Disability and Multiculturalism: Data and the ‘Healthy Migrant’

Hey y’all,

In this blog entry, I will be focusing on the chapter ‘Disability and Multiculturalism: Data and the “Healthy Migrant’ by Dinesh Wadiwel and Brian Cooper, from the book ‘For those who’ve come across the seas…’.

Wadiwel and Cooper argue that disability sits at the limits of the intersection between multiculturalism and state sovereignty in Australia while exploring the relationship through a discussion of survey data produced by the government and its capacity to identify and aid populations of people with disability.

Both Wadiwel and Cooper note that existing population data is lacking information, and they reflect on Michel Foucault’s observations on governmentality and state statistics, arguing there is a neglect for disabled people in Australia by the government as one with a  disability is seen as one that cannot fully contribute economically and socially to society.

In depth, they discuss that:

  • The NDIS will have residency requirements where only residents, migrant children, refugees and asylum seekers will be able to access services.
  • Statistics and surveys about disabilities within Australian population may be vague and lacking information, because the surveys that individuals have to fill in may not accurately ask the right questions/compile the right information, and on the other hand, Australian sovereignty to neglect may be put into place in survey results, because if CALD individuals with disability cannot be show to exist, then they cannot be supported.
  • People from NESB cannot always easily access services to help with disabilities as there may be cultural or language barriers in place. ­There is a plethora of evidence that highlights the fact that CALD individuals with disabilities in Australia do not access the services that they are entitled to at the same rate as other people with disability, because of barriers in place.
  • The NDIS board doesn’t have one single member representing for CALD disabled individuals out of the main advisory group or the  four expert groups, which poses problems in relation to enabling access to culturally appropriate workers and services for individuals through the NDIS.
  • An individual that has a disability is seen as not contributing to society because they cannot fully participate socially and economically. They discuss the fact that the government has a priority to produce and reproduce a healthy population which will be able to fully participate economically and socially to the Australian economy, while they allow disabled individuals to diminish, as Foucault explains, because disabled individuals have caused a fall in production and treating them is expensive.
  • There is a healthy migrant  policy in Australia where if a migrant has a physical or mental disability, then they are likely not to be granted residency in because it is assumed they cannot contribute economically or socially to the nation state where they do not ‘produce’ but rather sap such productivity. Australian Immigrations acts from the start of the nation-state of Australia have focused on regulating race and ability.

This reading relates to my essay topic (number 4 referring to work) because it highlights the fact that disabled individuals in Australia are seen as though they do not contribute economically or socially to the Australian society, which highlights the fact that Immigration acts make it difficult for non-natives which have a disability to live and work in Australia. I feel as though this reading shows the racism that is inscribed into Immigration acts, allowing disabled individuals of non-English speaking backgrounds to be discriminated against from being allowed to live and work in Australia.


Tom 🙂

Feminist Embattlement of the Field of Trans

Hey all,

This week I will be focusing my blog post on the reading ‘Chapter 1 – Feminist Embattlement of the Field of Trans’ which was written by Patricia Elliot and is from the book ‘Debates in Transgender, Queer and Feminist Theory’.  Throughout the reading, Elliot has focused on two main points, so I will outline these points in this blog post.

Firstly, Elliot explains that non-trans radical feminists feel as though transwomen are not female ‘enough’ and that they are a threat to feminism. As Elliot states, many radical feminists believe that transwomen are not ‘women’ because they were born as ‘male’ and justify their opinion by stating that transwomen cannot grasp the idea of how non-trans women feel, how non-trans women have been oppressed against through history, and that they have no interest on challenging womens oppression. Elliot then goes on to state that many radical feminists believe that transwomen are a dire threat to the existence of feminism as transwomen are really ‘men’ intent on taking over women’s bodies to steal their energy and to make women obsolete, because they apparently want to reproduce patriarchal life where women are subordinate to men.

Secondly, throughout the reading Elliot analyses the negative responses that Nixon received when she applied to work as a counsellor but was rejected from the position because of the prejudicial view that she was born a ‘male’ so she was not female ‘enough’ and because she was regarded to as a ‘man’. Elliot explains that there are two main reasons that the Vancouver Rape Relief Centre excluded Nixon from working as a counsellor for women that have experienced violence from men. The first reason, as Elliot explains, the VRRC (Vancouver Rape Relief Centre) denied Nixon the counselling position as there was a question of her gender identity as she did not fit in the VRRC’s criterion of the definition of a ‘woman’. This is due to the fact that she was born a ‘male’, has become a transwoman, and she has not lived and socialised solely as a woman, which meant that she didn’t fit the definition of a ‘woman’. The second reason, as Elliot explains, the VRRC also denied Nixon the job position because of the fact that it would mean (by their definition of a ‘woman’) that a ‘male’ worker would be working to counsel women that have experienced violence from men. It seems as though the VRRC decided not to give Nixon the position because of the fact that the women being counselled may have felt that someone who lived as a man for part of her life could not be supportive on the issue of male oppression and violence from men.

I picked to add this YouTube video to this blog entry, as I thought an animation would be nice to end the blog post, it really puts into practice the attitudes that are directed towards trans-gendered women from radical feminists and it relates heavily back to the reading.  In depth, the video shows why a transgendered woman is being excluded from a women’s group (because of the fact that she was not born a woman), while the person that is excluding her talks heavily of why radical feminism feels that transgendered women preserve oppressive genders and why transgender women experience oppression due to patriarchy.


I think I could relate this reading back to my essay topic (essay topic number 4- referring to work) as it highlights how transgendered people are not always able to receive the same opportunities in the workplace in comparison to men and women, the practices that allow inequality towards transgendered people to be recreated, and how transgendered people are oppressed towards, bullied towards and discriminated against in a workplace.


Until next week,


The Price to Pay for our common Good”: Genital Modification and the soma-technologies of Cultural (In)Difference

Hey all,

This week I have chosen to base my blog post on the reading ”The Price to Pay for our common Good”: Genital Modification and the soma-technologies of Cultural (In)Difference by Nikki Sullivan. I found two main points of the reading, so I will discuss them throughout this blog post.

Firstly, Sullivan mentioned that there are three different types of mutilation of female genitalia found in the world, where two of these are totally legal (intersex genital surgery & cosmetic genital surgery) to do and the other (female genital mutilation) is not.  As it is stated, FMG is when the clitoris, the labia minora or labia majora, the vaginal opening or the cliteral hood is mutilated, or where the labia minora or labia majora are sealed together, and is done by majority to girls under aged girls , that are not giving consent for it to happen. It differs from the two other types of genital surgeries as they are consensual.

It is explained that intersex genital surgery is allowed in Australia, because it is necessary for the health of the person of whom it is performed, it allows them have the specific genitalia to the gender that they identify as and it normalises a deviancy (of their genitals) otherwise intersex humans may be ostracised by peers and family. Cosmetic genital surgeries are also allowed in Australia, allowing more pleasure to be experienced from the genitals, because it serves a therapeutic purpose as there is a continuous pursuit for more and better sexual pleasure in our society.

Secondly, Sullivan repeats the point that as a multi-cultural country we should be accepting to different cultures, races and ethnicities, but then questions how far Australians should be tolerant or accepting of other customs like FGM where someone is being hurt in the process. Sullivan, quite heavily highlights the fact, that Western culture views FGM as very taboo and deviant, but she then goes on to explain that people that perform FGM on their daughters are blinded by a cultural tradition, because they believe that their daughter may be ostracised in their community for having unmodified genitalia and made to suffer. I think what Sullivan is trying to say here is that, when thinking about FGM; one needs to think in a cultural perspective to understand why it is justifiable to partake in FGM in Sub-Saharan African and why it is not justifiable to do the same in Australia.

I found a YouTube videos based on women that have experienced FGM that are now living in the UK.

 I think this YouTube video is very important to my understanding of FGM, as it shows that the choice to mutilate a girl or woman’s genitalia comes down to their family, with the grandparents or parents making the final decision. It could be argued that they are trying to stop the children from being ostracised in society, or equally that these women are being abused through patriarchal traditional practices that attack the womanhood of a person.

I would link this reading to my essay, by showing that cultures differ, where in one culture it may be acceptable to do something in the workplace, where in another culture it may be heavily wrong to do the same.

Until next week,

Tom 🙂

Physical activity behaviours of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) women living in Australia: A qualitative study of socio-cultural influences

Hey all, I’m being overly proactive and I’m doing this blog entry early so I can try to have some kind of mid semester ‘break’.

For this blog entry, I have decided to base it on the reading by Cristina M Caperchione called ‘Physical activity behaviours of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) women living in Australia: A qualitative study of socio-cultural influences’. In this reading, it is explained that twelve focus groups of women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds have been created to document differing groups knowledge of physical activity, how psychological, socio-cultural, religious and environmental factors affect what physical activities these women can partake in, their knowledge of community sessions of physical activity (for CALD women only) and how to access health services in the community.

In the reading, it is discussed that women having migrated to Australia feel as though they are less physically active compared to when they lived in their home country as majority of the physical labour that they had to do in their home country is done by technology in Australia, highlighting the fact that less exercise needs to be undertaken to do the same tasks. It is discussed that the majority of women stated that they have very limited time to do extra physical activity out of the household, because they simply did not have enough time after working and doing hours upon hours of housework, so it is explained that CALD women can make their day at work more physically active (by riding a bike to work, taking the stairs, taking walks on ones lunch break, or partaking in sport with work friends inside  or outside of work) so they are able to keep fit and safe from chronic diseases.

As Caperchione, C et al. state, ‘undertaking group physical activity with others from your social network, or joining a physical activity group with new members, has been reported to positively influence physical activity behaviours, while providing motivational and emotional support and addressing social isolation’.Ramón Spaaij puts it best by stating that ‘…sport brings people together, break downs barriers and unites those who may have nothing else in common. Sport has a unique ability to transcend race, religion, gender and creed. It is truly a tool of social cohesion.’ I feel as though this reading relates to my essay topic (number 4- work) and it could be used in my major essay as it shows that partaking in sport with workmates allows racism, sexism and religious hate to be broken down, allowing social cohesion in the workplace.

Until next time,

Tom 🙂

Hegemonic Masculinity

Hey there blogosphere,

This week my blog post will be focused on the week 7 reading by Raewyn Connell called ‘Hegemonic masculinity’ where she explains that hegemonic masculinity guarantees that men hold the dominant social position, where women are subordinate, the fact that both men and women can exhibit hegemonic masculinity, how masculinity is used to maintain control (at work and at home) and how masculinity occasionally turns into violence as a form of control against women or children while criticising the credibility of what is being discussed in the articles by Hall and Jefferson.

I found this YouTube video, called Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity, which discusses how boys and men feel as though they have to put on a ‘tough guise’ at work and at home, so they conform to the definitions of what men’s masculinity is meant to be and so they hold the dominant social position.

It is discussed in the video that hegemonic masculinity and the ‘tough guise’ persona that men use has been developed hugely through the media and through relationships in history, as they both solidified the norms surrounding how men were meant to act at work or at home, how they were meant to treat their spouses, and how they were meant to hold control in the different realms of life. He finishes the video off, by explaining that if society wants to get rid of the ‘tough guise’ persona of hegemonic masculinity, then the media needs to stop portraying men as a deeply masculinised person, and women need to expect more from men in a relationship than hegemonic masculinity.

Until next week,


Gender on the Large Scale

So this week, I have based my blog post around the reading ‘Gender on the Large Scale’ by Raewyn Connell, where she touched greatly on the topics of women in the workforce, the restriction of women moving up the hierarchical employment ladder and the gender pay gap.

Firstly, Connell states that from the beginning of modern history that corporations, companies and the creation of capital have been gendered, with a gendered history because they have been entirely composed of men allowing one to understand why gender discrimination was created and maintained in workplaces throughout modern history.

As Connell explains that allowing women to be a part of the workforce would mean that the society would be moving forward. Connell then shows that women were allowed to be employed in the low-paid routine jobs concentrating in the social welfare, health and education sectors whereas men were able to work in the military, police, infrastructure and economic sectors highlighting that not all patriarchy and gender discrimination had been removed from workplaces.

Secondly, Connell talks about the restriction of women and ethnic minority men from advancing up the management ladder in a workplace. Connell highlights that there has been an invisible barrier stopping women and ethnic minority men from being able to advance up the management ladder, which in modern history has been called ‘the glass ceiling’. It has been given this specific name as it blocks women and ethnic minority men from being able to be promoted or to work ones way up an organisations hierarchical ladder of power.

Connell explains that in 1995, a commission looked into the exclusion of woman and ethnic minority men from top management, finding that there are a set of barriers restricting women and ethnic minority men from advancing to top level management. These barriers show the factors that have led to the creation and preservation of the glass ceiling model of discrimination in the workplace.

Thirdly, Connell talks of the gender pay gap that has been created and up to this day is still instilled in society. Connell states that ‘men could get twice the wage for doing easy jobs’ compared to women, and all that ‘the only qualification you needed for a job was to be a man’. This really highlights the fact, that through history women have been discriminated against in response to how much they have been paid for working, and that it had been much easier for men to find, or obtain a promotion

I found this video that appeared on The Project on the 6th of August which I felt highlights that the gender pay gap is still apparent in Australia, showing that on average, woman earn $250 less than men, and women often partake in unpaid work (having babies/housework).


Until next week,

Tom 🙂


Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State

This week’s topic is family and identity, and I have chosen to base my blog post on ‘Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State’ by Frederick Engels.

Engels starts by talking of how relationships have changed and evolved throughout time to relationships now, how polygamy changed to monogamy over history, how monogamy has changed meaning since ancient history and the fact that the act of adultery or cheating is an old concept. He breaks the formation of marriage into three different stages of human development, first being group marriage, second being pairing marriage and third being monogamy supplemented by adultery and prostitution. Here is a video called The Case of Monogamy by Kyle Harper contains a nice neat summary of the history of marriage, monogamy, pologamy  and the act of cheating:

Engels talks of the creation of the term and idea of monogamy, firstly, talking of monogamy in ancient Greece, explaining that monogamy was a move towards marriage between two people (as marriage prior to then only existed as group marriage). Monogamy had the sole exclusive aim of making the man supreme in the family, and for the man to be able to propagate children to make as heirs to his wealth. For example, in ancient Greece,  a wife was seen as ‘nothing but the mother of his legitimate children and heirs’ and was not allowed to be sexually free, while men were able to have several concubines.  The first sign of modern day monogamy that occurred in history was marriage pairing, where opposite-sexs married one person, but had any number of concubines.

 He then goes onto state that Catholicism changed the definition of monogamy, making the aim of marriage and monogamy to procreate and to accumulate wealth, but where adultery and hetaerism occurred in large amounts. Protestantism, however, allowed the son of a bourgeois family to choose a wife in his own class for his marriage allowing a potential love to be in the relationship between them. Engels continues to state that monogamy in his era was still heavily influenced by political and economic factors, as families wanted to increase power and accumulate wealth.

The thing that I found overly interesting was that the act of cheating and adultery has not changed dramatically over history. As Engels states many times throughout the reading, men and women have been committing adultery and cheating over history. Women have more so been shunned for doing so, whereas it has been socially acceptable for men to partake in committing adultery because monogamy made the man ‘supreme’ in the family.

I’m going to sign off with a youtube video, detailing why apparently men are more inclined to cheat in a relationship.


Tom 🙂

The history of sexuality

So, I’m a male that identifies as ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’, and my sexuality has been formed through the experiences I have had with the world. That’s right, isn’t it? According to this week’s reading ‘The history of Sexuality’ by Michel Foucault that’s not the case.  In fact, according to Foucault, my family and their influence on me is a big part of how my sexuality has been formed.

Foucault explores four strategic factors that have related knowledge and power to the understanding of sexuality since the 18th century. Firstly, he talks of ‘a hysterization of women’s bodies’ stating that women’s bodies are highly sexual, that they are objects of medical knowledge, and a centre for reproduction which relates heavily to family.

Secondly, he talks of ‘a pedagogization of children’s sex’ talking of children as highly sexual animals, saying that it is perfectly fine for children to have sexual desires but at the same time saying that it is dangerous to society and that children need to be monitored and controlled.

Thirdly, he talks of ‘a socialisation of procreative behaviour’ which looks at reproduction and pro-creative sex as a matter of public importance, while disapproving of non-procreative sex, stating that the only type of sex that should be of any importance is sex for reproduction

Fourthly, he discusses ‘a psychiatrisation of perverse pleasure’ detailing that sexuality and sex had been studied as a medical and psychological phenomenon, highlighting the divergences from ‘normal’ heterosexual sexual behaviour, and how these divergences were seen as illnesses. This last factor really gets under my skin, because in other words it is saying that people that did not fit into the ‘normal’ sexual behaviour were subjected to mental/psychological treatment to ‘correct’ something that in no means was wrong.

He states that the deployment of alliance is a number of spoken or unspoken rules regarding marriage, family ties, ancestry and the things that are permitted and forbidden that are created and instilled in every culture. This means that the deployment of alliance allows us to see how one is seen to have to act in society.

Deployment of alliance closely relates to family and family relations, as the family unit instills all the rules which are part of the deployment of alliance. Foucault states that family must not be understood as a social, economic, and political structure of alliance that restrains sexuality, but showing that it nurtures sexuality. It is important that he said this, as one has to understand the family as a whole anchors sexuality and allows continual support for ones sexuality.

He heavily states that the deployment of sexuality has been formed from the deployment of alliance through the family unit. One can see that this is true, as the family unit teaches the underpinning ‘rules’ of society. Foucault argues that post 17th century,”parents and relatives became the chief agents of a deployment of sexuality which drew its outside support from doctors, educators and later psychiatrists”, showing that the family unit is a major of the creation of ones sexuality.

I loved stumbling upon this video on youtube, as it shows that sexuality is a complex thing, the formation of ones sexuality is just as complex and that my sexuality may have been created through many different means rather than simply my families influence as Foucault believes.

Until next week,


The data of Biology – The same sex

So this week, I have decided to base my blog entry on the reading ‘Chapter 1 – The data of Biology’ from the book ‘The second sex’ by Simone de Beauvoir. I found this text interesting and I honestly learn quite a lot about sex, gender and intersexuality that I didn’t know. I think the real interesting thing that I learnt was the fact that some animals carry both reproductive organs, some simply split their cells to reproduce and the fact that some animals don’t have a specific sex (for example- some fish only are given a sex when they inhibit certain qualities to one of two sexes.

He discusses that both female and male genitalia is needed to be able to reproduce in human life, but this is not the case in many life forms in the animal kingdom. He gave an example of worms and molluscs, which carry both types of reproductive organs, so in fact they don’t need to mate with the opposite sex to reproduce. He also talked about one-cell microscopic forms which in fact are asexual as they never have sexual relations but just split their cells to reproduce.

De Beauvoir (1949) also talks about intersexuality in humans by talking about chromosomes and how someone that identifies as intersexed is created in the process of egg fertilisation in the womb. I found this helpful, as I had never overly learnt about intersexuality, or the genetic make-up of intersexed people.

Until next week,


Are you gay enough to be a refugee?

After reading ‘Are you gay enough to be a refugee?’ by Senthorun Raj, I have been deeply saddened to learn that the Australian Government (Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT)) have denied refugees and asylum seeker cases because these people identify as ‘gay’, they have not been involved in the gay community and they have not been out publicly in their country of origin meaning that apparently they are not ‘gay’ enough to be seeking asylum.  

Raj talks heavily of the Australian government questioning cases of people seeking asylum or refuge as they are in fear of their lives (because their sexuality in their home country can set them up to be abused, bullied, punished or harassed from family, authorities and society) and according to the government they have not sufficiently shown that they are genuinely ‘gay’ to need asylum or refuge. In this sense, the government defines the being ‘gay’ as someone that identifies as gay or lesbian, and has to publicly be gay.

They need to understand that in their country of origin; they cannot be publicly out, they cannot easily obtain info about gay events or they cannot be part of the ‘gay’ culture otherwise their lives may be put in danger. These people have to hide who they are for fear of all types of abuse, so I don’t see fit that they have to live the preconceived stereotype of being ‘gay’ that the government has defined to seek asylum or refuge.

It makes my blood boil to know this is happening in Australia, and most likely all around the globe.


Until next time,

Tom 😀