In order to address the fictions about other women, I had to also address the fictions about myself. One of those fictions is that I am ‘Teflon Tara’ and nothing has chinked my armour; my life has been as smooth and unmarked by pain and loss as one of those shiny advertisements I posed for over the years while making my living as a fashion model.
Not so long ago, in a studio in Sydney, we shot the cover of my first ever non-fiction book. The experience was unexpectedly cathartic, and for the photographer, makeup artist and crew, a touch confronting, I was told.
In February I was contacted by one of my long-standing crime research contacts. He explained that he is currently stationed at Manus Island, and that the information being made public about the violence that took place there was not correct. I came forward with this information at his request, once I was able to fully verify his account.
Throughout history many – if not most – cultures have perpetuated the myth of the evil woman. Television presenter, journalist and bestselling crime novelist Tara Moss discusses evil women, female criminals and the demonisation of the female gender: from Eve and Pandora to Elizabeth Bathory and Paula Broadwell.
‘I would put forward the idea we should have an advocate whose job it is to be the guardian for those kids because at the moment their guardian and their jailer are the same person and I don’t think that’s right.’
A recent study by the US Women’s Media Center found that men were ‘far more likely to be quoted than women in newspapers, television and public radio,’ even including ‘coverage of abortion, birth control, Planned Parenthood and women’s rights.’ So, how do women in Australian media fare?