The Wheeler Centre
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Seeking Same: Helen Razer
In her latest book, The Helen 100, writer and humorist Helen Razer chronicles the sudden, life-shattering evaporation of her 15 year relationship. This grief (and a subsequent dare from her beauty therapist) prompted her to go on 100 dates over a year – in search of renewal, distraction and good old-fashioned porking.
For no one, least of all a writer in the business of cranky analysis, is dating straightforward. Razer found that in writing and representing herself, whether online or face-to-face with others, the limits of identity tended to shift – often rather nastily. In her own case, she learned that exiting a same-sex relationship came with particular instability; lesbians, she found, were ‘supposed to stay together forever and provide an inspiring liberal example to others.’
In an energetic and hilarious conversation with sex and gender researcher Hannah McCann, Razer talks about what she discovered about queer identity, profound affect and our broad social values about dating, power and desperation.
Helen Razer was a broadcaster and is now a writer. Her appointments in radio were at the Triple J national network and ABC Melbourne. Her books include A Short History of Stupid, co-authored with national affairs correspondent Bernard Keane, a 2015 work on the history of bad Western thought shortlisted for the Russell Prize; and Total Propaganda, a popular work on Marxism recently published by Allen & Unwin.
Helen has written on social and political matters for the Age and Australian. She now contributes news and cultural analysis to outlets including Crikey, the Saturday Paper, Daily Review, Frankie, SBS and Atlantic digital publication Quartz.
Dr Hannah McCann is a Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne. Her research is located within critical femininity studies and she writes on queer identity, beauty salons, queer fangirls, and more.
You can find her work in the Conversation, Feminartsy, and Overland, as well as journals including European Journal of Women’s Studies, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and Australian Feminist Studies.