A feminist ethics of care

Type
Article
Category
Capitalism
Feminism

There’s an emphasis on self-empowerment within contemporary feminism which I think is hugely important. But I also think that the idea of self-empowerment can become tangled up in capitalism’s consumer culture, and social media-driven narcissism, in ways that can warp it into an aggressive individualism. The kind of thinking I’m referring to privileges the ‘right’ to do whatever one wants to do for themselves over anything resembling genuine and thoughtful care for other people.

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mua
Type
Article
Category
Politics
Unions

Unionising democracy

Last week, people gathered around the Opera House in Sydney, disgusted by how politicians had allowed a World Heritage public space to be sold off to the destructive and predatory gambling industry. As the protest swelled, it was reported how ‘the whole kitchen staff from the Bennelong restaurant gathered at their windows and gave the protesters a standing ovation.’ While a worker takeover of the Opera House seems unlikely, it also seems instinctively no less fair to give them a say in how their workplace is run.

Gender whisperers
Type
Polemic
Category
Education
Homophobia

Long live the gender whisperers

Part of what underlies this debate is that the Yes campaign for marriage equality in 2017, in its most formal organised form (under the banner The Equality Campaign), emphasised LGBTIQ equality in private family life, rather than broader public life. The campaign quite explicitly decided not to defend Safe Schools, gender diversity, or to confront the homophobia and transphobia stirred up by the No campaign.

Giblin illo2
Type
Essay
Category
Copyright
Writing

Fat horses & starving sparrows

But the bullshit I’m interested in right now is that populating Australia’s copyright reform debates.

A great deal of this bullshit is motivated by good intentions – most notably, the desire to sustain writers’ incomes in an era of precipitous, disastrous decline.

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Type
Article
Category
conspiracism
The internet

That time Louise Mensch claimed I’m a Russian spy

It started quite innocently, as these social media collisions always do. A friend and I were discussing on Twitter Ed Whelan’s bizarre conspiracy theory in defence of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, remarking – as many people have – that it was reminiscent of Eric Garland’s infamous 120-tweet long ‘game theory’ thread of late 2016.

endometriosis image
Type
Polemic
Category
Health
Inequality

The reality of endometriosis

To have endometriosis is to lose your job, friends, partners, independence. To have endometriosis is debilitating – and can be just as severe as some of the illnesses already in the public consciousness (multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy). To have endometriosis is to lose hope in a future for yourself.

Pilbrow crop
Type
Review

September in poetry

Anupama Pilbrow’s debut collection opens with ‘The Body Poem’, which details a forbidden affair between a lover and ‘the body’. The lover is enamoured by ‘the body’, the lover accepts ‘the body’ and even appreciates ‘the sound it makes like / jangling keys’. The subject of the poem is never degraded, used or objectified. Pilbrow instead wraps ‘the body’ in a protective ‘gauze’ (instead of gaze?) which ‘sways in the breeze’.

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Type
Reflection
Category
Labour
neoliberalism

Belong nowhere? Airbnb and the commodification of home

We’re halfway through cooking dinner on a rainy Sunday when the message comes through. ‘Can we book for tonight?’ My husband, Ryan, and I look to one another with a sigh. ‘Sure’, I type back, telling myself the extra income will be worth it. We race downstairs and remake beds. We wipe surfaces and search for a pillowcase that doesn’t bear the stain of makeup from previous guests. We wash mugs and scrub the toilet. Vacuum stray dog hairs off the carpet.

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Type
Polemic
Category
Violence

On sharks

Their status as apex predator, coupled with humanity’s inability to tame or truly understand the ocean, inspires in us a kind of primal terror, an obsession well reflected in reportage and documentary. Every time they resurface in the news, the media are whipped into a frenzy, circling the story like, well, sharks.

mirror
Type
Article
Category
Sexual assault
The law

The hidden politics of ‘consent’

As critics have pointed out, the social media ‘movement’ #MeToo hasn’t really moved much since October last year. Global conversations on sexual assault notwithstanding, we’re stuck with personal narratives, an emphasis on high-profile individuals, and little by way of a broad, institutional challenge to coalesce around. Despite this, it’s hard not to think that we might be in the midst of a generative time for new, critical insights on sexual violence.

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Type
Article
Category
Environment
Politics

New South Wales is failing the ocean

On a warm Thursday evening in early September, a community meeting about the New South Wales Government’s proposal to establish a new, long-awaited marine park in and around Sydney was held at Fishing Station in Mona Vale, on the city’s northern beaches. Around three hundred local fishers crowded in to voice their anger, bodies spilling out of the tackle shop’s doorway and into the carpark. To them, the marine park was a ‘lockout’.

Saudade-cover crop
Type
Review

October in fiction

Australian letters is like a microcosm of Australia itself: culturally diverse, politically varied across different states, tense and conflicted or humorous or affecting in turn. If there is one thing we may say about our literatures it is that there is a common thread of darkness underneath. Whether that thread references an unvoiced violence or subsumed toxic masculinities, or a wilfully forgotten colonial past, it is traceable in much of our writing, especially in the short story form.

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Type
Reflection
Category
Class
Death

Burying our dead

In Victorian times, the pauper funeral signalled abject poverty and low morality and in order to avoid this stigma, many working-class people made great sacrifices to pay regular and relatively significant amounts to burial clubs. What lingers today is the common misconception that overspending on funerals has a direct correlation to dignity.

Berkeley-Free-Speech-1964
Type
Polemic
Category
Activism
The Right

There’s no such thing as a free speech

Free speech no longer emerges, in the words of Jacques Rancière, in a time and in a place you’re not supposed to speak, exercised by those who aren’t allowed to speak. Free speech is now a weapon in the right’s arsenal: by invoking free speech, they simultaneously bludgeon an ‘intolerant’ left who dare disagree with them.

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Type
Review
Category
Art
Capitalism

The art of money: Melbourne Art Fair

After its absence in 2016, the biennial Melbourne Art Fair (M.A.F.) returned this year, spread across two venues in the Southbank Arts Precinct: Riding Hall, the newly refurbished stables at VCA, and Vault Hall, a bloody great tent erected on the ACCA Forecourt. M.A.F. saw forty galleries display works by the brightest and best in their respective stables, demonstrating the strength of the current Australian contemporary art scene to those who filed through.