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ISSUE 7: FRIDA


NOVEMBER MONDAY

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World Vegan Day

WEDNESDAY

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World Science Day for Peace and Development

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THURSDAY

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Remembrance Day

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FRIDAY

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Guy Fawkes Night

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Thanksgiving (US)

Black Friday

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SATURDAY

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SUNDAY

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World Kindness Day

World Diabetes Day

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World Children’s Day

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Do you have an upcoming event? Let us know and we’ll do our best to include it in our calendar. Email: grapeshot@mq.edu.au


ISSUE 7: FRIDA

CONTENTS 5 NEWS

26 I DON’T GET IT: COERCIVE CONTROL

40 I’M IN LOVE WITH THE SHAPE OF YOU

6 NEWSFLASHES

28 YOU ARE HERE: MACQUARIE IN LOCKDOWN

41 COUSIN, FOR YOU

30 WRITING ON THE WALL: OUT OF MYSELF

43 HOMESICK

32 FEATURES

45 REPEAT OFFENDERS

8 THE CAMPUS LOWDOWN 11 IS THE NATIONAL STUDENT SAFETY SURVEY RE-TRAUMATISING STUDENTS FOR NOTHING? OR WILL IT BRING ABOUT REAL CHANGE? 14 AUSTRALIA’S NEW HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER 16 WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN

33 PSYCH 34 THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SUKEBAN 36 FRIDA FEMINIST CLUB

17 REGULARS 18 CHALLENGE: PAINTING IN LOCKDOWN 20 POP CULTURE REWIND: LEGALLY BLONDE: WHAT, LIKE BEING A FEMINIST IS HARD? 22 ILLUSTRATED: 21ST CENTURY FEMALE-IDENTIFYING ICONS

37 CREATIVES 38 ALL THE WAYS TO HEAT YOUR WAX STRIPS SO THE WAV ACTUALLY STICKS TO YOUR HAIRS 39 “IS IT TIME?’

42 THE BROKEN COLUMN

46 BOOK REVIEW: INVISIBLE WOMEN BY CAROLINE CRIADO PEREZ 48 FILM REVIEW: BLACK WIDOW: VILLAINY AND FEAR THROUGH THE FEMALE GAZE 49 BOOK REVIEW: THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID 50 FEMINIST RESOURCES 2021 55 HOROSCOPES

Views expressed by the authors are not those of the publisher.


EDITORS’ LETTERS At the helm of our women’s issue this year was Frida Kahlo, a pop culture icon and revolutionary figure who explored intersectional feminism, national identity, and gender roles through her art. Frida is famous for her preference for portraiture (of Frida’s 143 paintings, 55 are self-portraits), and Issue #7 paints a portrait of the intricate and incredible lives and stories of women and non-binary students at Macquarie University. Spotlighted in ‘The Campus Lowdown’ this issue is the Women Entering Business (WEB), whose purpose is to “empower and equip young people with the professional skills, knowledge, and networks needed as they transition from university to the corporate world.” Throughout the year WEB partners with sponsor companies and sister societies from other universities to facilitate social and professional networking opportunities for its members. Also featured in Campus News this issue is the Women’s Collective (WoCo). WoCo’s executive team take an in-depth and insightful look at The National Student Safety Survey and ask the questions; will it re-traumatise students or bring about real change? Our News section is packed with fantastic articles so lastly I’d like to direct you to Nikita Byrnes’ take on Australia’s newly appointed Human Rights Commissioner on page 14. May Arao’s article ‘Psych’ explores the experience of being non-binary and the common misconceptions, assumptions, and oversights made towards non-binary people. The image of Frida has become a highly commercialised commodity, Bruna Gomes discusses what Frida as a symbol truly means and how we should engage with Frida’s philosophies in her article ‘Frida Feminist Club.’ Flip to the very end of this issue to find an extensive list of feminist resources and recommendations compiled by Jennifer Le and Grace Pham. One of my favourite films from the ‘90s is Thelma & Louise which subverts the conventional roadtrip romp and centres its narrative on female friendship. This movie passes the Bechdel test with flying colours and deals with the aftermath of sexual assault. Unfortunately, little has changed in the 30 years since this groundbreaking and polarising film was released. I hope that this issue provides you with a safe space to learn more and grow. Thank you to all the wonderful contributors who wrote for this issue and to all the readers who engage with it. Jodie, Editor-in-Chief

Throughout the creation of this year’s women’s issue, Texas has reinstated restrictive abortion laws, the Taliban takeover has restricted the rights of Afghani women, the deaths of Gabby Petito, Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa have made global headlines and NSW has a new Premier who has made remarks on women’s reproductive rights in the past. These are only a few of the countless incidents which have impacted the identity and lived experience of women, both globally and within the Macquarie community this year, and have strongly shaped the creation of Frida. The women’s issue has always been one of my favourite Grapeshot releases, with so many amazing contributions from such a wide and diverse range of MQ students. This year, our women’s issue is a great reflection of the diversity of the Macquarie community and highlights the power of togetherness. Contributors worked together to compile a list of feminist resources; an expansive collection of books, movies, podcasts, Instagram accounts, music, and Macquarie Society’s to help educate, support, and encourage Grapeshot readers. A key commonality throughout many of the articles in this issue of Grapeshot was the exploration of popular culture through feminist perspectives, with Nikita Brynes looking back at Legally Blonde and Muskan Khadka questioning the villainy and fear of Black Widow. I don’t want to sound like a broken record when I say how vast the collection of articles is within this issue of Grapeshot, but Frida has delivered such a variety of interpretations of this issue’s theme – particularly, through the wide collection of poetry from Olivia Chan, Ashley Duck, Swagatalakshmi Roychowdhury, and Kaveri Takukder. I hope you enjoy this year’s women’s issue as much as we do – so much time, effort, vulnerability and dedication went into the creation of every individual article and artwork. Madi, Deputy Editor


EDITORIAL & CREATIVE PRODUCTION EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Jodie Ramodien DEPUTY EDITOR: Madison Scott CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Sam van Vliet CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Kathleen Notohamiprodjo NEWS EDITOR: Saliha Rehanaz CAMPUS NEWS EDITOR: Rayna Bland REGULARS/REPEAT OFFENDERS EDITOR: Eleanor Taylor FEATURES/CREATIVES EDITOR: Rhys Sage ONLINE EDITORS: Jaime Hendrie, Unnati Tayal EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS: Nikita Byrnes, Olivia Chan, Nicholas Chang, Nam Do, Lachlan Hodson, Jennifer Le, Grace Pham, Ky Stewart, John Taylor-Booth DESIGN ASSISTANTS: Rhys Sage SOCIAL MEDIA ASSISTANT: Nam Do

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS May Arao, Ashley Duck, Tiffany Fong, Bruna Gomes, Muskan Khadka, Louise Reid, Swagatalakshmi Roychowdhury, Kaveri Talukder

EDITORIAL REVIEW BOARD Allastassia Carter, Marlene Khouzam, Amanda Morgan, Jay Muir, Amanda O’Neill, Ateka Rajabi, Eryna Tash GRAPESHOT acknowledges the Wallumattagal clan of the Dharug nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and meet. We acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded, no treaty was signed, and would like to pay our respects to Elders, past, present, and emerging. We would like to extend those respects to all First Nations people reading. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.

PUBLISHER

COORDINATOR

Mariella Herberstein

Melroy Rodrigues


GOT SOMETHING TO CONTRIBUTE? SEND PITCHES, IDEAS, QUESTIONS, WORDS, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND ART TO GRAPESHOT@MQ.EDU.AU


NEWS

5 5


NEWSFLASHES BY NIKITA BYRNES

JOJO SIWA’S SAME-SEX PARTNER ON DANCING WITH THE STARS Joelle Joanie “JoJo” Siwa made headlines in America in late August 2021 with her announcement that she would be the first on the fan-favourite American dancing competition, Dancing with the Stars (DWTS), to have a same-sex dance partner. Siwa, who is now eighteen-years-old, began her public career auditioning in competitions to be a part of Abby Lee Miller’s Dance Moms, ultimately appearing on two seasons of the hit show in 2014 and 2015. In early 2016 at only thirteen-years-old, Siwa had released two hit singles which were remarkably popular. What Siwa is likely most well-known for, however, are her hair accessories. In 2016, Siwa also collaborated with American accessory and jewellery company, Claire’s, to release a line of over-sized colourful and bejewelled hair bows. The bows were inspired by those that Siwa publicly wore herself and which had become part of her brand. Alongside her singing career, Siwa is known for her YouTube channel, Its JoJo Siwa. Siwa currently has 12.3 million YouTube subscribers, 10.9 million Instagram followers, and 36.3 million TikTok fans, an indicator of her success with younger age groups. She caused international fanfare online in January 2021 with her Instagram story post that she was part of the LGBTQ+ community, in a picture wearing a “Best Gay Cousin Ever” t-shirt. She officially came out during a joint interview with her girlfriend, Kylie Pew, but has said she does not want to label her sexuality.

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The suggestion for Siwa’s same-sex partner was apparently provided by DWTS’s producers, to which Siwa replied in an interview with USA Today: “Why not show the message even stronger that you can love whomever you want to love?” Many have approved the move, including the show’s executive producer and host, Tyra Banks, of America’s Next Top Model fame, and LGBTQ+ advocacy organisation Glaad’s head of talent, Anthony Allen Ramos. Ramos commented in a statement: “[this] is a real opportunity here for people to celebrate the same-sex pairing and root for JoJo and all LGBTQ young people.” 2021 marks DWTS’s momentous 30th season. Samesex couples have competed on international versions of the show, including the British version upon which America’s DWTS is based, Strictly Come Dancing, but this will be the first time it has occurred on American screens.


Respect@Work Recommendations

has clearly been criticised, Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management at UNSW Sue Williamson writing in The Conversation that this legislation “does not go far enough.”

In March 2020, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, authored the infamous “Respect@Work” report, a national inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces, the inquiry itself performed by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Jenkins’ foreword states: “Sexual harassment is not a women’s issue: it is a societal issue, which every Australian, and every Australian workplace, can contribute to addressing.” Many are asking why the government does not seem to agree.

Jenkins’ foreword to the report begins by discussing how “Australia was once at the forefront of tackling sexual harassment globally,” and citing the key social and legislative reforms that occurred in Australia in the 1970s and 1980s. “However,” she writes, “over 35 years on… Australia now lags behind other countries in preventing and responding to sexual harassment.”

Alibaba Fires Employees Who Leaked Sexual Assault Details

The report is overwhelmingly holistic in the issues it considers. It discusses the prevalence of sexual harassment – particularly towards women – in the workplace, the nature of the harassment, cultural and systemic drivers of the harassment, and other sociopolitical, cultural, and historical factors. The report is 932 pages long, and includes data collected from interviews and dedicated studies. Overall, the report, which has been hailed as a “landmark,” provided 55 recommendations for legislative change. The Morrison government did not respond to the report for over a year. After the media headlines condemning Morrison’s reaction to the story of Brittany Higgins – a former government worker who spoke out about her sexual assault by a high-level parliamentarian – the government finally decided to act. After much anticipation, in early September the federal government passed the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Act 2021 (Cth) (Amendment Act). It adopts 6 of the 55 recommendations made by the “Respect@Work” report. Not only does it lag in the sheer number of recommendations it ignores, the Amendment Act also actively ignores one of the primary recommendations made by the report, arguing for a “positive duty” on employers to take proportionate steps to eliminate sexual discrimination and harassment in the workplace in order to promote equality. The federal government was hesitant to enact the positive duty into legislation, because it argues it already exists in current workplace health and safety laws; the report argues otherwise. This lack of movement

The Chinese multinational corporation specialising in e-commerce, e-retail, and technology, Alibaba, fired ten of its employees in late August 2021 for leaking details of sexual assault. An employee made sexual assault allegations against a former high-profile manager, and ten of the employee’s colleagues decided to publish the account of the allegations. The staff members shared screenshots of the employee’s post in which she alleged the assault on an internal company forum, removing their identifications from the images. Apparently, the worker’s allegations included a story of rape that has been described as “horrific,” including descriptions about how she was forced to excessively drink, and being harassed during a dinner which involved the company’s clients. This information went viral and Alibaba, considered China’s “No. 2 company” (after Chinese multinational technology conglomerate, Tencent) became a symbol of prevalent work-place harassment and abuse. Writers Coco Liu and Zheping Huang, have identified the abuse as a “by-product of an environment that often prioritises achievement over culture.” Alibaba has reportedly dismissed the accused manager and accepted the resignations of two senior executives. The company fired the ten employees who leaked the allegations because it has strict policies against exposure of content in internal company forums, and the company noted that they have fired others for similar indiscretions in the past. Daniel Zhang, the Chief Executive Officer at Alibaba, reportedly acknowledged that the way the company handled the complaint was a “humiliation.”

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BY WEB

WOMEN ENTERING BUSINESS Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back. Women Entering Business (WEB) is an extensive network of supportive, high-achieving, and motivated students at Macquarie University. In a climate where gender equality is not yet a reality, our purpose is to empower and equip young people with the professional skills, knowledge, and networks needed as they transition from university to the corporate world. The passionate and driven leaders within the society work towards reflecting their dedication to creating a community of women who inspire each other to achieve their career goals. WEB offers its members social and professional networking opportunities throughout the year, hosted individually, with sponsor companies, and in collaboration with other university student societies. One of our flagship events which we look forward to each year is our International Women’s Day Breakfast. This is a time for WEB and our sister societies, Capital W (UNSW), Network of Women (USYD), and Women in Business (UTS), to come together and discuss the gender parity challenges present today. Each year, esteemed panelists share their insights into workplace advocacy and what young people can do to help minimise the experiences that marginalised women face. Furthermore, the event is an invaluable opportunity for all attendees to network with peers and top tier sponsor firms. WEB consistently hosts a variety of beneficial events for students. Below are some insights attendees gained from just a few of our recent events in Semester 2, 2021.

Resume Building & Interview Skills Workshop with EY For young people entering the professional world, understanding the process of interviews and developing a strong resume is crucial. In August, WEB held a Resume Building & Interview Skills Workshop in collaboration with one of our sponsors, EY, a leading professional services organisation, and one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms globally. Students learnt how to go from a prospective candidate to a successful employee. One key takeaway was the importance of learning as much as possible about a company in order to assess the two-way value that can be provided and finding the best cultural fit. Also, having specific answers to why you are the ideal candidate for the role is equally important. This was an exciting event and we would like to thank EY for their generous support as our 65 attendees gained a lot of skills and perspective into elevating their personal brand.

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CAMPUS NEWS Managing your Mindset in the Workplace with Deloitte On ‘R U OK? Day’ we hosted an insightful event with our sponsor Deloitte, about the relationship between mental health and career performance. Deloitte is one of the major professional services firms, with service lines in Tax, Consulting, Audit & Assurance, and more. To support young professionals, Deloitte panelists shared useful strategies for maintaining work-life balance and separating your identity from your career. One of the major takeaways attendees gained was that when you receive feedback on projects or initiatives, use it as a learning experience rather than taking it personally, as part of having a growth mindset. Additionally, panelists explained that to have a positive mindset in the workplace, you need to recognise you are there for a reason and deserve it. Imposter syndrome stems from fear of failure and comparison to others and is detrimental to your wellbeing. We trust this event was incredibly valuable for all young professionals, particularly in supporting their mental health. At WEB, we believe that your mindset influences every decision you make. It impacts your learning, creativity, and productivity levels. By building your mental fitness, you can better realise your full potential and achieve your goals.

The Wolf of Upstreet with Upstreet Upstreet is a Sydney-based startup that has created a platform to enable its users to earn fractional shares as they shop with over 200 brands through their app or Chrome Extension. Finding opportunities to educate young people about getting involved in the fintech sector is something that we embarked upon in a recent collaboration with 6 leading societies within Macquarie Business School. This event was guided by the vision of empowering future leaders, involving showcasing non-traditional career pathways and emerging industries. A key learning takeaway from the event is that within the startup space, young professionals can form their own niche and engage in collaboration to share innovative ideas. During the process of progressing from being a student to beginning a full-time career, exploring ways to support startups, and contributing to their initiatives, is a great way to build a portfolio. There is a learning curve in the confidence-building aspect of being able to pitch yourself and owning your achievements when a company is growing into an established business. This informative and collaborative event is an indicator of WEB’s passion to remain at the forefront of offering professional insights to students.

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CAMPUS NEWS WEB’s Upcoming Alumni Night Each year, WEB’s flagship Alumni Night is an eagerly anticipated event as it provides members with access to highly esteemed panelists and offers invaluable insight across a range of industries. Our theme this year is She is Limitless, highlighting the endless possibilities of women, showcasing women’s ability to break barriers and exceed expectations. We will be bringing together past, present, and future members and sponsors of WEB to reflect upon past achievements, celebrate current successes, and realise future potential. Alumni Night will include keynote speeches, a round table discussion, a panel discussion, and a networking portion. Students will have direct access to best-in-class speakers and sponsors, allowing you to unlock new connections and build your industry knowledge. WEB aims to encourage women to achieve their aspirations and show how She is Limitless. Join us on Thursday 21st October (Week 11) from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM (AEST).

Growing through WEB In addition to the multitude of events that WEB hosts individually and in collaboration with other societies and sponsors, WEB provides female students with a unique skill set. Students have the opportunity to apply their learning from their course directly to a professional setting as a member of the WEB team. From marketing to events, each of WEB’s departments allows students to gain first-hand experience using various automation tools, design programs, and how to write professional emails. While WEB’s events allow students to gain an understanding in creating resumes and cover letters, or managing a work-life balance, being a part of the WEB Executive Committee gives you access to mentorship from fellow successful peers. WEB recognises how difficult it can be to land an opportunity and be prepared with the amount of resilience and determination required to succeed in the workplace. Therefore, our mission is to not only upskill female students, but also give them a chance to gain leadership skills before they go on to shatter glass ceilings and pave the way for other aspiring students. If you are passionate about empowering yourself, make sure to commit to attending professional and social events hosted by WEB. We highly encourage students to engage with our events to build your network and gain skills, with the benefit of meeting like-minded women who value succeeding together. Join WEB today by registering here: https://www.womenenteringbusiness.org/membership You can also scan this QR code to learn more about WEB and check out our merchandise!

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CAMPUS NEWS

IS THE NATIONAL STUDENT SAFETY SURVEY RE-TRAUMATISING STUDENTS FOR NOTHING? OR WILL IT BRING ABOUT REAL CHANGE? BY MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY WOMEN’S COLLECTIVE (WOCO) EXECUTIVE TEAM Content warning: sexual assault and harassment, National Student Safety Survey, and mention of Bettina Arndt.

The National Student Safety Survey (NSSS) was rolled out in September 2021, inviting 10,000 students per university to anonymously take part. Taking 10-12 minutes to complete, the survey purports to “collect data on the scale and nature of university student experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment.” The survey is conducted by Associate Professor Anastasia Powell of RMIT University for the Social Research Centre (SRC) in collaboration with Universities Australia, and funded by the Respect. Now. Always (RNA). Initiative.

Responses to the survey will be confidential, deidentified and aggregated, with the results presented in 2022, and are said to be used to improve policies and services for university students in Australia. There is ambiguity around the extent to which the survey is grounded in the lived experience of survivors because the Universities Australia website mentions only that “students, survivors, experts and key organisations,” had input into the process. This survey builds on the first survey conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2016, which was presented in 2017 as the Change the Course Report. Since that report, varying actions have been taken across universities. Here at Macquarie we have seen the introduction of consent education modules, first responder and bystander awareness training for student leaders and staff, and an updated reporting system. As student advisors to RNA at Macquarie University, Macquarie University Women’s Collective (WoCo) copresidents Amanda Morgan and Elizabeth Payne were made privy to the objectives of the NSSS as provided directly to the university administration. These objectives were: • To determine the current prevalence of sexual assault and sexual harrassment among students at Australian universities.

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Explore the context within which sexual assault and harassment occurs, including the setting, connection to the perpetrator, and pattern of abusive behaviour. Examine awareness and behaviours towards help seeking and reporting in relation to sexual assault and harassment. Explore perceptions of safety at Australian universities and attitudes toward sexual assault and sexual harassment. Identify key socio-demographic correlations of sexual assault and harassment, as well as to help seeking and reporting.

On September 1st an email was sent from the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) informing selected students that they had been invited to participate, and outlining the purpose of the survey. The email also stated, “If you do experience any distress, you can access a list of free and confidential support here [and supplied an embedded link].” However when clicked, the link to access support took participants to a webpage which read “Error 404: Woops. Looks like this page doesn’t exist,” on the Social Research Centre website. With no follow up email to correct this mistake, this leaves those selected to complete the survey to seek out support resources themselves. Additionally, despite being sent from within the university it included no mention, or links to, Macquarie-specific support or reporting services. Luckily the email from the Social Research Centre sent on September 6th with the link to complete the survey had the correct support services document attached, stated the Student Wellbeing Support lines for Macquarie, alongside national numbers for 1800 RESPECT, Mensline Australia, Relationships Australia, Adults Surviving Child Abuse (Blueknot), QLife, and Bravehearts among others. While relying on existing support services rather than establishing new ones specifically for this survey is understandable, there is ambiguity around whether these support services have been appropriately prepared for this specific survey in the first place. Has additional training been provided?

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CAMPUS NEWS RNA project lead Penny Huisman said that the RNA team were informed that Student Wellbeing staff, university staff, and university accommodation providers were briefed about the survey “with reminders about how to assist students to seek support or make a report about their experience, to the university.” They also “rostered on increased casual staffing in Wellbeing, to be able to offer more urgent, same day appointments, and we also had four new staff commencing (social worker, psychologist and two Wellbeing advisors) to increase support capacity.” In addition to this they “contacted Northern Sydney Sexual Assault Service to let them know about the survey and establish a streamlined referral process that our staff could access, if needed.” Universities Australia and Rape and Domestc Violence Services Australia collaborated to offer two 1.5 hour online training modules to two representatives from the Women’s Collective and one representative from the Queer Collective to complete in preparation for an increase in disclosures surrounding this survey. Ironically, some of those representatives were also participants in the survey. Despite the measures, when talking to our members they said they still didn’t feel safe or supported when doing the survey. The RNA team are knowledgeable, passionate, and extremely hard-working and we believe they are trying their best to make this university safer despite pushback. That said, they are underfunded and understaffed. With the abhorrent amount of staff and course cuts we have seen across the university these last couple of years, it is no surprise that student (and staff) trust in the university’s administration has almost completely diminished, because we do not know what resources will be slashed next. As for the survey itself, the questions asked revolved primarily around perceptions of safety, experiences of sexual harassment and assault, reporting, and support. As this research is still underway we won’t be critiquing the questions asked, but rather focusing on our experiences completing them. Statement 1: “It felt weird to quantify my experiences in this way, ticking yes to so many things. I appreciated that a spectrum of violence was included, that even the experiences we often deem not worth reporting or almost normal, like being stared at or receiving requests for sexual images, were recognised. Having all these types of experiences laid out made me realise I have been through so many more experiences of harassment than I thought. This realisation was affirming, in that my experiences happened and that they can be recognised. But I also felt less than optimistic that being reminded of these traumas was going to result in any real change from the university.” —22-year-old, woman, bisexual, survivor of imagebased abuse.

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Statement 2: “It was after the first National Student Safety Survey results and the Change the Course Report was released, and Macquarie University introduced the ‘Consent Matters’ course, that the Macquarie University Liberal Society invited Bettina Arndt to present her “Fake Rape Tour” on our campus. This was even after the riot against Bettina at USYD [The University of Sydney]. It was here that I sat in an audience of 200 students, most of whom were white, educated, wealthy male students and heard Bettina tell the audience that “no doesn’t always mean no.” I waited until the Q&A, stood up, shared that I am a survivor and asked that Bettina state her credibility to speak on these issues. The Facebook event stated that the seminar wouldn’t be recorded, but someone in the audience recorded my question and her answer, without my knowledge and it was uploaded to YouTube, with a voice-over referring to me as “hijacking her presentation.” Everything about my experience at this seminar, held on campus, stood in direct opposition to what Macquarie University *appeared* to be trying to do by – at the same time – introducing the ‘Consent Matters’ course. It felt like no one with the power of influence to stop her actually cared enough to do anything. In semester 2, 2020 I was a first responder to a sexual assault at Macquarie University. I spent 4 hours in a police station, an incident report was filed and the male student who committed the act fronted the university disciplinary committee. We don’t know what happened to the male student. We don’t know if he got expelled. We don’t know if he was given a slap on the wrist and is walking around campus today. The university was unable to share the outcome with us due to confidentiality. Never mind the peace of mind of the survivor and I and our friends and family. If universities are not interested in using checks and balances and circling back to students to be transparent and accountable so students feel safe, what is the point of re-traumatising students by asking them to provide detailed responses to survey questions? It seems unethical and negligent. —32-year-old Indigenous student, child sexual abuse survivor, and first responder to a sexual assault on Macquarie University campus in semester 2, 2020. Statement 3: “We’re pleased that feedback from the 2016 survey was addressed and that this survey appears to be a lot more accessible for survivors. We highly encourage everyone who has been selected, to take the survey, whether they’ve experienced sexual violence or not, because your responses will give us the data we need to create safer campuses for everyone.” —Lydia Jupp, Representative of End Rape On Campus Australia and Former President of the Macquarie University Women’s Collective.


CAMPUS NEWS While collecting the data is important, if nothing comes of this, we will have retraumatised ourselves for nothing. We need to see assurances from the university that changes will be made, and sexual violence on campus will stop. But this work needs to look beyond just this report, be co-designed with survivors at Macquarie, and seek to rectify the harm already done to students. The Women’s Collective and Queer Collective executive teams want to see: • Mandatory consent training for all students that could be incentivised by making it an accredited course that is recognised on our transcripts, the same way the GLP program is recognised. • Mandatory trauma-informed responding to disclosures (trauma-informed training, responding with compassion, bystander awareness, and introduction to vicarious trauma training should be available and accessible for all students, to equip us and instil confidence to intervene as bystanders). • Diverse, victim-survivor support staff, and survivorled services. • Trauma-informed, survivor-led approach taken to all matters of student safety. • Information about how to report should be widely publicised – a link on iLearn, the Macquarie University library website, eStudent, and supplied in every single Vice-Chancellor email. • Communication processes introduced for circling back to victims about the outcomes of disciplinary actions against perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment on campus. • Increased funding and staff for the Respect Now Always team to pay victim-survivor student advisors to join this team. • Implementation of the survey’s recommendations. We don’t see these changes as a pipe dream, they are realistic, achievable, and are necessary to make this university a safe space for all of us. If the university genuinely wants to step up, make these changes, and help support survivors, we would love to chat with you. If you found the content in this article distressing or need support please reach out to the services provided below.

Support services at MQ

Student Wellbeing Services (all students) +61 2 9850 7497 (business hours, Mon – Fri) 1800 227 367 (24/7 on call support) wellbeing@mq.edu.au Walanga Muru (specific to First Nations students) +61 2 9850 4209 (business hours, Mon – Fri) walangamuruadmin@mq.edu.au Employee Assistance Program (staff) 1300 360 364 (if within Australia) +61 2 8295 2292 (if outside Australia) Campus Security +61 2 9850 999 (emergencies 24/7) +61 2 9850 7112 (general enquiries 24/7) Support Services outside of MQ

Emergency Services 000 (24/7) Includes police and ambulance services NSW Rape Crisis 1800 424 017 (24/7) Online counselling support (24/7) QLife (LGBTQIA+ specific) 1800 184 527 (3pm – Midnight every day) Online chat support (3pm – Midnight every day) MensLine Australia (men-specific) 1300 789 978 (24/7) Online counselling support (24/7) Lifeline Australia 13 11 14 (Crisis support 24/7) 1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732 Relationships Australia 1300 364 277

If you would like to make a report or look into reporting head to https://students.mq.edu.au/ support/care-reporting. If you have any questions about reporting you can directly message The Women’s Collective on our socials (@mq.woco) or email us (mqu.woco@gmail.com) and we would be happy to help.

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On a relatively calm day on September 5th 2021, the federal Attorney-General appointed a new Human Rights Commissioner: her name is Lorraine Finlay, and many have expressed major concerns over Finlay’s appointment, including this year’s Australian of the Year, Grace Tame.

AUSTRALIA’S NEW HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER Australia’s government appointed a new Human Rights Commissioner in September 2021, and many have criticised the move. Nikita Byrnes explains why.

Prior to her new office, Finlay worked as a legal academic and lecturer in criminal law at Murdoch University in Perth. Her profile on the Murdoch website states that her areas of research interest include “criminal law, constitutional law, human rights law and public international law.” Before her time at Murdoch, however, she worked as a State Prosecutor in Western Australia, and before that at the High Court of Australia. She has also taught within the International Human Rights Law Program in Geneva. Because of her work, Finlay has had an impressive career that has earned her many teaching and research awards, including Dean’s Service Awards and the Dean’s Research Prize Commendation. To many, Finlay seems impressively trained and educated, a perfect fit for one of Australia’s most important public offices. The federal Attorney-General, Michaelia Cash, stated that, “As Human Rights Commissioner, Ms Finlay will be responsible for protecting and promoting traditional rights and freedoms in Australia.” If that sounds vague to you, you’re not the only one. The office of the Human Rights Commissioner has a wide range of responsibilities, but importantly investigates complaints about violations of human rights, advocates for consideration of human rights in statute, and scrutinises Australia’s execution of its international human rights commitments. While the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) website has posted that the “Commission welcomes [Finlay’s] appointment,” senior staff within the commission itself have apparently expressed unease that the federal coalition appointed Finlay without the role first being advertised, once Edward Santow began winding down his five-year term in the office. Finlay is quoted as saying: “I am honoured to be appointed as the Human Rights Commissioner and am looking forward to building on the substantial contributions made by my predecessors in the role.” Social researcher Rebecca Huntley, writing for The Guardian, wrote that Finlay’s appointment was “ques-

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NATIONAL NEWS

tionable,” because of her relative lack of experience. She writes: “Australia is replete with more senior and expert academics, practitioners and advocates who I believe would have been better appointments as human rights commissioner.” So the question arises: why Finlay over anyone else? The government has not provided an answer.

Tame argued that Finlay’s appointment proved the Morrison government’s “inability to understand these issues – its inability to address the fundamental issue of women’s safety.” The Attorney-General hit back in a statement to the ABC, saying that “to suggest that Ms Finlay will be anything but a fierce advocate for women is completely unfounded.”

Grace Tame agrees with Rebecca Huntley. Tame immediately criticised the move by the Attorney-General at a Women’s Safety Summit, saying it was a “grave mistake.” Tame highlighted many of Finlay’s right-leaning political views. Finlay has previously expressed apprehension regarding affirmative-consent laws, which many activists, including Tame, have been working towards for a year. Not only has she co-written an article with men’s rights activist Bettina Arndt, but Finlay has also expressed concerns with an Indigenous voice to parliament in 2019, arguing that it would be a “form of political segregation.”

I’m sorry, Ms Attorney-General, but our fears are founded in clear, hard-hitting evidence. That the announcement hardly made national news headlines was an issue in and of itself, and likely shows how controversial the government knew the appointment would be. The government was probably proud of itself for hiring another woman; they still don’t realise that you’ve got to hire women who aren’t against other women and minorities, especially in such a significant role that is supposed to protect them.

Rodney Croome, the head of LGBTQ+ activism organisation, Just Equal, said that Finlay’s appointment may reverse years of advocacy work. Croome cited Finlay’s submission to the Ruddock religious freedoms inquiry in 2018, in which she co-authored a document that argued against an “unjustifiable” imbalance between religious freedoms and anti-discrimination laws. When speaking to RN Breakfast, Tame said: “We’ve had a new human rights commissioner appointed… who has ties to the Liberal party dating back ten years. She is also against affirmative consent – enthusiastic consent – and as well, she has publicly supported the commentator who platformed the twice-convicted paedophile who abused me.” It seems, then, that Finlay’s own views – for example, her stances against affirmative consent, her issue with an Indigenous voice to parliament, and her support of Tame’s own abuser – would highlight how paradoxically unfit she is for an extremely important office; it is not only an important office in Australia, but also internationally. A spokesperson from the AHRC confirmed that the commission is currently accredited with an “A status” under the United Nations Paris principles, and that the accreditation would be reviewed next year. This is a significant indicator of Australia’s reputation on the international scale, and many are wondering if Finlay could ultimately defame that.

MS LORRAINE FINLAY

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN BY OLIVIA CHAN Mid-August. Several months before that, US President Joe Biden had announced the full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by September, as one of his primary agendas. Although it spelled the end of a twenty-year-long war based upon anti-terrorism policies, this posed a new fear for the women in Afghanistan. According to Suhail Shaheen, the spokesman for the Taliban’s Political Office in Doha, women could “have their basic rights as per Islamic rules,” women’s rights under Sharia law. SHARIA LAW AND THE TALIBAN Sharia translates to ‘the way’ in Arabic, which is mainly based on the rulings of the Quran and the actions and words of the Prophet Muhammad. They provide central moral and ethical principles to guide Muslims, which vary depending on the method of interpretation and jurisprudence, as established under several Islamic schools of thought. An aspect of the Taliban’s interpretation of Sharia law is derived from the Deobandi movement, which arose in the 19th century. The movement was initially formed in India in opposition to British rule. Thus, it adheres to literal interpretations of Sharia law with a strong condemnation against Western influence. The Taliban’s interpretation is then completed via their own “lived experience as a predominantly rural and tribal society,” as highlighted by Tallha Abdulrazaq, a researcher at the University of Exeter’s Strategy and Security Institute. Such “lived experience” however, lacks evidence of influence from “the way.” For women, this highly conservative outlook appears grim. This was apparent when they came to power in the 1990s, employed strict dress codes, and banned women from work and education. Accordingly, Shabnam Dawran, a news anchor of the state channel RTA Pashto, claimed to be told to go home when she tried to go to work after the takeover in August. A WOMAN’S LIFE With the Taliban attempting to stop Afghans from fleeing the country, women who remain may be condemned to live in restriction. Accordingly, a woman was shot and killed for not wearing a burqa on August 24th. This appears to contradict the group’s statement on ‘women’s rights.’ In a broader context, this demonstrates how Afghan women are condemned to survive with severe gender inequities, as sensationally demonstrated by the mob murder of Farkhunda Malikzada in 2015, who was accused of burning the Quran by a shopkeeper. In a disturbing light, women and girls are also at risk of becoming victims of a sex slave industry, which existed in the past Taliban rule. According to Najeeba Wazefadost, the founder of the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees who settled in Australia in 2000 and as a refugee herself, young girls were sold to stay alive. With no childhood, girls are also left with no education. Pashtana Zalmai Khan Durrani, the Executive Director at LEARN Afghanistan, which is an education organisation focused on women’s rights, adds that she has already witnessed many female students fearing hopelessness due to recent events: “All my dreams, all my goals, for nothing. For nothing,” has become a common phrase. Closer to home, many women also face a harsh domestic lifestyle. According to a survey conducted in 2015 by the Demographic and Health Surveys Program of USAID, 90% of women in parts of Afghanistan have experienced domestic violence from their husbands. Dr Jenevieve Mannell, an associate professor and researcher of global health at University College London (UCL) who conducted a five-year descriptive study, highlighted that men in Afghanistan often view women as requiring male protection and guidance. Thus, for some men, women must be ‘taught’ through violence to ensure their safety or honour. Mannell also highlights that the prolonged conflict in Afghanistan has caused further detriment to gender inequalities where the exploitation of fathers and brothers has caused women to become highly vulnerable to becoming married to abusive men. Additionally, from a male perspective, the war had impacted everyone’s mental health, which has contributed to domestic violence. Thus, women in Afghanistan continue to face domestic abuse while being forced to live a restrictive life that places them closer to their abusers under Taliban rule.

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REGULARS


CHALLENGE

and poke fun at some of the more abstract and outlandish art exhibits. Once when visiting, three suited security guards started circling my friend and I, flapping their arms, and yelling “this is art!” After the flapping stopped they stoically returned to their positions, so I suppose one of the great things about art is that you never quite know what to expect.

PAINTING IN LOCKDOWN WRITTEN BY JODIE RAMODIEN I write this article during our eleventh week of lockdown in Sydney where the cases have reached the fifteen-hundreds. Like in Happy Death Day, Before I Fall, Palm Springs, or any other film that employs the Groundhog Day time-loop trope, my days have become mindlessly repetitive. I wake up relatively late in the day but still early enough for Gladys to tell me that she “can’t stress enough,” that we all need to “get the jab,” and “stay at home.” Being on the introverted side of the personality spectrum has placed me solidly in my comfort zone of reading, drinking coffee, studying, rinse, repeat. I haven’t tried anything new in months. Every time-loop story has the protagonist come to some sort of epiphany through the process of reliving the same day. I haven’t had my epiphany yet but there are some benefits to lockdown and I think one is that we have the time to slow down, reflect, and focus on the things we might not have had time for in the constant hustle of normal life. In an ordinary COVID-free world, every so often I’d visit the Art Gallery of NSW, stare at one of my favourite paintings, ‘The railway station, Redfern’ (1893) by Arthur Streeton,

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Paintings in various mediums and forms have existed for millenia and in the last few years there has been emerging evidence which suggests that engaging with art has a positive effect on the brain. A video on YouTube by SciShow Psych, called ‘How Paintings Help You See the World Differently,’ delves into this concept. Anthony Brown, the host of the episode, notes that viewing art “activates reward regions in the brain and can even reduce stress levels.” Another interesting point made in the video is that both the positive and negative emotions felt towards a piece of art, ultimately tend to still result in a positive conclusion as a “strong negative reaction can prompt us to change. If we sit with the discomfort, it can cause us to rethink our views, which in the end becomes a positive and even transformative experience.” The process of creating art, in particular painting, is widely known to be a therapeutic process. Art psychotherapist Gwendolyn Rowlands emphasises that “The strength of art therapy is its use of non-verbal communication. Working with paint and clay allows people a way, literally, to touch on very difficult experiences that can’t be talked about.” Art can help people cope with anxiety, stress, and depression as evidenced by the mental health charity Arts and Minds, whose evaluation on their art workshops “revealed a 71% decrease in feelings of anxiety and a 73% fall in depression; 76% of participants said their wellbeing increased and 69% felt more socially included.” The last time I focused my time and energy into a piece of art was when I created a wireframe seahorse-giraffe hybrid sculpture in a high school visual arts class. Was there some form of deeper meaning behind the creation of this creature? Frankly, no, but looking back I think I could have at least drawn a contrived metaphor between the hybrid creature and my biracial identity.


CHALLENGE There are a ton of free painting classes splattered across the internet but I chose the iconic Bob Ross as my creative spirit guide. More specifically, I attempted to follow the ‘Island in the Wilderness’ episode, from the 29th season of the ‘Joy of Painting’ series. You can find it on YouTube. 37 million people have viewed this video, and I would guess they’ve watched it less for the art lesson and more for the overall tranquil watching experience and hilarious and wholesome Ross-isms like “We don’t make mistakes here, we have happy accidents.” I dutifully followed along as Bob Ross covered his canvas in titanium white, painted the sky prussian blue, and zigzagged his trees with reckless abandon. “Have a little family of trees,” he advises while doing this, “I think everybody should have a friend, even a tree. Even a tree needs a friend.”

While my painting got progressively worse, I appreciated Ross’ relentless optimism. “What’s so fantastic about this is that anybody, anybody, can put a little masterpiece on canvas with just a little bit of practice, a vision in your mind, and off you go.” My painting ended up being a bit of a waterlogged mess which I ultimately threw out, but painting as a hobby is really more about the process than the final product. If you’re looking for something new to try in lockdown, I’d recommend giving it a shot, and seeing what you can create.

The proverb “A poor craftsman blames his tools,” is one I believe rings true however, I would not advise doing what I did by using a single paintbrush to paint everything wherein Ross uses multiple brushes varying in size and shape in order to capture one of “nature’s masterpieces right here on the canvas.”

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POP CULTURE REWIND

LEGALLY BLONDE: WHAT, LIKE BEING A FEMINIST IS HARD? WRITTEN BY NIKITA BYRNES It is September 2021. New South Wales is still in lockdown, and I am looking for ways to procrastinate some very weighty assignments. Normally, I might go book-shopping or schedule a day out with my friends. The problem is that I haven’t left my house for weeks except to walk around the block, and I’ve taken more to pace the lounge room as a result of my existential dread and too-often watching of Gladys Berejiklian’s 11 am news conferences. Scrolling through my newsfeed while pacing said loungeroom, I saw that this year was the twentieth anniversary of the hit film from 2001, Legally Blonde. Huh, I thought. Interesting. The plot of Legally Blonde is light-hearted and isn’t meant to be taken too seriously; but, like the best films of that late-nineties-earlynoughties era, it can have a real impact on its audience. Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) is an extremely feminine “girly-girl,” the daughter of rich parents who don’t want Elle to get involved in the world of “boring people.” At her college, she is the president of the Delta Nu sorority and the girl whom everyone in the house adores and praises. The film opens with everyone in the sorority signing a good-luck card for Elle; all the signs point towards Elle’s boyfriend, Warner (Matthew Davis) proposing on their fancy date night. However, instead of a ring, Elle gets rejected. Warner says he needs to “get serious” for Harvard law school because he plans to become a senator by the age of 30. In order to win Warner back, Elle gets into Harvard law. For the rest of the film, we see Elle being herself and trying to win over Warner while being incredibly sisterly and patient with Warner’s new girlfriend, Vivian (Selma Blair). After a historic legal battle at which Elle is at the centre, Warner attempts to ditch Vivian and take Elle back. But Elle realises she is capable of more in law school than simply winning Warner back. By staying true to herself and her flamboyant style, she is the one who comes out on top. Along the way, in her generosity, Elle helps out

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other minor characters who skirt the outer edges of the ‘in’ cliques. Dorky David (Oz Perkins), for example, is tall, slightly overweight, and incredibly nerdy with his Master’s in Russian Literature and his PhD in Biochemistry. When he plucks up the courage to ask some hot girls out, Davis is actively rejected as the girls mock him something terrible along the classic lines of, “people like us don’t go out with people like you” — this insinuation echoes Warner’s superiority complex and the reason he broke up with Elle at the beginning of the film. Hearing this, Elle walks up to David in front of the girls and pretends to berate him for giving her “the greatest pleasure I’ve ever known” and never calling her again. As Elle walks away, the snide girls rethink their assessment of David and ask him, “So, when did you wanna go out?” It’s this kind of interaction that saw everyone praise Elle not only as a mere protagonist but as a hero. That was important to audiences in this weird turn-of-the-millennium era. But, on the other hand, Elle’s heroism is exactly what brings her character down in the eyes of modern feminist critics: she’s a white hero in a film that ominously lacks representation of people of colour or LGBTQ+ individuals. In this sense, Legally Blonde might be grouped with other films of the era, like Mean Girls (loved by many, but is overhyped and unjustified in its subjecting minority groups to the butt of the joke). But I don’t think that Legally Blonde is purposefully using its lack of representation for a point like Mean Girls does. Instead, its formal ignorance of meaningful representation of voices other than those of privileged white characters reflects the film’s content. Many accuse Legally Blonde of actively overlooking Elle’s privilege: she’s white, rich, attractive, blonde, and has an overlooked high level of intelligence. But even with all her privilege, Warner finds cause to overlook her. The film hints that Warner’s family (the Huntingtons) are old money — these people will never truly accept anyone, even if they have money. This is really put into perspective when Elle is walking home from her breakup date, and Warner is driving alongside her, urging her to let him take her home. She speaks in frustration: “Because I’m not a Vanderbilt, suddenly I’m white trash? I grew up in Bel Air, Warner. Across the street from Aaron Spelling. I think most people would agree that’s a lot better than some stinky old Vanderbilt.” Here, we find a contrast between the different ‘levels’ in the hierarchy of whiteness. So, while many regard Legally Blonde as a white saviour film — not that I disagree — I would argue that Legally Blonde is also an exposé on the ways


POP CULTURE REWIND that anyone can be made to feel like an outsider by those in power, like the Huntingtons. The film vaguely redeems itself by satisfying the audiences at the end, noting that Warner did not graduate with honours and did not receive any job offers at the time of graduation. In the end, Warner truly isn’t as outstanding as he has been taught to think himself. It’s momentarily satisfying, but is it enough to make up for the lack of social criticism? This question rages war with another critical question, does the film really need to include straight-up social criticism? Arguably, no, so the former question inherently cannot be satisfied. The film is meant to be light-hearted, not critically and academically stimulating. I don’t think it is worth claiming that a movie should be doing more than its purpose or more than what it set out to do. Even though Elle is incredibly privileged, Elle is put in contrast with everyone else at Harvard: being exceptional at this elite Ivy-League school is the norm. Compared to everyone else, Elle isn’t (at first) truly special. In the introductory circle on her first day at Harvard, everyone goes around introducing themselves. As mentioned above, not only has David already attained a Master’s in Russian Lit and a PhD in biochem, he spent the previous eighteen months “deworming orphans in Somalia.” Next up is Enid (Meredith Scott Lynn), who claims that she just got a PhD from the esteemed Berkley University in women’s studies, “emphasis in the history of combat.” Then we pan to Aaron Mitchell (Kelly Nyks), who boasts about his IQ and graduating top of the class at Princeton but goes on to suggest that Stephen Hawking stole his A Brief History of Time (1988) from Aaron’s fourth-grade paper. His arrogance and oozing sense of boredom have me chafed as I watch.

This normalised exceptionalism is itself at odds with the film’s feel-good purpose. While the ending is satisfying, and I did clap a little watching Elle smile like a madman after her graduation speech (Reese Witherspoon’s happiness is infectious through the screen, dammit), I did finish the film wishing it added just a little bit more and maybe had a little less. A little more aggression towards the hostile social scene enforced by the Ivy-League institutions and a little less blatant ignorance of the “f” word: feminism. Does Legally Blonde pass the Bechdel test? It’s hard to say — there are arguments for yes and no. Arguably, there are more than two women, and there are many instances where they talk to each other about things that aren’t men… but, arguably, most of those instances are menrelated, or at least men-adjacent. Does the Bechdel test a good movie make? It’s also hard to say, but in this case, I’m leaning towards a no for my answer. Of course, I want to see films passing the Bechdel test. Of course, I’m looking for films that look modern intersectional feminism in the eyes. But Legally Blonde is an objectively feel-good film, regardless of its socio-political shortcomings. That it has shortcomings is something I feel privileged to understand now. TL;DR.

The scene feels like being at Harvard is a competition of who can be the best Samaritan and the smartest competitor — but these things are inherently at odds with each other! In my view, a good Samaritan means not trying to compete with everyone all of the time for the ‘top spot,’ whatever that means. Watching this was what stuck out to me the most in the film. Attending any event at uni — or even just going to classes and mingling with people, you slowly start to feel like an outsider for not being extraordinary. The fact that the film doesn’t truly question this normalised exceptionalism is what I dislike the most. As a law student myself, I am tired of feeling like I should have thirty years of practising and interning experience just to be able to find a job at a law firm or at least feel on the same level as other people my age already working at law firms.

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ILLUSTRATED

21ST CENTURY FEMALE-IDENTIFYING ICONS WRITTEN BY JAIME HENDRIE ILLUSTRATED BY SAM VAN VLIET In the nature of the Illustrated section of Grapeshot, I have compiled an incredibly biased list of femaleidentifying individuals, who I have given icon status, to celebrate this year’s Women’s Issue! 1. Taylor Swift Taylor Swift will forever have my heart for everything she accomplishes and aspires to achieve, and my ears because her entire discography will be playing rent-free in my head until eternity. Along with the entirety of her discography being an absolute bop, it’s also important to appreciate the fact that she holds 49 Guinness World Records, is a Global Icon (as certified by the Brit Awards this year), and is one of the greatest female solo acts of all time. She is also one of my heroes with an enviable wardrobe, especially in her current cottage-core era. Her upcoming Red (Taylor’s Version) will have me singing break-up songs for an undefinable amount of time until her next Taylor’s Version album is released. 2. Meghan Markle and Diana Spencer The second spot on my female-identifying icons list is a tie between none other than Meghan Markle (Former Duchess of Sussex) and Princess Diana Spencer (Formally Princess Diana of Wales). These two female icons tie for second placing for saying a big F-You to the little known establishment known as The British Royal Family, and rightfully so! Princess Diana largely forwent the royal family in the wake of her divorce from Prince Charles (who famously cheated on her), and that revenge black dress incident is one of my favourite outfits of all time and was most certainly my favourite revenge dress. Meghan Markle, the former Duchess of Sussex, is also tied for the second spot for similarly saying a big F-You to the establishment of the British Royal Family in the wake of racist and sexist taunts from within the Royal Family and from British and International tabloids who refused to leave her alone and caused her to develop incredibly serious mental health issues. She is tied with her mother-in-law for the second spot because beyond the work both women have done to distance themselves from a notoriously problematic establishment; both are strong women who stood up for what they believed in, in the face of something much bigger than themselves. Additionally, both have worked extensively on humanitarian issues, which is such an important thing to help out in when you’re at the centre of the public eye and have the ability to donate significant amounts of money and help to needy causes such as the AIDS crisis and women’s rights across the world. 3. Britney Spears Up until recently, Britney Spears likely would have made my list, but wouldn’t have been so far up on my list, but boy, oh boy did she truly stick it to the man recently with her scathing remarks in Court about her notoriously abusive conservatorship. Britney is a classic 2000’s pop star; she embodied everything the 2000s had to offer and arguably, still offers this in 2021. What an icon! She has chaotic energy about her that seems genuine in the face of what she’s experienced, and I respect her immensely for all she has been through and how she seemingly continues to thrive despite it all. Recently, if anyone follows her on Instagram, you may have already seen this, she posts body-positive posts as a major F-You to her father, who previously controlled every aspect of her life. To me, she is ICONIC! She stands up for what she believes in and refuses to back down, and honestly, GET IT, GURL!!

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ILLUSTRATED 4. Michelle Obama This list would be incomplete without a reference to the Obama’s. For anyone who knows me, you’ll know that the Obama’s are my favourite US Presidential pairing in history and will likely continue to be forevermore (I acknowledge there were issues with President Obama’s presidency, but for the sake of this article, I will not discuss this). Michelle, however, comes to serve. Every. Single. Time. She is such a smart minded woman who I respect immensely for everything she has overcome and continues to overcome in her pursuit to make America a better place — whether that be in her work in the healthcare system in NGOs, or through encouraging American children to exercise more and eat more healthily. I respect her immensely. I respect her even more for the outfits she wears to everything, with my personal favourite being her 2021 Inauguration look where she came to serve. She is such a powerful woman, which shines through in her actions and clothing, which is why she is number 4 on my icons list. 5. Beyonce Honestly, much like many of my other choices on this list, a female icon’s list is never complete without Queen Bee herself. The only reason she comes in at number 5, as opposed to much higher, is because she makes EVERYONE’S female icon lists, so she’s such an obvious choice that she is number 5, rather than much higher. That is all. As I’m sure we all know by now, she is one boss ass bitch! From Destiny’s Child, to solo projects, to Ivy Park and Ivy Park x Adidas, she has indeed come and accomplished it all! She’s one very busy business lady, along with being a multi-award winning recording artist with a voice unmatched by most other female singers currently, and is one of the most notorious celebrity activists there is currently. Her visual album Lemonade remains one of my favourite album’s to date, and the lengths I went to to get a hold of that album shows my true dedication to the beehive. I still listen to it regularly, and honestly, it inspires me to do better and be better and stand up for what I believe in. My favourite power hit from it is Hold Up, the music video with the notorious yellow dress and smashing of car windows and various other things down a street that is literally on fire. It is iconic to the max. 6. Simone Biles Once again, this list would be incomplete without a reference to none other than Simone Biles, who I have obsessively watched gymnastics videos of since the 2016 Rio Olympics. Simone, who is arguably the GOAT female gymnast in the world is one of my heroes, especially in 2021 following the Tokyo Olympics after she vulnerably and powerfully advocated for her mental health on the world stage, which faced significant amounts of backlash. For someone in the public eye, standing up for your mental health was never going to be an easy task, but I respect her immensely for being willing to do so, and for getting vulnerable with it and allowing people to understand the issues she was facing. Along with this, she is also one of the physically strongest women ever, and I watch in awe at how easy she makes gymnastics look when in reality, it is one of the hardest sports in the world.

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ILLUSTRATED 7. Jameela Jamil Jameela Jamil, for those who don’t know is an English actress, host of the I Weigh podcast and activist, among other career points. She is probably most famous for her portrayal of Tahani Al-Jamil in The Good Place. She makes ranking number #7 on my icons list for several reasons. The first being she is so open about all sorts of issues such as abortions, mental health, body image and calling out body shaming on social media. Much like the other women so far on this list, I respect her immensely for the work she is doing to change the conversation about women and women’s rights in the world currently. But I also can’t let this piece go without mentioning her hilarious portrayal of Tahani in The Good Place, and the amount of name dropping that is carried out by her and the character. So if you haven’t seen the show, do yourself a favour and watch it. It’s existential, hilarious and just allaround a good time.

8. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez AOC, as she is more commonly known, is one of my favourite female politicians in the world right now for the work she is doing as part of the Democratic Party in the US Senate, fighting for women’s rights, the rights of access to healthcare, rights about Covid protections and The Green New Deal to help the US combat climate change. I have mad amounts of respect for this boss-ass woman who constantly fights a barrage of critiques against her to get stuff done! She is an absolute powerhouse in the Senate, and her social media presence and vulnerability is arguably unmatched by any other politician in the US currently. She is also an absolute boss in anything she wears, of which are a lot of powerful suits. She looks spectacular and practical and wears them with ease! Plus, anyone who can command a room like she does deserve the entirety of the floor, and others could learn from her public speaking skills.

9. Jane Fonda Jane Fonda is number 8 on my icons list because she is one of the OG political rights activists, of the 1970s and beyond, and has made a name for herself as the queen of home workouts and as an actress. In her long life thus far, she has protested against: The Vietnam War, Standing Rock, civil rights, sexual assault, Native Americans, and many, many other important causes. To me, she is one of the original icons. She embodies everything it means to be a powerful woman in her own right who is not reliant on any man, or partner for that matter, to base her success on. She’s an oldie, but a goodie who still fights for change and I respect her immensely for the work she has done and continues to do to champion women’s rights and various other rights.

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ILLUSTRATED

10. Ruth Bader-Ginsburg RBG is my favourite Supreme Court Justice of all time! She was a pioneer for female lawyers in the US and abroad, and her activism, especially on equality initially inspired me to enter law school (until I gave up after two years, but we’re not here to discuss my failed law degree and career). She inspired a generation of female lawyers, showing us that anything was possible if we persevere. She has gained popular culture icon status, largely in the US, but also across the world, had a movie about her - On the Basis of Sex. Check it out if you haven’t already, it was amazing (a fair warning, it contains Armie Hammer from before he was problematic though). She has been referenced on everything from SNL to New Girl!

Honourable Mention: Julia Gillard Julia Gillard as PM is one of my least favourites of all time due to her policies on asylum seekers and women’s rights, and the like. The only reason she gets an honourable mention is for her notorious misogyny speech. If you haven’t heard it by now, you’re surely living under a rock in the outback. The speech is from 2012 and is essentially Julia Gillard telling off every misogynist in the Government at the time to shut up. It is one of my favourite feminist speeches ever and has recently been made popular again on TikTok, so go treat yourself to a listen for some major Girl Boss energy and to remind yourself how relevant it unfortunately still is today in the Australian Government.

Honorable Mention: Rita Moreno Rita Moreno is an absolute powerhouse and such an iconic woman! She definitely makes my top 20 but deserves a specific honourable mention for her candour in telling nearly anyone who will listen about the time that she had an eight-year love affair with Marlon Brando before sleeping with Elvis to make him jealous. This is one of my favourite Old Hollywood stories and makes me long that I was there for the gossip on these sorts of stories!

Well, that’s it from me. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for sticking through my extensive list of female icons, and I hope you either learned something or were inspired!

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I DON’T GET IT

COERCIVE CONTROL WRITTEN BY ELEANOR TAYLOR Domestic Violence isn’t always physical and it’s time we talked honestly about it. What is Coercive Control? Professor Evan Stark, who developed the term coercive control defines it as “a pattern of domination that includes tactics to isolate, degrade, exploit and control victims… as well as to frighten them or hurt them physically.” In 2016, a female survivor of coercive control told the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence; “The most distressing thing I lost was me...I couldn’t concentrate. I was always worried that I may do or say the wrong thing. It is so hard to describe to you the mental torment, always questioning yourself. Never being able to comprehend that this person who is supposed to love me can hurt you so badly.” Domestic violence is defined as follows; “Domestic violence refers to acts of violence that occur between people who have or have had, an intimate relationship in domestic settings. These acts include physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse.” It is impossible to accurately measure the extent of domestic violence in Australia due to its’ private context. Women in Australia are more likely to be killed at home by their male partners than anywhere else or by anyone else. When surveys include physical violence, sexual violence and psychological violence they have found that 34% of women with current or former partners experienced violence from a partner since the age of 16. When we look at coercive control, we can see that four in ten women in current relationships reported experiencing controlling behaviour in their lifetimes. Why does it matter? 60-80% of women seeking help for abuse have experienced coercive control. 23% of women who experienced coercive control have been assaulted with a weapon and 27% reported non-fatal strangulation. What this means is that not only is coercive control a horrifying form of abuse but it can also be used as a predictor of physical violence. This is supported by the fact that 99% of domestic violence homicides occur in relationships where male abusers use

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coercive control against their partners. In 2020, there were 145 incidents of domestic violence-related homicides, an increase of 12% from 2019. At least two in five assaults recorded by state police were family and domestic violence-related. The covid pandemic has worsened domestic abuse and put victims in a position of greater isolation. Domestic violence is clearly an issue in Australia, and coercive control is frequently unaddressed Yet, despite the fact that coercive control fits into the definition of domestic violence, and despite the recognition that it is often indicative of other forms of abuse, coercive control is not illegal. A parliamentary inquiry earlier in 2021 found that NSW laws do not adequately cover coercive and controlling behaviour and also suggested creating a clear definition of domestic abuse including coercive control. Coercive control can be best understood as a pattern of entrapment and advocate Jess Hill stated that recognising coercive control would be “a shift that would see the community stop asking ‘why didn’t she just leave’ and start asking ‘why did he hold her hostage.’” By not criminalising coercive control, our society has accepted these behaviours and the consequence is that we have less sympathy for women who experience them. Instead of focusing on the inability of women to leave domestic violence relationships, we should be focusing on the perpetuation of violence which includes coercive control in these settings. Solutions Tasmania is the only Australian state that has criminalised coercive control and nonphysical forms of domestic violence. In NSW, our government has drafted a bill describing coercive control as being an arbitrary restriction of freedom. Criminalising coercive control seems like a rational thing to do. In a carceral justice system, criminalising things is generally perceived as the thing that will fix them. In theory, abusers go to prison and can’t abuse their partners who will be safe from them. However, in Tasmania very few people are charged under the offence of coercive control. Prisons are also harmful and do not effectively rehabilitate offenders and that criminalisation does not provide victims with healing and support to recover from their experiences. It also does not prevent victims from being coercively controlled, criminalisation operates after the abuse has


I DON’T GET IT occurred serving as retribution, something which does not really help anyone involved. The other key concern with the criminalisation of coercive control is that marginalised groups such as First Nations women are frequently treated poorly by law enforcement which has led to fears of how police will react to their reports of domestic violence. Liz Snell from Women’s Legal Service said that “this is a significant issue in our practice, that women are misidentified as the predominant aggressor when they’re the person most in need of protection.” The result of this is that women will not report to the police again if they have had a negative experience with them.

improve their lives. Between 2015 and 2017, domestic violence assaults in Bourke dropped by 39% and other crimes also saw a decline. This suggests that the best path forward is community-led collaborative projects which treat perpetrators as people who need support, rather than as criminals. Domestic violence is a huge issue in Australia and with the criminalisation of coercive control being a more frequent optic of discussion, it is important to evaluate the role the justice system plays in our society and to explore alternate options which leave room for the complexity of the issue.

Furthermore, many women do not want their partners to be punished because it results in a loss of financial stability, escalates violence and damages their relationships with their children. Carceral solutions to issues like domestic violence simplify the issues they try to address and often backfire on marginalised communities. Criminalising coercive control is a symbolic move that does not prioritise the needs of victims. Hill argues that “we can’t have this conversation as though abusive men are just these faceless foot soldiers of the patriarchy, who are imprinted on by culture and whose behaviour is [influenced] by porn and outdated modes of masculinity.” She suggests focusing on men’s psychological health, shame, and their use of drugs and alcohol. Men also need a level of support when it comes to domestic violence; they need programs that provide them with treatments rather than incarceration and the support they need to change their own behaviours and attitudes towards women. For example in Bourke, a town known for crime, unemployment and family violence, an Indigenous elder Alistair Ferguson brought dozens of Indigenous community leaders, police and services together to create solutions other than incarceration. This involved checking with men known for being abusive and providing them support to

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YOU ARE HERE

MACQUARIE IN LOCKDOWN WRITTEN BY SALIHA REHANAZ It’s a Monday morning. I wake up to the blaring sound of my alarm and internally scream at myself for the hundredth time for picking a physics lab at 8 am. I scroll through my social media feed to see the latest TikTok trend which went viral overnight. I finally get myself out of bed, shower, and find something suitable to wear for the cold weather. I quickly run down the stairs and shove a toast down my throat as I watch the 292 bus heading to the City from my window. That’s my sign to get out of the house. I put in my earphones and make my way through the Village walkways thinking about the rave that took place over the weekend. It began as a chill night drinking beers and playing games at Unit 89, and then very soon all the houses in the strip joined, and eventually the whole Village had shown up, including the security. I spot a red mason cup lying in the grass as I walk past the East side greens and wonder if anyone got drunk enough to go jumping on the tarp. A tradition that only few elite Villagers know about. The sun is slowly climbing out of the clouds as I walk downhill towards the gym. Little children wrapped in towels excitedly make their way inside to start swimming classes. The sign outside the gym café reads, “Special today: Double cheeseburger with sweet potato fries.” It gets me excited to think about what I’ll be eating for lunch; the new Campus Courtyard has created a dent in my bank account that’s for sure. I quickly jog up the stairs to the new University Accommodation and spot the NSW firemen grabbing their morning dose of coffee. I am welcomed by the faint music playing at Ubar and my eyes scan the flock of university students scattered across the courtyard. Everyone walking in different directions huddled in jackets and sweaters of all kinds. I spot my physics lab partner, Georgia sitting on the bench where she waits for me every Monday. She’s got two cups of coffee in her hands and I hope one of them has gotten cold so I can drink it in the next five minutes we have left before class. I walk up to her smiling face,

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faintly pink from the cold and as I reach for the coffee in her extended hand, I wake up. I open my eyes and spot the streak of sunlight sneaking its way through the blinds. It was a dream. It’s Week 10 of lockdown and I cannot remember the last time I woke up with the intention of getting dressed and going to campus. The vision of Georgia holding a cup of coffee for me has now become a mirage, rather than a memory. I turn to look at the time on my phone, it’s 12:36 pm. I grew up in a household where you were never allowed to sleep past 9 in the morning, whether it was a holiday or not. I tried to hold onto the tradition as I moved countries and came to live alone. However, being alone in this second round of lockdown I have lost all sense of time. On a good day, when I decide to stroll through campus, my eyes will crave for the familiar flock of university students rushing to go to class or standing outside Boost waiting for their jumbo Mango Magic. Now, a different age group of individuals has taken over the Macquarie Campus. Babies and toddlers. The glorious Macquarie lake which was once home to university students sunbathing and taking naps (PSA: I do not support taking naps by the lake after Grapeshot Creative Director Kathleen fell ill after her nap), is now populated with the elderly waving their hands around in the air in the name of exercise. The campus is not completely in lockdown. The joyous purple light of the Chatime sign still shines on, and the delicious smell of Indian food still lingers around the Courtyard. Macquarie’s soldiers in red and white still march down Wally’s Walk or zoom around in their golf buggies. However, now they do not have to watch out for students or people causing menace, instead, it is the bin chickens and turkeys. If you thought the number of bin chickens squawking on campus before lockdown was bad, I dare you to come back now.


YOU ARE HERE Previously, the walk from the business school to the Macquarie Centre was a way for me to mentally prepare my speech to politely say no as someone waited to ask if I wanted to join a Bible class, sign up for Fitness First, or donate to Mission Australia. Now, the path remains empty and the shrubs beside the footpath have flourished like never before. The royal carriage for Macquarie students that live on campus aka the courtesy bus still roams around the streets, however if you thought the schedule was off for the bus before lockdown, now I doubt there is a schedule at all. One thing that has not changed is the humming from the biology labs opposite the old Ubar. Rain or shine, lockdown or not, science does not stop, and neither does the lab equipment. The bright white lab lights still guide you through the shortcut from the Maths building to the old Ubar, and believe it or not, the deadly owl still haunts the pathway. It seems like the stay-at-home rules don’t apply to birds. While everything is so different and empty now, walking through campus somehow still feels the same. It reminds me of the first day I arrived at Macquarie. It was dark and cold, and I had no clue how to connect my phone to the Macquarie

wi-fi. I had called up the IT desk and they asked me to come down to C5C in the next ten minutes before they closed and I had no clue how to get there. After walking cluelessly around for 40 minutes with no one in sight to ask for help, I was close to tears because I didn’t know where to go or how to go back to the Village. I had no internet to find my way on Google Maps or any friends in this foreign country to call. I was lost, literally and metaphorically. And then, I saw the twinkling lights running down Wally’s Walk. For some reason, I decided to follow the lights, to walk straight ahead and find C5C in front of me. Thirty minutes past 5, the person I had called at the IT desk was still magically waiting for me. Two years and a deadly global pandemic later, I am still lost, just in a different way. Unsure of when I will see my friends or family again, or whether I will fulfil my dreams of seeing a kangaroo or not. While everything has changed and we now live in this ‘new normal,’ at least the fairy lights still illuminate Wally’s Walk and help me find my way. In the famous lyrics of Coldplay, “lights will guide you home.” And for me, that’s Macquarie.

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WRITING ON THE WALL

OUT OF MYSELF WRITTEN BY LOUISE REID

Old(er) people aren’t too old for study! I’d been 49 when we moved to Australia in 2005. For me, that certainly wasn’t old! In my hometown in Hamilton, New Zealand, I had been to university but I never finished a Business Administration degree. My future back then had no purpose or plan. I couldn’t find companionship. I worked in very good jobs, but I was made redundant twice — one from WEL Energy and one from Telstra; certainly not my choice but I wouldn’t — couldn’t — move to Auckland for Telstra. I spent much of my spare time writing, starting when I was very young but I didn’t keep many old papers. In Australia, I did a lot of research for things that wound me up: rent, homelessness, refugees, income, rape… I worked for TEDx at Southbank for their first event at the end of 2012 and on the evening of the celebration, I fell into tears which I couldn’t get out of. I had some wonderful supporters. At the beginning of 2013, my ex left our marriage. In December of 2012, I started a One Billion Rising Brisbane Facebook page. After my desperation from separation on the 14th February 2013, I took 30 wonderful dancers on a flash mob in Queens Mall. In March the same year, I joined a Vagina

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Monologues play in Brisbane’s CBD. I also volunteered at La Boite theatre and a magazine at QUT, both in Kelvin Grove. I walked the Zonta walk for 6km at Newstead and the Walk 1 Mile walk at Ipswich, I got my face painted as a ghoul for the Zombie walk. By July 2013, I received my Graduate Diploma for Occupational Health & Safety, found out I had a brain aneurysm, told my employer, and two months later after seven years with ‘that employer,’ I was fired. Too much to deal with! I had six months to fill before I was taken into hospital in April 2014 for my brain aneurysm surgery, and I found out that under anaesthesia I’d had a stroke with aphasia. Life can change when you never wanted it to. After my surgery and stroke, I moved to the north side of Brisbane, Redcliffe: firstly to Woody Point, then onto Scarborough. I wanted to volunteer — I couldn’t really do anything other than that, so I sat a barista certificate and volunteered for a kite event as a coffee maker. Later I joined the Redcliffe art gallery as a volunteer and took on the art gallery newsletter. I had a book meeting for my first novel, which surprisingly took me out of my intrusive thoughts about my rape which I had lived with since I was 17. The book wasn’t an


WRITING ON THE WALL

inspiration because I wasn’t completely back to ‘normal’ language with my aphasia, but I had some wonderful reviews about it. Having a stroke and aphasia affects people, so how was I getting on? To me, it seemed I couldn’t get on with most of the crowd. I joined a gym in Redcliffe, but I had to leave it because I didn’t really feel ‘in,’ even though I had been with gyms in New Zealand and ever since I’d moved here. I joined a heart group that did a walk around inside the Kippa-Ring mall, but I quit that because no one talked to me. I joined a canoe group for breast cancer — which I have not had — and I was talked out. Eventually, 15 months after moving to Redcliffe, I felt I was paying too much rent for my tiny house, so I left and moved up to Noosa for a short stay, then all the way down to Bethania, to a retirement village. Which, of course, was my bad decision. I couldn’t believe what they did to me and my beautiful dog! Homeless, yes, that was me — but only for one week, thankfully! I found a converted garage unit in Eagleby and moved there until 13 months later when I found out that it was illegal. So I had to move again. I started my recovery online course, Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism with Griffith and very much enjoyed the study.

It had been three and a half years since my stroke when a carer at Mylestones found me a recovery job in Darra, 10 hours a week, my first recovery work. I moved on to Bellbird Park to be closer to work, and my unit has been the best place I chose so I hope I won’t lose it! I joined a Redbank Plains gym at the start of the year, but my beautiful dog died (naturally) in March, my NZ daughter-in-law died in April, I went downhill into depression and had to walk away from the gym. The recovery job only lasted nine months when I was — again — made redundant. I don’t think I could continue to work for 10 hours a week, but I could not work any longer than that because even that short time made me very, very tired. This year, 2021, I completed the Business Administration and I applied and was accepted for the Master of Creative Writing with Macquarie University. Am I planning too far ahead? I have memories of most of my life, some very good and some very bad. So if I start thinking I am planning ‘too far ahead,’ I need to shake myself up: I hope I will continue with the study year by year and won’t let it get me down. I’m 64 now. That’s an excellent age!

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FEATURES


PSYCH WRITTEN BY MAY ARAO Content warning: enbyphobia. You wonder if people understand how it feels when you’re in a group project, and one of your team members says, “We got this, girls!” You think to yourself, oh. I guess I haven’t got this, then. Or when you’re at an event and the host says, “Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. Or welcome everyone, I should say, ‘cause we have to be politically correct.” You think to yourself, oh. I guess I have to stay here. Or when you’re filling out a survey and the only options for gender are ‘Male’ or ‘Female.’ You think to yourself, oh. I guess they don’t want my opinion after all. Or when you overhear a Zoom tutorial on gender diversity and someone asks, “But what if I want to ask them [insert insensitive question]?”

“But why?” they ask. “‘Cause I’m non-binary, a-holes.” “But your name! Your pronouns! The way you look!” You shrug. “So? Get over yourselves.” “We didn’t know! You never told us!” “GEE, I WONDER WHY I NEVER DID WITH SUCH REASSURING REACTIONS.” Pause. You laugh. It’s better than crying. “I don’t care that you didn’t know I’m non-binary. I care that you never thought it was possible. You treat me like an afterthought, an obligation, a case study, some impossible impostor, like I can’t be in the same room as you, like I can’t hear you talk about me in the third person. Or you forget me entirely. WELL, NOT ANYMORE!” You steal the host’s mic and drop it. It hits the floor with a satisfying thud.

You think to yourself, skin crawling, oh. I guess I’m just a case study.

“Oh,” says your team members.

Or when you display “she/her” in your email signature and realise how that makes you sound.

“Oh,” says the researcher.

“Oh,” says the host.

You think to yourself, oh. I guess I’m setting myself up for trouble. Even though I can use whatever pronouns I want. Present how I want. Be who I want.

“Oh,” says the tutorial attendee.

Or when you find out that the day you were born, March 8th, is International Women’s Day.

“I guess you have a point,” says your mother. “But your birth date isn’t my fault.”

Oh, you think. Pause. That’s actually pretty funny. Fuck you too, world.

You balk. “Mum, what the fuck? I don’t blame you for giving birth to me on a day that coincidentally celebrates women.”

This is a day in your life: You wake up and do your thing, then other people come in and act like you’re someone else. They think you’re a woman, a Venus, an object, a ‘not like other girls’ girl. But you’re not even a girl in the first place? So what the fuck? But you keep that to yourself. It’s safer this way. “PSYCH. FUCK YOU,” you shout. Everyone falls over in shock. Your team members blink. The host lowers their mic. The survey’s researcher gasps. The tutorial attendee stares. Everybody you’ve emailed halts in their reply. Even your mother clutches her pearls. “Respectfully, that is,” you add.

“Oh,” says your email inbox.

“Oh.” She looks at you. Like you’re a broken mirror. Then her arms are around you, awkward as a promise, safe as a cradle, and broken or not, you don’t need fixing. And she has a lot to learn, they all do, and you hope they will learn, for you, for the next person, for themselves. And you will do what you always have: Laugh. Cry. Fight. You say to yourself, “Yeah. I’ve got this.”

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THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SUKEBAN GIRLS WRITTEN BY TIFFANY FONG In the 1960s, Japan saw an increase in allfemale street gangs, mostly made up of teenage girls. These gangs are called sukeban and through their fashion, petty crime and acts of violence – they rebelled against societal norms and expectations, proving that girlhood and strength could coexist. Every subculture comes with a distinctive fashion and for the sukeban, their site of expression was on the sailor-style school uniforms known as seifuku. The students viewed their school uniforms as restricting their ability for self-expression and as a symbol of restriction. By rolling up their sleeves, dyeing their hair, lengthening their skirts, cutting their blouse to show off the waist, and wearing converse shoes, these girls utilised their style to hide weapons like knives, razors, and chains beneath their clothes. Anyone who went to a school with strict uniform rules would know that self-expression can only be done in small acts of rebellion. However while many girls try to get away with shorter skirts, Japanese students during the 1970s lengthened their skirts instead. While the 1960s sexual liberation in the West was celebrated, the long skirts that the sukeban wore protested against the sexualisation of young Japanese girls and their school uniforms. Refusing to be objectified, they challenged Japanese expectations that women were docile and submissive, instead they demanded respect and commanded fear. Even after their graduation some of the sukeban kept wearing their uniforms, customising them even further. Most members were girls from working class families and aware that they were unlikely to climb out of their social circumstances. These gangs, despite their violence and hierarchical structure, provided the girls with a place to belong and a way to

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express their dissatisfaction with society through acts of violence and petty crime. This then leads to the question, what happened to these sukeban girls? Due to their prevalence, sukeban began featuring in pop culture from manga to films, and these girls were portrayed in a way that appealed to the male gaze. However, it was pinku eiga that truly dismantled the subculture by completely undermining its foundations.

Pinku eiga are low budget films and the genre encompasses any Japanese theatrical film that includes nudity or sexual content. Despite these elements, the genre could be described as falling between erotica and pornography. Due to the Japanese film ethics ban on displaying genitals and pubic hair, directors had to creatively allude to sex. Pinku eiga dominated the Japanese film industry from the mid-1960s to the 1980s, achieving popular success and with several films receiving awards from the mainstream film community, demonstrating its popularity. During the 1970s, Japan struggled to compete with American cultural imports and many major film studios produced pinku eiga to remain afloat. In 1971, ‘Pinky Violence’ became a signature genre for the Japanese major film company, Toei (yes, the same Toei that produced Power Rangers, Sailor Moon and One Piece – I take great pleasure in ruining your childhood for you). The genre had a blend of sex, violence, and humour, holding mass appeal for male audiences.

Pinky Violence films utilised phallic symbols and nudity to objectify these fierce, violent, and independent female characters – placing them under the control of the patriarchy. Film buffs that have analysed and reviewed these films often argue that the sukeban archetype showcased women as independent rather than submissive. Additionally, many point to the subversive tone of many of the films, featuring young antiheroes with a general dissatisfaction towards both society and authority. Tellingly, the vast amount of reviews and analysis found online about the Pinky Violence series is written by men. Despite the extreme acts of violence that the female characters carry out on their tormentors in exacting their revenge, the overt sexualisation of female characters for the sexual gratification of a male audience sets back any progress that might have been made. What had started off as a subculture which challenged the patriarchy and enabled young teenage girls to rebel against their sexualisation was effectively undermined through pinku eiga. By the 1980s, VCR tapes were becoming widely owned and the popularity of adult videos surpassed pinku eiga. Additionally, the tightening of censorship policies and new restrictions on ‘pink films,’ led to the end of an era. However, the damage had been done on the unique subculture of sukeban girls.

Toei’s Pinky Violence series successfully appropriated the sukeban’s strength, solidarity, and independence into a sexualised trope that appealed to the male gaze, effectively undermining their method of rebellion. Through degradation and the sexual nature of the genre, the

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FRIDA FEMINIST CLUB BY BRUNA GOMES For feminists, Frida is a symbol. Her paintings and ethics are a stronghold for third-wave feminism, intersectional identity, and radical politics. In our current political climate, Frida is the perfect representation of what young women and girls want to subscribe to. Her face is plastered onto the backs of our denim jackets, sewn into our tote bags, and printed onto our mugs; we wear her face like an indicator of our morals. We don’t have to explain ourselves if we are represented by Frida. Herein lies a danger: we have allowed capitalism to relieve us of feminist responsibility. Instead, we use the symbol of Frida to speak for us. What makes this so dangerous is that wearing Frida as a symbol goes against so much of what she stood for. Her Marxist politics stemmed from her role in the Mexican Communist Party and the necessity for revolution against Mexican colonialism. She wasn’t radical for the sake of being radical – she didn’t use politics as a personality trait. For Frida, her progressive politics was essential to her existence and to the story of Mexico. Her art actively accounted for Indigenous Aztec narratives and glorified Mexican history to the extent that Western history is traditionally glorified. Industrialisation was therefore the enemy of the individualisation and national pride of Frida’s paintings. She witnessed exploitative capitalism in the United States, and painted the threat that commercial culture has on feminism, culture, and identity. Unfortunately, commercialism today is taking advantage of Frida’s identity more than ever. The very underpaid, overexploited people that Frida fought for are the people making our wearable symbols. Garment workers in third-world countries – 85% of which are women – are making our jackets and totes in exchange for minimum wage in inhumane working conditions. Mass production of clothing and accessories with Frida’s face on them are marketed and sold to us like advertisements of a feminist club that we can be a part of. All we have to do to be a part of this club is sip coffee from her plaited hair and stalk the uni campus with her unwavering stare on our backs. Capitalism has become the fast ticket to the Frida Feminist Club. By purchasing these items as ‘cardholders’ of the Frida Feminist Club, we disengage with the politics she stands for, passively ignoring the call to action that today’s feminism still very much requires. In wanting to visually stand alongside Frida, we turn to the commercial version of her. We have found ourselves completely subverting Frida’s legacy by using her enemies to our advantage. We no longer hold ourselves accountable for the feminism and politics we subscribed to. And there is nothing feminist about this. We have turned Frida into our modern-day Jesus. It is as if she went through physical, cultural, and gendered

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adversity in exchange for our inactive, disengaged participation in adversity. She is our martyr, her face plastered to our walls for us to walk past and think, she did so much for us, and continue walking. But we cannot mistake her hard work as an invitation for us to rest. If she is Jesus, then let her be resurrected through our actions. We can still have a Frida Feminist Club – I would be the first member – but it must work in harmony with Frida’s feminism. We can accept that our lives are inherently capitalistic by nature, but not let our values and ideas fall victim to capitalisation and commercialism. While Frida spoke through artistic symbolism, she didn’t do so as a convenience or tool of passivity; her symbols actively posed challenging questions to her audience and rewrote Mexico’s patriarchal and colonial narrative. In the Frida Feminist Club, do not wear her face on your bag. Wear your heart on your sleeve. Call out injustice and demand inclusive representation. Celebrate cultural diversity and create space for gender intersectionality. In other words: engage in action. Hold yourself accountable. I do want to point out that this isn’t a fanclub. I don’t mean this as a gatekeeping distinction: we are all fans before we are fighters. But in the spirit of engaging in action, it is important that we transform our appreciation for her art into advocating for what her art stands for. As fans without active engagement, we can easily fall into the colonial pattern of appropriation and fetishization. We cannot disregard all the inspiration and influence behind her art, either, or else our support is tokenistic and surface-level. In our Frida Feminist Club, we can learn from all the materials she learned from: Mexican votive paintings, surrealism, Mexicanidad, social realists, and folklores. (Again, learn from them, not appropriate.) For our club, her paintings are a map, filled with landmarks and roads which we can follow to discover an unfiltered, culturally rich history that can inform our feminism. Her paintings guide us to explore our identities and the ideologies that shape them – she did not finish the job for us. The map isn’t complete. It is up to us to take back the cultural, political, social land that the patriarchy and industrialisation so thoroughly plundered. Frida is showing us how to. Put down your mugs of coffee. Take off your jackets and roll up your sleeves. Join the club.


CREATIVES


ALL THE WAYS TO HEAT YOUR WAX STRIPS SO THE WAX ACTUALLY STICKS TO YOUR HAIRS WRITTEN BY BRUNA GOMES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

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Put them in the microwave. Wrap them in a wheat bag that you’ve microwaved. Fold the strips into a towel and press them with a hot iron. Keep them under a bowl of boiling water. Lower them into the toaster. Hold them up in a thunderstorm until they get struck by lightning. Take them to a dragon’s lair and ask her to burp. Rest them on the deck in the sun. Or better yet, take a rocket ship to space and hold them up to the sun. Take a submarine into a volcano and hold them to the earth’s core. Sail a boat in the volcano’s stream of eruption and hold them to the lava. If you’ve got a gas stove, hold them over your gas stove. If you’ve got a fireplace, throw them in with the kindling. Forget about them until they melt away.


“IS IT TIME?” WRITTEN BY KAVERI TALUKDER White rain Against a dark black sky. Muddy dirt Clings to my Worn-out shoes. In I walk To a mirrored hallway, Where no mirror showed my True reflection. Different people Wait for me inside each mirror. “Tick, tock, Tick, tock, Is it time?”

I look each person in the eye, I will never allow These parts of me to Dominate over The kinder parts of me. “Tick, tock, Tick, tock, Is it time?” “Come to me,” They sing. I reach the End of the hallway, And open the Dark cobbed-up door,

“Come to me,” They sing.

A child sat in the middle of a Dark and wrecked room, Silently sobbing.

The shackles On their wrists and ankles Run deep.

“Hey, it’s okay, I’m here now, I’ll take care of you.”

“Come to me, Then you can let go, Of worrying about others, And give them a taste of Their own medicine.”

I tell the child as I engulf them in a hug.

“Come to me, I’ll prove to you that You are better than the Mere mortals Of this world.”

For so long I have abandoned the child, From now on I will comfort them.

“Come to me, I’ll give you all the things You desire without Worrying about the consequences.”

It is time, It was time.

From now on, I will comfort the child, Within me, Rather than hiding them away.

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I’M IN LOVE WITH THE SHAPE OF YOU WRITTEN BY OLIVIA CHAN It was overplayed at one point, Blending into our social fabric Like small talk he made at a pit stop On the way home from the game shop. And he liked to play According to her build his car, his PC, his horse The better the build, the more to brag; But if it wasn’t for her build He’d only have a car, a PC, a horse An ‘our Father’ without a Motherland. Yet, all that was left in her hand were second-hand goods Stood up at the side of the road. What if she played out Something that had never been imagined before Something that exceeded her build; Something that she built. Something she could brag about Without the scores penetrating her thighs Or the metres of skin she owns. Something she could show the world Without the scales of ‘justice’ Whispering snarky comments about her build. She built. It was her will.

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COUSIN, FOR YOU WRITTEN BY ASHLEY DUCK

you are gone and past and yet passing tones on warm breath say never forgotten to me, you are the tide sweeping, heaping the strains of memory left on the shore without warning, again, again shall we travel back, together Lake Eucumbene, yes it was where seen were the fish upon the bank poking eyes with sharp sticks, the stench of scaly skin rotting in the blistering summer sun deep voices rousting beyond children’s giggles let’s stay, in memory those that praise you say you were gold they make promises to you watching this for you doing this for you For you, for you this is not a promise, but an ode to a person that once was, just that time has changed you a victim of the death effect again, let’s go back to the cigarette shared on hospital steps the laughter, the smile

what about that 50cc or the unsettling nestles of water beds and rose-scented sheets your time here, it was like sweet, sticky, sickly cane attracting critters and crawlies and they would settle within the thick cover of junior grass festering, poisoning what happened in that time of innocence? where did the infection begin? once more, it’s the last time we’re going back to stained fingers, bottled brew the Dog on the Tuckerbox The Three Blind Mice those ducks in the backyard, a faithful Hills Hoist and home-constructed swings how I ache to be in those summer pools, the red tubs and the old mustard boat walking along the cracked concrete steps the dry country roads on the way back home I see your saddles and whips and boots and silks, swaddles big ears, brown hair oh, wash away these memories, tide wash them away until you come again for you, for you

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THE BROKEN COLUMN WRITTEN BY SWAGATALAKSHMI ROYCHOWDHURY

An adaptation of Robert Frost’s poem ‘A Passing Glimpse.’ Trigger warning: Mentions sexual assault.

I had on an invisible metal corset. Much like Frida, I felt alone. Alone in my thoughts, Alone in my journey. The corset was the cast Keeping me rooted, So that I didn’t fly off the tracks Into the woods. Somewhere along, Those threadbare moments would flash by like Flower(s) from a passing car They are gone before I can tell what they are. Somewhere along, I knew that the flower would die. Who would ask to be deflowered like this? He was someone else: Not the steady driver I knew him to be. I want(ed) to get out of the train As he stealthily grazed his hand Down my underpants and Squeezed a buttcheek. I looked up at him, And he looked back, unashamed. “Don’t be scared,” his eyes said. I name all the flowers I am sure they weren’t For that was no flowery moment. And also because my seven-year-old self Knew not the names of very many flowers. But I do recall the names Frost clearly said they weren’t.

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Indeed, they weren’t fireweed loving (flowers) where woods have burnt– Then what was it that burned And left in me a pile of charred anguish? Not bluebells gracing a tunnel mouth– Then why were his blue balls grazing my lips? Not lupine living on sand and drouth– Perhaps not; all I wanted Was to be a cactus and prick His much-too-close-hips And leave him thrashing about In the oasis. Was something brushed across my mind– Yes, something was. Something unpleasant. Like watercolour paste past my tongue Off the tip of the brush. –That no one on earth will ever find? No Frost no. Find they will, Regardless of whether or not you did. Like you, I too wasn’t In position to look too close I could only look back to that moment, And touch myself, And shudder at those Infernal glimpses.


HOMESICK

WRITTEN BY SWAGATALAKSHMI ROYCHOWDHURY Adrift That day I hopped off the ferry at Manly And strolled past pastel houses… At Manly markets, I ruffled through cardigans, Wondering How they would go With my mother’s sari. I stepped onto warm sand, Past Norfolk Island pine trees, And shivered at surfers surfing Even at seventeen degrees, And I thought of how early My father used to wake up, To go for a brisk walk At the Botanical gardens. I strolled up Grotto Point Lighthouse To escape the cackle of seagulls, And sight cormorants and whales. I sighted engraved boomerangs

On Indigenous rocks And I gazed at them for ages, mystified. It reminded me of my brother’s art. Late evening, Walking up to the wharf, My legs almost gave up… But the caramel gelato Kept me going. And as I drifted into the sea breeze, Hugging myself In my dad’s old sweater, My eyes grew blurry, And I thought of how My little sister would also like To sail past the Opera House With a caramel gelato In her hands. Everywhere I look, I see remnants of you, And I must wait… I must wait… Till I see you again.

Origins of the poem ‘Adrift.’ “It is the constant sunshine, it hides everything but itself,” said Rudi in the movie Ladies in Black. An apt saying that goes for everyone in Sydney. Sydney is an arcade. And we are star-struck children lost in it. Life is beautiful, pleasurable, but mostly on the surface. Nobody talks about struggles, especially about the struggles of international students. Nobody talks about their lived experiences. For me, it has been a struggle not being able to see my family for two years. I wrote the poem, ‘Adrift,’ for my family.

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Ocean I look back on that time I walked From Coogee to Bondi, And think how you would’ve marvelled at the sight; And you wouldn’t have said That I’m going to a ‘desert’ for my higher education. I look at the ocean and see you;

Because all I can remember is how your love Encompasses the ocean. I see you in rectangles Over and over, Until it becomes unbearable; And all I want is your presence, All I want is you next to me, All I want is you to tell me: “It’ll be okay.”

Origins of the poem ‘Ocean.’ She stirred the milk in the pan. She stirred and stirred. The smell of vermicelli kheer was mouthwatering. “Are you going to share?” I asked my housemate Aashi,* when I entered the kitchen. She seemed absent. Lost. When she saw me, she smiled. Her smile did not reach her eyes however. She probably hadn’t heard me. “So will you share?” I ask. “Of course, I will,” she responded. I wished her an “Eid Mubarak” and she wished me back. It was my first time celebrating Eid with my Bangladeshi housemate. However, she did not seem happy that day. “My ammu cried today. Her eyes were red. She said, ‘who am I cooking for when you’re not here?’” She said. “Onek kosto kore thamiyechi.” (Translation: I stopped my mother’s tears with great effort). “Then he called. I was trying not to cry. With great difficulty, I wished him today,” she said, referring to her husband. Aashi misses her family. But her husband is the one she misses the most. She has not seen him in two years. They only got to spend six months with him after marriage before leaving for Australia for her postgraduate studies. Her husband was applying for a spouse visa, but COVID-19 put all their plans to pause. She waits for him, she craves for him, she agonises over every wasted second she isn’t with him. After work, if she isn’t too tired, she would tell me about how work has become a sort of worship to her. “If I’m not working, I feel empty. Hopeless, sort of… Keeping myself in my room, staying cooped up, is for me, a kind of escape,” she said to me. “I could spend time with literally anyone, but my family is all I want.” I wrote this poem ‘Ocean’ in response to her story. *Name has been changed.

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REPEAT OFFENDERS


BOOK REVIEW

THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID BY MADI SCOTT Poor Ernie Diaz. Goddamn Don Adler. Gullible Mick Riva. Clever Rex North. Brilliant, Kind hearted, Tortured Harry Cameron. Disappointing Max Girard. Agreeable Robert Jamison. These are the seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

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Taylor Jenkins Reid’s 2017 novel has made a resurgence in 2021. Almost overnight, it became a book that I couldn’t seem to avoid. It was suggested on TikTok, promoted by Instagram book clubs, even close friends kept asking if I had read it yet, and to be completely honest, I really wasn’t that interested in reading it. There was just something about the cover and the description of the historical fiction novel that didn’t interest me – not that I actually knew anything about it, but I was just certain I didn’t want to join the masses and read historical fiction; it’s just not my go-to genre. But boy, was I wrong. I’m glad I finally caved and downloaded a sample after talking to a friend. I still didn’t have any idea of what the book was about; I was going in blind. But by the first husband – Ernie Diaz, I was hooked. So hooked that I now look forward to reading her more recent novels which have also been highly recommended: Daisy Jones & The Six and Malibu Rising. I really think going in with literally zero expectations and any idea of what I was about to read added to my enjoyment, and I would recommend that everyone else do the same. Seriously. Stop reading this article and go buy the book. * The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo starts with the unlikely interview between magazine reporter Monique Grant and the reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo. Selected to write Evelyn’s biography, Monique is summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment and settles in to hear her story. What emerges is a story that perfectly encapsulates the old Hollywood glamour starting in the ‘50s and winding up throughout the ‘80s to the present day. As someone who really enjoys the odd Gene Kelly or Audrey Hepburn movie and has been known to fall into a rabbit hole regarding some of the drama and gossip of the era, I really think Reid conjures up the perfect character in Evelyn Hugo.


BOOK REVIEW

The amount of detail that is woven into the story, with made up movie titles, production studios, and supporting casts, makes you really ponder if it is all make believe. And it wasn’t just me; there are numerous questions from readers asking if the novel was in fact based on reality because it’s hard to comprehend how effortlessly Reid creates a completely fictional world that feels so real.

you can often be disappointed. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was not like that. Even as the story reached its close, revelation after revelation came out, and with each new piece of information, I was surprised at how well everything clicked into place. The ending was both satisfying and heartbreakingly sad, yet I can’t stop recommending it to friends.

The novel switches between the past and the present in a seamless way, allowing readers to completely immerse themselves in the life of a glamorous movie star.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was a refreshing take on the historical fiction genre, exploring facets of fame that aren’t usually touched upon in novels. As someone who doesn’t tend to pick up anything historical in nature, this book has encouraged me to read more genres outside of my comfort zone and has become one of my favourites reads of 2021.

Even when transported back into reality and following the life of Monique Grant, I was still engrossed. Learning about Evelyn’s life at the same speed as Monique is often tedious, especially with Evelyn’s hints that both you, the reader, and Monique are missing a very large piece of the story. That mystery of trying to piece together the ending with limited amounts of information adds to the suspense of the novel. You know the ending will be surprising, yet you can’t help but keep guessing what the next turn will be. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is full of twists and turns, and no matter how many times I thought I had figured out some part of Evelyn’s life, I was always proven wrong. A biography style book can sound quite dull and slow, yet Evelyn’s life is so full of excitement, heartbreak, and drama that it can be hard not to rush through the story. Without spoiling too much, because I think the surprises add to the greatness of the novel, the exploration of LGBTQ+ relationships from an old-Hollywood point of view was especially noteworthy. The amount of care and detail Reid put into the intertwining storylines was impossible to miss and added a whole other dimension to the insight into the personal lives of golden cinema’s biggest stars. Reading a book that you know has a twist ending can often be difficult to enjoy. You read faster and faster whilst conjuring up all these possibilities in your mind, and once you reach that surprise ending,

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FILM REVIEW

BLACK WIDOW: VILLAINY AND FEAR THROUGH THE FEMALE GAZE WRITTEN BY MUSKAN KHADKA Marvel’s Black Widow starring Scarlett Johanson was never not going to be a success. The long awaited standalone film of the titular character was met with fanfare and excitement so palpable it was almost infallible. Almost. While there were raving reviews for the performances of the likes of Johansson and Pugh, the villain of the story was met with considerable backlash from the public and critics alike. Taskmaster, a seemingly lethal nemesis and who everyone had assumed would be the main villain, is revealed to be Antonia Dreykov — the daughter of Dreykov, who has been controlled by a chip to assassinate her father’s foes. According to the onslaught of criticism, this made for a disappointing, boring and apparently “sexist” villain. I’m not sure what else to say other than if you thought that Taskmaster was the actual villain of the film; critical thinking is not your forte. To spell it out clearly, Dreykov was the main villain. You know, because he was controlling her and countless other women. That’s very bad. True villain behaviour. Although, the distinction makes no difference as Dreykov was met with much of the same backlash — boring, overdone, ill-motivated and ultimately not scary enough. This is where I remind you that Black Widow was a female-centric project, meant to mimic the female gaze and so the villain Dreykov is the perfect amalgamation of real female fear. I’m inclined to say that therefore this means the backlash against Dreykov’s characterisation is male-dominated, but I really don’t know, so I’ll settle for concluding that we’ve been so encompassed by male fantasies, male ambitions, male insecurities, male fears, the male gaze, that we’ve forgotten that to women, men like Dreykov are all too very real and all too terrifying. Here’s a little background on Dreykov if you haven’t watched the film. He presides over the ‘Red Room’ where he essentially trafficks young girls, training them to become elite assassins, of which only one in twenty are deemed competent, and the rest are killed. The ones who survive are stripped of any remaining shred of free will through involuntary hysterectomies and the implantation of mind control chips to force complete obedience. It’s the perfect picture of the commodification and objectification of females to the highest of degrees — extreme in a sense but a very real reality. Men like Dreykov stand out from the history of Marvel villains because he may very well likely embody himself in the form of a politician, a director, a teacher, a coworker (the list really does go on) in our world. Men like Dreykov, who have no extreme cartoonish motive, who get off on power and control, manifest themselves in all corners of our existence, terrorising women across the globe. It’s the reason women are all too familiar with installing three different locks on their door, sharing their locations with their friends everywhere they go, carrying keys between their knuckles when they walk home, clutching their drinks close to them at all times — the fear Dreykov personifies is all too overwhelming and all too close to the truth. It forces us to live a life of compromise and caution, taking away opportunities and potential when we have to choose between staying to enjoy the night or leaving at a safe hour when we remain passive in the face of ridicule so as not to rock the boat. The mere existence of men who are diseased with consuming power brings reprehensible consequences. With laws, institutions and the very fabric of society across the globe defaulted for the male assumption of power, even existing as a woman is a feat in and of itself. In fact, the trafficking of children is projected to worsen into the new decade, with trafficking in women and girls accounting for the majority of sex trafficking victims. Similarly, trends in domestic violence and sexual assault against women has gone up, whether this is because of the pandemic or an increased number of reporting, it really doesn’t matter because the fact remains the same — women are tormented at an alarming rate, and there is no sign of it stopping soon. It is impossible to explain that being disproportionately exposed to these issues comes with a frustrating, blinding anger at the sheer ugliness of the situation. We cannot change the discourse in our lifetime, and we cannot help with an all remedying cure, we cannot eradicate the reality — we can only hope that it does not happen to us or anyone we love or any other woman for that matter. But that too, for the most part, is completely out of our hands. That’s where the fear manifests itself from. Ultimately, the parallels between Dreykov’s Red Room and the oppression of females in our world are frighteningly similar. Dreykov is no Thanos, he doesn’t have an otherworldly agenda threatening the entire universe, but he does instil genuine fear and paranoia in his realism. So to those who found Dreykov an inadequate villain, who didn’t present a problem scary enough for an A-list Avenger to get involved in, I think women would agree that we could only wish we had an Avenger out there taking the real world Dreykov’s down.

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BOOK REVIEW

INVISIBLE WOMEN BY CAROLINE CRIADO PEREZ WRITTEN BY ELEANOR TAYLOR Invisible Women was written by Caroline Criado Perez and released in 2018 and explores the lack of data collected about the experiences of women around the world. Looking into innocuous topics such as public bathrooms and outdoor spaces, Perez reveals how public spaces are designed to facilitate men and subtly exclude women.

women decreases when they have access to more toilets in public spaces and so do health issues such as UTIs. Before reading this book, none of these ideas would have organically crossed my mind. Now whenever I leave the house, I cannot help but think about how the public transport system I use was designed based on male experiences.

From issues that seem trivial such as the size of phones which are designed to fit in men’s hands (which are on average, larger than women) to disturbing topics such as the devastating health ramifications that can occur when women are misdiagnosed due to their sex, Perez covers huge ground in just over 400 pages.

An early example Perez used was snow-ploughing. How could snow-ploughing be sexist? Well, it turns out that in Sweden roads were being cleared of snow and pavements were not. Men tend to monopolise car use, women tend to be pedestrians. Because roads were being prioritised, pedestrians were forced to use snowy paths. Most of these pedestrians were women and they were more likely to be injured as a result of icy conditions. Not only did clearing paths as well enable women to travel faster but it saved communities money because resources no longer went to female pedestrians in hospitals who had fallen on ice.

Most impressively, this book is readable. As an avid reader, I often struggle to read books laden with data and find them confusing most of the time. However, Perez presents data in an accessible way so that anyone regardless of their general knowledge will be able to understand the topic at hand. Eliane Glaser put it best when she said “the problem with feminism is that it’s just too familiar.” Mainstream feminism focuses largely on white women and their victimhood at the hands of the patriarchy. The result is that feminist discussions are often tired and ineffective, repeating the same #girlboss talking points which have been expressed for years now. Perez’s discussion of feminism is intersectional and refreshing; based on data, Perez does an excellent job shining a light on the experiences of a wide array of women. One case study looks into the experiences of women and works safety hazards, zooming in on nail salon workers in the UK; often immigrant Asian workers who are paid poor wages and easy targets of exploitation. Perez discusses the health problems unique to femaledominated industries. What makes Insivible Women unique is the way Perez uses her seemingly infinite data and case studies to shine a light on topics left out of mainstream feminist discussion. The fantastic thing about data is that it is quantifiable and it shows what would otherwise be missed in feminist discussions. For example, we know that on average women work more than men each week if unpaid labour is included. We know that there is a strong link between public bathrooms and sexual assault. Violence against

Medicine is often based on “the average man” who is about 40 years old and weighs 70kgs and Perez provides endless examples illustrating how this default male thinking will impact female health and result in unnecessary deaths. Furthermore, our attempts to design gender-neutral cities does not lead to gender equality because when we consider a ‘scientist’ we all mentally still picture white men. The default is still male thinking, therefore designing societies around this simply accommodates men and ignores women. There is no huge complicated theory behind Perez’ work, the focus is on data and the inequality created by both a lack of data surrounding women and the existing data being ignored. Perez’ statement is simple; inequality is automatic in a world designed for men. Overall, Perez has done an exceptional job presenting a heavily researched data-driven critique of our society, which is most importantly readable and suited to a wide audience. I would absolutely recommend Invisible Women to anyone looking for a feminist read without super intense theory, which focuses on comprehendible statistics.

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RESOURCES

FEMINIST RESOURCES 2021 WRITTEN BY JENNIFER LE AND GRACE PHAM

BOOKS Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall This book is honestly a must for everybody, especially those who have just begun their feminist journey. Hood Feminism accurately portrays why intersectional feminism is the only true type of feminism. Growing up as a poor Black woman in America, Mikki Kendall draws on her lived experiences to deeply explain how the systemic issues of class and race are just as harmful to women as misogyny is. She draws on how there must be a fight for basic resources such as a woman’s access to food security, quality education and medical care, instead of solely focusing on issues mainly affecting privileged women. Kendall explains her arguments in very digestible terms, making her novel both accessible and engaging. This book is by far my favourite feminist novel. It’s Not About the Burqa: Muslim Women on Faith, Feminism, Sexuality and Race by Mariam Khan This book is eloquently written by a host of diverse Muslim women diving into their shared but unique struggles. Throughout the book, each woman shares their heartfelt stories of how their Muslim identity and culture had influenced their lives. Told through elegance and humour, these essays remind readers that the oppression Muslim women face does not come from their Islamic faith. It’s not about the Burqa taught me a lot about the intersections of religion, race and misogyny within the Muslim diaspora, and reminded me how Muslim women are not a monolith. A huge recommendation for anyone. This book is a short and easy read and will leave you smiling. F**k No! by Sarah Knight Yes, this book is as aggressive as it sounds! Sarah is blunt but very straightforward and to the point. I think this could make a good resource for young females out there because her words of wisdom are something I wish I knew when I was younger. The moral of the story is that it teaches you when and how to say ‘no’ when you’re supposed to, and ultimately, to keep boundaries for yourself and not to sacrifice self-time to say otherwise just because of the guilt you feel when asked to do something. Boys will be boys by Clementine Ford This book is the perfect book for any baby feminists who want to learn about how the patriarchy has heavily instilled toxic entitlement and masculinity in boys from the womb. Boys will be boys is an interesting read as it focuses on how misogyny first manifests from how we raise our sons and the type of ‘man’ we want him to be. Ford’s angle in this book is very fresh and teaches us to place the onus on how we treat and raise men, as that subsequently influences how society at large treats women. Ford explores how toxic masculinity not only ruins the lives of women but also men. Ford is absolutely hilarious in this book and writes in a very engaging and almost conversational manner.

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RESOURCES MOVIES Moxie (2021) - Netflix Moxie stars a high school teen who starts up ‘Moxie,’ her own zine that anonymously calls out the sexism that happens at her school. Throughout the movie, Moxie gains lots of love from students and also hate from those who the zine criticises. Moxie greatly riles up momentum amongst students angry at the blatant misogyny that happens daily at their school, which eventually leads to a mini feminist revolution within the school. This movie is hilarious, relatable and has the cutest romance. A must watch for everyone, especially those who want to build their knowledge on feminism. A 10/10! Tall Girl (2019) - Netflix Tall Girl is a story about a teenage girl named Jodie who struggles with her difference, her 6-foot-1 height. While Stig — a Sweden exchange male student receives admiration for his good looks and outstanding height, Jodi was judged and even bullied for her unique trait. This experience has tremendously impacted the way Jodi sees herself but above all, “we have two choices. We can lay low, or we can stand tall,” said Jodi. At the end of the movie, Jodi is finally able to pick up the courage to stand up for herself against the bullies and against the common norms. Ultimately, Jodi’s experience empowers women to find the strength to stay confident in themselves, accept who they are and that everybody is deserving of love! (8/10)

PODCASTS Here’s the thing tho, with Soaliha Soaliha is a young Muslim WOC from Mount Druitt, Sydney who gives radical eye-opening takes on contemporary social issues. She has lived experiences of what intersectional feminism is all about and is absolutely hilarious and explains nuanced concepts in very digestible terms. This podcast is and will always be my favourite because I have never resonated with both the host and podcast topics more. Growing up in a similar context as Soaliha, being from a working-class immigrant Asian family from Western Sydney, I never get to truly hear about similar experiences within these podcast platforms. Whilst talking about events that do not directly affect her, Soaliha also delves into the struggles she faces given her identity. Her episode ‘The Struggle of Being a Child of Immigrants’ strongly resonated with me and it felt like the thoughts I had always half-constructed were finally made clear. Her podcast both validates my personal struggles as a second-generation immigrant WOC, whilst also greatly educating me on what I must learn and do in able to become a better feminist and ally. From criticising white feminism and its weaponisation of tone policing to shut down the voices of women of colour through to discussing #FreeBritney as feminist discourse, Soaliha passionately explains why we must all care about these various feminist issues and in turn, discusses how we can all work together to stop them. Join Soaliha every fortnightly Wednesday to decolonise your mind as she discusses politics, pop culture and the never-ending capitalist landscape. Her Instagram: @Soalihaofficial

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RESOURCES Do you f*****g mind? By Alexis Fernandez Alexis Fernandez is a pilates instructor and personal trainer living here in Sydney. She’s currently completing a neuroscience master’s degree at USYD. With her love for neuroscience and helping people smash their fitness goals, she created this podcast to again, help people to align their physical and training mindset every day. Yet, that’s not all! As a person who went through a really bad relationship with herself and with her partner in the past, she’s now inspiring women to stand up for themselves and just basically be whoever the f* they want to be. ‘Be bold’ is her life motto and that’s also the title of her new book if you want to check that out. Her Instagram: @alexispredez

The Bechdel cast This hilarious podcast analyses an array of movies from all different genres and intended audiences, in how well they portray women in movies from an intersectional radical feminist lens. Caitlin and Jamie go in-depth on various features such as certain tropes directors may use, how different characters treat women in the movie and even background on the directors and actors themselves. They analyse mainly popular movies ranging from Shrek to Hustlers, but also analyse underrated movies occasionally too such as The Watermelon Woman. Their Instagram: @bechdelcast

INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS Influencers @Soalihaofficial Whilst hosting her Here’s the Thing Tho, with Soaliha podcast fortnightly, Soaliha is also very active on Instagram, especially when there are major events occurring that relate to systemic injustices. Soaliha details her incredibly nuanced opinions on such events whilst also ensuring it is read in engaging ways that her audience can understand and thus learn from. She also uses her Instagram as a way to promote her podcast, update her podcast listeners about her podcast and what episodes she plans to upload, and also reposts the articles she writes for various publications. @chanelc Chanel Contos is a young woman from Sydney who has taken Australia by storm with her petition calling for better sex education in Australia, particularly pertaining to consent. Since her first petition (made off a google form) launched in February 2021, Chanel’s petition has rallied tens of thousands of signatures and thousands of anonymous testimonies, including from herself. Her petition has continued snowballing into a massive campaign garnering activism from many passionate individuals across Australia, protesting for better sex education in Australian schools. @farida.d.author Farida is a feminist author who publishes her short but sharp poems on Instagram. It is truly amazing to see how in so few words, Farida manages to shake worlds, beliefs and validate the struggles women face daily. Farida’s poetry discusses the range of issues manifested by the patriarchy. The main topics of these poems include consent to sex, the sexual objectification of women and the slut-shaming which entails from that, and in general patriarchy/misogyny as a systemic issue.

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RESOURCES @blairimani Blair is a Muslim bisexual WOC who creates engaging and informative reels and infographics on different topics for her audience to learn from. Her Instagram reels series ‘Smarter in Seconds’ makes it easy for beginner feminists and allies to learn various terms often used in political discourse. Her reels have discussed topics such as the wage gap, critical race theory and gender. Blair educates her followers on a spectrum of different issues, especially given her intersecting identities and their respective struggles.

Organisations fighting violence against women

Media Accounts The following accounts listed below are all quite similar in that they are all news centred platforms that commentate on contemporary events pertaining to systemic injustices, whilst also posting educational resources about feminist issues. I love all these pages because they are easy to read as short texts, very aesthetically pleasing and/or quick to read, and discuss events and issues pertaining to intersectional feminism which can vastly range from updates of Britney Spears’ current conservatorship to succinctly explaining how to be an ally to Indigenous peoples. These pages also host many fundraisers for causes and provide many resources to pages and charities. • • • • • • • •

@Impact @intersectional.abc @nastyfeminism @cheekmediaco @activislam @angryasianfeminist @asianactiviist @diet_prada

• • • • • • • • •

@teachusconsent @consentlabs @yasv_australia @nsw.yasv @respectnowalways @1800respect_australia @dvnsw @womens.girls.emergency.centre @parrawomensshelter

Artists • • •

@liberaljane @amir.khadar @emulsify.art

Sex education accounts • • •

@clitsandconsent @school_sexed @weareungirls

SONGS • • • • • • • •

Run the world (Girls) — Beyonce Flawless — Beyonce Pretty’s on the inside — Chloe Adams Fight song — Rachel Platten Incredible — James TW Body Count — Jessie Reyez (Normani + Kehlani) remix Independent Women, Pt. 1 — Beyonce Mama — Jennifer Lopez

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RESOURCES MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY SOCIETIES Macquarie University Women’s Collective The Macquarie Women’s Collective is a community space dedicated to women and non-binary students and staff. Intersectional feminism is at our core front, we fight for gender and first nations justice. The Macquarie Women’s Collective executives work for this collective space to be brave and culturally safe. It is a space for learning, growing, sharing, unpacking, skill-sharing and activism. • • •

Instagram: @mq.woco Facebook: Macquarie University Women’s Collective Facebook group: MQ WoCo 2021 (find through the Facebook page)

Macquarie University Queer Collective The Macquarie University Queer Collective is here to support and represent all students on campus who identifies as queer. They have a Queer Space, located in Level 3 in the MUSE building, which is a welcome space to all gender identities and sexualities. They mainly use that space as a social area for people to get to know new people and gain support and resources. • Instagram: @mqu_queerco • Facebook: Macquarie University Queer Collective • Facebook group: Please contact macqueer@gmail.com if you would like to be added to their secret Facebook group. Amnesty Macquarie University Amnesty International is a diverse and democratic movement of people who share fundamental human rights values — dignity, freedom, justice, equality and a fair go for all. Macquarie University has its own branch under Amnesty International where students can campaign to give a voice to those who’ve had theirs taken away. • •

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Instagram: @amnesty.mq Facebook: Amnesty Macquarie University


horoscopes by Jodie Ramodien

ARIES

TAURUS

LEO

Feeling chatty all of a sudden? That’s what happens when you wait until Week 12 to earn your participation mark.

That warm fuzziness you’re feeling isn’t because of a new crush, it’s global warming.

Taku’s going to win Love Island, put money on it.

CANCER

GEMINI

VIRGO

Fucked up pretty bad lately? That’s okay! Just change your name! All the cool corporate giants are doing it.

Watching videos about procrastination is still procrastinating.

Sometimes you like to eat a Kit-Kat without snapping it apart, just to watch people squirm.

LIBRA

SCORPIO

PISCES

If you googled ‘suspicious bump on genitals’ this week, please go get that checked.

~Insert timely reference~

CAPRICORN

AQUARIUS

SAGITTARIUS

42. Bit of a deep cut.

You’ve started an assignment three hours before the deadline before and today you’re gonna do it again.

You don’t have insomnia. You just have anxiety, four assessments due, and a run-in with a Karen who’s thrown the crumpled remains of her mask at your face. Fix those problems and you’ll sleep fine.

Squid

Game

‘Mamma Mia’ isn’t a song, it’s a lifestyle.

55


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