Washed Away by Ignorance and Hate

Well, the decision is made.

I was really excited about trying to create a truly radical space for women online, and I mean really radical, not something regurgitated from another source.  I was willing to put my passion, time and energy, all of which are valuable and limited, into running something really amazing.

But it is not to be.

This morning I got up to dozens and dozens of emails containing the following:

1.       People demanding I “atone for my mistake” and “take responsibility” of mis-typing the word radically as radicly in an earlier post.  Dozens of emails demanding that I “do the decent thing” and apologise publicly for my “shameful mistake”.  Yes I’m serious, for a typo.

2.       Three death threats.

3.       Over 20 hate letters.

4.       A campaign of women demanding that I include Hugo Schwyzer in this project (one claimed “Hugo taught me everything I need to know about feminism.” – I shit you not!)

5.       A whole stack of people claiming that this project is “reverse discriminating” for men, white people, thin people, etc

6.       So much privilege denying bullshit that I felt physically sick.

Add these to the fact that a group of people spent over TEN HOURS on Twitter yesterday clutching their pearls and harassing me over how rude I am because I wasn’t grateful that one of them “kindly pointed out a spelling error” in a passive-aggressive tweet that was clearly designed to mark her as superior for spotting such an error.  If I had doubted her intent to do just that, when I responded that it was “just a typo” she was all “No, it’s a spelling error, own up to it.”  It was clearly very important to mark me as inferior simply because of typing radically as radicly.

Seriously.  Over ten hours of bullshit came at me on Twitter every time I opened it throughout the day because of a typo.  I blocked them and more cropped up.  I told them to fuck off.  I ignored them and they kept trying.  Over a hundred tweets in a few hours which then continued on through the day.  Because I didn’t act grateful about being corrected on a damn typing error.

I have better things to do with my life than deal with all of the above.  I spent hours over the weekend making my position clear to try to stem the tide of privilege denying, whinging and hate that came at me because people didn’t like the rules or they decided I wasn’t nice or polite enough.  In that time I could have written dozens of pieces, edited and published the pieces that were sent by generous contributors.

I’m not interested in spending all my free time dealing with entitled people who are so full of their own self importance that they can’t shut up and listen for a few minutes without stamping their foot that people aren’t polite enough or claim they’re being discriminated against for having privilege.  I’ve got a busy career, a life of activism and you know, a life to live.  And because I don’t have the capacity to deal with all that bullshit, it means I can’t protect the people who this blog would have been for.  I can’t hold back that massive tide of ignorance and bigotry and entitlement, it’s just too much for one busy woman to handle.

The saddest thing was that the worst of these people were my fellow Australians.  Not the only ones, but definitely the loudest and most hateful.  It makes me sick to the stomach to see what a willfully ignorant nation of bullies we are becoming.

Because I can’t make this the safe space it needs to be thanks to that ignorance, bigotry and entitlement, it is not right to continue it.  My first rule is “First, do no harm.”  No matter how much I fight and work and filter I cannot keep the harm away from the people who need it.  I can’t protect the people who are generous enough to give their time and energy to contribute, so I can’t in good conscience put them at risk by publishing them here.  I have been that person, the one who contributed their work to a site and then was torn apart not only by the readers but also by the site themselves when they published a horrible “opinion” piece denigrating fat people.  I won’t do that to someone, so this project ends here.

This is what happens in our culture.  The entitled, the ignorant and the bigoted make so much noise, are just relentless in their pursuit of shutting down anyone who tries to speak about privilege and marginalised people.  These people simply bully anyone who doesn’t tow their line until they shut that person down.  They shame people for being angry, being hurt, being offended at their bullying behaviour.  They turn the tables and claim that by responding negatively to their demands you are the one abusing/bullying them.

Women who don’t fit the standard that these people see as “acceptable” (ie, superior) are simply harassed until they either break down or give up, and then they criticise them for breaking down or giving up.  As I said on Twitter yesterday, society breaks people and then shames them for being broken.

These are also the very same people who complained the most that there was no space for them online.  Note that none of them created a space, or took any initiative to gather like-minded people together as I have done here.  This is because they are so self entitled that they feel that every space should include them, in fact regard them as superior, yet in turn they are not willing to put in any work to do it for themselves.  They whinge and complain that there is no space for them when they are already taking up all of the space themselves.

To all the people who flocked here in hope that this could be somewhere that they would at last find space where they were unwelcome elsewhere, I am deeply sorry that I cannot provide the space that you need without putting you at risk of more ignorance and bigotry.  I wish I could and I am already mourning the loss of you as community in this capacity.  I do hope that you will keep in touch with me via Twitter, Tumblr or on my personal blog.  This is not silencing me, just ending a project that cannot be kept safe for those who need it.

To all of those who spent the past two days relentlessly spewing ignorance, denying your privilege and demanding that everything must be by your rules or not at all, I pity you.  You go through your lives willfully ignorant and filled with fear over anything outside your narrow little world.  The world is changing and there is so much amazing stuff and wonderful people out there and you are too terrified to experience any of it.  You cling to a dying world while the rest of us try to build a better one.  That isn’t going to end well for you I’m afraid.

I want to thank everyone who did send me words of support and encouragement, who offered to help and to contribute and those who simply understood just what it’s like to try to make something new in the face of such ignorant bigotry.  You rock, and I am glad to know you all.

This website will remain live, as will all the accompanying email and social media accounts, so that the evidence of what happens to marginalised communities is still out there available for people to read.  If anyone is interested and has the capacity to take it on, please contact me at any time.

UnReal Women May Not Be For You

I need to clear a few things up so that you can understand what UnReal Women is about and make an informed decision about whether or not this blog is for you.


There seems to be a misunderstanding what “inclusive” means.  I seem to be getting a lot of complaints that people don’t feel included, particularly from people who have a lot of privilege.  Men, white people, able bodied people, thin people, heterosexual people, cis-gender people, affluent people etc.  Many seem to believe that “inclusive” means that anyone can come along and say whatever they like, without either being challenged or being removed.  This is not the case.  Not everyone gets to speak here.  This is but one small place on the internet (a very small place indeed) where marginalised people will get to come first.  We will get to have our say, and we will do so while acknowledging any privileges we have.  Sometimes that means that other people are going to be told that they are unwelcome, or that they need to stop talking.

Some of you are going to feel that you are censored or denied your “freedom of speech” because of this.  This is not true.  I am not silencing you by expecting you to adhere to the rules of this site.  The internet is HUGE and limitless, you an go and say whatever you like somewhere else.  Please, go make your own space if you want to be heard.  If it’s interesting and worthwhile, I might even come over and read it myself, and invite others to do so.  Otherwise you get to do your thing in your space, and I get to do my thing in mine.  Here I’ll make it easy for you.  Go to www.wordpress.com and start a blog.  Voila!  You have space you can say whatever you like.  That’s what I did.

Inclusivity in this space means that people who are otherwise excluded in other forums are welcome and are given space here.  It does not mean an open free-for-all for anyone with an opinion.  I have a responsibility to keep this space safe for those who are otherwise marginalised.

You are not marginalised if you have privilege and disagree with what an under-privileged person.  You are not discriminated against if you are called to check your privilege or removed from a discussion because you refuse to understand that sometimes you don’t get to disagree.  There is no such thing as “reverse discrimination”.


Thank you so much to the people who have already contacted me about contributions to UnReal Women.  If you want to and haven’t already, you can email me here.  But please understand that I am under no obligation to accept your contributions if they do not meet the requirements or focus of this blog.  Again, you are more than welcome to publish them in your own space.

Also, unsolicited “help” is actually not helpful.  Nobody has to be grateful or nice about “help” that they did not ask for.  If I turn down unsolicited help in one area, that doesn’t mean I should not be seeking assistance in other areas.

Other Lady-Mags

This blog is not in competition with other lady-mags.  It is actually intended to help fill a vast gap that is not catered to by lady-mags.  Which means it’s going to do things very differently, and if you are looking for something similar to them, you’re probably in the wrong place.  I actually don’t care about other lady-mags other than the fact that they are not meeting what I need and want from a women’s space online.  UnReal Women is not here to make everyone happy.  It’s going to piss a lot of people off.  That’s ok, in fact that’s good.  It means I’m doing what I want to do – which is to be the grain of sand that irritates the world into changing.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been pissed off by being told that I’m not understanding my privilege or that I don’t get a say on something… and then later on come to realise that they were right and that I needed to change things.  It’s good for us all.


OK so you hate me.  I’m horrible, I’m mean, I’m rude, I’m angry… all those things.  Yeah I see your tweets and your comments and stuff.  That’s ok, you can hate me.  If you want to expend energy on hating someone, then knock yourself out.  But it isn’t going to change me, nor is it going to make me hate myself.  In fact, I don’t hate anyone or anything.  Shit makes me angry, sure, but I don’t waste time on hate.

You’re probably going to find me abrupt, aggressive, rude, foul-mouthed, angry, and a whole bunch of other things.  Good.  I am those things.  Only because that’s what society labels women who don’t play the polite, nice, meek game.  Women are not allowed to be all of those things, it marks them as unladylike.  I am no lady.  I don’t want to be a lady.  I am a woman who takes no shit.  I won’t come into your space and tell you how to behave, so don’t waste my time by doing it here.  This is not a popularity contest, and you do not hurt me by calling me all those things I listed above and suggesting I am somehow broken/damaged.  I am broken and damaged, that’s ok, it was society that made me that way and now it shames me for what it did to me.

Putting conditions on your support means that you don’t actually support me or this project.  Saying that you’re willing to support me if I am polite/nice means that you actually don’t support what I am doing here at all, which is shaking shit up and breaking societal rules for women.  I don’t need or want everyone on the planet to support or even like me.  What I need and want is to create a space that suits me, and if it suits others, that’s awesome!

In Conclusion

Hopefully this has clarified things for you to make a decision as to whether or not UnReal Women is for you.  If it’s not for you, please don’t waste all of our time trying to shame or bully me into changing it, or just arguing to get the last word.  I will be blanket referring all people who don’t get it to this evolving resources document.  I will be ignoring and blocking/banning people who willfully refuse to stick to the rules, or who waste our time with unwelcome arguments, pedantry and passive-aggressive behaviour.

Remember the golden rule of this blog: The internet is a great big place, if you don’t like what’s here, go somewhere else or create your own!

It’s New and Scary – Here, Have Some Resources

*this is a living document and will be updated as required*

So, you’ve come along to this blog and you’re a bit uncomfortable with the idea that sometimes you’re not going to get to have your opinion heard.  You’re angry because you feel like you’re being left out of something, maybe for the first time ever.  You don’t understand all these new words and phrases, or it feels like you’re going to lose something because you might not get to have your say.

Or perhaps you just don’t understand something, and you know it’s not okay to demand other people educate you, so you’re looking for a starting point on where to do some reading to learn.  That’s awesome!  Nobody understands everything, we’re all learning stuff as we go and it’s ok to not know stuff.  Nobody knows everything!

This is where educating yourself comes in to the picture.  You’re reading this, so that means you have internet access (unless someone kindly printed it out for you).  You have a world of information at your fingertips to educate you in every subject that you need.

But, I’m going to help you a little bit, and give you a few links to articles that will start you off.


You will hear the word “privilege” quite a lot here on UnReal Women.  That’s because it’s the one thing that other lady-mags really ignore.  Basically privilege means that not all of us here on the planet start on an even playing field in the game of life.  Some people have a lot of privilege, some people have a little bit.  Most of us have some in one form or another, so we all need to understand it and realise that quite often, the realities of someone we have privilege over are vastly different than our own.

One of my favourite pieces on privilege online is this one:

Check My What? On Privilege and What We Can Do About It

Here’s another really good piece, this one is a downloadable .pdf file that you can keep for future reference:

Checking Your Privilege 101 (.pdf file)

But if all else fails, run a Google search.  Look, here’s one I prepared earlier:

Google “privilege 101”


Another word you will hear a lot is intersectionality.  Intersectionality is basically the concept that marginalisation and oppression are not single layer.  Intersectionality refers to the way that systems of oppression (ie racism, sexism, sizeism etc) intersect with each other.  In the context of this site, that means that we need to be aware that while we are fighting for one set of human rights (ie, women’s rights), we don’t do so in a way that ignores or further marginalises other people.

My favourite piece on intersectionality is by Flavia Dzodan:

My Feminism will be Intersectional or it will be Bullshit

I also like this very straightforward piece by s.e. smith:

Intersectionality is not Optional

Here’s a nice, simple 101 post by Erin Stewart that was on Lip Magazine:

Broadening Feminism(s): Intersectionality 101

Don’t forget you can always do that Google search too!


This one is really important.  Stigmatisation is the act of placing negative connotation or value on something.  One of the most prevalent forms of stigmatisation today is fat stigma.  In very simple terms, it is anything that denigrates or vilifies fat people.  This one is very personal to me as a fat woman, and will not ever be tolerated on UnReal Women.  For many people, they’ve been told their whole lives that fat is bad, and all kinds of other incorrect information about fatness.  Therefore, they’re going to struggle with the idea that it is never ok to stigmatise fat people, not even “for their own good”.  If that’s you, I suggest you read this piece:

Fat stigma – not fat – is the real enemy by Dr Linda Bacon

Stigma however is not limited to fat people.  Most other marginalised groups suffer stigmatisation by dominant culture.  Stigma appears in relation to race, mental illness, disability, gender, sexuality, religion, health, age… you name it.

It’s not perfect, but Wikipedia gives a nice simple explanation you can start with.


This one is often one of the hardest for people to understand.  Cis-gender basically means that you are a person who identifies as the gender you were assigned at birth.  So for most babies born, if they have a vulva they are assigned the female gender, and if they have a penis and testicles they are assigned male gender.  If you are a cis-gender person, it means that you were assigned your gender at birth, and you still identify as being of that gender.  It is basically the opposite of transgender (which is a very complicated subject in itself).

Here you go, the Queer Dictionary gives a nice simple definition.

Here’s a really clear list of cis-gender privileges.

*this is a living document and will be updated as required*

A Call for Contributions – Subject No Object

Well, hasn’t this taken on a life of it’s own?  I can’t keep up with the tweets and follows and stuff right now.  Brilliant stuff, keep it coming.

The next step in the process comes as I call for contributions.  There is no way on earth I could write on all the subjects that affect and interest women, so UnReal Women is going to rely on you.

Besides, you should be telling your own stories!  You deserve to tell your own stories.

Before I go any further I just want to make it clear that this is currently voluntary, I have no budget to work with other than my own time and energy.  That said, if we can build this enough that we can monetise it, then I will certainly be open to doing just that, ethically and fairly.

So what I’m looking for right now are contributions from women, on anything and everything – subject no object.  In any format that we can post on a blog.  Articles, poetry, fiction, photographs, artwork, videos, anything.  I will happily take cross posts, so if you have something on your own blog that you want to share, let me know and we can work something out.  I’m going to be looking for awesome posts to share later too in a link-love post.

There are some rules though.  Firstly, UnReal Women is for women, by women, and that includes trans women and gender-queer folk.  I particularly invite anyone who is marginalised in any way to come and share work here – if there is something you need, please let me know, as I am still learning myself as a woman with many privileges and would rather you show me what you need than try to put words in your mouth.  I will do my best to make this a safe and inclusive space for all marginalised people.  I don’t doubt there will come a time when I screw up and need to learn some more, I invite you to talk to me about it as I am a human being too.

Also, remember –  no stigmatising language, no shaming anyone, no weight loss promotion, no Hugo Schwyzer.

Now, as I said, subject is no object, you can write about anything you like.  Whether you want to chew on a chunky topic or have some fun with something frivolous, it’s up to you.  Here are some suggested topics:

  • What Feminism Means to Me
  • Fashion
  • Intersectionality
  • Beauty
  • Privilege
  • Parenthood
  • Health (this one has some caveats, contact me for further details).
  • Food
  • Hobbies
  • Careers
  • Arts and Entertainment (review something for me lovelies!)
  • Sexuality
  • Politics
  • Shopping
  • How to’s or other tutorials!
  • Anything else you can think of!

Another suggestion – if you have read an article elsewhere that got you hot under the collar – write about the topic yourself and let’s publish it here.  I don’t mean a slanging match, but talk about the topic from your perspective.

I will also be looking for people who would like to help work on this project.  If you have a skill or resource that will help build UnReal Women further and are willing to volunteer some of your time, then please contact me.  I would love to build a team now that can take this from a volunteer project to an actual organisation and then beyond.

To contribute or if you have any questions, please email me at unrealwomenmag@gmail.com.

Welcome to UnReal Women

Well, they say “build it and they will come”.  So here you go.  The tiny germinating seed of a new women’s online magazine blog thing.  Thanks to the brilliance of the #fakemamamia phenomenon on Twitter, where dozens of brilliant, funny, intelligent women are speaking out by parodying the horror-show that is “women’s media”, I am inspired to put my precious time and energy into creating a space where we can capture the stories and wisdom of women around the world.

Why “UnReal Women”?  Because the lady-mags LOVE to push the “Real Women” trope, as though there are categories of authentic womanhood.  The truth is, all women are real.  Regardless of size, age, race, religion, physical ability, health, assigned gender at birth, sexuality, reproductive choices and a whole host of other factors.  And the other truth is, a lot of the women who don’t fit the “Real Women” trope being pushed by the lady-mags are amazing.  Digging back to my tragicly daggy ’80s teen years, a word that meant awesome/amazing was “UNREAL”.  So this is why I have chosen the name “UnReal Women”.

Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I am doing this out of my own time and pocket.  It will move at the pace I can commit to it without overextending myself.  All contributions will have to be voluntary and it may take some time to build this project.

I want this to be the blog/magazine for women that I have always wanted to read myself.  The collection of interesting content about women, for women, by women.  ALL women.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t rules.  Now these rules are going to have to grow and change as we grow and change, but here are the basics to get us started:

  1. First, do no harm.
  2. It is ok to make mistakes, but you must take responsibility for them and aim to never make them again.
  3. All women are welcome.  It is my aim to create a truly welcoming space for women who are otherwise unwelcome in many other spaces.  This may make many privileged women uncomfortable, but that’s ok.  Uncomfortable is good for us.
  4. This is a feminist space.
  5. Nobody has superiority over anyone else.
  6. In the words of Flavia Dzodan, “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.
  7. You will be expected to educate yourself on issues of marginalisation.  There will be a resource page to start you off.  If you don’t understand something, start there.
  8. Men are welcome to read, and to comment respectfully, but this space belongs to women.
  9. No weight loss promotion.  If you choose to alter your weight, keep that to yourself.
  10. The banning stick will be swift and it will be final.
  11. We will add to these rules as we need to.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, please tell me in the comments what you would like to see from a magazine FOR women BY women.  How about I kick things off by listing the things I want to see:

  • Articles about EVERYTHING, not just traditional “women’s subjects” (motherhood, fashion and beauty, shopping, home etc)
  • Articles about traditional “women’s subjects” that include all women, not just thin, white, young, able-bodied, affluent,  heterosexual cis-women.
  • Truly positive fashion and beauty.  No shaming, flattering, disguising, minimising etc.
  • No Hugo Schwyzer, EVER.
  • Food writing and imagery without guilt, shame or any other moral judgement.
  • Craft and cookery that is accessible to
  • Culturally critical arts and entertainment reviews.
  • Anything the imagination takes us to!

OK, now your turn!