This review was first published on Daily Review on 18 January 2018 My mother used to tell me a story about women who would come into the emergency departments where she worked as a nurse. Complaining of agonising stomach pains, staff would have to break the news they were in labour and would soon be giving birth. The story always made me think about the … Read More Top Girls (theatre review)
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, 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
First published by Women’s Agenda, 10 April 2015 Is Cinderella like a harmless dose of royalty – a mix of completely politically incorrect, a little bit charming, but also utterly bonkers? Should feminist mothers keep their daughters away these school holidays? Kath Kenny took her daughter, Miss almost-5, and her daughter’s friend, Master 6, and reported back. Early on in Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella our heroine is … Read More Is Cinderella a good role model for your daughter? Probably not. Are you?
When I caught a bus between my high school and my home there would always be a handful of boys sitting at the back heckling, making rude or dumb comments: I knew that was just their way of getting attention, and most days I would ignore them. But some days I would cave in and say something back. Just like I am going to do … Read More Relax Loewenstein. And hold the tough love.
First published by Arena Magazine, August-September 2002 Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Baby Hunger: The New Battle for Motherhood, Atlantic Books, 2002 Elizabeth Wurtzel, More, Now, Again, Virago Press, 2002 Tara Brabazon, Ladies who Lunge, UNSW Press, 2002 Half a century ago a young journalist knocked on the doors of middle class American suburbia and interviewed the most educated (and medicated) housewives the world had ever seen. … Read More Babies, literary tics and ritalin