Linkalicious: Big Tuesday Edition

A veritable smorgasbord for you!

1. “Intimate Politics: A Roundtable”: a downloadable podcast of a panel of feminist scholars and their reactions (not book reviews, but further musings) to the book Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel, by Bettina Aptheker.

2. “Who hates to hear they look great?”: amandaw on the “But you don’t look sick!” phenomenon and invisible disabilities.

3. “What are we doing here?”: magniloquence muses at length on the femisphere, its characters, and the dynamics of blogwars. Meta upon meta, lots to unpack here.

4. “Students use sex to promote healthy foods”: Two students in Canberra come up with the absolutely ground-breaking new idea of presenting scantily clad women’s bodies in order to promote a food group. Somehow, this is “Innovative!” national news.

5. “unnecessary surgery”: la doctorita finds an article placing hysterectomy and episiotomy in the top five unncessary surgeries list. We wonder why C section isn’t in there, and I wonder further why breast implants and genital cosmetic surgeries aren’t in there. Why are so many unnecessary surgeries related to reproductive organs?

6. “Safer Than a Known Way: The express route from elective repeat cesarean to homebirth”: the personal narrative of a woman toward homebirth after caesarean section:

[after reading some “evolutionary obstetrics”] I was an inadequate pelvis who shouldn’t be alive, my line only to be sustained now by the miracles of modern medicine. As a bonus I wouldn’t have to suffer the vile indignities of normal birth and become a disgusting and incontinent middle-aged woman with a large, loose, flapping vagina.

The small door to my tiny, useless pelvis closed quietly, but with finality.
“Of course we must keep in mind, the desired outcome from all this is a live birth,” was his closing observation. Was the only difference between Dr Case and the Dr Darwins of this world that when he played his “dead baby” card, he did so with finesse?
I cried in front of Dr Milton Case’s awful desk as I related my anxieties about monitoring, about how it had been last time when all I had wanted was to get into a warm shower. “Well, you obviously still have some unresolved issues around the last birth”¦”
“Monitoring: v. anxious” he scrawled on my card.

I just love the ending. Read all the way.

7. “And then there were none…”: Langguj Gel notes that the last fluent speaker of Jawoyn passed away last week.

8. “The doctor’s story”: Transcript of the Dr Mohammed Haneef interview on Sixty Minutes. Haneef, unjustly detained in a bungled, overpoliticised terrorism investigation, is now free and has returned to his wife and new baby daughter in India.

9. “”  Community Development Employment Project, 1977-2007”: And lastly, more on CDEP scrapping from “Aboriginal Art & Culture: an American eye”:

Fifty years ago and more, Aboriginal stockmen worked cattle stations for clothing and rations, not wages. The rationale was that Aboriginal people weren’t “ready” to participate in a cash economy, as Tim Rowse detailed in White Flour, White Power: from rations to citizenship in Central Australia (Cambridge University Press, 1998).

Today, Mal Brough is saying that Aboriginal people still aren’t ready for the cash economy: whatever money can’t be quarantined to pay rent, mortgages, or grocery bills, has to be outright taken away before people gamble or booze it away. And thus tolls the bell for the Community Development Employment Project (CDEP). The demise of CDEP in towns and urban areas was announced back in February. Now it’s to be demolished in remote communities as well.
As noted on the CDEP website, the program was instituted “at the request of several remote Communities as an alternative to receiving unemployment benefits (“the dole’). ” Indiviudals [articipate in CDEP on a voluntary basis: it’s the opposite of passive welfare. Until the Federal Government saw fit to undo its benefits, CDEP accounted for a quarter of indigenous employment in Australia.
But, as each passing week makes increasingly clear, the destruction of remote communities is the real agenda that the Howard government is pursuing. Once the economic basis of remote community life has been dismantled–and the abolition of CDEP won’t be the last salvo in that battle–Brough expects people will have to abandon their homelands to find employment. And what can they expect once they’ve moved to the fringe camps?
Only by abolishing land rights for the benefit of mining companies can the Territory hope to achieve a viable economy, and you can bet your last dollar that such wealth would never be used to pay for services for its indigenous residents. Because Brough has made it clear that indigenous people can’t be trusted with money, can they? Here are the man’s own words, from an interview with Leon Compton on Darwin ABC Radio from July 23, quoted on Transient Languages and Cultures:

Compton: Are you saying that money from CDEP is the problem in child sexual abuse and alcoholism and violence?

Brough: Absolutely, there is no doubt that there is a contributing factor beyond the CDEP payments and because for all intents and purposes they are a welfare payment – it is the cash that is being used to buy the drugs and alcohol that have caused so many … so much of the pain for these children. There is just no doubt about that.

Categories: culture wars, gender & feminism, health, indigenous, language, Meta, Politics, social justice

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5 replies

  1. Thanks a ton for the link to my humble rant. 🙂 It’s much appreciated.

  2. hey lauredhel,
    we just heard in class about yet another overused surgery in women: axillary lymph node dissection, or ALND. have you heard of this? i haven’t been able to find anything online, so i don’t have any sources to cite.
    ALND is the removal of the lymph nodes from the axilla during breast cancer surgery. the nodes are only found to be positive for metastases in about @ of cases, however, meaning that ` of patients who undergo this procedure do so unnecessarily.
    complications of ALND include lymphedema, permanent hyperesthesia or dysesthesia, reduced arm mobility, and painful neuromas.
    the alternative is sentinel lymph node dissection (SLND), which is minimally invasive and does not require hospitalization. complications and morbidity are very low, and SLND has been shown to be highly sensitive and have a low false-negative rate.
    again, i have no sources other than my lecturer, but it’s food for thought (and totally unsurprising, of course).

  3. Sorry ladoc, that I didn’t reply to this earlier.
    Breast cancer has been over- and under- treated a lot. I don’t know if it’s been any more or less than other cancers, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
    I remember a study not that long ago that was lampooned for claiming that fat women were more likely to die from their breast cancers – it was exposed for having not given the fatter women appropriate doses of chemotherapy for their size. And I also believe that a systematic bias has been found against treating poor women/WOC for their cancers (independent of insurance status), but I don’t have figures to hand.
    You might be interested in the fact that Australia has put out comprehensive treatment guidelines for the treatment of breast cancer, including management of early breast cancer, late breast cancer, psychosocial aspects, younger women, and a consumer’s guide, giving information, describing the different procedures, and suggesting questions to ask.
    Here’s an MJA paper describing the need for such guidelines and for ongoing audit.
    I have a surgeon friend, not sure if she reads this blog – I might forward your question on to her.

  4. Sorry it has been so long til my response. No doubt your assignment is long submitted.
    Yes, now that we have the technology and experience to offer sentinel node biopsy, it is much better than having to remove 60% of the axillary nodes. However, it is worth noting that before that technology came along, “axillary clearance” (which is an overstatement of what is actually done) was the best choice we had. Although it did not influence survival at all, it did help with working our prognosis, and that knowledge helped us decide (in conjunction with the patient) whether chemotherapy was worth the side effects for the individual woman.
    Sentinel node biopsy, when positive, is usually an indication to proceed to “axillary clearance” (still not taking ALL the nodes, in order to minimise risk of lymphoedema)not to impact survival but to reduce the risk of local recurrence. Although it may seem like a mutilating operation to do axillary dissection (or mastectomy, for that matter), you only have to look after one woman with weeping, infected unresectable cancer growing on her chest to know that it is a far better option than just to wait for it to progress.
    It is a horrible disease. We didn’t invent it. Just because we do things better now doesn’t mean we were wrong the way we did them before. One day we might find a medicine which will cure it. When that happens, are you going to call me barabaric for doing the best I can now? Some surgeons do not have the training to offer SLND. It is better for them to do it the old way than to do it badly, or not to do it at all, as there is a shortage of surgeons in the field. Do you think it is a good idea to have to wait 6 months for your cancer to be treated?
    So, in summary, I guess in many ways you are right in your facts, but watch out for your implications that things are that way because nobody cares. We are all learning new things all the time.


  1. “What are we doing here?”… Gooddd question. « Our Descent Into Madness
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