To your friendly gender pay gap denier

Ever wondered what to say to that friend / relative / co-worker who tells you repeatedly that the earnings gap between men and women is BS because ‘they’ve never seen it’? All the rebuttals at your fingertips. Happy International Women’s Day, everyone! 

I know it’s International Women’s Day because there was a free morning tea at work. By the time I got there the ladies had already scoffed the best muffins, with no thought to me or their waistlines. I left when they started banging on about the Pay Gap …

Don’t you mean the ‘so-called’ pay gap?

Yes! It’s a myth just like the three-breasted woman.

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!)

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.

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.

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.

Must motherhood kill your creative career?

I found out I was pregnant the same day a literary agent agreed to represent the manuscript I’d sent her.

Friends and family were ecstatic – about the baby. I interpreted this as ‘having a baby is more important than that writing-hobby-thing you do’. Having a baby is undoubtedly more life-changing, yet I felt a much greater sense of achievement about the book. Finishing it required huge sacrifices and – regardless of the outcome – altered me as a person. Getting pregnant required functional ovaries and a calendar.

‘My sex work isn’t just a phase’

Ever a sticky-beak, I was dying to interview one of my students after she told me she was a sex worker. Pretty much all my assumptions were blown out of the water. Here’s her story:

Growing up, my only understanding of sex work came from movies. While I always thought “I could do that if I really had to”, I never seriously considered it. Soon after turning 18, my friend and I were walking down a Melbourne laneway when she pointed to an ad for an Australian porn company. She was joking, but I was curious. I’d always been the more sexual one among my friends, and after much research I started doing erotic modelling.