I will never shut up about the men in this city who have and continue to attempt to systematically dismantle the dignity and rights of the women in this city and women at large. Never.
I’m willing to cop as much social media flack as these people can attempt to throw at me for it. Though, of course, it’s always hurled behind the firewall of multiple private accounts.
The women in this city who have been belittled or damaged by these men are strong and getting stronger. Me included.
Feminism is currently coming to the forefront of media, with Beyonce’s recent VMAs performance, Daily Life’s Clementine Ford nearly crashing the site with her commentary on the JLaw leak and even our own local feminist bloggers making waves.
But feminism is really just giving women, in Newcastle specifically, the vocabulary and the opportunity to vocalise the objections we’ve held for the decade since we encountered these men.
The women in this city are united by intellect, by success and by a common truth. That we deserve respect and acceptance regardless of any ‘qualifiers’ men assert, like amount of sexual partners, appearance, opinions, or anything else.
I will never shut up about the men in this city who support the domestic assault perpetrators within their ranks.
I will never shut up about the men in this city who band together only to segregate and bully others, despite following careers in noble careers like psych and social work (the irony is laughable).
I will never shut up about how I cannot and will never feel belittled again because I am smart and successful despite men like these doing their upmost to drag women down for a laugh. Never.
On Monday, an anonymous online hacker from the anarchic online forum 4chan illegally obtained over 100 nude photos of female celebrities and posted the images online.
The majority of the photos have been officially confirmed as belonging to Jennifer Lawrence, but images belonging to Rihanna, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, Brie Larson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Krysten Ritter have since surfaced on the feed.
A representative for Jennifer Lawrence has declared the hack a ‘flagrant violation of privacy’ and added that ‘the authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos’.
Many people are dismissing the situation with the usual slew of watery reasonings.
Jennifer Lawrence et al shouldn’t have taken nude photos.
Jennifer Lawrence et al has been more nude in her movies.
Jennifer Lawrence et all look good and should be proud of the nude photos.
None of these points are relevant to the central criminal issue which is the violation of a woman’s consent.
Just like enjoying consensual sex does not constitute being raped, taking nude photos does not constitute their distribution to people who were not chosen to view them.
These photos were clearly captured in a moment of intimacy and trust, and given to a person in a way not dissimilar to choosing to share your body during sex.
Women feeling strong and empowered about their sexuality and choosing to exercise this does not negate these women’s full ownership over their bodies or the photos of them.
Actively participating in viewing the images despite the lack of the victim’s consent prioritises a person’s sexual satisfaction or curiosity over the rights of a woman to maintain control over her sexuality.
This is clearly a deep violation of these women which constitutes a form of sexual assault.
The solution is not to strip women of their right to a sexuality by implying they should not take nude photos of themselves (although this seems to be the only realistic fail safe way to ensure a woman’s naked photos are not circulated against her will).
Nor is it to maintain that if a woman has consented to being nude once, whether it be on screen or in the bedroom, she has consented to every variation of exposure of her body.
Neither, most crucially, does it imply that simply because a body conforms to a standard of beauty that it now ‘belongs’ to that standard and to those who enforce it.
The solution is to cultivate an environment where women are free to explore their sexual identity without the fear of shame or exploitation.
Further, the issue of consent, which arises again and again in a society where 1 in 3 women have been sexually assaulted, must come to the forefront of our understanding of sexuality.
The celebration of a positive, mutually-consensual sexuality where the rights and dignity of all parties are kept intact must be the unwavering approach to our sexual identity.
Actress and victim Mary Winstead summed up the situation most succintly on her Twitter account following the leak.
‘‘You know what’s better then leaked nudes? Earning the trust and respect of another human to the point that they share their body with you.’’
I recently wrote this list of the 101 best things about the Hunter region, nestled on the east coast of Australia - my home.
"TELLING people you’re writing a list of the 101 best things about the Hunter Region is a great conversation starter. The great thing about it is that everyone has a different favourite – a restaurant, an event, a vantage point, even a time of day. For some people it’s that unexplainable vibe of the place itself.
Regional, but with a delicate balance of city traits – wine bars, concerts, fine dining destinations, a world-class university and multiple art galleries.
For others, it’s the people that make the place – rock bands like Silverchair and the Screaming Jets, our mighty Knights and Jets, the legacy of world-renown artists like Margaret Olley or John Earle, and talents like Abbie Cornish or Jennifer Hawkins.
Or maybe it’s the lollypop man who makes sure kids get to school safe, the cafe owner who allows ‘‘suspended’’ coffees for those in need, or the local conservation volunteers.
No list can be definitive, but paired with recommendations from everyone and anyone I’ve come across since I began writing this list, here are the 101 best things about the Hunter Region.
The Fernleigh Track: A relaxing bike ride along the 15-kilometre track from Adamstown to Belmont surrounded by the fragrant bushland is a serene experience. (Until you come across a crying kid with grazed knees and a mangled bicycle).
The Obelisk: Located on the highest point of The Hill, it provides a stunning 360-degree vista of Newcastle from the coastline to the suburbs and beyond.
Cardboard sliding at the Foreshore: Many people can remember sliding down the hill as kids, usually ending up with a scold from mum about the unshakable grass stains on the seat of their pants.
Coffee: We can be very picky when it comes to our caffeine, which is why the Hunter boasts some spectacular coffee. Lines of bleary-eyed caffeine addicts regularly pour out of One Penny Black in Newcastle, Dark Horse Espresso in Wickham, Double Shot Espresso in Belmont and Cafe Enzo in Glen Oak…
Swimming at the Bogey Hole: Created by convict labour for Commandant Morisset’s personal use in 1819, the Bogey Hole swimming pool is a secluded spot to enjoy a cool dip. Bonus points if you have ever held onto the chain facing the ocean as a wave breaks over the top of you.
Yelling ‘Taxi!’ when someone breaks a glass at the pub: The joke has broken the tension of many glass smashes throughout the region, typical of the camaraderie for our fellow drinker in the Hunter.
One schnitzel please, Harry: Harry’s Schnitzels at The Junction have long been renown in the region, even before their funky branding facelift. Find hordes of salty teenagers fresh from the surf, businesspeople ducking out for a quick lunch and everyone in between getting their fix from this bustling takeaway shop.
Jim’s Ice-creamery: Many folks have memories of foraging through pockets for change to get a handful of lollies from Jim’s as a child. Now located in Hamilton, Jim’s also provide great milkshakes and ice-cream.
Newcastle City Farmers Markets: This sprawling market sells mounds of fresh, local produce every Sunday, as well as an artesian collection of homemade relishes, desserts, homewares. Streetfood from every corner of the globe also sells out. The line for a spinach and fetta gozleme is long, but drizzled with lemon and piping hot, it’s worth the wait.
Newcastle Museum: Located in a former railway workshop in Honeysuckle, it showcases the city’s past, present and future in an extensive collection of artefacts and exhibitions.
Fishing at the Harbour: On any evening you can find a handful of fishers dotted along the foreshore, fishing rod in hand, admiring the lights of the dockyard against the inky waterfront.
Rowie’s Bottle Shop deliveries: Just arrived at a restaurant and forgot your wine? No worries, call Rowie’s on Hunter Street and describe what you like – maybe a Tasmanian Pinot Noir, or a bottle of bubbly. Expect your bottle to be hand delivered within 20 minutes.
Morpeth sourdough: This salty, crunchy sourdough baked daily out of Morpeth appears in scores of restaurant and food stores across the region.
The sticky date pudding at Goldbergs: Served absolutely soaked in butterscotch syrup and with a generous serving of ice cream or cream on the side – or both.”
"…But the casual, flippant use of the term "rape" in instances that do not involve sexual violence is highly problematic in that it trivialises one of the most despicable invasions of a human being.
Desensitising the masses to the term “rape” is just another way the conversation surrounding sexual assault is derailed or diluted in society.”
Avoid the rape simile - read more…
You’ll learn how to walk,
You’ll learn how to write,
You’ll learn how to read,
You’ll brush your own hair
You’ll master a sport,
You’ll make your own lunch,
You’ll explore your first kiss,
You’ll learn how to study,
You’ll learn how to be a friend,
You’ll learn how to drive,
You’ll explore making love,
You’ll understand bills,
You’ll learn how to write a résumé,
You’ll understand your alcohol limit,
You’ll die of your first heartbreak,
You’ll experience travelling,
You’ll get that great job,
You’ll experience that one person,
You’ll learn how to be a parent,
You’ll experience a promotion,
You’ll lose your parents,
You’ll experience worry for children,
You’ll experience your first wrinkle,
You’ll master a hobby,
You’ll enjoy your first greys,
You’ll understand your health limits,
You’ll hold hands as you drift away,
And you’ll know.
The most important thing you’ll ever do,
Is fall inlove with yourself.
When I was young and invincible,
Onto my back,
Against timber stairs.
The white-hot shock
Was the sort of pain
That nearly fills me again
When the vivid memory orbits
Into my consciousness.
This could be why
My skeleton seems to fit better
When I am cuddled
From the back,
Not the front.
The front of a skeleton is defensive,
Dipping valleys and jaded peaks.
Shoulder bones smeared with thin skin
knock against the other’s,
Oddly placed hip bones
Laid with fine sheets of flesh
They sit like the locked jaw
of a defiant youth.
With two arms
That can only function forward,
The front of us was made
To be awkward
But in the evenings I observe how,
Skin is drawn softly across
the slight rivets of my back;
the back of my ribcage,
the back of my pelvis.
And my spine.
I think my fall, onto my back,
Is why I prefer a person filling
My body leaves
As I lie curled and cosy
An extra defense between
And my back,
With skin pulled gently,
Over unassuming bones.
By EMMA ELSWORTHY
"I RECENTLY turned 23. It’s a horrible nondescript birthday that means nothing and matters less.
At 23, you’ve probably finished your education in a degree that sounded about right when you were enjoying non-stop partying in year 12.
At 23, you’ve probably moved out of home into a charming yet derelict sharehouse and are forming some pretty serious bonds with the daddy long-leg spiders in your room.
At 23, you’re probably staring upward at the steep incline of a career ladder with trepidation, or putting off thinking about it until a More Sensible Age (hint: it doesn’t exist).
At 23, there are no excuses for not organising your own healthcare, or misunderstanding the difference between a quality car and a tin can, or not being able to prepare a meal without a microwave (though you’re entitled to one phone call to mum until you’re at least 30).
But this isn’t meant to be my 20s. Ten years ago, at 13, I thought I had forecast my future self quite succinctly. I was one of those kids who wrote a lot of lists, arranged my stuffed toys by height and worked really hard to get my Sims characters promoted. You can imagine….”
I sit on the slightly slanting balcony of this century old terrace in Newcastle. Geographically, I live in The Hill, but my rickety old terrace sits at the far end of the suburb amongst the grandiose towering structures from yesteryear, perched high and proud and double glazed overlooking the coastline. The ocean is just a headturn glance away from my place too, and it gleams today in that way that makes you question if you’ve ever properly understood the colour blue before now.
My terrace is just one of a slew of similar structures on this street, the duplication varying only if you look twice; an extra balcony added here, a different paint job there, a couple chimneys poking out the top cheekily. Attics converted into an extra floor like a game of structural duplo; precarious, but stable.
People dressed in exercise gear with steaming lattes in hand, businessmen shifting uncomfortably in the glaring winter sun and teenagers with guitar cases in hand come and go, slamming their front doors. Each door shouts a different sound - the ching of the screen door, the thud of the wooden door, the clang of the iron doors. All is still once again.
A balding man walks by with his tiny daughter, her corkscrew blonde curls bouncing playfully on top of her head. She squeals delightedly as she comes across the neighbour’s cat, lolling luxuriously in the sun. The cat is gorgeous by anyone’s judgement - brown, with flecks of gold, and a fuzzy tail that whips curiously to counter the small hand now rubbing it’s head. Giving into the pleasure, the cat shuts its eyes and basks in the affection momentarily. The father is already two letterboxes down the street and continues to saunter along, so the little girl abandons the cat and scampers after him. The cat sits up, startled, its bell chiming indignantly.
The breeze winds it’s way between each leaf on each towering tree on the street, the rustling being the sort of thing you don’t hear when lamenting an impending deadline or a hefty bill. But today it sounds lazy and relaxed, like the trees are yawning and stretching on this unusually warm Saturday morning.
Ding! goes my mobile. What am I doing, a friend asked. I look around from my spot on my terrace balcony, running my eyes across the glorious blue ocean vista, the Saturday morning foot commuters and the gold-flecked cat, now climbing the nearest oak tree. Nothing much.