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.

‘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.