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paul.j.fenwick

Welcome to my home on the internet! Everything here is free under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license unless marked otherwise.

This site contains various pieces of writing across my various interests, and spanning several years. You can fork this site on github if you wish.

Why "Ban the Burqa" Doesn't Hold

[TW: Discusses religious intolerance, and violence against women.]

You, or someone you know, may make the argument that the burqa—a traditional full-body, face-covering article of women’s clothing—should be banned or discouraged because it oppresses women.

I’m not interested in debating whether or not it oppresses women or not; but I can tell you that calling for its ban is harming Australian women, right now.

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Thoughts from Burning Man: Do what you love.

Every year burning man is a new experience, and every year I discover new things about both others and myself. This year has been no exception.

I went into the burn after a period of extended travel. I’ve been travelling continuously since February, and while there have been some trips back home since that time, they’ve been short. As we’ll see, this ended up having a significant impact on my mental state while getting dusty.

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On Gittip and Diversity

For those who aren’t aware, Gittip is a platform for sustainable giving. It provides a way to make contributions to people who you think are making the world a better place, and in such a way that those contributions are mostly predictable and dependable. It’s an idea that I’m really excited about, and to see it working in practice has been wonderful.

Gittip has found itself to be a popular funding platform for those from marginalised groups, and those working towards social justice and diversity. It’s hands-down my favourite thing about the platform. Being a diversity advocate isn’t something that normally pays the bills, and so the fact that many of the top receivers on Gittip are working on social justice issues makes me feel that Gittip is doubly worthwhile.

Unfortunately, it’s not all hypo-allergenic kittens and roses.

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On privilege

I’m a man.

I’ve never been sexually assaulted. I’ve never even had to worry about sexual assault. When I walk home at night, I’m not concerned that what I’m wearing might attract unwanted attention. When I meet a stranger I’ve been speaking to on a dating website, the most I fear is that our conversation might be dull. When I’m couchsurfing, I don’t question what my hosts are going to be like and whether I’ll be safe. When I’m at a conference in my field, I’ve never had someone ask me if I’m there “with my partner”. When I sleep with lots of people, nobody ever calls me a whore. If I were to have children, nobody would question me continuing my career rather than looking after them full time.

And I haven’t even gotten started yet.

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