the feminist edition
Lotâ€™s Wife & Dissent edition five
SMOKE-FREE Want to quit? We can support you. Register at monash.edu/smoke-free
Produced by SMC Monash: 16P-1801. December 2016.
office bearer reports
jessie lu, joanne fong, cara dowe & victoria saunders
notice of election
what happened to politics at monash? sophia mcnamara
hungry, for likes
devika pandit & selena repanis
restricting gender uniforms rachel wyatt & nicole sizer
a woman’s place is in her union
caitlin brown & jessica stone & nicole sizer
country life, city life - what’s the difference for a woman?
unfollowing perfection isabella radau & joanne fong
devika pandit & nicole sizer
ina lee & angharad neal-williams
athina kakkos & elsie dusting
why do we still need feminism? an introduction to intersectionality jessika swarbrick & lina chan
it’s not me, it’s your undeveloped brain emily grace
modern marriage & me
shona lewis & keely simpson-bull
emina besirevic & lily greenwood
eyes wide shut
timothy davies & michelle farralley
why females should travel solo
evangeline yong & brittany wetherspoon
doctor who: a journey through time and sexism, apparently
untitled collage matilda parolini
musicians smashing the patriarchal music industry jessica lehmann
photography series jessica pang
joanne fong & lily greenwood
australia talks abortion
script for diva cup™ commercial: bleeding begins
dolly png & julia thouas
constance wilde & maria chamakala
women working in STEM
feminist foreign policy
jen cloher is australia’s most honest musician
tampons: a ‘luxury’ we’re still bleeding for
joanne fong & selena repanis
rachael welling & felicity kaye
debra olum & sa pasa
kim k: social media mogul, trashy reality tv star, feminist?
i’m healthy and i know it
beauty standards & women of colour, when beauty is defined by how light your skin is
breezetown griea taylor
science & engineering sub-editor team
ancient greek women john henry & lin rahman
ballarat foto biennale: a place for us jessica lehmann
in another life
screenprint ashley mcvea
daniela koulikov & jade karp
wot’s life? agony aunt
the team Editors Emina Besirevic Nick Bugeja Sophia McNamara Rob Staunton Design Hana Crowl Student Affairs Caitlin McIvor Dylan Marshall Sophie Ng Devika Pandit Politics & Society Benjamin Caddaye Jessica Lehmann Lachlan Liesfield
Arts & Culture Tim Davies Nick Jarrett Clarissa Kwee Creative & Comedy John Henry Georgina Lee Shona Louis Elizabeth Yu Campus Reporters Cara Dowe Joanne Fong Jessie Lu
Science & Engineering Tracy Chen Shreeya Luthra Isaac Reichman Rachael Welling
Lot’s Wife is entirely run, written, illustrated, edited and designed by students. If you would like to get involved, we are always looking for new contributors!
Lot’s Wife Edition Five August 2017
Say hi anytime: Lot’s Wife Office 1st Floor, Campus Centre, Turn right at the MSA desk
Published by Mary Giblin at Printgraphics, Mount Waverley, Victoria.
Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising enquires: email@example.com Cover Art by Julia Chetwood Julia Chetwood is a 3rd year Communication Design student at Monash University. She’s really into acrylic paint and mixed media right now, but has a long list of artistic passions, which include but are not limited to: copic markers, 0.38 fineliners, digital drawings, finger-painting, watercolours and messy collages. You can find more about her and her #illustrations on instagram; @ juliachetwood or on her very own website; juliachetwood.com Section Art by Jade Karp & Sam Allen Sam Allen is a third year Monash University student studying a Bachelor of Communication Design. She is an aspiring graphic designer, interested in print media and publication design. She also enjoys experimenting with textiles and all things tactile, often trying to incorperate these elements in her printed work. Fashion design fascinates her, especially designs that utilise alternative and unique materials. She would love to study something to do with fashion after her degree. Her very new and still developing design account is: samallen_design.
As you read this magazine you are on Aboriginal land. Lot’s Wife recognises the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nations as the historical and rightful owners and custodians of the lands which this magazine was produced on. This land was stolen and sovereignty was never ceded. Lot’s Wife condemns and will not publish any material that is objectionable or discriminatory of any nature. The views expressed herein are those of the attributed writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the Monash Student Association. All writing and artwork remains the property of the producers and must not be reproduced without their consent. © Lot’s Wife Magazine Level 1, Campus Centre Monash University Clayton, Victoria 3800 Design by Hana Crowl Hana is currently undertaking her final year of a BA in Communication Design. She has always been interested in the creative industry, experimenting with many fields before discovering her passion for graphic design, particularly enjoying the physical, tactile nature of publication and print. You can find her work online at hanacrowl.com or on instagram; @hana.crowl.
Hello Monash students! Welcome to the second half of semester. If you’re anything like most uni students, by now you’ll be feeling a bit overwhelmed and exhausted from all the assessment deadlines that have suddenly piled up on top of you all at once. Well, rest assured, you’re not alone. We are also rather exhausted, as we have been chipping away at (read: stressing out over) Edition 5 quite a lot over the last few months. It feels exciting, but oh so bittersweet, to present to you our second-to-last issue of the year.
Well, here we are. It’s been a big year for the Women’s Department! We couldn’t be more thrilled to be collaborating with Lot’s Wife to produce this Feminist Edition and we are absolutely tickled pink that this has come to fruition. A huge thank you to everybody who helped make this happen! It’s so important for us as students and human beings to learn about the realities and experiences of others, and that’s exactly the opportunity which this edition is providing by featuring so much work by students identifying as or with women. It’s been incredible for us to watch Dissent (which previously has been an entirely separate publication) grow and change in its new role as a part of Lot’s Wife and are keen to see where it goes from here. We hope you’re as fascinated, intrigued, educated, and blown away as we have been by the incredible work by our talented artists and writers! If you get inspired and want to submit something of your own for the Dissent pages of Edition 6, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy reading :)
As you can see, this issue is a little different from what we have previously published this year. No other issue has been given a theme. Naturally, you’re probably wondering, why is there suddenly a ‘feminist edition’? Well, it all started back in April when the MSA Women’s Department approached us to talk about Dissent, an annual zine that they publish. Considering their budget was a bit small to give Dissent the justice it deserves, they asked if there was any way we could collaborate, to pull our resources together and reach a larger audience. We decided to make Edition 5 a collaboration of Dissent and Lot’s Wife. It would look, feel, smell and taste like Lot’s Wife, but the inside would have the fiery feminist ideas behind Dissent. Shreeya and Nikola, the MSA Women’s Officers became our “guest editors”, and after reaching out to a bunch of badass, creative women at Monash, the Feminist Edition was born. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Two weeks before we went to print, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) released results of a national survey on sexual assault and sexual harassment of university students. The survey took place last year, and gained over 39,000 responses from a random sample of 60,000 students at 39 universities. On top of this, nearly 2,000 additional submissions were given by victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault. On August 1st, the AHRC then published a report titled Change the Course: National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian Universities, which can be found online. The national survey revealed that 51% of students were sexually harassed at least once in 2016. One in five of those students were sexually harassed in a university setting. The report also found that 94 percent of those who were sexually harassed did not make a formal complaint to their university, and neither did 87 percent of students who were sexually assaulted. Female students were twice as likely to be harassed than their male counterparts, and three times as likely to be sexually assaulted or raped. A large majority of perpetrators were fellow students and were male. We think it is so important to bring these issues to light. Sexual violence disproportionately affects women, and it’s something that has been swept under the rug, especially by Monash University, for too long. To make matters worse, a 2014 study also by the Australian Human Rights Commission shows us that the average full-time weekly wage for a woman is still 18.2% less than a man’s wage. It shows us that one in three women have experienced physical violence over the last five years, and one in five women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. Domestic violence is the leading preventable cause of death, disability and illness in women aged 15 to 44 years. So this is what the Feminist Edition is all about. It’s about bringing light to those issues that we so often ignore. It’s about giving women a voice and asking them to tell the stories they otherwise wouldn’t have told. And let’s face the facts - women are still very much marginalised today, and feminism is still, profoundly relevant. That’s something you’ll learn a lot more about when you read the rest of this magazine. We have covered the treatment of women at work and in online dating scenarios, beauty standards for women of colour, discussions about body image, women in male-dominated industries, foreign policy about women, and of course, the notorious tampon tax. So get reading, get thinking, and do as a favour - tell a woman in your life how much you appreciate her today. Till next time, Sophia, Rob, Nick and Emina
MSA Calendar WHATS HAPPENING AROUND CLAYTON CAMPUS
FREE FOOD MONDAYS
MUISS FREE BREAKFAST
THE MSA BREAKFAST CLUB
MSA TUESDAYS BBQ
Mondays at 7.00pm in Wholefoods
MSA ACTIVITY: 70’S DISCO NIGHT
FREE FOOD MONDAYS
MUISS FREE BREAKFAST
THE MSA BREAKFAST CLUB
MSA TUESDAYS BBQ
Mondays at 7.00pm in Wholefoods
MUISS BOAT CRUISE
DRUG LAW REFORM PANEL DISCUSSION
FREE FOOD MONDAYS
MUISS FREE BREAKFAST
THE MSA BREAKFAST CLUB
MSA TUESDAYS BBQ
FREE FOOD MONDAYS
MUISS FREE BREAKFAST
THE MSA BREAKFAST CLUB
MSA TUESDAYS BBQ
Mondays at 7.00pm in Wholefoods
Mondays at 7.00pm in Wholefoods
PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS AND WRITING COURSE
design by sam allen
Office Bearer Reports
PRESIDENT MATILDA GREY Welcome one and all to the femme edition! There couldn’t be a more appropriate time to release this special publication of Lot’s Wife. August has seen the release of results from the Australian Human Rights Commission’s national survey into sexual assault and sexual harassment at universities. With 28% of Monash students having experienced sexual harassment in 2017, and 90% of survivors/victims not having sought assistance from or reported to the university, the MSA has launched SHIFT: our campaign against sexual violence at Monash. The campaign aims to change the culture around sexual assault on campus, and focus on raising awareness, educating students, and providing resources to survivors/victims of sexual violence. In other news, we’ve successfully run our Women’s Industry Night where students had an opportunity to engage with professional women who have broken through glass ceilings in their fields, and run selfdefence classes to provide students with the skills to protect themselves confidently in violent situations. We’ve organised for and attended the August 8 rally against government cuts to higher education, launched our campaign demanding that the university extend opening hours of support services and outlets in its shift to 9pm timetabling, and will be helping to run our sleepout for homelessness. We’ll keep you posted on our end of year music event to be hosted with a number of the faculty clubs, and you can expect to see more from us in the coming weeks around parking and workers’ rights!
TREASURER CAITLIN BROWN Heya loyal Lot’s Wife readers! To all the wonderful gal and nonbinary pals, first of all, I’d like to recognise how amazing it is today that the feminist movement has come so far that we can have a feminist edition of Lot’s Wife. But also that women statistically make up the majority of university students, that we here at the MSA have an all female executive, and such a diverse group of office bearers! While we as a society certainly have a long way to go in achieving equality, it’s also great to look back at how far we have come. I’m proud to call myself a feminist and an activist who takes part in pushing to make our society a better, fairer, and a more equal place. So what’s been happening down at the Ol’ MSA? Well, by the time you read this we have had the Mid Year Festival, the launch of the Sexual Assault Campaign by the MSA women’s department, we’ve been working with all departments on their current campaigns, including a worker’s rights campaign, our Chill party will have come and gone, as well as the usual plethora of free food and BBQs to feast on! Hope you’re keeping your appendages toasty with the cold Clayton weather, stay “Chill” but keep warm!
SECRETARY JESSICA STONE Almost halfway through semester pals, but fear not, the MSA has your back! We have BBQs and events galore so make sure your on campus to get the most out of your time here. But secondly, welcome to the long awaited Feminist Issue of Lot’s Wife (yay!). Given it is the feminist issue, I thought I’d share a little bit about why I’m a feminist. I’m a biomedical science student, and the STEMM field is a difficult one to navigate if you’re a woman. The medical industry is fraught with sexism and misogyny and can be daunting for anyone. It’s sad that in 2017 a woman still considers which industries are “better” for them, where to work so they are less likely to be assaulted, less likely to be bullied, less likely to have to choose between giving sexual favours or receiving the same training as a man. I’m a feminist because I’m hopeful that one day women won’t have to make concessions for their education so they can be safe.
EDUCATION (PUBLIC AFFAIRS) COREY ROSEVEAR & JULIET STEEL Welcome to Week 5! We’ve been busy early on this semester, with our third National Day of Action for the year in week 3, in collaboration with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and their day of protest. The current government is constantly trying to squeeze everything out of young people, from uni fees to centrelink money, and that’s why it’s so important that we keep making our voices heard. The lowering of staff/academic working conditions also has an affect on us, so it was great to stand alongside the NTEU and staff to demand better conditions for everyone! We’ve also had a great start to semester with our Activate participants starting up their own campaigns! As this is the women’s edition, we thought it would be good to note how many of the program participants happen to be women (almost all of them!). This was not done on purpose, but the majority of people that applied and have stuck with the program are wonderful young, passionate women who are determined to make change, and this is incredibly positive!
EDUCATION (ACADEMIC AFFAIRS) HARINI KASTHURIARACHCHI & RAPHAEL TELL Hi everyone! We hope your semester is going well! We’ve been working away this semester at a whole bunch of things! We’ve been continuing to lobby various Assistant Deans of faculties to resolve many issues that students face including internalising a range of course fees. Once again, if you have any examples of additional fees within your course please contact us through the MSA Education facebook page or by email at msa-education@ monash.edu! We’ve also been dealing with various education issues that individual students have encountered and we’d like to remind you that if you encounter anything that you think is unfair, please contact us! We also attended the NDA on the 8th of August which was a huge success! It was so wonderful to see so many passionate students fighting for the quality education that we all deserve!
WELFARE NICHOLAS VIRGO & PATRICK STEPHENSON Hi all, we hope you are enjoying being back at uni this semester. We’ve been super busy in the Welfare Department organising multiple campaigns and preparing for the nation-wide staff and student protest that occurred on August 8th. This week is Welfare Week, our department’s moment in the sun. Watch out for the drug policy forum we will be holding with a range of leaders and experts in drug law reform, a blood donation drive event, our Melbourne Marathon team raising money for Asylum Seeker Scholarships and a host of other fun activities and events. Come down and have a chat to us at Tuesday’s barbeque about what we’ve been up to and the Liberal government’s ongoing war on students. We’re also still working away at trying to get the campus Wi-Fi network improved, and running a campaign with the Education (Academic Affairs) team on the cost of living and accessibility here at Monash. You can always find us up in our office if you’re having any issues at home, on campus or at work. After all, helping students is what we’re here for!
ACTIVITIES SEAN GLASS & SARAH HARRIS Hey friends! We at Activities have been working hard to bring you some quality events for this semester. The first being our 70’s disco themed party at Room 680 this week which we hope to see at having a good old fashioned boogie. If you don’t have a ticket (and if there’s any left) you can go to the MSA desk and pick one up. Looking further down the line we have some other stellar events coming up. In week 7 we will be running a Where’s Wally themed pub crawl, so if you’ve ever wanted to run about in public with a hoard of similarly dressed peers make sure you come along! Week 10 will see a brand new halloween event enter the works, so take the time now to prep an awesome costume, because there might just be a prize for best dressed. To round off the year we will be looking at a different kind of AXP, should be a big one so stay tuned to keep up to date. Lastly make sure you guys keep coming to the Lemon Scented Lawns every Wednesday to have a free feed at our Hump Day BBQs.
INDIGENOUS JAYDEN CROZIER & BRYDA NICHOLS We hope everyone’s been enjoying their semester so far! The MSA Indigenous Department has been reflecting on Indigenous culture and the way it is presented and perceived around Monash. With significant events, such as NAIDOC week, having occurred we have seen how platforms within our community can be used to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in a meaningful way. We hope this level of engagement can be captured and continued throughout the year, which is why we are hoping to work as a touchstone in this relevant discourse surrounding national identity and the shared values that make Australia great. Godspeed to your studies.
ENVIRONMENTAL & SOCIAL JUSTICE TESS DIMOS & JASMINE DUFF The ESJ department kicked off the semester by getting students involved in the protest for students & staff rights on August 8. We worked with the education department and the National Tertiary Education Union to organise a demonstration on campus to support staff pushing for better working conditions, and to fight for a better quality education for students. When racists came onto the campus to put up discriminatory posters, we launched an anti-racist poster & stickering campaign, and got students to take photos in their classes with the words “I stand against racism.” In week 1 we held a public forum on the resurgence of left wing politics in the UK, where Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign in the elections inspired millions to take a stand against the right. We don’t want to just leave left wing politics at discussion though, so we’ll be campaigning against racism and inequality throughout the semester. If you’re interested in getting involved, email email@example.com.
QUEER ANDREA DUVAL & DENISE ATZINGER With semester rushing by, we find ourselves being busybodies trying to pack in all our events we’ve planned. This semester, we’re hoping to work closely with other universities and our Caulfield campus buddies. A welfare program in the works, industry night, performance night and more. Keep an eye out for the rainbows in week 6, things are going to get pretty Queer.
WOMEN’S SHREEYA LUTHRA & NIKOLA GUZYTE The Women’s Department has been focusing its efforts and resources on NOWSA attendance, negotiations with the university to see increased resources for the release of the AHRC survey, and preparation for the sexual assault campaign launch (!) and the Women’s Industry Night. We took a contingent to NOWSA, where we had students attend workshops, view panels and keynote speakers and prepare for the campaigns happening on each Australian campus for the release of the sexual assault survey. We organised and attended a rally on the last morning, in front of Parliament House, to demand improvements from various institutions including universities and various levels of government to improve women’s safety on campus and the response to sexual assault on campus. We will also be holding a campus-wide campaign on August 4 in response to the release of the AHRC survey into sexual assault on campus, where there will be action stations throughout campus. Keep your eyes peeled for this! The Women’s Industry Night will be held August 15 from 7pm in the Green Chemical Futures building; tickets will be released soon so get keen!
DISABILITIES & CARERS NAWAMA GREEN & MELANIE LOUDOVARIS We are currently in preparations for our department week in week 8. We hope to offer panels, activities, discussion groups and perhaps some free food along the way! This will be an excellent opportunity for those outside of our department to learn and gain more knowledge as well as a chance for students with disabilities or caring responsibilities to be celebrated and come together. We are working with other MSA departments for some campaign and activity ideas so stay tuned! A general reminder to students that you can like our facebook page for updates and information as well as message that page to be added to our secret collective, for students with a disability or caring responsibilities, a space for students to connect and support one another.
PEOPLE OF COLOUR JASMINE NGUYEN & KAPIL BHARGAVA Thank you to everyone who participated in our People of Colour Week! We had so many fun events such as PoCtionary (PoC-themed Pictionary), the Interracial Dating Support Group, and the movie screening Straight Outta Compton. It was also lovely to work with Ella Shi and Hanann al Daqqa, our fellow PoC Officers from the University of Melbourne Student Union, to bring to you our Representation, Activism and the Arts workshop. We have been working to promote anti-racism and support services for students. In support of the Asylum Seeker Refugee Scholarship, we have been organising a Former and Current Refugees Panel. We will also have a another panel covering PoC Issues in Politics. As always, keep coming to our weekly PoCnics in the MSA PoC Office! If you’re interested in getting involved or keeping updated with our events, like our fb page fb.com/monashpocc/ or email us at jasmine.nguyen@ monash.edu or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jessie Lu, Joanne Fong, Cara Dowe & Sophia McNamara CONTENT WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT Student equality
THE Monash Student Association (MSA) and National Union of Students (NUS) are campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote in preparation on the postal plebiscite on same sex marriage and urging students to enrol to vote or update their addresses. Australian citizens have until August 24 to register with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). The $122 million same-sex marriage postal vote has been called following weeks of speculation around the Liberal Party position after a group of Liberal Senators and MPs, led by Warren Entsch, declared their support for a free vote in light of a private member’s bill from Liberal Senator Dean Smith. The in-person plebiscite position was ultimately kept, but legislation brought to the Senate once more was again rejected, leading the Government to pursue the postal plebiscite option, which requires no legislation. The non-compulsory, non-binding vote will be carried out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) with ballot papers to be returned by November 7. A result will be declared on November 25, if the postal process survives two separate High Court challenges from Australian Marriage Equality and Independent MP Andrew Wilkie. LGBTQ+ advocates and the Labor and Greens parties have raised concerns over the potential for harmful rhetoric that this vote is allowing for. Separate concerns have also been raised over the capacity of the ABS to carry out such an immense task which is normally reserved for the AEC. In the event of a ‘no’ result, the Liberal Party has committed to refusing to bring the policy to a vote, however have not committed to legislate for marriage equality if the result is ‘yes’. Over 250,000 18-24 year olds are estimated not be be enrolled to vote with a 86.7% participation rate at the last federal election in comparison to a 95% participation rate across all ages. #StoptheRocket MONASH student and MSA Welfare Officer Patrick Stephenson has launched an impassioned campaign to get Grafali’s Coffee Roasters to remove the rocket out of their rice paper rolls. An online petition to ‘stop the rocket’ has attracted 75 signatures so far. Grafali’s has taken note with their weekly tip question dedicated to asking customers whether they want to keep the rocket. Rocket haters have argued that rocket tastes out of place, is not used in Vietnamese cuisine and is not native to Southeast Asia which is where rice paper rolls originate. Proponents of keeping the rocket who include the other MSA Welfare Officer Nicholas Virgo have argued that they provide a great degree of freshness and complete the flavour profile of the rolls as well as the fact that Roll’d and other sellers of rice paper rolls have rocket free alternatives. Other students have lamented the cessation of rice paper rolls at Noodle Noodle as well as argued over the place of coriander in the rolls. Grafali’s rice paper rolls retail in Campus Centre for $5.50-6.50 for two rolls with vegetarian and meat options.
Response to sexual assault survey STUDENT unions, women’s collectives and universities have responded to the damning statistics released by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) survey into sexual assault at universities. Campaigns by the Monash Student Association (MSA) and women’s collectives have focused on better resources, support structures, revision of policies to be survivor centric and trauma informed, and accountability of the university in dealing with cases and the perpetrators. Monash University has released a new app with information and committed to a 10 point plan but have made no specific commitments surrounding provision of more counsellors, outlining stricter repercussions for perpetrators or in improving safety. At Monash, the survey found that 1 in 3 males and almost 2 in 3 females have been sexually harassed with 1 in 4 respondents sexually harassed at university. 47 per cent of Monash students also knew nothing or very little as to where to seek support regarding sexual harassment and over half knew very little about where to make a complaint or had knowledge of university policy. 27 per cent of Monash respondents to the survey were sexually harassed on public transport compared to 22 per cent of all respondents. The university has scheduled classes at later than 6pm this year and plans to further extend the hours meaning that more people would have to use public transport later at night. When this issue was raised at an Academic Board meeting, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Sue Elliott said: “I believe we can open Clayton to later hours without putting our students at risk”. Vice-Chancellor Margaret Gardner also responded by pointing the the increase of security patrols at Clayton. The MSA launched their new campaign SHIFT: to stop sexual violence at Monash on the 4th of August. The campaign aims to raise awareness of sexual assault, educate students around the topic and to provide support and resources to those who have experienced sexual assault. The launch of the campaign was marred by a confrontation at the panel discussing the survey results involving the National Union of Students Women’s Officer Abby Stapleton and the Deputy ViceChancellor and Vice-President of Monash University, Sue Elliott. They came to a head over the validity of the involvement of Universities Australia in the survey, some nuances of the statistics and perceived inaction by the university despite the passion and commitment from student activists. This led to some dramatic scenes as Professor Elliot accused Ms Stapleton of verbal harassment and exited the panel after a heated exchange with a queer student over ignorance of queer student perspectives of sexual assault. The premature end of the panel discussion resulted in no further commitments around preventing sexual violence at Monash and did not allow for students to raise their individual concerns due to question time being cut off. Counselling and educational resources were provided by the South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault (SECASA), the Safer Communities Unit (SCU) held consent workshops and a photo campaign was also held as a part of the SHIFT launch. The MSA Women’s Department have now released new booklets detailing information around how and where to seek assistance regarding sexual violence. Students in Sydney took to the streets in response to the survey to highlight the demands from women’s collectives, survivor advocacy bodies and student activists of universities and governments to address key issues highlighted by the survey. A key issue has been the prioritisation of university reputation over meaningful and substantial action on sexual
assault on campus. Over the past 5 years, over 575 official complaints have been lodged at universities resulting in only 6 expulsions. The protest which was backed by women’s collectives from the University of Sydney, UNSW, UTS and Macquarie alongside the NUS compiled a list of 5 demands. These were to establish a federal complaints and compliance mechanism, training for all university and college staff and students, creating policies and procedures that are survivor centric with clear disciplinary action, provision of trauma-informed support services and to maintain accurate records of reports. End Rape on Campus Australia and the National Union of Students have been successful in calling for a new 24/7 hotline run by Domestic Violence Services Australia (RDVSA) for all student survivors of sexual assault, including past students and those who have dropped out. The service will be running until the end of November. The new hotline run by the peak body in expert sexual assault counselling and will be preferable to the 1800 RESPECT number which has recently seen a decline in the quality of service. Monash University has accepted all the findings and recommendations of the AHRC report and has committed to creating safer environments, education programs, ways of reporting, support and repercussions to perpetrators. They have launched the Respect. Now. Always. Support App which provides information on reporting mechanisms and where to find help for affected students or friends. Monash is also committing to Universities Australia’s 10-point action plan that addresses awareness and prevention, improving support services, reviewing progress and providing materials for residential halls. They have not yet specifically changed any of the policies and reporting procedures at Monash in response to the results so that they reflect a trauma informed approach to prevent further traumatisation of survivors or so far have reviewed punishment guidelines for perpetrators. For immediate assistance at Monash, contact Monash Security on 9905 3333. Specialist support from Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia can be reached 24/7 at 1800 572 224. Further assistance at the Safer Community Unit from 9am to 5pm can be reached at 9905 1599. Over Enrolment in Classrooms at Monash THE MSA Education Department and the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) are launching a campaign to stop over enrolment in classes. This is due to reports of overcrowded classrooms at multiple universities, particularly those in Australia’s Group of Eight. The increase of students is linked to a removal of enrolment caps in 2010. The removal of the caps was intended to allow universities to increase the number of offers they could make, particularly to those from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups. However, while student numbers have increased, the universities have made no move to increase staff numbers to compensate for the rise in enrolments. It has meant the quality of education has decreased, as teachers cannot maintain the same support and attention. Many students have had to sit on steps due to a lack of seats, or watch a livestream of a lecture in a different room to the teacher. It has also led, on occasion, to students being removed from lecture rooms due to the OHS requirements and the risk this poses during an emergency. One student has described an in-class test that was held over two classrooms due to a lack of space but with only one staff member. Therefore, a portion of the class was not monitored. Additionally, one on one consultation hours with lecturers and
tutors have become difficult, as staff cannot keep up with the numbers of students who require help. MSA Education Officer, Corey Rosevear, said that it was a case of the universities being unwilling to spend money on more teaching staff. He described it as universities prioritising “profit over product”. The NTEU and MSA are calling for more staff to bring back classroom sizes. They held a rally on August 8th, alongside Monash students for the National Day of Protest.
Free trial of bikeshare for semester 2
Racist posters on university campuses
STUDENTS at Monash and Melbourne University have been shocked and disgusted to find a barrage of racist posters plastered around campus. The posters displayed hateful comments such as: “This is a nogo zone for the Chinese and if you step in then you will be deported” and “Keep Australia White”, along with other racial slurs. A white supremacist group “Antipodean Resistance” claimed responsibility for these posters, an organisation known for their praise of Hitler and intolerance of anything but a “White Australia.” Students at Monash have held anti-racism campaigns across campus in response to the posters, and the university has been working closely with police to investigate the abhorrent activities. With such racially aggravated behaviour still occurring in 2017, the fight for the Monash community to be more progressive and accepting of diversity is more imperative than ever. Students of colour should be able to feel safe on campus. If you or someone you know has been made to feel unsafe by racially motivated actions, please contact the MSA People of Colour Department at email@example.com or find their Facebook page.
ELECTIONS for positions within the Monash Student Association (MSA) will be held in Week 9 from the 18th to the 21st of September. The elected positions include office bearer roles within departments, committees of departments which this year sees the introduction of the People of Colour and Welfare Committees, general representatives for the Monash Student Council and delegates to the National Union of Students. Reregistered tickets include Go!, Grassroots, Left Action, 24 Hour Libraries and No Hanson with potential for more competition as nominations continue. Students are able to vote in person at numerous locations around Clayton or apply for a postal vote. Despite the general sentiment of annoyance of student campaigners, the MSA represents undergraduate students at Monash and each vote will assist in shaping the policies put forward to the student union.
Protests against universities
STUDENTS held another round of nationwide protests to oppose the Federal Government’s proposed university funding cuts. Around 100 Monash students joined roughly 400 other students from the University of Melbourne, Deakin, RMIT, LaTrobe, Swinburne at the State Library to make their concerns heard through the rally and march through the CBD. Students heard from CFMEU secretary John Setka as well the National Union of Students Women’s Officer and former MSA President Abby Stapleton in support of the protest. The NUS organised protest called for opposition to fee increases, funding cuts and demanded the reinstatement of free education. Similar protests occurred simultaneously around the country in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and in some rural hubs. Preceding the city protest, staff and students gathered on the Lemon Scented Lawns at Monash to support the ‘Pay more, get less” campaign by the NTEU. This was also a show against the cuts and in support of the NTEU in beginning new contract negotiations with the university. The proposed changes are set to cut $1.2 billion in funding to universities with Monash University set to lose the most out of the Victorian universities, a loss of $57.4 million over four years according to figures released by Universities Australia. If the higher education package passes, student contributions would increase by 7.5 per cent, the HECS repayment threshold would be lowered to just $42,000, an “efficiency dividend” linked to transparency and performance would start determining a portion of funding towards universities and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents would no longer be applicable for Commonwealth Supported Place fees, moving to domestic full fees. Parliament will be debating the changes in the coming weeks. The likely outcome of the reform in the Senate is still unclear as Labor and the Greens have stated their opposition but Nick Xenophon Team and other crossbenchers have not, leaving Education Minister Simon Birmingham to negotiate with them.
MONASH Bikeshare have launched a free 6 month trial of their initiative for students at Clayton campus. Over 70 bicycles can be reserved at all times and outside of the trial period can usually be accessed through payment. Students can sign up for the free trial online at monashbikeshare.com by becoming a member with the trial ending on the 14th of January, 2018.
Proposal of extension of teaching hours to at least 10pm MANY staff and students have recently noticed that scheduling of lectures, tutorials and other classes have extended past 6pm to much later times than previously experienced. Although currently, university policy allows for classes to be scheduled until 9pm, classes have been previously traditionally scheduled after 9am and before 6pm, which is considerate of staff and students. This has changed notably in the past year with numerous experienced lecturers lamenting the later working hours. In order to extend teaching hours past 9pm, the university will likely have to have their policy approved by the Academic Board and University Council – the highest governing board of the university. The changes have meant that some students and staff have had to leave home as early as 7am and return as late as 11pm causing difficulties for parents, carers and those with other employment. The extension of hours would likely benefit postgraduate students more than undergraduates as they are more likely to hold full-time or parttime day jobs that limit them to taking night classes. If classes are scheduled at later hours, they would adversely affect students’ availability in the workforce and extra curricular after-hours activities. The expansion of teaching hours is also likely to be negative for educators who may then be asked to work unsociable hours, particularly to those with families. The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has previously expressed grave concern over the complete lack of consultation with either staff or the NTEU by Monash University senior management when deciding to schedule classes prior to 9am and after 6pm for 2017. This has not previously been the case. The changes have already had adverse impact on academic and professional staff with increased difficulty for a work/life balance for educators that may be carers, who are pursuing further education and who wish to participate in the community. Educators have also felt the negative effects on their health. The little additional support for the higher workload the university has provided in the rollout of the extended hours is a further worry. There are concerns around student safety and welfare if any change goes through especially following the revelation that students feel particularly unsafe around public transport and the high levels of sexual assault that happen during travel to and from university. In order for the changes to be tolerated, the university would strongly have to consider lobbying for public transport services to be improved with a greater frequency later in the night, asking retailers
to open for even longer than they’ve currently already been asked, opening more 24 hour study spaces and extending hours and increasing the amount of academic and health related support services. Furthermore, if the change goes ahead, there is no existing plan to inform students that their classes may be scheduled until 10pm when they enrol. This will be a greater issue if all streams of classes are scheduled at a later time or if there is only one stream for that unit especially if those classes are compulsory. A further issue is the willingness and ability of students to show up to exceptionally early and late classes, with potential for students to miss out on valuable time for education. This is likely to adversely impact students from disadvantaged backgrounds such as from low-socioeconomic families who may struggle in finding transport to Monash at these times. A photo taken by a university professor of an empty class recently went viral as he expressed worry over the lack of attendance as we are seeing more and more content being moved online rather than taught in person. The justification for longer teaching hours may be due to the lack of available lecture halls or class rooms as well as if the availability of units is increased. Longer teaching hours currently exist at some large universities that are well resourced with central located campuses. The Taming of the Shrew THE Monash Shakespeare Company is currently performing The Taming of the Shrew. Originally written as a light-hearted comedy, director Gina Dickson and assistant director Cody Baldwin have pulled apart many of the plays outdated concepts, throwing them into a harsh new light. It brings into focus the horrifying topic of domestic violence, present in the original text and still highly prevalent in today’s society. Working in collaboration with White Ribbon Australia, for every ticket sold, $2 will be donated to the foundation. The show will be running from the 18th-26th of August in the MUST space. Monash student saved from deportation MONASH science student Daniel Lee and his family have been granted permanent visas after the Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke intervened in their case. The Lee family were originally set to return to South Korea at the end of September after two rejected appeals for ministerial intervention and a failed migration application after being scammed $100,000 by an agent and then being misadvised by a government recommended lawyer. Labor MP for Bruce, Julian Hill personally met with Mr Hawke to advocate for the family which resulted in the reconsideration of the case. The family have also been supported by their local church and the Archbishop of Melbourne. An online petition to allow the Lee family to stay was widely shared on the Facebook group Monash Stalkerspace amassed over 7,400 signatures. Boost to women’s sports FOXTEL has been granted $30 million, to be used to enhance coverage of “underrepresented sports”, such as niche and women’s sports. While this seems encouraging, this allocation of taxpayer’s money has been controversial, with many questioning why it will be awarded to Foxtel, rather than a free-to-air network. Lewis Martin, manager of Seven West Media, has said “Free-to-air coverage is the life source of any sport”, and even communications minister Mitch Fifield, stated that more people have access to free-toair networks, than paid television. However, Martin’s official statement is overall, one of support: “Seven West Media welcomes government support in funding broadcast, particularly for niche sports that need time to build their audiences”. It is true that this allocation of funds is a positive step towards boosting viewers of women’s sports. More coverage and more recognition will help to give female athletes the respect and pay they deserve. >>
This is an improvement over previous examples of women’s sport receiving no government support at all, such as the AFL Women’s League broadcasted by The Seven Network. The argument is that the money would have been better spent supporting free-to-air cases such as this. Keep cups to help save the environment You often see BYO drinks at the end of a party invite, but the term has suddenly gotten more environmentally conscious in the “Bring Your Own” campaign initiative. Australians use an estimated 1 billion cups each year to satiate our need for our daily caffeine kick. This habit is doing more damage than we think, with disposable coffee cups fast becoming a major pollution hazard, as most contain plastics do not break down and are detrimental to the environment. By simply bringing a reusable cup, waste can be cut down leading to a more sustainable future, which is where the BYO initiative comes in. Monash Environmental Sustainability is teaming up with KeepCup, the renowned brand and organisation dedicated to creating a more sustainable future by cutting down on disposable waste, to ensure reusable coffee cups are affordable and accessible to staff and students. Not only are these cups stylish and suitable for use behind coffee machines, but Monash departments can purchase KeepCups and receive a 50% discount. So grab one today and join in on the BYO revolution, one cup of coffee at a time. AHRC Survey Results Last year, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) undertook a national survey about sexual assault and sexual harassment experienced by university students. In addition to the survey, which gained over 39,000 responses from a random sample of 60,000 students at 39 universities, nearly 2,000 additional submissions were given by victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault.
On Tuesday August 1st, a report was released detailing the results of this survey. The AHRC published a report titled Change the Course: National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian Universities. The national results published from the AHRC did not include data on sexual assaults or harassment at individual universities or campuses, leaving the onus on each university to release their own information. After facing backlash from students about their initial decision not to release data specific to Monash, Monash University published its data soon after the release of the report. Monash University refused to brief student representatives on specific campus data from the survey before the results were released. University administration claimed that Monash was under embargo until the public release of the survey, however other universities made exceptions to ensure student representatives were sufficiently prepared and informed of the data. The national survey revealed that 51 per cent of students were sexually harassed at least once in 2016. One in five of those students were sexually harassed in a university setting. The report also found that 94 per cent of those who were sexually harassed did not make a formal complaint to their university, and neither did 87 per cent of students who were sexually assaulted. Female students were twice as likely to be harassed than their male counterparts, and three times as likely to be sexually assaulted or raped. A large majority of perpetrators were fellow students and were male. In a questionable move, Universities Australia have taken credit for commissioning the landmark survey as part of their Respect. Now. Always. initiative targeted at improving university policy and services regarding sexual assault. Monash University has also come under fire previously for refusing to comply with the largest ever Freedom of Information investigation into reports of sexual misconduct at universities by Channel 7. In response to the survey data, the Monash Student
Association has launched SHIFT: A campaign to stop sexual violence at Monash. This was also influenced by the fact the university does not have any policy or procedures in place to specifically and purely deal with cases of sexual assault that are reported to the university. This is particularly ironic considering Margaret Gardner is chairman of Universities Australia and launched the Respect. Now. Always campaign. Separate to the AHRC survey, but related to Monash’s response to sexual assault on its campuses, the University refused to comply with a Freedom of Information (FOI) request issued by the media late last year. The FOI request asked for data around the number of reported cases of sexual assault to the university, and the number of expulsions that had been issued to perpetrators as a result of these reports. Eventually, all 38 of 39 universities complied except for Monash. The issue was taken all the way to the FOI Commissioner who began an investigation into the request and Monash’s refusal to comply. MSA President Matilda Grey worked with renowned journalist Nina Funnell to construct a news story around the matter, and when Monash was contacted 24 hours before the release of the story, they finally decided to comply with the FOI. This behaviour clearly defines Monash’s bureaucratic concern to act only to protect its brand, and not in the interests of students. With such a history of avoidance around the issue of sexual assault, it is difficult to trust that Monash will indeed follow through with its promise to implement all recommendations handed down by the AHRC following the release of the survey. If you or anyone you know needs support, please contact Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia, who provide a specialist trauma and counselling service on 1800 572 224.
NOTICE OF ELECTION The following positions are to be elected at the MSA Annual Elections: Office Bearer positions: • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
President Secretary Treasurer Disabilities and Carers Officer Education (Academic Affairs) Officer Education (Public Affairs) Officer Welfare Officer Women’s Officer Queer Officer People of Colour Officer Environment & Social Justice Officer Indigenous Officer Activities Officer Lot’s Wife Editor/s
Tickets Ticket re-registrations open at 9am on Monday 31 July and close Friday 4 August at 5pm. The tickets re-registered will then be published before Ticket registrations are then opened 9am Tuesday 8 August closing 5pm Monday 14 August.
Monash Student Council and Committees: • • • • •
Monash Student Council (5 General Representatives) Women’s Affairs Collective (7 Members) Student Affairs Committee (9 Members) Student Welfare Committee (9 Members) People of Colour Collective (7 members)
National Union of Students: •
7 Delegate positions
These elections are conducted using optional preferential voting, and in accordance with other provisions as required under the MSA Election Regulations (eg. only women can stand and vote for the Women’s Officer position).
Nominations Nomination forms will be available at the MSA office, or by telephoning or writing to MSA, or via the internet at www.msa.monash.edu/elections Nominations open at 9am on Wednesday 16 August and close 5pm Friday 25 August. Copies of the regulations governing the election are available from the MSA office or via the internet at www.msa. monash.edu/elections
Voting Polling for the MSA elections will be 18 – 21 September, with the polling times and places as follows:
The main polling place will be open in the Campus Centre foyer Monday 18 September: 9.30am – 4.30pm Tuesday 19 September: 9.30am – 6.00pm Wednesday 20 September: 9.30am – 4.30pm Thursday 21 September: 9.30pm – 4.30pm
Remote polling will be open in the Hargrave-Andrew Library foyer Monday 18 September: 11.30am – 2.30pm Thursday 21 September: 11.30am – 2.30pm Postal votes are possible for those students unable to attend the election in person. Applications will be available online or at the MSA.
what happened to politics at monash? A couple of weeks ago, in anticipation of the feminist edition of Lot’s Wife this year, I flicked through old copies of Lot’s Wife from 1977 to see the way women’s issues were articulated in student media back then. I was astounded to see how political Monash was at that time. There were countless letters to the editor about both national and student politics, opinion pieces about the Australian Union of Students (AUS), and more generally there was a lot more engagement with the student union (which was then called MAS). While we still have a reputation for being a highly political and progressive campus - I see us losing that image every day. Certain groups remain highly engaged, but we also see a backlash from certain other students - asking those political groups to leave them alone, to stop putting posters up and stop asking for signatures on a petition. Often it is just a small group of people who consider that they’re speaking for everyone e.g. those very loud right-wing trolls on Monash Stalkerspace (you know who I’m talking about). I have to ask though - why would it be a bad thing to have our student body engaged with politics? We’re living in a time where it’s only getting harder to be a student. We’re faced with substantial generational inequality. Students are being forced to pay more for their tuition, to pay it back sooner, and to take less government assistance to help them eat and live alongside class. Student disengagement is at an all time high - but why? Have we simply given up on standing up for ourselves, and accepted our fate as slaves to our baby boomer landlords forever? I encourage you to go to John Medley Library and read some old copies of Lot’s Wife. Read about the rich history that we are sitting on here. See it for yourself. In the 1977 Lot’s Wife “Election Supplement” they had at least forty students running for delegate positions on the AUS, what is now the National Union of Students (NUS). Now, we only have a small handful of people running, only slightly more than enough to fill all the delegate positions given to Monash. Worse even, I’m pretty sure that most students don’t even know who NUS delegates are, or what the NUS does. The implementation of Voluntary Student Unionism has undoubtedly caused much of this disengagement, but it is no excuse for us students to be apathetic. I encourage students to read about the NUS, read about what cuts to education were made in the May 9 budget, and read old copies of Lot’s Wife to see how much our political awareness has flown out the window. I wholeheartedly encourage you to vote in the upcoming MSA Elections, regardless of your political views or affiliation. Engage with your student leaders who are so eager to represent you and fulfil your needs. Make your voice heard - it matters.
hungry, for likes article by devika pandit artwork by selena repanis
It is not at all uncommon today to check out a café or an eatery’s Instagram before heading over for mouthwatering (or rather, Instagrammable) grub. If you are someone whose hunger is driven by Insta-likes rather than appetite, do read on. All of us, at some point or another, have found ourselves weeks deep in an individual’s Instagram, scrolling deeper with each upload. This media is an apt homage to food, travel and fitness-buzzwords of the 21st century. As an increasingly popular photo-sharing platform, it has steadily replaced Facebook to become the new ‘cool’. Communication today is facilitated through the Insta-intelligent channel of hashtags. I agree that language undergoes chronological evolution, which is definitely positive. My worry is that #foodgasm, #goals and #fitspo are increasingly considered the ‘ideal’. Fourth year Monash Law student Kylie explains, “A person’s Instagram account is basically utopia for its followers”. She believes (and rightly so) that individuals lead different lives, have different goals and different personalities. Instagram has the uncanny knack of merging these into one timeline and presenting them as a glossy, filtered photo album. Speaking with reference to the university cohort, if one has a look at random Instagram accounts, chances are 9 out 10 it will be littered with messages that speak to our self-esteem. Let me explain. A friend of mine joined the Instagram community a few months ago. Given her sporadic posting, her recent post of camping in Mongolia received an influx of comments such as “Hey, your Insta is coming along well!” or “Working on our feed, are we?” That was all she needed to jump on to the #aesthetic bandwagon. The likes increased from a trickle to a steady stream. It grew awkward when a stroll in the city could not be completed without her posting a mandatory #Melbournedoneright photo. Over lunch, I asked her if she’d had a good day. “Yeah, it was fantastic”, and she thrust the phone in my hand to show me the +200 likes on her photo against the Royal Exhibition Building. It struck me then. Social media teaches us to prioritise quantity over quality. Happiness and satisfaction arise from the number of likes and comments, and the more the merrier. This
also illustrates the rise of a new millennial generation simply known as ‘followers’. They may or may not include your mates. Some, you might not even know personally. Others, you might hesitate to approach when at the movies or a club. Yet, they are your followers, whose opinion can make or break your mood – through the amount of ‘likes’ of course. They bless your feed by idly scrolling through the dozen or so photos you upload and randomly liking them, because, hey, as followers, granting mutual approval is a must! New media, new rules. Understandably then, when approval is closely linked to the amount of followers, every like further convinces us that indeed, the renovated bedroom with the world map wall décor is ‘bedroom goals’. We live in an age of likes. I like to refer to them as ‘validators’, exactly the purpose they serve. Seeking validation from others is a safe road to disappointment. Likes, reactions, comments, are surely a self-esteem booster but they should not be what one’s self-esteem is based on. To give an example, I overheard a conversation while on the bus the other day. Two friends were gossiping about their mate Jack’s trip to Europe and hungrily browsing through his Instagram feed. Jack had been hobnobbing across lesser-known cities and had a marvelous feed, said Friend A. Then he laughed, “What a life, man, lucky bastard!” The other, B, gave a limp smile and shared that his gig as a barista didn’t bless him with that kind of cash. I felt sorry for B. He was indulging in unwarranted comparisons. As social animals, we do have an evolutionary tendency to evaluate ourselves with respect to others. Social media accentuates differences between our lives more clearly than ever before, such that we are no longer evaluating ourselves: it is now a matter of competition. Filtered images or some unfiltered ones captured most meticulously – these are only samples of an individual’s life. They include the best and happiest moments that might, at times, be manufactured just for the sake of Instagram. We tend to wrongly generalise these circumstances to understand them as the person’s ‘life’, which is highly misleading and often the cause for depression associated with
social media use. Undue comparisons begin creeping in and these are damaging to one’s mental health. This is also why I dislike the term ‘goals’. The only goals we should set are our own, instead of using another’s life as a benchmark. However, this trend functions as a selffulfilling prophecy. No, we may not really care about the time our friend Tim interned with the New York Times, but you look at the post for a while, see the likes filtering in, and note Tim’s toothy smile as he sits at a polished desk and wonder how well he is ‘slaaayying’. It affects us on a sub-conscious level although we hate to admit it. That explains why we consider such posts to be #goals. But remember, that was Tim’s goal. Is it yours? The more we dwell on it, the more ‘determined’ we feel to work on ourselves to post something bigger, brighter, better. The cycle continues. This ‘motivation’ arises from an external source and fuels unhealthy comparison instead of an internal source that serves to build genuine contentment. The solution lies in treating Instagram as just another social platform and not a personal photo-diary that it has become. Every meal, every trip, every new purchase does not merit the world’s attention. It’s all right and advisable, if I may add, to enjoy life without clicking and uploading half of it. Be hungry, be ambitious, but not for likes.
restricting gender uniforms article by rachel wyatt artwork by nicole sizer
Gendered uniforms have always been restricting to women and incompatible with alternative gender identities. Schools are now creating gender-neutral uniforms to combat these issues and hopefully bring an end to gender-based uniforms. It was only when World War Two made it necessary for women to have the freedom to move and work like men that it was considered normal for women to wear trousers. In the case of gendered uniforms, giving women an uncomfortable and restricting uniform that differs from her male counterparts is undeniably symbolic of the inequality that still exists between men and women. School uniforms around the world still require female students to wear skirts, but schools without uniforms have even harsher restrictions on female dress code. Schools defend these restrictions on the basis that they reduce ‘distraction’ in male students and increase safety. Such arguments echo those used in victim blaming cases and suggest to male students that they are not completely responsible for their own actions. These schools are also well known for sending their pupils home to change, demonstrating that their appearance is held as more important than missed schooling. Unless you believe that sending girls home protects the poor male students’ schooling from distraction.
Dunedin North Intermediate School in New Zealand is working to resolve this issue by starting with the youngest generation. Students are now able to choose between shorts, trousers, and kilts, allowing them to explore their gender identity without being self-conscious of their clothing choices speaking for them. The school has stated that they hope the ‘flow-on effect’ of gender uniforms being abolished, will be that students are comfortable with questioning their gender, even in the difficult school environment of low self-esteem and high social pressures. These changes stemmed from students’ complaints against being ‘forced’ to wear skirts. This movement towards non-gendered uniforms could mark the first generation of women lucky enough to avoid being ‘forced’ to wear heels to work. Abolishing gendered uniforms will be a step towards reducing the expectations and limitations that gendered uniforms can cause, particularly for women, as gender neutral uniforms become the norm in future generations.
While one may expect adults to be free to wear what they please, gendered uniforms are still regulated, with women being forced to wear heels to work. There are many reported complaints of this, a notable English example being Nicola Thorpe, who was fired for refusing to wear heels to work. A popular response to these complaints was to point out that men’s uniforms are also regulated, as men must wear ties. Ties, like heels, give no practical advantage to one’s work and in fact have no use. However, unlike heels, wearing ties should not physically hurt or limit one’s movement. The physical limitations that gendered uniforms can cause begin at a young age. Skirts can even make sitting crosslegged, as we all have done in school, an uncomfortable position for girls. It can also discourage young girls from playing, as climbing on jungle gyms could be immodest. This could even result in them being reprimanded, as young girls are taught to link modesty with safety. Meanwhile the boys enjoy the freedom their uniform provides. A further issue with gendered uniforms is that they may not be appropriate for people questioning their gender. This can make identity issues more difficult, especially while students are still developing their identity in school.
a woman’s place is in her union article by caitlin brown & jessica stone artwork by nicole sizer
A woman’s place is in her union. Not in the kitchen chopping onions. Unions (author’s note: it’s not pronounced “onions”) and women (also not pronounced “onion”) seem inseparable forces nowadays, but it wasn’t that long ago that women had to fight to carve a space within the union movement. Just so everyone is aware, we really love unions. One time, Jess got this Ballarat Trades Hall polo from her dad, and even though it wasn’t that cool, I (Caitlin) wanted one too so I made my brother drive and get me one the next day. But back to the point. Women are awesome and the union movement has progressed immensely since they were first allowed to say the word union without a man’s permission (that’s a stretch but you get what we mean). We will be only scraping the surface of the immense and undoubtedly important contributions women have made in the union movement. We also acknowledge that the history of the women's labour movement has been predominantly written by white unionists. Women of colour and indigenous women have also been just as, if not more so, active and powerful in the labour movement. Just like men locked out women, white women also locked women of colour and indigenous women out of the fight too. Just like onions, the history of women in unions has many layers. So buckle in for some facts, some myths, potential hearsay, and us mostly just fangirling over women and unions and onions. The world has always been one big boys club, and once, this was even reflected within the union movement. This isn’t to say the union movement hasn’t been an integral power for women, but in a reflection of the times, even women were had no space within Trades Hall. Men were everywhere (like literally everywhere, gross, like eating a raw onion), and so naturally they dominated another facet of life, unions (and onion farming too). Focusing closer to home in Melbourne, a second home to many student activists - Trades Hall was once not a home for women activists. It was in the late 1880s that women unionists after a successful Tailoresses strike had built
enough power and size to call on the Trades Hall Council to approve construction of a “Female Operatives’ Hall”. At this time, women still hadn’t won the vote, and couldn’t enter a public bar - or even a ladies lounge without a man accompanying her. Although still not granted a space within Trades Hall itself, the Female Operatives Hall was a win for female unionists of the time, and an important step forward for all unionists (and onion eaters). These women unionists were at the forefront of many important pivotal movements in history. The threats of conscription during WWI, WWII and the Vietnam war, saw women, unionist and unaffiliated alike, come out in numbers to support anti-conscription and anti-war movements. 1916 saw a Women’s No Conscription demo and rally take place, where the 5,000 women marching swelled to a crowd of 80,000. As pro-conscription and war activists came to fight the women (onions may or may not have been thrown, we can’t confirm), male and female unionists alike came to their defence to protect them. Women were making themselves heard in great numbers, and finally, men were hearing them. As men began coming to the table (potentially bringing onions) on women’s issues and equality, the women’s organising and separate unions amalgamated within men’s unions, and by 1960s the Female Operatives Hall was demolished as we all finally stood under the same roof in solidarity with each other for our shared and separate fights. By the late 1960’s, two world wars had passed, which saw women finally entering all sorts of fields of employment. Zelda D’Aprano, a Meat Workers Union official within Trades Hall, began to take up the fight for women within Melbourne to take up the fight for equal pay. She chained herself and two other women workers to the Commonwealth building in protest, demanding to pay only two thirds the cost of a train fare since women were only paid two thirds of a man’s wage (approximately worth 4 onions if the conversion rates of the day are applied). Zelda was forefront in the pay dispute campaign, and with her establishment of the Women’s Action Committee, she believed women had to stand up and fight for
their own rights because everyone else sure as hell wasn’t going to do it for them. Just as we were in the 1880s, women are still incredibly active within their unions to this day, especially at their workplaces. In 2011, an ACTU survey found women were making up nearly half of all union membership, and were slowly tipping the scales within leadership roles, with 45 per cent of delegates being women. We’re still fighting to see women in higher levels of leadership within major unions. It’s nevertheless exciting to see amazing women such as Ged Kearney kicking ass as the President of the ACTU, and Sally McManus now punching down gender role walls as Secretary of the ACTU. In closing, we really love unions, but we really want you to love unions too. The only way change happens is when people stand up for what’s right, when they become involved and have their voice be heard. Join your union, get involved with Trades Hall campaigns, become a delegate, fight for better rights for yourself and for all women to come after you! Add to the layers of history that is the Women’s Unionist Movement.
POLITICS AND SOCIETY politics/society
country life, city life what’s the difference for a woman? article by sophia mcnamara
There are many articles in this issue of Lot’s Wife that discuss women in Australian society. Nearly all of these discussions are drawn on the experiences of women who live in Australia’s major cities – experiences that are vastly different for women who live and work in the country. Lot’s Wife editor Sophia has a chat with Angelique, a 21-year-old female farmer, about what life is like for rural women. Angelique and I went to school in New Zealand together – we have even known each other for more than half of our lives. We both live in Australia now, but our journeys across the ditch have taken two very different paths. While I live on campus in the relatively calm and sheltered world of Monash University – Angelique has hopped around all over the country, working on dairy farms, cattle stations, and even in a small-town pub. Angelique started her agriculture journey in 2012, when she left high school midway through her second-to-last year. She moved to Masterton, on the bottom of New Zealand’s North Island, to attend Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre. She then moved to Waverley – a small town on the Southwest coast of the North Island. She worked there for two and a half years, and aside from her boss’s wife, she was the only female on the farm. She would start the day at 4.30am to milk cows, have an hour break for breakfast at 8.30am, then continue work till 12.30, feeding calves, doing tractor and maintenance work. At 2.30pm she would go milking again which would bring her to the end of the day: about 5 or 6pm. She eventually moved to the South Island, to a farm just outside of a small town called Methven. Early last year, she split with her boyfriend and moved back in with her parents in Auckland. Unsure of where to go next, she saw an ad online. A small-town pub in Northwest Victoria was looking for someone to work at the pub full time and live on site. It wasn’t farm work, but it was in country Australia, which was where she wanted to go. A few days later, she had flown to Melbourne and I was driving her five hours north to her soon-to-be home. “You sure you want to live with a bunch of people you’ve never met before, in the middle of no where, in a country you’ve only just arrived in?” I said to her on the way. “I’ll be fine” she insisted. A couple of weeks passed, and one Saturday night at her new job in the pub, a big rush of people came in after the football game. Angelique noticed someone had dropped a
pair of keys on the floor. Trying to be hospitable, she walked around to the other side of the bar, in her shorts, and picked it up. “Does anyone know whose key this is?” she said. A middle-aged man snatches the key off her. “No”, he says, and throws the key back to the ground. “But you can pick it up so I can see your ass again” he says, laughing. “Don’t disrespect bar staff”, her boss mutters quietly to the guy. The guy continued to show up to the pub every weekend, while Angelique was forced to continue pouring his beer. “You know... if that happened in Melbourne,” I said, “that guy would have probably gotten banned from the venue. All your co-workers would have asked if you were okay, too”. “People got so drunk at the bar though,” she says. “They stumble around, start fights, punch each other. They never get refused service, they never get kicked out, and they definitely never get banned. I’ve seen people legless, unable to walk or talk, continue to get service, and then get in their car and drive home.” A couple months later, Angelique moved on to work on a Cattle Station in the Northern Territory. “There was a workers camp, and then another separate camp for the Aboriginal workers”, she says. “Aboriginal workers slept outside, and they weren’t allowed to use any of our equipment. They were from a dry community and were meant to stay sober, but I’d often see them drunk. They’d drive half an hour away to a non-dry community, and would even drive through farmland so they didn’t get caught driving on the road,” she says. “What about the other guys you worked with, then?” I said. “Well, there was a lot of unwanted attention”, she says. “The boundaries are pretty different. Farms are very free-spirited, there’s not a lot of rules”. In her experience, men simply expected less from the women and thought that they weren’t capable of more difficult tasks. “When you start a job, you don’t get a set of rules written down in front of you, so I guess sometimes, personal boundaries can be pushed”, she adds.
“You learn to be tougher. I might not be the generic female, but I have learned to really stand up for myself, and not hold back”, she says. She went on to explain how common it was for farms to exploit young workers, and neglect to give payslips or use employment contracts. “I think Australia is a bit worse than New Zealand”, she said. “New Zealand has really stepped it
up with the rules and regulations, not so sure about here.” She explained how in New Zealand, there is a fair bit of attention paid to women on farms – like rural women’s groups and rural women’s awards. However, it’s not as developed here, and there definitely aren’t the same support networks. “It’s because Australia is bigger, and you get farms that are extremely remote. New Zealand doesn’t have an outback, so you can’t just slip under the radar like you can here”, she explains. Since her time in the outback, she’s moved to Western Australia, which so far, has been her best experience here. Currently she lives and works a couple of hours east of Carnarvon in the Gascoyne region – about twelve hours north of Perth. Her job involves mustering cattle on motorbikes and then processing them through the yards and exporting them live to Vietnam, Israel and Turkey. Her boyfriend works in the mines, twelve hours away, but she’s okay with the arrangement. “We appreciate our time together more”, she adds. On family cattle stations, Angelique explains that there tends to be generations of men all still working: son, dad, grandad all helping out. However on the large commercially owned stations, all of the crew are young. “It’s hard to work as a jillaroo or jackaroo when you’re older as it’s dangerous and physically demanding – but definitely not unheard of.” A first or second year jillaroo usually gets paid on a daily rate of around $150-180 a day. They are long and hot days, up to 12-13 hours, working in very dusty and dangerous conditions. However, they get meals and accommodation provided on site. Due to the perception that men ‘do more’; men often get paid considerably more too, even when it doesn’t quite reflect reality.
Working on a farm, cattle station, or even a small town pub is not an easy experience for the average woman. But it’s not just the everyday sexism and racism that makes it difficult for women on farms – coping with mental or physical illness is especially challenging. Going to see a GP can mean at least a full day of travel there and back. There’s a she’ll be right attitude that pervades the rural community – a difficult obstacle to overcome. “Where will you end up in the future?” I ask. “I’m still thinking about what my future will hold – ideally I would further my agricultural studies. Possibly agribusiness, so I can work in the industry, but in a less physically demanding job for when I’m older.” I looked through photos of her working on these farms – there were photos of her sitting next to a goat she just shot, shooting rifles, on her horse lined up with a bunch of jackaroos, and a photo showing off the buffalo she had just hunted down. That buffalo would easily weigh four times her own weight. It’s remarkable when you consider that twenty years ago, it was unheard of to have female jillaroos mustering cattle. Women would work on cattle stations and on dairy farms, but mostly just to cook food and do the men’s laundry and cleaning. Since beginning her career as a farmer – she has driven huge tractors, shotguns, mustered cattle, and there’s not a single thing her male co-workers can do that she can’t. It’s a reminder that women can quite literally, do anything. Most importantly, she’s happy. “Are you going to stay on farms for the rest of your life?” I ask. “It’s so peaceful here. I prefer life in the country. So yeah, I will probably stay forever.”
Not many people from a high school in the suburbs end up as a jillaroo, nor do they see it is a viable career option the way those who live in the country do. However, supported by the availability of tertiary courses in agriculture, Angelique is proof that you don’t need to be a bornand-bred country kid to succeed highly in the world of agriculture. Australia offers jillaroo and jackaroo courses, but she believes it’s definitely not pushed to study here in Australia to the same extent it is in New Zealand.
beauty standards & women of colour - when beauty is defined by how light your skin is article by debra olum artwork by sa pasa
“You know what, you’re my prettiest black friend.” A comment made by someone I used to know, directed at one of my friends (while I was sitting right there, might I add... #rude). This was my inspiration for writing this piece. For the first time in my life, the issue of how beauty is defined became real to me. It had never hit so close to home before. Why is she pretty “for a black girl”, why can someone not just be beautiful because they are beautiful, no questions asked? Whilst society has largely evolved in the past decade or so, the way in which beauty is discussed certainly has not. In a world with an abundance of colours, races, ethnicities and cultures, it is seemingly ridiculous that beauty is still defined and judged by the lightness of your skin. In many communities around the world, the lighter your skin is, the better you are treated and the higher you’re regarded as a member of society. In some of these communities, parents will encourage their children to shield their skin from the sun with hats and umbrellas out of fear that their skin may turn even the least bit darker. When put against such brutal standards, how many woman of colour find themselves empowered to appreciate their own beauty? Well, not many is the answer to that. When beauty is narrowly defined as belonging to those with lighter skin, it leaves everyone who do not fall in that bracket feeling less worthy. Speaking as a woman of colour from Kenya, the skewed perception of beauty also carries inside the WoC community itself. For example, a lighter skinned black woman will often be regarded as more beautiful than a woman with darker skin. Why is this? What is it that has drummed this idea that the lighter your skin is, the more beautiful you are in our heads? And how do we change it? When someone like Halle Berry and someone like Lupita Nyong’o are put in comparison in magazines, on social media or just in everyday conversation, most people are conditioned to sway towards seeing Halle Berry as the ‘more beautiful’ woman simply because she has lighter skin. Both women of colour, just different tones. In fact, there should be no comparison at all. Both women are equally as beautiful as each other in their own very different and individual ways. In an age where our whole lives are dictated by the internet and social media, the only way to curb peoples thinking is through that very medium. Much more representation of a broad spectrum of skin colours in magazines, TV/film and other forms of media would be a great start. From the palest to the darkest, there needs to be representation for all. Parents bringing these issues up with their children, both people of colour and those who are not, is another way
to ensure that the younger generation does not follow in the footsteps of the previous. This is an era of change and a time for people to speak out about issues that generations before us might not have had the courage to. Skin colour and skin tone should never factor into anyone’s standards of beauty. There is no single image that sets the international standard for beauty and we should stop acting like there is. From the palest to the darkest, we are all just as beautiful as each other and it’s time for both women and men to start realising that. Different is good, diversity is good, our differences are what make us beautiful, interesting and unique. Beauty has no skin tone, no definition, and cannot be put into a box.
feminist foreign policy article by emina besirevic artwork by lily greenwood
positions of ‘toughness.’ Indeed, Trump’s border wall, frank support for torture and immigration raids whilst largely archaic, are also markedly fuelled by fear. In contrast, what takes real courage is the ability to move away from this dominant thinking and embrace a different view of how security should be implemented. As Wallström said, ‘it’s time to become a little braver in foreign policy.’ In an age of Trump, Putin and Erdogan, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström stands tall in her ambitious beliefs. Since assuming her role in 2014, Wallström has advocated a foreign policy she describes, and has largely been accepted, as ‘feminist.’ This take, oozed in idealism, is a perspective that intends to accentuate the role that women have in ensuring peace and security. The empowering position that the foreign minister takes is grounded in the belief that equality between women and men must be fought alongside human rights efforts. Indeed, the notion that gender equality is still a vision and not a reality has been taken in full stride by Wallström who is set to switch that concept on it’s head. Whilst gender equality is a goal in itself, it is now too declared by the Government Offices in Sweden as a fundamental aim of Swedish foreign policy. In fact, not only is equality declared to be an obligation, but a prerequisite for reaching Sweden’s broader goals on peace, security and sustainable development. This stance is supported by a growing body of evidence that suggests supporting women’s rights leads to more security. Indeed, countries where women are empowered are shown to be vastly more secure in the sense of both resolving disputes with other nations peacefully and countering violent extremism. In an era of hard power, Wallström’s distinctive brand of Nordic idealism has drawn worldwide attention, not least for it’s uniqueness but for its considerable success. The feminist foreign policy efforts ranged from contributing to some 20 countries drawing up laws to strengthen gender equality, to some 90 local communities abandoning the practice of female genital mutilation, to hundreds of thousands of women and girls avoiding unsafe abortions and to 65 countries and organisations making commitments to combat gender-based violence. The doctrine has certainly earned accolades. Only behind Germany, Sweden was declared in 2015 to have the second largest influence shaping European foreign policy in 2015. Moreover, the bold stance on feminism stands in stark contrast to the machoism portrayed by leaders such as Trump and Putin. Both men, who surround themselves with generals to project an image of military might, adopt
However, the bold agenda has also earned itself notoriety. After vehemently criticizing the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, Wallström wrought a diplomatic crisis. Indeed, on 9 March 2015, Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador to Sweden after it declared that Wallström’s comments made in parliament were considered ‘unacceptable interference.’ Yet, due to this diplomatic quarrel and Saudi Arabia’s influence in the region, the Swedish foreign minister was also condemned by the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the U.A.E) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which includes fifty-seven countries. Sweden’s progressive foreign policy and the harsh realities that exist have also led to friction with Turkey. In order to limit the flow of refugees into Europe, Brussels and Ankara struck a deal in which Turkey would increase intake to reduce the encumbrance on it’s European neighbors. However, with the deteriorating human rights conditions in Turkey, Wallström has remained adamant that without improvement, Turkey will be barred from one day joining the EU, a decision capable of hindering their refugee agreement. Domestically, Wallström isn’t free from detractors either. The government’s recent removal of plans to introduce quotas for the number of women on boards has been faced with much condemnation. There have been fervent complaints that the governments desire to improve gender equality globally is neglecting the need for change within it’s own borders. Issues such as sexist advertising remain a key concern. This is especially so considering that Sweden is the only Nordic country not to have legislation on sexist ads, despite pre-election promises. However, with the rise of conservative movements in many Western countries, perhaps high expectations that aren’t yet met are better than none at all. Indeed, by applying this broader and more systematic approach, feminist foreign policy has a greater potential to strengthen the rights and representation of women globally. Whilst to some such a feminist agenda on international policy may seem naïve, to others it is both urgent and necessary. Either way, the time has come for gender equality. Whilst much work is yet to be done, Margot Wallström stands tall in the global arena as she takes a decisive step forward.
eyes wide shut article by timothy davies artwork by michelle farralley
For her Spring 2017 collection, the newly appointed creative director to Parisian fashion house Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri, sent models down the runway toting a white t-shirt. In a bold black typeface, it announced ‘WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS’. The minimal design did not merely jump on the trend of the covetable fashion slogan, but also on the supposition that wokeness is a new cultural commodity. Yet, what does a t-shirt retailing at USD$710 really do, or for that matter, say about modern feminism? Largely that, along with other social movements, it is losing credibility being mired in corporatist ties and capitalist appropriation. The image of feminism that is being marketed towards the masses is an easily digestible one – largely due to its shallow engagement with gender-related ideals. Celebrities and political figures were once too afraid to call themselves feminists are now quick to jump on board. Empowerment is having a moment. There is safety in such a statement due to the criticisms that are now levelled at those who reject such a label. Whilst a stigma still exists through a historical conflation of feminism with misandry, the dispersion of any revolutionary message wanes as it is now sold as an unattainably expensive cotton blend t-shirt. Ironically, this is itself a reflection of blind classism that has plagued the movement from its inception. Buying a t-shirt with an uninspired slogan does not reverse the harm of production. The environment will continue to suffer and the pockets of the shareholders grow fatter as they sell back to women their own mission statement. Yet, the feminist t-shirt’s incredulity is not attributable to its existence but rather its success. Where someone like Ivanka Trump is chastised for selling out her gender, too often it is forgotten that recently lauded feminist heroes like Beyoncé Knowles and Hillary Clinton have succeeded in their push for equality through the subjugation of women alike. Perhaps, buying Knowles’ Topshop line, Ivy Park, will have you feeling ‘flawless’ and ‘so crown crown’ as the queen that you are, such messages of #feminism and empowerment!! are less digestible for the Sri Lankan workers making a mere sixty-four cents an hour in the sweatshop-like factories pumping out her activewear. The diffusion line ironically claims ‘to celebrate every woman and the body she's in.’ Knowles deploys her thinly veiled neoliberal feminist ideology with aplomb. Selling empowerment to her avowed fans whilst profiting off, what one human rights campaigner told Broadly was “a severe case of exploitation, bordering on slavery.” Capitalist and consumerist ventures that directly exploit workers are so often forgotten in glorifying the feminist inspiration that is credited to the elite few who climb to the top of the corporate ladder. The consumer fails to realise that buying
into feminism is not ethically compatible within a capitalist framework that thrives because factories producing these supposedly woke garments do not pay their workers a living wage. Feminism should not solely be predicated upon an equality of the sexes because that largely neglects a reliance on the oppression of women for male privilege, or rather for the patriarchal fallacy under which society functions, to exist. Instead of playing the game like men, the system needs to be dismantled in order for a semblance of equality, or at least the illusion of such to be reached. Following the realisation that Obama’s election to office did not expunge America of racism, similarly Clinton’s presidency could not have been the barometer by which women’s equality and progression are measured. Her attempt to shatter the proverbial glass ceiling may have inspired and galvanised people on the path to gender equality, yet her failure to atone for questionable political inclinations were assuredly at play in Trump’s ascension. Whilst resembling American imperialism and the establishment coupled with her corporatist ties and vague sloganeering, the reality of her gender allowed a trite media (and electoral) narrative focusing on the significance of Clinton being instated as the first female president of the United States. Feminism, as a product, fails to address the harsher realities of its cause because it is not marketable. A t-shirt stating the high murder rate of trans women will not sell. A record highlighting the lack of focus on class-based issues over identity politics will not play. And a tokenistic feminist pop star will likely never be openly critical of the way consumerist culture is a huge threat to the equality of men and women alike. When consumerism is cloaked behind a social good the cost, both in its monetary and philosophical sense, can go unchecked. The consumer buys into these products based on the understanding that they are no longer a mindless player in the capitalist game that pedals insignificant products back into the world. Yet, at the crux of the ideology behind the Dior feminist t-shirt came the succession, after public outcry no less, that a portion of the funds received for the t-shirts would go to The Clara Lionel Foundation which ‘reach[es] across borders to fight together for basic rights to education and health’. Slovenian Marxist philosopher and cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek noted the uprising of consumerist guilt stating ‘we are prone to engage in frantic, obsessive activities; recycling paper, buying organic food, or whatever, just so that we can be sure that we are doing something.’ Here Žižek acknowledges that this is one of the ultimate forms of capitalist duping: companies selling consumers the idea (READ: lie) of charity through engaging directly with mass
consumption. The fair-trade coffee that Starbucks markets to the consumer will still occupy landfill with millions of coffee cups and packaging. Yet, the consumer can diffuse their guilt for buying cheaper conglomerate coffee with the taste of responsibly grown beans. More recently a similar sentiment is reflected with the Airbnb rings for marriage equality. The pieces of plastic were buzzed about briefly not only in order to show support for marriage equality (which at an overwhelming approval rating in Australia is almost one of the more conservative social positions a company can take) but also to promote the company. Thus, tethering Airbnb’s ethos to a progressive cause to appeal to millennials’ sense of social justice. Yet, equality is only in because it sells. It can only sell because it is popular and what is popular is, inherently, safe. Companies are not significantly risking their profit margins by slapping a rainbow filter over their social media for Pride Month. It is not a push for equality, but rather a push for profit. Where were these companies ten years ago when feminism was still a dirty word and marriage equality seemed decades away? The implicit safety net of PC culture fails to call out the dangers behind the actions of these companies in co-opting social causes for profit due to a lack of critical thinking being swallowed by the asinine pleasantries of inclusivity. The widely criticised PR disaster that was Pepsi’s recent apolitical commercial proved incredibly cringe-inducing as it appropriated protest imagery for the cause of selling cavity-inducing schlock. Pepsi’s ad could at least have contributed to a nuanced conversation that exposed corporations’ hollow misuse of social causes in order to market their products. The fact that no recognised issue was made evident in the ad pointed toward a deftness, not within the company, but within consumerist culture. As a multi-billion dollar company, Pepsi thought this ad would sell; and this says more about the state of consumerist gratification and green capitalism than it does about the company’s advertising deficiencies. The maelstrom that engulfed Pepsi allows them to save face by misguiding consumers with an apology. The message: consumers are stupid, just not that stupid. The campaign acts as a mirror to the rest of the consumerist landscape issuing a warning that your activism (READ: marketing strategy) is in danger of being exposed. In what has seemingly become companies’ involvement in some type of Commodification Olympics, Pepsi were merely the ones caught doping. The commercial exposed, in a way that Dior could have, the danger that corporations have placed themselves in as they shine the light on the vacuity of such ‘empowerment’ campaigns. The easiness of opting into these corrupting ideologies that are typified by the utter banality of empowerment or equality as a marketing tool are proving vapid. Yet, surely these branded moves are becoming as conspicuous as a dog’s locked stare at their owner whilst it takes a shit on a walk. In a similar vein that people are more afraid of being called racist than actually being racist, corporations are trying to sell wokeness in the misguided hope that consumers will stay asleep.
why females should travel solo article by evangeline yong artwork by brittany wetherspoon
The Alhambra is incandescent, regal, lit up far below where I stand on the Sacromonte, surrounded by gypsies’ caves and listening to the distant howl of stray dogs in the valleys. “And that’s the end of the tour,” says our guide. The group quickly disperses and I am left alone in the square, under a low-hanging, sinister moon. I start walking – 30 minutes down the streets and alleyways of Granada, Spain, curving snake-like into each other. It’s 10 o’ clock at night and I am terrified. For most of my gap year in 2016, I travelled Europe without daring to ‘fly solo’. I had heard the horror stories – the assaults, rapes, kidnappings, disappearances. I had been incessantly warned by friends and relatives. “Don’t go out at night. Avoid quiet places. Always travel in a group.” And wherever I went, I saw people look at and speak to solo female travellers with concern, surprise, even disapproval. “You’re travelling alone? Are you sure that’s safe?” Growing up, I always believed – an unspoken, unchallenged truth of my existence – that there are inherent dangers in being female. I could not fearlessly walk through life, do those everyday things men seem to take for granted: taking the train alone after dark, even jogging or cycling by myself. “For your safety ”. “There aren’t enough people on that road”. “There are too many trees there”. “Didn’t you hear that story?” “Why would you put yourself in danger?” ‘Your gender’, whispered the media stories, the police reports, the anecdotes of tragedy, ‘is an inescapable weakness’. Then came the media headline after the murder of Masa Vukotic in the same park where I had walked and biked with family friends throughout my childhood. “‘Females shouldn’t be alone in parks’, detective inspector says.” It was only then that I began to question this narrative of events: perpetually skewed against women, turned upside down, back to front. Why was it her fault – our collective faults as females? Why this mandate to women ‘should not’? Why the R-rated fairy tales for adult women, every graphic, gratuitous detail designed to frighten us into passivity: ‘The big bad wolf in the woods’? Why, on the other hand, the half-articulated warnings, ‘You don’t know what might be there,’ dripping with menace? We are in the 21st century, past the age of chaperones, living in a society that happily sells the message of gender equality – and yet, a female cannot walk safely in a park by herself. So was this to be our fate? Cowed by fear; weighed down by the ludicrous responsibility of having to prevent others from targeting us. Never to walk in a park alone, never to
have the independence to choose where, how long or when to walk. Never to sit and watch the sunset and take your time doing it, without your brother wanting to go home, or your friend nattering in your ear. It was unthinkable, unfeasible. The alternative? To take a risk in the face of everything we are told. So in defiance of everything I knew, I started to travel solo– first taking day-trips and hiking without my friends, and then spending a week in summer travelling across Europe alone. It was a series of baby steps to some; but to me – who had avoided the park for months after Masa Vukotic’s murder, for whom a walk around the neighbourhood towards dusk carried unspeakable anxiety – it was a leap of faith. I can’t ever forget the moment I boarded that train out of Lisbon, where my friend and I parted– when I was alone for the first time. The exhilaration and the utter sense of freedom that struck me left me breathless. I saw everything through new eyes, learned the art and joy of travelling solo. Where I used to avoid solitude like a disease and saw it as a mark of my social failure and vulnerability as a woman – I now grew to love it. One night, at a restaurant in Edinburgh filled with couples, I realised that even the act of eating alone didn’t frighten me anymore. I didn’t need a companion to validate me socially, to protect me. I didn’t need a mobile phone or a book to look busy. I didn’t even need that time-honoured trick of putting my jacket on the opposite chair to make people believe I was with friends. For the first time in my life, I was comfortable being alone. But fear still stalked me down every street even in broad daylight. The sheer thought “What if?” “What if I disappear?” “What if I am attacked?” would stop me when I was wandering alone on a quiet country road, halfway up a mountain on a solo hike, or on a bus at 1am, its headlights slicing through the darkness. More than once I seriously considered turning back, catching a flight home, ending this mad foray into the unknown. I never did, and each time I moved on to a new city, the fear receded a little and my courage grew a little more. As I climbed mountains, visited palaces, wandered cities, basked in the kindness of perfect strangers, I was encouraged by the growing number of female solo travellers I met, and the messages from my friends who were soloing in Russia, Northern Africa and Eastern Europe. My friend sent me a picture of her riding camels in Morocco, her shadow etched into the dunes. She told me stories of getting lost in the labyrinths of Istanbul and being rescued by locals who gave her a lift on their motorbike.
Another friend hitchhiked over the border between Bosnia and Croatia, then walked three hours over hills and through forests because buses had stopped running. She loved solo travelling because it gave her complete autonomy: moments of exquisite, uninterrupted aloneness that we rarely experience in a society of cliques, cocktail nights and competitive socialising. But solo travelling isn’t always as euphoric as it sounds. There were days when I was unwell, on my period, or simply exhausted, when I wanted to cry on someone’s shoulder, or needed a friend who could give me tissues, pads, Panadol, hugs. There were times when I was sick of my own company, hours on end where I longed to talk to someone but there was no one around. I learned to wait out those days, to accept and cherish both the spontaneity and brevity of friendships formed between travellers. I learned that solo travellers are never completely isolated; that just as some people can be treacherous, malicious, hostile, others are unexpectedly kind, friendly and generous. There is no tried and tested formula for women travelling alone. There is no guarantee of safety because risk is associated with everything we do in life. There are things we can do to protect ourselves, but these are things that every traveller can and should do. These are not lessons to be taught to women in the wake of tragedy; not fail-safe solutions that shift the focus and responsibility from the perpetrator to the victim. Retrospectively, I would not choose to walk alone at 10 pm again, but the question of personal judgment is never clearcut. We can’t fully know the circumstances, calculate the risks or judge the outcome for every other traveller faced with the same choice (or lack thereof) in the moment. I would therefore describe solo travelling as a calculated risk that is well-worth taking. Travel writer and blogger Kristin Addis from “Be My Travel Muse” writes: “Travelling alone is all about trusting your intuition, behaving abroad as you would at home.” She advises fellow travellers to “talk to the locals at your guesthouse about what you should watch out for, and practice common sense.” Staying in well-lit areas at night or walking in groups, if possible, are common-sense things I personally tried to do when travelling. My friend’s top tip was to act like a local (as much as you can), to avoid looking like a lost and clueless tourist, and to always walk purposefully as if you know where you’re going (even if you don’t). I love the idea of “walking purposefully” in particular – not just in the literal but also the metaphorical sense. We solo-travel for many purposes: maybe to discover something about ourselves, to grow in confidence as I did, planning transport links and navigating alone. Maybe it is an act of subversion, defying the archaic yet enduring belief that women should not travel unchaperoned, rewriting the account of events where females are innately susceptible and blamed for our ‘poor choices’. Maybe it is advocacy for a new norm where women can walk in parks safely, where the sight of a solo female traveller becomes commonplace rather than exceptional. Or maybe we do it for the sheer fun and adventure: the sensation that you get while crossing borders, flying through airspace, looking down from a mountain, that, in the words of Virginia Woolf: “As a woman, [our] country is the whole world.”
unfollowing perfection article by isabella radau artwork by joanne fong
This semester break I consciously decided to disconnect, unfollow and hide the sort of media that was beginning to make me internalise the concept of this supposedly ‘ideal’ body. I never realised how oversaturated social media is with images of the ‘perfect’ female body. I’ve been trying hard to work toward the elusive goal of self-acceptance and this onslaught of pictures of models, ‘fitspo’ accounts and exclusively thin women all over my feeds wasn’t helping me through this process. Instagram repeatedly and pervasively exhibited me image upon image of the ideal body I should supposedly be chasing. It is almost impossible not to measure your own body against those of the ‘ideal’ Insta famous model your friend liked a photo of. ‘Clean eating’ accounts, bikini shots, before and after photos and other images that all feature the same exclusive representation of this ‘ideal’ feminine body are virtually (pun intended) impossible to escape. This one body type, the thin yet toned, flat-stomached but big-breasted, perfectly proportioned woman was the only one I was persistently presented with every time I regularly checked my phone. There are a lot of complex factors why this ideal of the feminine body I speak of is an ideal, and there are similarly many reasons why women themselves endeavour to fit into such an image. Our society has adopted this often unrealistic conception of feminine beauty as one that requires women to constantly tend to and worry about their appearance. Factors like the continuing presence of the male gaze over women’s bodies which sexualises them as ‘sexy’ or ‘hot’, and therefore acceptable, only if they fit the Western, male dictated perception of female beauty including thinness (and largely, whiteness). The diet industry profits millions from women’s perceived need to lose weight to be ‘attractive’, and the consumer markets manipulating women into buy cosmetics and clothes to make themselves ‘better’. The enduring force of the patriarchy ultimately continues to force women into binaries of beauty, pressuring them to fit into boxes to gain credibility as a ‘woman’. This construct of this feminine ideal of beauty is ultimately that – an ideal. And an ideal is not a reality. I’m not trying to shame women who fit this description. My concern lies with the fact that this single type of body is largely the only one women and girls are exposed to, and this is far from the only type of body that exists. The constant onslaught of this one portrait of the female body from Instagram, Facebook, Asos, Youtube and more inevitably begins to have an impact on the way women view themselves in the face of such limited representation.
The reality is that bodies are imperfect, they’re human. I can’t change the way my body has grown and formed, I can’t make my bones smaller or carve away at my waist to get that Kimmi-K hourglass. So why was I subjecting myself to this repeated visualisation of only one type of body? The constant reminder of what my body isn’t was not helping me feel more comfortable in myself. So I started making a habit of clicking ‘see less of this’ or ‘unfollow’ on photos or pictures that I personally cannot identify with, and felt were pushing me into wanting to erase the things about myself that don’t fit the ideal. Instead, I’ve started to fill my feeds with pictures and images of women simply existing in themselves – existing outside of an ideal, and not being afraid to show all the things typically rejected as ‘unflattering’ or ‘unfeminine’. Sadly, I think the reality today is it is still radical for a woman to like herself in whatever form her body exists in. It is radical to have a sense of confidence without being considered ‘thin’ or ‘fit’. By doing this, we also reduce pressure on the women who perceive themselves as needing to fit into a perfect ideal, changing things for all who identify as women. This is where I discovered the body positivity movement. Nicknamed ‘BoPo’ for short, the movement is filled with women of different shapes, sizes and colours showing that there is more than one way to have a strong, beautiful, acceptable female body. While some argue that the BoPo movement continues to dwell on women’s bodies rather than totally removing the focus on appearance, I personally find the ability to relate to and identify with other women an important part of accepting that there is no ‘perfect’ way to have a female body. So maybe the next time you’re scrolling through your Insta feed, maybe give ‘gracefvictory’ or ‘bodiposipanda’ a follow and bring some diversity into your social media world. In a way, you can count it as an act of rebellion against the pressure to fit the ‘ideal’. Until the focus lifts off trying to force women into exclusive standards I’m going to keep clicking ‘see less of this’ on every post that tries to make me want to change myself.
i’m healthy and i know it article by devika pandit artwork by nicole sizer
Human beings are bestowed with bodies designed to endure and survive. Each organ, limb, and hair follicle serves a specific purpose and it is a blessing to be a healthy individual. This talk might seem very ‘evolutionary’ in the 21st century, an age of appearance and size. Consequently, there exist multifarious opinions on every possible matter. These lead to a range of obligations, a variety of ‘shoulds’ that dictate how we should eat, look, talk, behave, and function as humans, serving almost as an instruction manual for human behavior. I wish to address a few of these ‘shoulds’ in this article and discuss why they should not be a guideline for a healthy life. Let’s begin with the definition of health as supplied by the World Health Organization (1984). “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. I like this explanation because it emphasizes health as a multidimensional state. Now try and Google the following- ‘What exactly constitutes a healthy body?’ I did and found results that instead dictate how a healthy body should look. There are factors I ‘need to know’, ‘continuous hard-work and strict commitment’ that I should strive for, if I aim to be a healthy individual. Sounds like boot camp. Do note the discrepancy. A healthy body has been fundamentally linked to how we look and I consider this misleading because humans come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours, and sexualities and to generalize them into a single image is akin to reducing us to a blueprint. Speaking of blueprints, body hair is a relevant issue. Accepting that we are mammals sharing genealogical roots with chimps, we should accept body hair too. The fact that we do not frustrates me to no end. Like many other women, I undertake laborious acts such as waxing and shaving in order to adhere to societal standards of what it means to ‘look like’ a woman in the 21st century. This exhausts my energy as well as my wallet, but I voluntarily subject myself to this ‘clean-up’, just because. I wonder what would happen if I stopped. I would feel self-conscious certainly, given the fact that Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) bestows me with a little more hair than normal. I have spoken with women who echo similar sentiments and others who despite the comments and stares continue to embrace body hair without ripping it out every month. I asked a friend to share her thoughts about body hair and her response surprised me: “It’s hair. The same hair that is on your head…it will grow back, so why abuse it?’ Perhaps the only person bothered by my hair is myself. Yes, people can be curious and pass snide remarks but if I don’t
let it bother me, I can live happily just as I am. Moreover, hair-free is an industry standard. For example, Veet’s ‘Don’t Risk Dudeness’ advertisement in 2014 attempted to highlight how women should be afraid of appearing masculine if they fail to keep up with clean-shaven standards. This is ultimately a marketing tool that forces women to conform to a warped prototype of femininity, under the guise of facilitating a clean and natural look. It angers me when they promote hair-free as a clean image. How dare you suggest that my hair is unclean, impure, worthy of being waxed, shaved or lasered off? There does not exist any rational explanation for why women must remove body hair other than the fact that they ‘should’. I interpret this as conditioning. Monash University student Sophia McNamara pointed out that ladies have been “socialized over the centuries to regard body hair in certain places (legs, armpits) to be disgusting but body hair in other places (head, arms) to be fine”. I agree, if hair was the problem, it should have been denounced on every part of the body, which clearly isn’t the case. Body hair in certain places as something to be done away with–is a social thought that manifested a norm and finally into the present expectation. Furthermore, we tend to mirror what we see. Hence, when bombarded with digitally-altered images of Gisele Bündchen’s poreless legs or Priyanka Chopra’s heinously smooth armpits, we are more likely to consider such misleading representations as the norm, or #goals. I understand that there are women who choose to be hairfree and others who rock the au-naturel look. If the first is a choice, the second should be one too, equally deserving of respect. Menstruation is the second topic I want to focus on. This natural bodily function has been scrutinized by newer perspectives that consider it ‘unnatural’. It amazes me, for example, the expertise with which vegan vlogger ‘Freelee the Banana Girl’ explained how a raw vegan diet helped her get rid of periods. She regards menstruation as “toxicity leaving the body” and thus believes, along with blogger Miliany of ‘RawVeganLiving’, that menstruation and periods are unclean and unnatural. While their videos and comments have faced criticism from audiences and doctors alike, I am taken aback at how women unnecessarily complicate their lives making a fuss out of periods. The influence of the media is very pervasive, especially with anything related to women. Let’s take Instagram as an example. Toronto based poet Rupi Kaur’s photo of a fully clothed woman was removed from Instagram because the period-stain on her pants violated community guidelines. This is the same media that gloriously objectifies nude >>
celebrities with explicit content presented as art or fashion. There is hardly any objection to ads that depict provocatively positioned nude women selling anything from Tom Ford perfumes or Abercrombie and Fitch apparel. I thus find it very ironic that Instagram does not regard Kim Kardashian’s naked selfies as violating community norms but takes objection to Kaur’s attempt at “de-mystifying all the taboos” that exist in conjunction with the period. This is our hypocritical media that feeds off the female form while simultaneously denouncing menstruation as a feminine process that is too revolting and provocative for audiences. So too have I observed that women have a significant role in contributing to the ‘hush-hush’ attitude towards the menstrual cycle. Despite knowing that it is a process essential for life, we continue to refer to it, albeit jokingly, as something women are ‘afflicted with’. ‘That time of the month’, ‘Aunt Flo’, ‘shark week’, and ‘my vagina has a nosebleed’ are just some of the many ridiculous euphemisms. I fail to understand why there should there be a need to talk about this process without referring to it. It must not be a matter of shame or embarrassment for either sex to be comfortable talking all things menstruation. If we stop hushing it up as a secret or being so light hearted about it, perhaps we shall come to see it as something as normal as breathing or digesting.
Lastly, I must emphasize that shaming women or men for their bodies is shaming them for, well, being human. Size is a label, one invented to categorize individuals in the easiest manner possible. It is not an indicator of health or beauty. Skinny, fat, plump, curvy, lean, muscular, sculpted– these are just words, adjectives, synonyms and antonyms. Molding our bodies to fit these vanity labels is erroneous because we are live beings, not machine-made candy. The ‘lifestyle culture’ of eating portion meals, extreme exercising, contouring tricks for make-up, tons of products to slim down or beef up is an industry that profits off our insecurities and more importantly targets the Millennial Generation that takes a fancy to all things #goals. As humans, there are no ‘shoulds’ that we need to live by. No justifications that we must provide for our bodies, for ourselves. I do not advocate for a certain look; my only contention is that we stay true to ourselves without contorting and transforming our bodies, and accompanying self-image into one controlled by society. We are more than blessed to be well-functioning individuals; all other factors then become mere considerations, not compulsions. Be the healthy you want to be, not the one you should be.
tampons: a ‘luxury’ we’re still bleeding for article by athina kakkos artwork by elsie dusting
Tampons. A word and item that still seems taboo in today’s society and conversation. We’ve seen politicians get awkward saying the word (I’m looking at you, Joe Hockey) and even when I use to work as a supermarket cashier, males would insist these little cotton superheroes weren’t for their own personal use but for their girlfriend. Uh, I figured you weren’t buying them to stop nosebleeds or to use as Christmas ornaments. Why are people so afraid of a little absorbent cotton? They haven’t been used whilst sitting on that supermarket shelf; they’re actually quite hygienic. Innocently they sit in a box with fun colours marketing executives thought would be a spell bounding way to empower women, because nothing screams fighting for the sisterhood as much as a cardboard box plagued with flowers and butterflies all over it.
These little cotton wonders, in addition to pads and other feminine hygiene products, aid the management of an involuntary biological process that impacts half the world’s population, menstrual periods. But, these absorbent sensations have become a contentious issue worldwide, and all for the same reason: tax. Tax gets a bad wrap. In Australia, the Howard Government introduced the Goods and Services Tax (GST) back in 2000 as a true tax reform. It replaced multitudinous and inefficient State taxes that raised little revenue and produced deadweight loss. The 10% duty applies to most items and services sold or consumed in Australia, however there are some exemptions for items deemed ‘necessary’. Items such as condoms, lubricants, nicotine patches,
incontinence pads and sunscreen are all exempt from GST. Why? Because they are considered to be essentials and aim to prevent illness. Well, incontinence pads don’t actually prevent urination or excretion do they? No, they don’t prevent it. They are designed to help manage involuntary bladder or bowel control problems. Sound familiar? Menstrual pads help manage an involuntary bodily secretion and are also made from good ol’ absorbent cotton. Both products increase hygiene, as well as security, and confidence. No one wants to endure the embarrassment caused from leaking biological fluids or have people whispering, wondering what that oddly coloured wet patch is on their clothing or the bus seat. So why are tampons taxed but incontinence pads not when both are fundamentally similar, if not almost identical? Is this not a direct display of discrimination against an automatic bodily function that only us women must go through? There is no taxed item in Australia exclusively used by men. Some feminists argue condoms are only for males, however I dissent. Condoms directly benefit both males and females as both genders decrease their risk in contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and women reduce risk of pregnancy. So, here’s to the patriarchal society for charging me on a bodily function I had no say in and on the unquestionably essential product that has no equally effective substitute. Sanitary products have been classified as a luxury by our government and many worldwide. What are we as women meant to use instead? Old newspaper? Yarn? Cleaning blood and ensuring it doesn’t stain is no easy task (pro tip: Use cold water to remove blood stains; warm water will set the stain in). Sanitary products in the present age are the most effective and widely accepted item in managing monthly menstrual flow. We moved away from using rags and washing them in the river for a reason.
are also other items deemed necessary that we still pay GST on such as gas, electricity and baby nappies. Although, last time I checked, none of those items are exclusively used by one gender only. Recently, countries such as Canada and France have removed the tax on sanitary products after intense backlash from the public. The Australian government has also received similar criticism. However, in July this year, the federal Senate voted down the proposal to remove the gender-biased GST. The Greens supported the removal of tax upon sanitary products and proposed applying a GST to imported items below the cost of $1000. Former Greens senator, Larissa Waters showcased how the new proposal would not only offset the loss of tax revenue sanitary products currently bring in, but an extra $300 million over the next three years would be raised too. These monetary figures come from the Parliamentary Budget Office that recently modelled the proposal. As Waters stated fiercely, “Revenue loss is no longer a credible excuse for refusing to axe the sexist tampon tax”. So, what is holding back politicians now from abolishing the sexist levy? Labor Senator Katy Gallagher has stated that the party supports the change, however there isn’t a need to rush into anything. Uh, Katy, GST was introduced in 2000 and the debate has been ongoing since. It’s been seventeen years. I’m not sure we have the same understanding for the word ‘rush’. Treating periods and the tax upon their products as a non-issue seems to have become routine for the rightwing, male led government of Australia. Shouldn’t the reproductive health and hygiene of 12 million Australian women be important? We shouldn’t be penalised for having a period that we had no choice in wanting or not. Sanitary products are not a ‘luxury’ or a ‘want’ but a need. Until the government realises the inequality they are placing upon women and girls as young as 10 years old, we need to keep fighting until action is made.
I always considered luxuries to be holidays to Europe, basking in the sun while sipping on poolside cocktails, or buying expensive wine – a sure step up from Fruity Lexia. I didn’t think a cardboard box packed with 16 cotton tubes epitomizes opulence and grandeur. Additionally, nicotine patches are also exempt from the 10% levy. Why are they not considered a luxury? Humans are not born with the innate need to smoke tobacco. During development there is no genetic change or increase in hormones within the brain that onsets the requirement of smoking. However, if you are born with a vagina, Mother Nature is going to be sure those hormones kick in and gift you with a red spot on your underwear. Sure, it was nice when my traditional Greek grandmother gave me $10 for ‘becoming a real woman’ but unfortunately, that isn’t going to cover the blatant lifetime cost of discriminating against my gender. Let it be known the crux of the issue isn’t primarily an economic one but about principle. I don’t mind paying tax on different products. Tax is mostly beneficial to society as it goes towards funding health systems, emergency services, our university degrees, and for (now former speaker) Bronwyn Bishop to travel from Melbourne to Geelong via helicopter at the cost of $5227, a journey that is just over an hour’s drive. Power to the sisterhood, Bronwyn. A common rebuttal to the tampon tax debate is that there
why do we still need feminism? an introduction to intersectionality article by jessika swarbrick artwork by lina chan
“I am not a feminist” a student in my women’s rights tutorial argued, “because I believe in equal rights for ALL.” Such comments are increasingly common from the opponents of feminism today, and on the surface seem innocent and to a degree even logical. If you are an advocate for equality and human rights, it doesn’t make sense to prioritise one group over another, instead is it better to be an advocate for all groups. However, as much as these remarks are made in good faith, they demonstrate a misinterpretation as to what it means to be a feminist in 2017. Existing in the era of both the white and radical feminism means that contemporary feminism struggles to be perceived as either legitimate or serious. Equality in itself should be a universal priority, but it must be acknowledged that in order to achieve this equality, we must recognise our own privilege in society along with the experiences and disadvantages others face. Furthermore, we need to work to resolve these problems in order to achieve equality. Everyone being treated the same does not create equality. The reality is women in our society, and societies around the world have a different lived experience than their male counterparts. They have different needs and rights to men because their opportunity and treatment differs dramatically. Compounding this divide, individuals of different ethnicities, sexualities, classes, religions, abilities and gender identities experience even greater disadvantages in society, which feminism also needs to accommodate and advocate for. This new wave of feminism is called Intersectionality, coined in the late 80’s by Kimberlé Crenshaw as ‘the view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity’. If we understand feminism as the promotion and protection of women’s rights, then intersectional feminism is the understanding that different aspects of an individual’s identity influence how they experience oppression and disadvantage. I myself am a straight white woman, meaning I experience disadvantage as a result of my gender, but privilege due to my ethnicity and sexuality. My experience would be different if I was a woman of colour, a member of the LGBTQI+ community, held a religious affiliation, a different class or wasn’t able bodied. These differing circumstances would drastically alter my experience in this world. Feminism today, more specifically intersectional feminism, means understanding your own position is society along with how it differs from that of others. It means prioritising
your own issues and realities while also listening and advocating for others whose experiences exceed your understandings of the world. It means realising how you are affected by an issue, but also thinking beyond yourself and how it would affect people of different identities. Furthermore, it is morally cogent and incredibly admirable to believe in equality, but equal rights and treatment does not necessarily guarantee equality. Instead, to promote and protect the rights of all, we must create programs and use resources in a way that takes into account the different needs and identities of people in our society. True equality comes from accommodating the disadvantaged, rather than treating everyone the same. Through changing our perceptions and treatment of women and individuals of different ethnicities, sexualities, classes, religions, abilities and gender identities, we can create a world that benefits both men, woman and non-binary individuals. Feminism is still needed to benefit all, not just women. To that student in my class and to those reading, if you seriously ‘believe in equal rights for ALL’ then congratulations, you are an intersectional feminist!
it’s not me, it’s your undeveloped brain article by emily grace
It has struck me over the past few weeks and months that the term ‘emotional immaturity’ is being misused and misappropriated to disguise inappropriate male behaviour. From my girlfriends’ breakups to President Trump, it seems to be reasonable to excuse men's behaviour by relegating them to children. Strong women are being undermined by their wilful blindness; men are allowed to walk away from responsibility scot-free. A few weeks ago, I sat at a St Kilda café watching my girlfriend cry over a cup of coffee after a bad breakup with her long-term boyfriend. “It’s not his fault,” my girlfriend sniffed. Through my murmured consolations, I had an uncomfortable feeling of déjà vu. “He just wasn’t ready. He just needed to do a little growing up, you know?” She continued. And there it was. The reason this conversation seemed so familiar to me. I’d just had it with another girlfriend, in another country, about another guy. Then, just as now, my answer was the same. No, I did not know what she meant. From my experience, age had nothing to do with maturity or a person’s ability to be in a viable relationship. It seemed to me that they were using age as a veil to dismiss their partner’s laziness, selfishness and unwillingness to engage emotionally. As I thought more deeply about it, I realised that the ‘emotional immaturity’ excuse was a form of selfprotection. Both breakups had been long and arduous, and everyone but the women in them had seen it coming a long way off. Both relationships had also been of significant duration, and the women had invested a lot of time and effort. They feared the social backlash of breaking up, so left themselves the option of one day having the fairy-tale ending – just when he’s a little older.
is alarming enough that many believed that teenage boys are entitled to covert sexism, but Donald Trump is far from a teenage boy. At 71 years-old, it is beyond baffling why we allow a fully grown man to dismiss his behaviour by calling it childish. This instance of infantilising Trump is far from a oneoff. On the 15th of May, The New York Times ran the headline “When the World Is Led by a Child” and again on May 19th, A.V. Club ran the headline “Spoiled man-child Donald Trump to be served well-done steak with ketchup on overseas trip”. While it is obviously belittling to call Trump a child, it enables him to be held to a lower standard of behaviour. Men are the ones with the bad behaviour and women are the ones enabling it. Behind every Peter Pan, there is a Wendy, mothering him, forgiving him, and justifying his behaviour. In Trump’s case, there were many Wendy’s. 42% of female voters to be precise. As I sat opposite my girlfriends, I wondered if they could see the parallel between the widespread dismissal of Trump’s behaviour and their own actions. We need to be less forgiving. Let’s get rid of the excuses. They are excuses made by men and by women. Call a man a man and a child a child. At the end of the day, this manchild/Peter Pan/pathetic-people syndrome is just another barrier that prevents equal relationships and hides abusers. Age is not an indicator of maturity and maturity is not the realm of the old. After all, growing up is not the cure for being a dickhead.
In an age of ever-increasing awareness of women’s independence and equality, it seems odd that poor and demeaning male behaviour is not blatantly pointed out for what it is. Instead, phrases like ‘emotional immaturity’ and ‘man child’, and even the popular psychology term ‘PeterPan Syndrome’, hide the truth at all levels of our society. When President Trump was caught bragging about his shocking sexual assaults in October 2016, he released a statement dismissing it as “locker room banter”. Trump tried to justify his behaviour by comparing it to teenage boys. It
modern marriage & me article by shona lewis artwork by keely simpson-bull
‘Why would a feminist get married in this modern world?’ I encountered this question before my recent engagement in December last year. My relationship with Cam is a modern one – for one, we met through the popular dating app, Tinder. We ‘matched’ and met on a whim the same day; neither he nor I expected much to eventuate on that date at the NGV. But the Tinder Gods were on our side that day. Or maybe the endless rooms of Chinese pottery forced us to push through those first-date nerves. Something worked because we went on a second date and a third… fast-forward to now, we’re living together and, with our flat mate, navigating the waters of student life (for me), new jobs (for them), and trying not to exist on takeaway. I catch the spiders and Cam does the dishes. On the other hand, I do the cooking and Cam carries the heavy groceries. We’ve found that we adhere to gender norms in many ways without being trapped by them. In the same vein, our decision to get married follows a social norm, but at no point have we felt trapped by it. A few centuries ago, this would have been a vastly different story. A contract. A property exchange. A means of shelter, reproduction, food, and protection. All of this extremely practical, none of this remotely romantic. But this was (and in some places, still is) the reality of marriage. It was a transaction of people between two families – and more critically, of women as a commodity. With the birth of romanticism 150 years ago, much has changed for this institution and we, for the most part, get married for love. Even now we still search for a protection of some sort in the modern world – it’s just less literal. With second-wave feminism and a relaxation around sexuality, and the means in which to express it, there came a drop in the popularity of marriage. Many of my friend’s parents didn’t marry and instead live quite happily as de facto couples. Out with old, in with a new gender equality that, naturally, shied away from a dirty past. Less expectation to marry came with women’s greater focus on career and more openly queer relationships. Divorce became commonplace – but not necessarily
more common according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Fast forward to now; sitcoms illustrate a greatly diversified ‘modern family’ in personal values, sexuality and religion. But to have a typical nuclear family is still a pervasive norm. This has been and will continue to be challenged, especially as Millennials are starting to ‘settle down’ and become the newest sets of parents. Broaching the topic of marriage with my friends, the conversation would begin with a few shouts of disapproval and ‘signing your life away’. No one wants to sound archaic, or even worse, be compared to their parents. Eventually, someone chips in, “Well, I suppose it might happen one day. If it does, yes, I suppose I would eventually want kids.” They will then go on to mention, “You wouldn’t want your partner to be absolutely everything to you. Those expectations can be extreme and unhealthy. Romantic relationships aren’t the only ones that matter.” We will all nod in agreement and toast to our continued friendship before the conversation closes with the disappointing afterthought, “First, it needs to be legal for me to get married.” Once we’ve passed the obvious youthful concern of catering to our hormones, it’s not an aversion to commitment or a family, or even marriage itself. The comments come from wanting to learn from the mistakes of past generations, and of course, the glacial pace of Australian politics. For the last few decades, there has been a fear of being ‘stuck’ in the present and stunting your future. The very word ‘commitment’ implies counterproductivity. The Millennials, those who grew up in a period of relentless ‘productivity’ with technological change and upheaval, have now entered adulthood. Many of us are returning to marriage in the same nostalgic sense that we are returning to ‘vintage’ fashion of the ‘90s and the styles we remember when growing up. In a similar vein, we seek to emulate the sexual liberation of the ‘60s along with all its drug use. But the world has changed now; ‘vintage’
clothing is more expensive than brand new, sexual liberation comes with emotional avoidance of Tinder hookups, and pot is synthetic. Marriage, too, is not what it once was – and this is exciting. Its historical instigators such as being financially stable, physically safe, or wanting children don’t come with a marriage prerequisite. Ending relationships does not come with the same stigma. There’s less of an expectation that we will, inevitably, get married. So to reiterate the opening question: ‘Why would a feminist get married in this modern world?’ Answer: Choice. I think, for the first time, our generation may truly have a choice. Choice to divorce, choice of partner, choice to marry at all. Believing in the importance of ‘choice’ is something distinctly feminist. In this generation, our choices will be distinctly varied. At present, there seem to be endless options in ways to conduct relationships. Be casual, be many in number, be discrete, be open, be traditional. I am lucky to have so many freedoms now and many choices to make – more so than any other generation of women that’s come before me. I want to marry Cam. I can see us together at 80 and 87 respectively… assuming we live that long. I would love to exercise my choice to make formal my commitment to him. Young? Yes. Naive? Possibly. In love? Absolutely.
SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
australia talks abortion article by dolly png artwork by julia thouas
Abortion: the termination of a pregnancy. As befits the seriousness of such a decision, the abortion process is carefully enshrined in legislation. In Australia, this is determined by individual states and territories, instead of a common nationwide decree. To date, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is most liberal, with abortion no longer considered under the Crimes Act since 2002. In all other states, different laws apply as to the requirements for medical judgement and approval. The health condition and socioeconomic status of the woman, and the stage of pregnancy are taken into account. Here in Victoria, the tipping point is 24 weeks. A pregnancy shorter than this grants a woman free choice. Beyond that, and the approval of two physicians is required. However, Medicare does cover the cost of the procedure in public healthcare facilities. The problem is that many remain unaware that abortion, in certain circumstances, can actually be illegal. Being such a liberal nation, Australia needs to be cautious not to take this freedom for granted. Just this year, both Queensland and New South Wales recently dismissed bills (introduced by Rob Pyne in QLD, and Mehreen Faruqi in NSW) to decriminalise abortion. Pyne himself did not expect such strong opposition, eventually withdrawing the bill for lack of support. But why would abortion be considered so objectionable to some? The anti-abortion camp, or ‘Pro-Life’, focuses on the morality of abortion itself. If life itself is sacrosanct, and every individual has an inherent right to it, it follows that abortion can be akin to murder. Obviously, few fully grown adults would declare that they would have rather not been born. Throw religious views into the mix, particularly the Christian belief that life is a God-given gift and the situation becomes emotionally charged. Such controversy is unavoidable, for it forces us to come face to face with existential questions about the value of life itself.
On the other hand, those fighting for abortion rights are known as the “Pro-Choice” camp. Their focus is on the reproductive rights of the woman. To force a woman to go through with a pregnancy – involving immense physical, emotional, mental stress – sounds like an unethical practice of old. It would also be undesirable for the long term care of the unwanted child, after birth. Beyond the political agenda, pregnancy is also a personal, private medical condition for the woman involved. In her shoes, many would rather be given a choice than not. A potential father has a relative lack of legal authority in deciding an abortion, doing little justice to the tangible impact abortion has on men. A fifth of callers to Abortion Grief Australia are male. They are also emotionally affected by their own, or their partner’s loss, and can fall back on self-destructive, risky behaviour to cope. Perhaps more could be done to bring them into the conversation, rather than assuming it is not their problem or place to speak. Although categorisation of different cases is important for legalistic clarity – for example, based on varying socioeconomic status of the women, or the duration and viability of pregnancies – it must be remembered that each individual is unique. The woman, the unborn child, and the man. Context matters, and emotions run high. We each would do well to examine our own selfish motivations, before leaping to lay blame and condemnation on others. Family Planning Victoria’s Action Centre (for people aged under 25): (03) 9660 4700 or free call 1800 013 952 Pregnancy Birth and Baby Helpline: 1800 882 436 (7 days a week, with video call option)
This explains why legislation on safe access zones around abortion facilities is necessary. In Victoria, the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Safe Access) Bill passed in 2015, establishing a 150m zone around GP clinics, hospitals and other facilities offering abortion services. Within this exclusion zone, it is illegal to engage in harassment or intimidation. Examples of unacceptable behaviour would be filming videos or taking photographs of women entering these facilities.
women working in STEM article by rachael welling artwork by felicity kaye
We spoke to three Monash University students and alumni -- Pippa, Ghina and Michelle -- about their experience as a woman working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. What did you study and where do you work? Michelle: I studied a Bachelor of Science (Honours), majoring in Genetics and I am a research assistant at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Pippa: I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering, and I am an Environmental Officer at Fulton Hogan, a tier one construction company, working on the M80 Upgrade. Ghina: I'm in my third year of studying Software Engineering. I'm currently working as an R&D consultant at KPMG, to basically help companies better classify their IT projects. What kickstarted your interest in STEM? Michelle: I distinctly remember dreaming of becoming a scientist in primary school, beginning as a curiosity of wanting to understand the world, eventually turning into an interest in biology and genetics. Pip: I love challenges and being out of my comfort zone so I think having a career which was less popular for women (in Engineering) was exciting for me rather than daunting. Ghina: I grew up in Saudi Arabia, where the "doctor, lawyer or engineer" mentality is still quite strong, so a non-STEM field was just never going to sit well with my parents. And when was time for me to choose my VCE subjects I chose IT simply because the teacher was known to be very forgiving. Turns out I was good at it, so I thought, "If it's good enough for Gates and Zuckerberg, it's good enough for me”. Did you have any role models in the field? Michelle: As a geneticist, I greatly admire Rosalind Franklin and her crucial contribution to solving the structure of DNA. Pip: I didn’t really have many female role models in the STEM field. In fact, when I was in year 11 there was only myself and another girl that studied physics in the whole year level of 400 people! Ghina: Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. Some may say that I should find myself a female role model, but I stand firmly behind the idea of not discriminating between genders in any way, even this. He's leading a global change and people don't talk about it about enough. What would be your dream job? Michelle: A researcher and professor with work that lets me travel all around the world. Pip: What I am passionate about is engineering in developing communities. I would love to travel and learn about other cultures and communities whilst creating innovative design solutions to challenges that are present: sanitation, access to electricity and more. Ghina: I think I'm most likely going to follow my father's footsteps and get into IT-related business. I've had the chance to explore the field of technology and see how fascinating it is, so I think I would really like to bring more aspects of it to the general public to enjoy and benefit from as well.
What do you think of the perception that STEM is still a ‘man’s field’? Michelle: I agree with such a perception, as for example, the general perception of what a scientist looks like is that of a middle-aged man in a white lab coat. The lack of representation can be discouraging for women wanting to work or advance in the STEM fields. However, there are increasingly more initiatives in place to encourage and acknowledge women in STEM. Pip: I think the stereotype of STEM being a men’s field is no longer a completely true representation of reality. But I have found working on site in the construction world to be a slightly male dominated environment. Most of the labourers are male but there are quite a few females in the project team working as engineers. Ghina: It’s usually the outsiders who always feel the need to remark on me being a girl in IT: "is it difficult? Do you get treated bad? Do the guys snatch up the jobs first?". If we just stop promoting that image, we might see a lot more girls joining STEM fields without being scared of how they might get treated. Have you ever felt discouraged or treated differently for your gender at your work or in your studies? Michelle: Whilst I have not been personally subjected to such discrimination, I have, in recent years, become very aware of such biases in the STEM fields, through stories of upsetting experiences from peers and the media. So there exists a fear that such experiences will happen, which can sometimes in itself be discouraging. Pip: I can’t recall ever being discouraged to pursue a career in engineering. In fact, many people promote how it’s a great time to be an upcoming female engineer because there are so many new opportunities opening up for us at the moment. Ghina: I have been offered jobs before simply because I'm a female in the field. There is so much pressure on employers to have more STEM females, but it should be on parents and schools. Girls are not entering STEM fields because they're presented to them as boring and not rewarding enough, not because they wouldn't be able to find jobs. The industry is ready for them now, a lot more than it was a decade ago, but they're still not coming. What would you say to encourage students interested in STEM? Michelle: Best to get a feel for what working in your STEM field of interest will be like. Talk to people working in that field, and get as much experience as you can, for example through volunteering, educational programs. Pip: If I speak to engineering specifically, I would encourage students to study and work in the engineering field as it teaches you to think outside of the box and to problem solve which is not only valuable in your career but throughout life. Ten out of ten, would recommend. Ghina: This is going to be cheesy, but seriously, just do it. And if you don't like it, it's fine, you don't have to stick to it. And if you do have to stick to STEM fields, then that's also fine, because they're incredibly broad and inclusive and there's something within them for everyone.
Science News Science/Engineering Sub-Editor Team Potential Biological Youth Identified
Out with Fitbits in with Wearable Nanomesh Tech
Little Swimmers Sleeping with the Fishes
A stem cell located in the hypothalamus which expresses protein Sox2 and gene Bmi1 could help control ageing speed according to a New York study on mice. Although the exact mechanism is currently unknown, these stem cells decline in number at the onset of ageing. In experiments performed for the study, mice with destroyed hypothalamic stem cells consistently showed an accelerated rate of ageing or a shortened lifespan. Conversely, ageing could be slowed and lifespans could be extended after healthy stem cells were implanted. A hypothesis for this anti-ageing effect could be related to increased microRNA levels, as these stem cells help produce microRNAs in the cerebrospinal fluid, which also lessens during ageing. Source: Nature
THE future of wearable tech could be in ultrathin, lightweight nanomesh - laminated directly onto human skin. Looking a bit like a gold body paint, this tech can be used to interact with other electronics or monitor health, sense touch, temperature, pressure, and even record the electrical activity of muscles. Despite concerns of swelling or itching common to skin-based interfaces, volunteers who wore a prototype for a week showed no negative health effects. Further testing proved the design to be both comfortable and durable. Nonetheless, long-term physical and psychological effects are to be investigated. Source: Nature Nanotechnology
SPERM concentration in Western countries has declined by more than 50 percent, and will continue to decline steadily, according to the first comprehensive meta-analysis and scientific-review of sperm count data from the past 40 years. Of particular concern, was the increased proportion of subfertile or infertile sperm counts. Although potential causes were not investigated, previous studies have attributed low sperm count to chemical and adult pesticide exposure, smoking, stress and obesity. Therefore, sperm counts could be forewarning broader risks to male health. In contrast, studies in South America, Asia and Africa did not find a significant decline in sperm counts. Source: Human Reproduction Update
Another Particle Might Become Part of Our Lives
WHY do dogs see humans as friends while wolves, their biological ancestor, see us as food? Recent analysis of domestic dogs has revealed that structural changes in their sixth chromosome may be responsible. In humans, mutations in this region is linked to Williams-Beuren syndrome, a hereditary disorder known for its hypersocial behavior â€“ a trait that also happens to be a key difference between domesticated dogs and wolves. Selective breeding for increasing tameness over time may have inadvertently preserved the Williams-Beuren syndrome traits in dog genomes, and sped up the genetic divergence between them and their more wolfish brethren. Source: Science Advances
IN 1928, a physicist declared that every fundamental particle has an antiparticle, an identical but opposite particle. Ten years later, another physicist predicted a particle that could cancel itself out â€“ the Majorana fermion. Today, Stanford scientists have found initial evidence of the Majorana fermion. Far in the future, this could contribute to building robust quantum computers. This landmark experiment, involving a chilled vacuum chamber, a superconductor, a magnetic topological insulator and an electrical current, is only the first step. Researchers are yet to find the particle in nature or prove that it is its own antiparticle. Source: Science
artwork by maria volobueva
Dogs are Just Wolves with WilliamsBeuren Syndrome
Some Argue: Course Short
AT a time when antibiotic resistance is a devastating threat to global health, a number of doctors are arguing against the longheld consensus that a prescribed antibiotic course must be completed to avoid such a threat. The majority of current guidelines state that stopping treatment early will promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. According to Martin Llewelyn and his colleagues, this is based on outdated and unsound research, and also does not take individual patient responses to antibiotics into account. However, as antibiotic exposure and resistance can be directly correlated, Llewelyn believes we should reduce overall antibiotic consumption by halting antibiotic treatments after recovery. Source: theBJM
ARTS AND CULTURE
ancient greek women article by john henry artwork by lin rahman
We’re still at a point where many people aren’t comfortable with calling themselves ‘feminists’. I’m not talking about the troglodytes on the internet that call themselves ‘antifeminists’ – the sort that hurl online abuse at women like Clementine Ford for breathing. Instead, there are some more approachable people that nonetheless feel uneasy to associate themselves with the overall feminist movement. I want to suggest here that, to these people that are unsure, a bit of history (ancient and modern) should dispel any doubts about the merits of feminism, and why we need it.
doesn’t require that you have to be a melodramatic Tumblrite – this ignores the incredibly diverse threads of thought within the movement. To be a feminist just involves recognising a historical and present trend of inequality towards women, and seeking practical and specifically tailored solutions to improve this situation. There’s a considerable divergence of opinions on how to achieve a better situation for women, so feminism certainly doesn’t require anyone to blindly follow extremist minority views. It would be a mistake to take the latter as representative.
If these non-feminists aren’t feminists, what do they tend to call themselves? Often, humanists, egalitarians, or both. This nominal rejection of feminism isn’t rare; in Britain, a 2016 study conducted by the Fawcett Society found that only 7% of an 8,165-person sample identified as feminist, yet over two thirds (still rather low at 67%) were in favour of a broad gender egalitarianism.
To the doubters who remain, some history should serve as a remedy. In order to find a culture without feminism, we’re not exactly short of choices, so we might as well find a particularly fascinating one. The ancient Greeks from Homer to Aristotle provide a case in point, and the results are predictably abysmal for half of their population.
This common tactic rests on two misconceptions: firstly, feminism has an egalitarian objective, and any feminists that assert otherwise are firmly in the minority; secondly, rejecting feminism for ‘egalitarianism’ betrays a fair amount of unfamiliarity with the practical history of that idea. ‘Egalitarianism’ sounds pleasant enough, but it bears remembering that this strain of thought, while a noble ideal in the abstract, historically did little to directly contribute to improving the political, economic and social rights of women in Europe, in contrast to the effectiveness of the feminist union movements initiated from the 19th century onwards (although, of course, feminism both then and now has an egalitarian objective). On the whole, movements with a distinctive focus (like feminism) prove to be more historically effective in providing positive social change, rather than indulging in vague and abstract generalities. Due to the unique historical position of women, addressing the matter requires specifically focusing on the topic, which didn’t really kick off in Europe until the 18th century, with the writings of Mary Astell and Mary Wollstonecraft – these women were feminists, not just humanists. And even then, feminism only reaped more practical results by forming women’s unions by the late 19th century in countries like Britain, headed by suffragist campaigners like Millicent Garett Fawcett. For centuries upon centuries, pre-modern philosophies and religions in Europe weren’t a decisive call to action. Before the rise of modern feminism, the earlier pretences to equality between men and women were too general and noncommittal. If a vague humanism is historically ineffective towards improving women’s lives, I see no reason to view it as a competitive replacement to feminism. Being a feminist
In the 8th-9th century B.C. Homeric epics the Iliad and the Odyssey, most women are servants, submissive wives or commodities (usually worth four oxen apiece – coinage was not a thing back then). Although fiction, it’s hard to deny that the roles of everyday women depicted in the poems reflect some of the social realities of Homer’s time. Women with more power in the poems tend to be one step further away from reality, compared to these everyday figures. The goddesses, for example, had considerably more freedom, even taking part in the Trojan War in the Iliad, but ultimately they were still at the behest of the patriarch Zeus (and in any case, the line between gods and humans was very strictly drawn). In the Odyssey there’s a queen that was highly esteemed and routinely settled disputes, but in line with fantasy of this poem, the island that she ruled with her husband – Phaeacia – was very utopian and detached from ordinary life. As we move towards later ages in 6th-century B.C. Greece, where more texts start to crop up, female writers still remain conspicuously scarce. As Simone de Beauvoir put it trenchantly in The Second Sex, “Greek women didn’t even have the freedom to complain.” We do have a meagre amount of poetry fragments from this age: Sappho, the poet from Lesbos, has left enough to show her hand in writing about love and old age, for example. But mostly the picture is not promising, and jumping ahead another century to 5th-century B.C. Athens doesn’t provide much relief: just look at one of the most famous speeches from the height of Athenian power, Pericles’ Funeral Oration, reproduced by the best historian of antiquity, Thucydides. After a stirring encomium that praises democracy, the rule of law, and freedom, the great Athenian statesman Pericles declared that women, ideally, shouldn’t be worth talking
about for any reason whatsoever, good or bad. They should be invisible.
before then confined the overwhelming majority of women to the domestic sphere.
The social history of women in Athens shows that this speech wasn’t exactly out of step with the norms of the time. As Sarah Pomeroy has shown, Athenian women that lived in households that could afford slaves were mostly confined to women’s quarters in the house, only to venture out in public for funerals and festivals. Even by the 1st century B.C., a Roman biographer confirms that this practice still continued in his day, contrasting it with the (slightly) greater freedoms permitted to women in Rome.
As the main contrarian in Athens, Plato’s Socrates bore the minority view. The philosopher Aristotle, on the other hand, represented the majority. Across his corpus, Aristotle’s misogyny is really quite extraordinary in its wide-ranging application: it carries into his works on biology, where he considered women as a kind of curiously incomplete form of man; and even the role of females in the generation of offspring is regarded by Aristotle as an inferior one, with only the male contributing to the form and characteristics of the child. In his book the Politics, Aristotle accepts a natural inequality between men and women, asserting that the husband rules over the wife in the household. Disagreeing with Socrates’ genderless understanding of virtue, Aristotle held that men and women always manifested virtues in different ways (as he put it, courage in men consisted in commanding, women in obeying).
Along with children, slaves and foreigners, women weren’t citizens of Athens: they couldn’t take part in the democratic assemblies that were integral to Athenian life. Legally, their property rights were meagre: if a woman’s father died, Athenian law tried to keep the deceased estate on the male side as much as possible – if she had a brother, he would take the estate; and Athenian women couldn’t make contracts dealing with anything more valuable than a bushel of wheat. Not every polis was as bad as Athens in this respect: women in other Greek cities like Delphi and Sparta enjoyed much better legal property rights, and Spartan women famously received education and stringent training, just like the men. Still, from the little we know about Spartan women, this isn’t quite so great as it may appear –Spartan women were not permitted greater freedom for dignity’s sake, but rather to hone their physical strength in order to bear children more efficiently. They existed to populate the city with more soldiers: as Thucydides put it, military honour was always the Spartan’s main priority. Equality in the modern sense was an alien concept to them. A minority of Greek philosophers did advance ideas that implied equality between men and women, such as Epicurus, but the practical impact of these doctrines were clearly limited. In spite of the intellectual ferment in Athens, the women there remained confined in their quarters; the implicit ideas of equality found in Socrates and Epicurus were not in themselves an adequate stimulus for change, and nor did these thinkers intend to meet these essentially modern feminist objectives. In Plato’s Republic, a 10-book dialogue that illustrates many of his core doctrines, Plato makes his old mentor Socrates discuss the nature of justice – and he embarks on the daunting task by sketching the ideal state. In speculating about who the rulers of this state should be, Socrates says to his interlocutor Glaucon that women could also rule. He thought they had less physical strength than men, but in every other respect they could match men, provided they had the same education. Rather than relying on crude generalisations about women, Socrates points out that women can have different natures: he says, for example, that there are women who are naturally brave or cowardly, or intellectual or not. If virtue applies in the same way for men and women, it’s not too much of a stretch to see an implicit gender egalitarianism at work in Socrates’ thought – it implies that men and women could perfect themselves in the same way. Although this was quite a radical idea for the Greeks at the time – Socrates himself appears aware of the unconventional consequences for educating women just like the men – it’d be misleading to call Socrates a feminist. His conversation with Glaucon, while ground-breaking, is very much a speculative and abstract matter. He didn’t spend his days calling for women to enter the assembly of 500 in Athens: as a Greek in 5th-century B.C. Athens, this sort of talk was unfathomable. Happiness for Greeks consisted in cultivating the virtues, which, as any sour-faced Stoic could point out keenly, could be done in the most squalid and limited conditions imaginable – virtue could be achieved in slavery. So, feminism and modern ethics are very closely bound together – which is precisely why so much of history
On the whole, both in theory and practice, accepting the domestic subordination of women was the majority view in a culture without any kind of feminist movement. Philosophies that at least approximated some elements of this view, like that of Socrates or Epicurus, were not representative; and even if that were the case, it’s clear that they wouldn’t have borne out the same practical results as a feminist movement. On a wide scale, you can find this implicit egalitarianism in quite a handful of philosophers and theologians in history, but a more fine-grained look at social problems is ultimately what’s needed. With inequalities towards women still persisting today, the best solution is not to distance away from feminism, but rather to join in – in its general approach to social, economic and political rights for women, nothing else in history has proved quite so effective.
ballarat foto biennale: a place for us article by jessica lehmann
We are all image obsessed and living in an ocular saturated culture. From our Snapchat filtered selfies to our carefully curated Instagram feeds, our surroundings are plastered with adverts and aesthetically pleasing street art. So, what better way to improve your photography skills and appreciation than to visit the only Australian photography Biennale located in the beautiful, historic town of Ballarat. This year’s 12th Ballarat International Foto Biennale (BIFB) is headed by prominent and highly experienced director, art director and creative Fiona Sweet. She is renowned for inspiring and intelligent delivery of uniquely crafted festivals and arts events. We were privileged to speak with Fiona about the highlights of the festival and what makes this year one not to miss. The BIFB will showcase over 100 exhibitions from local and international artists from 19 August – 17 September. The stellar program also includes participatory events, workshops, talks, portfolio reviews, education programs and outdoor events along with a Fringe Program staged at more than 70 cafes, galleries and wine bars across the city. A huge drawcard of the festival is David LaChapelle’s first solo exhibition in Australia including over 60 of his works over the last three decades. “LaChapelle’s hyper-realistic images are very much inspired by social issues and the political climate around the world,” Festival Director Fiona Sweet said. His photography folio is internationally envied, photographing some of the most influential individuals worldwide from Michael Jackson and Lana Del Rey to Angelina Jolie and Hillary Clinton. LaChapelle’s imagery has adorned the covers of Italian and French Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ and Rolling Stone. “I think his (LaChappelle) work is quite provocative and irreverent,” Sweet reflects. There is a strong focus of the festival exhibitions on the marginalised and usually silenced voices both locally and internationally with photography as a medium to tell their stories. “Yes, the world always tells a story – true or untrue, often it is true – but the reason we perceive it to be untrue is because it is only one of the stories from that land,” Sweet said. This is evident in the exhibition ‘Rearranging Boundaries’. Curated by Aaron Bradbrook with leading documentary photographers and visual artists from some of the most
analysed and reported-upon places, such as Iran, South Africa and Cambodia, who also present their own work. “I want people from their own world to tell their own stories. I wanted the photography to come from their own land,” Sweet stated. Featuring 17 acclaimed Indigenous photographers the exhibition TELL showcases contemporary Indigenous artists and their distinct photographic practices. “Indigenous photography and Indigenous art practice is incredibly significant both in Australia and the world and I wanted our exhibitions to have Indigenous photographers telling their own story in a high art language.” “Our festival is not just about seeing exhibitions but it is about engaging dialogue and content,” Sweet said. The festival also includes a series of workshops for photographers hoping to gain hands-on experience offered in various areas; wedding photography, food and wine shoots, the art of post-production, astrophotography and time-lapse animation. Workshop attendees will be guided by leading practitioners with the opportunity to apply these newfound skills practically in a supportive environment. This year the Fringe program has been extended further to ensure the festival is still in touch with the local community. “You cannot ignore the place you are in… what you also see is there are a lot of other community members, often marginalised, that need to be involved. The audiences, including the tourists, will actually be able to see what our town is all about,” Sweet said. The Biennale’s Portfolio Review invites photographers and artists to discuss their portfolios and receive feedback, insight and advice from respected photographers, gallery owners, art experts and academics in one-on-one, faceto-face sessions. Expert reviewers include international guests Bonnie Rubenstein (Artistic Director of CONTACT Photography Festival Canada) and Karen McQuaid (Senior Curator at The Photographers’ Gallery London). Reflecting on the trajectory of photography as an art form, Sweet surmised: “for me, where is photography going? That is a question we ask every Biennale now and is the reason why we bring these artists together. We really want the audience to engage with the exhibitions and ask this question.”
kim k: social media mogul, trashy reality tv star, feminist? article by joanne fong artwork by selena repanis
Kim Kardashian. What comes to mind when you hear that name? Do you recoil at the mere reference of her scattered throughout your newsfeed or are you keeping up religiously with her social media updates? Love, hate or indifferent to her, you have to admit that Kim is dominating the entertainment industry despite many critics deeming her as having no “talent”. But of all the things that Kardashian is, from a social media mogul, successful entrepreneur to reality TV star, can being a feminist fit into the mix? Despite stating publicly that she does not identify as being a feminist as she does not like labels, her actions throughout the years scream feminism - the belief that women should have political, social and economic equality with men. She has stated that she will “always fight for women’s rights” and will continue to “encourage women to be open and honest about their sexuality, and to embrace their beauty and their bodies.” These values are apparent in her continued fight against those who slut shame her and other women for embracing body positivity and own their sexuality for themselves and not for the male gaze, as well as in her support of intersectional movements such as Black Lives Matter. Kardashian’s beliefs stem from her battle with sexism and misogyny throughout her entire career. This stems from the infamous “sex tape scandal,” where a private recording of an intimate moment filmed under the pretence that it would only be shared between the two people in question, ended up being shared for all the world to see. From its release, Kardashian was thrust into the public eye without her permission or consent. She was quickly categorised as vain, vapid and fame hungry. She was apparently a social climber clinging to her five minutes of fame, and willing to compromise an apparent sexual morality that women should uphold to get to the top. But instead of this misogynistic take on Kim as someone whose main contributions to this world are thirteen seasons of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and provocative selfies, let’s take on a different perspective. Kim, a young woman who fell victim to the hands of her ex-partner who betrayed both her trust and legal rights to private recordings by leaking intimate videos publically for all the world to gawk at. Despite these circumstances, and all the criticisms, Kardashian has not let a sex tape from a decade ago define her, and has become a successful resilient business woman and mother of two who embraces and owns her own body and sexuality. From a feminist perspective, Kim has smashed the patriarchal expectations society has for her again and again. In contrast to Kardashian, there has been a trend in the media of prominent figures who represent a recent trend of “pop feminism.” There is no issue of course, with people identifying as feminists and speaking out about feminist issues, as it inevitably brings awareness to the movement. However, in the case of “pop feminism” the motivations behind their “feminist ideologies” are debatable; are they treating their brand of feminist activism as a trend or something that is a cause they truly are knowledgeable about and believe in? Think of these pop feminists as people who wear Nirvana band t-shirts but don’t know anything about the band or their songs other than being able to vaguely sing along to the chorus of Smells like Teen Spirit.
An example of someone who participates in pop feminism is Taylor Swift. Her brand of feminism revolves less around what Swift can do for feminism, but rather what feminism can do for her. Despite talking about her feminist beliefs in many interviews and the odd tweet, actions speak louder than words. These range from her vague support for the 2017 Women’s’ March, to creating a song about a feud with another woman, despite stating that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”. Another celebrity example ironically comes from another of the Kardashian clan in the recent controversial Pepsi commercial starring Kendall Jenner, Kim’s younger half-sister. The commercial is obviously attempting to exploit the current serious issues surrounding police brutality in the black community, which caused such backlash that the ad was pulled from circulation. In both Swift and Jenner’s situations, the underlying motive behind their claims towards feminism and political activism is to market their brands towards their target audiences. Kardashian differs from these examples, as she does not have to exploit an ideology in order to be successful. With no ulterior motive of creating a brand based on trendy activism, Kardashian’s support for intersectional equality can be seen as genuine. An ally for Black Lives Matter, she has stated her worry raising two young black children in a world where injustices such as the Dallas shooting and police brutality against the black community still occur. Additionally, Kardashian promotes her and other women’s right to embrace body positivity, and wear as much or as little in order to feel confident. As contrary to popular belief, gender equality and sexuality are not mutually exclusive. Of Swift, Jenner and Kardashian, who is using their influence to make a difference and not primarily to make a profit? Now I’m not claiming that Kim is the be all and end all example of a perfect feminist, she like everyone else has flaws and should be held accountable to them. However, through her use of her platform to spread her beliefs about female empowerment and equality, she has shown that she is a powerful ally to the feminist movement. Feminism is not some trend for women to jump on and use for their own benefit, but an entire community that calls for the focus to be not only on the mainstream privileged white women, but on women of colour, trans women and other marginalised groups. Kardashian’s actions show that she understands this defining part of feminism more than many who claim their support. Whether you love her or hate her, you can’t deny that these traits propel Kardashian as a great supporter for gender equality, and like it or not, she’s here to stay.
jen cloher is australia’s most honest musician interview by reece hooker
Australia is a big, lonely island and Jen Cloher feels it: as an artist, as a woman, as a queer woman and as one half of a relationship that is often stretched across continents. Over a decade since the release of her debut record Dead Wood Falls, the ARIA-nominated Melbourne punk-rock figurehead is at her powerful best on her self-titled fourth studio album. Crushingly candid, deceptively funny and vivid in its imagery, Jen Cloher is a bona fide album of the year contender that remains strikingly authentic whether Cloher is decrying the tyranny of distance, skewering armchair critics or sharing her most intimate thoughts on fellow musician and wife Courtney Barnett. Ahead of the album’s release and the start of a national tour, Jen made the time to talk to Lot’s Wife about critics, success and what her album is really about. So what have you been up to lately? It’d be a busy time for you. Yeah, it has, it’s been pretty hectic. We’re doing an Australian tour, then we head over to England and Europe and then I go on a several month long solo tour in America, opening for Kurt Vile and Courtney [Barnett], who are doing a group show together. You seem to have a bit of momentum behind you. I saw you popping up on NPR, which is obviously a big platform. Yeah, it’s great. It’s obviously handy when your wife is Courtney Barnett, as far as being a lot more visible. People are willing to have a listen if they’re fans of Courtney’s music. Someone like [NPR host] Bob Boilen, he doesn’t review or play anything if he’s not into it. So there’s kind of that thing where there’s a bit more exposure, but in some ways you want to be really good because it’d be disappointing if they had a listen and were like, ‘oh, okay … next!’. How do you feel about the new album, do you have pre-release nerves? I’m really excited about playing some live shows and I think that’s when it really becomes real: you’re on a stage and you’re playing your album and people are coming to the songs, maybe for the first time or they’ve had a few listens, and you get to see those songs land on an audience. Also, over a period of time the songs start to show themselves to you, as an artist and band. It’s such a weird thing with songs, that you write them and
you probably haven’t played them much live, then you put them down in the studio and they grow once you go out and start playing them live in front of an audience. There’s a relationship and a chemistry that starts to evolve and I’ve just seen songs go from being good recordings to absolute monsters live, and that’s really exciting when that happens. With this record, look, I know the record that I’ve made. I’ve made a few records now. I know the strengths and the weaknesses and what anyone else thinks is really none of my business. There’ll be people who like it and people who probably aren’t too fussed and that’s cool. You seem to have good perspective when it comes to criticism, you mention on a line in ‘Shoegazers’ that you think critics are “pussies who wanna look cool”… Every reviewer has brought that comment up! It’s so great. It’s hilarious. It kind of sounds like I’m talking about critics as in journalists, but I’m also talking about everyone out there who doesn’t make something but feels they can comment about it in public forums where they can be anonymous. Lots of YouTube comments, lots of Facebook comments, coming over to pages and commenting on an artist when, if you don’t like it, what are you doing on their page? What are you doing on their YouTube channel? If you think you can do it better, well, why don’t you? It’s like everyone’s become a critic … a faceless pussy online. It’s just lame. Anyway, you can see it just gets me going! Do you think social media is, on the whole, still a net positive for artists? Yeah, I think the good thing about social platforms is that you don’t have to pay a lot of money. You have to put in a lot of work to build an audience and a relationship and trust with the people that you’re talking to, and you can’t do that overnight. You’ll see people who do that really well and I think it’s great that that’s available to people. You don’t have to spend truckloads of money to reach an audience. And really, at the end of the day, if anyone wants to leave negative comments … who cares? I actually don’t give a shit. In the context of that song, what I’m trying to convey is
that we make things in our lives so big: what people will think, what critics will write, what the music industry is, ‘oh my god people are touring and playing in front of thousands of people’. At the end of the day we’re all just human, it doesn’t define anyone or make them more special because they’re out doing those things. People glamourise the music industry and make it sound so mysterious and interesting and crazy and it’s like … nah, it’s actually just a lot of people working really hard and other people having opinions on it. What does success look like for you now? I think it’s always about giving my best. Putting in the work and making sure when I’m standing on the stage that I’ve really worked through the sounds and the songs and that I’m ready, that it’s a good show. Or, with a record, I can’t control every aspect of how it’s going to end up but doing the best I can with the time and resources available to me. Being a creative, there’s so much that you can’t control and things don’t always turn out the way you thought they would. But you can just show up every day and do what’s needed. And that’s what I’ve really learnt: take the action and let go of the outcome. Is that something you’ve carried with you for a while or is it something you’ve had a new appreciation for? I think it’s something that has developed over the years. Initially I thought I could control everything and be perfect and if I did this, it would equal that and slowly, over time, you realise it doesn’t work like that. Creativity and whether that art connects with people, you have no control over that. You can’t second-guess it. I think if you start to go ‘oh, maybe people will really like a song about this’ then you lose yourself. People are reading books or watching shows or listening to records because they want to hear something authentic and something coming from that writer’s perspective. So really, for me, success is about remaining true to the things that you care about and being honest.
new in a relationship, and someone doesn’t text you back … It just creates this sense of, all of a sudden you’re on shaky ground. And that’s a really revolting feeling. That’s the feeling that we all run from, that feeling of being truly vulnerable. What I tried to learn to live with is that feeling, that it’s okay and that I didn’t need to fix it up or run away from it. Is that the feeling that album ends on with ‘Dark Art’, just accepting that feeling, being okay with that and, in some ways, embracing it? It was a really hard song to work out where you would put that on a record where majority of the songs were full band songs, but I knew that I wanted that song to be on the album because I feel like it’s a really simple but powerful song. I think ‘Forgot Myself’ and ‘Dark Art’ bookend an album that really, when you look at it, is about what it’s like to be an artist in Australia, what it’s like being an artist in Australia who’s gay or lesbian or LGBTQAI+. It’s really an album about Australia. And my relationship just happens to be an extension of that and definitely worth putting into the context of an album that delves quite deeply into the Australian psyche: the fact that we don’t dream big, we’re not encouraged to dream big and that, as an artist, we’re so far away from the rest of the world. Even with social platforms and the digital age, it still costs tens of thousands of dollars to tour your band overseas. It’s just acknowledging that truth, that it’s an interesting path. I feel like I’m at a point in my life where I can talk about it with some authority, whereas I think in the past I felt like ‘woah, that stuff’s too big, I’m not even going to go there’. This interview has been condensed for print, see the full version online at lotswife.com.au Jen Cloher will be playing at Howler in Brunswick on September 8. For tour information and tickets, go to www.jencloher.com. Her new album, Jen Cloher, is out now via Milk! Records.
When you write a song about your relationship with Courtney like ‘Forgot Myself ’, is it difficult taking the song to her and sort of baring your soul? Or did that honest discussion come before you wrote the record? I think Courtney was well aware that I found the touring really difficult, because it went on for years. It was like, three years that she was away for most of the time. She’d come back for a few weeks here or a month or two there, but for the main part she had to be on the road making the most of the opportunities that were coming her way. And I certainly understood that. But there’s understanding it and there’s living it, and I think really that song is me realising that thinking about Courtney or thinking about her being miles away or missing her and just making that my thought world every day meant that I forgot myself and that I really needed to bring the focus back onto me: what am I doing in this day? What do I need to achieve today? What song do I need to be focusing on? And that really helped me because, I mean, anyone who has been in a long distance relationship, or even when you’re
doctor who: a journey through time and sexism, apparently article by ina lee artwork by angharad neal-williams
THE 13th DOCTOR IS A WOMAN! Ooh sorry, didn’t mean to shout that at you. Excitement is hard to reign in sometimes. But yes, the beloved British television show Doctor Who will soon have a woman playing the Doctor, and if you don’t find that exciting then you’re probably a dalek. Doctor Who is a long-running science fiction television series which started over 50 years ago. It is centred around the Doctor, an alien from the planet Gallifrey, who travels through time and space in a ship called the TARDIS, which is camouflaged as an old-timey blue police box that is “bigger on the inside”. Very simple, really. Over the years, the Doctor has died and then regenerated, allowing for another actor to take the role. So far there have been thirteen different incarnations of the Doctor, who have all been played by white men. But a change is coming. Jodie Whittaker has been confirmed as the new Doctor. Her predecessor, Peter Capaldi, has played the Doctor for the past three years, but evidently his time is coming to an end. We have been promised a regeneration in this year’s Christmas Special and it’s going to be fantastic! So why the gender change? And is it even possible? The short answer is yes, it’s possible. We’ve seen it before. Not only that, but there were plenty of hints that it was coming. Over the past few series we have seen other Time Lords regenerate into Time Ladies, the most notable of these Time Lords being the Master, one of the Doctor’s long running nemeses. A few series back, the Master disappeared after another epic throwdown with the Doctor, followed by a time of quiet wherein the Master appeared to be gone. That is, until Missy, short for Mistress, started popping up, wreaking havoc here and there and revealing herself to be the incarnation of the Master. She was crazy, terrifying, and a little bit saucy. As the Doctor said of the Time Lords in the most recent series, “We’re the most civilised civilisation in the universe. We’re billions of years beyond your petty human obsession with gender and its associated stereotypes.” This was one of the biggest hints that a change was coming, and soon. Doctor Who has increasingly advocated for change around many issues, especially for that of gender equality. The Doctor’s companions, often played by women, have become more independent, confident and freethinking. Where they once stood idle, asking questions and waiting to be saved, they now answer those questions, face the bad guys, and even on occasion, save the Doctor themselves. Over the years, travellers with the Doctor have progressed from assistant, to best friends of the Doctor. They now have as much impact on the Doctor as the Doctor has on them. It’s heartbreaking at times, especially when one or the other leaves, but it is also brilliant. Like the companions, the Doctor has grown, the show has grown. Hey, our most recent companion was a strong queer woman of colour who ultimately got the girl and flew away to see the universe. It was epic, and like every goodbye, a little sad.
So, we know it’s possible, and considering how accepted Missy has become, it has also proven successful. Yet there are still the critics, labelling the move “political correctness gone mad”, or sharing their outrageous and sexist drivel in every comment section . Whenever the Doctor has regenerated in the past, there was usually a fair bit of unrest, a time ripe with anxiety, fear and often outright rejection - Matt Smith was “too young”, Capaldi “too old” – with supposedly avid Whovians declaring they will no longer watch Doctor Who. However, once the new Doctor is established, acceptance comes quickly, usually to the point where you don’t want them to go and we start the cycle again. The backlash this time round has been severely vicious, underpinned by a great deal of misogyny. Many have taken to Twitter and Facebook to voice their displeasure, calling it the end of Doctor Who. Call me naïve, but I was honestly surprised at how bad some of the comments were. Most are crude, ill thought out, and on occasion, written by people who haven’t yet seen an episode of the show. But it’s not just the internet trolls contributing to the hate and rejection. Within 48 hours of the announcement, The Sun published nude screenshots from Whittaker’s previous roles, and other news outlets were accused of over reporting backlash, effectively giving the #NotMyDoctor crowd ammunition and a voice. Negativity has clouded an otherwise exciting announcement. Saying you don’t like the new Doctor because she’s a woman is sexist. The backlash that we have been seeing, if anything, indicates how much we need this change to happen, and how much we need this new Doctor. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what I say, there will still be people upset at the fact that the next Doctor is a woman. I can’t say I understand, because personally this news excites me. But I know what it feels like when something unexpected happens and the fear of the unknown is all consuming. Everyone struggles with change at times, even the Doctor. The best thing to do is wait, and give it a chance. If you find yourself watching the new series of Doctor Who and liking it, that’s great. If not, that’s also okay. But please don’t close yourself off to this wonderful show. As a wise woman once said, “The soufflé isn’t the soufflé. The soufflé is the recipe.” The Doctor is the recipe and all the different incarnations are the soufflés, adding another gender to the pot shouldn’t change the core of who the Doctor is. The Doctor will still be the Doctor, still out there saving the world. It would be sad if you aren’t there to see it.
musicians smashing the patriarchal music industry article by jessica lehmann
We have all been at a music gig and been nudged out of the way—a push here and a shove there, and before you know it you are stuck at the back watching everyone dance in your spot. This is literally the reality of Australia’s modern-day music industry: women are getting pushed to the back while men dominate the dancefloors over the country. The landscape of modern day society has marginally evened out the playing field between women and men, yet there are still gaping oceans of inequality, especially in the creative industries and higher level positions of power. This does not begin to account for the gross inequality facing non-binary conforming individuals or those with other diversity factors, like race, sexuality, or (dis)ability. Our modern world is a battleground of identity politics. The solace we usually take in music is not immune to this rife unfairness: a disproportionate amount of men are overrepresented while women and non-binary artists often make up lower-paid and unappreciated positions such as administrative or assistant roles. Only 1 in 5 artists registered with the Australian Performing Rights Association is a woman – meaning women are less likely to get paid royalties for their work when it is used commercially. Even Triple J, one of the most progressive radio stations in Australia, played 61% all-male/male solo artists in a typical February week compared to a mere 16% female solo artists. Triple J’s feature albums/artists in 2016 included 71% all-male/male solo artists compared to 29% acts with at least one woman. Groovin the Moo’s 2016 line-up had 79% all-male/male solo artists compared with a disappointing 21% acts with at least one woman. Yet undergraduate university students studying music are comprised of 53% males and 47% females; and Year 12 students had an even closer representation still, with 49% males and 51% females. The fact that men and women are both equally enrolled and graduating from music degrees suggest that it isn’t because women musicians aren’t talented or interested in pursuing a career in the industry – it is a cultural-wide perception of women. A woman’s role is projected as a caregiver, homemaker or supporter for the dominant male. If women do not believe they are valued in an industry, role models are few and far between, and music festivals are headlined by predominantly male acts, where does a non-male identity fit in? How does an individual with a non-dominant narrative gain the confidence to perform on stage, make their own music or even pick up an instrument with the social queues ingrained in them whispering doubts? And what is with the persistent use of placing ‘Female’ in front of musicians that happen to be female-
identifying – is this a marketing ploy or a subtle signifier of the difference excluding them from the mere single-worded ‘musician’ club? Women can be awesome, talented, varied artists like David Bowie, but you don’t see people labelling him a ‘Male’ musician. Your social position and cultural conditioning unconsciously inculcates what you like and don’t like. For example, consider classical orchestras. When blind auditions were introduced recently, the number of women who were accepted into orchestras jumped up dramatically, proving that gender perception does instil assumed expectations. Music, and everything in the wider society, is filtered through patriarchal lenses infused with signifiers telling us how to think, feel and act. The fact that women are not being adequately and equally represented in music is catastrophic, and what we are surrounded by in the arts is both a representation of the wider culture and a determinant of change. If there is no equality on the radio, how is representation on company boards or in parliament going to fare? The wider cultural narrative constructs women in a certain light, and without changing it, they will continue to be marginalised and inadequately represented. Keeping these factors in mind, here are a bunch of killer Australian musicians that happen to be female as well, and this is just the alt-music scene - thank me later for the recommendations. Courtney Barnett ~ Alex Lahey ~ Ali Barter ~ Gretta Ray ~ Saatsuma ~ Alison Wonderland ~ Nina Las Vegas ~ KLP ~ Emma Louise ~ Vera Blue ~ Lisa Mitchell ~ Julia Jacklin ~ Tash Sultana ~ Tia Gostelow ~ Amy Shark ~ Montaigne ~ Banoffee~ Camp Cope ~ Meg Mac ~ Mallrat ~ Tkay Maidza ~ Julia Stone ~ Sarah Blasko ~ Megan Washington ~ Anna Lunoe ~ Katie Noonan ~ Kate Miller-Heidke ~ Stonefield ~ Melody Pool ~ Little May ~ Olympia ~ Ngairre ~ Thelma Plum ~ Elizabeth Rose ~ Clare Bowditch ~ Helena ~ Kučka ~ Sampa the Great ~ Asta ~ Jess Kent ~ Gordi ~ E^st ~ George Maple ~ Owl Eyes ~ Bec Sandridge ~ Jack River ~ Rackett ~ Bodytype ~ Sloan Peterson ~ Samsaruh ~ Julien Baker ~ Maddy Jane ~ Ruby Fields ~ Stella Donnelly ~ Jess Locke Pick up an instrument, download an iTunes album, buy a gig ticket, and let’s smash the patriarchy one banger at a time.
CREATIVE AND COMEDY
script for diva cup™ commercial: bleeding begins words by joanne fong artwork by lily greenwood
A shadowy figure is perched on top of a tall building overlooking the busy streets of Gotham. Their cape billows in the wind, casting a sinister silhouette against the night sky. Sirens suddenly blare in the distance, swelling in a crescendo. A crazed cackling and gunshots echo across the city. The figure turns their head towards the chaos. FIGURE
The city needs me.
Their armour gleams in the moonlight, a dark knight to defend the citizens of Gotham from the threats of those who wish to bring chaos and harm to its streets. The figure straightens up to a stand, but pauses suddenly and looks down at their crotch area. FIGURE Shit! The figure steps into frame, the moon and street lights from below illuminating their face and entire torso to reveal a woman, clad in a jet black armoured body suit, a bright red lipsticked scowl underneath a bat mask. Batwoman turns to face the camera.
Just what do you think you’re doing?
(smirking) Having fun?
No more fun for tonight, surrender.
Police officers edge towards the Joker but he points his guns towards them, making gunshot sounds provocatively at them. JOKER
The night is still young. Let me play some more.
BATWOMAN Gotham isn’t your playground for you to endanger the lives of citizens for your own amusement. JOKER period or something?
(cackling) Aww what a party pooper - are you on your
BATWOMAN Don’t you hate it when you stand up on your period, only to feel like half the contents of your uterus has fallen out in the span of a few seconds?
As a matter of fact I am.
(looks visibly uncomfortable) Oh –
She turns to face a camera on the side and the shot changes to follow her.
BATWOMAN Does the natural workings of the menstruating human body make you feel uncomfortable?
BATWOMAN Normal sanitary products always leave me feeling like I’m wearing a glorified adult diaper. They’re uncomfortable and even the most absorbent ones do little to combat my heavy flow. She turns back to face the front camera head on. BATWOMAN
Now what’s a woman to do?
She disappears in a twirl of her cape, only to reappear clutching a pink translucent menstrual cup. BATWOMAN Say hello to the new menstrual product, the hero Gotham deserves – the Diva Cup™! Camera zooms in on the cup brandished by Batwoman, then a close up of her beaming face, switching to a wide shot again. BATWOMAN The Diva Cup™ can hold up to 30 ml of menstrual flow and can be kept in for up to twelve hours! That’s twelve hours I don’t have to waste worrying about if I’ll leak all over my enemies as I send them flying through the air into the Marvel Universe with a roundhouse kick! Sirens start blaring again and sadistic cackling can be heard. Batwoman turns to the noise. BATWOMAN Excuse me, I have business to attend to. She jumps down from the building, landing in the middle of the streets of Gotham. A cluster of police cars in pursuit of the Joker, cackling as he rides two motorbikes at once, one foot on each with a revolver in each hand, shooting into the sky. BATWOMAN
(muttering to herself) What the fuck.
She presses a button on her arm that seemingly triggers a signal. A moment later the batmobile speeds towards them, stopping right in the path of the Joker. Speeding towards the batmobile, there is no time to swerve and the Joker brakes his motorbike so hard that they both topple over and he falls off, rolling back onto his feet. The police cars screech to a halt, surrounding him.
(uncomfortable) … yes –
Ha! I have discovered your weakness – anything to do with
Batwoman reaches into her pockets and pulls out two menstrual cups, brandishing them as weapons in her fists. The Joker looks apprehensively at them. BATWOMAN
(tauntingly) You know what these are?
(gulps) Some kind of portable drinking device?
BATWOMAN (sadistically) No, these are for catching menstrual blood when I’m on my period. What makes these products stand out from the typical pads or tampons that you no doubt would try to avoid the aisle entirely in a supermarket, is that these cups are reusable! They are made of strong durable silicone, perfect for sticking inside my vagina every month, or using as nunchucks to kick your ass! Batwoman jumps at the Joker, who is frozen in extreme discomfort at hearing about vaginas, periods and menstruation products, and enacts impressive martial arts moves to knock him down, punching him with the aid of the versatile Diva Cup™. The Joker passes out, dropping to the ground. As a final touch, she suctions one cup on the top of his head, a perverse unicorn, as a parting gift to him for when he wakes up. Batwoman stands in front of his unconscious body and turns towards the camera. BATWOMAN Diva Cup™.
(hand on her hip, winking) And that’s why I choose the
The bat signal beams bright and high into the skies of Gotham. Batwoman turns to face the backdrop of the night and smiles.
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28 AUG – 1 SEPT
WHAT IS CONSENT? When it comes to sex, consent is the most important part. In Victoria, consent means a ‘free agreement’, so for someone to consent they need to understand what they’re agreeing to, communicate their consent by words and/or actions the whole time, and be agreeing of their own free will, not out of fear or force. MONASH SAFER COMMUNITY UNIT T: +61 3 9905 1599 E: email@example.com monash.edu
How can you make sure you have consent? •
Remember, it’s your job to ask. Try asking, “Do you want me to…?” and only act if they say yes.
Pay attention to their body language, and make sure to stop and check in if they look uncomfortable
Never make or act on assumptions on what someone is agreeing to without asking them.
Remember that if someone is too intoxicated to consent, asleep or unconscious, they can’t consent.
The reality is that engaging in any sexual act without consent is an act of violence, it’s a crime and it’s wrong. For information, advice and support in a safe environment, please contact the Monash University Safer Community Unit on 9905 1599 or just dial 51599 from a Monash phone.The Safer Community Unit website also lists resources and links to external agencies http://www.adm.monash.edu.au/safercommunity/
in another life words by constance wilde artwork by maria chamakala
In another life, I am a queen. In another universe I wrap myself in gossamer gowns and certainty. In another dimension, I do not even consider the possibility of others not taking me seriously, And have such an air of majesty about me that no one can mistake me for anything but an empress. In another life, my voice is thunder, and sends pale men quaking back into the shadows I cast when I stand up tall. I do not shrink myself for the sake of those who are not worthy (of my silence). In this other universe, every mirror sings out in recognition of my unfailing beauty, but I do not need to listen to know that I am the best thing in every room. In this other dimension, my very essence demands an insatiable respect that smoulders in your belly like hunger, desperate to prove I am revered by every atom that comprises your being. I rise above you with the grace and strength of a thousand fireflies determined to reach the horizon, never once fearing the sun will extinguish their light. This other life is warm, and soft, and gentle, and kind, and silk sheets, and bath salts, and candles, and cocoa in the moonlight. It resonates from my skin, breathing life into every moment where I dazzle and I shine and am unstoppable. This other universe, she calls to me, telling me I am worth more than I think and deserve more than I believe. She cries fresh-water tears over the vulnerability of the life that I lead, and breaks mirrors that whisper insecurities into my ears, pierced like her heart every time I choke down words I could have spoken but for fear. In another life, I am anything but silent. I am anything but still. I am anything but apologies before I dare to ask a question. I am anything but the girl who feels naked without her doona. I am anything but the woman too afraid to walk alone at night. I am anything but the token female in a business meeting or a classroom. In the other dimension, I am fire. I am gold. I am sunshine glistening on the snow. I am priceless. I am safety. I am impenetrable and unforgettable. I am my name forged forever into your memory. I am my smile raising hairs on the back of your neck. I am desire burning in your flesh, but untouchable. In another universe, I am impossible, implausible and undeniable. In another world, voices tremble as they greet me. Some cross oceans and scale mountains so that they can catch a glimpse of me. I am unheard of, but foretold, a prophecy in the earth itself. In this other dimension, I am proud to be myself.
series by caitlin brown
screenprint by ashley mcvea creative/comedy
modern charm words by daniela koulikov artwork by jade karp
ROSALYN, 53, three times divorcee. MAYA, 19, daughter of Rosalyn. SIERRA, 32, recently divorced next-door neighbour.
A cool July evening is just beginning. Two women sit in a dining room at their grand, walnut-wood table. Unpolished silverware lies next to wine glasses and serviettes, and the light from the chandelier dances across their faces and the off-cream walls. The rest of the room holds what real estate agents call “a modern charm.” The ceiling is high, the wooden floor creaks when the women wear heels and through the fraying, baby-pink curtains, red pines are visible. Somewhere out of sight, quiet piano music plays.
A breeze brushes the pines and the red silk scarf around SIERRA’s shoulders. She pauses a moment to tuck coarse brown curls back under her beaded headband, then she knocks. The door opens to reveal a dimly lit hallway and a young woman, MAYA, wearing faded jeans and a long sleeved, pale pink shirt. The women smile at each other. MAYA: Aw, Sierra, you look lovely! Red is definitely your colour. Come on in. [MAYA closes the door after SIERRA and they walk to the dining room, the sound of SIERRA’s heels echoing through the home. SIERRA and ROSALYN hug briefly.] SIERRA: I brought wine. [With a smile, SIERRA holds up the bottle, which contrasts with her space grey acrylic nails. All three women know that is exactly why it was purchased.] ROSALYN: Lately I’ve been drinking that more than water. [They laugh and as the laughs turn uncertain, they independently realise how much Rosalyn’s statement applies to each of them. This discomfort causes them to sit. The mahogany chairs, the sides of which depict roses carved by ROSALYN’s first (and favourite) husband, creak gently.] SIERRA: This looks beautiful. [On the table is takeout food from all different cuisines. ROSALYN says a quick prayer and the women squeeze hands. Just as they are about to start serving, their phones buzz. MAYA is first to check.] SIERRA: Something interesting? MAYA: [laughs] I wish. Nah, just Tinder. Another prick asking if I want his – ROSALYN: [coughs] MAYA: Sorry, Mum. ROSALYN: I just don’t understand why you need Tinder. [She pauses to decide which route to take with her lecture.] You’re a beautiful young woman. Why don’t you meet someone out in the real world? MAYA: Mum, you’ve got Tinder. SIERRA: [sighs loudly, elaborately tugging on a curl. The women look at her.] ROSALYN: Yes? SIERRA: I have it too. ROSALYN: Ain’t that something? SIERRA: After John left, I thought… You know… ROSALYN [offstage]: Oh, yes, we all know...
SIERRA: It’s been… well… difficult. [Her face scrunches like a fallen child who is unsure whether crying would be appropriate. After a moment, she smiles with visibly pearly teeth.] But enough of that. You invited me over to have a nice time, not to talk about the way John left me. [The sound of high heels is replaced with the clink of her nails against the silver cutlery as she eats.] MAYA: So, have you been on any dates then, from Tinder? Maybe have a ‘best date’ story to share with us? [She ignores the warning glance her mother gives her.] [Scene fades. We see SIERRA sitting in a deep purple velvet armchair with a man across from her. His hairline is receded and his hair is greying. He has the kind of body that grey suits and scotches are made for. He appears to be between thirty-seven and forty-five. They do not talk. They simply drink Earl Grey Tea, the only tea SIERRA’s father ever loved. In the corner of the room, a stocky man plays a beautiful tune on the piano.] [We come back to the dinner table.] SIERRA: John’s first date with me was the best I ever experienced. MAYA: Uh, alright, but you guys didn’t meet on Tinder. Have you met anyone from Tinder? SIERRA: Oh, I’m sorry. Alright, Tinder men, yes, I’ve met a few. [MAYA and ROSALYN share a look. Time seems to slow.] [We move from moment to moment as SIERRA remembers them. Some men are short, some are tall. All men, whether by the cool cut of their suits, the over-polished boots, the harsh rectangular glasses or the strict lines of their jaw as they turn their face away, resemble John. SIERRA remembers three men in particular.] SIERRA: One man, George, called me his ‘chocolate’ lover when the waiter asked if we wanted dessert. [The lights dim, and outside it appears that the sun has set at last. The dining room feels colder. The piano music turns ominous.] ROSALYN: Excuse me? SIERRA: He wasn’t even the worst. MAYA: The worst? [A dimly lit room. Highly polished wood, free of dust, footprints and all other visible signs of life. Dark and heavy furniture that appears to have come straight out of a Victorian museum. A vampire’s den, fit with a tall, skeleton of a man whose fingers reach out to Sierra, fingernails long and white. His face is hidden in the shadows and no matter how hard she tries, Sierra can never quite picture his face. She can, however, imagine the drug he’d gently slipped into her peach and plum cocktail when she’d gone to the bathroom. She can definitely picture, as though looking from above, the way her body curved as she slid to the ground, eyes fluttering, reaching for John but instead grabbing Him.] SIERRA: There have been worse. [They sit in silence for a moment. MAYA remembers the man who’d told her she was lucky that he respected women, because she ‘looked delicious’. She remembers his lingering touches and the pounding of her heart. She wipes her sweaty palms on her jeans and reaches for a spring roll, and then ROSALYN’s phone buzzes. She frowns and squints, holding it away from her face as she attempts to read it.] ROSALYN: Hi, baby. Sit on my face and I’ll – oh. And he’s 20. How did this happen? Maya? [In her photos, ROSALYN has fading blonde hair, tired eyes and a smile that suggests she would rather not be smiling at all. Offline, her hair has gone ashy grey and is not neatly tucked into a bun and the lines on her forehead seem harsher. She has the air of a woman who has divorced three men and raised three children herself, while also looking after two dogs and a cat. A Busy Woman. In the dining room, the lights become warmer. SIERRA and MAYA feel relieved that the grim mood has passed.] MAYA: Mum, you’ve changed your settings and forgotten to go back again. Can you please stop trying to find me on Tinder? It’ll never work. [MAYA’s phone goes off several times in a row. She returns ROSALYN’s and checks her own. The good mood dies out again.] MAYA: Two peach emoji’s, one eggplant and three lewd comments about sex. Why do men treat me like an object? And I don’t even know how to respond! Is this normal? I’m sick of[ROSALYN coughs, and MAYA goes quiet. For a while, the only noise is the gentle melody of the piano. The women think. SIERRA thinks of John and the way his knuckles seemed to bleach against the rest of his fist when his hands were clenched. ROSALYN wonders why her daughter talks so much about boys when she should be focusing on studying. She wonders if it is because she, herself, has gone from man to man her whole life, and if perhaps the women at university were right when they gossiped about her behind her back. MAYA wishes she could talk about sex with her mother without being silenced, and she wishes men would respect her when she says she isn’t interested.] The piano tune comes to an end. ACT ONE fades out.
wot’s life? with agony aunt
Q. A. Dear Agony Aunt, my partner and I are having some issues with intimacy. Got any advice?
This is the vaguest question in the history of the world. Perhaps have a conversation with them. Be more specific than you’ve been here. To answer your ambiguous question, here are some ambiguous pieces of advice: •
Firstly, communication is key! Talk to each other and get to know your partner a bit more. Get rid of them screens for a little while and stare at each other’s faces instead. Maybe your intimacy issues are due to a lack of trust. Therefore, do some trust falls. After a few dozen times, maybe everything will have suddenly been worked out. Try going camping together. There’s nothing like being stuck in a tent together for four days with no showers or wifi to help you get to know someone a little bit better. Tandem bike riding. Extra points if you wear a traditional Dutch outfit while doing so. Make sure to avoid lycra at ALL COSTS. Role play is fun. Ahem so I hear. Recreate your favourite movie/television scene- pottery wheel anyone? Get your Game of Thrones on and be the Daenerys to their Drogo. Two words. Naked yoga.
Otherwise I’ve heard wine helps. Lots of wine.
Dear Agony Aunt, the girl I’m seeing is lactose intolerant, but I love cheese. What do I do? Do I choose cheese (who has always been there for me) or a woman who may one day become my wife? Why not do both? If this is your only relationship problem then you may have indeed found ‘the one’. Dietary requirements don’t have to be the death of your relationship, as long as your conscientious of her allergies. It’s all in the little things: keep some almond milk in your fridge for when y’all are craving a milo. Choose a suitable restaurant when eating out (fro-yo is a no-go). Take her out for sorbet instead of ice cream and taste the fruity goodness. Or perhaps a compromise: what are your thoughts on hummus?
One thing I should make clear is that it’s not cool if either of you start setting up deal breakers. In my extremely knowledgeable opinion (heheh) it’s not possible to create a lasting, positive relationship if either partner refuses to make allowances for the other.
But if it really comes down to it, choose cheese. Cheese will never let you down. Cheese will never disappoint you. And is there anything more satisfying then melted cheese dripping from a fresh toasty? Didn’t think so. Cheese is a gouda time. Its grate! (sorry I just couldn’t help myself).
Dear Agony Aunt, do you have any advice on time management? I find it difficult balancing different priorities (in particular, knowing when to say no to friends and other people). Often, I find myself stressed over an endless to-do list, with no time (or emotional space) for myself to just relax and do nothing. This is the golden question, isn’t it? It’s the question that every uni student everywhere wants to know the answer to. And apart from doing a Hermione Granger and investing in a time turner there’s no clear-cut solution to balancing everything that’s going on in our busy lives. I think the first thing to do is make an honest assessment of all the things you’ve got going on and figuring out which ones you can cut. Ask yourself: do I really need to go truffle tasting with Andy on Tuesday or should I be doing my statistics assignment instead? Focus on the key things and only those. Schedules and lists are helpful - they remember things that we don’t. However, if seeing that never-ending list stresses you out, get rid of it. Don’t be afraid to say no every once in awhile. Your friends will understand if you tell them. Most likely, their having problems as well. Yes, being busy is good and well. But the most important thing is you! Take care of your mental health friend. If it all gets a bit much I am giving you full permission, in my position as Agony Aunt, to ignore all responsibilities and take a day off. As king of taking days off, Ferris Bueller once said “why don’t you put your thumb up your butt?” Wait no, wrong line. I think it was “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” Dear Agony Aunt, what does it mean if my best gal pal’s boyfriend always wants me to suck his thumb? I have never talked to her about it, but he has asked countless times. Do I talk to her? Or should I talk to him because I do want to do it? Well. I have a few questions here to be honest. However, I’m gonna take this literally, rather than as a metaphor. And here at Lot’s Wife we make sure never to kink shame. You do you. I live by a simple code friend: sisters before misters. Or chicks before dicks. Or bellas before fellas. Or uteruses before duderuses. Whichever variation you prefer, the message stays the same: choose your friend over any potential ahhhhem... thumb sucking. I think hands down, first thing you have to do is talk to your gal pal. You have to get her thoughts on the matter and find out how she feels. Because in the end, it’s your friends who have got your back.
Break The Silence End Sexual Violence Fight Back Against Rape On Campus
Students Demand: 1. Establish a federal complaints and compliance
2. Sexual ethics and managing vicarious trauma
training for all university and college staff and students
3. Create and improve policies and procedures
so that they are survivor-centric with clear diciplinary consequences for offenders
4. Trauma-informed support services for students,
including an on-campus trauma-specialist counsellor
5. Maintain accurate and comprehensive records of reports
Authorised by Abby Stapleton - NUS Womenâ€™s Officer creative/comedy
MONASH PHARMACY AND PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES
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If you’ve recently completed a science degree and you’re wondering what’s next, it’s not too late to become a pharmacist with the world #2 in pharmacy and pharmacology (only Harvard ranks higher).* You’ll complete your Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) in just two years. To apply, you’ll need a minimum grade point average of 70% in a Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science, Pharmacology, Biomedical Science/Biomedicine or Science. *2017 QS World University Rankings by Subject
Find out if you’re eligible at monash.edu/pharm/magazine
Published on Aug 20, 2017