I Wear My War Paint For Me

Words: Jessica Sheridan

I’m going to discuss something very important to me: make-up.

I can already hear you sighing. I can see you rolling your eyes or cocking a (perfectly sculpted) eyebrow because make-up isn’t that important. And you’re right; I guess it’s not that important. But make-up culture helps demonstrate something more important than simply reviewing the latest Urban Decay Naked palette (which is also very important).

I went to a house party a few years back for a birthday. I was wearing make-up, and my friends who were attending knew I probably would be. Anyone who has known me for more than ten seconds will know that I love putting on make-up. I never really wore it much during high school, and now that I had discovered the wonders of make-up I wore it every chance I got. I found my friends and as normal my bestie was full of eyeliner compliments. Perfect way to start the evening.

I overheard some people talking about a book series I liked, so I tuned in and tried to get involved. But to my puzzlement one of the more charismatic guys in the group brushed off a lot of my attempts at joining in on the conversation. He exclaimed in surprise shortly afterwards when my friends properly introduced me and he found out I was a law student. Why the surprise you ask? He replied that he didn’t think a girl who wore so much make-up could be smart enough to be a law student.

Why are people so quick to judge people wearing make-up? When did wearing mascara become synonymous with stupidity, or at least antonymous with intelligence?

Cosmetics are a multi-billion dollar industry, reaping in the rewards as we pay $50 plus a pound of flesh for a bottle of the latest matte 27-hour long-lasting blemish-covering magic-fan-dango liquid foundation. And perhaps half of it is FOMO, and perhaps half of it is brand loyalty, but whatever the reason, we spend hundreds of dollars a year maintaining our make-up bags.

My make-up haul from Sephora

It’s not a decision we make lightly. Despite the increasing cost of living, setting aside money for make-up is still a priority for many of us. And as make-up prices go up, we continue to buy up. Or, if you’re like me, you wait for Boxing Day sales and stock up on your favourite concealer and lip colours like it’s the apocalypse.

Despite the financial investment we make into cosmetic culture, there are still people – particularly men – who try to police what we do. Why spend all that money when we look just as pretty without it? Why do we conceal our self-esteem and highlight our insecurities? Why do we mask our faces and lie about how we really look?

The short answer? We don’t care what you think.

This might come as a shock to you, but we aren’t cashing our paychecks at Sephora for your approval. We aren’t dressing ourselves up for your attention or comment, and we certainly don’t care if you think we look prettier with or without make-up. Our make-up is not for you. Though I’m amazed at how self-important someone must be to believe that another person – a total stranger – would spend so long applying product to their face every morning just for their approval.

When I get up in the morning and sit down gleefully in front of my mirror, I’m not smiling for anyone but myself. And when I apply my make-up I’m not thinking about covering my skin to hide it from my boyfriend or my family – I’m applying it because I want to. I sincerely enjoy wearing make-up; there’s a certain art to it, and when I wear it I feel wonderful. It’s just like wearing your favourite pair of shoes or your best dress.

It makes me feel good, and that is the only reason I wear make-up.

I am sure that some people wear make-up for different reasons: some people wear make-up because it’s part of their corporate dress code; some people wear make-up because it’s an important day and they want to cover dark circles or blemishes for photos; some wear make-up because they might want to impress certain people. But I can almost guarantee you that most of these are blue moon occasions.

People aren’t spending their hard-earned money to try and look pretty for you. They aren’t trying to lie to you with fake eyelashes (because honestly only an idiot would believe my natural lashes touch my brow bone). We aren’t spending hours watching and making YouTube tutorials just so we can teach each other how to be more attractive for you. And we certainly aren’t wearing make-up for you.

It’s all about us, and does not mean we aren’t also happy, creative, smart and warm people. My worth should not be determined by the length of my eyeliner wing.

Make-up can bring confidence. It can bring happiness. It can bring entire communities of beauty enthusiasts together. So the next time you want to tell someone they are wearing too much make-up, don’t.






Pornographic Cybercrimes: Does the Law Protect Your Personal Privacy?

It seems like every other day we are hearing stories in the news of young girls taking their lives because their nude photos were plastered online without consent. We hear about celebrity nude photo hacks. We hear about government ministers in the Northern Territory embroiled in revenge porn scandals. More recently, the target has hit closer to home, with school students from over 70 Australian schools caught in a pornography ring, featuring thousands of non-consensual sexually explicit images of young girls.

The news is dominated by instances of ‘revenge porn,’ that is, the distribution of sexually explicit or intimate images of another person without consent, usually by ex-lovers. But we rarely hear about ‘parasite porn’ which is when ordinary images are taken from a person’s social media site and posted on threads in a pornographic site, usually alongside offensive and objectifying comments. In other words, you might not have taken a single sexually explicit photo of yourself- but you’re still not immune from being the target of sexual cybercrime.

We also rarely hear about ‘morphed porn’ where ordinary images are manipulated and superimposed on naked bodies and posted on porn sites. The bottom line is that in today’s age of technology, while revenge porn may be on the rise, it is not the only issue compromising our personal privacy.

There has been some talk that law-makers should re-name and categorise revenge porn, parasite porn and morphed porn into what is known as image-based sexual assault. I’d argue that the categorisation of ‘image-based sexual assault’ is preferable as it would encompass a broader range of sexual cybercrimes.

It is very important to know, that while young women are the primary targets of such invasions of privacy, anyone can fall victim to sexual cybercrime – yes, even males. I know of one case, where a guy had dressed up as an animal for a costume party,  later to find it on one of those furry fetish porn sites.

So what laws, if any, are in place to protect our personal privacy in this digital age?

Well, the law has not caught up with advancements in technology and unfortunately Australia is yet to criminalise revenge porn. There are only two state jurisdictions, South Australia and Victoria that have implemented revenge porn legislation. For example, in Victoria it is an offence, punishable by up to two years imprisonment, to maliciously distribute, or threaten to distribute, intimate images without consent. However, these criminal provisions have been criticised for being too ‘weak’ a punishment for perpetrators and too ‘broad’ in scope to capture the harm caused by revenge porn.

Since the majority of Australian states have not criminalised revenge porn, victims have to predominantly rely on civil actions to seek redress for invasions of personal privacy, possibly copyright or defamation proceedings. However, contrary to popular opinion, a general tort protecting personal privacy does not exist in Australia. As such, courts have tried to fit cases involving circumstances of ‘revenge porn’ into existing causes of action. As a result, what we have ended up with is a quasi-privacy tort, namely an equitable action for breach of confidence that was set out in the notable personal privacy case of Giller v Procopets.

The recent case of Wilson v Ferguson applied the principles set out in Giller v Procopets and relied on an action for breach of confidence in circumstances of ‘revenge porn.’ In this case, Ferguson and Wilson were involved in sexual relations and shared sexually explicit photos and videos of each other during their relationship. When the relationship ended Ferguson posted the intimate photos of Wilson to Facebook for public viewing without consent. Wilson was left severely emotionally distressed.

But is this quasi-privacy tort effective in dealing with the rise of revenge porn?

Firstly, this quasi-privacy protection fails to effectively punish perpetrators, and deter future incidence of sexual cybercrimes. Given that the harms felt by victims of sexual cybercrime are significant: as victims are more vulnerable to suicide; others experience stalking, depression, emotional distress and humiliation; for some it has affected their employability and others have lost their jobs. Is it really enough to simply award an injunction and provide monetary compensation to victims under this quasi-privacy protection?

Such harms warrant the criminalisation of revenge porn and the imprisonment of perpetrators. Criminalising revenge porn would serve to provide stronger punishments to perpetrators and would deter future incidence of sexual cybercrimes.

Additionally, this quasi-privacy protection in Australia fails to provide adequate justice for victims. It is somewhat paradoxical that civil actions intended to protect our personal privacy, doesn’t necessarily achieve this outcome- because an action for breach of confidence means that victims may not remain anonymous, unlike the protection that criminal prosecution affords. In fact, victims may be reluctant to seek civil redress because it is extremely timely, costly and emotionally taxing for already vulnerable victims and may increase publicity of the photos.

But even if Australia’s laws were to change – there are inherent problems for lawmakers in addressing these issues due to the nature of the digital landscape:

  1. There are difficulties in enforcement and punishing perpetrators, especially where sites are run outside of Australia.
  2. Once an image is online it can be very hard to remove because images can be shared instantaneously all over the internet and before the law can step in much of the damage is already felt by the victim.
  3. There are difficulties in detecting intimate photos as quite often victims are not aware that their intimate photos have been posted online and by the time the victims become aware that their intimate photos have been posted, the images have gone viral making its removal near impossible.

In America, the situation is quite different. Already around 34 states have revenge porn legislation. Most revenge porn legislation in America is based on the New Jersey or the Californian models, both differ significantly. For example, in New Jersey, it is a crime, punishable by up to 5 years’ imprisonment, to disclose any photograph, film, videotape… of another person whose intimate parts are exposed or who is engaged in a sexual act without consent. Unlike New Jersey, California’s revenge porn law requires there be an intent to cause serious emotional distress and that the depicted person suffers serious emotional distress.

For Australia, all hope is not lost. In late 2015, Tim Watts MP introduced a Private Members’ Bill in the House of Representatives that would criminalise revenge porn, although it wasn’t passed into law. In March 2016, the NSW Legislative Council Standing Committee on Law and Justice released a report on serious invasions of privacy and on September 5 2016, NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton announced that the NSW Government will seek to criminalise revenge porn.

However, deciding to criminalise revenge porn is just one step in dealing with this issue. For NSW and the rest of Australia, questions arise as to what this new law would prescribe: Would the penalties be stronger than two years’ imprisonment as set out Victoria and South Australia or closer to 5 years like the American models? How will it try to reconcile the inherent problems of enforcement and the removal and detection of photos? Will this new law also capture instances of ‘parasite porn’ or ‘morphed porn?

So, how do you find out if you’re the victim of sexual cybercrime? A simple Google Image Reverse Search is a start to see if any of your photos are anywhere on the internet. If, however, you find that there are images of yourself on pornographic sites without your consent- Google now allows you to request the removal of photos or videos on Google search results. We’ve waited a long time for revenge porn legislation but at least now the future is looking promising for Australia.




Written by Noelle Martin. A version of this article has previously been published in The Brief- The Macquarie University Law Society Publication.

Poem: ‘Together’ by Carolyn Chorley

 A touch so gentle and tender

With a sigh your heart must surrender

And the delicate threads of your lonely soul

Are gathered to knit your spirit whole.


This love, this passion, only now found

Once wrapped so tightly, now unbound

To freely flow to the universe and you

And then to the heavens it but flew.


The gossamer threads gathered by true love’s hands

Are entwined into the strongest strands

And so none shall be able to tear apart

What now I keep safe within my heart.



Featured Image: Artwork by Timothy Wynberg

The Morning After Pill: A Breakdown

Babies and children aren’t for everyone. Sure, some are great. I mean, we all have that favourite younger family member who is cute, (mostly) clean but if chaos were to ensue we know that we can just give them back to their guardians. Sometimes though, all you do see is the smelly, screaming, temper tantrum throwing goblins running around the shopping complex with little to no regard of the world around them. Dragging what were once fully functioning adults – but are now Disney and vomit clad zombies, with vocabularies limited to 3-syllable words and internally polarised vaccination opinions, behind them. While I have been promised parenthood is a very rewarding and fulfilling experience, for those content being the tantrum throwers themselves, here’s how to avoid a baby:

Many of you (hopefully) know that the most reliable form of contraception is pairing a form of birth control (like an oral contraceptive or IUD) with barrier protection (condoms or a diaphragm) as neither of these are 100% effective against everything. However, this article is going cover what to do when these fail. I’ve sat down with UC Alumni, Megan Jackson from Priceline Pharmacy Gungahlin to give us an idea of what to expect when trying to access the morning after pill, how it works and what will go on ~down there~ when you use it.

If you’ve missed a pill, had a condom break or just haven’t used contraception for whatever reason, and want to avoid pregnancy your best chance is to go immediately into a pharmacy to access the morning after pill. Megan tells us that the morning after pill works by preventing the egg from leaving the ovary, delaying ovulation. It’s basically a one-time version of the oral contraceptive pill and it’s highly effective when taken quickly.

As the morning after pill is an over the counter medication, you don’t need to see a doctor for a prescription. Because of this, many women and their partners are often quite confronted to find they have to fill in a questionnaire. Many pharmacies provide a counselling room for privacy. It’s important to understand that you should never feel ashamed of yourself for seeking assistance with a sexual health issue, just as you wouldn’t for a general health issue. The questionnaire requires you to fill out your name and contact details, and although Megan assures us that at most pharmacies these are shredded, some may keep them on file in case you have an adverse reaction.

There are questions about your regular period, your general health, usual contraception methods and finally why you need emergency contraception. Megan breaks down the questionnaire’s three most important sections to: 1) your last period, 2) medications and health conditions, and 3) the time since the unprotected sex.

“Whilst they’re uncommon medications, different types of HIV and Epilepsy medications interact with the Morning After Pill, if you have malabsorption issues it’s important for us to note. We may have to give you two doses. If you haven’t had your period in three months either, there’s a chance you’re already pregnant.”

The longer it’s been since you’ve had unprotected sex affects its effectiveness as well. While Megan says that she would never refuse someone emergency contraception, it’s effectiveness basically caps at five days.

“In the first twenty-four hours it’s about 95% effective, twenty-four to forty-eight hours it’s 85% and between forty-eight and seventy-two hours it’s 58% effective.”

When it comes down to selecting the reason why you require emergency contraception there’s a box marked ‘sexual assault’. If you have been sexually assaulted, this doesn’t change the way the pharmacist dispenses the morning after pill. It just gives them a chance to refer you to other services such as sexual health clinics, the Emergency Department or a GP if you would like to have a rape kit administered. It means they are able to show you resources if you would like to get help.

In fact, it’s very hard to be refused the morning after pill with nearly every chemist stocking multiple brands of it. Some pharmacists may refuse to serve you for religious beliefs, but are bound by a duty of care to either get someone else in the store to serve you, or call another close store and direct you there. They’re also bound by a code of ethics not to degrade or belittle you for requesting emergency contraception.

“It’s in the Pharmacies Professional’s Standards and Code of Ethics, we have to provide timely advice and information. It should be done in a polite and discreet way. It’s part of their job, it’s what they’re trained to do. Make a complaint to the store manager, it’s unacceptable.”

The morning after pill will range between $20-$40 depending on if the pharmacy stocks a generic or name brand and is best to take straight away. Possible side effects, according to Megan, include; nausea, headaches, spotting, and breast tenderness.

“You’ve basically just put a hormone into your system so the imbalance will make you feel a little PMS-y.”

Your nausea should wear off in three to twenty-four hours, but if you do vomit in the first two hours or so come back into the pharmacy because there’s a chance it wasn’t absorbed properly. The breast tenderness won’t come in for a few days after, but should also be gone in about three days. Although these are the bulk of the side effects, everyone reacts differently and it’s possible for some women to experience bad cramping or heavy bleeding during their next period. It’s also likely to delay your period for up to a week, because of the change in ovulation.

However, if your period is more than a week late or is much lighter than usual it would be best to follow up with a pregnancy test and/or doctors visit.

When it comes to using it again (and again, and again) there’s no real reason why you can’t. Megan says that the morning after pill does not have any effect on current, unknown pregnancies (eg birth defects) and is safe to use while breastfeeding. Its effectiveness is just much lower than other forms of contraception. The oral contraceptive pill for example, is 99% effective when taken properly and is substantially cheaper than taking the morning after pill regularly.

For more information, talk to your GP.


By: Imogen Hughes – A version of this article has been previously published at Curieux, The University of Canberra Student Magazine




Yeah the Boys Meet Up, Third Wave Feminism Turns Up

Words: Jessica Sheridan

How many more times this year will I have to hear the same old excuse of locker room talk? For anyone who still does not understand what third-wave feminists are trying to do when we shut down sexist jokes for encouraging misogyny and rape culture, we now have another very clear example of exactly what we are talking about.

On the 4th of November an event was created on Facebook entitled ‘Yeah The Boys Meet Up’ by a page with the same name. The event seemed to have been originally intended as a meet up for fans of the popular Facebook page Yeah the Boys which has over 470,000 likes. The page posts ironic memes and status updates jesting at lad culture, and with such a following it is not unusual that the fans would band together to organise a meet up at Sydney’s own Coogee Beach.

However what probably started as a well-intended social meet-up very quickly turned toxic.

Attendees, the majority of which were young and male, began posting sexist jokes that became more and more heinous as time went by. What started as ‘just a bit of fun’ deteriorated into threatening and hateful language within a matter of days. Many posts called for physical violence against any ‘two holes’ that turned up to the gathering, while others asked if boys could bring along their ‘two hole’ to share with other boys in attendance.

In case you were wondering, ‘two hole’ was their word for women.

Screenshot from ‘Yeah The Boys Meet Up’ Facebook event

The page drew a lot of attention fast, and for all the wrong reasons. Many people – men and women alike – posted in the page asking that the event be taken down, or imploring the attendees to stop disrespecting women. This was largely met by jokes about feminists being ‘triggered’ and vulgar, sexually explicit replies whenever women tried to explain why the event was offensive. Men, and sadly some women, banded together to defend the posts on the page with aggressive and violent threats upon those that criticised the blatant misogyny within. The event, which racked up almost 10,000 attendees, had spiralled out of control, and even the Yeah the Boys Facebook page posted to disassociate themselves from the meet up. The event was eventually cancelled four days after it was originally posted.

Screenshot from ‘Yeah The Boys Meet Up’ Facebook event

You might be wondering – what the hell happened? A lot of people were left confused by the event, for all kinds of reasons. Some people didn’t understand how something which had started as joking and banter had derailed into such a sexist and hateful mess. Some didn’t think it was fair that women were angry about the event, because it was just an all-boys meet up after all – so what if girls weren’t invited? Others claimed anyone complaining about the posts on the event page just couldn’t take a joke.

But there is a very real reason why I am not laughing. There is a very real reason why it’s not funny even though I understand the joke completely.

This is rape culture.

I don’t care about the event name. Frankly, the phrase ‘Yeah the Boys Meet Up’ means nothing to me. Women are not angry that the event appeared to be for boys only; that is not the issue.

The issue is that the type of jokes and sexist banter used on the page inevitably turned into hateful, violent sexism. I say inevitable because this is a pattern we have seen time and time again. We saw it only days ago when a Melbourne law student was added to a Facebook group chat with four of her peers who were sexually and explicitly describing what they wanted to do to her. We saw it when Donald Trump tried to defend against his descriptions of sexual assault with the archaic notion of locker room talk. Time and time again we see examples of people who do not seem to understand that their jokes have gone over the line into violent sexism and misogyny.

Screenshot from ‘Yeah The Boys Meet Up’ Facebook Event

The issue is that jokes too easily turn into threats. Banter too easily turns into sexually aggressive descriptions of what men would like to do to women. Locker room talk too easily turns into the reduction of women to their ability to sexually please men (‘two holes’) and nothing more. This is an exact example of how rape culture is perpetuated in our society. This is why third wave feminism is all about shutting down the sexist joking and the misogynistic banter. Because too easily and too often it leads to a lack of respect for women, which in turn can lead to violence against women.

It is literally that simple, and yet that terrifying.

Until women and men are equal – truly equal – in society, then sexist jokes, banter and locker-room talk will inevitably lead to a culture in which women are seen as lesser beings and objects for sexual pleasure, nothing more. This is rape culture, and this is why third wave feminism is so important.