Coming out rarely occurs so smoothly. Mine certainly didn’t – met more with intrusive fascination than genuine support – and the assumption that the safety of coming out is all but assured in modern society is wishful thinking, especially where moral panic surrounding teen queerness (remember Safe Schools?) still abounds.
The outpouring of anger, fear and collective grief from women has been steady and predictable. So too has the steady and predictable stream of advice for women to ‘keep safe’, be vigilant and ‘take responsibility’ for their safety. It is not the first time that police, and politicians, have offered this kind of advice. In 2015, after the killing of Melbourne teenager Masa Vukotic, Homicide squad chief Detective Inspector Mick Hughes said on national radio that ‘particularly females […] shouldn’t be alone in parks’.
Grease-black, the Californian sea lion moves through the pool like a slick of oil pushed by a strong current. Propelled by rear flippers in a momentous leap, a halo of water spins from its glossy head, and, as the awkward mound flops down, a large splash rises to an elated chorus of laughter. A cool bead hits my arm. The smell in the air is cold fish mixed with the scent left in a room after a dog has been bathed.
For many writers, especially liberals, thinking and writing about politics isn’t a precursor to changing the world, it is an alternative to doing so. That’s particularly the case since writing and reading are individualistic, middle-class pursuits deeply marked by the cultural logic of capitalism.
Films about black teenagers, crime and drug dealers can claim a good portion of American cinematic history. Hollywood has always been good at exploiting its audience’s desires and, more relevantly, fears. It’s an industry inherently geared towards capitalist consumption. This is why you should fear the black man, these early films seemingly said, to white viewers. Why did it take mainstream American cinema so long to show us complex black characters?