Looking through the Lens of Gender and Diversity

Redress December 2016

Looking through the Lens of Gender and Diversity

From the Editor

Welome to this special edition of Redress exploring gender and ethnicity. In 2013 I completed a doctorate in social inclusion that required me to become immersed in a small Muslim African community in Melbourne for nearly five years. As a white, middle-class woman, I soon discovered that I had to look at myself differently as a researcher, shifting my own subjectivity about where I sit within, between and amongst the dominant culture and the African culture. This experience lead me to Fadumo, a Somali woman who worked very closely with me over the five years and who inspired me to share with students our story of two women from very different worlds who interweaved themselves into the other’s culture and became the best of friends. My article shares some of our experiences.

As part of her report to the Victorian Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality, Roy Allen and the Advisory group Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli focuses on the experiences of same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people of multicultural and multifaith backgrounds. In contrast, Vivian Gerrand reveals her personal experience of purchasing a burkini for sun protection and the subsequent criticism she receives both on holidays and online. This self-reflective piece takes us on a journey of isolation and interrogation about what women can and cannot wear and reveals that ‘Islamophobia’ is well and truly alive. In a similar vein, Julie Peters shares her personal journey as a teenager feeling disorientated in the gender she had been assigned and uncomfortable in the 1960s Catholic education system. She reveals the turning points in her primary and secondary schooling that had her questioning normative gender roles and where she fitted in. Finally, Emily Spratt, a Year 12 student shares the reality of what it is like being a young woman living out her life within a culture of the male gaze. She is constantly negotiating and questioning her own behaviour and that of her friends about what it means to feel safe while her male counterparts are not expected to respect women.

A very enlightening read. I really hope you enjoy this issue and are inspired by all the stories and extensive research.

Georgia Birch
Guest Editor

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