‘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:

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.

What does a feminist wedding look like?

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.

The ‘boyfriend app’

If you can measure it, there is an app for it. There’s an app for tracking bowel movements, apps for calculating caloric input and output, and an app for measuring how much time we spend toggling between tasks. And as of last week? We have The Boyfriend Log, “the first-ever, colour-coded daily app that allows you to track the health of your relationship.”