house where Young really brings his storytelling finesse to the fore. Tension, action, fear, monsters, inner-demons, the dark… it’s all here, and I wasn’t disappointed.

When I turned the last page of the book, I was unsure of how I felt about it as a whole. It was a good read with great characters, and some damn fine imagery but there seemed somewhat of a disconnect between Joey Blue and the other players in the story… almost as though they were two stories spliced together that didn’t quite gel, and I think that’s more to do with the structure of the book – once Joey enters the house (about a quarter of the way into the book) he’s almost forgotten until the end.

There were a few more grammar and spelling issues than I’d have liked to have seen in the book, but that could well be the editor in me. Some of those issues, though, should have been picked up.

809 Jacob Street is on the smaller side of the novel-spectrum, and there’s little doubt in my mind that the story could well have supported a higher word count, where we could have delved a little more into Joey’s story and strengthened that connection between Joey and Byron. I’d have gladly read more, and that alone speaks to Young’s work.

I can’t finish without mentioning the illustrations provided in the book. David Schembri, who also created the cover-art, has given the book that extra dimension with internal illustrations throughout. I very much liked them, and it’s always great to see an artist’s rendering of both characters and monsters.

Overall, 809 Jacob Street is a solid first novel for Marty Young, and showcases the author’s ability to create great characters (or in Joey Blue’s case – fantastic ones), and there’s little doubt Young is storyteller who’s well on the rise (some of his phrasing is just beautiful). I’m looking forward to reading more, and if that last chapter is anything to go by, then more there will be.

4 stars