Month: October 2015

New abortion laws: one small step for womankind

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Yesterday, the ACT introduced new legislation which decrees there will be 50-metre exclusion zones around abortion clinics, preventing anti-abortion protesters from congregating and harassing women outside of ACT medical clinics.

The Health (Patient Privacy) Amendment Bill was introduced by Greens member Shane Rattenbury in July, who believes women should have access to abortion services without fear of abuse.

“This is fundamentally about a woman’s right to medical privacy,” he said, inviting would-be protesters to raise their concerns to the Legislative Assembly instead.

Anti-abortion protesters have been gathering outside abortion clinics for the past 16 years, according to Angela Carnovale of the Women’s Centre for Health Matters.

“Even silent vigils convey judgement,” she said.

The amendment is one step closer towards reproductive equality, as under current legislation, women do not have control over their own bodies. The NSW Criminal Code states that any person who obtains or assists with an unlawful abortion may be sentenced up to ten years imprisonment. The 1971 case of R v Wald set the precedent that an abortion is lawful if it was deemed necessary to protect a woman from serious danger to her life, self or mental health.

Basically, if a practitioner doesn’t believe a woman meets this criteria, she cannot get an abortion. This sets the dangerous precedent that women and their opinions do not matter—they are secondary to an unborn foetus, and therefore second-class citizens.

End 12 is a Greens pro-choice campaign that has long fought for exclusion zones around clinics, as well as the decriminalisation of abortion. It believes women have the right to choose without fear of prosecution or harassment. A survey by the Greens indicated 86% of Australians believe abortion should legalised, while 76% did not know abortion is a criminal offence.

Greens senator Larissa Walters believes these laws are archaic, dangerous and regressive.

“They have no place in modern society where women should always have their own control over their bodies.”

Exclusion zones are set to come into force in six months.

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The Intern: Break the Expectations

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Starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro, this film far exceeded my expectations. It’s inspiring, uplifting, with the perfect amount of heartbreak and humour. It’s been three days since I saw the film, and I’m still reeling from the emotional rollercoaster I was put through.

De Niro plays Ben Whittaker, a retired 70-year-old looking to spice up his monotonous life with something new. That spice just so happens to be a senior’s intern program for an up-and-coming online clothing business, headed by the awe-inspiring Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway).

Since Ben is an actual senior (citizen), a lot of the typical intern questions don’t really work out, such as “where do you see yourself in ten years?”, and “what was your major?” followed by “do you remember?” Ben, however, handles himself at all times with pride, respect, patience and concern—just what the doctor ordered for Jules.

Jules, by the way, is a ground-breaking character. She’s a pillar of dedication, strength and determination, as well as kindness and concern for her employees and customers, truly going above and beyond. In the first nine months of creating her business, she met her five-year goal, and went from 25 to over 200 staff members. She also tends to ride a bicycle through her office—complete with a cup holder for coffee: a brilliant idea. And she hates it when people don’t blink. Or when they talk slow. Jules Ostin is truly a quirky inspiration, who isn’t afraid to smash glass ceilings. Go, Anne Hathaway! Girl power!

I hope i’m successful enough to ride a bike through my office some day.

That is, until the misogynistic and sexist investors want to replace Jules as CEO in favour for someone a little more “seasoned”. In order words, an older man. They convince her she’s doing too much, and as a woman, should let a man handle the business world. And at first, she believes them. But then Ben Whittaker saves the day with his old-world charm, and kind, caring demeanour. And he always encourages everyone to do the right thing—even if it’s hard. From Jules’s drunk chauffeur, to co-workers with lady problems, to cheating husbands: Ben can fix it all. His best tips? Breathe deeply. Take some me-time. Talk to people in person, and talk to them honestly, but most importantly: believe in yourself—because no one knows you as well as you.

Robert De Niro makes everything better.

The Intern also tackles some pretty complicated themes, from the invisibility of the elderly who still have music left inside them and a wealth of knowledge, to working mothers.

“It’s 2015, are we really still critical of working mums?” Ben asks. Indeed, we are. Jules, when not being a superstar businesswoman, is also a mum to her young daughter, Paige. Her husband, Matt, quit his job in marketing in order to be a stay-at-home dad. And on the surface, this works. Well, until Matt cheats repeatedly with a woman from Paige’s school. Matt eventually confesses, apologises profusely, saying he lost himself, but now he’s ready to be a real man—as if that was a valid excuse. Is this particular man so emasculated by his badass, bread-winning wife that he has to sleep around in order to validate his manhood? Please. Talk about toxic masculinity. And the worst part about all this: she takes him back. SHE TAKES HIM BACK. It’s not like it was a one-time thing—he was cheating on her for months, knowing it was wrong, and still did it anyway. But oh, throw a few compliments and lovey-dovey words in there, and everything is fine and dandy. Matt, you’re a jerk face.

Did I mention Ben is a criminal? Yeah, they save Jules’s ass by breaking into her mother’s house and deleting a rather inflammatory email. And oh, hey there Bumper from Pitch Perfect!

But even in the face of heart ache, even in the face of intense adversity, Jules does not give up. And that’s definitely something to commend. Ben is the perfect Robin to Jules’s Batman, and while I was still pissed off about that jerk-off Matthew, it was hard to not be inspired by the pair. You go guys, don’t be defined by societal opinions of age and gender. Smash those expectations. I believe in you.

Overall, it was a great movie—it left me wanting more. So I guess the writers did their job. The movie has also earned $107.8 million at the Box Office, so they must be doing something right. It’s witty, it’s funny, it’s heartbreaking and it’s inspiring—and you won’t regret watching it.

Note: this article was originally published by me for Re-Views Magazine.

Sydney Comic-Con: unleash your inner geek!

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Doctor Who’s sonic screwdriver (which doubles as a TV remote). Jon Snow’s sword from Game of Thrones. Katniss’s mockingjay pin from The Hunger Games. Dumbledore’s wand. Replicas of Dean’s beloved Impala from Supernatural. What do these things have in common? Well, they were all at Sydney’s Oz Comic-Con.

Comic-Con parades and celebrates television shows, comic books, movies and anime that have defined a generation. These are franchisees which have taught us right from wrong, to believe in ourselves, and to fight for what we love. They’ve shown us pain, they’ve shown us grief—but they’ve also shown us we are stronger than any adversary we face. To some, Comic-Con might simply seem like a bunch of nerds doing nerd-like things. Well, on behalf of “nerds”, I’d like to tell you: we’re super freaking awesome.

Gender swap Harley Quinn and the Joker from DC!

That being said, before last week, I was a Comic-Con virgin. And boy, Sydney did not disappoint. The normally lonely enormous Sydney Exhibition Centre was transformed into a glorious and magical wonderland of all things wacky and unique. There were hundreds—if not, thousands—of stalls with comic books, trinkets, figurines, intricate sculptures, jewellery, obscure clothing, original art works, fake weapons and things I’m not even sure how to describe. Comic-Con has everything you’re looking for, and everything you never dreamed you’d find.

Apparently, this Harley Quinn and Joker didn't even know each other: but that didn't stop her licking his face. Very Harley Quinn.
Apparently, this Harley Quinn and Joker didn’t even know each other: but that didn’t stop her licking his face. Very Harley Quinn.

Though there were a range of guest stats from much-beloved franchises, such as Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter, Bobby from Supernatural, as well as various characters and voice characters from Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, Scrubs, Charmed, Vikings, Soul Eater, Dragon Ball and Avatar: The Last Air Bender, it was the phenomenal cosplay which took centre stage.

There was a gender-swapped version of X-Men’s Magneto, Jane from Tarzan, the TARDIS from Dr Who, a brilliant Black Widow from The Avengers, Kakashi from Naturo, and one particularly awesome Juzo from Tokyo Ghoul, as well as a few hundred Harley Quinn—with the Joker, of course. Apparently, I’m not the only one who is super-duper excited for next year’s Suicide Squad movie! There was also a pretty cute little girl dressed as Darth Vader, but I didn’t get a picture, because that would have been creepy.

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The best cosplay for me, hands down, was a mind-blowing rendition of Mystique from X-Men. As part of a hands-on make-up stall, this particular woman was painted and primed for hours upon hours—but the end result was stunning.

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Sorry for the quality! I took it on my phone. But how cool is this?!

When I asked if I could have a picture, she replied enthusiastically and said she would channel her inner Mystique.

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Personally, I dressed up as a rather mediocre version of the Scarlet Witch from The Avengers: Age of Ultron—and subsequently, due to my laziness, had to keep avoiding better-dressed versions of myself. Next year, I’ll actually put in some effort—stay tuned, guys!

Characters from the anime Attack on Titan.

Comic-Con was wacky, intriguing and mind-blowing—and I can’t wait for next year.