#JointDestroyer #clementine_ford #YesAllWomen
OK we don’t usually feature Americans but this douche-bag deserves total contempt
Remember what happened to this (fictional) turd?
Maybe these rules should be tattooed onto this loser
Tony Abbott copped a lot of flak in the media, mainstream and social, for introducing the candidate for Lindsay, Fiona Scott, by saying “I think I can probably say have a bit of sex appeal”.
Tracey Spicer wrote a great article for The Hoopla:
Too often, a woman’s stocks rise and fall on the value of her sexuality. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s wanted to scream, “Stop looking at my tits and listen to what I have to say!”
Then in middle age, we are disappeared by the diminution of this appeal.
Clementine Ford wrote for The Sydney Morning Herald:
Some people have leapt on the comments as evidence of Abbott’s inherent misogyny, but that’s being a little opportunistic. Abbott isn’t a misogynist (he owns four women, remember?) any more than he is a worthy candidate to run the country.
Ed Butler wrote a piece for AusVotes2013
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Here’s keen Liberal Party and Geelong Cats’supporter (and twit) “Peter W Hill”. Is he fake or not? We are not sure.
What we are sure of is that he is a misogynist. And he likes to
stalk journalist Clementine Ford troll journalist Clementine Ford’s Twitter.
Here’s the full story on Clementine Ford’s Tumblr blog
These obsessed old guys sure get agitated when women disagree with them.
We know Clementine Ford doesn’t support rape. Not sure about old “Peter” though.
Here he is What a twat!
One of the downsides of the world’s largest social networking site is its facilitation of hate speech, misogyny, homophobia and racism.
Facebook has more than 1 billion users, a demographic so large that it stands to reason pockets of it would exist to entertain the worst of humanity’s bottom-feeders. While you can’t blame an organisation that provides a free service for attracting rape apologists, racists, homophobes, misogynists and hate-filled bigots, you can hold them to account for knowingly facilitating this kind of behaviour, hiding behind the banner of “free speech” to defend pages with titles like “I kill bitches like you”, “I love the Rape Van” and “Raping Babies because you’re f—ing fearless”. And if they still refuse to address it, reasoning that their reach and influence is so great that not even a bunch of panty-twisted feminazis can dent their huge success, then you attack their bottom line.
It’s exactly the motivation behind the #FBrape campaign currently being run by a trio of online feminist activists. Jaclyn Friedman from Women, Action & the Media (WAM!), Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, and writer Soraya Chemaly have joined forces to urge Facebook to take seriously the bilious swill that masquerades as humour on their website, and that so often makes the rape, assault and even murder of women and children their punchlines.
There’s an absurd irony in the fact that Facebook seems to take a zero tolerance policy to the uploading of breastfeeding photos (many users have been reported and even temporarily banned for sharing images of them feeding their babies), yet it took weeks and a Change.org petition with more than 100,000 signatures to get Facebook to remove a “humour” page called “What’s 10 inches and gets girls to have sex with me? My knife” and that they continue to respond to images urging the rape of women with tepid excuses like this (after the jump).
The #FBrape campaign began with an Open Letter to Facebook and continues by asking people to notify advertisers when their ads appear on pages promoting misogyny and violence. The algorithms of Facebook mean that ads appear dependent on the users; an ad for Samsung might appear on a page urging its users to “Kick a Slut today” simply because a user happens to have a fondness for both violence and photographic composition (or perhaps even both, given by how many photographs and videos of women and girls being raped have made their way onto the social network.)
But while a company mightn’t elect to advertise on a page that tries to pass off the trauma of rape as “controversial humour”, knowing that it could appear that way without their permission is what underpins the #FBrape campaign. Since the campaign launched last week, companies have already begun pulling advertising, a trend that will hopefully gather momentum as more organisations realise the value in defending women against what representatives from Facebook have referred to as “rude jokes”.
Look, I love a rude joke. I don’t even subscribe to the view that jokes about rape can never be funny. But as Molly Ivins once said: “Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful … When satire is aimed at the powerless, it is not only cruel – it is vulgar.”
The reason misogyny runs so rampant online is because it’s completely facilitated by our culture. As a woman, I find jokes that make fun of rape culture hilarious. What I don’t find funny is a joke that relies upon the sexual degradation and torture of a woman to raise a laugh. I especially don’t appreciate the minions of Mark Zuckerberg, whose media empire began as a way for Harvard students to minimise the worth of the women in their community by rating their attractiveness, telling me that the real problem here is political correctness and sensitivity.
Male rape “humorists” of Facebook, you try living in a world where one in five of you will be raped in your lifetime; where safety is never guaranteed because even if you haven’t been raped yet, you still could be; where it is common and not rare for your friends to confide in you the stories of their own sexual assaults, some of whom have been victimised multiple times; where when you are raped, you’re reminded of all the ways it was probably your fault; where the leading cause of death among women aged 15 to 44 isn’t heart disease or cancer, but domestic violence; where less than 1 per cent of all sexual assault charges will result in a conviction, because no one wants to ruin the promising futures of young men who “made a mistake”; and where the biggest concern in all of this is not how the perpetuation of these kinds of jokes tell women that they’re nothing, but whether or not a person’s freedom of speech is being threatened.
But more than that, more than the violence, more than the blatant misogyny – you try living in a world where you are reminded at every turn that you’re not allowed to complain about the joke, because you are the joke. And when you’ve come close to experiencing what that feels like, to be marginalised as fodder for juvenile male humour, to be treated as a punchline in more ways than one, and to be expected to laugh along with it so as not to spoil the fun for all the boys who find the idea of kicking you in the vagina “hilarious”, then you tell us to stop being so goddamn sensitive about everything.
Petulantly arguing for your right to unleash violent misogyny free from persecution or criticism doesn’t just misunderstand the concept of free speech, it also betrays an ironic sense of entitlement. Women are expected to endure attitudes whose logical conclusions result in them being beaten, raped and sometimes killed, with any complaints thrown back in their face with a specially tailored threat to accompany it. But tell any one of these so called freedom fighters that their jokes are a hideous insight into their own warped minds and it’s like Stonewall all over again.
This is what the #FBrape campaign is revealing – the insidious, nasty entitlement of cultural misogyny and its skittish reaction to anything that threatens its absolute right to continue unchecked. It’s also why I’m lending it my full support. Like Friedman, Bates and Chemaly, I’m over it. I’m tired of being expected to applaud the continued degradation of my people, to marvel at the cleverness of juvenile, angry sexism, to laugh along as these men show me in every foul, unimaginative, aggressive way possible that they think I’m nothing more than a series of holes for them to violate as they please. You should be too.
NB: Men are the victims of rape and violence too – most often at the hands of other men. And while their trauma is real and far reaching, it has yet to be further compounded by a culture that continuously reminds them of how little control they have over their own bodies and safety. Male rape jokes revolve around the threat of prison issued punishment. Female rape jokes are about ownership. In both situations, it’s about the dominant patriarchy wielding masculine power. This isn’t a fight between men and women. It’s a fight between people who respect women as equal human beings and people who don’t.
Facebook has responded to the campaign in this long and somewhat typically self-serving post.
I read Clementine Ford’s article in The Age dated March 25, Is this photo grounds for death? I shared it around the usual social media traps. It is an issue that should be highlighted.
I also read Ruby Hamad’s article in The Age dated March 28, Why protests must be culturally appropriate and noticed Ruby copping a bit of flak from Australian women.
In summary, Amina, a 19 year-old Tunisian woman, adopted a western protest style to seek freedom for the women in Tunisia and she is now in a mental hospital. Clementine wrote of the case and Ruby has provided a culturally sensitive perspective which has generated some discussion.
I am one of what I believe is a fairly unique group of women: I am an atheist feminist married to a Muslim. I have visited a very strict Islamic country, Qatar. If you are reading this and don’t…
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It seems like you can barely swing a well worn cliche around these days without hitting a sombre editorial lamenting how women suck at life. From the more asinine concerns around their geriatric-at-35 singlehood (could it be that you’re too picky, ladies?) to slightly more obnoxious frets about their clothing choices (when did empowerment start to resemble a porn set, amirite Angela?!), you’d be forgiven for thinking women stumble around all day like a wind up toy, only changing direction when they bump into a table leg or have a kindly man pick them up to gently urge them back towards the Safe Zone.
As irritating as this sort of fluff is, there’s something else that’s been worrying Concerned Citizens lately. Namely, why do women walk around without due diligence, refusing to take responsibility for their own safety in the badlands of society’s streets? While it’s true that reading maps is just one of the many, many things that women are bad at, even a cursory glance at urban cartography should reveal to them the giant land mass directly outside the perimeter of their home and local church that screams, ‘HERE BE MONSTERS’. And so, knowing how dangerous the world is for them, why don’t they listen and realise that they need to take more care?
In the condescending echo chamber that shudders into life every time conservations around harassment and sexual assault come up, there’s one argument that comes up time and time again. Where logic is concerned, it’s so ludicrous that it hardly bear acknowledging even by the process of contradiction. However, because people continue to use it to such stupifyingly large degrees, I thought it was high time that someone turned a hand to dismantling it once and for all. Let us begin.
If you leave your keys in your car, don’t be surprised if someone steals it.
Listen, it’s simple ladies. If you drive your vagina around and leave it double parked on a dark street with the keys dangling in the ignition and an apple pie on the dashboard, how can you expect someone not to amble past and just take it? I mean, if I were to just wander off and leave my wallet sitting on the table in a cafe, should I be surprised if I return later to find it gone? More to the point, if (as one commenter so helpfully asked a few months ago) I were to spread all of my possessions on my front lawn and retreat to the comfort of my living room for a Here Comes Honey Boo Boo marathon, can I really complain if I emerge, hours later, bleary eyed from the self induced high of a televisual acid trip, to the astonishing revelation that my worldly goods have been pilfered by opportunistic suburban thieves? Indeed, I cannot!
The lesson is simple: there are petty criminals lurking around every corner just waiting for hapless dames like you to walk around with money spilling out of your meat purses, so you should always put the club lock on your Honey Boo Boo.
It’s hard to believe, but such arguments are usually offered with a kind of arrogant ‘checkmate’ tone to them, as if sexual assault is merely the inconvenient by-product of Forgetful Girl Brain and not one of the most traumatic violations a person can experience. Worse, these kind of dismissive hypotheticals place victims at the forefront of blame. When we create and perpetuate caveats like this, we confirm to victims of sexual assault something that many are already deeply troubled by. That they could have done something different. That they asked for it. That they didn’t fight hard enough. That they deserved it.
The idea that we could possibly allow any victim of assault, sexual or otherwise, to think that they had somehow asked for it is so anathema to the idea of human decency that it beggars belief. Nobody asks to be raped. And vaginas don’t come with a goddamn steering lock.
Yet this argument persists because I think we’ve never really addressed the root of its logical inconsistency. A vagina is not a car, and rape is not the same thing as opportunistically taking someone’s abandoned wallet from a coffee table. Do you know why? Because if I leave the keys in my car – AND I’M SITTING IN MY CAR – anyone who comes along and tries to steal it will have to physically assault me in order to take it. If I sprawl all of my possessions on the front lawn of my house and then embark on my Honey Boo Boo marathon, that’s not an invitation to rape – it’s a sign that it’s hard rubbish day.
Presenting vaginas as disembodied possessions just waiting to be stolen isn’t just inaccurate (and searingly offensive – how many people who cursed Peter Slipper for comparing vaginas to mussels have invoked the old car key argument?) it also completely denies the reality of assault by shifting it into some kind of arbitrary narrative of property theft. Enduring rape has exactly zero things in common with the insignificant inconvenience of having to replace your credit cards, and it certainly isn’t done by stealth. When a woman puts on a short skirt, she isn’t signalling her exit from the building that is her body. She hasn’t left her car running on an empty street and wandered off to find some frozen yoghurt. All she’s done is put on a short skirt. You still have to ask her if she wants to have sex with you. You should still want to ask her.
Viewing a woman’s clothing as any kind of sign that she’s abandoned ship just confirms the idea that women aren’t truly in possession of their sexuality – that it exists for them to guard and for other people to take. Crucially, the reason so many men are upset by this prospect and use this argument in such fearful ways is because their concern stems from a desire to protect women from sexual assault rather than prevent it, thus allowing it to continue unabated by never really putting in the effort to take a stand against it.
If it’s true that rape was traditionally used (and continues to be used in some instances) as a weapon not against women but against men, it stands to reason that one of man’s greatest fears is being unable to protect the women he loves from this so-called reality of sexual violence. So what is actually being said when we ‘remind’ women that they’re vulnerable is this: Men cannot be there to protect you from ‘the monsters’ all the time, so for heaven’s sake, would you please meet them halfway and give them peace of mind by not behaving in ways that they think encourages others to rape you and disempower them. It’s not unnatural to want to protect the people in your life – but in this instance, it’s immensely unhelpful to assume that the best advantage women can have is male protection rather than a commitment to create the kind of world in which they can be equal beings, entitled to protect themselves.
What we should be saying is this: there is no excuse for rape. Period. What we should be doing is taking the level of effort and energy currently heaped into educating women on how they need to modify their behaviour in order to prevent sexual assault (which doesn’t work and doesn’t account for the fact that the majority of rapes are perpetrated by someone known to the victim). We should be educating everybody that sexual assault of any kind is never okay, and you can’t just jump in a woman’s front seat and drive her away as if she has no one but her careless self to blame.
Next time: How men can help in the quest to radically change women’s safety on the street. And it has nothing to do with offering protection.
When you’re a feminist, you get used to misogynists trying to challenge the necessity of your politics. “Feminism’s finished! Women are equal now and there’s no use for all the hairy arm-pitted rubbish! Quit your yapping! Embrace your curves!”
But misogynist isn’t a very fashionable kind of word – I mean, no one saunters into a room proudly pronouncing, ‘My name’s Don and I’m a misogynist!’, unless it’s the latest Charter Meeting of Online Trolls Monthly, or Channel Nine. So because people know it’s not really kosher to be a codified turd, they try and hide their misogynist views under the guise of legitimate arguments.
If you’re not trained in the spotting of smug, self-satisfied misogynists, you might not know the general thrust of their shtick. Luckily for you, I’ve become somewhat of an expert in the field since they all started following me on Twitter. So to help novices and outsiders, I’ve taken the following five popular misogynist arguments and parsed them into some kind of legible (if not logical) format for your benefit.
1. If you want to see real oppression, go to the Middle East.
The problems here are threefold. First, it implies women in the west should be grateful for the benevolence of their natural overlords. Who cares if 1 in 3 of you will experience sexual assault in your lifetime, while also enjoying the privilege of lower pay than your male counterparts and the symbolic annihilation of yourselves in literature and film? In case you didn’t know, women in Afghanistan are being stoned to death. So why don’t you just go ahead and submit your complaint to the STFU file known as my PENIS?
Second is the accusatory tone. Now, I’m no statistician, but I’d estimate that 98.76% of people outraged over feminism’s ‘failure’ to ‘protect’ their brown sisters from the oppression of their Muslim Male Masters (because let’s not forget, this is about racism too) are doing exactly zero to agitate for women’s liberation anywhere, let alone in the Middle East. But even though they hate feminism and all who dwell therein, they still think they know how to do it better than you do. This is because misogynists see themselves as Upper Management – which is precisely why we need to get more women into executive roles.
Finally, liberation and change aren’t beholden to hierarchies of need. It’s possible to seek the liberation of oppressed groups everywhere, at the same time! Asking comparatively privileged women (many of whom also live in the Middle East – it is not a vacuum) to be satisfied with ‘good enough’ just reinforces the patriarchal hierarchy of power that needs to be dismantled.
Besides, I don’t hear anyone accusing working families of selfishness for complaining about their rising electricity bills just because some slum dwellers in India don’t even HAVE working Playstations.
2. How can women expect us to respect them when they won’t respect themselves?
When Sheik Al-Hilali compared scantily clad women to uncovered meat, we were rightly outraged. In Australia, we yelled, we don’t treat women like that! Except that we do. We use clothing and behaviour to provide excuses for sexist everyday, be they rapists or simply the kind of people who think a woman’s right to be afforded a basic level of dignity is contingent upon how much of her skin she’s revealing. The fact that we criticise other cultures for it doesn’t make us champions of women – it makes us both sexist AND racist.
We’re not protecting women – we’re protecting our property. Asking women to respect themselves in order to ‘earn’ the right to be treated like a human being is total horse-shit. But suggesting that you have the right to treat her exactly as you please because she didn’t adhere to your archaic views of feminine propriety is misogyny, plain and simple.
3. Stop criticising domestic servitude! Some women are proud to look after their families.
This one’s a misogynist favourite, especially notable for the fact it’s the only time you’ll find them advocating for women’s rights in the workplace. Specifically, a woman’s right to iron her husband’s work shirts instead of her own. Misogynists who use this argument like to wax lyrical about things like choice, pride and sacrificial love. But what they’re really defending is their belief that women belong in the home, performing dull domestic tasks for the primary benefit of everyone other than themselves (and mainly their husband). Despite the fact that these dudes wouldn’t devote even an tenth of their lives to it themselves, they’re invested in outwardly maintaining the nobility of unpaid domestic work – because ascribing false honour to drudgery is how you reinforce invisible social power.
The thing is, women can choose those things if they want to. There’s nothing more tedious than the status quo trying to pit stay-at-homes against workforce broads. But the fact is, these people aren’t advocating for or defending a range of choices. How do I know that? Because if they were, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.
4. It’s a science thing
“Look, men and women are built differently. It’s biological. Men are more visual, women are more emotional. That’s why more men are in executive roles. It’s about merit. If women were better, they wouldn’t be so crap. I didn’t make the rules.”
So goes the argument. Basically, it’s the kind of pop science spouted by the readers of such noted academic journals as NW Magazine and the Herald Sun. Whenever you hear someone say, ‘women are just better at washing up’ or ‘men are just better at being the leader of the free world’, ask yourself this: would that sentence be as benign if we replaced gender with race? Would we stand by, nodding sagely as mainstream pundits discussed how white people are just better at empathy than black folk? I sure hope not.
So why is it okay to say that women aren’t as good at stuff ‘because biology’? The biology argument is a Trojan horse that does nothing but sneak sexist propaganda into the castle. The only biological difference between a man and a woman is the difference of a Y chromosome – and even then, there’s a bit of wiggle room.
5. Men are oppressed too, therefore women aren’t! Or something.
“If feminists really cared about equality, they’d be addressing all the inequality that faces men. Like, why do feminists only care about breast cancer and not prostate cancer? Why aren’t feminists advocating for single dads? Why won’t women sleep with me when I’m a really nice guy and I’ve made a particular effort to be nice to them, particularly? Until feminism can answer that, I’m afraid I don’t really see it as being legitimate.”
This is the last bastion of the misogynist’s argument – their self fancying checkmate, if you will. What these people are basically saying is that, despite the overwhelming evidence of entrenched sexual, physical and ideological oppression of women, the only way feminism can really be fair is if it first identifies and solves all of the ways in which the patriarchy also oppresses men.
To be more specific, women who agitate for their own liberation are only allowed to do so once they’ve fixed all the things that make men sad, thus making them stronger and even more powerful.
There are probably a million ways I could tear this argument apart, but I think this says it better than I ever could.
To paraphrase the great Sarah Connor, a bitchin’ kick ass broad who saved humanity from blistering annihilation at the hands of the Terminators: if a stick figure, an animation, can reject the stupidity of misogynist rhetoric…maybe we can too.
Go forth and rebut, my friends.
17 January 2012
Australia. It’s the Lucky Country, the land of the fair go. A fair dinkum place defined by mateship, honour and a masculinity so raw you could chuck it on the barbie and feed your working family for weeks.
We’re a country populated by battlers and diggers; honest, hard working folk who just want the opportunity to buy a four-bedroom house to cater to our future children, bask in the sanctity of our heterosexual marriages and enjoy the superior benefits of the kind of peaceful, economically sound democracy that comes with the arbitrary inherited privilege of birth.
Sure, we have to contend with the occasional latte swilling, bleeding heart leftie who’s out to destroy our way of life – but no-one said life in the Lucky Country would be all beach cricket and handsome fashion statements constructed out of flags.
From their nefarious outland known as ‘Inner City’, these cultural terrorists work in cluster cells to erode the very values our great nation was built on. Values like our right to enjoy the occasional joke about the blacks and the bum bandits, or threaten women on national radio, or wear witty and politically insightful t-shirts declaring ‘AUSTRALIA – WE GREW HERE, YOU FLEW HERE’.
But we prevail, as all great civilisations staring down the barrel of oppression must. After all, we’re Australian. We stormed the shores of Gallipoli. We held the Brisbane Line. We drove trucks into our nation’s capital to protest the highway robbery of the ‘carbon’ ‘tax’ and to listen to Alan Jones shout a lot. It was just like the intervention, but even more important because of how a carbon tax would drastically affect the lives of real Australians.
You know. Real Australians. Just like you and me.
And therein ends the jest. Because the problem with Real Australia is that everything about it is constructed on a precarious sausage stack of mythology, and we are in the fierce grips of denial about it.
We’re in denial about the reality of Australia and exactly how we wrestled the Lucky Country away from its traditional owners and declared dominion over it. We’re in denial about how fiercely (and hypocritically) we defend our own rights to exist as a nation of people free from the ‘thieving’ hands of what we see as ‘illegal’ entry and occupation. We’re in denial of the overwhelming privilege that comes from simply being born white and heterosexual in a peaceful democracy like Australia. And we’re in a state of utter and absolute denial about the fact that most of us actually don’t feel lucky at all, but entitled – almost as if we’ve done something to deserve this great fortune and thus have the right to scrutinise outsiders’ actions to see if they’ve earned that slice of the pie they seem perilously close to snatching from us.
The Australia that exists in our mythology is exactly that – a myth. We throw around words like ‘mateship’, ‘fair go’ and ‘battlers’ as if Australia were one giant mining town straight out of the 50s, with a cohort of good ole’ boys led by Chips Rafferty and the occasional speaking role for a woman chucked in to advance the romance subplot.
But in reality, the last decade has seen us become a nation of suspicious misers, greedily hoarding privileges we presume to be ours alone and gifted by the divine honour of Being Australian. We who chance upon privilege so easily and so arbitrarily often seem to be the most vehement and duplicitous in protecting it from others.
Asylum seekers are rewritten as ‘illegal boat people’, jumping the queue instead of waiting patiently as we presumably would do in the same circumstances. Gay people are dystopian rebels, forcing their lifestyle down our throats and undermining the sanctity of marriage as dictated by a God most of us don’t believe in. Feminists concerned about the objectification of women should go to the Middle East and thank their stars they only have to endure a bit of light-hearted, red-blooded larrikinism. Climate change is the Greens’ way of trying to rob us all blind.
And so forth.
Despite the enormous amount of diversity in Australia – cultural, sexual, racial, political – we still like to perpetuate a very limited construction of our nation’s identity. The ‘us’ of our consciousness is a result of 15 years of conservative governance encouraging an uncivilised human instinct to hoard power.
We have no social vision as a nation, preferring instead to ask of any initiative, “What’s in it for me?” We have somehow lost the ability to rationally see our situation as more fortunate than others, reasoning that our deservedness partly comes from the fact WE were careful enough to save our money in order to put down a mortgage on a house while those bloody queue jumpers think they can just get one given to them for free!
We don’t stop to think that while we were busy negotiating mortgage repayments with a (mostly) fair and reasonable bank, these objects of our scorn were worrying that their houses might be razed in the middle of the night, the men killed, the women raped and the children rendered orphans.
We don’t consider what it must be like to be told that someone else’s partnership undermines our own, therefore it’s only fair they have less of the pie.
While hand wringing about the inevitable Muslim plot to overrun Australia and destroy our way of life, we don’t think about how it actually must feel to have someone steal your land, destroy your culture, disempower your people and then tell them all to get over it because it happened ages ago and they have nothing to apologise for.
We are not, as a rule, particularly benevolent or generous to people different from us. But we are so wedded to our denial of all of this that the myth continues. The Lucky Country. The land of the fair go. A fair dinkum place defined by mateship and honour, Vegemite and white people on the TV.
Australia’s the lucky country, yes – lucky for all those who happened to be born here as white, middle class heterosexuals. But if we addressed the politics of our own denial, Australia could be better than a lucky country – it could be a great and bold country.
We are very good at forcefully demanding everyone else to be better… but we never seem to demand it of ourselves. Our answer to any kind of criticism of the culture that occupies the status quo is the obstinate, ‘IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, LEAVE’.
And if you get tired of yelling it, fret not. That one comes on a t-shirt too.
Clementine Ford is a freelance writer, broadcaster and public speaker based in Melbourne. Follow her on twitter: @clementine_ford.