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
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
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
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
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
First published by Daily Review, 11 December 2015 Social movement movies — films about pivotal moments in the race, class, gender and sexuality wars — all have a tricky problem to overcome. They need to create a central, believable character the audience can invest in, without over egging the character’s place in a story that is always a collective one. Suffragette (notice the singular) does a half successful … Read More Suffragette: review
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 ?