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.
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?
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.
“One abortionist was a former policeman who’d trained as a butcher. This is how it happens…”
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.
When I got engaged, I was determined ‘not to be one of those silly bridezillas who lose their s*** over table-settings and colour schemes.’ Certain I was above such signs of the patriarchy as bridal anxiety, I channeled Mean Girls’ Amy Poehler ‘I’m not like a regular bride – I’m a cool bride!’
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:
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.
As a feminist, the decision to get married wasn’t straight-forward. Although I believed in equal rights pre-engagement and am confident that won’t change on signing a marriage certificate, a little voice at the back of my mind kept saying “But you can’t be a feminist and get married!”
And yet it’s precisely because of feminism that modern marriage still represents the transferral of women’s ownership about as much as a white dress represents virginity. The idea that modern marriage excludes feminism is as absurd (not to mention insulting) as the notion that you can’t be a feminist and wear a ‘too-tight, too-short and too-low dress’ and enjoy casual sex.
We’ve done away with ‘to love, honour and obey’, and the pronouncement of ‘man and wife’. The medieval tradition of “‘fingering the stocking’: literally checking the bride’s stockings for signs that the marriage had been consummated” is now laughable, but hopefully not so quaint it’ll be revived at any hipster weddings.
(Well, not me personally. This is an ‘as told to me’ interview with a Melbourne gamer.)
A few years ago, I got into playing video games online with a former boyfriend. We played MMO’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) with hundreds of other people from all over the world. They’re very competitive in terms of skill and equipment, and soon I was playing at the top level.
But playing as a woman at that level soon became a hassle, because other players just didn’t believe that I was a girl. They were always asking me to prove it, but whenever I did the response would be the same. If I made a mistake it’d be “You’re shit because you’re a girl”, and if I did, well it’d be “You only have good equipment because people want to f–k you.” After that I just played as a male character and had no problems.