Category: Essays

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A Change In The Weather

A story I wrote for Meanjin on life, death, memory, weather, feminism, and Nick Cave’s mum.   The man I climb past to reach my window seat smells of sandalwood mixed with something herbaceous and fresh. It’s the kind of scent you buy in amber glass bottles from minimally lit shops; the kind that can somehow be simultaneously soothing and stimulating. The flight to … Read More A Change In The Weather

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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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Don’t try this at home: from Duchamp’s urinal to Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca

This Daily Review essay on Duchamp’s urinal, contemporary art & buying artworks from friends was inspired by a new show of works by the talented artist Paloma White. I was sitting on a toilet when I looked up and saw it. There, hanging on the wall, was a Picasso. Just a black and white drawing, but an original Picasso. The couple whose inner-city apartment … Read More Don’t try this at home: from Duchamp’s urinal to Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca

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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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The Gifts of John Forbes (Meanjin)

Two decades ago my friend, the late great poet John Forbes, would leave poems behind for me when he visited Sydney. Now I’ve finally written a tribute to him, out now in the Summer issue of Meanjin. You can subscribe to Meanjin here.

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

House Husbands: less mad men, more dad men

First published by Daily Review, 24 September 2015 Another Monday night, another hour thrashing out the issues de jour: gay marriage, IVF, the privatisation of public assets*, all delivered with cleverly scripted lines. No, I’m not referring to Q&A: I’ve tried watching that program lately, but I usually end up passing out on the couch, thankful I’m not poor flu-afflicted Simon Sheikh, slamming my head down … Read More House Husbands: less mad men, more dad men

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In praise of the divergents of the world

Science fiction movies are fascinating for what they say about the present, as much as for what they say about the future, and the just-released Insurgent, the second movie adaptation of Veronica Roth’s young adult trilogy, is no different. It’s an intriguing dramatisation of our modern world, where the school exams we take as late teenagers threaten to determine our future forever, and where we … Read More In praise of the divergents of the world

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Izzard in Oz: Why I love mascara on a man

First published by The Hoopla, 22 January 2015 When I was 17 I kept kissing a boy who wore mascara. Whenever we saw each other at someone’s house or out a nightclub, we’d end up in a corner in a clinch and a kiss. It wasn’t just his long dark lashes I found appealing: there was his tall mohawk, and the ripped black jeans and sleeveless punk T-shirts he wore. … Read More Izzard in Oz: Why I love mascara on a man

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