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Some criticism of Fifty Shades reveals a disdainful attitude toward fans of the franchise. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick - © Universal Pictures

The ‘mommy porn’ myth: who are the Fifty Shades of Grey fans?

With the release of Fifty Shades of Grey in cinemas this week, serious questions have been raised about whether the film depicts abuse – including on The Conversation. Some feminist groups have staged…
We can’t talk about “consensual” BDSM without considering the levels of violence against women. Universal Pictures

Violence dressed up as erotica: Fifty Shades of Grey and abuse

This Valentine’s Day, why not ditch the roses and celebrate by watching some sexual violence? That’s a more honest marketing pitch for the Fifty Shades of Grey film. It’s astonishing that, in 2015, sexual…
White Ribbon aims to make women’s safety a man’s issue too, but ambassador Tanveer Ahmed has done damage to the cause. Courtney Biggs/Newzulu/AAP

‘Disempowered’ men still lead on economic power

This week “feminist” organisation White Ribbon came into disrepute after one of its ambassadors, psychiatrist and journalist Tanveer Ahmed, wrote an opinion piece in The Australian, suggesting men’s violence…
How do men feel about the way they are depicted on the covers of romance novels? Book Thingo

Gamergate and the bodice-ripper have little in common, with respect

Buttons open to the waist, skin gleaming with sweat, hair tousled, intriguing flashes of curves … men on the covers of classic romance novels, or “bodice rippers”, are objectified in many of the same ways…
Women – and little girls even more so – are desperate to see images and stories that don’t actively oppress them onscreen. Nadia Meli

The princess is not quite dead, but it’s time to let her go

Some time ago my then five-year-old goddaughter began insistently and, it must be said, somewhat repetitively humming a few bars that would quickly become one of the world’s most ubiquitous earworms. As…
Claire Wright won the Stella Prize in 2014, the Year of Reading Women Writers, but it’s ok to read her work in 2015. AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

Enough lists: 2015 is another good year to read books by women

When we waved goodbye to 2014, we also farewelled one of my favourite initiatives – The Year of Reading Women. After reading Joanna Russ’ 1983 book How to Suppress Women’s Writing in December 2012, author…
Lynda Carter as Diana Prince in the New Original Wonder Woman. Her bullet-deflecting bracelets are made from an impervious metal: feminum. Retrogasm/Flickr

Where have all the wonder women gone?

In the epilogue to Jill Lepore’s new book, The Secret History of Wonder Woman, we learn about Wonder Woman’s importance to the American feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Lepore briefly notes Wonder…
Oh, no, wait – it’s the 21st century! Carl Guderian

Sorry kids, men are better writers than women

It’s official: men are better writers than women. The news came as something of a shock to a hardened feminist such as myself, but a quick survey of prescribed and suggested texts set for senior English…
The lady razor: pink, pricier, and less effective. MeePoohyaPhoto/Shutterstock

‘Woman tax’ on everything makes us buy into gender inequality

Women are paid less than men for the same work, despite the Equal Pay Act in the UK. These are statistics that we are familiar with. Women earn 85p for every £1 a man earns. But, adding insult to injury…
Outlander might draw on the conventions of romance, but it’s a mistake to dismiss it as “just” romance. Fox

Outlandish desires: why Outlander is a feminist romance

Television series Outlander made its debut on the small screen in August this year, to the acclaim of both reviewers and fans. Critical tongues are wagging, tumblr gifs abound, and Etsy has been inundated…

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