Who Really Got Girl Power Going?

Ah, 1996, a time when the concept of Girl Power (!) on a mainstream front was still relatively novel. To a generation of young girls, the Spice Girls represented a fundamental embracing of everything it meant to be a girl growing up at the end of the 20th century: a celebration of femininity, sexiness, and sisterhood in five unique caricatures. For many, it was the start of accepting that it was okay to be an out-and-proud, female, sexual being, to demand respect, and to be unapologetically loud about it all. It felt, in short, revolutionary.

Image Description: Photo of someone's calves and ankles from the back. They are wearing black pants, rolled up, and long white socks with "Girls Rule" written on them in black, block letters. The person is also wearing maroon heels. 
Except that … It really wasn't. In fact, the term "Girl Power" was coined by US punk band Bikini Kill. According to lead singer Kathleen Hanna, it was inspired by the "Black Power&quo…

Elizabeth Magie: The Forgotten Woman Who Invented Monopoly

It’s the game we bring out for guests or late at night on holiday with family, the staple for board-game-day with friends: Monopoly. If you take a closer look at the label, it says this game was created in 1935 by Hasbro Games. But, in reality, Monopoly was created 32 years earlier by the long-forgotten and uncredited Elizabeth Magie.
Elizabeth Magie was born in 1866 in Illinois. She was the daughter of a newspaper publisher and orator, James Magie, who travelled with Abraham Lincoln in the 1850s. She inherited her father’s passion and said she was “described as ‘a chip off the old block’”, which she took as a compliment. She also disregarded gender stereotypes in that she did not try to find a husband until age 44, and instead chose to work as a stenographer by day and a comedian by night. She was reported to draw huge laughs from the crowd.

Image description: a black and white portrait of Elizabeth Magie as an old woman. 
Her father, James, ran for office soon after the Civil War and l…

Book Review: “The Valkyries by Paulo Coelho”

Recently, while I was reading biographies of some great dreamers, such asKahlil Gibran, I pondered the word ‘dream’ and how influential it is in an individual’s life. One night, I asked myself a question, which I want each one of you to think over: what does it mean to dream?
Our fantasies may be called a dream. The ambitions towards which we work, our thoughts and visions, these are called dreams.
My musings led me to a bookshop where I picked up a book based on the theme of dreams. But this time, the dream is a very unusual one, which demands a long journey and some untypical rituals. “The Valkyries” is written by the bestselling Brazilian novelist, Paulo Coelho. It was published in 1992by Harper Collins.

The image is a close up of my hands, surrounded by nature. I am holding and reading “The Valkyries" by Paulo Coelho.
In this book, Paulo Coelho, along with his wife Christina Oiticica, embark on a journey to the Mojave Desert to find Paulo’s angel. Paulo, as each of his reader kno…

Feminism: It's a Fight for Men Too

Image description: Photo of a man against a blurred background of water. He is sitting with his elbows propped up on his knees and his hands clasped over his head. He is looking at the ground in a dejected manner. He is wearing dark wash blue jeans, a blue and brown plaid button-up and a black watch, as well as a wedding ring.  Feminism and women’s rights are just as much a priority for Australian women today as they have ever been. Recently, the media has bombarded us with statistics about domestic violence being the most common cause of injury and death of Australian women under the age of 45. At the time of writing this article, 39 women have been confirmed killed by domestic violence in 2019. ABS statistics from 2016 state one in four women will experience violence by an intimate partner compared to one in 13 men. In comparison, men are more likely to suffer violence at the hands of another man and more than one in four men suffer violence at the hands of a stranger, compared to on…

Disability and Masturbation

Image Description: Two femme-appearing people facing one another on a gravel pathway. The background is composed of slightly blurry trees. The person on the right is wearing all white and sitting in a wheelchair. The person on the left is wearing a blue jumper, blue jeans, white heels and a white hat with a blue rim. They are looking up at the person in the wheelchair and their hands are open, facing the sky. They look to be deep in conversation. 
It was 2014 when Dr. Y. Kobori showcased a short film of himself masturbating. During the 12th bi-annual Asia-Oceanic Federation of Sexology conference, the Japanese scientist sat comfortably in his wheelchair before a sea of hundreds, staring out into their eyes as one of his most private moments flashed vividly on the screen behind him. Except it wasn’t a moment. Given the severity of his cerebral palsy, Dr. Kobori required the assistance of a carer, sexual aids and a significant amount of time to attempt the task at hand. He chose this inc…

The Childfree Woman: Feminism’s Last Taboo

Image description: A woman in a flowing, white shirt and black leggings walking through a field of very tall grass. 
It may not always seem like it, particularly in the current global political climate, but women have made incredible strides since the beginning of second-wave feminism in the 1960s. In the workplace, at home, and on the streets, women have claimed their place and asserted their rights. What might have been unthinkable in our grandmother's youth is completely commonplace in our own. Thanks to the countless women who came before us and fought the good fight, women are running companies, countries, and breaking glass ceilings left, right and centre - but still, some obstacles remain.
One of the most prominent, lingering taboos for women as far as mainstream feminism is concerned is the right to choose a childfree life. In both the public and private spheres, women who choose not to have children are still very much viewed as an anomaly. And if a woman publicly declares …

We Need More Women and POC in the Film Industry

If you've ever seen The Princess Diaries, you’ll be familiar with the scene where Mia transforms into the Princess of Genovia. She straightens her hair and takes off her glasses, and suddenly she’s beautiful and popular. You might not think it’s a big deal, but these tropes were and are damaging to a lot of children, particularly those like me, who look more like the first version of Mia. 

Image Description: two freeze frames from The Princess Diaries (2001). The left shows Mia before her makeover, with frizzy hair, glasses and an unattractive facial expression. The right shows Mia after her makeover with straight hair, no glasses and a straight-teethed smile.
When I first started school, I was the only non-white child. All of my classmates asked me why I was brown and made up their own derogatory racial slurs for me.
I don’t believe these children were inherently racist. Prejudice isn’t part of human nature. The cruel comments were simply because they had never seen a Pakistani bef…