Articles on Friday essay

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We need women to participate equally in science fiction’s conversations about humanity’s future. MsSaraKelly

Friday essay: science fiction’s women problem

Science fiction is a popular and lucrative genre – but most authors are men and relatable female characters are sadly lacking. Given this entrenched sexism, it's time for publishers to take affirmative action.
A doll lies in the ghost town of Pripyat, abandoned since the nearby Chernobyl power plant suffered a catastrophic meltdown in 1986. Henrik Ismarker/Flickr

Friday essay: Svetlana Alexeviech didn’t make it to the Royal Commission

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse has documented heart-rending testimonies and elicited shattering revelations. But how does a society witness itself failing at its most fundamental duty?
Gurindji ranger Ursula Chubb pays her respects to ancestors killed in the early 1900s at Blackfella Creek, where children were tied with wire and dragged by horses, and adults were shot as they fled. They were buried under rocks where they fell. Brenda L Croft, from Yijarni

Friday essay: the untold story behind the 1966 Wave Hill Walk-Off

The Gurindji people of the Northern Territory made history 50 years ago by standing up for their rights to land and better pay. But a new book reveals the deeper story behind the Wave Hill Walk-Off.
Aboriginal elder Max Eulo holds a baby in front of a sea of 70,000 multi-coloured paper hands at the Sydney Opera House in December 2000. David Gray/Reuters

Friday essay: reflections on the idea of a common humanity

Racism is again on the rise in many parts of the world. So is the dehumanisation of our enemies. What hope is there, then, for notions of a common humanity?
Renaissance master Andrea Palladio designed Villa La Rotonda with rooms of various characters, which at night served as viewing boxes for fireworks displays in the surrounding landscape. Bogna/Wikimedia Commons

Friday essay: why a building and its rooms should have a human character

Might we enjoy our homes more if their rooms were characterised by their sense of loftiness or intimacy or cheerfulness or melancholy rather than lifeless labels such as 'media room' or 'home office'?
Photos of beaming young asylum-seekers with their families aboard HMAS Adelaide in October 2001 told a completely different story to the government’s spurious ‘children overboard’ claims. Courtesy Project SafeCom, Jack H Smit.

Friday essay: worth a thousand words – how photos shape attitudes to refugees

Images move us to act – as last week's episode of Four Corners has shown. Our government has gone to great lengths to suppress photos that humanise asylum seekers – but when they seep out, empathy is aroused.
A hundred years later, the magnitude of the Battle of Somme can still be felt. Newzulu

Friday essay: the Battle of the Somme and the death of martial glory

A hundred years ago today, the Battle of the Somme began. This conflict, in which a million men died in order to move the front lines about six miles, spelled the end of courage as a cornerstone of masculine identity.
Degas and Manet’s stormy relationship is expressed in a portrait Degas painted of Manet and his wife, which has been slashed, presumably by Manet himself. Detail of Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet and Mme. Manet (1868-69) Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, via Wikimedia Commons

Friday essay: When Manet met Degas

Edgar Degas’ relationship with Impressionism was to be a stormy one, but his encounter with Edouard Manet in 1862 was a turning-point in his career. Degas went on to paint a portrait of Manet and his wife - later slashed in mysterious circumstances.
Peter Paul Rubens, Lot and his family escaping from the doomed city guided by an angel, circa 1615.

Friday essay: The Qur’an, the Bible and homosexuality in Islam

For Muslims generally, as for conservative Christians, homosexual acts are sinful. Christian gays and lesbians have had to work hard for a measure of recognition among fellow-believers; their Muslim counterparts are just beginning that struggle.
A young punk at Myanmar’s annual water festival in 2012. Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

Friday essay: punk’s legacy, 40 years on

Punk gave women a voice; changed the dynamic between audiences and performers and offered music fans a DIY smorgasbord. On its 40th anniversary, that's worth celebrating.
A typescript for the Female Eunuch with photo of a young Greer on a book. Germaine Greer archive: 2014.0038.0001. Picture Nathan Gallagher, copyright University of Melbourne

Friday essay: How Shakespeare helped shape Germaine Greer’s feminist masterpiece

The Greer archives brim with notebooks and papers from her time as a student of the traditional humanities. And reading The Female Eunuch for evidence of the Bard reveals a new kind of book, one that is deeply informed by this scholarship.
Beyonce’s baseball bat wielding spree in Lemonade, left, bears more than a passing resemblance to the work of Swiss video artist Pipilotti Rist. Left, still from Lemonade (2016), right, still from Ever is Over All (1997)

Friday essay: the quest for legacy – how pop music is embracing high art

From Beyoncé and Lady Gaga to Kanye and even Rihanna, pop royalty is crazy for high art. Is this a phenomenon worth celebrating or are pop stars mining the art world to gain credibility?
American advertisement for non-surgical nose correction.

Friday essay: the ugly history of cosmetic surgery

Surgical makeovers might seem a modern phenomenon but they have a long and disturbing history: from 16th century skin grafts done without anaesthesia to reductions of "primitive" large breasts.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been praised for avoiding computer generated effects, but why does CGI deserve such a bad name? Image courtesy of Lucasfilm.

Friday essay: Star Wars, Mad Max and the ‘real’ vs digital effects furphy

A growing vocal minority blame poor computer generated images for 'ruining' the movies. But digital effects can co-exist with real sets and stunts - and films have always been fake.
Let’s critique the literary canon, but we shouldn’t throw the Brontës out with the bathwater. The Brontë Sisters, by Patrick Branwell Brontë, circa 1834.

Friday essay: the literary canon is exhilarating and disturbing and we need to read it

Like it or not, the literary canon is part of the cultural capital of the West. Universities that choose not to teach it – or refuse to critically engage with it – are actually disempowering students.
The 1978 Mardi Gras started as a peaceful march and degenerated into a violent clash with police. The Pride History Group

Friday essay: on the Sydney Mardi Gras march of 1978

Is a formal apology to the 1978 Mardi Gras marchers warranted? Some understanding of the oppressive social conditions affecting the lives of sexual minorities in Australia in that era is required.
New York Fashion Week has grown from its humble second world war roots into a cultural juggernaut. Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Friday essay: how New York Fashion Week came to be

New York Fashion week starts today and the world will watch outrageous designs strut down the runway. How did New York become one of the great fashion centres of the modern world?

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