DAMSEL Damsel | 2020
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY Damsel and the UWA Womenâ€™s Department acknowledges the Whadjuk Noongar people who are the original custodians of the land we work, learn and create on. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging. We recognise the role of Whadjuk Noongar women and non-binary people as the original storytellers of this country, and their continual influence and importance within feminist literature, thought and storytelling.
A Helpful Guide to Perth’s Problematic Statues and Where to Find Them – Lillian Keenan
Decade in Review – Libby Robbins Bevis
Healing from a Mental Trauma: A Case Study – Anonymous
Standstill – Sneha Mishra
Damsel’s Recipes for the Soul
Building Strong Women – Abbey Dunne
“Racism Wasn’t that Bad” and Other Inane Arguments - Priyanka Sharma
Microaggressions: An Everyday Occurrence for POC – Huiwen Tan
By Any Means Necessary - Nyat Mulugeta
Let’s Stand Together: The Myth of POC solidarity – Klaudia Oey
Dealing with Race Relations in the Digital Era – Anonymous
Strawberry Picking – Esther Nixon
Art – Jade Geerlings Batt
Photography – Eva Sirantoine
Esther Nixon (@serein.poetry)
Photography – Klaudia Oey
Eva Sirantoine (@eva.froggie)
Art – Eva Sirantoine
Why I Carry a Notebook Everywhere with Me – Words & Art Eva Sirantoine
Can’t See You – Bridget Mason
We Don’t Owe You Desirability – Aimee Chia
Chocolate Cake and Cucumber – Anonymous
Dusty-Indigo, Sage-Green – Mia Kelly
To Our Goddess – Sophie Roberts
PCOS and Unintentional Rebirth – Bonnie Hyatt
A New Life – Jazzar O’Dea
Notes from the Editors
A Brief and Incomplete Introductory Guide to Feminist Terms
Contributors Aimee Chia Abbey Dunne
Huiwen Tan Jade Geerlings Batt Jazzar O’Dea Klaudia Oey Libby Robbins Bevis Lillian Keenan Mia Kelly Nyat Mulugeta Sneha Mishra (@dearme_poetry) Priyanka Sharma Sophie Roberts
Notes from the Editors Libby Robbins Bevis
Being an editor for Damsel in 2020 was a pure joy during a year that was far from joyful. As the year progressed the theme of Rebirth, which was conceptualised back in January, started to feel more and more relevant and necessary. How do we rebuild and grow and heal after a year as tumultuous as 2020 has been so far? For me, the answer was simple, surround myself with incredible, creative and passionate women and non-binary people. Being a part of Damsel and the UWA Women’s Department has provided me that opportunity. So, thank you to everybody that has been involved in Damsel 2020, it’s been an absolute pleasure. From the writers’ nights, both via Zoom and in person, to getting to read and be involved in the contributor’s creative pursuits, and simply getting to meet and speak to so many amazing people. I’ve learnt a great deal from everyone involved, about editing, about writing, about myself and about the community. Thanks to Pauline who allowed Priyanka and myself to make Damsel into our own, and supported and trusted us throughout this entire year. A special thanks to Priyanka, who is incredibly hardworking, passionate, and far more creative and talented than I am, and has been an absolute joy to work with this year. And, of course, thanks to everyone who has contributed to Damsel (either online or in print), this magazine wouldn’t exist without you. So, go out and write, create, grow and rebuild together!
2020 has been an absolute rollercoaster. We started the year with such high hopes; it was the beginning of a new decade, we were going to recreate the roaring twenties of last century - life was going to be a party. To say the least, things did not turn out the way we’d hoped. And yet, we showed such resilience. We made the best of whatever circumstances we found ourselves in. We did online assessments, worked from home, helped our neighbours, practiced good hygiene for public health, followed rules and did our part to stop the spread of the virus. If anything, 2020 has proven that every single person is capable of doing great things, and adapting to the most challenging of circumstances. We have made it through more than half of this year, and our social consciousness has been awoken. People have become more considerate of their neighbours and co-workers, and empathetic to the situations of others. In a roundabout way, selfisolation has allowed us to think deeply about our world, and ourselves, and given us a chance to slow down and come up with solutions to our issues as individuals, as well as larger scale institutionalised problems. I think this year has brought out some of the best qualities in humanity, and I am grateful to have witnessed them. Working on this magazine has been one of the best experiences of my life. Getting to know the 2020 Women’s Department committee, and Women’s Officer Pauline has been such a pleasure. It brings me so much happiness to know these strong, independent, passionate women are fighting to make the world a better place, both in our little UWA bubble, as well as out in the real world. Working with my co-editor Libby has been absolutely fantastic - her dry humour and witty personality have kept me tethered when I get distracted or go off on tangents, and her hardworking nature and intellect have helped shape my wild thoughts and jotted down ideas into an actual tangible magazine. Thanks to Libby, and all our dedicated, inspiring contributors, women’s and non-binary people’s voices have found their home for another year, in Damsel 2020.
Mushrooms - Priyanka Sharma
A Brief and Incomplete Introductory Guide to Feminist Terms Compiled by Libby Robbins Bevis
Discrimination in favour of able-bodied people. It is the discrimination of and social prejudice against people with disabilities based on the belief that typical abilities are superior. Ableism is rooted in the assumption that disabled people require ‘fixing’ and defines people by their disability.
The use of binary in discussions around gender and sexuality relates to the belief that there are only two genders. Often used to discuss gender stereotypes or characteristics typically seen as either male or female. Gender exists on a spectrum and we should move away from this limiting ‘binary’ idea. People who are ‘non-binary’ don’t identify as female/male or a woman/man. Many nonbinary people (but not all) prefer they/them pronouns to identify themselves.
Denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex. To be cisgender (commonly shortened to ‘cis’) means that you have body parts that are categorised as female or male and you identify with that gender from birth. It’s a term often used to highlight the privilege of those who are cisgender compared to trans or gender diverse individuals.
When a person or group of people take an element from a culture or race other than their own and use it outside of its original context, or, in a way that ignores its cultural significance. Elements appropriated often include (but aren’t limited to) traditional dress, dance, music, art, forms of celebration, and religion.
The theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes, and it’s manifested in organized activity on behalf of all women’s rights.
1st Wave (1830’s – early 1900’s)
Suffrage movement, 1st Wave Feminism focused on legal issues, primarily on gaining the right to vote.
2nd Wave (1960’s-1980’s)
The second wave of feminism focused on the workplace, sexuality, family and reproductive rights. During this time women were fighting not only for gender equality, but also civil rights and freedom of sexuality.
3rd Wave (1990’s – present)
The main issues of feminism today are similar to those of the 2nd wave, however feminism has gained popularity and is now more widely accepted in the mainstream. Though we are yet to achieve full gender equality, in terms of reproductive rights, equal pay, ending violence against women, and more.
4th Wave (present)
Many believe we are living in a new wave of feminism which has been enabled by the growing online feminist community. The new wave is sex-positive, bodypositive, anti-misandrist (men hating), intersectional queer and trans inclusive and primarily digitally driven.
A form of psychological abuse where the perpetrator makes the victim believe that they are imagining things, when in fact the perpetrator is manipulating the situation to gain control. This occurs frequently among marginalised groups who are told that they are just “imagining” the oppression that they face.
Denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation.
A theory founded by Kimberlé Crenshaw in her 1989 paper “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Anti-Discrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics”. The theory relates to the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.
A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. In feminist discussion, we often talk about male privilege, meaning that men and boys do not face the same struggles as women such as sexism and gender-based discrimination. It’s also used to refer to white privilege, cis privilege, able bodied privilege, heterosexual privilege, class privilege, and more.
A society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalising or trivialising sexual assault and abuse. Rape culture is very real in our society, as rape and assault are not only prevalent, but normalised and excused both in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated by the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorisation of sexual violence in film and TV.
Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminist. SWERFs believe that anyone working in the sex industry should be excluded by feminism, suggesting that they are contributing to the objectification of women. This belief denounces women’s right to have control over their bodies, actions and sexuality.
Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist. TERFs self-identify as feminist but wish to exclude trans women from the feminist movement. They hold the belief that trans women are not ‘real women’ and have benefitted from male privilege.
A social science term that describes narrow repressive type of ideas about the male gender role, that defines masculinity as exaggerated masculine traits like being violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, and so forth.
While Feminism prides itself on advocating for the rights of ALL women, ‘White Feminism’ focuses only on the ideals and struggles of only white women. While it is not always deliberately exclusive, its constant focus on the problems faced by the “average woman” is often alienating women of colour, lesbian, queer, intersex, and trans women, as well as women belonging to religious or cultural minorities.
A Decade in Review Libby Robbins Bevis
CONTENT WARNING: SEXUAL ABUSE/HARASSMENT, RACISM, DEATHS IN CUSTODY The new decade didn’t exactly start out how we collectively hoped it would. I remember reigning in the new year with a sense of excitement and anticipation. 2020 was going to be a good year. And whilst 2020 has certainly been an exceptional one, from the revolutionary Black Lives Matter movement, the devastation and disruption of COVID-19, the heartbreak of the summer bushfires, and a great number of other events and news that have taken a backseat, it hasn’t exactly progressed as a new decade hoped to. The events of this year have made it easy to forget about the decade just gone, and the progress that took place. And looking around it’s easy to assume that society is no better off than it was 10 years ago. Damsel thought we’d reflect on the decade just been, and explore some of the achievements, movements and major talking points of the 2010s. The past decade was a great time for social change and equality. Most notably the fight for marriage equality took place around the globe. Since 2010, 24 countries have legalised same-sex marriage, bringing the total of countries with marriage equality to 30. Similarly, progress arounds women’s reproductive rights have occurred, with over 50 countries legalising abortion. Ireland joined that list in 2018, after a referendum resulted in 66% of the public voting to repel the abortion ban. The rise in social media meant that social justice movements could spread information and awareness on a global scale, with online activism becoming a primary form of political and social activism. For example, the #metoo movement took Hollywood and politics by storm, holding those guilty of sexual abuse and harassment to account. The movement originated in 2006 when activist Tarana Burke coined the term, and in 2017 the Time named Burke and other “silence breakers” as Person of the Year. The #metoo movement resulted in the arrest and sentencing of film producer Harvey Weinstein, USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, and countless other abusers and perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment.
The widespread use of the internet and social media was, and continues to be insurmountable in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Founded in 2013, the global movement is focused on the eradication of White Supremacy and violence against black people and other people of colour. Forming in the United States as a response to the murder of Trayvon Martin, the movement has taken on a global dimension. Here in Australia, the movement merged with the fight for Indigenous rights, such as that of land rights, and activism around Aboriginal deaths in custody. The 2010’s also saw protests around climate change and government inaction on the issue, found a strong base through online activism, with Greta Thunberg’s Climate Strike movement gaining global attention. In 2016 the Paris Agreement, a global deal to tackle climate change through reducing greenhouse gas emissions, was signed by 170 countries, Australia included. Despite the agreement, Australia’s target to reduce emissions by 26-28% from 2005 levels by 2030 isn’t expected to be met according to the Federal Government. Other impactful moments and events of the 2010s include; the Occupy Wall Street Movement in 2011, the Indigenous land rights movements that occurred in Australia and across the United States, the trial of Cardinal George Pell and the Catholic Church’s cover up of child sex abuse. Fair to say, the 2010s was an immense decade of change and progress, although the work is far from over. Climate Change continues to be the most pressing global issue of our time, with no clear solution or fix in sight. Race relations and Black and Indigenous rights here in Australia and overseas still require a great deal of work, and equality hasn’t been achieved yet. Gender equality and the rights of women and girls aren’t universal truths, and LGBT+ rights still have a long way to go. But for all the terrible things happening around the world, and all the events and ways in which progress and equality have been undermined and eroded in the past few years, the last decade wasn’t all bad. And here’s hoping that regardless of the rough start to the 20’s, it’ll be a decade of progress and revolution, despite of and due to the struggles it may present.
Standstill Sneha Mishra
As the world comes to a standstill Coming to terms with a silent abyss Countless minds begin their own torment For thoughts in isolation are much harder to dismiss
Time has become nothing but an illusion Remnants of past moments not celebrated enough Warm hugs, cups of coffee missed too much Fleeting moments of love and connection, The beautiful and healing power of human touch
I awaken to another post in the digital maze Alerting me to the enduring turmoil Unable to discern news from fiction Another day for my mind to subconsciously toil
I call my family across the country, 4000 kms away Countless hugs away Several closed borders away But, comfortingly, just one phone call away
This shared tragedy binds us Though we may not be able to hold hands It poignantly reminds us Despite everything, strength in unity still stands
So I tell myself, dear me
As the world grapples with the truth And fear sometimes engulfs compassion May you remember to look beyond your own pain For greed only leaves hearts cold and faces ashen
May you be there for those in need And use your words kindly, to heal May you keep loving and dreaming For hope is the only way through this ordeal
Bonnie hyatt - Flower sketch
Building Strong Women Abbey Dunne
Strong women inspire other strong women, it’s a saying we’ve heard before but how many of us have experienced it? I can honestly say that I have experienced this in the last place I could have imagined, my gym. I joined Diesel gym because there was a $39 special, I missed martial arts, and honestly, I was feeling a bit down about my appearance. A few weeks after walking through those doors I was being held by Kate as I cried about my breakup, she hugged me tight and told me how I deserved nothing but the best and she’d help me get my confidence back. Two months later I had Hilary pushing me to my limits as I hit the pads and learnt how to move my body and appreciate its strength. The other night I had Karimah telling me how strong and capable I am, how she won’t let me get hurt, and that I can build muscle and feel strong because I can do anything. The best part is that now almost two years later I walk through those doors and have ten or more women smiling at me, welcoming me with hugs, and making me feel a part of something. You could almost say that going to Diesel Gym and being surrounded by these bright, kind, badass women has caused a rebirth of sorts. Hilary’s determination as she gears up for a fight inspires me to push harder, be better, and be proud of any achievement. Kate’s ability to be both a perfect Barbie doll and a weightlifting machine reinforces that as a woman you can be strong and beautiful, they aren’t mutually exclusive. The women who take part in the classes are equally as inspiring. There are mothers like Alicia who despite having four children, studies, and a job, remembers that she is also important, she deserves to have some “me time”, and her needs to socialise and exercise are just as valid as her being a good mother. There’s Fiona who will literally give you the shoes off her feet if yours are damaged (yes, this has actually happened) makes me remember how small acts of kindness create huge impact. There’s Beth, who not only has banter
for days, but is also a cheerleader for anyone she’s paired with, encouraging them to be the best version of themselves in every session. We have Debbie, a beauty queen who owns a day care centre and is constantly advocating for charities, as well as training to be a fighter. Sangita and her daughter who always greet me with the tightest hugs after a long day and endless chatter. I could go on for days about the many amazing women I encounter on the gym floor, I could tell you about how we’ve shared laughs, tears, memories and more. The bonds formed are made by our shared experiences as women and the power in that. Diesel allows us to not only enjoy each other’s power in the ladies only classes, but also encourages us to constantly grow, achieve, and excel. Many of us took part in an event called Girls Fight Back, a charity sparring event held to showcase female strength, talent, determination, and pride, whilst also raising funds for breast cancer. Not only did Diesel gym take part, but they truly helped each and every one of us grow and become a better person during the training process. Hilary spent many early mornings training us, encouraging us, reminding us that we are doing this for ourselves and nobody else, her kindness not only kept us going but it certainly got us in that ring. Kate jumped in and set an example to us all by pushing out of her comfort zone, reminding us that growth occurs under pressure. Karimah wiped away the tears of many of her teammates when the frustration kicked in, and the team bonded in a way we can’t quite explain. We cheered each other on, wrapped each other’s hands, held each other’s crying babies whilst mothers were in the ring, we ran with prams, and we made sure no one was left alone. Frankie, Karl, Jason, and Alic would cheer us on and remind others to support our fundraising efforts, they gave us the same level of respect as any man doing the same thing, something that I wish my fellow women at other gyms experienced. Something I wished I’d previously experienced. I am constantly amazed by the bonds forged with these women, bonds that started by literally punching each other in the face or crying over burpees. Looking back to my first few weeks at Diesel I can’t help but laugh at how some of these friendships started by someone passing over a hair elastic or by offering to help with a fussy baby, both things women always offer up without thinking. We instinctively seek to help each other grow, achieve, and excel and that is our superpower. It is a superpower I have been expanding upon at Diesel and one I hope to continue growing. As my kicks get stronger so does my circle of inspiring women, they’re mothers, business owners, fighters, beauty queens, models, farm hands, and they are all strong women who inspire other strong women.
“Racism Wasn’t that Bad”
AND OTHER INANE ARGUMENTS Priyanka Sharma
TW: DESCRIPTIONS OF RACIAL VIOLENCE, CHILD ABUSE, MURDER, SLAVERY, GENOCIDE Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. This is what Martin Luther King Jr. wrote on April 16, 1963 in ‘Letter from a Birmingham jail.’ Today, exactly 57 years later, his words remain just as relevant. I was fifteen years old the first time I really understood Black history and anti-Black racism. In my Literature class that year, we studied the novel ‘To Kill A Mockingbird.’ We learnt about the Antebellum South, and the Civil Rights era, and were suitably appalled at the numerous stories of slavery and human rights abuse. The reality of the dire situation of slaves and their inhumane treatment didn’t sink in for any of us until we heard the story of Emmett Till. Emmett was a 14-year-old boy born in 1941 in Chicago, Illinois who was visiting relatives in Mississippi during his summer vacation in 1955. Three days after visiting a grocery store and “offending” a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, he was abducted from his greatuncle’s home and lynched by her husband and his half-brother. The pair beat and mutilated Emmett, then shot him in the head and sank his body in the Tallahatchie river. When discovered three days later, he was barely recognisable, and his mother insisted on a public funeral with an open casket. Tens of thousands of people attended the funeral, and pictures of Emmett’s body were shown in blackoriented magazines. Later that year, an all-white jury declared Emmett’s attackers not guilty, and in 2008, Bryant revealed parts of her testimony against Emmett were “not true”. Emmett’s brutal death brought attention and nationwide scrutiny to the treatment of African Americans in the Jim Crow era and was a catalyst for the Civil rights movement, with the Montgomery Bus Boycott taking place soon after.
Stories like this really drive home the absolute atrocities that have been committed against people of colour, but especially against Black and Indigenous people. In Australia, we are no better. Since European Invasion in 1788, Indigenous Australians have been oppressed in their own country. It is estimated that before colonisation almost 750 000 First Nations people inhabited the continent. We know now that Indigenous Australian people are custodians of the world’s oldest living culture, placed at around 60 000 years ago. However, the ignorance and ill-founded superiority of the British Empire resulted in Lieutenant James Cook’s declaration that the continent was an unoccupied wasteland, or “Terra nullius”. The arrival of European colonisers brought diseases such as smallpox, syphilis and influenza, killing large proportions of the Indigenous population. Since Indigenous culture was so entwined with nature, and most groups would move from site to site to make minimal impact on the environment, the concept of fixed land ownership and fences didn’t exist. This resulted in Indigenous people unwittingly entering what the colonisers had claimed as “their” land, and being shot. Lack of communication and general disregard for Indigenous lives led to the British Empire committing genocide against the existing inhabitants of Australia. Respect for, and equality of Indigenous people in this country is only just beginning to be addressed. The fact that all Indigenous people won the right to vote in 1965 (a mere 55 years ago), the display of the head of Bunuba warrior, Jandamarra in a private British trophy collection in 1897, and the fact that the Australian Prime Minister’s official apology to Indigenous people came only 12 years ago, in 2008, all go to show that First Nations people have been brutalised and disrespected, and that reparations are not only still necessary, but long overdue.
From Riots to Rebellion: Race Relations in 2020
As for where we are today; during a global pandemic, the USA has ignited an international movement in protest of systemic racism and police brutality against Black and Indigenous people. The recent death of George Floyd, a Black man whose windpipe was pinned under police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee for nine minutes, was the catalyst for this. Millions of people are in support of the movement for equality, and yet simultaneously, the Ku Klux Klan has resurfaced, while right wing groups and conspiracy theorists claim that racism no longer exists, and perhaps never did. But as long as injustice and inequality persist, people will continue to protest, and riot, and rebel, until systems of government undergo the necessary change. When I first read the story of Emmett Till, as a sheltered fifteen-year-old girl living in the 21st century, I thought, this boy was one year younger than me. If not for the geographical location and time period I live in, the body in the open casket could have been mine. My brown skin, although no longer a death sentence, remains a barrier today- but some people have it worse. Now is the time to champion the voices of people of colour, especially of Black people, and of Indigenous people. Now is the time to create the necessary change in our governing systems, and in our collective social consciousness.
Joyce Clarke, Steven Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Barry Gedeus, Wayne Morrison, Manuel Ellis, Jaquyn O’Neill Light, William Green, and the many, many others we didn’t record, see, or hear about- we remember you, we are sorry, and we are fighting for a better world.
What you can do to help: Research. Educate yourself on what people of colour, Black and Indigenous people have faced throughout history, and why systemic racism exists and is an issue. Find causes to support, places to donate, people to listen to and learn from. Sign petitions. Donate, if you can. Acknowledge your privilege. Everyone has it; skin colour, wealth, level of education, language, ability, sex, and sexuality are a small fraction of factors that affect a person’s status in the world. Everyone has differing levels of privilege, and we must acknowledge ours, and use it to lift those with less than us. Be vocal. Don’t let your voice go unheard in the fight for equality, and amplify the voices of others who know more than you.
And finally, to George Floyd, Tanya Day, Breonna Taylor, Dominique Clayton, Eric Reason, Atatiana Jefferson, Tane Chatfield, Botham Jean, Philando Castile, Bettie Jones, Walter Scott, Veronica Walker, Natasha McKenna, Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson, Michelle Cusseaux, Eric Garner, Ezell Ford, Rayshard Brooks, Priscilla Slater, Robert Forbes, Nathan Reynolds, David McAtee, James Scurlock, Patrick Fisher, Calvin Horton Jr, Rebecca Maher, Dion Johnson, Maurice Gordon, Cornelius Fredericks,
AN EVERYDAY OCCURRENCE FOR POC Huiwen Tan CONTENT WARNING: RACISM, ANTI-ASIAN RACISM AND FETISHISATION What you are about to read is the journey and epiphanies of an individual. By no means does this reflect the lives of all people of colour, but it does shed light on a fragment of common occurrences we experience. I can distinctly remember the moment I realised I was one of a handful of POC in a class of 30 students. Growing up as an Asian Australian, the forms of racism which I have been subjected to have mainly been in the form of microaggressions from people who think they are acting upon curiosity rather than racial stereotypes. A common example is the classic question “Where are you from?” Although seemingly harmless, it enforces the idea that the colour of a person’s skin has a correlation to being born somewhere ‘exotic or foreign’. When I reply “Here, I’m from Perth, Australia”, the response I get is the more invasive, “No, but like where are you REALLY from?” These kinds of conversations can continue in a loop until I’m forced to break it and submit to a brief explanation of my family’s ethnicity and cultural background. Not only are these conversations exhausting, but they also enforce the marginalisation of POC and allow people to make assumptions based on cultural background and origins. As I’ve grown up, I’ve only become more aware of my race and how it affects my position in society. Just last year I moved to Melbourne for university and I was under the impression that such a diverse city would have put racial divides and microaggressions behind it. However, I soon saw examples that proved me wrong. On a university Facebook page, white students my age were claiming they had been struck by ‘yellow fever’ (sexual or romantic preference towards people of Asian heritage) by the great number of Asian students present at uni. Being fetishized was never a thought that occurred to me, despite my being an Asian woman. The fact someone would claim this as some sort of brag or epiphany and feel the need to share it was mind boggling to me. From then ‘fetishisation’ was added to my virtual list of red flags. I am sickened by the thought of someone trying to pursue me for some “Asian fetish”.
As 2020 hit us with COVID-19, a new surge of racism came for Asian people. Hearing stories of international uni students being spat on and blamed for a pandemic was very alarming. I had never felt too unsettled because of my skin colour, but when these attacks happened, I was terrified to think I could be next. I didn’t even know how I would respond. I think as a non-black POC, what we endure can be imagined as a mild rash. Some days the rash is red, angry, and sensitive and hurts us a lot, but most days it is bearable. However, as you think it is fading it reappears to remind you that it’s still there and still is painful. When this rash becomes exhausting, that’s when some of us develop internalised racism towards our own race. To non-POC this analogy may seem very strange. However, for many of us it explains the way we experience and deal with microaggressions. Personally, it took me many years to be able to be fully happy being an Asian born in Australia. I remember in primary school I would ask my parents to pack me more Australian commercialised foods for recess so that other kids wouldn’t ask what I was eating and stare at my food. What starts as something small can warp and quickly turn into self-hatred. Only in my late teens have I started to embrace my culture and stop being afraid to bring Asian foods to school. I now find opportunities to share my culture and heritage with people outside it. I am proud to be an Asian woman in this world. I think for many Asian born Australians the first step is always taking ownership of one’s race. Being confident and loving yourself and who you are helps you face the inevitable microaggressions and prejudice that still exist today. Nowadays if I am asked “Where are you from?”, I transform this into an opportunity to educate those who haven’t yet grasped the ambiguity of the question and what it truly enforces. To those who are non-POC please go out and educate yourselves about microaggressions and subconscious prejudice, and stop yourself from unintentionally participating in them. To be able to actively catch yourself and change just a few words when you converse with POC can make all the difference in minimising that mild rash.
From Riots to Rebellion: Race Relations in 2020
BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY Nyat Mulugeta
Growing up, I had the feeling that black people were always suffering. I didn’t understand why, it was something I just couldn’t shake. Whether it was poverty in Africa, or systemic racism in America, it was a feeling that grew over the years. On one specific occasion, I recall watching a biographical film about Malcom X with my dad. I’m not even sure how old I was, but I remember feeling astounded with the way in which Malcom X urged black Americans to protect themselves “by any means necessary.” I didn’t understand the whole “by any means necessary,” thing. Why the violence? Two years ago, I had a sort of identity crisis. I went through a period of introspection and questioning. Who am I? What is my purpose? It was during this probing of my identity I began to understand the concept “by any means necessary.” For generations, people have suffered at the hand of white supremacy and institutionalised racism. Civil rights leaders like Malcom X were ready to incite change. The world just wasn’t on the same page yet. This year’s Black Lives Matter movement couldn’t have come at a better time. As a global community, we have had enough. Whilst the African, Black American and Aboriginal experiences are all different, we all needed this movement to finally be heard and bring about positive change. A lot of opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement is based on the idea that the looting and vandalism are criminal acts. However, not all protesters are looting, a lot of counter-protesters and uninvolved parties are equally responsible for it. The fact that the narrative swiftly moved from civil rights and police brutality to looting and vandalism speaks volumes of the reform that needs to occur. There are a couple of questions I ask myself before engaging in anything; 1. Which side of history do I want to be part of? 2. Do I want to be complicit? I don’t want any more of my brothers and sisters to suffer. I’ve had enough. And now, I’m ready to demand change. By any means necessary.
Let’s Stand Together:
THE MYTH OF POC SOLIDARITY Klaudia Oey CONTENT WARNING: RACISM, MURDER, ANTIBLACK RACISM, POLICE BRUTALITY On May 25, George Floyd, a Black man, was murdered by Derek Chauvin, a police officer at the time, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Writing this almost a month after this incident, the flame that was sparked from this incident has yet to die out. People from countries all over the world have taken to social media and the streets to march, protest and riot for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Here in Perth, we saw massive turnouts at the Black and Aboriginal Lives Matter protests too. As a Chinese person, a non-Black person of colour (NBPOC), it’s been, to put it nicely, eye-opening to see the response of the people in my community. Anti-Black racism in the Asian, and more specifically Chinese, community is present and painfully obvious. It is impossible to ignore. A few months ago, we were battling anti-Asian racism because of the breakout of COVID-19. The news stories of fellow Asians being beaten up on the train, yelled at, and generally
discriminated against angered and terrified me. On social media, countless posts were being made and shared in our community, condemning the racist behaviour. Fast forward to a month ago, where had this voice gone? There was radio silence. My Asian peers had barely spoken up about the tragic death of yet another innocent Black man despite the sudden surge of advocacy online. Your silence is deafening. It’s been said a lot this couple of months, but I will take the time to say it again: you cannot afford to be “apolitical” in these times. There’s never a time where fighting for the basic rights of other human beings should be considered a political stance that you can just decide to not comment on. I will never understand how someone sees the video of George Floyd, hears of the countless Black people murdered, and chooses to comment on the rioters, or even worse, say nothing at all. You cannot turn a blind eye to this. You must not turn a blind eye to this. If we stay silent, we perpetuate anti-Black racism. We all bleed the same blood and have the same flesh, to turn away from the cries of Black people mourning their children, parents, dead is truly an act of heartlessness. I have done a lot of reflection from my perspective as a NBPOC, and come to a few major conclusions. 1. POC solidarity is a myth. Growing up as a Chinese person in Singapore, I have heard countless racist remarks made about Malay, Indian, and Black people. I had internalised the racism and it’s been a continuous journey in unlearning those ill beliefs and learning how to be a better ally. Learning this about myself was embarrassing and I’ve realised that I have made insensitive jokes too. I actively acknowledge these mistakes and make an effort every day to change my mindset and language. POC solidarity does not exist, and only comes up when it is convenient for our community. True POC solidarity is standing up for Black people simply because they are people- asking nothing in return, because we are doing what is right.
From Riots to Rebellion: Race Relations in 2020
2. Appropriation of Black culture. How many Asians have you heard use the N-word? I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen my Asian peers throw it around flippantly. Some of them justify themselves by saying that they only say it when listening to rap music, which is ignorant. We are not Black, and therefore should never use the N-word, no matter the context. I don’t care if your friend gave you the “pass”. You’re not “from the hood”, Kevin Nguyen. The picking up of African American vernacular English (AAVE) is very common in our circles, yet Asians continue to be anti-Black in our beliefs. We cannot continue to appropriate historically Black language, music and style while perpetuating racism against the Black community, otherwise we are taking advantage and letting the cycle of discrimination continue. 3. The older generation. This past month has been a great opportunity to bring the conversation of racism to the table with my family. However, this has proved to be increasingly frustrating. When I tried talking to my parents about the BLM protests, police brutality and systemic racism against Black people in America and Indigenous people in Australia, I was quickly shut down. My thoughts and opinions were met with constant counter-arguments. That’s when I finally realised the power of internalised racism and time. Though I know my parents try to be openminded, being brought up in an environment that teaches you anti-Black sentiment will stay with you for life. It is exponentially hard to change those views when you’ve lived with them for 50 years (but not impossible, so I’ll always try to annoy the living hell out of them with my activism).
So why is it important for us as NBPOCs to stand up for Black people? Asians benefit from being a ‘model minority’. We have been stereotyped as “intelligent” and “hard-working”, while Black and Indigenous folx have been tagged as “lazy” and “uneducated”. It’s because of this unfair thinking that we should stand up with them, amplifying their voices and hurt. Standing up for Black and Indigenous people of colour (BIPOC) is essential to showing our support. Use that big following of yours on Instagram to spread the word and get more people to sign petitions and donate to people who truly need it. If you have a platform: use it for good, your bubble tea and KBBQ post can wait for another time. Staying silent in times like this is taking the side of the oppressor, there can be no neutral ground in a fight for human rights. But speaking up is merely not enough; it is performative activism on its own. To be a good ally, our actions need to add emphasis to our words. Sign petitions, donate to charities and organisations (if you can afford a large bubble tea, you can donate), have those uncomfortable conversations with family and peers, and most importantly, educate yourself. Education can come in many forms, be it reading books and watching documentaries, or even the simple act of not skipping an informational post or thread and taking a few minutes to genuinely read through it. Activism for equal rights is not a sprint, but a marathon, we cannot afford to forget about it in a few weeks’ time. Let’s stand together.
Dealing with Race Relations in the Digital Era Anonymous
CONTENT WARNINGS: RACISM The year 2020 has been complex to say the least – the world has experienced a multitude of groundbreaking events such as the Australian wildfires, COVID-19, a potential outbreak of World War 3, diplomatic wars between countries, the 2020 US Presidential election, and the strong and powerful force of the Black Lives Matter Movement. The increasing strength of the Black Lives Matter Movement has sparked a new form of debate regarding race relations in our contemporary society, highlighting not only the systemic racism experienced by Black people in countries structured around whiteness, but also the injustices faced by other people of colour. One thing I have noticed ever since the Black Lives Matter Movement exploded this year, has been the use of social media to spread information, to persuade, to target, to discriminate, to campaign, to protest and to educate. I have been astounded at how much emphasis has been placed on social media platforms, and the grandness and power that it holds. Between July 2013 and May 2018, the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag was used almost 30 million times on twitter. As of 2020, it has been used 47.8 million times. On Instagram, more than 15 million #BlackoutTuesday hashtags were used. Social media right now is the most powerful tool that the world can use to disperse information, however it also holds an immense form of power over those that use it.
Whilst I believe that social media is a great way to share, to repost, to educate and to inform, I do think that it also holds a space for targeting, discrimination and propaganda. There are two sides to this argument regarding people who take advantage of social media for ruthless purposes. The first are those who think they can hide behind their screens and tweet, share, like or comment racist, sexist, homophobic and discriminatory remarks to strangers, and feel so powerful because they remain anonymous amongst 7.8 billion people around the world. With heightened tensions of race relations, these people become more active than ever before. However, I’ve come to notice recently that the demographic of people that are using social media to advocate for equality and for the abolition of systemic racism have started to acquire a similar trend of extreme targeting and blaming and shaming on others. Social media provides a voice for many, in positive ways. However, it has also provided a platform for social media users to find ways to attack, to target, to discriminate, to incriminate and to ‘cancel’. It is saddening to see how in this society, when we are all trying to progress and move forward, and make positive change regarding all forms of human rights (in this case, racial equality), suddenly a person who was fighting so hard for inclusivity is disregarded and treated like dirt because someone somehow has found a way to interpret what that person said as racist, when clearly it wasn’t. Even if something was said that shouldn’t have been, we are all human beings who make mistakes, and despite past remarks being unacceptable, if we are able to mature and grow
From Riots to Rebellion: Race Relations in 2020
DEALING WITH RACE RELATIONS IN THE DIGITAL ERA CONTINUED from that mistake and create something positive, then that should be a sign that we are truly moving forward. We can’t keep bringing people down for dumb immature things from the past when people weren’t as educated on certain matters. What is important is that we acknowledge those mistakes, apologise and progress healthily and productively. It disappoints me to see how social media provides that easy path for people to shout, scream, yell and bully, and to knit-pick at every phrase, every comment and somehow create a falsified image or persona of a person as racist. In times like this, when race relations are more significant and important than ever before, social media makes it so easy for users to champion someone on, and then suddenly drop them without even thinking. We are so quick with our thumbs on the keyboard behind a screen, but would we be that quick with our mouths face-toface? Where has our respect gone for one another? Why do we have to be so divisive in a time when that should be the last thing we should do. Of course, this does not disregard the fact that a large percentage of people are disrespectful and discriminatory against people of colour, but in order to effectively counter that systemic racism, we should not be uniting to be the same as those who bring people down. You can’t fight fire with fire all the time. It is also disappointing to see how those users that post profusely on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook about statistics, incidents and solutions, seem to be targeting and attacking those that don’t post. I’ve seen many posts quoting Desmond Tutu’s “If you are neutral on situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”, as well as others that have a rhetoric of “if you don’t post, you are racist”. I’ve found such posts quite confronting, and slightly insulting. I don’t post to social media about the Black Lives Matter Movement, or global racism. Does that make me an oppressor, or a racist? I don’t believe so. Is it because we live in a generation shaped by technology, that social media is deemed extremely important in campaigning and protesting? Perhaps. An estimated 3.6 billion people use social media globally, so there is no doubt that social media is a goto in wanting to raise awareness about certain issues. But does me not actively posting to my private social media account about these issues seriously make
me neutral and therefore an oppressor or a racist? I have had several conversations with my friends and family about what is going on in the world today, about racism, about systemic racism and oppression, and about the obvious inequalities experienced by people of colour versus white people. I am doing my part in my own way, but I choose not to post on social media. Recently, someone I know posted to social media complaining about the violence that was ensuing in the riots in America and criticising the looting and havoc. Unfortunately, the way they worded the post represented them as ignorant and uneducated, but I knew - and many others that I have spoken to knew - that they had good intentions with what they were saying. However, others interpreted it as that this person was being racist, which wasn’t true. The sad thing to witness was that so many of these people that had gone to school with this person suddenly thought they were super powerful behind their phone screens, and started abusing this person on Facebook, sending ruthless comments. Some people repeatedly commented, targeted and criticised. It affected this person’s mental health greatly. Whilst I don’t fully agree with the way this person handled the situation, I knew that what they were saying meant well, however, in the spur of the moment in anger and frustration, they irrationally posted their thoughts. On the other hand, I was disgusted at how these other users treated this person. People seem to read too far into things and instantly assume you are racist for saying something that does not align with your opinion, even when the remark is far from racist! If we seriously want to move forward, we need to reconsider how we can productively and effectively unite and create solutions together. We need a safe and respectful environment that encourages healthy dialogue, not an environment that polarises people. We must be the better of ourselves, the better side of this complex and unjust situation. We are all a step in the right direction by using social media to advocate, but when we start targeting and discriminating through advocacy, we begin to sound just like those who created the problems in the first place. We must be careful not to go down that path.
Strawberry Picking Esther Nixon (@serein.poetry) I remember. We used to stroll, purpose filled, through your farms. I saw it as a game, “Who can pick the most strawberries?” You would walk along, basket in hand, a wild look in your eyes. Then you’d run your hand through your golden hair as the harsh sun beat down, and your eyes would scan mischievously as you searched for your target. You’d lay your eyes on the most vibrant fruit. Soft, plump…and yet, not quite ready for the taking. Your hand reached out, and you’d grasp firmly at its stem. Tugging, gently at first, then harder. Until it b r o k e. Until it would come apart, ripped away from the branches it clung to safely. You’d go along your way, continuing to pick them as you wished. Until your basket was full. Filled to the brim. But there was room for more, you said. Then, you’d turn to me, with a wicked gleam in your eyes, filled with pride and victory. If I had known then, that I’d be your next picking, ripe for the taking, I wouldn’t have let myself fall into your basket, with all the others.
Wonders of Western Australia Wonders of Western Australia
Artwork by: Eva Sirantoine
Artwork by: Eva Sirantoine
Image Credits: Klaudia Oey
Image Credits: Klaudia Oey
Artwork by: Eva Sirantoine
Artwork by: Eva Sirantoine
ARTWORK BY: EVA SIRANTOINE
Why I Carry a Notebook Everywhere with Me: EVEN IF IT’S HEAVY AND I HAVE NO ROOM FOR IT! Eva Sirantoine
I love taking notes when I travel, keeping track of the things I see and do. Short descriptions, in the moments feelings, detailed day by day accounts, sketches of plants, landscapes, maps, and more. It takes the shape of my mind. I record the name and location of places I visit, what I saw there, with who, and when. My emotions also appear within the lines, clearly described, or depicted by the vocabulary I use. Since I love to go hiking and camping in wild places, the pages are mostly covered with names and drawings of plants, descriptions of animals and their behaviour, facts I learn about the environment.
pen starts. It needs to be black and thin, but not too thin, I don’t want to engrave my writings in the page. I usually choose a light resistant ink, even if I don’t expose the pages often in the sun. Ideally, it’s from a widely distributed brand so I can replace it easily, should I like it very much and sadly loose it again! The struggle around the choice of the pen however is nothing compared to that of the notebook itself! I have lots of them, but each has a very specific purpose. One records my travels, another one keeps track of my daily thoughts and projects, and others hold the memory of my romantic life.
As the good naturalist that I’m trying to be, I record my journeys in the same notebook, with the same pen, as much as possible. You can imagine my despair when I accidentally lost my favourite ink pen - What a tragedy! Then the search for a new
I love notebooks, pens and the action of sitting somewhere and taking the time to observe, think, and finally imprint a version of reality on paper. That is why, no matter what, I always have a notebook on me.
Can’t See You Bridget Mason
who are you to meet my gaze or rather introduce themselves as a missing filter removing layers of haze I had read of you before a desperate desire to discover eyes that I would know better than my own and henceforth work no more alone some force took great care adding the right amount of milk to the swirling tea of your stare slipping spins of melted honey you provide warmth a tea cannot bring I will never truly see my eyes you knew them best did my pupils dilate to un-natural proportions how’d they change as we neared the sea tell me how they looked the last time you saw me did they wince at your words the china blue shattering on cue you swore you wouldn’t hurt me- I used to believe you
who are you and who am I as I look deep deep into your eyes to find you not looking back at me no compatible intensity they search, wonder and clearly wonder you are everywhere but here green? hazel? black? may I change them brown please but the depth of yours or hers pinned to my eyebrow forever you dangle in my sight is there an antidote to bring my delusions to light oh love- what did you do to my eyes 30
We Don’t Owe You Desirability Aimee Chia
CONTENT WARNING: FATPHOBIA, EATING DISORDERS Ask yourself: why is it that the word ‘fat’ has such negative connotations? Why is being ‘skinny’ a compliment but being ‘fat’ is an insult? Why is being thin so desirable to so many women? From a young age, women are taught that to be desirable is to be valuable. We are taught that the more we are wanted, the more we are worth, a huge issue which continues to be prevalent in society today. It tries to give us a price tag, and judges us based on whether or not we meet its superficial criteria. But this mould we are expected to fit in has undergone many, many drastic changes over the past few decades- trends like ‘thick’ butts were not a thing in the 2000s. Beauty standards are constantly shifting and warping from one unrealistic expectation to the next, and they often end up contradicting each other overtime. Fatphobia is merely something constructed out of thin air to make women feel like they need to fit some mould in order to feel validated. There is nothing inherently wrong with being fat, and the only reason why it has such negative connotations is because it’s been ingrained in our brains that it’s undesirable. As Naomi Wolf said, “a culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.” Capitalism wants us to consume and inject money into the economy; so, it makes women feel like they aren’t enough in their own skin, it makes us feel like we need products to feel good about ourselves. The patriarchy wants control and it will try its best to subordinate women by holding us to these ridiculous standards of beauty. For years and years, women have been held to these unrealistic expectations, each one fuelling a sexist spiral. But the truth is that women don’t, shouldn’t, and never did owe anyone desirability.
Chocolate Cake and Cucumber Anonymous
CONTENT WARNING: DISORDERED EATING, FATPHOBIA, DIET MENTIONS After nearly 18 months of keeping the words buried inside me, they are nearly impossible to speak. “Why do you want to see a psychologist?” My doctor asks. “I-“ My heart is pumping. “I…” I can’t get the words to leave my throat. They’re stuck. “I-“ I try again, horrified to find tears escaping from my eyes. Goddammit. This wasn’t meant to be so hard.
I see it in the smart, ambitious, funny, kind, courageous young women I have befriended over the years, who have all done battle with their bodies and still work to convince themselves they are good enough. I see it in the women in my family, this disease passed on from mother to daughter, from sister to sister, living in the cells of our shared history. I see it in the throwaway comments, the photoshopped selfies, the eleven year olds wearing push-up bras. I see it in the doe-eyed teenagers who start to panic when they’re asked to eat pizza instead of the cucumber sticks they prepared earlier. And yet, despite all this, despite the multitude of studies and statistics proving that we are living through an age of anxiety with more pressure on girls than ever before, people argue feminism has no place in the 21st century.
“Go on,” She looks concerned now. “Take your time.” “I…” I will myself to let the words go, to spit them out. “I’ve been struggling with bulimia and anorexia.” There. It’s out. The force of releasing these words hits me like a punch to the stomach. We live in a world where the female body is exceptionally politicised. The beauty industry is worth billions of dollars worldwide, encompassing; creams, make-up products, waxing and shaving equipment, plastic surgery, diet plans, apps, magazines and tv shows. Women’s insecurities and self-objectifying tendencies are actively encouraged because they’re highly profitable; as a result, self-loathing and eating disorders in women and girls continue to rise globally.
I’ve learnt a lot in the two and a half years since I walked into my doctor’s clinic alone. The war against ourselves cannot be won by fighting in the conventional sense. More than self-monitoring and punishments and fitness plans and calorie trackers we need compassion. We need a kinder, gentler way. Every time we judge our bodies based on how they feel rather than how they look we are standing up for ourselves, and for women everywhere. So please, let’s eat chocolate cake. Let’s try pole dancing and martial arts. Let’s wear outrageous lipstick, leg hair and huge t-shirts. Let’s do whatever it takes to reclaim our bodies and make us feel good, because we deserve to.
Dusty-Indigo, Sage-Green and Ginger-Red Mia Kelly
I go to the op shop with a friend one day, and we’re in the purple section of the shirts rifling through haltertops with sequins and a t-shirt printed with ‘this is an expression’ and this confusing silky ruffly thing that I don’t know how you’re supposed to wear, and my friend says that she reckons you can tell the story of a person’s life by their clothes. Then I think about how in the years after that one night when I was nine, or maybe ten, I wore nothing but baggy jumpers and loose long pants that I wouldn’t take off on forty degree days, and I stopped getting changed next to the dryer, and my Mum would get angry with me because can’t I just try to look normal? But I didn’t want to be looked at, at all. And then when I was older and I took up weaving Mum laughed and said who knew I’d end up wanting to make my own clothes when after all I never cared what I wore at the age most girls cared so much. And I didn’t know how to tell her that maybe I really had cared. I’ve never known how to tell that story. And then when I was at the haberdashery on Collie Street, picking out skeins of dusty-indigo alpaca blend and sage-green superwash wool and gingerred upcycled wool, I kept imagining how I was going to make something truly wonderful, something soft and technicolour and so light it floated like grassseeds in the wind – and I hoped I’d be brave enough to wear it.
To Our Goddess Sophie Roberts
Goddess – you who sculpted us from your surf – you who carved us each into lesser Aphrodites. May I sing to you? We were given the form of a goddess so sublime that they who lived before us could not comprehend her as anything beyond flesh. Beyond long silken hair and longer legs. Beyond full lips and curved hips. Beyond bare breasts and…all the rest. When that goddess glided away – upward to the heavens – we were all still living our little mortal lives. And still they failed to see beyond the image of the goddess. The woman with thighs far thinner – hair far finer – eyes far wider – than any mortal goddess who still walked land and sea. Why did you give us the shape of the immortal perfection we could never be? Why share us with a world that could not see beyond the goddess’s body – and refuse to see beyond ours? We were born into a world that does not comprehend. We do. We comprehend the swell of the tide - the awful dread as a wave overwhelms you and the bursting of lungs as the salt waves relent and allow you to taste the air. We comprehend the flicker of flame – too stinging to touch yet gentle as it wraps you in the glow of its warmth. We comprehend the goddesses – millions of them – who see your beauty and see your terror and know that it exists in us too and that one day they – we will force them to see it too. Goddess – you created us and you formed us and you nurtured us. To each of us you are our creator and our lover. But the image of a goddess – a Being understood only for her singular perfection – is not mine. Is not ours. Is not yours. You created us and within us – as in the golden Aphrodite – you placed your terrible power. You have created us and now we will create.
PCOS and Unintentional Rebirth Bonnie Hyatt
Women have been dealt a bad set of cards when it comes to anatomy and health. We’re the ones that have to give birth, we have these breasts that we have to harness in contraptions called bras every day, we have periods, we go through this fun time called menopause that lasts half a decade, and we have quite a high rate of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. For me, my bad card is PCOS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Quite a mouthful, right? but that mouthful of words is something 10% of women between the ages of 18-25 have to learn unfortunately. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome has many annoying things that come with it. Think of one of those TV marketing people when I say this: “By developing PCOS, not only do you get multiple cysts on your ovaries, but we will also give you two week long periods, bloody painful cramps (pardon the pun) that Ponstan couldn’t even fix, hairy as heck legs and the high chance of becoming type 2 diabetic, all absolutely free!” Like I said, women get dealt all the bad cards. After I was diagnosed at 18 years old, I was extremely stressed about my future health, so much so that it was all I thought about for weeks. “Now that I had to take the pill, I thought about the effects of the pill on my weight and my mental well-being (the pill is a common treatment for PCOS). I also thought about having to inject insulin into myself every day if I eventually become diabetic. Being consumed with this fear was becoming unhealthier than PCOS itself.
My condition was bringing me down and taking my positivity with it. But, there is only so much worrying you can do. Eventually, even you become bored of your worrying and I guess this is what drives you to face the facts and be more practical with your thoughts. I guess this is what you would call a rebirth. A lifelong condition is something you learn to be friends with and something you have to learn to manage. So, instead of worrying about the side effects of the pill, I learnt how to manage them. To avoid weight gain and poor mental health from the pill, I exercise every day and I try to fill my day with multiple activities, ones that make me feel good and don’t allow my mind to wander into depressive thoughts. I have also started a vegan diet to avoid developing type 2 diabetes, and, being from a farming background, is something I never thought I would do. My parents have also been very supportive with my journey, and much to my surprise even the vegan part, which I’m very thankful for. To be honest, I’ve never felt healthier. How can being diagnosed with a lifelong condition that affects so many aspects of your body make you feel so much better? The answer to this is, we must not give in to challenges life throws us. We must let these problems challenge us, and make us better people because of them.
A New Life Jazzar O’Dea
CONTENT WARNING: DOMESTIC ABUSE AND VIOLENCE As everyone who has had kids will know that birth is a traumatic event, the outcome is beautiful but none the less a traumatic event. My rebirth was a traumatic event and still is. When I met my partner 8 years ago, I thought that I had met the man that was soul mate and would get married and stay together for life, I was however wrong about this. This ended up being a torturous 7 years of my life. There were signs early on in our relationship that he was both violent and controlling but I swept it under the rug as either a bad joke or as it being my fault. My abuse ended with me being chased down in a car and having everything taken off me and this was the end of our relationship. The abuse came in many forms but none that I want to mention here as it can be quite triggering for myself and other people. The turning point came when I realised that I had value, I had something to say, and somebody was willing to listen and validate what I said. I realised this early in the piece, on the day I went to court to get my children back. The paralegal and the judge listened to what I had to say. So much so that the judge told me that the application I had done for the order was fine to keep him away from me, but hadn’t included the kids. And she would not make the order without them in it. I didn’t know that I had the right to my own children. That was an A-HA moment.
Since starting my rebirth, I’ve discovered who I am and that it’s ok to love myself. I’ve also surrounded myself with people who cherish and appreciate me for who I am. This has given me the confidence to go back to study at UWA and study computer science and law. Throughout my rebirth, I’ve discovered that I’m a fierce supporter of human rights, something that would have been unthinkable for an oppressed woman from a tiny wheat-belt town, where dissent is rewarded with ridicule, social isolation, rumours and revenge. I want for others what I want for myself, the freedom of choice and freedom of movement and be free to discover who I am, on my terms. And thus, either create, or help create the safe-haven, which is needed for shelter, but also to help heal the abused and help them reimage themselves on their own terms.
A Helpful Guide to Perth’s Problematic Statues AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Lillian Keenan
CONTENT WARNING: COLONISATION, MURDER, GENOCIDE OF INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS Throughout history statues have risen and fallen with societal values. In the United States, spurred on by the Black Lives Matter protests, many Confederate statues around the country have been toppled, hung, beheaded, drowned and defaced. Some local and state governments have acted. For example, on July the 1st the Mayor of Richmond, Virginia Levar Stoney called for the removal of all confederate statues in the city. The United Kingdom has also been reviewing links to its problematic heritage. In Manchester, Councillor Luthfur Rahman asked the public who they would like to see celebrated in future statues while previous ones are removed. Here in Australia we’ve been reflecting on our own shameful history and who we celebrate. In 2017, after Captain Cook’s statue was defaced in Sydney’s Hyde park Malcom Turnbull referred to this act as
1. Henry Camfield (1799-1872) - This statue is located on Great Eastern Highway in Burswood and was put up in 1992. Camfields statue represents the values of his time, hard work and the struggle to survive as a pioneer in a foreign environment. But nowadays we recognise his ‘hard work’ as colonisation. When he arrived in Australia (1829) he was ‘granted’ 5533 acres of stolen land which he named Burswood. Camfield attempted to farm almost starving three times due to poor knowledge of the land. This land would go on to become the Belmont race course, Perth Stadium, Crown and Burswood which features the Camfield pub. He became Government Resident in Albany where he established Annesfield schoolhouse in 1851. An institution where he and his wife ‘raised’ and indoctrinated more than 50 Aboriginal children into Christianity. During the school’s first 16 years 17 children died there. The statue of Henry Camfield glorifies the actions of settlers and hides their
a disturbing totalitarian act to obliterate Australian history. More recently, as people still call for the removal of the very same statue Scott Morrison inevitably responded, that there was no slavery in Australia. Fun fact, we have more statues of animals than women and indigenous people (Cowaramup I’m looking at you). Clearly, we would rather celebrate men who brutally colonised Australia than we would the rightful owners of this land. While the spotlight has been on the Eastern states monuments WA has plenty of statues commemorating colonial eras. But calls for their removal haven’t been as loud. I assume it’s because our statues aren’t as famous as James Cook and we just don’t know who we have in our own backyard. So, I’d like to provide a helpful guide to the statues around Perth. Without further ado, here is an alphabetical list of some of the most problematic statues in Perth and why.
atrocious acts. To make matters worse his statue is leaning against a shovel wiping sweat from his brow, to represent how hard he suffered to make a name for himself. In reality, Camfield failed to force foreign land into an English garden so he gave up and forced European standards onto stolen children.
2. Charles Court (1911- 2007) - This statue is located on Saint Georges Terrace and was unveiled in 2011. Charles Court is praised for numerous accomplishments he made during his political career. Namely, he paved the way for Western Australia’s mining boom and is said to have been committed to the art and culture of WA. But how does one pave the way for mining? In Court’s case, it would be by being staunchly opposing Aboriginal land rights and dismissing any cultural significance the land had to its indigenous people. Which seems contradictory for a man who is said to have loved WAs culture. Charles Court played a central role in the Noonkanbah land-rights dispute. In 1978 when
AMAX (an American oil company) wanted to drill Noonkanbah the Yungngora community protested, Court insisted that 45-strong convoy of drilling rigs and trucks go to Noonkanbah and backed WA police forcibly removing protesters so that miners could gain access to their land. When they did eventually drill, they found nothing. Aboriginal people around Australia are still fighting to protect their land and culture especially from mining companies who still push to mine sacred sites. Recently Rio Tinto blew up part of the Juukan Gorge area, a sacred site dating back 46,000 years. Courts statue reminds us that we still disregard First Nations peoples’ right to their own land.
3. John and Alexander Forrest - John Forrest (18471918). John Forrest has a couple of monuments in WA, with one in Kings Park (1927) and the other in Bunbury (1979). Alexander Forrest (1849-1901) has his statue on St Georges Terrace. It’s been there since 1903. Alexander Forrest along with his older brother John Forrest explored Australia. They are credited with discovering the Fitzroy river and naming the King Leopold Range which has since been renamed the Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges. They also named
the Kimberly region, Margaret River and the Ord River. Although it’s hard to claim having discovered, explored or named anything when these places were already known and named for Indigenous Australians. Alexander Forrest also leased out 50 million acres of land that wasn’t his and he was not meant to profit off. Statues of these two brothers contribute to the celebration of colonial Australia which disregarded the existence of an established thriving culture.
4. Bishop Mathew hale (1811-1895) - This monument is located on Saint Georges Terrace and was unveiled in 2008. The name Hale might sound a little familiar because he founded the oldest boys school in WA, Hale school. He is known to be “the good Bishop ‘’ as he was committed to the welfare Aboriginal people. However, his idea of helping was taking indigenous people from Adelaide and placing them in a native reserve in Poonindie. Which was chosen for its isolation. Hale also took over Annesfield after Camfield, due to knowing each other and sharing similar ideas about needing to civilise and Christianise indigenous children through religious lead institutions. These institutions created extremely abusive environments indigenous people and contributed to the erasure of their Indigenous culture because Christianity was considered superior. His statue represents classic colonial values that must be dismissed as outdated and racist.
5. The Explorers’ Monument (Maitland Brown Memorial) 1993 - Located on the esplanade in Fremantle. Out of the list this is the only Statue to be deemed so offensive that another plaque was added to the monument. Maitland Brown led the La Grange massacre in 1865. Brown searched with the intent to murder and killed an estimated 20 Aboriginal people to avenge the deaths of three white settlers. These actions were not justified and should not be celebrated through a monument in public space.
6. John Septimus Roe (1797-1878) – Erected in 1990, the statue is found on Adelaide Terrance. Let’s skip right to the point on this one because every article will tell you about how good of a man Roe was and why we should commemorate him in bronze. But in 1834 Roe was involved in the Pinjarra massacre and killed an estimated 70 Binjareb people but the exact number is unknown.
7. James Stirling (1791-1865) - Found on Hay street this statue was erected in 1979. Unlike Roe, Stirling didn’t just participate in the Pinjarra massacre, he led it. Afterwards he threatened to commit genocide by killing 80% of the Indigenous population. Neither of these men deserve to be celebrated as heroes and their actions cannot be glorified.
There are more outdated and problematic statues around Perth that have not been mentioned here to save your time. You probably get the idea, all around our city of statues of people who did awful things and don’t deserve to be in public space and now that you know, the next step would be to continue signing petitions, writing emails and amplifying the voices of Indigenous Australians.
Healing from a mental trauma: A CASE STUDY Anonymous
All Images in article: Bonnie hyatt - Flower sketch 40
CONTENT WARNING: ABUSE, STALKING, BULLYING, MENTAL TRAUMA I have been bullied and stalked. Unfortunately, like so many others. However, unlike many others, the institution I turned to for support listened to my complaints and helped me resolve them. It felt amazing, and I want to share this to help people, and highlight the importance of feminist movements. It took me about a year to realise that what I had experienced was bullying, and to name it for what it is. These insignificant actions that occurred over the course of a year or so, and the mental health damage they did was lying right in front of my eyes, but I couldn’t see it for a long time. The irony is that I even had the special-feminist-reality-decoding-glasses on my nose! For some reason, they would not operate when I looked at myself in the mirror. I think this was the first element that puzzled me: the inability to recognise processes affecting myself, even when I was well aware of them in general. This fact alone probably explains half of the unreported cases of bullying that occur. We’re unable to recognise it happening to ourselves! Maybe friends or colleagues who know about the situation can help point it out, but often they won’t have any idea of what we are going through. We do not mention all of it because each action taken individually is truly insignificant. This is the power of bullying: making legal, nonserious actions, and repeating them over time. If offering to go out for a drink to your colleague is not an offence; offering several times a week, for months, when she (or maybe he!) has shown a lack of interest, or even clearly refused it, and has a deteriorating mental health, that is an offence! Thankfully laws exist to describe and punish such behaviour.
To me, this very first step of recognising you have been a victim of harassment is crucial. Once you can name what has happened to you, it is easier to seek help, which is the second key step to recovery. Sadly, this is where things can get worse. After it had become clear to me that insomnia, nightmares, constant worry, fear of attending events were real signs of a wrong situation, and a situation I could no longer cope with, I decided to seek help. To me it was the normal thing to do in this situation, but would anyone else consider it the same way? I first turned to a student-run organisation, because I am a student. They would probably have seen similar cases and have experience in dealing with this. In less than a minute they pointed me to Student Assist. I was quickly booked in for an appointment with an officer after emailing them, and their first lines were “Thanks for getting in touch. Are you ok and safe?” “Yeah sure, I thought. It’s just a dude being a little too insistent about talking to me… Nothing dangerous. They must see far worse…” Two days later I was meeting with a Student Assist officer and telling my story. The long and constantly evolving story goes back about a year in time, so it took a while to deliver it in its entirety. All along she carefully listened, never interrupting, never questioning, simply paying attention to my problem. When I was finished her reaction was “Gosh! I am glad you contacted us! You’ve been dealing pretty well with all this!” She then explained how to lodge an official complaint with the university services, and said she would also notify Security. She assisted me with formalities, and the complaint was lodged and resolved within a few weeks.
So, all I had to do was tell them what I had gone through and that I wanted to lodge a complaint for it to happen? Really?! At the time everything felt normal and fair, once I was aware that it was an authentic bullying problem, justice had to be done, right? But time passed and I listened to more harassment or assault stories, told by victims who lodged official complaints with varying (un)success. Then I realised how lucky I had been throughout the process. None of the persons I got in touch with ever doubted or questioned me. I told them I had a problem, explained it in detail, and all they said was “You’ve done the right things. Are you ok and safe? Here is what we can do for you.” They never questioned my honesty. They never searched for inconsistencies or unclear parts of my story. They never said it was just an awkward guy trying to be friendly, nor meaning bad, or that I should learn to cope with it. They also never lied about their acting potential. All the possible and impossible options were always very clearly explained to me. I knew where I was going, with who, and who to contact should anything go wrong. Now it may sound like anyone could accuse someone else of bullying and sanctions would be taken without more reflection. No, I don’t think so. It is not a system that blindly believes victims. If it went so smoothly without questioning for me, it is probably because the facts had been happening for a year, and fitted in a 6-pages-typed document. It was also causing me anxiety and insomnia, and diminishing my usually active social life on campus. I also had several witnesses. Maybe it was so easy because the case was legitimate enough. Or maybe because the persons I met were properly trained in this domain. They knew how to receive victims and their stories, and how to orientate them to the most adapted support services. I think it went so well, not because my case was bad enough, but because they were good enough to see the problem.
Why feminism matters. In the end, a few months after closing the case, I feel good. I feel safe at work and at home. I sleep at night. It is not a burden anymore. I have analysed the events, have interpreted them and classified them as “past”, and others have helped me in that process. Had I been alone through this, I would not currently be out of it. To me, and a few external observers who knew the situation, it was obviously very wrong. But it would have been meaningless if an official representing what is right or wrong at university had decided otherwise. Knowing things deep inside are a necessity, but they are not enough for healing. The facts have to be recognised by some person of authority for the victim to feel legitimated, and to finally move on. I am forever grateful to the people who have dedicated time and energy in making the support services what they are now at UWA, and to the ones who supported me. They rescued me.
1: Such laws don’t exist everywhere. Bullying is not okay. It is not specific to women, true, but many women experience it. Sexual violence too is mostly experienced by women, and the offenders are ~95% males. Going too far from bullying to sexual assault?! They have a common denominator: violence against women. No feminist movement = no data on violence = no legal change. 2: Sounds about right and normal? Well in this country, usually yes, but not always, and in other countries this is absolutely extraordinary. Let’s name and shame for a second, in France, many women are sent home when they go to a police station to report a violent partner. “Just a couple of arguments. You are going to ruin his reputation. Think about the children.” These are phrases often heard by victims of domestic violence. I let you imagine how they would receive a complaint for bullying… No feminist movement = no recognition of this problem = no adapted training of officers lodging complaints. 3: In many places mental health issues, bullying, verbal or physical violence, are not well known by institutions. Like any problem in life, if you are not exposed to it personally, oy are not taught about it, you can simply live your entire life in total ignorance of this problem! Even if you know about that type of problem, you then may have clichéd representations of it. Often these issues around harassment and violence are experienced by women, facts denounced by feminists. No feminist movement = no real data, no real knowledge = no changing of the situation.
Damsel’s Recipes for the Soul
Brownies Elena Perse (original recipe by Nigella Lawson)
This is, in my opinion, the absolute pinnacle of brownie recipes – you can’t get better than this. Fair warning: it’s a recipe for people who are here for a good time not a long time, so these brownies include a fair bit of sugar and butter, but I promise it’s 100% worth it. This is my favourite recipe because I always bake it whenever there’s a special occasion, so as well as being delicious, these brownies have come to kind of be synonymous with celebration to me! I hope you enjoy them too.
1. Preheat over to 180 degrees
190g dark chocolate
2. Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan on a low heat
3 large eggs
3. Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla together
½ tbsp vanilla
4. Add the cooled chocolate to the egg mixture
250g caster sugar
5. Add flour, nuts / white chocolate and salt
110g plain flour ½ tsp salt 150g chopped walnuts (if you’re feeling healthy) or chopped white chocolate (if you’re feeling decadent à la Nigella)
6. Pour into a square tin and bake for 40 minutes or until the top is pale brown and flaky – the middle should still be gooey so if in doubt take it out (there’s nothing worse than an overcooked brownie!)
Pancakes Eva Sirantoine
I love this recipe because it is quick and simple, and pancakes make people happy! It also reminds me of home, where pancakes are a weekend or special night treat, making you feel it is like a mini party!
1. Mix flour + eggs well.
2. Then add oil and butter. Mix very well until it’s a smooth paste.
Optional 3 tbsp sugar 2 tbsp vegetable oil 50g melted butter
3. Then slowly add milk. Let it rest 30min. 4. Cook! No need to add fat in the pan, just for the 1st one.
Vegan Apple Crumble Cake Bonnie Hyatt
After months of trying different vegan baking recipes, I have finally found an absolute ripper. I think I love this cake recipe the most because it was the first vegan cake that I baked that didn’t fail or taste like banana. when I offered some to my friends (who aren’t vegan) they said they would never have guessed it was vegan and it was possibly one of the best cakes they have had. Serves 12-16
1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius and line a 9x9 cake pan with baking paper.
½ cup canola oil/vegetable oil ½ cup non-dairy milk with 1 tsp of vinegar
2. Mix together milk, oil and both sugars in a bowl until the sugar is dissolved.
½ cup brown sugar
3. Mix in vegan eggs and the vanilla extract.
¼ cup caster sugar
4. Stir in SR flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
2 vegan eggs 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract 2 cups SR flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp cinnamon ½ tsp salt 1 ½ cup chopped apple
Crumble 3 tbsp melted margarine/coconut oil 6 tbsp brown sugar 1 tbsp caster sugar ½ cup plain flour 2 tbsp rolled oats 1 tsp cinnamon
5. Fold in chopped apple. 6. Pour the batter into the lined cake pan. 7. For the crumble, mix together the crumble ingredients then spread the crumble mix on top of the cake batter. 8. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.
Damsel’s Recipes for the Soul
Apple Pie Priyanka Sharma
When I was a kid, I was dragged to dinner parties that I didn’t want to be at, and forced to play with the children of my parents’ friends who were older than me, and who I didn’t like. The parties were boring and I always wanted to go home, but there was always one saving grace; dessert. Every single dinner party, without fail, my mother would prepare this pie, and I would wait for it all night. This pie was my saving grace, as soon as I took the first bite of cinnamon-y, apple-y goodness, I was happy. I’m sharing this recipe in the hopes that when you have a terribly boring, or stressful life event, you too can take a bite of this pie, and find solace in its comforting goodness.
2.5 cups flour
1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl
1 tsp salt
2. Add butter, combine with flour using a fork, forming a clumpy mixture
400g butter, roughly cubed 8 tbsp cold water, as needed
3. Add water, mix until dough comes together 4. Knead the dough, form into a ball and refrigerate for half an hour
10 apples (brand of your choice), peeled, cored, and sliced
1. Peel, core and slice the apples
¾ cup dark brown sugar
2. Mix the apples, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice together in another bowl
½ tsp salt
3. Mix until combined, refrigerate
2 heaped tsp cinnamon (to taste)
4. Preheat the oven to 200 C
½ tsp nutmeg ½ lemon, juiced
Pie assembly: 1. Flour a flat surface, halve the pie dough and roll out until flat 2. Fit dough into pie dish, trim excess as needed 3. Pour in apple filling, and flatten with a spoon 4. Place remaining rolled out dough onto pie dish 5. Press together the edges of the dough to seal the pie 6. Bake for 60 minutes, until pastry is golden brown
Women’s Department Resources UWA Women’s Department Email: firstname.lastname@example.org FB: facebook.com/UWAGuildWomens
Damsel Magazine Email: email@example.com Website: https://damseluwa.com/ FB: facebook.com/groups/DamselMag/
UWA Women’s Collective FB: facebook.com/groups/UWAWomensCollective/
UWA Women’s Access Collective FB: facebook.com/groups/UWAWomensAccess/
UWA Women of Colour Collective FB: facebook.com/groups/UWAWOCCollective/
UWA LGBT+ Women’s Collective FB: facebook.com/groups/UWALGBTWomens/
Important Numbers Security SMS – 0438 739 744 UWA Security (Emergency) – 6488 2222 UWA Security – 6488 3020 Sexual Assault Helpline – 1800 806 292
Acknowledgements and Thanks Print layout and design – Xander Sinclair Cover and back Page – Charu Sharma & Priyanka Sharma Inside cover – Priyanka Sharma Sketches – Bonnie Hyatt & Priyanka Sharma