The problem with ‘Join your union’

Type
Article
Category
Politics
Unions

After the Fair Work Commission’s decision in February to cut Sunday penalty rates for hospitality and retail workers, it was virtually impossible to scroll through Facebook without seeing a post urging angry workers to join their union. Union membership was presented as the means to resist not only the Commission’s decision, but all of the industrial woes of our time. However, there is a striking dissonance between the portrait of union power painted by our Facebook feeds, and the material reality.

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Type
Article
Category
Film
Technology

Sexbots, broken dolls and other artificial women

Artificial women have served as temptresses and traps in myths, legends and fiction, usually constructed to reinforce or critique a misogynistic worldview in which all female emotion and compassion is seen as false and designed to manipulate men. The artificial woman is a familiar cinematic trope, and better entries in this milieu can present profound questions about gender, posthumanism, technological anxiety and romantic desire.

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Type
Article
Category
Australia
The Body

Bodies fit for consumption

In Australia – a wealthy and democratic country – we have a wealth of ‘shit’. But most of ‘it’ is invisible: the imprisoned refugees hidden in the torture prisons on Nauru and Manus islands; the homeless people of Melbourne who will soon be removed from the city’s centre; Indigenous peoples whose individuality and personhood is obscured by the tabloid spectre of blackness that links Indigeneity to alcoholism, barbarity, and violence.

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Type
Article
Category
Inequality
Labour rights

Women’s work: the stigma continues

However, since the early 1990s, research has shown that rather than hitting a glass ceiling, men working in the ‘female professions’ take a ride on what sociologist Christine Williams famously termed ‘the glass escalator’. In 1992, she wrote, ‘men take their gender privilege with them when they enter predominantly female occupations; this translates into an advantage in spite of their numerical rarity’.