Workplace sexism: Australian women do it tougher

In Australia the ideal female worker is white, good looking, shrugs off sexism and loves being part of the boys club.

It was the first evening of product manager Katrina’s company conference and the CEO had just started the audio visual presentation.

“It began with a woman’s naked silhouette and went downhill from there,” she said. “The company had paid an actress and filmed her sucking on a lollipop and talking about having sex with a piece of equipment our company distributed.”

Things I’d do if I wasn’t afraid of appearing masculine

Reddit recently asked men what they would do if they weren’t afraid of appearing ‘feminine’. ‘I’d knit so hard, bro,’ was one response. ‘Drape myself in velvet’ was another. ‘Wax my butt crack’ was unexpected, but it did get me wondering what I’d do if the question was reversed.

So here are the things I’d do if I wasn’t afraid of appearing masculine. (Ladies and transgender ladies, add yours in the comments!)

What the Kardashians can teach us about Christmas spirit

Don’t say I don’t write about the important things. We’re very sad that this is the first year the Kardashians MAY NOT continue their spectacle/tradition of dressing up as the credits on Friends for their annual Christmas card. But dry those tears – let’s take a fond look back at their Kards of Yore (and Merry, Merry Christmas to YOU dear reader)

When I was eight, my best friend’s aunt converted to Mormonism and ran off to Utah, and after ten long years of silence she finally sent them a Christmas card of her new family. My friend showed it to me, and we gawped at this family with their, all seven of them in matching white t-shirts tucked into high-waisted jeans, each person was holding a gun.

Are we offended yet?

I try and be fearless in my writing, yet I’m often afraid to say fairly basic things in columns, lest it be ‘wrong’ – inadvertently construed as somehow offensive.

Over the weekend The Australian did a follow up to an opinion piece I wrote for the Age newspaper, on how in being so quick to call out racism and sexism we miss addressing the real problems (in this case, school resources and helping schools cater to two vastly different learning levels) and therefore finding real solutions.

Predictably, many were offended. And it made me sad. Because we live at a time when being offended is the fastest way to shut down a discussion.

Wedding staff tell: how not to start a marriage

We love a fairy tale wedding, and judging by our reality TV (Married at First Sight), we take marriage seriously. (Sure, we won’t have marriage equality on the grounds that it disrespects the tradition of marriage, but we’re happy to watch shows where brides score other brides’ weddings out of ten (Four Weddings) and two couples duke it out as their marriage deteriorate before our very eyes (The Seven Year Switch).

As impartial, unsentimental observers, they can spot the telltale signs of conscious uncoupling from the get-go.

Here are the warning signs wedding staff notice:

How to (really) pull ourselves up by our bootstraps

As Trump puts his cabinet together and the world waits to see what happens when the most powerful nation on earth decimates what remains of its social services, I came across this report on the long-term effects of childhood abuse. (I know, cheery. But my next post is a fluffy one, I promise)

I’m all for pulling ourselves up by our boot straps. Being an adult means taking responsibility for our own prosperity, happiness and health. (Yay for that, hello to my friends on the Right) … And yet:

How to deal with a well-meaning naysayer

The well-meaning naysayer is here to help. They are here to ensure you don’t put off having a baby (‘If you leave it too late they’ll come out deformed or not at all!’), or a wedding (‘I know he’s not perfect, but you don’t want to be left on the shelf, do you?’), and don’t even think about upgrading or switching careers (‘be realistic, competition will be tough, there’s no security!’). “I’m just saying it because I care,” is their motto and heaping fear is their method.

What your doctor is really thinking

As a writer (and human) I’ve always been fascinated by the private thoughts of those I make myself vulnerable to.

(And have even confessed my own now not-so-private thoughts as a yoga teacher.) What’s really going on in my doctor’s mind when I peel down my pants? How do they really feel about people with addiction, obesity, things up their butts and other so called “self-made” health issues?

My favourite interviews always yield something surprising. After speaking with ER doctor Peter (not his real name) I was struck by how very real he was, struggling with workplace bullying (as many of us do) and trying to find the balance between professional detachment and the very human response many of us would have when confronted with certain cases. Who knew doctors—the demi-Gods of our society—were just as fallible, vulnerable, and struggling to do their best within their limitations, as the rest of us?

Here it is, in Peter’s words:

Inside sex addiction treatment

As a writer, you don’t always finish a piece and think ‘Jeez, I’m glad I did that one’. But was fascinating and humbling to talk to these three lovely people about their experience, and I hope some readers get something out of it:

WHAT comes to mind when you think of sex addicts in recovery?

Sleazy men in trench coats trying to have sex with nymphomaniac Girls Gone Wild? Platoons of strippers who love their jobs more than is healthy? Or perhaps it’s the image of yet another celebrity caught in a cheating scandal, vowing to “get help”?

Why ‘good manners’ disadvantage women

If the foundations of good manners are caring for others’ comfort, listening more than you speak, and glossing over the poor manners of others, “good manners” actually grossly disadvantage women.

Two days after I moved into my house, our new handyman Pete came to fix the windows. After showing him the problem, I made a polite retreat to my home office. Pete called out a regular commentary on all things window, and when he was done making them worse (“I’ll need to come back and take the whole frame apart!”) I got up to politely see him out.