The F Word
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‘Here’s a list of things that don’t cause murder. Stiletto-heel shoes. Mothers. Selfies. Broken hearts. Romance. Sex romps ... Here’s a list of things that do cause murder: the decision to murder someone.’
Feminist journalist Jane Gilmore started her #FixedIt project in 2013 to hold the media to account in their portrayal of victims of rape and child abuse. For the Wheeler Centre’s annual F Word Address, Gilmore will evaluate the Australian media and how they have performed in 2017 in their depiction of women – whether it’s in politics, the arts, sport or in the reporting of domestic violence.
Today, thanks to social media, audiences have increasing power to force change in the way the news is presented. But are public perceptions still being shaped by such reporting? And how can a simple correction – a better image, another choice of words or laying blame where it belongs – make a difference?
Part feminist stocktake, part personal reflection, Gilmore tackles the year that was, as she examines how the media has chosen to represent – or misrepresent – women in 2017.
Jane Gilmore is a freelance journalist, with a strong focus on data journalism and male violence. She was the founding editor of The King’s Tribune, and now writes regularly for the Sydney Morning Herald. She has been published by the Guardian, Meanjin, the Age, the Saturday Paper, News.com.au and Junkee, among many others.
‘Celebrities and corporations spew forth “smash the patriarchy” and benefit financially from that. You want to talk about boards? I want to talk about how some women can’t get a job.’
Santilla Chingaipe is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. Chingaipe created and hosted the Africa Talks series in partnership with the Wheeler Centre, which explored perceptions about African-Australian identity, representation and politics. She also curated Australia’s first all-day, anti-racism festival, Not Racist, But.... Her work explores contemporary migration, cultural identities and politics. She reports regularly for the Saturday Paper and is a member of the federal government’s advisory group on Australia-Africa relations.
The official fight for equal representation for women is over a century old. You might think the battle would be won by now, but in 2015, the ‘f’ word is as personally and politically charged as ever. And despite great leaps forward – equal pay (on paper), paid maternity leave, our first female prime minister – we’ve still got a long way to go, baby.
The F Word asks where feminism is at, in culture and society, with a series of events that question our assumptions (Can romance be empowering? How can you be a religious feminist?), and highlight areas for change and inclusion, like disability and science.
We begin the series with ‘Bad Feminist’ Roxane Gay, who argues that feminist values can co-exist with contradictions: nursing a childhood affection for Sweet Valley High and wearing heels that hurt your feet doesn’t weaken your dedication to ending domestic violence.