Category: Essays

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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

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