Tag Archives: Feminism

Honker Honker #scrub

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To the gentleman who so sweetly honked at me and screamed, “nice arse,” as I walked to the shops today,

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Firstly I’d like to say thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to compliment me. You no doubt were in a rush to chug some VB cans followed by crushing them on your forehead so did not have time to stop and speak to me in a more lengthy manner. I am just sure from the brief insight I got into your vocab that we would be the firmest of friends. I am of course flattered that you did look upon my visage and find it both pleasing and provocative. I do have a fantastic rump and it is always lovely to have a compliment applied directly to my rear. I certainly had gone to the extra effort of pulling my unbrushed hair up into a mum-bun, so it was nice that it didn’t go unnoticed. And right back at you, your shaved head with a rats tail is a visual treat that I don’t oft get since I moved to the city. It did make me sick for my childhood home in the country. Ah memories, thanks so much for that.

Secondly, it would be a lie if I said I didn’t feel that deep personal connection, that drove you to honk at me, too. Gosh, before I even turned to hear your dulcet tone float from your mouth unto my happy ears I could feel your presence. The thrumm of your engine filled myself, and no doubt the whole street, with excitement. Why my flesh was covered with goose bumps and the hairs on the back of my neck did  stand on attention before you even honked. I felt it too. There is a bond between you and I. My panties nearly ran screaming from my body with your first toot, and then on your second, well I’m surprised they didn’t simply errupt into flames.

Thirdly, I hope you don’t think me rude for not responding to your compliment. You unfortunately drove off so quickly, and with such a loud screech of burning rubber, that I could not respond at the time.

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You were to quick for my frail girly brain to respond. I must admit that the loud screech did scatter my silly brain because my fragile lady nerves were in tatters. Afterwards I did of course consider giving chase to your vehicle so I could tell you about all the feelings burning inside me, but it would not become a lady to chase men on the streets, despite this being true love and all. Plus, I had to buy tampons.

Which leads me to fourthly. Alas, our love is not to be. Unfortunately I’m married with three kids. Hush, don’t apologise. How were you to know that your soul mate had already taken another lover and bore his children? I had left hastily after washing up bottles and had thoughtlessly left my wedding ring on the kitchen bench. There is no way you could have known another man had already stamped his ownership upon me. And obviously it’s my own damned impatient fault for not waiting for you to drive into my life. Damn me and my wandering eye. I should have waited. But again, my silly girl brain could think of nothing else but having babies after I turned thirty. So please, forgive me, but we can never be. If I were but single I’m ardently sure that it would be on like Donkey Kong, but alas, I am not. We must resist our urges and maintain a distance. Don’t honk me again because I do not know if I could resist your seductive charms a second time. My children need me, please don’t tear my family apart.

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Farewell forever

Your soul mate

Robin

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#endviolenceagainstwomen

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Every day, around the world, women and girls are harassed, bullied and abused on social media. It’s time to say, ENOUGH! We stand with Clementine Ford, and every other woman who has been threatened with rape and murder for simply expressing an opinion. These men need to be held to account. Social media platforms should provide more protection. And legislators, in all jurisdictions, must work together to stop violence against women.

Victim Blamers are Irrational and Overly Emotional

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There was a woman in the park today wearing a t-shirt, underpants, sheer stockings, and heels. Not tights, sheer stockings. And you know what? I didn’t have to slightest desire to rape her and I didn’t rape her. So I guess the idea that what women wears makes someone want or need to rape them is utterly illogical. She was in a park, an apparent danger area; she was dressed in what I imagine is not appropriate attire according to victim blamers, in heels which aren’t fab for running and foregoing trousers, shorts or a skirt of any kind; she was wearing, heaven forbid, red lipstick; and she still didn’t get raped.

You know why?

Because people who indicate that to avoid rape you must dress in a certain manner are utterly illogical and over emotional with fear. Their emotions are clouding their judgement. Rape is awful. People are rightfully scared of it. Scared of being raped and scared of someone they know being raped, because it is just as awful as they imagine, more so in fact. So their fear leads them to lay down behavioural sanctions that will hopefully protect others and themselves. They say how you can dress, where you can go, when you can go, what you can drink, but the problem is that this just doesn’t work.

You know why?

Monitoring victims and potential victims behaviours doesn’t work because a rapist doesn’t play by your rules. Your rules that if everybody acts and looks as you want then they’ll be safe. Rapists have their own rules, their rules are that they are entitled to other people’s bodies, no matter how the other person feels. Logically the only way to actually stop rape is by getting the message across that you are not entitled to another human beings body. And logically giving these rapists an excuse for their behaviour like dress, location, etc, you are in fact just encouraging them to think what they are doing is okay.

Stop being irrational and emotional about the issue. Victim blaming is counter productive no matter how you dress it up as being protective. The only way to stop rape is a zero tolerance approach. Rape is not okay. It does not matter where a person is, when they are there, or how they are dressed, you are not entitled to their body. Likening women’s bodies to a car, or a lost wallet, or any other tired old metaphor, isn’t going to work. The rapist needs to modify their behaviour and their sense of entitlement, not the other way around.

If you are still struggling with this concept please watch this as it might help you:

E L James and Patrick Suskind’s Perfume Fuelled Orgy of Violence

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Just because you think something is badly written is it really? Is the opinion of the literary elite more important than buyers? Can there not be an acceptance that neither gets the finite say and others opinions are okay? Just thinking about myself in there too. What gives me the right to say that a book is crap? Books loved by millions. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say, “I did not like that book because of X, Y and Z, but that is just my opinion and others are equally entitled to their opinion.” When did we all become so bossy and self entitled? So many feelings.

Recently best selling author celebrated the release of her latest book with a Q&A session on twitter, #AskELJames. This was met with a flurry of excitement from her fans, genuine questions of concern from people who question the message of the book, witty comments from wannabe comedians and disturbingly a barrage of abuse, threats and name calling. And I’m not talking about, “You are a meanie,” I’m talking about, “F you, you F-ing C, I hope you end up in hospital.” All I can say is WTF! How on Earth can people say that they abhor violence against women, and so are protesting the book, do so by threatening another human being? It makes no sense. I think that the discussions around psychological abuse and what constitutes a healthy relationship and the messages we give our daughters, and our sons, about women are vital. I am proud that we as a society have progressed enough to question the way women are treated in the real world and how they are portrayed in fiction. I am, however, disgusted with this social media trend that says it is okay to threaten people we perceive as successful, it is okay to abuse celebrities, and that we have the right to be threatening to another human being and encourage others to be likewise abusive simply  because we don’t like what they wrote. Picking on people you don’t like is bullying, pure and simple. Jumping in and picking on someone because others are doing it and you want in on the fun is even worse, it’s bullying, and being a mindless follower.

You see the interesting thing about Fifty Shades is that a year prior to the movie coming out my newsfeeds were regularly full of friends saying that they were reading Fifty Shades, how exciting it was, how everyone should read it, and that it was just soooooo sexy and romantic. When they directly addressed me to read it I generally politely declined as I had attempted to read it but found it not to my taste and the main character’s desperation for love, and what she was willing to put up with, far too depressing. Hey, I’ve been a single woman in my 20s, I know all too well the stupid things smart women do in the hope of getting love. It’s tragic and we need to teach girls and women to want and expect more out of life. Not once did I say the author was a c or that my friends who liked it were f-ed up. I politely told them my stance. Because disagreement is okay. Discussing important issues is what we need to do. Abusing others does not achieve either of those two things.

Fast forward to the release of the movie and in Australia Lisa Wilkinson saying the movie was abhorrent and glorified domestic violence. What happens next? Suddenly those same friends who had bought Fifty Shades, loved Fifty Shades, updated Fifty Shades, begged me to finish reading Fifty Shades, were all now anti Fifty Shades. The biggest supporter that I knew, with countless updates on how much she was loving it previously,  was actively even putting down people who read it or enjoyed it. She said how she didn’t get past chapter 8 because it was such a snoozer… Again I say WTF! These people had no view of their own. People said it was great so they said it was great. A year later a celebrity said it wasn’t great so they change their mind and say they hate it too. Even more interestingly, not one of them would admit to changing their mind. They all claimed to have always not liked the trilogy. I’d like to make it clear, I felt Lisa Wilkinson giving her contrary opinion was vital. It opened up discussion. It opened up important discussion. However, the flip flop of people and them blindly following popular opinion without any admission or reason for their change was, to say the very least, disappointing.

Then E L James does her #AskELJames and what happens? Some fan questions , some critical questions (again, I’ll say it, important questions), some clowns and then a whole heap of trolls. Why? Because it’s cool to not like Fifty Shades now. If those trolls were trully that passionate about either of the causes they claimed to support, quality literature or women’s rights, they would be petitioning publishing houses and government agencies, with detailed and reasoned responses. Because those are the people who can enact change. They’d be contacting the media for publicity. They’d be raising awareness. Tweeting “F@€£ you C@$¥” isn’t bringing about change… and it certainly isn’t a demonstration of the literary arts they claim to hold so dear. It seems closer to Tall Poppy Syndrome to be frank.

As this vitriol was directed at a writer it got me to thinking about up and coming writers and the workshops I have attended. Yes, the opening questions are inspired by some of the comments on #AskELJames  (not the amusing ones, not the genuine question ones, but the abusive/threatening /name calling ones) but this whole situation got me thinking about the times I have witnessed talented writers in workshops get shredded by fellow students. And that same pack mentality seems to hold true. Once one person says something bad a whole group jump in and start in too. A bit like the end scene of Perfume by Patrick Suskind where people cope a whiff and join in on a frenzy. Generally I will try to add many enthusiastic compliments to counter. But I wonder how many talented individuals have dropped the pen just because some people at a writing workshop didn’t get them. They’ve walked away because someone who doesn’t like the genre or sub genre passed negative judgement. Or someone who didn’t know what to say but wanted to sound smart trotted out every stereotypical thing they could think of regardless of if it applied. Those people don’t have a huge fan base and a giant pile of money to help keep their chin up. I hope they find their way back to writing… because I want to read their stories.

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What Would Tara Do?

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What Would Tara Do?
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What would Tara do?

It’s no secret that I’ve got a bit of a Lady Writer Crush on Tara Moss. Of late I’ve been using expressions like, “I’m channeling my inner Moss,” and, “I totally Mossed it,” much to my friends’ amusement. And I’ll be honest, it has caught on with them. Anytime we appear particularly serene and confident when under stress we’ll say, “I see you Mossing it.” If one of us is flipping out we’ll say, “What would Tara do? Put on her lipstick and pull herself together.” I’ve actually started wearing red lipstick now. I had to go emergency purchase some the morning of Literary Speed Dating in order to “Get on Moss of it.” I’m now wearing my red lippy all over the place. This has come as a shock to people who have known me for years and are more familiar with me channeling my inner Woolf rather than Moss.

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What would Virginia do?

But you know what, it works. I feel much more confident with my lip mask on. So I drink a cup of tea, put on my lipstick and high heels, and I’m ready to face the day. However,  I’ll let you in on a little secret, lean in closer, closer,  I have to italics it because I haven’t let anybody else in on the secret,  shhhhh, Tara Moss isn’t the only person I channel. Gasp. Yup. I’m a bit of a Lady Writer Crush (LWC) hussy (LWCS???). Although Tara Moss is my go to at the moment I can’t solve all the world’s problems through giving it “a red hot Moss.” So here are some more LWC that you can channel.

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What would Emily Maguire do? She’d put on her pajamas and pull herself apart. Because sometimes you just need to get comfy in your sauce stained PJs to truly become one with yourself. If she was scared of something she’d go out and confront it. She’d research it, interview it, visit it, she’d get that business all taken care of because knowledge and understanding is power. Then she’d go home and get comfy. Because pyjamas are awesome.

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What would Kate Forsyth do? Plaster on a smile, sip some champagne and hug her many, many books, published in many, many countries. When you’re as internationally recognised as Kate Forsyth not much phases you, so just drink champers and be fab. We all need to just shake it off with a champagne and a smile every now and then. If I was to channel pre published Kate Forsyth (translation: broke) To “Forsyth it” would mean to be focused, devoted and don’t allow for distractions or detractions. Choose your priorities and go with that. If that means skipping a few meals to do a writing course then so be it. So really,  however you “Forsyth it,” pre published or internationally celebrated,  you’ll be doing something pretty amazing. Self belief is key.

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What would Nakkiah Lui do? No idea, she’s a bit like the Spanish Inquisition,  nobody expects them. The only thing I know is that she’ll challenge, she’ll be unique, she’ll probably swear and she’ll definitely make you laugh. So if you want to “Lui it” you’ll need to be able to think on your feet and always do the unexpected and BE the unexpected.

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What would Margo Lanagan do? Something so profoundly brilliant that it beggars belief and then be self deprecating about it. Modesty thy name is Margo Lanagan… Ok, I haven’t channeled my inner Lanagan yet, because I haven’t written anything as brilliant as her yet, but I look forward to the day I do… because then I’ll be smug as hell instead of self deprecating.

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What would Hannah Kent do? Start a bidding war over her first novel… haven’t channeled her yet either… sad face.

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What would Anita Heiss do? Be ground breaking,  brilliant,  devoted and still be family oriented… I hope my daughter channels her inner Heiss, Mummy will always be here, please don’t forget me.

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What would Pamela Freeman do? Say something sassy as hell and make everyone laugh, then follow it up with a ridiculously insightful comment. Pamela is cheeky, she’s funny, she’s willing to tease her writer friends on panels just to make them laugh and she follows it up with intellectual insights. In short, she’s as close as you can get to a Terry Pratchett witch in real life. So just go say what you want, write what you want, be who you want, that’s what Pamela would do, that’s why she crosses genres and age groups in her writing.

So who are you going to channel today?

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Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Mark Latham is a BEEP

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So… it’s Postnatal Depression Awareness Week,  we’re all wanting to #bePNDaware … What does Mark Latham do? Write a revolting article shaming women with mental illness. What does The Australian Financial Review do? Prints it. They print this ridiculous article that shames women who take antidepressants, shames women who want a career, shames women who struggle with this whole motherhood thing at all. Because apparently your child’s smile should be the only antidepressant that you need and if you need more you are selfish and hate your children. Apparently Mark Latham knows this because he is a Stay At Home Dad, who has lots of leisure time, tends his garden and cooks gourmet meals, single handedly. Where the fuck are the kids that you are taking care of whilst you are doing those things!!! Either they are in school being cared for by others or you have help where other take care of them also.

And correct me if I’m wrong… but doesn’t Latham have a little bit of an Anger Management problem? One that is evidently not responding to his rigorous treatment of smiles from kiddies as he is still doing the aggressive handshake stand over combo he loves so much.

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So maybe,  just maybe, this article is an anxious lashing out because he’s so deeply insecure about his own situation. Mark Latham,  I invite you to see your GP and get a Mental Health Action Plan drawn up. Don’t shun treatment. You don’t have to live your life in such an angry way. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Please reach out and get help, because as you say yourself, your kids are the most important people in the world and they deserve someone who can model compassion and contentment not just dominance.

If you or someone you know has postnatal depression you can find good resources on the following sites:

  1. Gidget Foundation http://gidgetfoundation.com.au/
  2. PANDA http://www.panda.org.au/
  3. PIRI http://www.piri.org.au/
  4. Black Dog Institute http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
  5. Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/ 

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: The Mad Robin in the Attic #rant

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Confessions of a Mad Mooer: The Mad Robin in the Attic #rant
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Everything is awesome

I like having a bit of a write (and evidently a lot of a rant). In my adult life I’ve now written three novels, two children’s fantasy novels and most recently a memoir or a me-moi as my daughter says. Add to that the three fabulous novels I wrote in Primary School (viciously slammed by the critics, siblings can be so cruel,  but take it from me they were sensational) and I’m quite the novelist. So it surprised me somewhat when I told a friend that I’d just written a me-moi and they responded by saying, “Oh, are you still writing? I thought you’d give up now that you’d spent time in a psychiatric hospital. Wouldn’t you be unpublishable now?”

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      WHAT THE ACTUAL F!!!!

I responded with something resembling a sentence and then disengaged from the conversation as soon as was politely acceptable. Clearly they’re unfamiliar with Susanna Kaysen and the now famous quote from Girl Interrupted, “Don’t point your finger at crazy people.” Obviously nothing bad happened to them, I didn’t explode or bark or start wailing or use too many ors in a sentence or forget to use commas… I just muttered something about liking writing and then retreated to the blanket fort in my head. Here’s what I should have said –

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Serious, literary, lego me

In 1979 two great things happened, I was born (shamelessly arrogant but I feel the sense of drama was required) and The Mad Woman in the Attic was first published. The Mad Woman in the Attic was possibly my favourite text that I studied in University. And you Good Sir should read it. Because not only would you lock away the “mad woman” in literature but also in society. As soon as a woman is counter to your understanding she is to be boxed up and put away. Did it not occur to you that not all who seek help are snivelling,  messy haired, violent psychopaths? That we can be productive members of society? That perhaps the locking away and stigmatising of the “mad woman” is what forces them into violent gibberhood. And so what if I am a crackpot? At least I am in good company! Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Virginia Woolf, Luanne Rice, Elizabeth Wurtzel, Suzanna Kaysen and Patricia Cornwell have all been considered raving loonies at some point. They’ve all spent time in “supportive environments whilst they recovered from exhaustion.” So when you think about it, being barking mad would pretty much be a prerequisite. If anything I should be expecting a bunch or marauding female novelists to come barging through my door at any given moment in order to clutch me to their collective bosom and shower me with literary agents’ contact details. I too am now a raving writer. I too drink tea like it’s on tap. Ich bin ein lunatic. And honestly what real writer doesn’t have a scarf, a beret and a jumbo sized pack of antidepressants on them at all times? (I’m pretty sure I stole part of that quote from a joke about stereotypes made by Destination Saigon authour, Walter Mason) So just go take your snivelling comment and stuff it down you fluffy, lemon, jumper.

Oh, on second thoughts, it’s probably better that I didn’t say that. Let’s face it, if I did he probably would have just said, “Yeah, that makes a lot of sense if you think about it like a crazy person.”

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Unequivocal proof of my madness, not even my kids are safe from me logoising them.