Category: Comment

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#MeToo Stories from the Australian Movement

This #MeToo anthology is out now from Picador. In the opening essay I revisit the 70s, make peace with a 90s Helen Garner, ponder if I have any Louis C.K.s in my life and talk about the work labour movement women are doing to address sexual harassment at work. At all bookselling places …  

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Before #MeToo, 1970s feminists used film and theatre for women’s liberation

This story, published in The Saturday Paper on August 4, is about some of the women I have been interviewing for my PhD on women’s liberation film and theatre in the 1970s. Click here to read it.

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Hefner didn’t invent the sexual revolution, he took credit from women

On the death of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, the ABC asked me to consider his legacy. I wrote that it was second wave feminism that drove sexual liberation for women, while Hefner was more interested in controlling women. This article was first published online by the ABC on 29 September here. On a warm weekday afternoon in Sydney recently, I rested on rocks by … Read More Hefner didn’t invent the sexual revolution, he took credit from women

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Friday essay: The personal is now commercial – popular feminism online

Extract: ‘As I listened to Elaine Welteroth, the editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, speak to the Sydney Writers’ Festival in June this year, it occurred to me that today’s popular feminism would be unrecognisable to many of the Miss America protesters half a century ago. For Welteroth, an African-American former beauty editor at Teen Vogue, women’s magazines and beauty products are feminism now. “Beauty and style are just really … Read More Friday essay: The personal is now commercial – popular feminism online

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The only way is up (via anxiety and endless self-promotion)

This story about LinkedIn, self-promotion, anxiety and Derek Zoolander, first appeared in Overland on 3 March 2017. The folded sheet of paper, one of those fundraising notes that regularly turn up in kids’ school bags, asked me to buy a photoshoot that would furnish me with an image for my LinkedIn profile. The parents behind the note are talented and lovely, but the missive still … Read More The only way is up (via anxiety and endless self-promotion)

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Daniels trump the world’s Donalds

First published by the Sydney Morning Herald, 9 November 2016 Their first names start with D, they’re both ginger-haired, and they both have interests in real estate empires, but otherwise Rosehaven’s Daniel McCallum and Republican Donald Trump couldn’t be more different. A large part of the pleasure of watching Luke McGregor (Daniel) in the new ABC drama is, surely, that our hero plays the anti-Donald. When … Read More Daniels trump the world’s Donalds

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Generation X are having their Don’t Dream It’s Over moment

First published by the Sydney Morning Herald, 26 September 2016 Crowded House’s farewell concert on the Sydney Opera House forecourt in 1996 has taken on a kind of Woodstock folklore: everyone in the country under 35 at the time was apparently there. The pictures and the reports of the concert, and the reminiscing in the years since by those who were there, have so effectively infiltrated the memories … Read More Generation X are having their Don’t Dream It’s Over moment

I don’t mean to be personal

Not so long ago, the ABC’s Q&A turned the tables for a bit of self-examination: why, the show’s producers asked, don’t we have more women on the panel? Trying to understand the show’s gender trouble, series producer Amanda Collinge cited women’s reluctance to put themselves forward compared to men’s self-promotion, the trolling and online harassment of women who do join the show, and the … Read More I don’t mean to be personal

Our insatiable appetite for women’s tragic stories

First published by the Sydney Morning Herald, 24 May 2016 There’s a scene from an early episode of Girls where the editor of Hannah’s e-book presses her to write about her most personal, shocking and sexual stories to make her book more compelling. “Did your hymen grow back?” her editor complains after reading a draft of Hannah’s too-tame exploits. I thought about this scene again recently while reading about … Read More Our insatiable appetite for women’s tragic stories

The twinned story of journalism and feminism

First published by Women’s Agenda, 12 January 2016 Betty Friedan. Gloria Steinem. Germaine Greer. Anne Summers. Naomi Wolf. Susan Faludi. What do these women all have in common – apart from writing some of the key texts of 20th century feminism, that is? They were all, of course, at one time or another journalists. There’s a bitter-sweet irony to the drama that has ensnared Samantha … Read More The twinned story of journalism and feminism

Gender equality: are schools leading girls down the wrong path ?

First published by Women’s Agenda, 8 December 2015 At this time of year school communities across the country are assembling to hand out prizes and hear end of year speeches from departing school captains and leaders. They will also be welcoming the newly elected students who will take on leadership roles from the first day of school next year. Six years ago, on my … Read More Gender equality: are schools leading girls down the wrong path ?

The worst thing about the PPL backflip is that voters love it

First published by Women’s Agenda and Crikey, 27-28 May 2015 When Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey announced an end to two sets of maternity leave payments for “double dipping” mothers, it almost seemed wise to stay quiet. Abbott and his ministers appeared to be doing a good job of burying their new policy themselves. There was their seemingly ill-advised language (mothers were “frauds” and … Read More The worst thing about the PPL backflip is that voters love it

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