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.

We need to rewrite the ‘deathbed regrets’ list for women

Apparently our latest #firstworldproblem is that we are rapidly approaching ‘peak Upworthy’. If an inspiring college student’s spoken word piece ‘brought hardened stockbrokers to tears’, we’ve shared it. If a mother duck in a Bronx alley had three must-watch lessons on tough-love, we’ve learned them.

What now for yoga’s guru model?

Revelations that the former leader of Satyananda’s Australian ashrams abused children for decades have shocked the yoga community worldwide. Meanwhile, police are investigating the spiritual director of two more Australian ashrams amidst claims of sexual abuse. Is it time to do away with the guru model? 

Why smart women still do the pre-wedding diet

Your super easy-going friend is getting married, but something is off. At a time at a time she’s supposed to be feeling her most blissed-out and beloved, you catch her Googling ‘ketosis’. For months she was fine – she didn’t buy into any of that ‘wedding as performance art’ malarkey, but two months out something changes.

Family violence does not have a colour

For this story I interviewed Lani Brennan – a freakishly strong woman who pushed through institutional racism to bring her attacker to court.

“I grew up in an environment where everyone was drinking and there was a lot of violence. I got together with my partner at 17, but I’d known him my whole life. We were both using drugs and alcohol, and it started with verbal abuse. I already had low self-esteem on account of being an alcoholic and addict, so I was primed to accept that kind of treatment.

A night at the domestic violence crisis support centre

Most callers to the Women’s Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE) are seeking help in relation to domestic violence and financial abuse. I spent a shift with the phone workers and collated their stories into one ‘as told to’ story:

1pm
We always get a lot more domestic violence related calls following public holidays. The Easter weekend has just passed; I have a stack of messages from women who couldn’t get through yesterday because the lines were so busy. After a cup of tea with the other two phone workers and our team leader, I begin the call-backs.