Kyle Pauletto, Clint Little, Celia Lim, Rhiannon Emery, James Ahern, Mat de Koning, Sonia Tubb, Callum Critch, Jenai Tomlinson, Kate Collier, Nicola Sheridan, Brodie Lewis, Ayarnee Rose O’Neill, Sandra Murakami, Jacinta Rets, Clementine Davies, Rachel Watts, Gemma Stacey, Jen Newman, Georgi Stone, Judith Andrews, Amy Hoogenboom, Kate Jones, Emily Paull
sub-editor Kyle Pauletto
production Priera Russell
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Interview w/ Melissa Kelly Review – Blame Interview w/ Sophie Raymond Review – Mrs Carey’s Concert Review – Julia’s Eyes Review – Sucker Punch Review – Insidious Dear Hollywood...
music 13 15 18
photography Duncan Wright, Aidan White, Aldegonda Bruekers, Mim Kempson, Katherine Perry, Georgi Stone
Metior is a Murdoch University student Guild publication www.vanguardpress.com.au
Metior is printed with recycled materials
literature 19 19
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Cover Story ‘Hootenanny’ Interview w/ ‘Dirty Pigeon Sexism in the punk scene
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Review – The Summer without men Review – A visit from the goon squad Battleaxes and Bodice Rippers Welcome to the sausage-fest Vagina Monologues
skating Background Illustrations created by Ayarnee Rose, except for page18 which is produced by Sandra Murakami
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ON THE COVER / Hootenanny Photographer / Duncan Wright
Disclaimer: Metior is published by the Murdoch Guild of Students, amenities building, Murdoch University campus. The Metior’s operation costs, space and administrative support are financed by the Murdoch Guild of Students. Metior is printed under the governance of the Murdoch Guild Council. All expressions are published on the basis that they are not be regarded as the opinions of the Guild unless specifically stated. The Guild accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any of the opinions or information contained within the magazine, nor does it endorse advertisements and insertions.
Women in skating Interview w/ Sophie Williams ‘Fresh Meat’ diary piece
Mim Kempson Katherine Perry
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Melissa Kelly is a former Murdoch University student who, since graduating, has spent years emmersed in the Australian film and television industry. This experience includes her recent role as prodcuer for documentary Surviving The Fall: The Gracetown Tragedy and Blame . Kelly presented a special screening of Blame at Murdoch University before heading to the Cannes Film Festival in France where the film will be screened as part of the Cinema des Antipodes sidebar event.
Gemma Stacey Game on Interview w/ Hannah Bourgeois
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Metior: What did you study here at Murdoch University? Melissa Kelly: I started studying communications but I finished up with a media and communications degree and it was in the first year that they allowed you to do a double major.
100 Years of International Women’s Day Women’s Information Services Julia Gillard’s Wardrobe The Umbilical Divorce Free The Bears Fund President’s Notes Editor’s Letter Women’s Collective Report
Once you graduated how did you get a foot hold in the film industry? It was incredibly difficult, a friend of mine was working for a documentary film company based in Fremantle and she was very helpful and a position actually came up in the company she was working for. They were interviewing a whole heap of people and my CV was in the mix and I was lucky enough to get the position. So I was very lucky and that kind of luck is important because in this kind of industry nothing else gets you through to be honest. It’s not about talent; it’s more about persistence and luck. Or I should say it’s not always about talent. Photograph by Duncan Wright
Did you initially set out to be a producer or were there other areas of film you aspired to work in? All I knew was that I wanted to work in the film and television industry, I didn’t know if that would be documentary or drama, I just wanted experience. I was very grateful to be working in a local production company that happened to be documentary. It came from experiencing what was going on around me that I realised my skills were in Producing more than any other area. I then worked for Paul Baron on a children’s TV series and from there I moved to Sydney and I worked for Beyond Productions, and Steve Vizard’s old company Artists Services. I thought that was fantastic because all I wanted to do was work on Seachange, and I got there and series three was finishing and that was the end of the show. So it wasn’t until I’d had all that experience when continues...
I moved back to Perth in 2002 that I hooked up with the director of Surviving The Fall, and we collaborated making that film about the Gracetown cliff collapse tragedy for the ABC. I had about 7 or 8 years of production experience before I had my first producing gig. Did you have any role models or mentors who supported you along the way? Absolutely, when I first moved to Sydney I really wanted to work for a company that meant something to me, so I looked at a whole bunch of shows on television, I pretty much went through the TV guide and went, which shows do I like? Because I want to work with those people who make those shows. I wanted to be in an environment where I was stimulated by the projects they’re making and in my mind these were some of the better projects on television and fortunately Artists Services was one of those production companies. While I was in that company I had a mentor named Peter Herbert, I was a Producer’s Assistant and he was the executive producer. I learned so much by being a producer’s assistant because I was right there watching the producer doing it, I was seeing, hearing and tasting everything that you have to do in the production office that is relevant to producing. And he’s still a friend and mentor and we still keep in touch. How did those experiences get
you to the point where you were ready to co-produce your first full length feature? In a lot of ways you’re a sum of all your parts and every production experience equips you with the skills that you then embrace. There are so many experiences that prepare you. Another mentor who helped us on Blame was David Lightfoot who produced Wolf Creek. He was an official mentor on our project and because of his experience in low budget filmmaking we felt that he was really well matched to the approach we wanted to take with Blame which was a very tight shoot. One of the other producers of Blame is your husband Ryan Hodgeson, how did the two of you come to team up creatively? We met a long time ago and before we got married we both worked in different areas. When he first started he was working in feature film production but after a while he realised he was starving. It wasn’t an instant realisation but you get to a point where you can no longer hold out, little drip feeds of funding come through but eventually you realise you need another area of income to support what you really want to do. So he moved into TV commercial production and I set up Factor 30 Films making short films and documentaries and it wasn’t until we had our first child that we thought how are we going to do this? Ryan
came up with the idea that he would leave paid work, and come and join me at Factor 30 producing commercials and develop our own drama slate. It was very high risk but we pulled it off. We had a mortgage to pay but we received a lot of support from people who knew that we just needed a couple of jobs to get us over the line, so we were fortunate that ad agencies kept inviting us to pitch even though we were an untried company. Like I said before, it’s not about talent it’s about luck. Blame was shot in Perth, which not many films are, what was the deciding factor in filming here? Blame was an interstate coproduction between here and Victoria and the way that funding works is like building pieces of a pie; we had a very large proportion coming out of Screenwest, a large part from Victoria and then some that was privately financed and from Screen Australia. Within that you then need to satisfy both states in regards to how you crew the film or do post production and it was a stipulation of the funding from Screenwest that it be filmed here. Our Director said that the location would absolutely suit the story and we found the most perfect location out in Roleystone and I think it’s the first time Roleystone has ever been on a big screen. I wouldn’t say it was a happy accident but it’s a wonderful result of combining
forces with another production company and satisfying the needs of funding bodies. Were there any particularly difficult moments during production? I don’t think any production is without challenges. Ours was with a short timeline from financing into production, we also had a very short shoot and that was because part of our funding was through the Melbourne International Film Festival. We had to have our film ready to screen at the festival which meant we had to shoot in February and deliver the film in June. So that was a very tight timeline. We were also filming in summer and being in Roleystone, had we shot twelve months later we would have been in the fires. Blame had its world premiere in July of last year and the reception for the film so far has been very positive with it being accepted into international film festivals... how do you take a film from the festival circuit to mainstream distribution? It’s not just a festival film that faces that challenge, its nearly every Australian film. Films that are really resonating with Australian audiences like Animal Kingdom are absolutely struggling to get advertising dollars as a part of their P & A which is the commitment that the distributor makes to the film for the prints and advertising. That money is so rare and you can’t make a film in Australia
without a distributor already attached. So it’s a challenge for everybody to try and get an audience interested particularly with a film like ours. Traditionally films here are looking at a female 35 plus skew because those are the people who regularly go to see Australian film. Our film is aimed at a slightly younger more mixed audience. A couple of distributors said to us first up that with the type of age bracket we’re looking at we would normally spend a million dollars in prints and advertising which is a ridiculous amount of money. Australian audiences are spoilt for choice, we get a lot of blockbuster productions that come in from the US and wonderful films like The Kings Speech and if you’re going to spend $20 for a movie ticket and then money for parking, babysitting and dinner you’re really going to want to have your socks knocked. Can you really justify that on an independent film that may be dealing with interesting and gritty subject material?
pitching and when you’re developing projects you’re talking about themes. I’ll be honest and say that the practical film units, while they’re great fun, don’t really set you up in the professional world but I studied here in 1994 and I’d imagine that they’re quite different now. Murdoch for me was a wonderful fit and I’m honoured to be back here screening my film. For more information on Blame you can visit the films website at: www.blamefilm.com Or you can “like” their blamemovie facebook page. Blame is in Cinemas from June 16.
Words - Clint Little end.
As a former Murdoch student how does it feel to come full circle and be back on campus screening a film that you have produced? I’m absolutely honoured to be back here and talking about our feature film and I couldn’t think of a better place to be doing that. The skills that I learned at Murdoch are skills that I draw on constantly, especially in film theory because when you’re
sophie raymond -documentary filmmaker
blame- review Directed by first time feature director Michael John Henry and shot in the Perth hills last summer, Blame is a haunting revenge thriller about a group of young people who believe they have planned the perfect murder. Starring a cast that includes some of Australia’s finest young actors; including the beguiling Sophie Lowe (Beautiful Kate) and an impressive Kestie Morassi (Wolf Creek). The more seasoned lead is played by Daniel De Montemas (Secret Life of Us) as a former music teacher who lives a seemingly peaceful rural life. When Bernard’s home is invaded by the five young people who tie him up and force feed him a dosage of sleeping pills that is intended to be fatal, the
question as to what he could possibly have done to deserve such cruelty comes to the forefront of the viewers mind. The answer is revealed piece by piece as the ensuing 90 minutes unfolds. But when mistakes are made the dynamic and loyalties of the group waver as secrets and lies are revealed as the truth slowly comes to light. After the cracking pace of the tense opening sequence Blame does get a little bogged down in the middle but it soon recovers its momentum as the shocking finale plays out. Though not perfect, the quality of this film is first class, with tight direction and award winning cinematography by Torstein Dyrting, not to mention the brilliant sound design that creates ten-
sion beautifully and compels the story forward. It is difficult to find anything in the characters to like, particularly as each revelation about the past is exposed and nobody comes out of this story with their character untarnished. That said the performances are so strong, that likeability becomes a moot point, and finding out the truth becomes the real purpose, making Blame more of a “why done it?” more than a “who done it?”. To say much more would be to reveal too much and spoil the fun of viewing a fine locally made film.
Metior: Your academic background is in anthropology and theatre, and you have worked on animator Adam Elliot’s Max and Mary and Harvey Crumpet, as well as managing to release 3 albums as a singer songwriter. How did that progression lead you to the point where you were in a position to co-direct your first feature length documentary? Sophie Raymond: It’s not an obvious series of steps, I don’t think I can make a logical connection between them all but essentially the heart of what interests me is good stories. My approach to song writing is an almost documentary like approach; it may be something I’ve experienced myself or something I’ve witnessed. So making a documentary about music is a comfortable place for me to be in.
Words - Clint Little
You’ve co-Directed this film with Bob Connelly who among many other achievements has been nominated for an Oscar for his documentary First Contact. Co-Directing teams often spring from family
relationships like the Cohen or the Wachowski brothers, how did you strike up this working relationship with Bob ? We do have a personal relationship, we’ve been together for three years and I don’t think you could make this kind of film where you’re living and breathing it every day. So that relationship is one of the base elements that makes it extremely helpful. Having done music and watched musical groups that are also families makes it easier because there’s a greater elasticity with your relationship because you know each other so well. The film can wind up being like your child; it eventually takes up more and more of your time. Critic’s reviews and box office receipts are the primary barometers of a films success but you’re currently on a national Q & A screening tour to launch the film. How valuable are these screenings to you as a Filmmaker in gauging how your work is being received by the public? It’s actually one of the really nice things that you get to do as a filmmaker that you don’t really get to do in any other
form that I’ve experienced. They’re great because the audience gets to question you and you get a much better feeling of how people are taking in what you’ve offered, so as a Filmmaker it s really valuable. You filmed at Sydney’s MLC private girl’s school for 18 months, did you set out with a pre-conceived notion of the story you were hoping to finish up with? With this type of documentary we didn’t go in trying to prove a particular point, we go in there because the characters and the situation are potentially interesting and you just let real life unfold. We were forced to write a treatment to get funding where Bob included a cheeky little post script that said if this actually happens it will be the first time ever. We did know that we had the character of Mrs Carey; we knew the music would be amazing, and we knew there were going to be adolescent school girls, so we had pretty good base elements and it was always going to be exciting on some level. The camera & crew seem to be invisible as the teachers and continues...
students behave completely naturally, did it take long for your film crew to “disappear” and allow the story to play out? It took us a couple of months for us to just be known as a apart of the music department and they’re used to being recorded and filmed as a part of their musical education. It was a lot easier than you’d realise. It helps if you’re making an observational documentary when the people you’re covering are very involved in their world because they just don’t have time to worry about you.
filmed her in many differentscenarios it probably forced her to reflect that little bit more and maybe take her music a
her a text that said “don’t look now but that camera’s got a close up on you”her a text that said “don’t look now but that
“don’t look now but that camera’s got a little bit more seriously. close up on you”.
Two of the students are singled out as the main protagonists. The first is Emily who makes a journey from her “bad apple” phase to a violinist of impressive maturity and sophistication by the time of her performance at the films end. Do you feel that presence of your cameras in any way shaped her journey? You do become a part of their world, I mean you’re not invisible, you put a camera in a space and its going to have some influence on what
The other is the school “rebel” Iris, who goes on less of a journey but makes for fascinating viewing as she refuses to engage in the concert preparations. With all the drama she brought to the story, was discovering Iris like striking documentary gold? She was always very relaxed about being filmed but we didn’t really know with Iris where her story would go. Certainly the scene where she has the conversation with Mrs Carey just a couple of days before the Opera House concert, afterwards Bob and I both said what an extraordinary exchange it was. It also forced Mrs Carey to really articulate what it was she was trying to do which was great for the storytelling of the film. So there is a bit of luck and “oh thank god that happened”.
camera’s got a close up on you”. The footage of the concert at the film’s climax looks and sounds magnificent and gives the audience the feeling of being there in the Opera House, was this difficult to achieve? It was just great to be right there in the orchestra pit and we felt that if the audience saw that journey then they’d feel it even more by having the cameras right in there. We made a choice with the sound to mix the music with the atmospheres of the Opera House to give the feel of a live space. Mrs Carey’s Concert was one of ten films selected for screening at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), what effect does this kind of honour have on the film’s prospects in
“you put a camera in a space and its going to have some inﬂuence on what happens” During the filming was she terms of distribution and prohappens. With Emily there were probably more scenes that didn’t make it onto the screen that strengthened our relationship with her. The fact that somebody’s filming them makes them feel that what they’re doing must be special on some level. Given that we
aware of how much the camera was singling her out? She was always very conscious when we were around but we did a lot of filming and she was aware of when we were filming her every so often but not all the time. During the concert apparently one of the kids sent
motion? There’s such a saturation of films out there that if you’ve got a few notches on your belt it helps get people to pay attention. Getting into a festival like that, anything that opens people up to what you have to offer helps.
After filming for 18 months how difficult was it to edit down a year and a half’s worth of footage down to a 95 minute film? It was utterly gruelling and it brings us back to that first question you asked me because it took another 18 months, so we’d worked on the one thing solidly for three years, everything else stopped and that was all that I thought about on that level of my brain for three years. In some ways if felt like a luxury and a privilege to devote so much time to something which had a lot to do with Bob’s reputation. He was able to negotiate that because he always makes the argument that you need the time to do it right.
After being screened for the school itself last night, have you had any feedback on the reactions from the staff & students? The school were just blown away by it and I think that teachers in general enjoy watching the film. It shows just how much effort goes into achieving anything in a school given all the demands on the kids and the range of kids they have to deal with. The way we’ve edited it we haven’t manipulated the truth in any way and the reaction has been that it’s just really honest.
get out of her students? Having seen the concert before that was really the seed that drew us in because we thought this would be really great to observe. With the kids it’s an instant transformation where you see that moment where with Doretta, she looks like this kid but she picks up the violin and it’s like “where did she go and who is this an gelic creature that has taken her place?” Cinema is about transformation so we thought that was a perfect moment. Words - Clint Little
The level of sophistication in the concert is impressive, were you surprised by the performances Mrs Carey was able to
m r s c a r e y ’ s c o n c e r t - review An important note: this ﬁlm has nothing whatsoever to do with a concert performance by overblown diva Mariah Carey; rather it is a fascinating documentary that spends 18 months following Karen Carey, a devoted and passionate music teacher as she guides her students toward a concert performance at the Sydney Harbour Opera House. Adopting a ﬂy on the wall approach, the ﬁlmmakers have achieved a wonderful insight into life inside the music department of a school. Mrs Carey has her challenges in mounting the concert, not least of which is overcoming the personal demons of her star performer Emily and dealing with some students underwhelming enthusiasm for the project, most notably in the form of the rebellious Iris, whose battles with Mrs Carey provide much of the ﬁlms humour and pathos. The key to this ﬁlm’s success is the immersive way in which the ﬁlmmakers become a seamless part of the lives of those they are documenting. This allows the viewer to become entirely engrossed in the different journeys that both the students and teachers go through. The standard of musical performance that these teachers are able to elicit from their students is nothing short of astounding considering their young age, illustrating how important having access to a quality education can be. Despite being highly informative and educational, Mrs Carey’s Concert is above all, highly entertaining cinema. Even if you have little experience of classical music (this category includes myself) the ﬁlm serves as a fascinating insight into a world not commonly on display in the public arena. Words - Clint Little
sucker punch movie review Capturing the positive of the film
j u l i a ’ s e y e s - review Screening at Cinema Paradiso from May 25 – 29 is the 14th Annual Spanish Film Festival . Spain has a long history of bringing ground breaking cinema from filmmakers like Pedro Almodovar and Alejandro Amenabar and this year’s festival is presenting 37 films that will be travelling the country showcasing some of the best that Spanish cinema has to offer. In Perth the festival will be closed by the supernatural thriller Julia’s Eyes on the 29th of May.
Julia is a woman who suffers from an unnamed degenerative condition that is slowly causing her to lose her sight which is accelerated by emotional stress. So when Julia’s twin sister who suffers from the same condition is discovered hanging from a noose in her basement, her situation deteriorates. To complicate matters Julia believes her sisters’ death was not a suicide as everyone else believes, but the grisly outcome of a relationship her sister had with a mysterious “invisible” man, whose presence lurks at the edge of the screen (and Julia’s failing vision) for most of the film. Cleverly using conventions of the Horror genre, director Guillem Morales has crafted an effectively
creepy film that gives a disturbing insight into what it must feel like to be dealing with the stress of becoming blind, whilst being stalked by a potential murderer. Red herrings abound as Julia scrambles to discover the truth about her sisters’ death before she completely loses her sight. Things start to get really interesting though when she is given an operation to restore her sight which leaves her eyes covered in bandages for two torturous weeks afterwards. Plunged into darkness and at her most vulnerable, the truth comes into the light. Julia’s Eyes is a chilling, cryptic and stylish thriller / drama which moves at a slower pace than most of its Hollywood equivalents yet is perhaps even more effective for it. Words - Clint Little
Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch is a dark fantasy, which allows us to travel into the mind of a young girl who escapes from the trauma in her life by creating an alternate world, fashioned by her imagination. This world provides an escape for main character Baby Doll (Emily Browning), who’s adventures are somewhat blurred between the dark reality of the mental institution, and fantasy. Sucker Punch has received a copious amount of negative reviews for its bewildering story line and scenes with scantily dressed female characters. Many have mistaken Sucker Punch for an action film that does not engage emotionally due to its PG 13+ rating, and so do not anticipate the blindingly intense storyline about to unfold. The West Australian claimed ‘a good-looking film and cast is not enough to save it from its confusing, and at times ridiculous plot’ whilst The Chicago Sun Times also disagreed with the storyline, claiming that film itself only ‘proves a movie can be loud, action-packed and filled with beautiful young women — and still bore you to tears’. What is not being understood by Sucker Punch’s audience is that it cannot be misconceived as a ‘leave your brain at the door’ type of film. The more accurate approach to watching the film would be to walk in witha willingness to figure out what it’s all about or otherwise risk getting
lost in it. Similar to director Zack Snyder’s previous film ‘Inception’, you need to have some idea of the plot before entering the cinema to have a more in depth understanding of the film and its meaning. The fine lines in both Inception and Sucker Punch that separate reality from fantasy, leaving the audience to figure out for themselves what was real and what was not - is precisely Snyder’s objective. It is understood that there are some risqué scenes shown throughout the film, where the characters are dressed in burlesque-style outfits. Feminist groups such as feministsfatale.com and feministfrequency. com have been quick to draw attention to these scenes regarding the use of costuming, which may be interpreted as degrading to women, portraying them as sexual objects. Yet of course in current society it is custom for anything slightly risqué to attract negative responses from the public. The director’s objective was for the characters to be dressed in outfits that would show off the female form and magnify their beauty, rather than present them as sexual objects. A number of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Screen Rant have complained about the characters and the film itself both to be unrealistic. Is it possible it is being suggested that they disliked the film because there were no interesting, heroic male characters, as demonstrated in traditional action films? Does the idea of females being portrayed as strong and rough characters come as somewhat impossible to some? In my opinion, the film has succeeded in proving that
women can be both sexy and powerful. Sucker Punch amplifies the fact that women can take on jobs often associated with men, whilst also wearing a skirt. The only unrealistic aspects within the film are scenes from the ‘escape world’ in Baby Doll’s imagination, which people do not see as exactly the Directors intention; to exemplify that anything is possible in this world. Overall, this movie is a misunderstood Modern-day masterpiece. The idea of the main character trying to escape both the institution and reality with an explicit correlation of merged events from the real world to fantasy is simply genius. I advise for anyone thinking of seeing the movie to take a more in-depth approach, as most negative reviews came from audiences who did not expect any depth and hence didn’t look for it when watching the film. Only time will tell if the artistic, in-depth Sucker Punch will make it to becoming a cult hit. For more ramblings by anti-Sucker Punch audience members, go to: Rotten Tomatoes http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/suckerpunch-2010/ Feminist Fatale http://www.feministfatale.com/2010/07/ sucker-punch-stilettos-booty-shorts-andmachine-guns/ Feminist Frequency http://www.feministfrequency. com/2011/04/zach-snyders-sucker-punchis-a-steaming-pile-of-sexist-crap/ Screen Rant http://screenrant.com/sucker-punch-reviews-benk-107560 /
Words - Jacinta Rets
i n s i d i o u s -review “Insidious? More like Insidiculous..”
Directed by James Wan Starring – Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne
That’s pretty much all I wanted to write for this review. All I could bring myself to utter after the exhausting process of actually travelling to the theatre with the lowest of possible expectations in tow. Proceeding then to have these already near-ground level anticipations (if anything) apathetically underwhelmed - this little-crud-film-that-couldn’t spits and sputters its way in some spastic sighing boredom to the mere outskirts of the threshold of bare adequacy...and not a centimetre more. And truly what could one have expected from a production that proudly boasts from its marketing materials that it features the combined “talents” of the makers of Paranormal Activity
and the Saw franchise? Had you answered a horror movie devoid of any actual horror - reliant on underhand cinematic tricks such as soundtrack lulls and swells, sudden cuts and loud noises to deliver jolts to the audience - rather than building any tangible sense of disturbance or unease - you’d have been some way down the path to correctitude. Commencing like a Paranormal prodigy with it’s scary house, possessed child and things that go bump in the day and/or night, crossing into Saw regions with it’s perverted bald headed toy-playing man/demon (thankfully their trademark gore-nography is toned down for this feature) – it then adds a laboriously convoluted and unconvincing mythology about the afterlife, astral projection, demonology and some Shyamalan-esque bull-pucky about a “scary” place called the Further – all culminating in a derivative little by the num-
bers picture-film that should be (not) seen to be (un)believed. Is it ever a good sign when your comic relief shows up (Australia’s own Angus Sampson and screenwriter Leigh Whannell as some geek-ridden ghostbusters wannabes) and more laughs are elicited from the script and its shortcomings than any of their purported shenanigans? The answer may surprise you*. I give this movie nothing. This movie took from me my Tuesday evening and I think it would be only too polite if it were now to give it back. The end. * The answer will not surprise you. Words - Callum Critch
dear hollywood... Ah Hollywood. You strange and fabled postcode of promise. You unparalleled purveyor of cheapened ecstasies, bumptious pufferies and escapist thrill. You destination of aspiration for innumerable wide-eyed waiting staff and bus-peoples. You gloomy receptacle of broken dreams, wasted talents and career segues into hardcore pornographies. Ah Hollywood. Why you got to be such a jerk? Case in point Hollywood – your treatment of the ladies. A gender who one would figure make up a small proportion of your crews, a slightly larger percentage of your casts, a higher share again of your audience and roughly one hundred percent of your mothers, your sisters, your daughters and your wives. And yet Hollywood - you hold this sizable demographic in near contempt. Subscribing them indiscriminately to unrealistic measures of barbie-doll beauty - results only achievable at the point of a surgeon’s scalpel or the edge of a toilet’s bowl. Selling them wholesale on the fairytale ambition of a lifetime of submission – true happiness attainable only upon the imminent arrival of their handsome prince. And the sheer audacity of your double standards – whereby host after host of ever-ageing leading men cavort lustily on
screen with love interests of ever decreasing maturity. - Remember how disturbing were Eastwood’s sexually charged harassments of Russo during In The Line Of Fire. - The unease that permeated Connery’s inappropriate leering at an erotically gyrating Zeta Jones in Entrapment. - Nicholson and Hunt in As Good As It Gets. - Beatty on Berry in Bulworth. - And worse of all for me (“oh the humanity!”) – the predatory despoiling of my beloved Winona by an always squinty Geere in Autumn In New York. This whole sordid leading-man/ leading-girl-child phenomena perfectly encapsulated (for me) by the creepily moustachioed McConaughey in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused: “That’s what I love about these (high school) girls man.. I get older.. they stay the same age.. Yes they do..”
NOT portrayed as doomed, comic, abhorrent to a society at large, a forced or pointed juxtaposition/role-reversal in a twee little indie, or too full of Jennifer Aniston to treat with any measure of dignity or respect? And yet Hollywood – despite (or even because of) your stereotypes, your imbalanced standards, your general institutionalised misogyny - there do remain those of a feminine persuasion capable of bucking your callous trends. Strong, independent, beautiful, mature ladies. Growing older while maintaining their nature and dignity. Not for them the oppressive roles of neutered mother, pliant housewoman,doting grand-mam. Not for they the panicked and surgical attempts to hold back those inexorable ravages of time. Not to be daunted by the stifling denial, the ridicule of their honest and open sexualities. Their continued existence in your cinema system, a pointedly metaphorical “f*** you!” to thee and thine. Women such as:
Hollywood – you ought to be arrested.
Oh and I’m sure you’ll attempt to defend yourself with such older ladies/younger fella pairings such as The Graduate, Harold And Maude, American Pie, The Good Girl. But really – how often are these “other” unions
Fit, French and fabulous at sixty plus. Still ‘sexying’ it up on our local screens with (a far less well preserved) Depardieu in Potiche (Trophy Wife). One of the Grand Dames of Gallic Cinema - constantly working, constantly in demand, constantly continues...
photograph by Duncan Wright
appealing. It’s impossible to envisage a bad performance from her.
Annette Bening Casting an eye over her film career provides an impression of a strong actress rarely content at merely turning up for a pay cheque, or playing the requisite eye candy. In near career best form with her recent Academy Award Nomination for The Kids Are All Right (as part of a cute lesbian power couple with the radiant Julianne Moore) - this follows on from previous nominations for American Beauty, Being Julia and (the under-rated) The Grifters. Gah! Give this woman a statuette already!
Susan Sarandon Star of one of the better and more sober representations of older woman/younger man action with the always up-for-it James Spader in White Palace. Or again as the mature-aged groupie to Tim Robbins’ young baseball buck in Bull Durham. Now in her sixties and still preternaturally amazing. Able to attend red-carpets and screenings with her starlet daughter and hold her own in the camera’s unforgiving glare. Her continuing effect on men best summed up in the Lonely Island film clip to the song Mother Lover. Google it.
Kathryn Bigelow. An award-winning female director, while not so common as her male counterparts, is not necessarily a new thing. But a female director capable of beating out men in their own heretofore mortgaged genres! Action! War! Keanu films! Whoa! How much sweeter the victory than to edge out ex-beau (and arguably the biggest action movie director around) James Cameron for the Academy Award for The Hurt Locker? I guess they cast the statuettes from Unobtainium that year Mr Cameron.
Helen Mirren A lifetime of amazing work behind her (Prime Suspect, Greenaway, Excalibur, the voice of Hitchhiker’s Deep Though) and still powering forwards with several flicks on the go at the local multiplexes (A twin cavalcade of gender-bending playing the hitherto masculine Prospero in The Tempest and the erstwhile role of the late John Gielgud in, the execrable idea for a Russell Brand vehicle, Arthur). Yet perhaps her greatest achievement was in Stephen Frear’s The Queen – putting not just a warm and human face on this remote and arcane monarch – but a disturbingly sexy one at that. In addition honourable mentions must go to the aforementioned Clarkson and Moore,
plus (and I know I’m missing amazing examples here almost certainly) Anjelica Houston, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robin Wright Penn, Judi Dench, Isabelle Huppert (and an almost definite future jersey for the wonderful Ms Blanchett). I do believe it a wondrous sign that it was a more complex consideration as to who to strike off this brief list (and associated ramblings) than easily include. That such strong examples of amazing, talented and respectable female figures could be so evident amongst the detritus left in Hollywood’s often casually blunderous wake – the surgery monsters refusing to accept the fading lustre of youth’s bloom (Cher, Dunaway), those modelling/ reshaping themselves to some terrible standard (Lohan, Love) or starving/punishing themselves to the same (Zellweger, Jolie). Perhaps the accepted paradigms are in the process of remodelling, the goalposts shifting, the glassy ceilings splintering. Perhaps? Sisters showing the men, showing each other, showing those flowing in their footfalls that they are just as capable, competent and all-round cromulent as their penised brethren. Words - Callum Critch
A recipe for all-girl, honest, dirty, grunge rock must include two ingredients – Nanwyn Hunt and Jenny Aslett. Why?
Because the two form a local duo known as Hootenanny, the fastest gaining, homegrown all-girl rock band that is taking Perth, and soon to be the rest of Australia with an upcoming national tour, by storm. I have met the girls on a number of occasions; in most cases Nan isn’t wearing shoes and Jenny breaks out into a strawberry shortcake-esque giggle. Perhaps both are quirks that don’t quit ﬁt the rock n’ roll mould, but in regards to this issue, or any form of ‘categorization’, who the f*** cares? Below Nan and Jen talk about women in rock and “Respec’ yo mammas” seems to be something to practice. Metior: What do you think you bring to the rock and roll table as young, go-getting women? Nan: We’re not out to prove anything but I enjoy our big sound. Jen: Hats, energy, fun. We like to see the smiles on people’s face when we play. Women in rock and roll are not a common occurrence as the genre is dominated by men. What is your opinion on such a statement? Nan: We were playing in a man’s world, now the world of rock will be a man playing in a women’s world look at war paint Abbe May! Their time is over. You see it all the time, men are stepping down and there are more front women belting out massive riffs and amazing lyrics. Gender isn’t a factor anymore; it’s who is good and who is shit.
Do you think there are issues within music that female artists face, if so, what? Jen: Playing the type of music we do, I think being a woman has its advantages because we take people by surprise. Shock them into submission!! Haha the shit thing is getting hit on by dickheads occasionally. Nan: I don’t have any issues with being a woman! How do you feel about your dirty/ grunge rock/raw energy reputation, and is it what you intended to be known as? Jen: I’m pretty happy with that description! We always wanted to write fucked up trashy blues. Nan: Jen thinks more than me. I just love writing my music and having my sexy badass guitar (playing) mate at my side. How people judge
or classify our music doesn’t really affect me because to me it’s just Hootenanny and we’re gonna see how far we can take this ridiculous idea. Jen: Indeedy we’re just doing what we love and I’m glad we’ve built that reputation. You have recently played at UWA’s annual In The Pines festival, along with quite a few others (as well as local recognition by many as Perth’s best upcoming all girl rock and roll band), how long has it taken you to reach that level and what are your future plans? Jen: In The Pines was the 24th of April and our 1st birthday was the 29th of April last year so just under a year of gigging! It’s been such a good year and In The Pines topped it off! Being a two-piece means we can continues...
practice probably more than most bands so that has helped. Also being best buddies has made the whole thing so much better. We are like Oprah and Gail. We will also tour Australia together this year. Maybe they’ll put a big H on the Sydney Harbour Bridge... Nan: This year has blown me away, starting off as an idea between me and my mate Cam, to talking Jenny into playing in Hootenanny, to
they’re great. Your perspective on women? Jen: Lovely people, mostly. Nan: Horny Pony. Who in each of your lives, has been the most influential woman and why? Nan: It’s definitely Ellen DeGeneres because she can dance, Oprah
Everyone’s a bit weird and we just get to get our weird on in a public space.
“...now the world of rock will be a man playing in a women’s world...” Abbe May giving us our first gig from just hearing an iPhone recording, to setting simple goals like In The Pines 2011 and releasing our first EP. To organizing our own headlining gig called Hootenanny’s 2 piece feed. I just can’t thank everyone enough for helping us two bonnie lasses get this far. Especially thanks to my Jenny dawg. If you had something encouraging or inspirational to say to all women, what would it be? Nan: Fucking smash ‘em hey!!! Nan for Jen: Well Sonia I’m just a girl with a dream, if I can do it, all rockers and musicians in Perth can do it too...get down and dirty! Jen for Jen: Respect yo mothers. That one’s for men too. Your perspective on men? Do you have one, what is it? Nan: My late father was the most stubborn person on earth and he gave me this special quality and I will never give up in what I believe in Jen: Lovely people, mostly. Especially my brothers and my dad,
because she’s a strong woman, Vincent from the Mighty Boosh, she’s got great rock hair, Joan Jett and The Black Hearts for ‘I Love Rock n’ Roll’ and the gals from Kiss for their makeup? Elton John for her song for the late Diana “A Candle in the Wind’ and for her large contribution to the Lion Kings’ ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight?’ and Tina Turner for being the best lookin Nanna out there with those legs. NILF Jenny: My Mum! She’s amazing. Respec’ yo mamas!
their sound is a mix of country blues, Joan Jett sounding rock and roll mixed with harmonic vocals and a whole lot of g i r l p o w e r. I h a d t h e e x perience of seeing them at the Paddington Hotel where I learned that an eclectic, very different combination of girls goes a long way in regards to developing a specific
Words - Sonia Tubb
sound. DIRTY PIGEON are
Lauren ( g u i t a r,
Simpson vocals), M i s h a
B e a r (bass, vocals) & Poppy Shepherd
What is your opinion of sexual stereotypes within the music industry; do you think there are any, and do you feel in any way involved with that? Jenny: When girls are strong, people call them ballsy, we’re gonna change this. One day, a strong man will be called titsy. Are your occasional growling, often hilarious and always electric onstage personas actually you, or pieces of your personality? Both: Hootenanny’s an extended part of our personalities and of our relationship with each other.
Dirty Pigeon is an
(drums), here’s what they have to say about women, their band and what it means to be a female musician.
Hootenanny @ In the Pines | Photograph by Aldegonda Bruekers
photos of Diry Pigeopn by Duncan Wright Photography
Metior: Each member of the band expresses themselves in a way that visibly communicates their personalities to the audience. Explain to me the dynamic of the band based on the diversity of its members? Dirty Pigeon: The three of us have pretty different personalities, but when we first got together to make music, something just clicked and we haven’t looked back since. We love music and we have a really great chemistry when it comes to writing songs together. Every time we get on stage we act and dress in our own style and respect each other’s individuality. It was just lucky that we got along so well, because to have two best friends as band-mates is awesome! Our music is what brings us together, and we also really love a nice, strong coffee. Your music seems to me a mixture of women on top attitude, energetic rock and roll rhythm and somewhat subtle country blues vocals. Is this how you see the band and can you explain how such a combination came about? This is a pretty accurate description of our style and musically we have many different influences. We write all our songs together and have heaps of fun with each one. We allow ourselves to muck about and have girly gossip sessions, but then when the work is there we get the job done. The key to our music is our ‘pigi-time’ and we never take ourselves
too seriously. Our style came about really organically. There was no specific genre that we were aiming for, we just wanted to rock out. Sometimes we describe our style as ‘clit-rock’, a sort of feisty, punk-pop fusion, with solid drum beats and lots of harmonies in the vocals. We always write from our personal experiences, which can be pretty candid and humorous at times. The drummer’s technique and sound came across as the strongest single element of the band, how did you get into it and what is your past experience prior to Dirty Pigeon? I was working in retail when it hit me that I hadn’t played drums for three years and that a career in music wasn’t going to fall at my feet. I decided to sell my car and pay off my loan, so I could study music performance at TAFE. It was there that I met my ‘pigis’ and realized we should be called ‘Moist Pigeon’ (although this idea didn’t get approval from the other two). Is there any intention behind Dirty Pigeon or is it just for fun? Our intention has always been to do it our way and to prove that we’ve got what it takes to stick it out. We have noticed since being active in the industry there can be a bit of a stigma attached to being in an all-girl band. In saying that, despite the success that we are aiming for, we want to rock out and have fun the entire time.
Do you think there are any issues within the music industry, or even current Western society, that women face on a daily basis? Absolutely, there are always going to be issues that we face in the music industry and in current society, simply because we are women. We have found that men constantly doubt that we have got what it takes and think we’ll be better off with males in the band. They assume we’re not good enough as an all-girl band. This has been the case for each of us in previous bands as well. We’ve found that men can be intimidating, but this has just motivated us to get better and be stronger. We now have more drive. Some of our early songs are actually about these experiences. Not all guys are like this of course; our friends support and respect us for our musical abilities and would never hold it against us that we’re women! On the other hand, sometimes being girls can work to our advantage and people promote gigs under the all-girl title. We try to make the sexual objectification of women work for us by looking hot on stage and getting more people to our gigs! Have you ever had an experience that you thought was due to an occurrence of ongoing inequality between men and women? As we just sort of mentioned, sometimes we become the token female band in an all-
male line-up, which can be looked at as a bit of a novelty. Yet this is mainly due to the fact that there is a lack of female musicians giving it a go in rock bands. Even though these days there are more girls involved in the music industry, compared to the amount of guys in bands there is still a huge difference. We feel that the main reason is that girls lack the confidence. We hate the assumption that we can’t play our instruments just because we’re girls and we love it when guys are shocked when they come to see us, even though this shouldn’t be the way things are.
“Our intention has always been to do it our way and to prove that we’ve got what it takes to stick it out.” Do you believe inequalities be-
tween men and women still exist in our culture/society? Hang on, I’ll ask my boyfriend. No, but seriously, they do. Take sport for example. How often can you turn on the television to watch a professional women’s sports team? Hardly ever! Men still earn more in some fields and have greater access to some jobs. At TAFE, men heavily outnumber women in every music class. Lauren was the only girl in her technical production course. Even though society has come a long way over the years, we think there are a lot of aspects that still reflect old-fashioned ways of thinking. There’s definitely still
room for some massive changes. To us gender has nothing to do with it. It’s not about age, size or attractiveness, girl or guy, it’s about being a good musician. When people hear our quirky, up-beat style, they often don’t realize that we’ve been writing songs now for 10 or 15 years! Describe a positive and a negative of being a woman? On the positive side women are more emotionally in-tune than men and we tend to trust our intuition, going by our instincts. A negative is that we are less inclined to brag or be pushy, so because we’re not as likely to trumpet our talents and abilities, this can put us at a disadvantage.
Words - Sonia Tubb
sexism and the punk scene
I love Punk music. I love the Punk scene too. I suppose I am not a “punk” whatever that term means, but I’m definitely a follower of it. Whenever I am travelling or living in a particular country for a while I like to go check out the local Punk scene to see what it’s like. If I wasn’t raised to fear my parents and always seek their approval I’m pretty sure I would have started a hardcore punk band and gotten sleeve tattoos of my favourite bands. However I do have one major complaint about the punk scene, which is the blatant sexism. I’ll be honest, there is sexism in pretty much all music genres but sexism in the Punk is especially cutting since so much of Punk in the beginning was to fight the status quo. I don’t want to sound like a victim or preachy (I feel people rolling their eyes now) but I’ve always felt that the Punk scene should be inclusive.
There have been a few incidents that have really made me aware of how some people in the Punk scene treat women. One particular example is when I was in a mosh pit and
some guy behind me started to feel me up. I objected and told him that it was not OK. He responded with “you’re in the pit you entered at your own risk”. I can forgive some accidental feeling up as everyone is so close together in a mosh pit however being deliberately felt up is unacceptable. However what angered me most was the response I heard when I told others about this incident which ranged from “well what do you expect”, to “get over it”. I’ve also noticed how female band members are treated differently compared to their male counterparts. Some of the comments I’ve heard about female members of bands include: • They are only there because they are good looking; • They play their instruments well for girls; and • They must be a lesbian, they play in a band. I sometimes think women in punk music just don’t care about sexism or turn a blind eye to it. Every once in a while people do care and speak up about it, a good example of this was the riot girl movement.
However the riot girl movement has severely splintered since the mid 1990s and now no longer exists save for a few bands. I don’t want to blame everyone in Punk. I understand we all make mistakes (myself included) but we all have the responsibility make others feel safe. I think this problem extends further than within the Punk music industry, for example one only needs to glance at the rap, hip hop and pop music genres to see that sexism is rife. But you know what? Despite this, the great thing about the Punk is that there are people who are not afraid to speak their minds who think that this isn’t OK. People in the Punk scene are generally loud and obnoxious when they are not happy with something and this means that many of them are willing to voice their anger and disagreements when needed. We shouldn’t have the same political ideals, the same ideology or the same beliefs, but we should make sure that our scene is inclusive and safe for all. Words - Celia Lim
a visit from the goon squad
without men - review Siri Hustvedt, author of The Summer without Men, is best known for her work as a novelist. However, her work as a poet unquestionably transcends into her fictional literature. It’s with such beautiful, enlightening words that Hustvedt tells a story of heartbreak and rediscovery. Fresh out of the hospital at age 55 following a breakdown brought on by her husband’s sudden departure for a young colleague who is often referred to as “The Pause”, Mia Fredrickson is forced to re-examine her life. The poet and Columbia University professor escapes Brooklyn to spend the summer in her hometown of Minnesota. Living alone in a rented house, wallowing, raging and mourning her old life, Mia is slowly drawn into the lives of those that surround her. Her mother and her friends, the seven pre-pubescent girls she teaches poetry and her neighbour, a young mother with two small children. All of whom teach her new and wonderful things, helping her through this new phase in her life. This is a novel concerned in greater part with heartache, rejection, pain and insanity, yet it’s a surprisingly enjoyable read. Through a mix up of childhood memories, sexual escapades, emails from a sometimes abusing stranger, letters and poetry, Mia goes through the changes of a life left behind, and a new one just beginning, never losing her sense of humour, no matter how enraged or
- jennifer egan defeated she becomes or feels. I was apprehensive when picking up this novel. After spending most of my leisurely literary life reading male dominated literature, and then spending my university life reading works written by the opposing sex, I wasn’t sure I could handle another tragic love story, or journey of self discovery. But I was too quick to judge. Instead of being yet another story of a woman on the edge of hopelessness, Hustvedt’s second novel becomes a clever take on love, relationships, men, women and let’s not forget girls. It is about a woman who finds strength in old but new surroundings. With a few beautiful poems creeping from Mia’s mouth, and some sneaky drawings here and there, The Summer without Men, is a treat to the artistic senses. It’s hard to think of a word that describes Hustvedt’s style of writing, other than smart. The story itself is powerful, complex, intelligent, yet so absorbing and so passionate that your heart might just beat that little bit faster, however the style of writing is what keeps your mind awakened. Would I read it again? Definitely. Did it make me want to read Hustvedt’s previous work? You bet it did. If you want a refreshingly beautiful, poetic, intelligent tale filled with humour that is relatable, even to the younger target audiences, then The Summer Without Men is not one to disappoint. Words - Katie Colier
Life is chaotic, life is messy. Life can take you on a rollercoaster of ups and downs and the smallest events can impact on your life in surprising ways. All writers try and capture life, or at least a snapshot of it, but few ever accomplish it to the extent that Jennifer Egan has in her book A Visit from the Goon Squad. A Visit from the Goon Squad is a touching mosaic of love, loss, old friends and new acquaintances. The story begins with two people Bernie, a high powered music mogul and Sasha, his beautiful kleptomaniac assistant. Each has their own troubles and their own paths which take them through highs and lows and often crashing into other people’s lives. These side characters are by no means wall flowers and take on a life of their own as each person’s life is touched by Bernie and Sasha in some way and the results of theses interactions are surprising and often life changing. The stories plot spans decades from the 70’s to the near future, from Africa to America and many places in between. Though the story starts off with Sasha and Bernie it often jumps to different characters, countries or years with a speed that may sometimes leave the reader stunned and a little lost. However, the feeling of confusion from the occasional abrupt scene change fades quickly and every mini story is expertly written and seamlessly ties in with the overall story. The writing is engaging and energetic, the characters flawed and complex and the overall story is entertaining and heart-warming with surprising connections that will make you double take again and again. A Visit from the Goon Squad is a captivating piece of fiction and may be the best book you read all year. Words- Rhiannon Emery
to bodice rippers... In fiction as in real life,
can come in just about any form. From swooning Southern
maids and fiery fierce Amazons to disillusioned working-class girls, anything and everything goes.
So what goes into creating a fictional heroine?
Most heroines are created to be a distinctive blend of characteristics the author thinks fits within the story’s plot. Individual preferences and interests of the author may be represented within the spectrum of the heroine’s personality, but generally speaking, the heroine in a novel is unlikely to be true reflection of the author. Glimmers of them may be apparent, but essentially the heroine is a unique character created for the world in which she is written. I’m sure on occasion an author may base a heroine wholly on herself - a notion I find incredibly embarrassing (if you’ve read my first book, you’ll see why!). Living vicariously through your heroine is one thing, but literally representing yourself on paper as a character with your own
idiosyncrasies and ideals is another and not something I personally would do. Some authors write under a nom de plume to avoid anyone connecting their characters actions with themselves, as well as to keep anonymity in their real life. This is fair enough, as some books are extremely erotic or violent and if you’re an ordinary suburban author, you may not want people assuming that you feel or think as your heroine does. Now, if a heroine isn’t wholly based on her author, who is she based on? The simple answer is everybody, but nobody in particular. As an author, once I choose the predominant personality type of my heroine, I look for actions, phrases and opinions that would match that type. In my first novel,
and at other people to select her reactions to things. A lively imagination is essential. When putting the scene on paper, firstly I decide how I would react to the scenario and how this would differ from someone else. Then I mix it all up and create the heroine’s unique reaction according to her personality-type. Sounds complex doesn’t it? It’s not really. The whole process can happen within the space of a few seconds or if it’s a particularly difficult scene maybe a few minutes at a stretch. When writing a decent heroine, her appearance as well as her personality is important. Recently, I have noticed a trend towards the “ordinary heroine”. At a glance, the ordinary heroine appears just
“...A chewed nail, dry elbows or a tiny waspish waist...” “Magical Gains” my heroine is a reserved woman, not particularly pro-active, and at times is what I would describe as a “wet lettuce”. To make her actions and behaviours authentic, I looked both within myself
that, ordinary, but look a little deeper and she is revealed to be something else. She may be magical, strong, powerful, clever, or deceptively influential. It is rare for the “ordinary heroine” to be classically
the Sausage-fest beautiful, they may be a little plump, a bit older, too thin or just plain. Perhaps this trend reflects something of our own ego’s desire to be viewed as something more than what we appear to be. I’m not sure, but it makes for an interesting read! There is a definite art to describing a heroine, which can sometimes be a delicate balancing act. Too much detail on the heroine tends drag the reader down, too little and the reader will not engage. Additionally publishers do not like ‘info dump’ descriptions of characters. Descriptions of your heroine and other characters need to be woven into the text and dialogue, only occasionally and if absolutely necessary, should they be listed one paragraph. The trick to describing things in writing is showing the reader, rather than telling them. For example; the ‘narrow fragility’ of a heroine’s wrist as she tugs open a door indicates not only she is slight of frame, but potentially of a fragile nature as well. Similarly, if a heroine’s ‘strong arched brows fur-
row over hard assessing eyes’ the reader is shown not only her facial characteristics but also a facet of her personality. Just as every face tells a story, so does every ear, fingernail and toe. Physical descriptions of heroines should not be limited to faces, breast-size and weight. This would be boring and immature! A chewed nail, dry elbows or a tiny waspish waist will add volumes to your character building, and hopefully keep the reader engaged and thinking. Ultimately, heroines, no matter what their flavour, are as unique and good as the author who creates them and what they represent to the world is as debatable and as varied as the books in which they’re written. So when you’re next reading a book, take pause to consider the heroine. Has she engaged you, and how did she do it? You may be surprised by the answer. Words - Nicola Sheridan
Just a few weeks ago, in Sydney, the shortlist for the 2011 Miles Franklin Award was announced- and suddenly, my Twitter account was on fire. It was perhaps one of the shortest shortlists ever, including only three books and overwhelmingly, without a woman’s name to any of them. The response from the online literary community was near-immediate, with one contributor to the Melbournebased Kill Your Darlings blog referring to the list as a literary ‘sausage-fest.’ It is the second time in three years that the shortlist has been devoid of female writers, according the Meanjin blog ‘Spike’, leaving the blogger wondering if we still see our quintessential Australian experience as being a rural male one. While there has not been any deliberate attempt to serve an ‘anti-female agenda’ in this short-list or the 2009 one, many critics are left scratching their heads. As a young woman with lofty aspirations to one day win the award myself (perhaps even multiple times), I am left wondering who my own role models are. A scan of my shelves provides the answer. I can list perhaps only a handful of women writers still writing today that I’ve paid attention to. This is worrying. And perhaps it is a condition shared by many others like me; readers who have admired the Austens and the Brontes and the Whartons and the Plaths and the Alcotts, but have ignored those newcomers who deserve our attention. So who are the contemporary women writers who warrant a place in our waning collective attention-spans? Does women’s writing still suffer from pigeonholing? Why do some people think that women write only for women readers, and men write for all? continues...
Walk into any creative writing class (or literature class for that matter) and the presence will overwhelmingly be female- or at least, this has been my experience. Where do they go after graduation? (Is there a sequestered island somewhere for women writers? And if so, why haven’t I received my invitation?) There is no simple answer to this question, and no logical explanation that I can see. Does it boil down to the fact that we really are still living in a man’s world, at least when it comes to our conception of ‘literature?’
enous heroines; Sara Foster’s books integrate marriage and child-raising with reality, albeit through her compelling mixture of crime and ‘chick lit.’ While each of these women are inspiring in their personal lives, and have certainly made some success for themselves as writers, I challenge you to find a man out there who would list himself as a fan. To quote another ‘chick lit’ writer, Lisa Heidke, “[A fellow writer] exasperated that I was sticking with the novel idea, asked me why I was writing chick lit. ‘You should write a real novel.’ And a real novel would be?”
“Does it boil down to the fact that we really are still living in a man’s world...”
If you’re a woman writing today, you’re more likely to publish within four genres: romance, ‘chick lit’, mystery/ crime or speculative fiction. The assumption seems to be that if you’re a woman writing, you’re writing about women’s concerns- something that will only interest other women. Moreover, you’d be most likely to write about white twenty or thirty-somethings who just want to have a baby. (Thank you, Bridget Jones.) In 2010, I was lucky enough to see a panel at the Perth Writer’s Festival entitled ‘Escaping the Pigeonhole’ in which my eyes were opened by three very inspirational women. Local writer Liz Byrski defies the idea that books need to be about young people- and she does it with style; Dr. Anita Heiss challenges the white domination of the genre with her “deadly” indig-
Speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy, for those not in the know) seems to be a much more forgiving genre, but if you thought that it was free of gendered concerns, you were wrong. Many authors revert to using androgynous sounding nom de plumes in order not to discourage male readers from picking up their books. To quote one reader it “took me ages to click with the fact that Robin Hobb is a woman!” Ever wondered why J.K. Rowling didn’t publish as Joanne? It happens in the crime genre too, although nowhere near as much. (Heard of P.D. James?) It’s all so very... backwards. One is inspired to think of the Bronte sisters publishing as Ellis, Acton and Currer Bell, or Jane Austen publishing simply as ‘an author.’ There’s got to
be more than this. There’s got to be more to it than write for women, or write as a man. We’re heading that way already. Think of the Lionel Shrivers of the world, the Donna Tartts, and the Alice Sebolds. But until we no longer need to make a distinction for ‘women’s writing’, until we no longer need panels about escaping the pigeonhole, and until woman writers stop feeling the need to conceal their gender, we’re not there. If you’re hearing me, raise your glass. No, better yet, raise your pen, and get scribbling. Be a Melina Marchetta, or a Honey Brown, or a Kirsten Tranter (or a Helen Garner, or a Helen Oyeyemi, or a Jhumpa Lahiri.) And who knows? Maybe you’ll make the shortlist one day. Because, after all, an all-sausage barbeque is no fun. * See Nicola Sheridan’s column When Writing My Book for an insider perspective on Paranormal Romance. Emily Paull is full of unwarranted and outspoken opinions. You can read more on her blog at http:// elimy.blogspot.com She is indebted to Shaneyah Galley, Christopher Grierson, Elisa Thompson and Kash Jones and Deblina Mittra for their help with this article. Words - Emily Paull
vagina monologues “If it has anything to do with vaginas, it’s not something I want to be involved in.” This was a young female student’s response when I approached her about the Vagina Monologues. This young woman, who has a vagina, wants no part in her body parts. An amazing part that lives, gives pleasure and life. I’ve turned into a vagina zealot. I think everyone should see The Vagina Monologues. Firstly, I want you to change your perception of the play, and then I want the play to change your perception of vaginas.
It’s not a play that is just about vaginas. It’s more a metaphor. It is about being a woman. It is an internationally successful series of monologues written by Eve Ensler, based on real interviews with real women about real issues. It is about love, sex, growing up, rape, menstruation, hair, moaning and more. If you have a vagina, you should see the play. If you’ve loved a vagina, you should see the play. If you know someone with a vagina, you should see the play. If you’ve ever thought about vaginas, you should see the play. If you’ve not thought about vaginas, you should definitely see the play.
And if you want to see some great (vagina) theatre that is intriguing, interesting and insightful, you should see The Vagina Monologues at Murdoch University. The Women’s Collective and the “Clitorati” will be performing The Vagina Monologues at Kim Beasley Lecture Theatre on 11th August. Look out for the posters around campus, read G-News, look on Facebook, and we’ll let you know where and when to buy tickets. Words - Clementine Davies
“...I must tell you that up until this point everything I knew about my vagina was based on hearsay or intervention. I had never really seen the thing. It had never occurred to me to look at it.” (“The Vagina Workshop”) “You know, actually, you’re the ﬁrst person I ever talked to about this, and I feel a little better.” (“The Flood”)
women in skating Skateboarding is looked upon as mainly an activity that men do, and there are many upon many male skaters. However what turns heads, apart from those who stand out, are female skaters. As we all know women are just as athletic and versatile as men, but rarely do we ever see them on skateboards. I guess it depends on their social background, but girls who find skateboarding early on and stick to it are a rare breed.
There are a few female skateboarders in Perth, some that come to mind are; Sophie Williams and long time skater Karmen Lee. These girls have fought stereotypes and persisted in what they love doing, and now reap the benefits such as exercising while having fun, continuously learning new things and keeping the brain active. These girls should be looked up to by everyone, as they are part of the ever-growing skateboarding community within Perth and have
proven that anyone can do what they want, regardless of race or gender. Words - James Ahern
fresh meat diary The song says that roller derby saves the soul. And it’s true. The roller derby I’ve learnt for the past two months is more about challenging yourself than ﬁshnets and more about obsession than bravado. Here, for your entertainment, is my ‘Fresh Meat Diary’.
The very first night:
photo by Aidan White
sophie williams When and how did you discover skateboarding? I grew up with my older brother Harry skateboarding, but I didn’t start skating until late ‘07. I start skating because I looked up to my older brother quite a bit (laughs). Did you find it hard growing up skating because you were a girl? Not too much, but I didn’t fit in as much as the boys. Quite often you hear people say, ‘Wow a girl skater!’ and stuff like that.
How do you feel girl skaters are looked upon in the skateboarding world and in the public? Its (skateboarding) a male dominated sport so you don’t often see girls out and about on skateboards. When most people see a girl on a skateboard they think they’re posers or just trying to look cool. What are your interests, other than skateboarding? I love hanging out with all my friends, I like quite a lot of things like the circus, English football and dancing;
I’m not the type of person to be sitting down (laughs). When you become older what would you like to be doing? I hope I’m still skating but you never know what the future holds. I would love to travel all over Europe when I’m older with some friends and skate all the spots over there. I would also love to try snowboarding. I would like to be a tattoo artist too and do that as I travel the globe (laughs). Words - James Ahern end.
WA Roller Derby’s vice president Steely Neil leaps up as I walk in and tells me to borrow her knee and elbow pads. I am cheerfully referred to as ‘fresh meat’ for the first time as I borrow some rental skates and painstakingly make my way around the rink, gripping the walls, for the first time in 15 years. I watch WA Roller Derby All Star team member Karmen Adairya alternately skating laps and goofing around. She is tough, athletic and appears to have effortless skill. I grit my teeth and wonder if I might have what it takes to be a derby girl one day. I have never played a team sport before. But more importantly, I have never been anywhere where a newcomer was accepted with such enthusiasm. On my first night at roller derby training I learn the most important lesson: go for the fishnets and attitude, stay for the camaraderie. I am officially hooked. Week 2: I have a quite spectacular bruise on my inner thigh. It’s the perfect purple of grape bubble gum and it is shaped suspiciously like a skate wheel. My baseball slides must have been
clumsier than I thought. Like a good derby girl I desperately want to show it off, but apparently that would be indecent. So, my first derby injury blooms and fades without fanfare. My second derby injury however, is a good crack to my coccyx in a fall and a white flash of pain wipes my mind clean for a split second. There is no need to show off this one: everyone,
exercising her own physical ability and claiming her space. I must remember to stop apologising for bumping into people on the track. Week 4: My first attempt at skating 25 laps in 5 minutes yields a score of 21. I need to do some work. If you happen to drive around the back streets of Welshpool
“..I am cheerfully referred to as from the track to the office, is ‘fresh meat’...” aware. I’m walking funny and sitting down is excruciating, but I still put the skates on at the next training session. What else is there to do? Week 3: It’s not just about ignoring pain or being tough. There’s freedom at roller derby, a wonderful freedom so rare for women; to demand the space for one’s own body, to take it physically. To be aggressive, something frowned upon in women. Underneath the delightfully kitsch and slightly tongue in cheek exterior it is a haven for women who want something more than a treadmill or counting laps in the pool. There is no particular female body that belongs in derby. There is each individual challenging herself,
after business hours, you may well notice a woman on roller skates, endlessly repeating crossovers or c-turns in a car park. I often wonder how safe it is to be there after dark and sometimes I decide doing laps at a skate park is better. I feel real trepidation strapping on knee and elbow pads in front of the young men leaping around on skateboards. Since Kat Ache’lysm broke her ankle at training, my partner tells me not to attempt Mohawk turns alone. I still do though, sometimes. I skate 23 laps in five minutes. Weeks 5 & 6: I skate 25 laps in five minutes. I walk a foot above the ground for three days. I can do it, just continues...
barely. I am a little tired at training and I take a tumble while trying for brilliant crossovers. My knee, which I had until recently considered a hinge joint, opens up like a can of tuna and the girls skating behind me rush up wide-eyed. That didn’t look right, they say. It didn’t feel right either but I shake it off and keep skating. By morning I’m limping badly. Whoops. A week later I’m in the doctor’s surgery trying to explain what
to the gym & swim laps in the pool. Tears of frustration flow. She might be right, but I can’t go back to the treadmill now.
pretty quickly realise that saying “I fell while roller skating” is far simpler, although significantly less cool. No permanent damage done but I’m to rest the knee for a couple of weeks. Instead of racing home from work to put outdoor wheels on and skate, I discover there are two episodes of Friends back to back on weeknight television. This makes me feel slightly sad so I wear my skates while I watch.
sic skating skills and agility. The week before assessment WA Roller Derby assessment coordinator Taye Q Down draws us fresh meat together and explains what will happen next. All the stepping, falling and sliding was preparing us for the next step – skating with the big girls. “And they will hurt you,” Taye says. We all grin. “No really,” Taye says. We stop grinning. Taye is hilarious but no nonsense as she runs us through our first blocking drill. We laugh and pretend to be sorry as we hit each other with our shoulder blades and hips. I’m a little giddy that we’re finally doing this, we’re this close to scrimmaging, one step closer to actually skating in a bout. Then I realise we’re this close to scrimmaging, one step closer to being hit by Karmen Adairya. Deep breath.
Week 8: I can finally do a Mohawk turn. I try to play it cool at training, chatting nonchalantly about it with All Star skater Modern Warfare, but the electricity from that little achievement thrills me. To be cleared for contact derby girls have to pass an initial
Week 9 As you read this I will have taken that assessment. Maybe Karmen has already hit me and I lived and it was awesome. Or maybe I failed and shall spend eight more weeks as a freshie. Here as I write I am Schrödinger’s Derby Girl, unproven and to be honest still a little shaky in baseball slides. But in derby they say it doesn’t matter how many times you fall, just how quickly you get
mim kempson photography
“..I open my derby bag and a smell like toxic warroller derby is. I repeat the assessment. They have to be explanation at the chemist. I able to fall safely and have ba- f a r e g r e e t s m e . . . ”
Week 7: It is Easter weekend so there is no training but I still cannot skate anyway. I open my derby bag and a smell like toxic warfare greets me. I quickly soak my knee, elbow and wrist pads in water with bicarb of soda before my derby bag becomes grounds for UN sanctions. I clean my wheels. I rest my knee. My mum tells me the risk of injury is why people go
back up. When I started learning roller derby I thought I could bring lessons from my regular life to the game. Now I know it is the other way round, the lessons on the track have informed everything else I do. Now I realise the strength that lies in dismissing the failures and trying again. And I realise trying something that scares you, be it Mohawk turns or facing down a fearless derby girl, saves the soul. This is why roller derby is the fastest growing women’s sport in the world: week after week quite ordinary women like me all over the world are claiming a little space for themselves on a derby track. For more Roller Derby goodness go to www.warollerderby.com.au or follow them on Twitter at @WA_ Roller_Derby Words - Rachel Watts
I also feel privileged to be a woman in the photography industry. With ‘woman’ stamped across our foreheads like the Star of David, we are forced to work harder to secure ourselves a place in this world. We face a challenge, and it is this challenge that I value. Next year I will be going to RMIT in Melbourne to study a Bachelor of Photography. Then after that, who knows! www.mimkempson.com
k a t h e r i n e p e r r y photogrpahy
Japan is another world. Fluorescent lights ﬂash, fade, become faster. Music pulses through the streets. Foreign letters – a language different to their own – are splashed across spotless buildings or stamped upon billboards that stand in isolation from the swarms of fast-paced people down below. One reads: ‘freaks’. Japan is old, but also new. It is polluted but, in places, untouched. I feel privileged to have caught the essence of this beautiful country only four months before the disastrous events of 2011. With these images, I hope to pay homage to Japan.
Landscape photography has never really interested me. In fact I found it as a whole rather uninspiring, always preferring people over trees. Yet as the old adage goes, ‘don’t knock it ‘til you try it’ and I am finding myself having a great time trying to go beyond what I’ve always understood a landscape photograph should be. Though this collection shows what can happen when a portrait photographer tries to shoot landscapes - she ends up photographing dead animals. It has been both shocking and amazing to see the variety of animals we turn into roadkill, it definitely isn’t just kangaroos that end up collateral damage of expanding highways. In a way this project is a little homage to the forgotten fauna left disappearing in our rearview mirror as we drive over it at one hundred k’s and hour. Australian landscapes are so much more than open spaces and I hope my photographs help people to show that.
g e m m a s t a c e y -artist metalsmith Gemma Stacey was bor n in Norther n England in 1977. She completed a Higher National Diploma in 3D design in 1997, and went on to study at Camberwell College of Arts, London, graduating in 1999 with a degree in Metalwork and Silversmithing. For the next 6 years Gemma worked and exhibited in London as an Artist Metalsmith. This included selling at market stalls, art and craft fairs, interior design shops, gallery exhibitions and private commissions. Some of her work was featured in magazines and restaurants. At this time she was also pursuing her musical ambition, writing and per for ming her own music on the London gig circuit. She travelled around the world for 9 months during 2003 which greatly inspired her creative passions.
In 2004, she began working with a female blacksmith, Shelley Thomas. Shelleyâ€™s work is well known in London and is based at the forge at the Kew Bridge Steam Museum. Gemma gained much knowledge and experience working with Shelley lear ning new skills and advancing techniques already lear ned. At the forge she had the opportunity to make her own work in blacksmithing and
use machinery like the power hammer. In early 2005, Gemma worked on a commission for the Royal Opera House on the renovation of the bar in the main foyer. After arriving in Australia in 2005, Gemma worked for FWR Blacksmiths where she gained knowledge of batch production manufacturing and the making of specific jigs to produce this work. Here she used heavy duty machinery and lear ned from blacksmiths with 50 years experience in the industry. Gemma now has her own workshop where she continues to develop her own sculptural works and explore exhibition opportunities. Gemmaâ€™s metal work is both functional and sculptural. She works with sheet metal and recycled materials. Her functional work is mainly fly pressed and hand for med sheet copper and aluminium, occasionally combining perspex and wood. These pieces include vessels and candle holders. Her sculptural work includes panels made from fly pressed sheet metal and welded free for m structures made from recycled materials, including cast iron and steel from old far m machinery.
Game On: an introduction to girls, guys and games Games and those who play them no longer lurk in the shadows cast by their ugly beige monitors. Gaming has gone mainstream and you would be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t played some form of game (even Minesweeper counts).
In fact due to the birth of multiple types of consoles, hand held and even 3D gaming platforms the old stereotype of the basement dwelling, hygienically challenged hardcore gamer has started to fade. In its stead are everyday people, young professionals, over 50 couples, whole families and of course university students. For these ‘casual’ gamers, weekend Wii warriors with extra sturdy screens (10% of all damaged TV’s in Australia are caused by Wii remotes) or people who at least know the difference between and Xbox and a PS3, gaming is light, affordable entertainment that has none of the stigma it used to.
However, this stigma still exists in some facets of gaming life, in particular gaming hobbyists and female gamers. Not that the stigma surrounding ‘hardcore’ gamers is particularly viscous; it certainly wouldn’t be near any level such as the stigma surrounding race or sexuality. Still for this lone female gamer these existing preconceptions about female gamers and just gaming in general breaks my 2D pixelated heart. For me, my gaming addiction started at the very young age of eight years old. It was 1998 and gaming was becoming widespread enough for games to appear on small town country shelves, games with basic characters and large pixels from small time developers who would then go on to become industry giants such as Electronic Arts.
I was raised on PC games, first generation RTS (real time strategy) and FPS (first person shooters) such as Age of Empire and Doom. I learned the valuable skills of micromanaging my minions and honing hair-trigger reflexes in dark 2D corridors which would help me later on as games began to evolve into more complex experiences and with steeper learning curves.
By the time I was an awkward teen in the 2000’s I had found companionship with other people with game addictions, all guys, but that was never much of a drawback.
As a very rare specimen in the world of LAN parties and online matches I was both respected and feared because of my gender. Being the only girl in a room full of guys huddled over computers I never felt singled out for being a girl, sure I might have been expected to die a little more than normal and subjected to the sometimes over the top gamer tags (lots of ‘your mum’ jokes), but the guys were generally accommodating, not just for the chance to pwn more noobs (crushing new gamers), but for my ability to make their LAN parties less of a sausage fest. Never in these LAN parties did I ever meet another female comrade, plenty of gamer girlfriends who picked up gaming knowledge by pure osmosis, but never someone who had the same love of games as myself and my mates had. Often my girlfriends would look at me in a mix of confusion and horror, for them games were strictly played by guys and any girls who called themselves gamers were flirting dangerously with the being called a tom boy or butch. This idea that in order to
.play games with boys you had to become one of them originates partly from the trouble women had to go to, to be accepted into male dominated areas such as careers in business. Whilst I’m not saying that women trying to make it in the gaming industry have it easy, in fact women are still woefully outnumbered in game design and the industry overall (women make up just 20% of the industry and just 3 percent are programmers), as a gamer I never had the problems that are typically associated with women living in a male dominated community.
At present, the era of gaming as a boys only club is fast fading with the rise of casual games (games you can play on low spec computers and for short periods of time like Wii or Nintendo DS) has significantly increased the amount of women willing to pick up a mouse or a controller and see what all the fuss is about. Approximately 52% of casual gamers are girl gamers and 4 out of 10 online gamers are girls (not including the guys who say they’re girls). Outside the casual market and in the more dedicated users (e.g people with gaming addictions) women make up about 38% of gamers across a broad spectrum of games, not
just The Sims , but also games like Starcraft, Crysis and Call of Duty.
With the sales of smartphones on the rise, gaming has become accessible in a whole new way with applications such as Angry Birds going viral amongst Android and Apple users, many of them women. This is the future of gaming, games on your phone, the ability to play online wherever you are and the increasing awareness of gaming companies for the need to reduce the stereotypes associated with women who play games. With girl gamers such as the ‘Frag Dolls’ (the first group of girl gamers to win a pro circuit tournament), girl gamers no longer hide in the shadows of their male counterparts, instead they’re kicking arse and taking names , a trend that’s sure to continue in the future of gaming. Words - Rhiannon Emery
hannah bourgeois Hannah Bourgeois has been interested in art since high school, where she excelled in art classes. She went on to get a Certiﬁcate 3 in Arts and Crafts. Hannah enjoys making art of all forms as primarily she enjoys the form of creative communication; however Japanese “Kawaii” style in particular is her main inspiration. How would you describe your style? My art is about exploring how different mediums, colours, textures and shapes work together. I allow my art to express myself in lots of different ways as I think being open about what you feel is very important to a human being’s development. Role Models My role models are my family and friends because they are amazing people and they inspire me to be me! Where would you like to go with your artistic ﬂair? I would like more time to get into it as I have a child now. But in the bigger scheme of things, I would like to exhibit my art and be an art curator. What importance do you think the arts’ play? Being artistic and creative helps people to express themselves, rather than through the conventional modes of communication such as talking and writing. Art enables people to tell a story which can be interpreted in many ways; this encourages us to open our minds and escape the “gotta make money” mentality. It help us to let go of ourselves as we can get caught up in the seriousness that work, money, responsibilities, etc can bring.
Words - Jen Newman
100 years of intern ational women’s day
Recently we celebrated 100 years of International Women’s Day. In Western Australia, probably few heard about it although a generous government grant at the eleventh hour provided some handsome luncheons and awards for the bureaucratic elite, and funded a website to honour a handpicked 100 of worthy women coined “The Power of 100”. Interestingly, though perhaps not surprisingly in a time of anti-feminist backlash, “feminism” (the formidable f-word), received no mention, and certainly there has been barely any recognition of the many hundreds upon hundreds of nameless grassroots radical feminist activists over previous decades that have spearheaded revolutions in the rights and choices of women.
While there have indeed been many innovative and courageous women working from inside mainstream systems such as politics, health and academia, it has in the past been the often undocumented efforts of street protesters, public campaigns, rebel media, individual dissidents, alternative women’s services, and community action, by feminists outside of mainstream systems of thinking that has driven or fuelled such humanitarian changes for women. Furthermore, they have not just sought equality within a somewhat ﬂawed patriarchy but have inspired the vision and capability to do things differently from the established status quo. It is not surprising that these women are not recognised in history because they are indeed the rebels, the radicals, the women refusing to bend to unjust rules and regimentation, the women not only threatening the patriarchy by questioning its morale and it’s authority but daring to envision whole new ways of being in the world
socially and politically. While remaining invisible in the history books and commemorative websites, these activists individually and collectively paved the way for changes now taken for granted, or stalled in political backlash. I’m sure many of us would have our own individual “hall of fame” that privately honours such women. For me I remember the rough-clad women who squatted an empty mansion in Sydney in the dark of night to form the ﬁrst women’s refuge...a young apprentice unafraid to wear overalls and bear the wrath of the lads as she went on to become the best welder in town... the women brutalised by police in street demonstrations as they demanded law reform to illegalise domestic violence (at the time permissible if the battering “rod” was no thicker than an inch)...the “Aunties” in the Northern Territory who took back cultural law, said no to violence and alcohol, and turned dry their
communities...the young lawyer who overcame her own history to support child rape survivors in merciless courts of law until her heart gave up and she ended her life...the Indigenous women risking their lives at the hands of their own men, who stood up in protest of cultural payback when not only the women but now the children were being raped in sanctioned community law...the women at the Cockburn Wimmin’s Peace Camp who advanced in a line of strength and song to bewilder and disband heckling stone-throwing gangs intruding on the camp at night...the scores of women who secluded to nature to live and reclaim denied powers of healing, inventiveness and resourcefulness in a 2,000 acre tract of male-free wilderness in NSW known as “Woman’s Land”...the Filipino women ordered for Australian marriage or sold as sex slaves who escaped their captors to bravely speak out in public... the women who took to the stage and streets in satirical
theatre to trigger social conscience towards an understanding of gender oppression...the six women carpenters inspired by a 1980s red-scheme work project for women who went on to fully qualify and work in the ﬁeld, and encourage young high school women into the trades...the feminist elders in home gatherings sharing in a circle the history and insight of the suffragettes who weathered vicious police batons and lockups for their “crime” of demanding women the vote...and these are all but a few of the unsung heroes in my life. Beyond the modern catchcry that “feminism has failed” are hundreds of women from many classes, culture and generations that remain publicly unrecognised but risked their lives and wellbeing to make a difference to women’s choices and participation in the world. Beyond the rhetoric that “feminism is outdated” are many unrecognised women, both inside and outside traditional systems that continue unﬁnished paths of change
through local and global activism. They are not just the Power of 100, but the power of multiple thousands.
Words and Photography by Georgi Stone
what services do you offer? The Women’s Information Service is a free and confidential telephone information and referral service. Trained volunteers can refer you to the government or community service you seek, whether it’s for legal, health, disability, relationships, domestic violence, accommodation, parenting, volunteering, counseling, Indigenous or multicultural women’s services. The Women’s Information Service is part of the Department for Communities. The service also provides the following resources: • A Women’s Services Directory is available free of charge and can be downloaded from www.communities.wa.gov.au . The directory contains a comprehensive list of services and information ranging from accommodation to youth services. • WIS Pocket-Directory - a palm-size, fold-out version of the Directory book with phone numbers of services relevant for women. • Winfo Alerts - Winfo Alerts is a free, email distribution network for information and events relevant to women by non-profit women’s and community organisations. Please email winfoalert@communities. wa.gov.au to be part of this network. • IWEN is a free, Indigenous women’s email network for information and events relevant to Indigenous women, their families and communities by nonprofit organisations. Please email iwen@communities. wa.gov.au to be part of this network. Please contact the Women’s Information Service on telephone 621 78 230 or 1800 199 174. Words - Judith Andrews
julia gillard’s wardrobe
women’s information services
I imagine it’s quite hard to lead a nation. There’s a lot of networking, a lot of grinning and bearing it, a lot of public appearances, a lot of work, a lot of issues, and a lot of stuff that shouldn’t really come attached to the job. With the amount of headlines I see, I wonder if we dislike Julia Gillard because of her policies or because of her wardrobe. And more importantly, why are we paying so much attention to what our Prime Minister wears when we should be paying attention to how she runs our country? It would appear that there is no love lost between Australians and our current prime minister. Polls show that Gillard’s and the Labor Party’s popularity is down. We can attribute this to the common belief that Gillard lied (about the carbon tax and about ‘backstabbing’ Kevin Rudd). However, I believe that we firstly need to separate the person from the party. Julia Gillard did not stab Kevin Rudd in the back. There are behind-thescenes players who decided that Labor had a better chance of winning the next election with Gillard leading the party rather than Rudd. Rudd’s popularity was down, Labor’s popularity was down, and a cut-throat decision was made. For the most part, it backfired on Labor: They now have a Prime Minister (Gillard) who the Australian public refuses to believe. Secondly, Julia Gillard is one of many individuals within the Labor Party. Prior to replacing Kevin Rudd, she had a lot of public face-time. We knew who she was. We all had something to say about that redhead who was standing right behind our then Prime Minister. Whether we liked her or not, she was there, she was visible. The Party is the body that decided to put the person into power. The Labor Party, as they demonstrated with Kevin Rudd,
has the power to reshuffle and have a new representative if they feel it is necessary. The representative then presents the policies of the part, and fairly or unfairly, cops the flak for any bad moves the Party then makes. Unfortunately, with our previous election, neither party was strong enough to win outright. For the Labor party to govern, they negotiated the support of the Greens.
deserve. The argument is that men in politics do not have as much variety in their wardrobes and grooming as women do, its all suits and ties of eyepleasing colours and respectable haircuts. Women have more options in their smartbusiness wardrobes, there is a minefield of skirts, pantsuits, blouses, jackets, shoes, scarves and what colour compliments my complexion for this press
“.. With the amount of headlines I see, I wonder if we dislike Julia Gillard because of her policies or because of her wardrobe...” Part of this negotiation would have included the developments of the Carbon Tax. Labor now rules under a minority government. Since Julia has been in power I feel that she has been attracting too much attention for the wrong reasons. For example, what her hair looks like, or what outfit she might wear to specific events, or has that photo been retouched and
conference? Do you think Tony Abbott stands in front of a mirror and wonders if his tie suits his eye-colour? Do we create slideshows of possible outfits for what Tony Abbott (had he been invited) would’ve worn to the Royal wedding? Do we look at Tony Abbott and think ‘well, that top made his hips look GINORMOUS’. Why do we insist? Do we actually like the policies the Gillard Labor and Minority government are
and education. I’m keen to find out how our government is planning on closing the gap between Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australians. I’m interested in seeing what our government has to say when they go to the United Nations conference in July and address their human rights record. I didn’t like the previous Liberal government because of Work Choices, not because of John Howard’s bushy eyebrows. It’s fair enough if you don’t like Gillard and the Labor government because of their policies, but please don’t tell me you don’t like our government because of Julia’s haircut. With the amount of headlines I see, I wonder if we dislike Julia Gillard because of her policies or because of her wardrobe.
Words - Amy Hoogenboom
“..Since Julia has been in power I feel that she has been attracting too why isn’t she married and much attention for the wrong reasons...” doesn’t she regret not having children?
It’s been well-documented that our Governor-General receives a clothing allowance. She’s the first one to do so and also the first female Governor-General. Women in politics receive as much, if not more attention for the clothing they wear and how their hair looks than they
implementing? What has our government achieved since being in power? Where have they fallen down? I want to know how our government is planning on implementing this carbon tax and what are we doing to become more environmentally friendly. I’m wondering how the government is going to improve public health end.
the umbilical divorce I sat fiddling
the grains of salt which glowed against the black lacquer of the restaurant table. “It looks to me like you have two options – either do what makes your parents happy or do what makes you happy”. No one told me that becoming a woman generally means having to divorce one’s own parents; and it is. Just like a bad break up. We want to be respectful, reassuring, but still want to make a clean break – “It’s not you, Mum. It’s me. But it’s cool, we can still be friends”. Well, perhaps Freud suggested something of the sort. I recently have become a woman. I’ve turned twenty one – though that seems hardly an appropriate measure to judge one’s womanhood. Seemingly it began after I broke up with my fiancé, though a breakup does not a woman make. However, shaking off the shackles of a stagnant relationship does make one re-evaluate one’s surroundings. In my opinion I officially became an adult when I realised how fundamentally little I know about everything. With the realisation that I was not the know-it-all teen I once was, it dawned on me that perhaps I was growing up. I became a woman, not when I first bled, or lost my virtue, but
when I realised that despite being 21 and knowing essentially nothing, I was able to think for myself, embrace my autonomy and fight for my right to do so. Helen Reddy said it first “I am woman, hear me roar”. To me, being a woman is about more than having a fully developed set of hips and the ability to carry a foetus full term. Being a woman is about having balls. In an age where young girls can menstruate on their 8th birthday, as opposed to in their early teens as well as having sex, the traditional distinctions between girl and woman have gone out the window. If preteens can get pregnant and geriatric females can remain unquestioning and trapped in the dated expectations of their gender, how today, does one become a Woman? Perhaps I’m just now old enough to have confidence in my own perception – my own world view and value system. I remember having the same argument with the parentals for years, perhaps every two since I was fourteen, though at last something has happened – tides changed, winds blew, and a can of worms was sure as hell opened. Unlike years previously I found myself unable and unwilling to weep and apologise. No longer did
I resign myself to the notion that my view must be wrong, my contrasting value system a personality flaw which I must apologise for before conforming again. In my mind one becomes a woman when she can have belief in her own abilities, the strength to overcome obstacles and the determination to do so. I’ve realised that although my parents will only want to do what’s best, there comes a point where a Freudian breakup is necessary and that cutting the cord will allow me the ability to fully mature, to be autonomous and to become a woman in my own right. This shift in my own psyche has made me feel a part of something bigger; a member of a team that fought for women to vote, to work, to control their sexuality, to freely be oneself. I have become woman, and in doing I have found pride, confidence, and balls to rival a lion. Hear me roar. Words - Kate Jones
Bears have always been much loved characters in storybooks and TV shows, so it’s hard to imagine anybody wanting to harm such adorable creatures. Unfortunately, bears have a hard time in many places around the world, due to dodgy tourist attractions, the draining of their bile or being used for bear paw soup!
Chinese Government. Mary and the FTBF have made some brilliant achievements since their beginnings in 1995, and state that their biggest achievement is bringing the ‘dancing’ bear trade to an end in India. The ex-dancing bears are now able to live pain free and safe in sanctuaries throughout India. So far Free the Bears Fund have saved 794 bears from lives of pain and cruelty. The next industry that has now become a main focus for Mary and the team is bile
“..Free the Bears Fund have saved from lives of pain and cruelty...” There are many people worldwide who are causing these creatures pain, but one woman who is fighting hard to stop worldwide cruelty against them is Marry Hutton, founder of the Free the Bears Fund (FTBF). The FTBF was officially registered in 1995, with the aim to help as many bears as possible escape a life of misery and abuse. It was watching a segment on TV that inspired Mary to take action. She said it was an expression of agony on one of the bears’ faces as he was being milked for his bile in China while in a tiny cage, that motivated her to make a difference. Two weeks later Mary began a petition to raise awareness of the issue and presented it to the
extraction programs which exist in places such as Laos and Vietnam. Bile has been used for over three thousand years in traditional medicine. Unfortunately due to the increasing surplus of bear bile it is now being used in products such as tonics and shampoos, substances which have no basis in traditional medicine. Bile is extracted painfully via a bear’s gallbladder and to make the process easier (for the extractors) bears are confined to ‘bile farms’ where they are kept in tiny cages to restrict movement. I asked Mary what we as students can do for bears and how we can work towards creating a better future for bears worldwide. She says ‘students can
become involved by writing letters of protest to the various governments within South East Asia, protesting against their inhumane treatment of bears.’ Such a letter should express ‘that they will be held responsible for extinction of particular species unless poaching stops feeding illegal wildlife trade.’ She encourages us to: • Get involved in various forms of fundraising, with all money going 100% towards the bears. • Spread the word about the work Free the Bears does. • Visit freethebears.org.au to read up on all the facts and inspiring stories about what Mary and her team are working hard every day to do for the bears. Words - Jenai Tomlinson
president’s notes “Am I meant to be writing in this? Are you sure?”
support for their right and need to do so.
Sonia and I have had at least three conversations about this submission, and I’m still not certain whether I should be writing for this edition. Hmmm.
Throughout the production of this issue of Metior, I’ve heard numerous opinions, including those of my predecessors, that have not supported the idea of having a dedicated “Women’s Edition”. I’ve also heard a lot of support for the edition.
So I went and looked at some older Metior Magazines, as well as the assortment of other student publication’s from around the country (we’ve a whole archive, come check them out!) and found out that it’s only recently (in the last few years) that men have been writing (generally) in women’s editions - which made me even more unsure. I know one thing though, the more I read, the more I was certain that the Murdoch University Guild has a duty to you, the reader, to ensure a strong feminist voice that is all too easily lost when not exercised, promoted and empowered. More than that, even, the Guild has a duty to our members – 60% of which are female identifying, to provide an opportunity to speak their mind about society and it’s movement towards (or away from) gender equality. Further, to do this with the backing of all our members as a statement that we all stand with the writers expressing their opinions in the enclosed pages. This is regardless of our agreement or otherwise, in a show of
That being said, it is you, the reader, which we need to hear from. Love Women’s Metior? Hate it? Let us know! Have some awesome kick-ass ideas to do it better? Get in Touch! Brodie Lewis Murdoch University Guild President at the end.
editor’s letter Unlike other student publications that I’ve picked up lately Metior (this year) doesn’t include a letter from the editor. However, the creation of this year’s annual Women’s issue has been subject to an amount of discussion, dis/agreement and debate over its relevance that I thought it best to express my fence-sitting position. A lot of debate has come from contributor’s including Kyle Pauletto, sub-editor of Metior. His phone bill must surely be larger than usual thanks to the amount of latenight calls and texts expressing his opinion about the necessity of a women’s issue. On the other hand, this year’s Women’s Rep Jen Newman has a chair on the other side of her desk that now has a permanent print of my derriere thanks to the discussions we have had about its relevance. All I know is that if it weren’t for women’s rights fighters back in the day (and ongoing!), I wouldn’t actually be typing this, and any gorgeous young lass reading this wouldn’t be picking it up from a university campus because tertiary education was all ‘no girls allowed’ not so long ago. At the most recent Metior post-production meeting, we decided to attempt the women’s issue from a ‘women’s thought’ perspective, rather than a ‘feminist thought’ one, as I felt (and still do) that although differences between gender is ongoing, we have all heard it before, and the most successful way of getting messages out there is with a positive, upbeat tone. But at the same time, why is it written down into the editor’s job description that a women’s issue must be produced annually, and not an ‘equality’ issue, or a ‘gender’ issue? I thought we (by ‘we’ I mean you, the Guild Council...anyone but those somehow still existing conservatives who think women belong in the kitchen) were more
forward thinking than that, I thought perhaps with a female Prime Minister, people were well on their way of getting over ongoing inequality issues and just living! As a result, the next Guild Council meeting is likely (or at least hopefully) going to require all participants to take a Perspex face shield to block the spit that will fly across the boardroom at the heat of debate surrounding next year’s women’s issue. I at least feel like we are taking a step forward by analyzing the need for a women’s issue next year, and perhaps replacing it with a more inclusive ‘equality issue’. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this issue, and to those of you reading it, welcome to the issue that will likely mention the words ‘vagina’ and ‘sausage fest’ the most times this year. Within this issue there is a lot of talk about what it’s like to be a woman today, freedom-fighters, some interesting comments about self-awareness and of course the amusing ramblings and quirks of those involved. Sonia Tubb Editor
w o m e n ’ s collective report The 2011 Murdoch University’s Women’s Collective is essentially, a safe space where all people can come together and work towards a society free of gender stereotypes which harness inclusivity of all differences. The differences we work to break down to emancipate women are not limited to: gender role assumptions based on historical ideologies, recognizing the role that women’s knowledge in discourse making has, rectifying the misguided ideas of who women are and bringing awareness to women’s rights issues. It is also important to pay tribute to those who led the sexual and feminist movements that helped pave the way to a more inclusive society because if they did not speak up, nothing would have changed. The continuation of work of those before us, requires not only a social level of change, but personal change as it is where social change begins. If it wasn’t for our own self improvement, such as expanding our attitudes to respect differences, recognizing that we are connected and that the way we behave and think has a flow on effect, we would not recognize our influence in the bigger scheme of things; a collective consciousness shift is difficult to achieve. Recognizing that you hold the power to make not only your world more peaceful, but for those around you, proves how much power positive intent can have. The Murdoch Women’s Collective for 2011 has several events in the making such as The Vagina Monologues and ongoing Yoga classes. The Vagina Monologues is an event created by VDay (Vagina Day, a not-for-profit organization) which helps to raise awareness on violence against women and girls, while fundraising money for the anti-violence organization. Murdoch’s Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre has been secured for an August 11 performance and tickets are going at $8 for Guild members and $10 for non-Guild. Promotion on campus will begin very soon and if you would like to purchase a ticket asap, continues...
women’s collective report...continued contact myself at firstname.lastname@example.org, or alternatively an online ticketing system will be set up soon. More info on this can be found on leafleting and posters on and off campus which will commence within the next couple of weeks. As a lead up to the Vagina Monologues, in conjunction with the Murdoch University Guild, the Women’s Collective will be bringing you an “all-girl”
Dirty Pigeon to play at Dis-orientation Day next semester and
also hope to have a female academic speak on the importance of women’s rights and knowledge.
It is not only women that face sensationalism of their sex, op-
pression or exclusion
from certain spaces as everyone experiences some kind of marginalization that can be defeated if we work together to create a just and harmonious society. The society that you and I live in today, still experiences inequality, yet there have been many improvements over the years from women gaining access to vote and weakened gender roles such as breaking down the homemaker stereotype to name but a few. Women’s knowledge is particularly crucial in this time when power and greed rule the world
A woman’s knowledge offers balsociety that is equitable for ance, introspection, inall sexes and in particular, clusivity and honesty. To
What you can do to ensure more equality and harmony in the world is encourage rather control women’s choices and not stereotype them into a particular role.
For more information on VDay, go to: www.vday.org All the best for your future studies and I hope you enjoy Metior’s edition about Women. Celebrate women!
and our egos.
The importance of creating a
a society that regards female knowledge and women’s freedom, is essential for improving social wellbeing. For example, according to the Millenium Development Goals, eliminating gender disparity and empowering women by giving them access to education and power of their own bodies, is one key objective to reducing poverty. Everyone, and in particular women, should have the freedom to pursue free will.
Jen Newman - Women’s Representative of the Murdoch University Women’s Collective
give credit, UN Women works to advance women’s political participation and good governance through the support of projects aimed at catalyzing wide-ranging and long-term impacts. Support is provided in the form of equipping women to translate the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), into legal guarantees of gender equality.
Hootenanny @ In the Pines | Photograph by Aldegonda Bruekers