My first non-fiction book, The Fictional Woman, was launched last month at the Sydney Writers’ Festival and has since become a #1 non-fiction best-seller. At the launch, guests were invited to share the fictions that have followed them through their lives.
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.
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.
“Those that cannot budget to procreate – shouldn’t! ” Indeed. Let’s make sure women decide the exact right moment to reproduce. If they get it wrong, or chose a partner who dies, leaves them, abuses them or makes them deeply unhappy, screw ‘em. It’s their fault for choosing to carry, give birth to and raise the next generation, right?
On this election day, I am grateful to be a working, voting citizen of Australia, a democratic and lucky country. I owe thanks to the women before me who made this possible. Edith Cowan believed that if you wanted something changed, you had to run for parliament. I’ll be raising a glass to her today.
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?
Why ridicule professionals for sharing images of themselves when that is what fans and professionals want of them, and when nearly everyone online does the same thing without any obvious professional reason?
It makes me sad every time I see an apparently well-intentioned opinion piece on breastfeeding or other health matters filled with statements that any doctor could tell you is false or misleading. A parent or parent-to-be searching for answers online is going to come across a lot of good information, and a lot of potentially damaging misinformation as well. With this in mind, I have a plea.
The facts are just staring us in the face – the majority of women simply lack merit in their opinions and career endeavours. It is an uncomfortable fact, but there it is. This lack of merit is well documented, yet some people just don’t understand the beautiful meritocracy we live in.*
Sunday, November 25th is White Ribbon Day and the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. We can make a difference together, and we must, because according to the largest study ever done on the problem of violence against women – a study conducted in 70 countries over 40 years – violence is ‘a bigger danger to women than cancer’.