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Reflection of the nearby glacier in the window of Refugio Elisabetta in Italy 
Hi there, and welcome back to the Monthly Missive. You can save anything in here to read later in Pocket, and email me at sophie@sophiebenjamin.com. 

OK, LET'S GET INTO IT


First up, this feature article on personal dramas at a bowls club on the Sunshine Coast that got taken to the Supreme Court is an entertaining and gripping read. Don't mess with retirees who have a point to make. 

Kim Scott has built a career on selling the benefits of radical candour in people's professional and personal lives, and I totally agree with her. This article explains the concept and what differentiates it from being a total jerk - something I have personally struggled with regarding my own behaviour. 

Some of the most formative feminist influences in my life are also big users of fillers and have had cosmetic surgery. This first-person piece from respected social justice journalist Ginger Gorman sums up the reasons behind why women still feel torn on this decision:

"Ginger,” he said sternly, “You ought to be known for your expertise. Not your looks.” Yes, this is true. I should be. The issue is that the system doesn’t work like this. From the time we are tiny girls, we are judged on how we look. All too well I remember those first searing comments about my weight – when I was eight years old. Perhaps thinking I was out of earshot, words like “pudgy” and “chubby” were thrown around by nearby adults. Or maybe they were meant to be heard – a warning shot across the bow before I really “let myself go” and my body became truly unacceptable. So what did I say in response to my friend Frank’s comment that I should be known for my expertise? I simply replied: “I’m fighting on so many fronts. I’m not fighting on this one too.”

On the flip side of this, I liked this profile of women in their 50s, 60s and 70s becoming beauty product influencers on YouTube. A standout remark: "I was gobsmacked when Dior announced that Cara Delevingne was going to be the face of their new anti-ageing products. She’s 25. The outrage should have been loud but hardly anyone batted an eyelid."

Amy Gray is one of the most underrated feminist commentators in Australia, so I was thrilled to see her review of Germaine Greer's new essay On Rape get a double page spread in The Age yesterday. A particularly sick burn:

"Greer's On Rape seems to embody most of the iconic feminist's recent behaviour: all snarky soundbite and no substance. The essay was a perfect opportunity to transform her media mal mots into an argument that could be analysed and debated. Frustratingly, what she has produced is whiplash, with many points to score but few to make."

Buying and listening to my favourite music on vinyl records is my favourite wasteful and unnecessary hobby. This piece explaining how vinyl in 2018 is actually a luxury collectors item and labels need to manufacture and market it as such articulates my thoughts on the matter perfectly. 

Australian politics is a frustrating depressing mess, but I couldn't let this newsletter go by without sharing the skits from TV show The Feed casting the recent leadership spill dramas as if it was a fight for school captain at a posh all-girls private school. 
 

MORE

LISTENING

I smashed through the entire season of the true crime podcast The Teacher's Pet in a single week while driving to places around Melbourne to do my hiking training (I recommend Werribee Gorge and Cape Schanck/Bushranger's Bay). It has gone properly viral now and this week the police have recommenced a forensic dig, so there is no better time to get across the story. The first episode is a bit dull, but stick with it - it is totally gripping after that. 

I have been thinking a lot about this episode of the podcast Invisibilia, which examples an example of callout culture in a hardcore music scene. What happens when the person doing the call out gets called out themselves? With this vigilante justice, when is justice seen to be served? I have been a member of two of these kinds of scenes myself, and it really made me examine my own past behaviour.

THINGS I HAVE BEEN DOING


If you like me and wish me well, the following info will be a nice update. If you secretly hate me, you will see this as a brag. Sorry.

My life has been all about work and literally getting my actual house in order lately. I worked as part of the media team to promote and document Breast Cancer Network Australia's recent breast cancer survivorship conference and Field of Women event. This involved handling media crews, hanging out the side of my car while my housemate Flavia (a recurring character in these emails, I now realise) drove me around Melbourne so I could video all the Melbourne landmarks lit up in pink, executive producing a Facebook Live broadcast so that people all around Australia could watch the ceremony, editing photos and doing whatever else needed to be done. I've been regularly writing reviews for the national broadsheet newspaper The Australian, which you can catch up on here.  Ben and I are still working on Spokesmodel music, and keeping our patrons updated thusly.

Most gigantically, I just got back from 8 days of hiking around Mont Blanc in France, Switzerland and Italy with a group made up mostly of breast cancer survivors and health professionals. The scenery was amazing and I felt really proud of the effort I put in both during the trek and before the trek to make sure I would be physically fit enough to handle hiking up and down hills for between 11-19km a day, for 6 days in a row. I'll be thinking a lot about what I learned from the experience in the coming months.  You can watch 2 minute long video of what I got up to here, or over at my Instagram account
Copyright © 2018 Sophie Benjamin, All rights reserved.


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