No longer afraid to come out of the locker: going berko for burkinis

Type
Article
Category
Dignity
Identity
Racism
Sexism
The law

Most of the debates about Muslim women’s modes of dress have rested on their ability to conform to narrow ideas of what being Australian looks like or means. Such debates merely lead to the dead ends of assimilation and exclusion. In light of that, it is worth reflecting on the history of the burkini and its importance as a cultural signifier.

beach
Sissy Specek as Carrie
Type
Article
Category
Culture
Misogyny

Bloody girls: on periods and poverty

The excitement over Yuanhui’s comments was kind of a brutal reminder of how present yet hidden menstruating is for people like me, who bleed on a monthly basis.

On the one hand, there is the inescapability of my body, the ever presence of my period: it is on or just over or waiting to happen. I’m always acutely aware of this thing that is occurring inside me – and then there is this weird hiding of that fact.

strangerthings
Type
Article

How Stranger Things turns nostalgia upside down

In spite of the sentimentality inspired by Stranger Things, this series doesn’t so much remind people of an era they lived in but instead of the era they escaped to. Adulthood is the Upside Down to the innocence and richness of our youth, and Stranger Things is our wormhole to freedom.

DNC
Type
Article
Category
Politics
United States

The new progressivism

Towards midnight, the thousands crammed into the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia broke out the flags. Thousands of stars and stripes: hand-held paper ones; large cloth ones flowing in the hot night air. Chelsea Clinton came out in a red dress, to introduce her mother Hillary, who came out in a white pantsuit. At the end, Bill would join them in a blue suit. When Hillary’s comprehensive but unexciting speech had finished, the entire crowd turned over handheld placards – red, white or blue – and the auditorium became a giant flag as red, white and blue balloons came down.

don dale
Type
Polemic
Category
The law

The illusion of deterrence

Long ago the High Court made clear that one objective stands above all others: deterrence. I can’t stress how important this word is, how many people it has locked up, how many lives it has destroyed, how much money it is costing us, how crowded it is keeping our prisons, and how poorly it is understood.

2000px-Flag_of_the_United_Nations_(1945-1947).svg
Type
Polemic
Category
Land rights
Racism

On opposition to Helen Clark’s UN bid

I was thirteen years old when Helen Clark pinched my land. She told the country my family were ‘haters and wreckers’. I suppose this is another way of saying, it’s personal. Clark, New Zealand’s second-longest-serving Labour Prime Minister and apparently Australia’s choice for the next United Nations Secretary-General, is at the centre of a national tantrum after Marama Fox, the co-leader of the centrist Māori Party, told media that her party ‘cannot support [Clark’s] nomination [for Secretary-General]’.

nhm
Type
Review
Category
Cinema

Coming home to No Home Movie

No Home Movie is, at first ironically perhaps, precisely that: a home movie consisting primarily of conversations between Akerman and her mother Natalia (Nelly), recorded in the months before Nelly’s death. Yet this title also contains an important negation of the ‘domesticated’ history of amateur filmmaking traditions when brought into the family home.

spanish-sketch
Type
Article
Category
Gender
Writing

The gender politics of translation

The issue of gender disparity in translated works has been taken up in the US by Meytal Radzinski, who for the past three years has run the Women in Translation project, following in the footsteps of VIDA. So far, results have shown that the industry has made little progress, with recent findings attesting that male-authored translated works are still comfortably in the majority. The gender hierarchy is clearest when considering the gender combination of author and translator.

bob-brown
Type
Article
Category
Politics

A good hard right hook at the Greens

This is what the dispute between Brown and Rhiannon is about: should the party moderate and modernise to be the most effective progressive electoral force, or should it retain the characteristics of an activist party that unites parliamentary action with protest politics on the streets? In other words, what kind of party are the Greens, and what is their ultimate purpose?

3346771467_5254bbdb34_b
Type
Article
Category
Activism
Debate
Politics

Toward a left-wing theory of a post-Brexit world

The Conservatives have not ruled as the Nasty Party, but as the compassionate helping hands whose dedication to austerity is to fulfil its redemptive promise of a utopian society in which everybody pays back their debts. Where Thatcher used austerity policies to divide and rule, today’s Tories instead utilise them to actualise ordinary Britons’ full capitalist potential and even their inner happiness.

14597427490_bc7bd2f98f_b
Type
Article
Category
History
Racism
Surveillance

The racialised amnesia of #CensusFail

But the tracking of lives through government documentation, in particular Aboriginal lives and the lives of other racialised people, has a long history. Despite Keane’s alarm, this kind of surveillance is not a novel breach of privacy. Certain lives and populations have been subject to tracking and surveillance since the beginnings of colonisation in this country; such scrutiny has been a key tactic of various Australian governments.

ship
Type
Reflection
Category
Culture

A compatibility of perversities

The Argonauts came to me at a time when my mind and identity were as thirsty as each other and it resonated with me in the rare way that only words spoken with nakedness can. When your world involves the constant migration from an institutional academic realm to a queer one, as mine does, an insistent tinnitus of rage creeps up on you because you know which one holds the power and which one you care about more.

9728735600_0be2a58403_o
Type
Reflection
Category
History
Labour rights

Rethinking ‘Real Aussies’: our history of migrant labour

Today, the history of the cameleers (or ‘Afghans’ as they were known then, though they came from an area that stretched from Afghanistan to what is now the most north-western part of India) is mostly used as a liberal lesson about multiculturalism. That is, the cameleers’ contribution to the federation’s economy becomes the premise for an enlarged, more inclusive nationalism.

lego
Type
Article
Category
Culture
The media

Bill Leak: the bigger picture

No doubt pictorial representations of people of colour by white men are uniquely charged and problematic, indivisible from long histories of derogatory stereotyping such as blackface. And then there is the way a political cartoon can distil an idea, making it a medium ideally suited to the rapid, self-effacing churn of an increasingly social media-driven news landscape.

climate-emergency
Type
Article
Category
Activism

How I became an activist at the age of 70

When we arrive in Sydney’s Martin Place it’s sunny but windy. We’re here to prepare for a rally. Truckloads of men are jackhammering in the space we’ve booked and we haven’t a clue what to do next. It’s a whole new experience. I’m 70 and it’s the first protest I’ve ever organised.

Australian_Coat_of_Arms
Type
Polemic
Category
LGBTQI

Can I still call Australia home?

I thought that returning home to Australia would be simpler. I knew how high my home country has been building its walls, but it couldn’t apply to me or my newly approved wife. Australia’s conservative LGBT politics felt like something that would lap at our feet, easily ignored. Somehow I managed to be aware of it all and still believe, serenely, obliviously, marked in all the privilege I’ve been steeped in so far, that for us it would be easy. But I was wrong.

Man-drinking-VB
Type
Article
Category
Labour rights

A hard-earned thirst needs a decent paycheck

CUB employees are just one of many groups working under large multinationals – in this case, UK-based SAB Miller – who claim they are being exploited and cut off from entitlements through contracting and subcontracting agreements. As the unions involved in the current dispute point out, the lot of workers doesn’t exactly come off as fair when SAB Miller have an operating income of around $4.4 billion, and its CEO Alan Clarke receives a multimillion-dollar annual payout.

3370008716_c5635e81f6_o
Type
Article
Category
Reading
Sexism
Writing

Not all bushy testicles and war

But I’d argue that literary sexism (in subject, setting, and theme) maintains a particularly tenacious grip here because of our exceedingly masculinised history, as identified by Marilyn Lake, and its connection to nation-building – a tradition forged in polar opposition to Britain and its feminine associations, including, of course, its rich literary heritage of women writers. And yet, despite the seemingly intractable bias our ‘macho’ history exerts on questions of literary merit, I hope I am not being too optimistic in reading a heartening shift in recently shortlisted books by women.

Clarke 222
Type
Essay
Category
History
Racism

The current inhabitants of the island

Jamaica is a beautiful place, the book announced. It explained that it was almost always some mild kind of summer. Everything that grew there – mango, banana, sugarcane – was rich and sweet, and the fields were lush and green. The brown-black soil was almost like compost, not the kind of sandy dirt or terracotta clay you reached after half a foot or so of digging in our veggie garden at home.