Monday, February 18, 2013

Cunts in spaaaaaaaaaace!

William Burroughs once said "language is a virus from outer-space". Then the delightful Laurie Anderson caught the bug & expressed the same sentiment:

It's true that language can often feel like an affliction that traps & alienates us from reality. In outer-space at least people wouldn't always be trying to doctor the language I use. Obvs. space is where I belong & so that's where I've gone. Yes! Cunts are now airborne!

I am very excited to present you with the Cunts In Space! PODCAST - a podcast for feminists, queers & others who are alienated on earth by me, Patty & Jack.

We've made two episodes so far including interviews with Guerilla Girls Käthe Kollwitz & Frida Kahlo...

Kelly Cogswell, an early member of The Lesbian Avengers...

music, spoken word from Emilie Zoey Baker & a TON more.

Links to the episodes are HERE & remember, no one can hear you, or gives a shit, if you scream CUNTCUNTCUNTCUNTCUNT in outer-space ♥

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dolly in the doldrums

Years ago the mother of a friend of mine was diagnosed with terminal cancer. As her dying wish she decided to go to Dollywood. Pause to consider how rad this is, please.


Thankyou. So, she went to Dollywood, soaked up wonderful Dolly goodness like this:

And then: WENT INTO REMISSION. This is a true story. Dolly cured her cancer.

Earlier this year two young people I know and love were diagnosed with cancer. I made them both compilations of Dolly tunes, and just recently the news has come through that they have both gone into remission too! Sure, the chemo may have played a played a small part but we all know it was Dolly who saved them.

Everyday this month I have cried. I just can't shake it. I am on anti-depressants and have blamed everything from the moon to alcohol to end-of-the-world doomsday signs (I like to mix my depression with a good dose of anxiety and paranoia). Today I self-medicated with a full album of Dolly Parton and I'm still fucking sad. Mental health breakdowns are horrible and when even Dolly doesn't help times are really scary.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gay Paree & Me

I have not long returned from my second visit to Paris & now am spending my time trying to figure my way back again. So much to love about a city that is most commonly qualified  by the adjective 'gay'.

While I was there I met ladies who piss standing up at LadyFest Rennes...

Joined an action with the bearded women of La Barbe, who I hero-worshipped on my first trip over...

Stayed with lovely people...

Went UFO spotting with an Aussie street artist...

& teamed up with artist/activist extraordinare Anne-Laure in Paris to do some street art myself.

Here's the fence stitch we did on the streets of Paris, 75% des pauvres ꞊♀ (or: 75% of poor are women). A woman actually came up & hugged me in the street while we were doing it. HUGGED ME.  The police drove by without stopping & little children clapped. This is how people respond to art in France.

& if they weren't enough reasons to move to France, the Government has now prohibited the use of the term mademoiselle (the French word denoting an unmarried woman) in official documents. Hooray! Why any reference to marital status is needed ever is beyond me & luckily the French agree. Now the French language is going to be all the more delightful & it was already sounding pretty damn good.

I've written in the past about how the French do not have an equivalent for 'cunt' as a destructive insult (♥♥♥!). I discovered on my most recent trip (& this is what has really made me want to pack my bags & give in to my Francophile urges) that they also do not use those innane little asterix things to blank out 'offensive' words. That's right. In France publishers will either print a word or not write the bloody sentence in the first place. None of th** stupid fuckery.

I asked a local about it and he looked at me with suprise, "No! We do not use these things," he said, clearly shocked at the notion, "Why would we do this? To do this would be hypocritical!"


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pussies are ALL RIOT

Have you been following the extreme rad-ness of all-female Russian art-punk band Pussy Riot?

These women are guts on a mic. They've performed on top of buses, in shop windows, in subways, at protest rallies, on fashion runways & most lately, in a Russion Orthodox Church. All uninvited but definitely appreciated (at least by hopelessly love-struck sycophants like me). They've also performed outside prison walls to political prisoners which you can see in this ace vid:

But unfortunately that last performance in the church has landed three of their members on the wrong side of those prison walls & now they themselves are political prisoners.  They're facing charges or hooliganism over the next couple of days which could land them in prison for 7 years. Outrageous.

Melbourne Femme Fight Club got together a couple of weeks ago to show their support for the group:

And you can too - tomorrow arvo 4-6pm at Parliament Steps, Melbourne. Come down & show that it is A VERY GOOD THING for women to be loud & forthright & gutsy. Pussy Riot faced enormous obstacles in getting themselves heard - make yourself heard in their support.

Free Pussy Riot!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

If you don't needle a cunt now, you might be needling your own cunt later

It's a sad truth, over in the US of A, that if the Republicans are able to override women's control of their own reproductive systems, many of those women will resort to dangerous and self-harming measures in desperate attempts to regain that control.
But they haven't won yet! So, American sisters, before you start thinking of alternate places to shove your knitting needles - shove them where they belong: in a ball of wool & at your Congressmen.
The genius 'Government Free VJJ' is encouraging sane people to knit female reproductive systems & send them to those less sane & in power with the question "Congressmen: If we knit you a uterus will you stay out of ours?"
Their site has free patterns & instructions so you can learn how to crochet if you don't know how 'cause seriously: this is the only thing you ever want to use a knitting needle for.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Happy New Year Cunts! I had the most gorgeous time up in Paradise, a.k.a. Northern Rivers NSW,

 staying with beautiful people



eating amazing food...

more drinking...


more relaxing...

even more relaxing...

& performing at Gay Heaven, known colloquially as 'Tropical Fruits Festival'

The performance was in collaboration with the legendary Shiny Shiny band & involved feeding grown men pina coladas from latex glove teets...

& glowing orb boobs.

It was all a helluva lotta fun & I was so sad to leave I cried at the airport
I really did. And I wasn't even hungover! Relatively speaking..

But even with all that excessive radness, perhaps my favourite x-mas gift came from this man:

Gerard Henderson.
I checked my mail in transit on the way home & received a link to an article Gerard has written about ME! Partly about me, anyhow. It was a long-winded gripe published in the Sydney Morning Herald where Gerard takes swipe at what he sees as the ABC's 'left wing bias'. Apparently Gerard was lolling on the beach on Christmas day listening to the radio & heard a replay of a feature piece for ABC Arts about yarn bombing by Suzanne Donisthorpe in which I was interviewed.
During the interview, which was at the end of the feature after coverage of other artists, I spoke about the lesbian cunt fling ups which I hung on the Basilica in Vatican City last year.

Well, Gerard was not happy that the ABC reported on my work, not one little bit. He said that the ABC's inclusion of the work of "a certain Casey Jenkins" was "terribly twee" & then rambled on a bit about how I should be more catholic "in the universal sense of the word" (whatever that means) & suggested my fling ups would only be newsworthy if I'd taken them to "the Haj in Saudi Arabia or outside Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's office in Tehran" & that the Basilica had been "easy".

Well, I suppose he does have a point. To get my two cents in, as a young queer woman, all I had to do was fly across the world, smuggle subversive artwork through several security checks & erect it on a heavily fortified, iconic building. Gerard on the other hand, as a middle-aged hetero man, had to go to the extreme effort of turning on the radio while lying on the beach digesting his Christmas dinner before his voice was heard in a major publication

O! Poor Old White Hetero Men! Poor Gerard! 


But anyway, I've gotta thank Gerard for using his precious media space to draw attention to mine again. Thanks babe xx

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stick your tongue in

So many things in life are better when you stick your tongue into them.

And it makes me particularly happy when I see feminists exercising theirs.
It was with this in mind that I gave a workshop at the Melbourne Feminist Futures Conference earlier this year titled: Mincing words: Feminism and Semantics. It went down well, I reckon, and I was flattered to be asked by the editor of online publication 'The Scavenger' to adapt the workshop into article form. This proved trickier than I expected but they were very patient with me and, with some wonderful editing help from talented writer Meg Mundell, I finished it at last. It was published about a month ago & you can read the original here, or keep scrolling.

Warning! Long! Very loooong.

Speak For Yourself: A Call For Feminists To Sharpen Their Tongues

“Language is power, life and the instrument of culture, the instrument of domination and
liberation” – Angela Carter, author and feminist.

Language is a mercurial force as temperamental as a newborn child, constantly changing,
adapting and reacting to its environment. Individual words fatted up by the tongues of
many, in one time and place, can wither quickly into a state of anorexic weakness with the
passing of just a few years or a few miles. Words netted in popular culture by language
enthusiasts and carefully placed between dictionary pages can be made extinct before
they’ve even hit the library shelves – wiped out by one blockbuster movie or hit TV show
with a catchy catch-phrase.

It is little wonder then, given the wily and capricious nature of language, that some feminist
activists view the discussion of semantics as little more than an academic indulgence, an
intellectual game with little connection to the pressing realities of women’s lives. In fact
I believe it is the very intangibility, changeability and ubiquitousness of language which
evidence its great power, and rather than dismissing language as something which might be
toyed with as a secondary concern, we must move it to the forefront of our fight. Because
to put it in no uncertain terms: language as it is commonly used today is stifling the feminist
cause and it’s time we made an effort to change it.

Language is a barometer of a society’s beliefs; it reflects and supports the dominant culture
and by studying it we can gauge that society’s attitudes. In Australia today the word
considered the most offensive possible, a word deemed so objectionable that it is blanked
out of all major newspapers, is one which doubles to describe a part of the female anatomy.
Meanwhile the word ‘Slut’ is commonly understood to negatively describe a woman who
participates often in sex, yet there is no male equivalent for this term. ‘House-husband’
awkwardly raises eye-brows, while ‘house-wife’ is so clichéd all it can raise is a yawn. Even
this quick glance at the barometer of our language indicates that today’s social climate is a
worryingly patriarchal one.

The past year, however, has seen a revival of interest in feminism, spearheaded
by ‘Slutwalks’ across the (predominantly) western world. Some have expressed concern
that the walks are misdirecting the revival by employing the word ‘slut’, which they
see as a distraction from other more tangible legal and systemic concerns, which seem
more amenable to being grasped and altered in a concrete way. But language cannot be
separated from other issues and set to one side; it is with us every day, reflecting those
days and shaping them too. If we fail to address language issues then the power of language
will fall naturally into the hands of the dominant patriarchal culture, undermining any
other action we take. As author Ingrid Bengis said, 'Words are a form of action, capable
of influencing change'. Indeed, I believe that words are one of the most powerful forms of
action we have at our disposal today, and they are vital for tackling the particular new and
unique challenges faced by contemporary feminism.

We live at a time when many of the barriers to equality have become less overt. Women
now have the right to vote, sit in parliament, fight for the military and, in some areas of
Australia, exercise extensive control over their own reproductive systems. A large portion of
the solid blockades of the patriarchy appear to have been torn down, and opponents of the
feminist movement use this as evidence that ‘we now have equality’.

Of course, we do not; in the Australian parliament only 28.3% of members and senators
are women, just 9% of private board directorships are held by women, and the portion of
women’s sports coverage in the media is a grand total of 2%. The blockades are still there,
they’ve just become less glaring – assumptions and expectations of men and women are
now seldom decreed by law, but rather held in place by subtle but pervasive patterns of
language and communication, all the more insidious because they are not immediately
visible. Unfortunately low visibility does not decrease their power; it just makes them
harder to tackle. A woman considering applying for a position in a high paying non-
traditional field does not have the law to contend with, but she must struggle against the
burden of her co-workers’ expectations, and her own expectations to follow a ‘natural’ path
– which have been reinforced day in, day out, over her entire life, by language. Describe one
person as nurturing, caring, sweet and compliant and another as ambitious, strong-minded
and aggressive and it is near impossible not to make gender assumptions because the words
are used so predictably.

Some argue that the reason women don’t apply for, or aren’t successful in getting, certain
jobs, and the reason certain behavioural words have gendered connotations, is that men
and women are biologically geared to want different things and behave in different ways.
While there are a hundreds of possible words to describe most concepts and ideas, there
is just one which adequately sums up this argument: bullshit. In her book, ‘Delusions of
Gender’, Cordelia Fine quickly dispenses with assumptions about behavioural differences
caused by a ‘male’ or ‘female’ brain, stating that it is the social world which “entangles
minds – gendering the very sense of self, social perception, and behaviour that will then
seamlessly become once again part of the gendered world”. We hesitate to do things not
because we’re not capable of them but because we are indoctrinated with a strong and
erroneous idea of gender capabilities by the language of the patriarchal system. How can we
free ourselves from the limiting tangle of the social world, then, and is that even possible?
Perhaps we can begin by unpicking that which binds it together: language.

It is possible for disenfranchised sections of society to take control of aspects of language
for their own ends. Examples of words which have been actively appropriated by and within
communities and have had the effect of galvanising and strengthening those communities
and helping them to build positive senses of self-identity are the ‘n-word’, ‘queer’
and ‘wog’. Even with these positive examples, many still view the idea of taking control of
the capricious thing that is language as a near-impossible task. Following the Slutwalk in
Melbourne, many internet commentators seemed bemused as to what ‘the point’ of all
this banner waving and word reclaiming was, arguing that it wasn’t likely to stop people
from using the word in spite. And the thing is, it probably won’t. Nor would more drastic
measures such as enforced censorship have much effect; language is a wily force, and
breezes past such obstacles like wind through a chain-link fence, which is why we’re all

familiar with the word ‘cunt’ though (and perhaps to some extent because) it is forbidden in
so many realms.

The fact that we’re not able to halt the distribution of words is certainly no reason to
despair, because the happy news is, no force can dictate how words are absorbed – we each
experience language in our own unique way, just as we all perceive the world in our own
way. I say the word ‘dog’ and one person will imagine a border collie, another a Chihuahua,
a poodle, or perhaps a sausage in bread. Say the word ‘cunt’ and I perceive something
entirely wonderful but apparently most people aren’t seeing what I do. The Slutwalks may
well have done little to change the wider community’s attitude towards women who engage
in frequent sexual activity; it may have provided no disincentive for individuals who have
used the word from doing so in the future with the intention of shaming and insulting.
However, what it did do was galvanise a group of women who declared that they were no
longer going to absorb this word and internalise the concept it denotes as an insult. The
sight of women across the globe marching and shouting this out gave women support and
strength to enable them to deflect the blow of this word if ever it was hurled their way. It
increased their immunity to the patriarchal mindset – the invisible barrier which holds so
many women back from expressing behaviours and pursuing paths which men never think
twice about.

A couple of years ago I was sitting in a bar with a female friend when a guy came up and
asked if he could join us. We were deep in conversation and told him so. “Ya fuckin’ stuck up
cunts,” he spat, hovering over us. My friend laughed, “Well yes, we are deep and powerful,
thank you.” The guy looked confused for a moment, then stalked off and we continued
our conversation. A word which was intended to hurt us or piss us off careened out of his
mouth, pirouetted in mid air and landed daintily in our ears having taken on an entirely
different form because we found nothing remotely offensive about female genitalia and
had the tacit support of each other in our interpretation of the word. A word delivered with
hatred was rendered benign by our interpretation.

That is what taking back the power of language is: it is diffusing potentially hurtful words
by analysing our reactions to them, and how they fit into or reflect our views – then
finding other people to connect with and support who share our views, who truly speak
our language. And once we have taken that power, and made benign all those hidden
patriarchal blockades, who knows what we may achieve? As author Rita Mae Brown once
said, “Language exerts hidden power, like a moon on the tides”. Ignore that power in the
current climate and we’ll be allowing women to be washed out to sea, but learn to harness
it and all the waves of feminism might at last come together to change the shape of our

Links: /FemmeFightClub