FOOD | FIRE | FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS
GRAPHICS BY RACHEL MORLEY
CONTENTS 02 03 04 06 08 09 10 12 14 15 16 18 19 20 22 23 24 25 26 28 30 32 36 40 42 43 44 44 46 49 50 52 54 55 56 57 58 59
Editorial Contributors The Team Girls Just Want To Have Fun-damental Rights A Year in Review Photos on Campus Time to Change Course Ladies, Welcome to The Cult of Football Not that Kind of Feminism, Please When I Grow Up Wonderful Woman Hair Radfat The Adoption of Lesbian Fashion The Devilâ€™s Treat Period Power Gender is My Iron Cage Foremother: A Tribute to Audre Lorde The Secrets to Preserving Growing A Family The Diary of a 20 Year Old Dutch Immigrant Recipes from Mum Sans Underpants Bubble Gum Pink The Sunflower Question To the Station What Every Bitch on Fire Insular Not All Honey This is Not a Poem, This is A Bus Lisa There Was For Her Wine And I Hope Golden Acceptance
Hi lovelies, we’re Ilsa and Esther.
PHOTO BY MONIQUE O’RAFFERTY
Thank you for picking up a copy of Judy’s Punch, the annual Women’s Department publication. This year is the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Department, which means it’s older than either of us and so we’ve tried to pour a quarter of a century’s worth of love into this lil mag to commemorate. Judy’s Punch is all about celebrating women and non-binary people, and the beautiful things we create together. Without our incredible collective, we wouldn’t exist. We would love to thank our subeditors, for all their work making the writing sing even more beautifully than it already did, along with all our graphics contributors, for bringing it to life in such incredible ways. We’re in awe of you, as we are all the writers and contributors who saw our social media call-outs or stopped by the Women’s stalls and collectives for strawberries and endless cups of tea. There wouldn’t be a magazine in your hands without you. Judy’s Punch is a generation old now, with generations of stories and recipes before us, so we also thank all the women who came before and paved the way for us to say these things loud and proud. We would also like to thank a few particular golden nuggets who saved and helped us along the way. Our mum, Amie Green, answered millions of questions, guided us and filled a huge Google Drive with resources — all while making art to fill our pages. Lauren Hunter is the coolest person we know, and she went above and beyond with the cover art. It’s so cool, almost as amazing as she is herself. Moni O’Rafferty hugged us, scanned flowers, stood with us in the rain, helped put things in layout, but most importantly is half of #monilsa, the dreamiest team. We also have endless love and gratitude for Hannah Billett, who was so chill and cool, both giving us wonderful ideas as we went on this journey and letting us have our way with our pink baby Judy. We love her lots and hope you do too, as you flick through her pages. Love, Ilsa and Esther.
Judy’s Punch is the magazine of the Women’s Department of the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU). Judy’s Punch is published by the General Secretary of UMSU, Yaasmine Luu. The views expressed herein are not neccesarily the views of UMSU, the Women’s Department, or Judy’s Punch printers or editors. Judy’s Punch is printed by Printgraphics, care of Nigel Quirk. All artwork and writing remains the property of the creators.
GRAPHICS BY MONIQUE O’RAFFERTY Editors Hannah Billett Ilsa Harun Esther Le Couteur
Subeditors Sophie Chauhan Noni Cole Kareena Dhaliwal Katie Doherty Belle Gill Neala Guo Lisa Linton Ashleigh McNichol Lara Navarro Monique O’Rafferty Ruby Perryman Danielle Scrimshaw Felicity Sleeman Zoe Stephens Stephanie Zhang Cover Lauren Hunter Inside Cover Rachel Morley Inside Back Cover Lilly McLean Graphics Contributors Amie Green Lauren Hunter Ayonti Mahreen Huq Clara Cruz Jose Julia Lee Lisa Linton Lilly McLean Rachel Morley Amani Nasarudin Monique O’Rafferty Amelia Saward Morgan-Lee Snell Contributors Lucy Andrews Madeline Bailey Ashleigh Barraclough Belinda Bhatia Sarah Bostock Sophie Chauhan Ikumi Cooray Jacinta Dowe Rebecca Fowler Amie Green Adelaide Greig Morgan Hopcroft Lauren Hunter Qaisara Mohamad Farah Khairat Sarah Lee Annie Liew Ellan Lincoln-Hyde Kirsty McKellar Andie Moore Rachel Morley Monique O’Rafferty Ruby Perryman Christina Schmidt Magenta Sheridan Felicity Sleeman Morgan-Lee Snell Zoe Stephens Lily Ward Erica Williams Caitlin Wong Stephanie Zhang
GRAPHICS BY LAUREN HUNTER
Hannah Billett Hannah is the 2017 UMSU Women’s Officer and an unpaid promoter of menstrual cups. She love cats, vodka and Doc Martens, and has finally perfected the art of essay writing while watching Netflix.
Neala Guo Neala has recently discovered cream cheese bagels and the film Synecdoche, New York, and has spent the last month consuming too much of both. She is unrivalled to win ‘outfit repeater of the year’ award, 2017.
Sophie Chauhan Sophie is an 18 year old brown lesbian. She likes watching reality TV with her girlfriend and talking to strangers on the couches at Yah Yah’s. One day, she hopes to gain academic tenure and/ or sufficient job security to coparent a family of rats.
Lauren Hunter Lauren is an animation student with a passion for creating artworks that primarily focus on ideas of femininity, and body modification. On those rare occasions where she is away from the VCA, Lauren can be found lurking in the Rowden White Library, or playing guitar. Stalk her arty things @lowenhunter.
Noni Cole Noni spends a lot of time eating gnocchi and patting other people’s dogs and cats. She also loves glitter. Lots of glitter, always.
Ilsa Harun Ilsa is doing her Masters of Marketing Communications. Her loves include cats, travel, photography, making pom pom earrings and working with wonderful women to make a magazine. For all her travel photography find her on Instagram @ilsatravels.
Kareena Dhaliwal Kareena studies creative writing and is sometimes decent at playing the harp. She likes doing lighting for weird theatre things. She still will not shut up about gender and race analysis of Harry Potter. Eventually she will get around to graduating.
Ayonti Mahreen Huq Ayonti is a Bangladeshi postgrad student majoring in International Business. An avid lover of arts and aesthetics, she uses them to highlight her passion for minority rights and women empowerment. She always prioritizes procrastination over productivity while sipping on Chai. Her work can be found on @proartcrastinator on Instagram. Clara Cruz Jose Clara is a second-year animation student. She likes to spend her time getting all the sleep or none at all, and stealing bland biscuits from student lounges. Some say she has shark eyes. Find her @claracruzjose on all of the social meeds.
Katie Doherty Katie is a third year Arts student and chronic procrastinator who left writing this bio until long past the last minute. She enjoys subediting because it allows her to correct minor grammatical errors without looking like a prescriptivist asshole.
Belle Gill Belle is fun at parties. She just stands in the middle of the room and doesn’t say anything.
Esther Le Couteur Esther’s doing her Honours in English on Australian women writers. She loves poems, smelling babies’ heads and sitting around under a tree, any tree.
Amie Green A lover of trash art and writing, and an enemy to pelicans, Amie is studying a Masters of Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing. She’s been involved in student media for almost 2 years, and is a 2017 Co-editor of Farrago.
Julia Lee Julia enjoys lazing around in bed and struggles to get up for class in the morning. A commerce student on a regular day, her other areas of interest include wood fire pizza, street fashion and exploring places whether it be a new bar or new city.
Ruby Perryman Ruby likes bean sprouts and the way the light leaks in through her bathroom window at four in the afternoon. She spends much time being angry and explaining why. She’s a second year Bachelor of Arts Student but can’t pronounce Baillieu. Morgan-Lee Snell drew this picture of her.
Lisa Linton Lisa is a subbie and graphie for Judy’s Punch. Lisa loves a $2.60 bottle of shiraz merlot from Aldi and getting a solid 12 hours of sleep. In her spare time she likes to eat cheese and soak up some sun. When she’s not doing these things, she’s covered in glitter listening to Bowie.
Lilly McLean Lillian (she/her) is a local gentle giant and plant serenader. She has difficulty pricing her art, so she trades with hummus. Find her on Instagram @lillian_mclean.
Amelia Saward Amelia has just finished her honours in art history and is particularly passionate about feminism in the arts and history. She likes to write and create things, stare at the magic of everyday beauty and is possibly addicted to tea. Find her on Instagram @ameliasawardart.
Ashleigh McNichol Ash is a third-year criminology & politics major who enjoys correcting engineering student’s grammar and hopes to spend her life writing near the beach, drinking beer and owning a pug.
Danielle Scrimshaw Danielle was fashioned from a special blend of sugar, spice and 80s synth pop. She loves writing because she is yet to perfect her social and verbal communication skills – despite this, she desperately wants to talk to you about Art. Go find her in the library’s history section.
Rachel Morley Rachel is an avid hoarder, ‘70s aesthetics enthusiast, and French/Art History major. She has never shaved her legs, and owns 5 shades of orange lipstick (all are necessary and good). You can find more of her collage work on her art insta (of which she keeps changing the name) @tendre.citron.
Felicity Sleeman Felicity is a Capricorn/Hufflepuff who enjoys over-analysing TV shows and befriending dogs. She aspires to be a mermaid when she grows up. Follow her on Twitter @felicityjbs.
Amani Nasarudin A second year psychology student who can’t wait to get out of uni! Besides volunteering for psychology, she composes music, plays classical and does art in her free time (which is close to none). Oh, and she can have boiled eggs for breakfast everyday too???? Find her on Instagram, @amanidraws.
Morgan-Lee Snell Morgo is a really cool gal probably the coolest gal you’ll ever meet! Email her compliments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lara Navarro Lara is a starving artist type with a penchant for the dark and twisty. She is pursuing a double major in Creative Writing and Media and Communications, hoping to one day be able to afford a roof with a writer’s salary.
Zoe Stephens Zoe is an Arts student majoring in Media and Communications and in Screen and Cultural studies. She loves movies, intersectional feminism, cats, and getting into heated debates. Her favourite televised moment is Lisa Simpson’s rant on the talking Malibu Stacy doll, which inspires her on a daily basis.
Monique O’Rafferty Monique is a social media extraordinaire, writing enthusiast, passionate designer and radio trash talker studying Masters of Marketing Communications. She is passionate about student media and the weird and wonderful creations it fosters. In her spare time she creates watercolour and mixed media art, propagates succulents and experiments in the kitchen.
Stephanie Zhang Steph is a Big Nerd™ who can’t stop listening to music and is stuck in the never-ending reading list of her English Lit major. She’s always cold in the winter and doesn’t like doing the dishes, and she has an ever-expanding collection of tea.
CONTENT WARNING: sexual assault and harassment (mentions), food (mention)
GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN-DAMENTAL RIGHTS WORDS BY HANNAH BILLETT GRAPHICS BY UMSU WOMEN
When I first entered the UMSU Women’s Office in December last year, I was struck by a sense of history. There were sweet words from my predecessor, Adriana, on the whiteboard, the names of many other former Women’s Officers on the wall and a collection of feminist stickers on the furniture which dated back to the ‘90s. The UMSU Women’s Department is 25 years old in 2017, which seems both very young and quite old. Women’s activism and collectivism has a long history at this university and many of its institutions, including this magazine, predate the department. It was the generations of women who have studied, socialised and flourished at this university who were on my mind each day as I did my best for the current crop of diverse and brilliant university women students. The activities of the Women’s Department started off with an explosion of colour and calories with our stall on the first day of the inaugural Summerfest (or O Week, for those who didn’t see the marketing). We had a delicious picnic and invited women students into the tent to write on our banner. It asked a simple question – “why are you a feminist?” – but the responses were as varied as the women who wrote them. We also distributed the new calico tote bags for the year, marked with the phrase “girls just wanna have fun-damental rights”. I must admit I still get a thrill every time I see a woman out and about with their tote bag – I’m glad people use them. However, the orientation festivities did not stop there. We had the incredible Van Badham speak to us about the challenges facing modern feminism, particularly the need to be inclusive in an increasingly unequal world. Issues of race, class and sexuality were all touched upon at what turned out to be one of the best attended events of the orientation period. Summerfest also saw the first collectives of the year for both the Women’s Collective and the Women of Colour Collective. The two week extravaganza was capped off by GRRRLS Rock!, a girl band concert featuring local female talent. The summery vibes were wonderful and I hope people found it an engaging start to the new year of the Women’s Department. International Women’s Day was a resounding success for the department. We had a fun sign painting session the day before, which attracted new faces to to share their creativity with us. On the day itself, women and male allies met up for a sushi picnic in the Carlton Gardens before heading down to Parliament House for the beginning of the march. I still get very anxious at protests and I know I’m not alone, so going to the rally with company was a nice way of making sure people felt comfortable. Our signs looked awesome and it was a wonderfully unifying experience. The year also saw us collaborate with a number of different departments. During the first semester, we participated in Diversity Week, run by the new People of Colour Department. The Women’s Department worked with our friends in the Queer Department to run a panel on diversity and representations in the arts and media, which featured Faustina Agolley, best known to most people as Fuzzy from Video Hits. Touching on her more recent activism, she engaged with ideas around identity with the students in attendance. Another fascinating collaboration came later on in the year with Women in Higher Ed Week. A big shout out needs to go to Education Officers Sinead and Caley for their work on this week, which was capped off by a speech from notable UniMelb alum Alice Pung and a screening of the Turkish feminist film Mustang. Due to feedback that some women and queer people found the name to be intimidating or alienating, Rad Sex and Consent Week was rebranded as Sexplorations. Taking place in Week 7 as a collaboration between the Women’s, Queer, Welfare, People of Colour and Education Departments, we hosted a number of events aimed at exploring sex, consent and intimacy in a comfortable space, as well as to break down the taboos around discussing these subjects with friends. As first semester drew to a close, we also participated in the Welfare Department’s Stress Less Week, hosting a crafting session with delicious baby cupcakes. These kind of collaborations open the department up to new interested women and also reinforce the idea that being a woman does not mean the same thing for everyone because of social and political factors. Plus, on a personal level, it is always a delight to work with my talented and passionate colleagues in UMSU.
When people ask me what my job as Women’s Officer involves, I always say that it has two parts. The first is the fun and engaging stuff, as detailed above. The second is the invisible, and often thankless, work I do behind the scenes to try and improve life for women on campus. It is a task that is as enormous as it is existential, but each Women’s Officer does their bit by chipping away at the behemoth that is gender inequality on campus. This year was a particularly challenging one with the release of the survey into sexual harassment and assault on campus by Universities Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission. I would like to credit my predecessor Adriana and the rest of the 2016 Office Bearers for promoting this survey so heavily during the submissions stage. Their work meant that the University of Melbourne had one of the highest response rates, and thus some of the best data. After months of delays, the results of the survey were finally released on the first of August this year. The results were expected to be bad and indeed they were. The University of Melbourne had quite typical (or typically bad) results for most questions, except for the level of knowledge about how to report sexual assault. Here students have a considerably lower level of knowledge than their peers nation-wide. This, along with other findings, informed the writing of UMSU’s recommendations to the university, as well as the strategies we used when meeting with the university. I worked with the president, Yan, to lobby the university for an extra seat for a student representative on the Respect Taskforce, the peak body for sexual assault and harassment issues on campus, as well as negotiating for other opportunities for student and survivor voices to be heard. Responding to the survey results and dealing with the scourge of sexual violence on campus is something that will cover the terms of many Women’s Officers to come. Another role the Women’s Officer plays is to advise other departments on how to make their events more woman-friendly and safe, and it has been a pleasure to do this. Given that we now know that a significant number of sexual assaults take place during the orientation period, there is a duty on the whole UMSU organisation to make sure its policies and procedures are appropriate and effective. Perhaps the hardest part of my job as Women’s Officer is being a support person for women students who have experienced sexual assault or harassment. The Women’s Department is often the first port of call for women seeking to understand their options after being the victims of such hideous acts and it is my job, as neither a counsellor nor lawyer, to be a friend and suggest options for professional support. Being trusted by these women is a humbling thing and never fails to make me think of me why I ran for this position in the first place. Some question the need for a Women’s Department in 2017, where women students are now the majority, but seeing these women in my office is a stark reminder that university campuses continue to be hostile places for women. Cultures exist within the student population which normalise or justify assault and harassment and university institutions are not well equipped to deal with these sensitive issues in a way that would promote trust from survivors. Thus we all have our part to play in creating change on this campus. For some people like me, whose skills lie in conversations and reading reports, getting involved in the governance of the student union is the way to go. For others, attending collectives and helping to create a safe space for women to talk about their experiences is where you will play your role, and for others it is being a friend who will walk someone to their tram stop late at night and be a trusted confidant if one of your classmates needs support. The Women’s Department exists to provide women with opportunities to thrive at university while fighting for their right to learn in a safe and inclusive environment. Leading this department in 2017 has been a great honour and I am incredibly lucky to have met so many brilliant and inspiring women along the way. My best wishes to Molly and Kareena who will be taking over next year, and to the generations of women who will follow and help this department grow. You all have something special to contribute and you absolutely should jump into this department headfirst.
A YEAR IN REVIEW
WHAT HAS 2017 MEANT FOR WOMEN EVERYWHERE? GRAPHICS BY AMELIA SAWARD
Breaking the Stigma Australia’s first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard is appointed to head Beyondblue.
Trump’s America Large protests were held on International Women’s Day to counter the election of Donald Trump.
Justice Served India’s supreme court rules ‘triple talaq’ divorce unconstitutional, protecting women’s rights after over 70 years of activism against it.
“We can do more, and we must” The passing of Fiona Richardson, tireless advocate and first ever minister for the prevention of family violence.
Going Gender Neutral MTV removed gendered awards from its award shows. Women in AFL With 2017 being the first year of the women’s professional league of AFL, Australia’s male-dominated football culture has seen a big development in terms of equal inclusion of the sexes. More on p. 11. Wonderful Women Wonder Woman is now the highest-ranking opening weekend for a film directed by a female director. More on p. 16.
We Wear the Pants Girls set to win the right to wear shorts and pants in all Victorian state schools.
#imwithher Hillary Clinton releases her book on the 2016 election What Happened where she discusses factors she feels lead to her loss. Halima Aden becomes the first hijab-wearing model to star on the cover of major fashion magazines, saying, “I want girls like that to be able to flip through a magazine and see someone who looks like them. So why would I take my hijab off?”
Prioritising Inclusivity Rihanna releases her make up line Fenty Beauty with over forty shades of foundation.
WOMEN ON CAMPUS PHOTOS BY KIRSTY MCKELLAR
Kirsty is finishing her degree at the University of Melbourne this year, majoring in Politics and German. She enjoys shooting in 35mm film as she believes that its unique aesthetic quality captures the way the moment is experienced by the photographer in ways that other mediums, such as digital photography often do not. In this way she feels it is a very honest medium.
CONTENT WARNING: sexual assault (mention), violence, swearing
TIME TO CHANGE COURSE WE CARE, AND YOU ARE NOT ALONE BY ASHLEIGH BARRACLOUGH GRAPHICS BY AMIE GREEN
I often think about how lucky I am to have been born when I was. My place at one of Australia’s top universities as a woman is not questioned – a privilege that my grandmother’s generation and those before it did not have. Statistics show that women now make up more than half of the student population in Australian universities. When it comes to women enrolling in tertiary education, the gender gap has well and truly closed. Yet, there is another, much more formidable gender gap at play which has remained largely unstudied and undocumented up until very recently. Amongst the women I share a campus with at the University of Melbourne, approximately 36 per cent were sexually harassed and 1.9 per cent were sexually assaulted in a university setting in 2016. Last year, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) conducted a national prevalence survey into university students’ experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment. The survey was instigated by advocacy group The Hunting Ground Australia Project (THGAP), which began discussions with the AHRC and Universities Australia in late 2015. By February 2016, all 39 Australian universities had agreed to take part. On August 1, the AHRC released the survey data in a report titled Change The Course: National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian Universities. Survivors and advocates already knew that the data would be shocking, but developing comprehensive and substantive evidence of the prevalence of sexual assault and sexual harassment was crucial. It ensures that the public knows the extent of the issue, and that universities cannot deny what is happening on their campuses. The data did indeed make it clear. It shows that 27 per cent of University of Melbourne respondents were sexually harassed in a university setting in 2016, but only 2 per cent made a complaint to the university and only 3 per cent sought support from the university. Above all, the data shows that the university is failing us. Of those who were sexually assaulted on campus, 68 per cent said that they knew nothing or very little about where they could go to seek support and 71 per cent knew nothing or very little about where they could report the incident. The national average figures were not great, but the University of Melbourne’s were substantively worse. Indeed, information from the university on seeking support and making a report is difficult to locate. Posters around campus list the contact numbers for campus security and the Safer Community Program, but that’s about as far as the details go. The Safer Community Program is the university’s support and reporting service for students who have experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault. The website says that the program offers a place to talk, safety advice, and referral information and assistance. However, there’s a lot of ambiguity surrounding the actual process involved. The University of Melbourne Student Union’s (UMSU) Women’s Officer, Hannah Billett, has found that “Safer Community is quite confusing for a lot of students.” “A lot of students are almost intimidated to participate or to go there for advice because they don’t know what happens – it’s sort of like entering a black box.” In UMSU’s responding statement to the AHRC survey results, President Yan Zhuang expresses that certain University websites perpetuate sexist cultures by “boasting safety tips implying that female students are fully responsible for what happens to them. These ‘tips’ often refer to the amount of alcohol consumed, without addressing stereotypical gender belief.” Billett said that the safety tips surrounding alcohol consumption on the Safer Community website are “fair enough… but there is an implication there, however subtle, that the only reason someone could end up in a negative situation while drinking is because of their own fault.”
It’s clear, from the data and from student experiences, that the university cannot afford to be complacent going forward. In a report released in wake of the survey results, the university committed to the establishment of a ‘Respect Taskforce’, made up of university staff, two UMSU representatives and one Graduate Student Association representative. The University has also purchased the rights to an online course titled Consent Matters: Boundaries, Respect and Positive Intervention, which will be used to educate students on “sexual consent, communication and relationships, and bystander intervention.” But above all, universities will need to play a key role in addressing cultural and societal prejudices in a world which is still far from equal. We know that women make up more than half of the population in Australian universities, but our institutions still breed a culture of normalised sexual harassment. When the AHRC data was released, both mainstream and social media erupted. A comment on Facebook group Monash StalkerSpace reads, “I’m honestly not surprised it’s not more when these are the qualifiers for their version of sexual harassment. What a joke.” The man who wrote the comment was referring to the parameters of “inappropriate staring or leering that made you feel intimidated”, “sexually suggestive comments or jokes that made you feel offended” and “intrusive questions about your private life or physical appearance that made you feel offended”. A quick browse of his Facebook profile tells me he’s a twenty-something conservative white male, and his comment tells me he’s probably never experienced sexual harassment. It is unlikely that the students who identified with the above statements saw them as a “joke”, and they do not deserve to have the validity of their experiences determined by a Facebook troll with a lower-thanaverage IQ. We live in a culture where behaviour that makes women feel uncomfortable or unsafe is normal, harmless and acceptable. The trivialisation of the experiences shared by students who responded to the survey demonstrates exactly why we need studies such as this, and why universities need to work to change the culture surrounding sexual harassment. Dangerous remarks such as these normalise sexual harassment and are potentially the reason why 71 per cent of University of Melbourne respondents said that they did not seek support because they did not believe that their experiences were “serious enough”. If we are to truly change the course, we cannot trivialise the experiences of anyone who feels physically or emotionally harmed by the actions of someone else. To do so is to perpetuate the same sexist culture which tells women that they should feel complimented when they are catcalled or when men make perverted comments towards them. We have the results now, but the mission is far from over. There is no quick fix to this seismic issue, and combatting it is going to require the combined, continuous efforts of students, advocates and universities. The ride ahead is long and hard, but to survivors past and present: we care, and you are not alone.
If you or someone you know requires assistance, you can contact the national university support hotline on 1800 572 224. The UMSU Legal Service offers free advice and assistance from qualified lawyers on 0468 720 668 between 1 pm and 4.30 pm, Monday to Thursday.
Ashleigh refused to learn how to cook in her youth because traditional gender roles can get fucked. Feminist sentiment aside, she regrets this decision.
CONTENT WARNING: misogyny (mention)
LADIES, WELCOME TO THE CULT OF FOOTBALL NORMALISING THE IDEA OF A WOMAN ON THE FIELD BY LUCY ANDREWS GRAPHICS BY AMANI NASARUDIN Before playing Australian Rules Football I never thought I was a ‘high-five’ kind of person. In the other sports I played – netball, indoor soccer, volleyball and gymnastics – it just isn’t really a thing. In netball it isn’t possible for the entire team to run and congratulate the goal shooter every time they score. Once being a moment that made me cringe, the sharp sting of a good, hearty high five after a goal is now satisfying and uplifting. Being on an Australian Football League (AFL) team is an intense experience. The culture of most football clubs is to ‘get around each other’. This means supporting and encouraging one another. The very essence of the game involves protecting your team mates from the opposition, emphasising the importance of a tight-knit team. The fact that Australian men have been able to experience this sense of community for the past 121 years while most women have sat on the sidelines is incredibly saddening. With 2017 being the first year of the women’s professional league of AFL, Australia’s male-dominated football culture has seen a big development in terms of equal inclusion of the sexes. However, it seems as though the amateur football competition has somewhat slipped under the radar. Whilst there have been local women’s football teams playing for a number of years at clubs such as Melbourne University and Fitzroy, 2017 is the
first year that a Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) competition has officially organised a competition for women’s teams. Amateur football is now an equal sporting community that is open to everyone, not just the male half of the population. I was lucky enough to stumble into the University High School – Victoria University (UHS) local Parkville football team which started up this year. Most of the 35 girls on the team had never really played football before. A few had started Auskick, but quit when they got to the age where teams become boys-only and there was nowhere left for them to go. I have watched a strong community form around the startup of the UHS women’s team. It is a bonding experience I have never felt at any other sports club, and I’ve made a whole new support network. This network grew from training twice a week, hanging out all day Saturday together, and culminated in the Snapchat group we created for our team (which now just consists of screenshotting and catching each other out for the club fines at our Thursday night dinners). Of course, women have been included in football communities in other ways. I have heard mothers of UHS players reminisce about the days spent manning the canteen. Some of the biggest team supporters I know are women. Our team manager is a woman, and as of
March 2017, three of nine employees of the VAFA head office are women. These are all incredibly important roles that should be recognised. However, it is a totally different feeling to be wearing the green and tan jersey and shorts, freezing your ass off on a cold winter morning. Before playing football I’d never played an outside sport where you get muddy, or a physical sport where you are tackled. But most importantly, I had never played a sport that put so much weight on teamwork and backing each other up. In 2016, there were only about 10 clubs in Victoria interested in starting a competition for women. However, by March of 2017 the VAFA was blown away with the enthusiasm. Now there are five divisions in the amateur women’s league, with 41 teams in total. Next year there will be an additional eight teams in the competition. When I spoke with the Head of Development for the Women’s VAFA league, Shona MacInnes, earlier this year, she told me, “It is only going to get bigger.” “I think at this stage there is just this huge excitement and attention is drawn on women’s footy that everybody wants to be a part of it.” This excitement Shona talks about is undoubtedly a result of the inaugural women’s professional AFL competition. The competition did wonders to normalise the idea of women on a footy field, and to inspire women to join the game. The AFL competition certainly normalised women’s football
for me. It seems bizarre now that when I tore my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (a common football injury, especially for women) while playing a very casual game in high school, I was embarrassed to tell people I had been playing Australian Rules Football. But now this has changed. The future of women’s footy is very bright. The junior teams coming through the VAFA competition into Women’s AFL are only going to make the competition better and the support will grow larger. To all the women in the last 121 years who wanted to play AFL but were given no pathway, I am so sorry that you didn’t get to feel the sense of community I have experienced playing my first season. To all the girls who have been playing for years, thank you for carving out the pathway for the rest of us to follow. On the bright side, now is the best time for women in both professional and amateur AFL, and we are lucky enough to be able to be living through it. And even if you don’t like high-fives yet, let’s high-five to that.
Lucy is a third year, majoring in Media and Communications. Next year, she hopes to be accepted into a Masters program in Publishing at Melbourne Uni (but tbh will most likely end up travelling).
CONTENT WARNINGS: abortion (mention), racism (mention)
NOT THAT KIND OF FEMINISM, PLEASE BY ZOE STEPHENS GRAPHICS BY CLARA CRUZ JOSE What do you get when you cross a bad bout of privilege, an urban dictionary definition of feminism and a sense of egotism? If you haven’t guessed already, it’s Lena Dunham. While the Girls creator is branded a feminist hero, her feminism is a bigoted and tyrannical empire built on narcissism, nudity and an insatiable need for external validation. Lena Dunham is a figurehead of the modern oligarchy known as white feminism. This brand of feminism deals exclusively with the issues revolving around white women and alienates cultural minorities and their issues. Though Dunham has received accolades claiming she is the “voice of a generation”, she represents an elitist and uneducated form of feminism. Dunham’s Girls creation ‘Hannah’ appears to parody the privileged white girl whose astounding self-absorption leaves her unable to comprehend the needs of others. Despite this ‘parody’, there is no moral to Hannah’s actions and instead, Dunham allows her to exist in a state of intolerable ignorance. Like Hannah Horvath, Lena Dunham suffers from projected bodily insecurities and incorrigible narcissism. Dunham’s brand of feminism focuses on sex and physical appearance as the primary issue. Her attempt at combatting women’s issues within Hollywood is to appear naked and break the stereotypes surrounding female bodies on TV. Although she means well, Dunham continues the trope of women being the bearer of image. Her striving towards representation neglects and disregards the history of placing value on the female figure and emphasises the need for external validation. On the 2nd of September 2016, Lena Dunham published another Lenny Letter (her self-titled newsletter) in which she interviewed Amy Schumer. This particular conversation effectively demonstrated her white, narcissistic and privileged feminism. Dunham discusses her experience at the Met Ball – in particular the way Odell Beckham Jr. apparently rejected her. While describing the interaction, she outlines the way he must have thought she was a dog, marshmallow or child. She describes the vibe as “do I want to fuck it?” despite the two never actually speaking. In this instance she is projecting her own idea of the sexuality of black men onto the unsuspecting Beckham Jr. Dunham’s hyper-sexualisation and hyper-masculinisation of Beckham plays directly into the violent and racist historical trope of the over-sexualised black man. It is through this objectification of a man on his phone that Dunham attempts to exaggerate her experience. She desires to overemphasise her subjugation in a situation where her physical looks do not conform to an ideal. Though having attempted to issue an apology, it took the form of a narcissistic and self-involved diatribe about her projected bodily insecurities rather than an apology to an objectified minority.
This is also not the first time Lena Dunham has played into a racist trope. Her response to the criticism surrounding the allwhite casting of Girls was “no one would be calling me a racist if they knew how badly I wanted to fuck Drake.” The statement drips with self-victimising language in an attempt to appear charming. Dunham almost completely devolves the discussion of race to focus on her own fetishised desire. Rebecca Carroll describes Lena Dunham as “a 20-something white woman who grew up in wealth, likes to get naked and have sex on TV and call it feminism, and who is almost entirely exclusionary on the subject of race.” This statement not only epitomises her show Girls but also her entire discourse surrounding race issues from her comment regarding Drake to her projected bodily insecurities onto Odell Beckham Jr. In December 2016, Dunham added to her slew of inappropriate comments by saying, “I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.” Dunham disrespectfully places her own personal experiences, or lack thereof, above those of women who have actually endured the procedure. There is a difference between normalising abortion and creating a platform for women’s experiences, and treating abortion as a leisurely activity. Abortions aren’t a trip to Las Vegas with your girlfriends. Dunham trivialised abortion for the sake of appearing charming and quirky. As a young white woman myself, I denounce Lena Dunham. The self-appointed hero of feminism, Lena Dunham, is not the voice of my generation. She represents the white feminist, as her tyrannical feminism is latent with white privilege. It circulates around her own bodily insecurities, personal experiences and feelings, rather than attempting to understand the perspective of a minority. It is through this prioritisation of white, heterosexual, cisgender women that excessive subjugation has subsequently been dealt to the minorities. Acknowledging white feminism at its most primal is essential in forging a separate path towards an intersectional feminism wherein the individual voices of minorities such as the handicapped, women of colour, transgender women, and others unite to discuss issues relating to more than just white, middleclass, heterosexual women. Voices of the new generation of feminists take the form of Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, Amber Rose, Laverne Cox, Lorde among others. These women challenge social stigma of sexuality, the sexuality of black women, motherhood, transgender issues, and institutional racism in America. Feminist icons are women who tackle social issues, they’re not women who think a man may, or may not, have thought that she looked like a marshmallow, a dog, or a child.
Christina Schmidt is a first year Arts student who enjoys tea and whale documentaries. This is her first slightly political comic and its not perfect but she hopes one day to be able to use comedy to discuss feminist issues.
CONTENT WARNINGS: misogyny (mention)
WONDERFUL WOMEN THE FUTURE OF JUSTICE HAS BEGUN BY ZOE STEPHENS GRAPHICS BY LAUREN HUNTER
Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman had the weight of every woman’s cinematic hopes on her shoulders when it hit the theatres. The tagline for the film reads “the future of justice begins with her” and I cannot agree more. The future of femaleled and female-made superhero films, and blockbusters in general, began with the financial and representational success of Wonder Woman. As a cinema studies major who had to sit through twelve consecutive weeks of the male-centred subject, Hollywood and Entertainment, Jenkins’ Wonder Woman was a breath of fresh air. I felt like a child on Christmas morning. I was so giddy I made sure to book tickets prior to its release to ensure I had the best seats. I hoped it wouldn’t be a rehash of Man of Steel or Batman v Superman with Diana thrown in for a physical show. I wanted an inspiring and evocative film that focused on the female experience and strength amidst the chaos of WWI. Unsurprisingly, Wonder Woman is only the second film with both a female director and a budget exceeding $100 million U.S. dollars. Only seven per cent of the 250 highest-grossing films of 2016 were directed by female directors. That’s a mere 17 films out of 250. In 2016, Ava Duvernay stated that Hollywood is a “patriarchy, headed by men and built for men … to pretend like Hollywood is anything other than that is disingenuous.” Perhaps the failure of representation in Hollywood thus far is due to a fundamental difference between superhero movies such as Batman v Superman and Wonder Woman – room for failure. Batman v Superman’s predecessor, Man of Steel,
green-lit an entirely new DC franchise despite a lacklustre characterisation of Superman and indistinguishable CGI action sequences. Though Batman v. Superman technically didn’t flop at the box office, its critical and audience reception criticised its dubious plot and questionable resolution between Batman and Superman. Man of Steel received 55 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, however Batman v Superman scored an abysmal 27 per cent. As a final punch, The Telegraph UK hailed Batman v Superman as “the most incoherent blockbuster in years.” And yet, its clunky and defective story line was not enough to dissuade DC. What this reveals is a disparity of consequence between the failure of Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman and Jenkins’ Wonder Woman. The Hollywood narrative contends that female-led movies are unable to make money. The existence of such a narrative leads to the belief that female-led films are all the same: if one flops, they all will. If Wonder Woman flopped, it would become a case of ‘I told you so’ and ‘female-led films can’t make money’. What upset me most is that Batman v Superman, a notoriously disorientating and incoherent film, would never experience the same repercussions. It’s a fact that male-dominated superhero films will continue to be made and marketed, whether or not they flop. Michael Bay doesn’t seem to be stopping and the Transformers franchise is infamous for its poorly driven plots, hyper-sexualisation of women, and superfluous action sequences (arguably serving as a distraction from the array of its cinematic issues). All this hypocrisy is regrettably buttressed by masculine
reception of Wonder Woman. Male critics have searched to the ends of the earth to criticise elements of Wonder Woman. Armond White’s review is laden with condescension towards the pure feminine strength exhibited throughout Wonder Woman. White contends that Diana’s flirtation with Steve Trevor “reduces Diana’s personal, historical, mythological complexity.” Thankfully Batman or Superman’s personal, historical and mythological complexity has never been reduced by love interests such as Rachel Dawes or Lois Lane! White’s discussion surrounding Diana’s love life circulates around the belief that women cannot be overtly sexual like men. He concludes that Diana is “both a lesser character and a lesser icon than Snyder’s Superman and Batman.” Though that review shouldn’t be taken too seriously, given his continued defence of Zack Snyder’s work on Batman v Superman, it does exemplify an opinion held by multiple men. Having established the reception of, and the tensions associated with the film, let us now take a moment to reflect on its success. Despite the obstacles, Wonder Woman beat Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Man of Steel, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor and SpiderMan: Homecoming at the box office (just to name a few). Wonder Woman delivered a US $103.1 million opening weekend in America. It is now the highest-ranking opening weekend for a film directed by a female director. It is an impeccable achievement and proves to Hollywood that female superhero films are marketable and can make money. Wonder Woman’s
success, in my mind, is not built on the failings of its male counterparts. The film in and of itself is beautifully constructed from its cinematography to the depth and complexity of its female characters. The representation of the Amazons was perhaps the most enriching experience of the film. Hollywood is notorious for sexist ageism. Crucially, Jenkins rejected the typecasting of older actresses into matronly roles and provides the audience with characters such as Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and General Antiope (Robin Wright). The strength, fierceness and solidarity of these two characters is palpable on screen. These women epitomise female power and command a presence throughout the fighting scenes. Jenkins masterminds a stunning display of sheer athleticism, courage and determination as these Amazonian women protect their home. Jenkins has revolutionised the female superhero blockbuster and delivered justice. Women need to know that the system can be dismantled. That there’s room in Hollywood for films headed by women and built for women. There’s a moment in the film when Diana states, “I will fight, for those who cannot fight for themselves.” Quite fittingly, Patty Jenkins, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen and Gal Gadot fight to offer every woman, young and old, a role model with whom they can identify. And for those counting, Wonder Woman received 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and totalled in 798.8 million USD in the box office. I don’t know about anyone else but I’m ready for Wonder Woman 2.
CONTENT WARNING: genitalia, gender (mentions)
BY REBECCA FOWLER GRAPHICS BY AYONTI MAHREEN HUQ During my childhood, my hair and I had a complicated relationship. It would knot itself into complex matted nests. I sat on my grandparents’ deep wooden stairs, with tears streaming down my face. Hair brush in hand, my mother suggested that if I couldn’t look after it, I should get a haircut. “Cut it off then!” I wailed. “I hate it!” Still, my mother spent long hours combing lice out of my hair. Olive oil dripped onto the white tiles as I fell asleep in her lap and a million little critters collected on the comb’s red teeth. *** When I was six, I cut my hair into a pixie cut. I was so pleased – I wanted to be like my brothers, with their short knotless hair. We ran on the beach, tumbling and playing, building forts in the sand. My mother took a photo of me beaming toothily and put it in a Rainbow Fish frame. I went to school excited, ready to show off. A friend with long black hair scrunched up her nose. “You look like a boy.” She and my other friends laughed and turned away. When I got home I threw myself onto my Lion King quilt. I imagined where my long hair would have splayed out around me. Heavy tears soaked into Simba’s face. I didn’t have enough hair then to be a girl. As I got older I found I had too much hair in the wrong places to be one. *** The bus from Perth to Yunderup was largely empty as it carried my sister and me to visit our grandparents. She was older than me, deep charcoal surrounding her eyes, packet dye in her hair. It was hot. My skin was slick with small beads of sweat and dirt. I lifted my skivvy over my head, revealing my hairy armpits. Light brown hairs curled, thick and long. I felt my sister’s eyes on them and slapped my arms down quickly. “You should shave those,” she said, straight-faced. I muttered something about mum not letting me. “No, seriously,” she said. “You need to shave.” After the holidays, I came back to school with waxed legs. My mum had given in about my leg hair, but I shaved my pits in secret. I was 12 and one of the first of my friends to wax. We stood outside the public school canteen and they admired how smooth my legs were, how barbaric theirs looked in comparison! “Yeah,” I boasted, “my sister even gets her eyebrows waxed.”
I felt like an insider, learning the secret things that women did. I didn’t know why we did them but I was a part of it. I felt grown up. *** Two of my friends had begun waxing each other’s vaginas, and they had asked if I wanted to have it done. We were 14. I complied, jittery and excited. The other girls’ hair was different from mine. Their hair grew straight and spread onto their thighs. It didn’t curl. It was darker, thicker. None of us were having sex and we weren’t about to. We were just doing it, getting rid of the hair, being as smooth as we could. The yellow wax was warm as it ripped out my hair, my legs tensing at every tug. *** My hair grows of its own accord, now. Though it sticks out at strange angles and sometimes feels as if it’s growing out wrong after years of shaving. I leave it mostly alone. But every so often I take a blade to it, embarrassed of its intrusion. I shaved my underarms for the first time in months when I started going to the gym. I didn’t want my trainer to see. I didn’t want him to say anything – to stare the way my sister had, to be repulsed. I didn’t want him to feel awkward. I didn’t want to have too much hair. I shaved again when I went out dancing. My friend’s body was hairless all over. I dreaded the looks of disgust I might get amidst the flashing lights and Beyoncé remixes if I raised my arms, revealing my wild strings of hair. I didn’t want to be an embarrassment or a spectacle – an outlier. I lathered myself in strawberry soap and drew the razor down, cutting my hardgrown hairs off in a single swipe. Now, I have chopped my long, wavy hair to a lifeless bob. I feel strangely sexless, lust-less. I imagine my hair pooled around me, making me feel relevant and valued. Whatever love–hate relationship I had with my hair as a child has only grown more complex over the years. Where to have hair, how much of it to have, how to get rid of it, how to make it grow faster. I wish for a day when I don’t want waist-length perfect curls. A night when I don’t shave my snail trail and pluck the occasional nipple hair. I want to be covered in so much hair that the gaze of others cannot break through. Rebecca enjoys hot chips, taking photos of her whippet and buying books. She is a third year creative writing major and draws stuff sometimes. For dog pics, find her on Instagram @_sooky
CONTENT WARNING: fatphobia, slutshaming, diet talk, eating disorders, ableism (mentions)
BY AMIE GREEN GRAPHICS BY RACHEL MORLEY
The concept of health seems inseparable from fat. Health is an ideology used to market an ideal human, an ideal way of living, being and ultimately, consuming. ‘Health’ is so tangled to ideas of consumerism (lifestyle and eating) that it does not mean to not be ill or uninjured. ‘Health’ is not an objective term. The standards of healthy eating and living themselves are only concerned with marketing the newest lifestyle. The healthy body is what the media sells people who are fat and/or have disabilities to remind them that they’re living in unacceptable ways. This is not always as obvious as Jenny Craig or Slimshake ads – ideas of health are hidden, pervasive and permeate into every area of the media. People seem to be recongising and questioning the paradigm of health, and how it’s used to market lifestyles. Articles on the dangers of clean eating are everywhere. Criticisms of clean eating as another unhealthy fad diet, as a way of restricting eating that often sits on the border of Orthorexia, are featuring across personal blogs to national news. However, these conversations make my blood boil – such articles still hold being ‘healthy’ as an ideal. These conversations never go below mere surface criticism to question the idea of ‘health’ as the ideal way of existing and consuming. The links between the fat and disabled body are never broken. Similarly, it’s not a new idea that BMI is a flawed measurement, but criticism always focuses on how BMI disregarded body shapes and types in terms of muscle mass and what this means for that individual’s general health. Even when we talk about body positivity, if often focuses on the HAES (Health At Every Size) movement, which populates the idea of size as not linked to being unhealthy, and trying to invalidate ideas of obesity as significant causes of life-threatening illnesses. But this still brings up a range of issues, and doesn’t redefine the concept of health completely. Health here is about being free of illness and disability. Having chronic illnesses does not invalidate you as a person, even if it’s a result of being fat. In a world committed to this ideology of health, being fat seems to be a radical act – to be visible and unashamed of your own fat body now is to be brave, to be celebrated and body positive. Like many women, at some points I’ve been insecure about different parts of my body. I’ve been thin and fat, a meat-eater and a vegan, but throughout my life I’ve always just lived in my body. Alternatively, body positivity is about living and being in your body however you want, but as a fat person it seems impossible to navigate this. When you’re fat, your own body is so politicised that your mere existence is radical. Fat bodies are never viewed as neutral bodies. Every level of culture and society constantly reminds you of your fatness; that the only way to react and cope is a radical celebration and owning of your fatness. Online fat communities have an incredible power, both validating your fat-specific experience, and also giving you a space to discuss this viewpoint and experiences.
However, for fat people, celebrating your fatness seems the only solution to not being shamed or excluded. Fat people wanting to lose weight feel like they’re betraying their fat friends, idols, and strangers. And when I forget that I’m fat, I feel like a traitor, as though it’s my duty to be a radical, fat activist at every moment of my life. It’s a weird feeling of guilt and betrayal, but also a strange feeling to always be defending just the way my body exists and how much space I occupy when being fat is normal. My existence is not about being fat, or based on being fat. Sure it shapes how I fit and navigate in the world, but it’s not my biggest identifying characteristic. And to say that feels like I’m renouncing my fatness, that I’m ashamed, when I’m not. However my experience as a fat person is not universal. I’m a small fat person. Small in terms of carrying my fat in socially acceptable areas of my body (having wider hips, bigger breasts and a sharp face), and small in terms of being a size that physically fits into booths and airplane seats. I’ve never had my ‘unhealthy’ BMI – my morbid obesity – used as an insult or basis of my worth. I’ve never been bullied or discriminated against by doctors. Still, at every corner, you’re reminded that being fat is not the healthy lifestyle. Like when you’re happily shopping with a friend when they get noticeably sad and feel guilty that they’ve been taking you to shops that don’t sell clothes in your size. The guilt of not being either unhappy or neutral about being fat is a shared experience among fat people and fat-exclusive networking groups on social media. My sister is getting a lap band in a few months, and confided in me that she feels like a traitor. Yet she wants to have weight-loss surgery for herself, to feel better physically and mentally. Online, people discuss their dissatisfaction with weight-loss surgeries and how they’ve had them reversed, or have been left with pain and problems. My Mum tells my sister that even if she loses weight, she’ll always be fat in her mind. Even when she lost weight, Mum always connected and identified more with fat people, especially in the media and in social circumstances. But I’m not sure if it’s a way of coping with the anxiety of being different. Mum lost weight because her doctor said it’d help her health – but in fact she was only diagnosed with Fibromyalgia once she was quite thin. Before, doctors would blame her pain on her weight. The ideas of a healthy body are so wound up in telling you how to live, how to be and how to consume, that nobody can ever really escape them. There will always be an industry or structure behind the media, behind society and culture, trying to sell you diet products. Likewise, the current counter-narrative of celebrating fatness still involves politicising bodies in a troubling and essentialising way. However you choose to exist as a fat person, you’ll always feel guilty. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, The Butterfly Foundation national helpline provides support and counselling on 1800 33 46 73.
CONTENT WARNING: homophobia, lesbophobia, violence, swearing
THE ADOPTION OF LESBIAN FASHION FINDING SOLIDARITY IN ILL-FITTING JEANS BY SARAH BOSTOCK GRAPHICS BY MORGAN-LEE SNELL
In the musical adaptation of Fun Home, a young Alison Bechdel sings about seeing a lesbian for the first time. She notes her boots, her short hair, her ring of keys and the way she walks and talks. Bechdel is seeing something important, even if she isn’t sure what that something is in the moment. That recognition, without understanding, was something that I related to. It was something I’d heard my gay friends speak about. When they looked back on memories of interacting with other LGBT+ people, they felt some kind of connection to them even if they didn’t understand why yet. Hearing Bechdel search almost desperately for the language to describe her longing to be, in a way, the woman she saw felt like someone unspooling my own childhood memories. So many of my friends, myself included, found that language through clothing and presentation. Two years later as I read ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’, Bechtel again found the words I was searching for. “I love lesbians”, she writes. “The way they walk. The way their pants fit.” It seems dumb, but knowing exactly what Bechdel means when she describes the way lesbians’ pants fit feels important. It made me feel connected to lesbianism in a way I hadn’t before. It was silly, almost frivolous, to find solidarity in ill-fitting jeans, but it was still solidarity. For many gay women, the way we present ourselves is fraught with years of trying to avoid being labelled a lesbian and yet still remain comfortable in our own skin. It took me close to three years to feel okay leaving the house in ‘stereotypically’ gay clothing. When I put on boots and ill-fitting jeans and ugly t-shirts, I felt good but also like I was giving in to some force I was supposed to resist. It is hard to reconcile that you feel most powerful when you ‘look like a lesbian’ when looking like a lesbian is what you have resisted for years. It was around this time last year that I started to see these same clothes shoved onto mannequins outside second hand stores. These were things I feared and held sacred. When I saw women in these outfits it was like seeing myself reflected in them even when I was too scared to dress this way myself. Slowly but surely my art lectures began to fill with women in loose jeans, cropped t-shirts, combat boots, keys hanging off their waists. Vice wrote about the ‘new trend’ of masculine fashion, i-D profiled the cis hetero beauty bloggers kicking off the androgyny revolution, even The Guardian wrote about the political history of women shaving their heads. Every article, every headline, every trend was scrubbed free of lesbian history.
The Guardian was more comfortable attributing the stigma of a shaved head to the deposition of Byzantium Emperors than it was to acknowledge that gay women had done it first, and done it best. I don’t want to criticise women for expressing themselves and dressing the way they feel comfortable. But the reality is clear that this isn’t about people exercising gender expression or trying out ways to identify. Lesbian fashion is a trend: it takes forms of sexual expression and commodifies them. i-D told you that men would still want to fuck you with a shaved head and ignored the fact that for years we had used a shaved head to say the exact opposite. When I express my sexuality through clothing I experience fear and internal conflict. I can walk out in boots and loose jeans with a shaved head and get spat at and get called dyke. My friends and I can be yelled at on trams or have men follow us with bottles in their hand. Selling t-shirts with ‘Femme Forever’ on them doesn’t do anything but turn identification into a commodity and cheapen the ability for people to find terms that make them feel safe. You can’t put on lesbian culture like Millennial Pink and call yourself on trend. When this trend is over you will move onto the next, you can put away your identity, but we will remain here and visible. Ephemeral ‘girlpower’ aside, wearing loose jeans doesn’t make you a feminist hero. Erasing the history of gay women isn’t the same thing as cultural progression. The worst of it however, is the cis hetero men who love to dress like lesbians. I have lost count of how many men are on campus (usually in Communist Alliance t-shirts) with Carabiner clips and keys hanging off their belts, hankies in their back pockets and their heads up their own asses. It doesn’t matter what active allyship you practise (usually none), you can’t take something with a specific meaning and turn it into **SoftBoy** trend. Clothing might seem like a strange battle to fight. When I see ill-fitting jeans and clips and keys, I see my sisters and I see women who understand the way that I love and the way that I feel. To see that cheapened to an Instagram trend, something more to be taken and broken and discarded, corrodes the power of our expression. When so much has been taken from us, I tell you, being able to hold pieces of our history in our own hands and on our bodies feels as close to taking it all back as we will ever get.
Sarah is a 19 year-old lesbian with a Pisces sun and Scorpio moon. She hopes to one day understand basic math and the ending of Twin Peaks.
CONTENT WARNING: genitalia, sex, blood, dysphoria, pornography (mention), FGM (mention)
THE DEVIL’S TREAT
FREEDOM IN SOCIETY CAN BE MEASURED BY THE DISTRIBUTION OF ORGASMS BY RUBY PERRYMAN GRAPHICS BY AMIE GREEN
A man walked on the moon in 1969. I was born in 1997. In 1998, the world was introduced to the full, accurate anatomy of the clitoris. This means our mothers, grandmothers and all women before them didn’t know what their own sexual organ looked like, let alone how it functioned. This is despite the naked female body being depicted absolutely everywhere. And we still wonder why the clitoral orgasm is believed to be so difficult to achieve? To tell the story of orgasm inequality, one has no choice other than to discuss the socially constructed categories ‘female’ and ‘male’. I must make it clear that not all women have vulvas, and not all people who have vulvas are women. When I refer to orgasm inequality here, I speak specifically about genitalia and the side of the gender binary society tells us it is assigned to. I pay respect to all vulva-bearers and their marginalisation regardless of their gender identity. The clitoris has an extremely complex history. Dr Helen O’Connell was the first female urologist in Australia. She was also the first person to uncover the clit in all its glory, revealing that majority of it is internal. She did this right down the road from us at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Acknowledgement of the clit’s existence dates way back, although most didn’t exactly admire it. It was referred to as ‘the devil’s teat’ in the Malleus Maleficarum, an official guide to the persecution of witches, in 1486. With many mixed messages about female sexuality in between, then came the clit’s arch nemesis Sigmund Freud. In 1904, this infamous old white guy inaccurately suggested the clitoris should “hand over its sensitivity, and at the same time its importance, to the vagina.” As if this utter falsehood hadn’t hurt the clit enough, he then began incorrectly blaming it for depression, hysteria and schizophrenia in women. Throughout history, ‘medical professionals’ have advocated for the removal of the clit as a cure for evil and mental illness. This stems from the misogynist societal belief that female sexuality is wrong. Over 140 million people have had their external clitorises cut off. It wasn’t until 2009, when I was already 12 years old and in the midst of puberty, that the world received its first 3D sonography of the clit. Dr Odile Buisson and Dr Pierre Foldès worked for three years in France without adequate funding to fully understand the clit’s functions. They found that the clit is very similar to the penis – it has a glans, a foreskin and a shaft, and becomes erect when aroused. There are more than 8,000 sensory nerve fibres in the tip of
the clit alone, and when erect, the internal clit encompasses the vagina on either side, as if giving it a hug. I was unaware of the internal clit until I was 18 years old. My gender studies class was shown a video of conceptual artist Sophia Wallace discussing her project Cliteracy. Wallace is dedicated to making the clitoris seen and heard, and is my hero. She believes “freedom in society can be measured by the distribution of orgasms.” It’s not my fault I was unaware of my own sexual anatomy until after I became sexually active, but it is a fucking shame. How sad is it that we operate in a society so sexist, our idea of ‘normal’ sex is not optimal for achieving the female orgasm? The vaginal orgasm is not real. Orgasms experienced through penetration are the result of the internal clitoris being activated, even if this is done unintentionally. Most of us are so repressed we don’t even know when our clit is erect. Women are constantly warned that sex might hurt. It shouldn’t if you’re properly aroused and lubricated. We’re told we’re ‘hard to please’, instead of informed about just how incredible our sex can be when had right. After all, the clit is the only known part of the human body with the sole purpose of sexual pleasure! All this inequality stems from heteronormative ideals that underpin most aspects of our society. It’s no wonder vulvabearers are much more likely to orgasm when we have sex with each other, as opposed to someone with a penis. I was in a year-long relationship with a man during which I had only one orgasm. Speaking to friends, this seems to be a common experience. Is it even ‘sex’ if only one party is finishing? But the disappointment and inadequacy I felt as a result of my sex life was not necessarily my boyfriend’s fault either. I didn’t know enough about my own body to be able to guide him, as I now do with new partners. A lot of the time, ignorance is a systemic problem. If people are willing to learn, you should give them the benefit of the doubt. I attribute all of my knowledge on this whirlwind of a topic to fierce vulva-bearers on the internet. I urge all people of all genders to get informed, because all bodies have the right to experience the sexual pleasure they are capable of. Everything you need to know and more can be found by merely searching ‘orgasm inequality’. If the devil really did bless the vulva-bearing population with the clitoris, I’d like to thank them. I now know that when used to its full potential, it can be quite the treat.
CONTENT WARNING: gender, genitalia, menstruation, blood, dysphoria
ENDING THE CYCLE OF PATRIARCHAL REPRESSION BY FELICITY SLEEMAN GRAPHICS BY LAUREN HUNTER Periods. They’re something that most people with a uterus will experience in their lives, but also something that we tend to either demonise, repress or endure with many a complaint. Yet many cultures around the world celebrate menstruation as a sacred and powerful time for women, so why doesn’t the Western world? I recently caught up with Cheryl Peirera who is studying a Masters in Biotechnology at the University of Melbourne. With a keen interest in women’s reproductive health, her research is particularly focussed on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): a disease that causes the uterus to increase in size. This can subsequently lead to irregular periods that can then cause further complications like infertility and the possible need for surgery later in life. “The problem”, says Cheryl, “is that doctor’s don’t put a lot of emphasis on it.” Not only are women uneducated about these kinds of issues, but so are doctors and health professionals. For a disease that affects approximately three out of every ten women this seems strange to me. According to Cheryl, many doctors and gynaecologists will simply tell patients with PCOS to exercise and lose weight, or even prescribe a medication called Metformin which, whilst presented as a treatment, only targets weight loss instead of the disorder. This is a prime example of the ways in which social stigma around periods and female reproductive organs are genuinely endangering women by preventing them from fully understanding their bodies. With so little research being made in the way of diseases like PCOS, it is so important for women and people with uteruses to embrace their bodies and actively seek to learn and understand how theirs works. Something that Cheryl also emphasised was the importance of maintaining the cyclical nature of the menstrual cycle. Cycles are an inherent part of life on earth: the moon takes 27.3 days to orbit us, we take 365 days to orbit the sun, and people with a uterus typically menstruate every 28 days. But with the advent of birth control pills many are opting to manually alter this cycle or sometimes even halt their periods altogether. Under the ruse of convenience, this is something I did for about five months last year. During this time I was frequently stressed and had constant mildly painful cramps. But I didn’t have to deal with the nuisance that was my period, so everything was fine, right? But then I did finally get my period and felt an unexpected sense of relief that came with it. Since then I’ve really tried to embrace my period by noticing and gaining a deeper understanding of all stages of the menstrual cycle. Something I didn’t expect to happen in doing so was that I have begun to realise a greater connection to nature and the cycle of the moon. I know this sounds like hippy mumbo jumbo to a lot of people, but if you give it a chance you just might find that there’s some legitimacy to it. In mythology and the practices of many cultures, menstruation is regarded as a sacred time because of its supposed connection to the moon’s phases and the wider cosmic energy of the world. Claude Lévi-Strauss, a French anthropologist, even discovered that Indigenous peoples of North and South America believed that if women’s menstrual cycles were not carefully synchronised then the world would descend into chaos. Who knows – this could explain a lot of stuff that has happened in the world since then. Pliny the Elder, an Ancient Roman author, also suggested that a menstruating woman had the ability to scare away hailstorms and lightning. In modern Western society we have lost touch with many practices, including those related to the moon and its cycles. As humans we are constantly searching for meaning, and while it may seem ludicrous to some it can’t simply be a coincidence that the menstrual cycle is the exact same amount of days as the waxing and waning of the moon. In realising and embracing this connection I’ve found a sense of empowerment and have learned to welcome the innate connection between periods, the moon and whatever cosmic energy is out there. Biologically, spiritually and even astrologically, there is an element of power in periods, and it’s high time that the patriarchal repression of that power comes to an end.
CONTENT WARNING: transphobia, queerphobia, dysphoria, gender, swearing
GENDER IS MY IRON CAGE “FUCK YOU, I WON’T CONFORM” BY ANDIE MOORE GRAPHICS BY MORGAN-LEE SNELL
Over 100 years ago, German sociologist Max Weber coined the ‘iron cage’. The original German for it is stahlhartes Gehäuse: ‘shell as hard as steel’. This concept describes the state we live in where profitmaking and efficiency dominates all forms of life. Importantly, because this dominates all life, this state is inescapable. It’d be shocking to say a dead cis dude helped me understand gender, but he did. In a sense, gender’s also an iron cage. Let me explain why. I’m an AMAB (assigned male at birth) genderqueer person. I don’t identify as a guy or a girl, and I don’t fit into society’s pervasive gender binary, where one can only be male or female. I’ve been out of the closet since I was 16, and being a gender minority, I always get interesting questions – occasionally some very intriguing ones. I’ll share one with you: “How can you’ve been born in the wrong body if you’ve never lived in a different one? Aren’t you just, like, an effeminate guy?” This one got me for a bit. My biggest struggle coming out was finding out whether I was a camp, gay boy, or something completely other than male. After all, most of my friends were girls, I was already out as queer and knew I liked guys, liked fashion, coffee and boy bands. I fit the classic metrosexual gay stereotype. But I’d have times where I’d get assumed male, and feel out of place. Class would get divided into male and female, and I would get put with all the guys and not feel at home. I’d look at my masculine body and feel it didn’t belong to me, or correspond with my identity (and sometimes feel the pain of the most evil little devil, gender dysphoria). Sometimes I’d dress up more like a girl and feel just right. And when I’d search up male on google, what it was associated with just didn’t resemble my identity. In the end, I realised androgyny was what described me, feeling that both my masculinity and femininity are equally significant. Instead of being male or female, I’m genderqueer, neither of the two. But the question comes up again. “How can you be something other than male or female?” And I guess I don’t know. Being genderqueer isn’t something in itself. It’s a rejection of being in one of the two boxes. In a sense, it’s an anti-concept. While you can ascribe characteristics and qualities to being a male or female, genderqueerness possesses no distinctive traits on its own. While in the West, maleness and femaleness have developed over years and years in contrast to one another as intertextual, genealogical phenomena, genderqueerness hasn’t existed. Maleness and femaleness have been constructed and cemented in society and in people’s minds and genderqueerness hasn’t. Being genderqueer is not about preferring suits over dresses, or picking netball over rugby. As one of my friends said,
there’s no way you could cosplay your typical genderqueer. Being genderqueer is about rejecting any inherent association with these assumed characteristics. It’s about knowing you don’t belong in either box, and screaming, “fuck you, I won’t conform, I don’t belong there, I’ll sit over here instead”. The necessary consequence is radical subjectivity and self-creation. But this is so, so difficult. Why? Because everything in this fucking world is gendered. Wearing a dress to uni will make you a woman, spreading your legs on the tram will make you a man. Refusing to shave will make you a man, ordering a cocktail at the pub will make you a woman. Taking it in the bedroom will make you the woman, giving it will make you the man. You get the idea. The task is on genderqueer people to produce an identity which rejects being a male or female, yet the production of a genderqueer identity requires engaging in gendered practices. This isn’t made easier – at least not for me – by having a gendered body. It’s hard to feel like you’re rejecting maleness when you’re forced to live in a body relentlessly assigned to it. As much as you can wear a dress and paint your nails, you will still have an Adam’s apple, archetypal dude-bro shoulders, body hair and a dick. While we live in a world where petty bodily facts are meant to determine your entire social gender, it’s incredibly difficult to be transgender. Transitioning technology has made it easier, but society is still plagued by this ‘biological’ determinism. This is the iron cage of gender. It’s a world where male and female are the only genders out there, and most bodies, mannerisms and practices are gendered one way or the other. While genderqueerness exists and makes for the perfect descriptor of my identity, there is no way we can make genderqueerness meaningful on its own. There’s little that is purely genderless that we can ascribe to it (although that is starting to change with the rise of androgynous fashion). So what do we do about this iron cage? We’ll never break out of it, it’s a shell as hard as steel. But I work with it. I look male and get passed off as it, but wear and do supposedly female things to contradict my perceived maleness. I reject the roles assigned to me, and balance out my inherently gendered choices to manufacture my own androgyny. But it’s a problematic I’ll be forever locked up in, and a life sentence to which I’m condemned. If you feel the need to talk to someone, QLife provides a telephone support and counselling service for LGBTQI+ people 3 pm to midnight on 1800 184 527. Andie is a second year Politics & International Studies and Sociology student. They’re genderqueer, a left-libertarian, and appreciate sushi, long doggos and nuance.
CONTENT WARNING: self-esteem, lesbophobia, racism, white supremacy (mentions)
FOREMOTHER: A TRIBUTE TO AUDRE LORDE BY SOPHIE CHAUHAN GRAPHICS BY CLARA CRUZ JOSE Late night tram singing all around, tears fall on the text that taught me how it feels to be understood. Do you know what you did for me, Audre? We were born with so many burdens, you and me. Brown bodies are built to absorb, warmed by the scorching sun and darkened in the process. Is this why we drink in so much? Is this why we are so thirsty? The first time I drank, it filled me so fast I had to spit it back out: why does no one in my class have skin like me? Scared of my own capacity for reflux, I settled my stomach with peach coloured pencils and wishful thinking. I went back to that fountain because I craved refreshment. You describe the process as ‘metabolism’ ; I think you’re exactly right. In cycles, I break down touch, gaze, terror and promises until I am able to function. Their hate is our food; our self-hate is our appetite. The white mother who gave me life never learnt how to nourish me. The last time it happened I swear I nearly drowned, Audre. I drank up her love and thought it would quench us both. I settled our shaking bodies with audacity and wishful thinking. I tied us down in the process. We sank. I was sixteen years old when you told me: “Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me.” It was then that I learnt to spit out the hate that I too often swallowed. I had only ever taken three quarters of a breath before I met you, Audre. The remainder of my lungs was sodden. You taught me that the richness of my skin reflects the vibrant histories that course through my veins. You showed me my brown sisters and graced our shared afflictions with poetry. You made lesbianism spiritual, enriching and bound to my capacity to be brown and to be a woman. You gave words to the burden that we share, Audre, and I have spoken of nothing else since. It hurts to say I will never meet you because you died in 1992. Still, a part of me feels like you know what you have done for me because Sister Outsider (1984) states that you have felt the same way. The ways we have felt and been subjected to both love and hate have caused us common strife. Yet, armed with emotion and language, you have cultivated a sanctuary that it is now my job to irrigate. Across time, distance, culture and experience, you raised me, Audre Lorde. For that, I pour my gratitude.
CONTENT WARNING: food (mention)
THE SECRETS TO PRESERVING
BY MORGAN HOPCROFT GRAPHICS BY JULIA LEE I bottle fruit with my Grandmother on a 35-degree day the wind blows dust in my eyes and on the train to her station, I rub them raw.
I watch the city fade into the background as the train speeds up, I watch the chaos blur away, and see more trees and hills and green, as I head further out west. We bottle apricots and peaches we cut the pears into stars, and I de-pip the cherries. Itâ€™s therapeutic. I watch her aged hands fold through The Secrets to Preserving How many peaches have those hands bottled? How many backs have they soothed? How many grandchildren have they held? I look at my young hands, covered in cuts from opening boxes at a new job and ink from writing new words, I rub my eyes but the dust is gone. I look at the jars; what both our hands have created, they are full of festivity and colour, and light, just like her. On the train home, the wind and the sun have drained me. My skin is covered in dirt and my overalls are splattered with cherry juice. I sit on the train home, and I feel a weight being lifted. Content and warm, itâ€™s the feeling she gives me.
Morgan is a bona fide ranga who likes to sneak into uni late at night to look for possums and whose feminist icon is Lisa Simpson.
CONTENT WARNING: food (mention)
GROWING A FAMILY BY BELINDA BHATIA GRAPHICS BY AMELIA SAWARD
My father longed for a fruitful veggie and herb garden. He tried it once in our old house, but the soil in our backyard was never moist enough. I would play on my scooter as a 10 year old, bending down to look at the weeds growing with me. Placing my hand on the hard, dry ground, investigating the soil beneath. Grasping small formations of rocks. Rubbing them between my fingers, the particles would break away almost instantly, leaving remainders of earth under my fingernails. The scent would travel with me until I went inside to wash my hands for dinner. As my baby sister transformed from nappies to running around the house, we needed a bigger place to live. The moment we arrived at our freshly painted house, complete with plush brown carpet, my father began developing his garden bed. He built the retaining wall with leftover bricks. From the backyard window, I heard the scrapping of excess mortar. Slowly but surely it became the centrepiece of our backyard. Chillies love the sun and a light sprinkle of water every evening. At least that’s what at my dad believes. “Just a light sprinkle, on the top”, I hear him plead at least once a week. I finally understand why. The ‘light sprinkle’ is a beautiful experience. The sound of water clashing with the leaves, leaving droplets on the buds and fruit. As the chillies sway with the force of the water, I feel droplets spray on my cheeks. Today, my father’s garden has grown to become the family’s garden. From every red chilli sprouting from its bud, an Indian curry bubbles away. Enough to feed the five of us for lunch and dinner. As we scoop the warm liquid up with our spoons, we are reminded of where the vibrant reds and greens on our plates came from. And when my father takes a bite into a chilli, it is as if he has conquered the world. Moving to the mint, then the chives, rosemary and oregano and finally to my favourite, the spinach. Another Indian specialty, Saag Paneer, is made using a mix of the spinach and cheese, which we eat with homemade toasted roti. After the spinach is adequately showered I imagine the plants exhaling in relief, grateful for their daily 6pm feed. My father is out there right now turning the soil around, as the garlic need soft soil to grow. Today I was helping him twist and pull out the weeds that were smothering the lanky garlic stems. I accidentally pulled out a garlic stem instead of a weed. Those damn weeds. Uncovering the earth beneath, I begin to investigate its texture. Solid and rough, like my father’s work ethic. As I grab the remaining stubborn weeds, my fingers begin to rub against small grains of earth, catching under my fingernails. The scent travels with me a little longer this time as I am reminded of my childhood. I look up and see my white Shih Tzu glowing in the sunshine, staring at me and my father curiously. As I look into his eyes, I am reminded of my curious 10 year old self watching my father. Standing on the concrete in my purple gum boots, watching him grunt in exhaustion. All for his growing family. It is his love for being part of the birth of ingredients that makes it all worthwhile. He watches every sprout and bud develop their unique characteristics. Just like he did with his three daughters.
Belinda Bhatia is studying a Master of Teaching (Early Childhood). She prides herself on setting a good example, and thoroughly enjoys keeping fit.
GRAPHICS BY QAISARA MOHAMAD
Qaisara Mohamad is ambitious but lazy. 20 with opportunities in abundance but instead, iâ€™m drowning myself in architorture and the depths of HECS debt. please donate to www.instagram.com/qaiqbl
CONTENT WARNING: sex, violence, food, starvation
THE DIARY OF A 20 YEAR OLD DUTCH IMMIGRANT GRAPHICS AND WORDS BY MONIQUE O’RAFFERTY
I sat down with my scrambled eggs, a glass of juice and my notepad. Fingers twitching and brain oozing with questions. My grandmother, who I refer to as Oma, had never been one to share her childhood with me. Or maybe I had just never asked. What subjects are okay to talk about? How much would she be comfortable sharing? Is her personal story something she wants to make public? I started off the phone call like you would with any relative you love but don’t speak to as often as you should. By talking about the current climate. “You think its cold now?” she asked. “During the war there was no electricity. My mother had a two-pit gas stove she put the iron on, she’d heat it up and go upstairs and iron our beds.” Oma was born in Nieuw-Loosdrecht, a town in the Dutch province of North Holland. As the eldest of six children growing up during World War II, her childhood was very different to mine. “Up until I was six years old it wasn’t bad. Then the war started and it got progressively worse. Between the ages of six and twelve I was a very skinny, hungry girl.” Oma told me that once a week she and her brother were allowed to stay up and watch their parents play ‘bridge’. Only if they helped power the light. During the war, there was no electricity and candles were in short supply. Her father put a bicycle on blocks so it was stationary and attached a pedal powered light to it. The children took it in turns to light the room by pedalling. My eggs laid cold and barely touched on my plate as she recalled more stories. She attended school up until the winter of 1944 to 45, a period known as ‘the hunger-winter’ because so many people were starving. “My father went to work, my mother went up North with all our linen to barter for food and I looked after the kids. Many a time my mum would tell us to stay in bed as there was no fuel or food.”
Oma’s family were living in an old schoolmaster’s house with another family. German soldiers occupied the school next door, which she used to attend. At the back of the school was a shed with a sloping roof. The low side of the slope was about one and a half metres high, and the soldiers kept coal in it. On one particular night, Oma’s family ran out of coal for their potbelly stove. “My father woke me up and said ‘darling you have to help me, I can’t do it alone. We have no fuel left so we have to do something’. So I dressed myself, it must have been minus five degrees, and we climbed over the fence to the back of the school. My father had removed some tiles from the shed. He lifted me up onto the roof and I was able to squeeze myself between the rafters. He handed me a small basket that I filled with coal and passed out to him. The scariest part was when he went back to empty the sack of coal over the fence. He was probably only gone for ten minutes, but it seemed like hours to me. I knew if he was caught he would have been taken away and probably shot, whilst I was sitting in the coal-shed freezing to death.” Hanging on to every word, I realised I’d barely written anything down. What started out as an interview turned into journey through my family history. After the war, Oma left school at fourteen. She worked during the day and went to night school. “My job was ten kilometres away, it was another ten kilometres to school and ten kilometres home by bicycle,” she recounted. “It sounds terrible but that was my life.” It was safe to say she didn’t have much leisure time. But she still went ballroom dancing once a week and every summer would go swimming and sailing on the lake. “I met your Opa at night school. He was in a Japanese concentration camp back in Indonesia, so he was two years behind me, but I didn’t care.” I was curious as to what two teenagers would get up to in the nineteen-fifties. She told me
she would watch him play soccer on Saturdays and they would go dancing and ride bicycles. They started dating when she was nineteen. By the age of twenty they were married. Less than two weeks after the wedding, they were immigrating to Sydney. “My parents were devastated,” she told me, “but I moved from Holland to be with him. I was the eldest of six kids and it wasn’t easy. It was an escape.” Oma and Opa spent the next six weeks on a boat to Australia. They had just one trunk between them containing some towels, a tea set and her favourite books as well as a small suitcase with clothing. Looking back through her letters, she remembered that the actual journey was fun. The food was excellent, aside from the menu change when there was an outbreak of gastric. “People were playing guitar, everyone was young. I mostly read, wrote and embroidered a tablecloth I was given,” which she never finished because she was “no good at all.” She is a very skilled seamstress though so I don’t believe that for a second. “We hadn’t even slept together yet, and couldn’t because there were separate boys and girls dormitories,” Oma laughed. As she flicked through old letters her mother had rewrote in an exercise book, she came across a story from coming into Australia. “Henk,” my Opa, “had two Dutch guilders and he wanted to buy something for me. So we stood on the railing of the ship yelling to the trades people in the little boats.” “They were pretty brazen and able to climb aboard with a rope and a basket. All of a sudden some Adonis came swimming along the ship. He wanted you to throw money in the water, and he dove down or caught them and then put them in his mouth. A gentleman next to us threw a coin down and the next moment we saw a shark of at least five or six metres. We all started yelling, there was some commotion in the water and the man and the shark went under. The water started to get red and they
finally hoisted him aboard but it was horrible, ‘cause his whole front was torn away.” She then told me that this is why she never goes swimming in Australian beaches. After arriving in Sydney, Oma and Opa stayed with Opa’s uncle Ben and aunt Marg, along with their five kids who had to squish into one room. “It was my first time being away from home, it was hard and I was homesick and lonely.” They stayed with them for three months before finding a little place for themselves. She wrote letters to her family but they took two or three weeks to arrive, and in Holland they had no home phone. I asked her when she saw her family again. “Opa worked for Qantas, so we flew cheap, but it wasn’t for 15 years,” she told me. She found work and raised a family, and eventually went back to school to study accounting, which is what she had always wanted to do. Her parents also came out to visit Australia once. They planned to stay for one month but ended up staying for six. Upon asking her whether she had made the right choice moving to Australia, she was certain she had. “I have good friends, nice weather and I made the right choice for my children and grandchildren. And now there is this fantastic invention called email to keep in contact.” She now lives in a lovely old house surrounded by a thriving garden she tends to daily. I spent a lot of time there, dancing with my cousins and making tiny gardens for fairies who spoke to us through bird calls. Even now, I love to sit by the frog pond with a good book, comforted by the surrounding mountain haze. I see a lot of myself in Oma, through her strength and motivation to succeed. I hope one day I will be as brave, courageous and trusting in love as she is.
CONTENT WARNING: food
RECIPES FROM MUM GRAPHICS BY LISA LINTON
This year is the 25th anniversary of the UMSU Women’s Department. That’s a quarter of a century, or about a whole generation. To celebrate, we’ve put together some recipes from our community. What have women been making through history in our families – how does food carry memories through generations? Gwen’s Overnight Cup-of-Tea Cake Tessa Gould Contributed by Karen Twigg (52) Historian, East Brunswick VIC “I love making this cake because the dates soaked in tea have a wonderfully rich smell and make the cake really moist. It is called Gwen’s cake after my mother Gwen who – as long as I can remember – always starts the day with a hot, strong cup of tea. This cake is great for an afternoon tea but it is so moist it can also be used as a desert with cream or custard. If you have forgotten to soak the dates the night before, you can simmer them gently in the tea until they go mushy.” Ingredients 1 1/2 cups chopped dates 1/3 cup strong hot strained tea 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda 155g butter 1/2 cup sugar 2 eggs separated 1 cup chopped walnuts 1/2 cup plain flour 2 tablespoons sherry Method Combine dates, tea and soda in bowl. Cover and stand overnight. Cream butter and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy, beat in egg yolks. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in walnuts, sifted flour and sherry; then date mixture. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, fold into cake mixture. Pour into greased loaf pan (14cm x 21 cm) with base and sides lined with paper. Bake in moderately slow oven for about one hour. Stand for five minutes before turning on to wire rack to cool. Baked Roly Poly Tessa Gould Contributed by Gwen Twigg (75) Farmer, Bears Lagoon VIC “My mother was a cook at a guest house, Cherry Farm at Kalorama in the Dandenongs in the nineteen-thirties. This was a popular dessert on the winter menu and is still enjoyed by my family today. It can be served with custard, cream or icecream.” Cake Ingredients 1 cup self raising flour 1/2 cup dripping (I use butter) Water Method Rub butter into flour and mix to a paste with cold water. Roll out and spread with jam and then roll up and place in a baking dish and cover with the following syrup. Syrup Ingredients 1/2 cup sugar 1 tablespoon butter 1/4 cup milk 1 cup water Method Put in saucepan on stove and when dissolved pour over the Roly Poly and bake one hour until brown. I find it is often cooked in half an hour with a more modern stove.
Oma’s 2468 Apple Cake Monique O’Rafferty Upon asking my Oma where this recipe came from, she told me that she has no idea. She never cooked in Holland, her mother didn’t even have an oven. It must have been from her husband, my Opa, his family or a cookbook. For me, a visit from Oma wouldn’t be complete without an apple case carefully encased in an old dutch biscuit tin. Or better yet, walking through her front door to the smell of spiced apple and a still warm cake resting on a wire rack. To me, my Oma’s cooking is simple but very hearty and full of love. I make this many a time, often without the apple, for birthdays or as cupcakes with a lovely thick butter cream icing. Ingredients: 2 eggs 1/2 cup butter 3/4 cup white sugar 1 cup flour 1/2 cup milk For apples: 2 green apples 1 teaspoon raw sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon A pinch of cloves Method Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease round baking dish. Cut apples into thin slices. Mix flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Melt butter in microwave or stove and add to dry ingredients with eggs and milk. Mix with beaters until well combined. Pour half of the mixture into the baking dish, add a layer of apple slices and sprinkle half the raw sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Pour the rest of the mixture into the dish and top with remaining apples, raw sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Bake for 40 –50 minutes or until golden brown. Beryl’s Choc Chip Cookies Tessa Gould Contributed by Susan Gould (51), Secondary Teacher and Farmer, Boort VIC “This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from a community cookbook (Wedderburn Pre-School). Despite the visual appeal and the stylish promises of coffee table cookbooks by celebrity chefs, my go-to cookbooks are always these local books. Often the photocopying and stapling can be a little skewed, but the recipes are always reliable. The recipes always end with the name of the contributor and that then gives it a background story and life of its own. So here are Beryl’s Choc Chip cookies. The secret is to have the butter at room temperature.” Ingredients 175 grams butter 1/2 cup white sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 large egg 1 cup self raising flour 3/4 cup plain flour 250 grams (or more) of mixed milk, white and dark good quality chocolate, chopped Method Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla, beat well. Add flour, mix well and then add chocolate. Shape into ball and press down. Bake in a moderate oven (at low to medium heat) for 10-15 minutes.
CONTENT WARNING: food
Karen’s Jam Slice
Ashleigh Grace McNichol This is my mum’s recipe for what has, as long as I can remember, simply been called ‘Jam Slice.’ Waltzing up the driveway after school and smelling jam bubbling away in the oven was always a treat (mum has many talents, but an extraordinary cook she is not), and meant my sister and I were in for a good afternoon plonked in front of ABC Kids and licking jam from our fingers. The source of the recipe is unknown but it reminds me of a recipe you’d find in the back pages of a dated women’s magazine. In fact no one is quite sure if mum created it, had it passed down to her or just accidentally made it one day (as she is known to do), but if you love oats and jam and a recipe that oozes early 2000’s afternoon teas – this is for you.
Danielle Scrimshaw Kourabiedes. Kor-ah-bee-ah-des. As in, the most common Greek biscuit of all. The one that makes an appearance at every Christmas and Easter, ready for you to make a mess of – no, really, eat these with plenty of napkins on hand, or just over the sink.
They are my mother’s family, her origin, the photographs of her at my age in Greece – tanned and smiling and sporting questionable hairdos. It’s thinking that maybe I’ll get there one day, too. It’s connecting with Mum, through connecting with Greece – Greece, the country that young people flock to on their Gap Year, the empire that dominates ancient history, that is so significant to the world in so many ways but for me means – Mum. It means trying to get closer to the land her father came from and cherished. I have no vivid memory of my Papou, but there’s a cute photograph of me and him, cracking boiled red eggs together for Easter. I can’t dig out memories from my subconscious by eating these biscuits, but I can remember where they’re from, what they mean and represent to my mum, and in that way, try to connect to that part of myself through each bite.
Ingredients 2 cups of plain flour 1 cup of oats 1/2 cup of caster sugar 1/3 cup of desiccated coconut 6 tablespoons of butter (melted and cooled) 1/4 cup milk Favourite jam spread (I swear by Apricot, but anything will work) Method Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Mix all ingredients, besides the jam, in a large bowl. Spread into a medium slice dish Cover bottom layer with jam (“little or heaps :-D you choose!” according to mum). Sprinkle with a little extra coconut and oats. Bake until golden and smells “yum!” (around 20 minutes). Leave to cool on rack before eating. Marnie’s YoYos Esther Le Couteur Marnie – my grandma – has been making these yo-yos for as long as I can remember. Recently she stopped, as my grandpa wasn’t allowed to eat them and we all missed out. She makes the recipes herself a bit, as she learnt to cook as she went along. Ingredients 3/4 cup butter 3/4 cup plain flour 1/4 cup icing sugar 1/4 cup custard powder Method Cream the butter and sugar (in the Magimix so it’s fast). Add sifted flour and custard powder and then roll them into small balls. Flatten with a fork on the baking paper on the tray (they can be big or small, whatever). Bake them in a slow oven at 150-ish until golden brown. After they’re cool, join together with icing. To make the icing sugar, take tiny bit of butter without any other liquid, because the passionfruit itself makes enough. Mix the sugar with the passionfruit and try to balance it out into a perfect thickness.
So, what’s the deal with these sugared cookies, if they’re so common? It’s the connection they hold, the reminder of that small part of me mostly covered by extreme Australian vibes. They are cracking two red-dyed boiled eggs together at Easter. Dancing at a wedding reception, arm-in-arm with one of your many, many great aunts or second cousins. Constantly translating Yia Yia to everybody because you forget that people don’t generally know the Greek word for ‘grandma’.
Ingredients 250g butter 1/3 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla essence 1 tablespoon water 2 cups plain flour Pinch of salt 1 cup finely chopped walnuts Sifted icing sugar (for powdering) Method Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla essence until creamy. Add water and beat in. Mix in sifted flour and salt, and add the chopped walnuts to make a crumbly dough. Chill dough in refrigerator until firm enough to handle (approximately 20-30 minutes). Take small portions of dough and roll into small balls, or longer, curved finger-like shapes. Place on trays and bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from trays and roll in sifted icing sugar. Place on wire racks and leave until cool. Roll again in icing sugar for a second layer and serve.
Khichuri (serves 2)
Ayonti Mahreen Huq Bangladesh is one of the few countries with a ‘six season’ spectrum, with monsoon (rainy season) being one of them. For generations, during lazy mornings of heavy rainfall, our mums and grandmas have prepared khichuri, which is a lentil and rice based concoction. Khichuri is usually served with beef curry but omelette and fried eggplant are also quite popular complementary dishes. It is the perfect comfort food when you don’t feel like getting out of the home on a cold morning and just want to sit, read and enjoy some quiet time to yourself.
Ilsa Harun Eid Mubarak, or Hari Raya to Malaysians is truly my favourite time of year. Not just because I get to come home and see family, but mainly because I get the most amazing home cooked meals. Rendang is a complicated recipe, but an oh-so-good one and I will truly be impressed by anyone who attempts this. My biggest tip for this would be to keep stirring the mixture constantly once it’s in the wok — it is quick to burn otherwise. Every year, on the last day of Ramadan and the eve of Eid, my dad will cook his mother’s rendang recipe. It fills the house with memories of past Hari Rayas as my sister and I attempt to help and learn this recipe. We cook it not just for delicious flavours, but also to keep the memory of my grandmother alive.
Ingredients 1 cup basmati rice 1/2 cup red lentil 3 cups water 1 tablespoon clarified butter (ghee) (normal butter or plant based sub would do as well) 1 teaspoon chilli powder 1 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon garlic and ginger paste (half and half) 1/2 an onion Coriander (to garnish) Salt (to taste) Method Wash both rice and lentils together and keep aside. In a large pot, heat clarified butter and fry the onions in medium heat until translucent. After that, put in the rice and lentil and stir it for a minute or two, adding the chilli powder, turmeric, salt, garlic and ginger paste in the meantime. Then mix them all together, pour the water and put the stove at a medium to low heat, covering the pot. Remove once the khichuri has soaked up all the water and the rice is soft. Another simpler version can be to chuck all the ingredients in a rice cooker and let it do the job. Garnish with some chopped coriander while serving. Beef curry (serves 2) 500 grams beef (preferably rump steak or chuck casserole) 1 large onion 1 tablespoon ginger and garlic paste 1/2 tablespoon turmeric 1/4 tablespoon chilli powder (more if you want it spicier) 1 tablespoon oil Salt (to taste) 2 cups water Heat the oil in a pan in medium heat and fry the onions until translucent. Then add the beef and the rest of the spices and fry them for 3-4 minutes. After that add the water and bring the stove to low heat. Constantly keep checking if the meat is tender to your preference, adding more water to tenderise it if necessary. Remove from stove and serve once meat has softened to desired level (and the water has evapotated). Fried Eggplant 1 small eggplant 1 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon chilli powder 1/2 teaspoon salt Cut the eggplant horizontally, making round pieces. Rub the turmeric chilli and salt on all the pieces (use some water to make the spice mixture a little paste-y if needed). Put some oil in a skillet on medium heat and then fry the eggplant slices (in batches), until golden brown on each side.
Ingredients 1 kilogram of beef 1 tiny piece of turmeric leaf 1 piece of tamarind 3 pieces of makrut lime leaves 5 stalks of lemongrass, chopped 3/4 inch of galangal 1 inch of ginger 10 medium red onions 3 big cloves of garlic 1 1/4 cups of grated coconut 1/4 cups of grated coconut to make toasted coconut 3/4 cups of chilli paste to taste Method 1. Mixture 1: Chop lemongrass – put in blender. Pound galangal and ginger together and put in blender with chopped lemongrass. Add 4 cups of water in blender. Grind. Once blended, put through sieve. Re-blend the unsieved parts. Add a touch of water to ease blending. Sieve again. Keep unsieved part aside. 2. Cut onions and garlic to quarters and put into blender. Add 1 spoon of unsieved of Mixture 1 ingredients together into blender and blend. Add to sieved mixture of Mixture 1. 3. Add 3/4 cups of chilli paste into mixture. 4. Blend grated coconut (with some water). Sieve. Add to Mixture 1. All together this would be about 6 cups. 5. Cut beef into 1 inch cubes. 6. Add Mixture 1 and beef into big wok. Add tamarind piece and salt to taste. Have a high fire and keep stirring throughout. 7. Put 1/4 cup of grated coconut for toasted coconut in non stick pan. Keep stirring until golden brown. 8. Add 1/2 cup of oil into rendang mixture. Keep stirring. 9. Add turmeric leaf and makrut lime leaves. 10. Blend toasted coconut until fine. 11. Mix toasted coconut into contents of wok. 12. Continue stirring until thick consistency. If contents are sticking, add oil to the wok.
If you try any of these recipes tag us on Instagram @judyspunch. We’d love to see your beautiful creations!
GRAPHICS BY MONIQUE O’RAFFERTY 35
CONTENT WARNING: nudity, genitalia (mention), food
SANS UNDERPANTS BY AMIE GREEN GRAPHICS BY AMELIA SAWARD
1. EXT. OUTER SUBURBIA. AFTERNOON The town is flat, cut into a hilly area of dry bush. The single level suburban house is planted in the middle of a sparse community of beige bricks. SAMANTHA (V/O) Today I will make my biggest move yet. This is my moment. That moment when you go from being a small person to being a full grown-up. Like when you sprout those curly hairs in all your pits, except for your knee pits. It’s like taxes. Taxes are adult things. 2. INT. HOUSE. HALLWAY. AFTERNOON From the brown carpet to the faded floral wallpaper, a dry orange heat leaks through the blinds baking the house’s inhabitants. A pair of kid’s legs sprint down the hallway. KAREN (O/S) (calling) Samantha. Hurry
of the couch and spoke only in meows. But I don’t even like cats, or dogs. Too jumpy, too bitey. KAREN Hey, get your shoes on. SAMANTHA Mum, hold your ponies! Have you nappied the puppy yet? KAREN Shi-shoot!
6. INT. LAUNDRY Karen opens the back door and whistles. TOBY, 10, a ripped and wrinkled bulldog, waddles into the laundry. He noticeably frowns when Karen tears open a bulk pack of toddler nappies. SAMANTHA (V/O) I know I said I don’t like dogs, but I have a dog. He’s scary and old and he snores so I don’t let him in my room. But once I think the phone rang when we were out and Toby pooped in every room except for mine so it’s smart that I lock my door.
SAMANTHA, 7, runs towards her bedroom. She looks a little extra-terrestrial, with a spherical head topped with frizzy ringlets. Her eyes are black and buggy. 3. INT. SAMANTHA’S BEDROOM Samantha parts her legs and her underwear falls to the floor. Reaching to the nearest pile of toys, she balls her knickers underneath a stack of Barbies with lopsided haircuts and missing limbs. She stands there with a massive grin. 4. INT. KITCHEN KAREN, 40, holds a triangle of burnt toast. Her glasses are knotted into her fried hair. She herds her other, more lethargic daughter, BROOKE, 13, towards the front door. KAREN Come on. Brookie, get your thongs on. Brooke plods along with her arms crossed. Music blares from the bulky plastic headphones around her neck. DAVID, 37, stands behind the kitchen bench and inserts a slice of black pumpernickel loaf into the toaster. He carefully measures a bowl of cottage cheese, leaning towards the bench to inspect the squishy curd. KAREN Brookie, where is your sister? David, what is Samantha doing? DAVID I’m not sure. But do you know how to tare this silly gadget? If I don’t get at least twenty grams of protein at this interval, my macros and my micros will be all messy, and then my weight training schedule – David’s toast is stuck. The toaster shakes slightly and a single wisp of smoke rises from it. Karen leaves the room. David heads towards the toaster wielding a metal butter knife. At the last moment he realises what he is doing, ditching the knife with a shrug.
KAREN (whispering reassuringly) We don’t need brown walls right now. Toby kicks wildly as his brick-body squirms. KAREN We’ll be back soon. Karen gives Toby a reassuring head pat and shuts him in the laundry. 7. INT. HALLWAY While she walks, Brooke tries to shove a giant Walkman into her pocket. The Walkman stretches her pocket and once in, the device weighs down the right leg of her baggy jeans. She hoists her pants back up. Samantha follows her sister down the hall towards the front door. Samantha walks with an awkward swagger as she picks at the back of her dress. SAMANTHA (rapid fire) Brooke! Brooke! Brooke! Guess what? Brooke swats her sister away. BROOKE Buzz off, I’m hooked into my tunes. SAMANTHA Listen to me instead, or... Brooke raises an eyebrow at her sister. SAMANTHA Or I’ll find the hairiest spider and splonk it right on your head. Samantha hysterically laughs. SAMANTHA (V/O) My sister thinks spiders are the grossest. Once she woke up hearing these noises and a big fat huntsman was rattling her blinds. She screamed so loud Toby coulda pooped!
5. INT. HALLWAY As Karen rifles through the coat cupboard, Samantha sneaks past, smoothing down her dress skirt. SAMANTHA (V/O) Gotta keep it cool...Keep my cool. I’m not very good at being cool... or even warm. Mum says it’s okay to have a little fire, but she also said to me that when I was littler I climbed on the back
BROOKE Oh my god, Mum. Tell her to give me some space please.
KAREN Girls. Calm it and shut it. Out and in the car now thanks.
Karen slams the door behind them. The force knocks down the umbrella that was wedged behind the door.
9. EXT. PARK
KAREN (hushed) Take it easy on her please.
8. INT. CAR The family car’s interior is patterned like a public bus seat, with all kinds of abstract shapes and unknown stains. David fiddles with every single knob on the dash, eliciting a series of CLICKS, TICKS and CLUNKS through his tinkering. He gets particularly frustrated, brow knitting, with the radio dial. Karen drives. She reaches over and knocks David’s hand away to test the dial herself, veering slightly left on the road. DAVID Watch it.
DAVID She’s got to talk to me. Forgive me. KAREN It might take her awhile. DAVID I’m here now. I’m trying. KAREN I know. But you weren’t always and that’s what she remembers. Samantha trails behind. SAMANTHA Dad! Mum! Guess what?
David reaches over. He presses the knobs with more force. KAREN Can you not? DAVID I’m trying to fix it. A beat. DAVID You know, the vent is rattling too. And my seat won’t adjust and I’m too far back to maintain ideal posture.
KAREN Hang on sweetie. Samantha can wait no longer. She barges between her parents and pulls her dress completely over her head, revealing her naked crotch. Everything is still for a moment. Nothing but the slow whistling of wind through the eucalypts can be heard. SAMANTHA (V/O) I think I ended up looking more like one of those Halloween ghost costumes where all you do is cut out eye holes. Except I didn’t have eye holes in my dress, and my costume wasn’t G-rated.
KAREN (sighing) I know the car is falling apart. The car is silent while the family travels through the small town. Samantha stares at the rows of uninspired, stout brick buildings. She traces wormy patterns on the fogged-up window. SAMANTHA Mum, are we getting Maccas before or after the park? KAREN You just had a snack. Sit tight Sam. SAMANTHA (V/O) Those sweet nugs are all I’ve ever dreamed about. In my glorious kingdom, the clouds will be golden and deep fried. The weather outside begins to turn as the sky drains of colour. Clouds roll overhead, disappearing over the horizon. The red car pulls off the road into a dirt parking lot. The bush land has been cleared, edged back to the tree line. The grass is patchy, yellow and dry. In the middle of the basin is a small wooden playground. DAVID Brooke, my coat please? From the boot. Brooke’s music is still blaring.
David and Karen are shocked and sheet-white. KAREN Shit! David! DAVID Woah, stop! Karen yanks Samantha’s dress down. David shields them. As the mother and daughter talk, the wind lifts the corners of Samantha’s dress up, each time flashing a sliver of white butt cheek. KAREN What did you do? Samantha howls with laughter over the howling wind. She laughs so hard she hunches inwards, unable to hold herself up. SAMANTHA (V/O) (giggling) I mean it’s the best thing I’ve ever done! Their faces when I flashed my fanny, I can’t even describe! Brooke has vanished, no longer on the swing. David, Karen and Samantha are the only ones remaining in the basin. KAREN David, look, I’ll take Sam home to get dressed. Go find Brooke.
DAVID Hey, I’m trying to talk to you. Brooke opens the door. She exits and walks in front of the car. She keeps walking, stopping just before the playground. Samantha sits still. SAMANTHA (V/O) I knew from when the light bulb popped over my head that this would be the funniest thing ever. Everybody would laugh so hard, I thought, they’ll cry and they’ll say ‘Sam! The champion of funniness! Genius!’ I’ll be rewarded in gold: every nugget on earth dropped at my feet, at my naked bum.Sam’s parents get out of the car. David collects his jacket.
David looks overwhelmed, wringing his hands. DAVID You sure? KAREN I’ll be a couple of minutes. It’ll be okay. Karen grabs her daughters collar, hauling her towards the car. David disappears into the thicket. The sky is pure purple and black, like a spreading bruise.
10. INT. CAR The windscreen wipers SQUEAK and SQUEAL as the old plastic sticks. Karen tries the radio knob again, but can’t hear the station over the wipers. 11. EXT. PARK Grey hazes the very tops of the shedding, mottled eucalypts. Brooke trudges over the narrow dirt walking path that curves up into the hills. David sprints. In front of him a teen-sized-figure is visible through the trees. 12. EXT. CAR Samantha watches the weather, cheek pressed against the back car window. SAMANTHA Mum... KAREN Don’t worry Sam, it’ll edge back off.
David and Brooke sit beneath the tallest tree. A low growl hums beneath the earth, building in the distance. The two hug. 16. INT. CAR Karen fights the wheel. The wind is battering the car. The roads already swell with the water. SAMANTHA (V/O) I could feel a stone in my insides, pressing on my belly. I saw my sister and my dad as little fried fish fingers. Crunchy dead shells. I could only see them as frizzled and black and burnt and filled with electricity and thunder and dead. Dead. Completely dead. 17. EXT. PARK A loud clap of thunder is heard. Brooke’s scream echoes above the tree tops. RADIO ANNOUNCER (V/O) Wild weather. The storms that hit this afternoon have already proven devastating, with calls to the SES flooding in. There are multiple reports of trees down and widespread damage to residential areas. The low-pressure trough developed into an intense low-pressure system, with winds recorded at over 200 kilometres an hour. The extent of the damage and number of injuries are not yet known. Storms like this only occur once a summer, so to all listeners, stay indoors with your loved ones, but keep one eye on the beast.
SAMANTHA What about Brooke and Dad? KAREN It’s fine, they’ll just get a little wet waiting, that’s all. Karen’s eyes flicker towards the console clock. She speeds up. 13. EXT. PARK A fat water droplet lands on Brooke’s dome and startles her. Suddenly the sheet falls and it’s raining heavily. Brooke whips around and sprints back down the track. She runs straight into David’s chest. The two stumble and fall, landing at the base of what seems the largest tree in their surrounds. A cold mist wraps around the father and daughter’s ankles. David sheds his jacket and hands it to Brooke. She smiles a little and takes off her headphones, wrapping them, and her Walkman, in the jacket. 14. INT. HOUSE. KITCHEN Karen hovers around the bench. She prods a large radio. She switches the dials. She checks the outlet. She straightens the antenna. Yet the machine only spits STATIC. Samantha is running past the kitchen, waving her wrinkled underwear. SAMANTHA Mum, look! I’m flying the white flag! Karen produces a small handheld radio from beneath the sink. First she loads it with new batteries. She pulls out the metre-long antenna. She flicks it on and the screen lights up. STATIC. MUFFLED VOICES. INAUDIBLE WHISTLING. SAMANTHA (O/S) (pretending to be serious, in a monotone register) Fine. I’m ready. KAREN Zip it. Wind interference. Samantha rounds the corner with a pair of underwear on her head. SAMANTHA See, the leg holes are my eyeholes! RADIO ANNOUNCER (V/O) This is an urgent storm warning... get inside, secure your belongings... expect hail... torrential rain...already battering residents... the hill...Samantha rips the underwear from her head. 15. EXT. PARK
18. INT. LOUNGEROOM. NIGHT There is no light, only a small upturned torch centred in the black. The torch casts a faint yellow glow onto the group of figures. David, Karen, Samantha and Brooke are squished onto the old, sagging floral couch in their loungeroom. DAVID Brooke, can you pass me that nugget box? BROOKE Okay. SAMANTHA (V/O) It was okay. It’s always okay. And we were all together for a little while and it was like I always wanted. As the BANGS of hail slaughter the tin roof, Toby barks. SAMANTHA Shut your nugget hole Tobes. KAREN That’s a bit rough. He’s just a big baby, aren’t you Toby? C’mon boy, plant it. Toby waddles up to them and wedges himself between Samantha and her mother. He sits on Samantha’s toes. She reluctantly gives him a scratch behind the ears. Karen and David look at each other and smile. SAMANTHA (V/O) My underpants had saved them all. I am Captain Underpants, well if he was real and a little girl, rather than like a pink egg person thing. I am a hero, and I have my gold medallions. Samantha slips Toby a half-eaten nugget. He excitedly scoffs it down, slobbering and slurping. SAMANTHA I feel ya. Samantha starts to laugh. Slowly, the whole family joins in with giggles. The torch light flickers off. Thunder claps. Toby releases a long gurgly fart. SAMANTHA (V/O) Shit!
GRAPHICS BY RACHEL MORLEY
BUBBLE GUM PINK BY LILY WARD GRAPHICS BY AMIE GREEN
Layers of paint in lipstick hues, hiding every armoured stitch of previous selves.
A legacy in denim lining, pockets each containing: shame
in gum wrappers,
self loathing in torn reciepts. A desire to break free smothering as a blanket might the fabric of her past â€“
killing selves in bubble-gum pink freeing space, in order to be.
Lily Ward is a second-year Arts student endlessly striving to find that one perfectly ripe avocado at the supermarket.
GRAPHICS BY LAUREN HUNTER 41
THE SUNFLOWER QUESTION BY MAGENTA SHERIDAN GRAPHICS BY MONIQUE O’RAFFERTY
You’re trying to explain to your friend Hana what colour a sunflower is. You’re standing by the side of the road on your way home and there are sunflowers growing in one of the gardens, right near the fence. She says that she can see why they might be called sunflowers, because they look a bit like the sun. How the sun looks in picture books and cartoons, really. You can’t use a word like yellow. That doesn’t work. You can’t use words like golden or amber or lemon. You can say it’s warmer than the feeling of her scarf around her neck, but that’s still not right. It’s not like when Hana asked about the Moreton Bay Fig in the school playground, that makes a huge rushing sound when the wind blows through. You said the leaves were like the taste of overcooked broccoli and she nodded; you both understood. Hana takes a large petal from one of the sunflowers and you both sprint down the street, laughing as your backpack leaps into the air and then falls hard against your back with every stride. You say goodbye outside her house, pink cheeks panting after the run. She gives you the crumpled petal, warm from her fist. Later when you’re sitting at the kitchen table doing your homework, you’ll tell Nan about her. You’ll mention the sunflowers first, and then how you couldn’t explain it, how Hana is colour blind. Blind? she’ll ask, loudly. Mum says her hearing is going. No, Nan. Colour blind. The next day at school you’ll put on your favourite lip balm – honey flavoured – and take Hana behind the girls’ toilets. You’ll stand in the muddy grass and kiss her gently, a strand of her strawberry blonde hair caught between your sticky lips and hers, and hope that maybe this will answer the sunflower question.
Magenta Sheridan is a writer, illustrator and comics enthusiast. She likes touching all the coloured markers in art supply stores and chasing cats.
TO THE STATION BY EA LINCOLN-HYDE GRAPHICS BY JULIA LEE
7:27 Good morning – could you do me a favour? Do you have a car and a spare ten mins before 10:15? The snow’s making me re-think the walk to the station 8:09 Yeah, no problem, I have both of those things! 8:10 :D I’m ready when you are :) 9:06 I’ll text you when I’m on my way 9:41 Be there in two! 9:41 :) 9:42 Here! * * * I wave through the passenger side window and yank open the back door. My fingers sink into the snow caught around the handle. “Thank you. So much.” “Hey, no problem!” She smiles. There is a large, heart-shaped chocolate lollipop on the backseat. I try to place my bags somewhere it won’t be crushed. I get in and shrug off a few layers while she fiddles with her phone. “Do you wanna navigate?” She passes it to me. I take the phone, but start to explain the route without the app. “You don’t need Google Maps?” She turns her face slightly towards me as she eases into the traffic. “Living in Shanghai makes you get really good at memorising maps.” “Why’s that, do they not label the roads?” She grins. “No, just the names are really complicated and in Chinese. It all looks the same.” She nods and tells me the story of a friend who tried to get directions in Costa Rica. “The maps haven’t been updated in thirty years. But no one tells you that the road has been renamed or that the cinema you’re supposed to turn left at was pulled down twenty years ago.”
We are suddenly coming to the halfway point of the journey. I feel sad. As we turn a corner, she asks me to open the internet browser on her phone and tell her what I see. “Yep – nothing.” “OK, good. I’m waiting for a quiz to come up. I’m technically supposed to be in class…” I feel awkward. “…but I’d already decided not to go. Like, yesterday I decided I wasn’t going.” “Oh good,” I breathe out, “because you’re still undergrad and I would feel really guilty.” She glances right to check the traffic. Her gaze lingers on my face a moment – I think. A pause as we turn left. “I’m glad I could do this this morning and I got to see you one last time before you head out.” “Yeah. I am too.” My voice peters out awkwardly. There’s a mutual, sheepish silence. We park. The silence continues. I gesture at my gloves. “They’re made with possum fur.” I’m scrabbling. “Can I touch them?” She does. “They’re soft.” “Possums are a pest in New Zealand, so they shear them.” “Huh.” I blush and unbuckle my seatbelt. The moment arrives. Maybe this could work. I ask: “Can you do me another favour?” “Yeah.” She smiles at me. I lean in and she lowers her head to meet mine. Our lips touch. A very soft, very gentle touch. I pull away swiftly. Pause. “Thanks.” I grin. I turn away and open the door too quickly to gauge her reaction. I think I feel her grinning too. Or maybe she isn’t. I catch the bags up off the back seat. The chocolate is still intact. Oh good. I didn’t break your heart. For once, though, I think before speaking. “I’ll – see you then.” Maybe this didn’t work. “Yeah! Hey –” I pause before closing the door. She looks up at me over the backseat. Definitely grinning, she says: “You’ve probably noticed I’m not big on texting.” “Yes, I have actually.” I smile cheekily. “Would it be ok if I – called you? Sometimes?”
Ellan plays the bassoon, writes blogs, dreams of owning a terrier, and lives in Beijing with a pot plant named Aloysius.
CONTENT WARNING: mental health, anxiety (mention)
BY SARAH LEE GRAPHICS BY RACHEL MORLEY What every twenty-something Brunswick-dwelling anxiety struck Asian woman with nightmares of their ex should know you would probably want to rehearse what you’ve always wanted to say to your ex before you run into them, because you’d probably regret not having told them your true feelings just to look “cool”. What every twenty-something Brunswick-dwelling anxiety struck Asian woman should know you’d have to start loving your soft big cheeks and the black hair on your legs someday. What every twenty-something Brunswick-dwelling anxiety struck woman should know it’s not the end of the world when you have accidentally finished a bag of Twisties, Malteasers and a bar of Cadbury in bed as you watch the sun rise.
What every twenty-something Brunswick-dwelling woman should know you’d want to invest in a good duvet because the broken heater isn’t going to fix itself and this winter isn’t going to get any warmer. What every twenty-something woman should know that it is okay to miss your own mother despite having said horrible things to her in your teens. What every woman should know it is perfectly fine to have days where you can’t deal with yourself or to have days where you want to squeeze your own self because you love yourself so much. You aren’t hysterical. You aren’t crazy. You are a woman, and an impeccable one too.
Sarah is a third year student who enjoys watching Greta Gerwig films and picks Simone de Beauvoir as her icon. Surprisingly, she has never missed an episode of the Bachelor.
CONTENT WARNING: sex (implied), swearing
BITCH ON FIRE
BY ADELAIDE GREIG GRAPHICS BY MORGAN-LEE SNELL
Don’t be such an angry young woman But why? Because anger is hot and loud and visceral? Because it pumps? Because it hops from thought to thought word to word always getting bigger because if fire had a soul it would be angry no, more than angry enraged furious seething because fire is terrifying how it explodes and pops and destroys because my anger turns the heat on you sears your skin sizzles your eyes it’s hard to look at my anger because it makes you burn because my anger is the scissors to your paper rock to your scissors and paper to your rock threatens to turn your rock hard confidence of your ice cold power into melting water or drifting ashes Because anger isn’t pretty, isn’t sweet, isn’t chill, isn’t easy, and it’s easier when I’m easy easier when I’m cold enough that I need your luke warm love to make it through the night I hold in my anger because when I don’t you call me forest fire and they bring the hoses But it’s too late I’m already burning
Adelaide is finishing off her English and History degree and yes she knows what she’s doing with it thank you very much. She writes to vent her anger at the world but also to try and celebrate the beautiful things that make it all worth it . Follow her on instagram @_lacrimaererumwrites_
BY IKUMI COORAY GRAPHICS BY MONIQUE O’RAFFERTY
Sometimes you feel you can rely only on yourself To listen to you, to love you, To save you from the suffering. You understand the way your thoughts can be Tarnished by misinterpretation So protect them, From being bruised by manipulation. Fear of misunderstanding keeps you insular, Instead of open.
No doubt you have tried to transcribe your psyche to paper To canvas, to clay, and to melodies and rhythms. No doubt your audience has distorted your dissertation The message misconstrued, Left you confused. Are they right? The truth is twisted and your beliefs bended, Blended in a mush of misapprehension. That’s not the way I intended it. But where did you go wrong? The onus comes back, Crushing you with the weight of responsibility The weight of expectation The wait for an answer to the conundrum, Beating in your head like synchronous steps. So you’ve figured out the emptiness in finding connection Found the search to be nothing but A concoction of disillusionment And disappointment. When the construction of the message never quite matches its reception And you are accused of deception Because of the inflammation of your words Into assumptions Based on presumptions Interrupted by disjunctions Taking away from their initial function The onus is not always only mine. So there you settle for futility Enchanted by the spell of solitude Spellbound. You have found yourself believing that there is only you, A single cell – detached Not one with the universe But a whole different poly-verse, a multi-verse, A misunderstood solitary traverse Insular and inward looking For salvation soon Maybe at the next full moon You might be lifted from the gloom But always does the idea loom Of being attached in the womb But alone in the tomb
Ikumi Cooray is a writer, artist and graduate student. She’s interested in contemporary art, cheesecake, and posting frequent and unnecessary Twitter updates via @ikumitron.
GRAPHICS BY CAITLIN WONG CREATIVE
CONTENT WARNING: violence, drugs, sexual harrassment, genitalia (mention)
BY ANNIE LIEW GRAPHICS BY AYONTI MAHREEN HUQ
Not all men are talented, though I hate to admit, with sword fighting and slaying dragons in a pit. Men are chivalrous with pretty dames in distress locked high in stone towers in a bright pink silk dress. Men are full of grace and help to pitch in, as long as the doting women sit tight in the kitchen. Men are loving they show it by being mean and by mixing drinks up with coke and ketamine! Men are educated, on female issues especially, by telling us about our complex and convoluted anatomy. Men are helpful for taxing tampons and pads when bloodâ€™s coming out of herwherever. Itâ€™s not that bad. Men are great. Hold on, wait, on second thought they are not those things, they are simply, men.
Annie has always strung together words by the serendipitous habit of pure luck. She will try to continue to dodo apple dinosaur.
CONTENT WARNING: eating disorders, mental health, dysphoria, transphobia, drugs
Honey, you need to understand some things.
BY JACINTA DOWE GRAPHICS BY AMIE GREEN
Just because things seem better doesn’t mean they are. One week you can get out of bed but you haven’t eaten in days and you’re sore all over but your stress levels are down and you’ve been taking your meds which makes the depression better and the nausea worse but it’s all so marginal how do you even weigh worse against better week to week? I tell my therapist I’m calmer but my intrusive thoughts are worse. Worse than what? When I wasn’t noticing them as much, I guess. I tell my doctor I’ve been eating more but when she weighs me I’ve lost two kilograms. I gain weight and I feel like hell instead of nothing. Or I feel numb, so numb, so why am I so anxious? Just because things are better doesn’t mean I’m going to change. Honey, please understand. I’m keeping on top of therapy but not taking my meds. I’m taking my meds but lying to my doctors. I’m being honest but I won’t get out of bed. What’s the difference? As a child my mother always told me I said I love you like I was on my deathbed. “I love you too, but you sound like you just found out you have three months to live.” She’d sound so sad. She gave me a journal and told me to only write in happy things. Once she sent me an email link to an article called ‘Transgenderism: A Pathological Meme’ and asked me what I thought. I thought no, no, no, no, no. I don’t want this in my inbox. I don’t want this in my world. I don’t want to look at the other side of things, to look them in the eyes and listen to what they think. When I told my mother I loved her she’d say I sounded sad, so sad. Why are we all so sad? Honey, honey, I love you. I love you so much. I found a chair near the train station today, just sitting between two trees right across from me. It’s a good chair, short in the legs like me and a little bit broken. But it’s sturdy. As I carried it home I thought about cushions and writing and my mother. She sees life as a conversation of moving parts and different perspectives. She is always open and always listening and always wants to know. Honey, you see life as sets of open jaws with sharp teeth and so you never want to leave your room. My life is a broken body trying to make sense of itself and I don’t know why I’m telling you this but I am.
If you feel the need to talk to someone after reading this, you can call Lifeline 24 hours a day on 13 11 14 and QLife provides a telephone support and counselling service for LGBTQI+ people 3 pm to midnight on 1800 184 527.
Jacinta has been described as “literally capitalism” and “the second funniest person I know”. Find her on Twitter @twitterphobia, Tumblr @mysmalltrampoline, and jdowe.com
CONTENT WARNING: swearing, catcalling, sexual harrassment
THIS IS NOT A POEM, THIS IS A BUS BY MADELINE BAILEY GRAPHICS BY CLARA CRUZ JOSE
because there are men behind me who leave their legs in the aisles: their shoes are pointed, leather, and they are discussing Sandra, who will meet [man on the left] in the city Monday night and who lives in fucking Moonee Ponds so he has had to book a hotel and she better be into it or he has wasted his one-fifty bucks.
(Poems are open this is not one. On this bus I have no breath.)
cycling in [tight] skirt + lipstick = cannot understand if man [honking + smirking out his side-window] because I = bad driver or woman (˜§¢£™¡œ∴ ≠)
do I re-read [the road rules] or [de Beauvoir] = undefined
Madeline won the 2016 Melbourne Young Writers Award. She has been printed in Voiceworks, performed at the Wheeler Centre, and works as a columnist for Farrago.
CONTENT WARNING: self harm, suicide (mention), death
BY ERICA WILLIAMS GRAPHICS BY LILLY MCLEAN my mother is not allowed to lock doors at the hospital she does not know how to tie nooses. I donâ€™t smuggle sharps in my backpack at visiting time. still NO PRIVACY so we escape to the bathroom all blue and silver like being underwater submariners I puff out my cheeks like a fish she laughs, skinny as a sapling strange to be a daughter when the woman next door gave birth to twins, both stillborn
Erica likes writing strange poems and drawing caricatures of her lecturers. She dreams of owning two pet rats and pickling homegrown vegetables. In her spare time, she likes experimental cooking and listening to Outkast.
CONTENT WARNING: sex, genitalia, gore, violence, animal death, swearing
there was a whale gutted on the television, gutted with a silver hook, spilling blood.
BY MORGAN-LEE SNELL GRAPHICS BY RACHEL MORLEY there was a bed covered in dog hair and breadcrumbs. there were two people in the bed having sex. there was fucking. there was cum. there was a leaking cunt.
like a silver inside hook. there was a curving there was penile and thick and rubbing (throbbing). there were beets buried deep in black soil, beets buried like rubies, drilling to earthâ€™s core. there were beets on the dinner plate, and they looked like the whales; red, and spilling blood. Sometimes after being fucked I can feel a desperate sliding. there were two people on the bed and they were having sex there was sex and then there was cum. there was cum, leaking from a cunt like a seeping wound.
CONTENT WARNING: eating disorder, alcohol
BY STEPHANIE ZHANG GRAPHICS BY AYONTI MAHREEN HUQ like a crumpled novel, you are drowning in the wine festered from your own words and your own thoughts. when you close your eyes at night, you can hear the hum of the empty fridge, you can feel your hollowness and hear your hollowness, and nobody blames you. for when you found out you could throw up your flaws and flatten your personality until you were thin as paper defined by the number on your waistband, you took that chance; anything to become a bikini girl. you do not know if it was worth it, but it remains a thought that eats away at you every night as you lay on your bed listening to the hum of the fridge, the hum humming hammering haunting as your hollowed body lays on your bed. instead you fill yourself up with vodka and gin and absinthe because who wouldnâ€™t love a girl who drinks? a cool girl a cool (skinny) girl a cool girl with hair as smooth as silk and a flat stomach a cool girl with long skinny legs and a flat stomach donâ€™t touch it you snap at your boyfriend your boyfriend, who will sing loudly to flood away the hum humming of the fridge, but when he is gone you are left alone and you hear nothing you hear no thing not silence but the audio definition of a rabbit in a snowstorm it is deafening. so you scramble to check your fridge because you have created a habit for yourself curling up inside the soundwaves of that humming, the humming that has ruptured your lungs and emptied you out, the humming that has become your only safe space away from all of the other noises in your world, the ones your boyfriend cannot drown out; for he has tried to become rubber for you but you are still glass. you are a wine glass teetering on the thin stem of your sanity, your blood threatening to spill out over onto the brand new carpet, staining like your mind tracing around the absence of the flowers (not) growing from your needle thin bones, and nobody blames you. your only real crime is wanting so desperately to love yourself more, convinced the more that comes back out of your mouth the better you can become, convinced that once you begin to throw up along the way out comes all of the disgusting disturbing discomfiting thoughts so that when your boyfriend sings to you, you can listen to him and stop listening to the hum hum humming of the fridge.
CONTENT WARNING: food, violence (mention)
BY STEPHANIE ZHANG GRAPHICS BY LISA LINTON your love came frayed at the edges threatening to unravel into a sordid marvel through the seasons always torrential rain always distant, cold, unafraid you flooded my heart and drowned my soul strip me down to my brittle bones rebuild me out of nettle and poison ivy don’t let me run short of breath envelope me in your rage and destroy me you wave scissors in my face and I offer up my stitches like wine, you taste bitter but oh, so fine burn down my libraries and feed me to the flytraps just don’t leave me alone with the voice in my head rip out the film and fill my veins with venom you’re still not a villain just a foggy war dream rescued from the skulls of the dead an oasis in a torturous desert you gave me sails that drag in the wind but sails, no less you were a thief singing broken siren songs wallpapering pretty paisley over demon eyes and who was I before a violent transformation at the mercy of your every breath?
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, The Butterfly Foundation national helpline provides support and counselling on 1800 33 46 73.
AND I HOPE
BY FARAH KHAIRAT GRAPHICS BY AMANI NASARUDIN
And I hope it makes you feel uneasy makes you feel that profound, notorious ache in your chest the same ache as losing an old toy. And I hope you feel like you lost a fragment of your soul, and I hope you know that I lost a fragment of my soul, my dignity. And I hope you will understand one day, that a woman’s body is not a commodity but an intricate temple. And I hope you will find your way someday, And I hope that it is not between a woman’s legs.
GOLDEN ACCEPTANCE BY FARAH KHAIRAT GRAPHICS BY AMANI NASARUDIN
i am learning to love my asymmetrical face. the tugs and pulls at my curls. my father’s nose. my mother’s hazel-brown eyes. my grandmother’s baby hair. the sahara’s sand glistening in my skin. i carry cairo’s noise and alexandria’s sea salt in my lips. i am learning to love the way home manifests itself in me. the way i manifest myself away from home.
Farah is an unapologetic feminist who majors in English but will still use “English is my second language” to justify the fact that she can’t pronounce ‘spontaneity’.
GRAPHICS BY QAISARA MOHAMAD
GRAPHICS BY LILLY MCLEAN
UMSU and the Womenâ€™s Room are located in the city of Melbourne, situated at the heart of Wurundjeri land. A key member of the Kulin Nations, we pay our respect to the Wurundjeri elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge the land we are on was never ceded.
Judy's Punch is the annual UMSU Women's department publication. It is a magazine made by women and non-binary students from the University o...
Published on Nov 21, 2017
Judy's Punch is the annual UMSU Women's department publication. It is a magazine made by women and non-binary students from the University o...