Western women today enjoy unprecedented freedom and power – but it can sometimes seem to be a game of two steps forward, one step back.
Yes, Julia Gillard is our first female prime minister … but her legitimacy has been questioned throughout, and the criticism aimed at her has been curiously gender-specific, from cries of ‘witch’ to calls for her to ‘make an honest woman of herself’.
And while feminism dominates social media and commentators like Clementine Ford and Caitlin Moran attract legions of fans, popular culture is constantly winking at us with storylines featuring submissive women, from Mad Men to Fifty Shades.
In the fiftieth Quarterly Essay, renowned memoirist and concert pianist Anna Goldsworthy lays bare the dilemmas of being a woman today.
Anna Goldsworthy is the author of the memoirs Welcome to Your New Life and Piano Lessons, and Quarterly Essay 50, On Women, Freedom and Misogyny. Her writing has appeared in the Monthly, the Age, the Adelaide Review and Best Australian Essays.
Sophie Black is Head of Publishing at the Wheeler Centre where she has worked on projects such as the new national writers scheme The Next Chapter, The Messenger podcast (Grand Trophy and two Gold Medals, New York Festivals Radio Awards 2017; UNAA Media Award for Best Radio Documentary; Walkley Award for Radio/Audio Feature; Australian Human Rights Commission Media Award) and the ABC Radio National program Talkfest.
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