Photo by Nagatoshi Shimamura on Unsplash

It’s that time of year again when people become wistful and wishful, filling social feeds with hopes and dreams for the new year. Every year I see the same resolutions about losing weight, getting fit, finding a new job, being grateful, practising mindfulness. People wish each other well and set out to begin their new habits, each lasting a few days, or a few weeks if they are lucky. What I never see, however, are resolutions about community building, looking after each other, or tearing down an unjust system. …

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And we won’t hate ourselves just because you do.

It seems whatever fat women do, it’s wrong. If we are confident and happy with our bodies, we are promoting unhealthy lifestyles or worse, making skinny women feel bad. If we try to lose weight, we are giving in to diet culture, being toxic and disappointing people — just ask Lizzo. Grammy Award-winning artist Lizzo, a fat black woman and champion of body positivity, has this week come under fire for sharing her 10-day smoothie detox with her fans, many of whom have lashed out against her, alongside even more critics…

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Paid pandemic leave is a great temporary measure but we also need long-term structural change

The Victorian Government has announced a $1500 worker support payment for any worker who has to quarantine due to Covid-19 who either have no entitlement to paid leave or who have exhausted their sick leave entitlement. This is a big step forward in protecting workers, particularly casuals, who would have otherwise gone without income while under direction to stay home for 14 days due to either having contracted the virus, or being in close contact with someone who has. Fear of lack of income has…

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Governments need to stop outsourcing and start taking responsibility.

The outsourcing of quarantine control to a security company with no experience in public health protocols has led to the biggest Covid-19 outbreak in Australia so far. People arriving from overseas were quarantined in hotels for 14 days, guarded by security contractors who have breached quarantine rules to interact with isolated guests, infecting themselves and their communities with the virus. Melbourne is now on its second lockdown as a result, with an even more draconian ‘hard’ lockdown having just come to an end in some public housing towers.

I don’t blame…

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Our casual dining culture harms workers and the environment. It’s time to start paying what a meal is really worth.

I had brunch with my wife in our favourite café today for the first time in three months. It was strange with the reduced number of tables and customers, and the sign-in and sanitiser welcome, but the novelty of not having dined out in a while also made it feel like a special occasion; the way it used to feel when I was growing up. I remembered how good it felt to gather for a family birthday or an end…

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When #metoo exploded across social media in 2017, many people were surprised. How could so many women have been sexually harassed, let alone assaulted, and we’d never heard about it before? Surely if it was such a big deal, the authorities would already be dealing with it? …

Male entitlement to women’s bodies exists across the spectrum.

Photo by M.T ElGassier on Unsplash

The strangest thing happened to me at a party recently. A gay male acquaintance — someone I’d only met a couple of times before — stuck his face between my breasts and nuzzled into me like a cat. It wasn’t a momentary nuzzle, either, but a prolonged groping and fondling, coupled with moans of pleasure. I’m sure if he could have purred, he would have. I, on the other hand, froze. First, I was shocked, and then I felt humiliated. We were surrounded by onlookers, some of whom were laughing. …

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When busyness and happiness coexist.

I’m a busy person. For a long time I thought that was a bad thing: am I busy like the cult-of-busyness-busy, wearing my busyness as a badge of honour, a symbol of my commitment to productivity under late stage capitalism? Or am I busy in an avoidant way, frantically filling my days so I never have any time alone with my thoughts, lest I have to actually do some self reflection? Either of these reasons would be legitimate — it is the sad but true system we live in, after all, that we do have…

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I’m fat and I’m a fat shamer. This ends now.

For a long time I thought I was body positive, celebrating large bodies, being proud of putting my own body out there, taking up space and owning it. I’ve written about being a fat burlesque performer, and the joy I get when plus size audience members tell me my performance made them feel empowered; that it was the first time they’d seen a body like their own up there on a stage.

But actually I’ve been apologising for my body for a long time. I didn’t realise I was doing…

Now, I use my trauma as my motivation.

Photo by Claudia on Unsplash

I first tried to get a tertiary education in 1998, fresh out of high school. I have been studying for more than half of the 21 years since then, but have only graduated for the first time this year. All those times when I was studying unsuccessfully, and told myself I was weak, unfocused, lazy, useless or stupid, added to the effects of the trauma, repeating messages I’d absorbed from my abusers, and keeping me in a state or helplessness. It was only when I was diagnosed last year with complex post-traumatic…

Kelly Heylen

Art, feminism, business and tech from an intersectional leftist perspective.

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