Happy International Women’s Day! Every year when we get to March 8, we turn around, have a look, and properly assess what’s working in our society vis a vis women (and gender non-conforming people), and how we can improve.
But a lot of women and non-binary people are doing this every damn day of their lives. So today, we’re celebrating a bunch of the insanely cool, inspiring, motivational women you absolutely should know about (if you don’t already).
Prue is a Melbourne-based artist whose work explores and distorts the female body in all its beauty and ugliness. Her work moves from photography and sculpture to performance and installation, going ‘big’ on Instagram before showing at galleries and working full time as an artist. Alongside her longtime collaborator, Honey Long, she’s also worked with some of the biggest fashion houses in the world (hello, Gucci) and major local designers (Dion Lee).
Fair warning: you could easily lose house scrolling through her Instagram.
Go follow her here: @pru_stent.
Monica is a 32-year-old screenwriter and director who is right now crowdfunding the first ever LGBT romantic teen comedy in Australia. Her last feature film, Skin Deep, was shot for a mere $32K and was screened at eight different international film festivals, getting sold around the world.
“I want to get [my teen comedy] made so badly is I grew up being an LGBT teen who loved romantic comedies but never saw myself represented in them,” she told P.TV. “I want to create a positive, comfort film for the Australian teens of today that has a great queer twist.”
You can sling a few dollars towards the film here.
Where do I start with Bec? First of all, she’s one of the funniest humans alive. If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you’ve probably already laughed at her jokes, given how widely shared they are. She’s also produced some beautiful, insightful writing at any number of publications around Australia that’s made this writer cry at least once.
Second of all, she runs the @NoToFeminism account (which was also turned into a book), satirising the sexist crap spouted by misogynists worldwide.
I don't need femims women can't be leaders what if they get periods?? They might start a war over a bad reason! a thing men have never done
— WomanAgainstFeminism (@NoToFeminism) February 9, 2015
And third, she’s on the writing team for Tom Ballard‘s Tonightly on the ABC, and uh, see point one: one of the funniest humans alive.
Give her a follow here: @brocklesnitch.
Patricia is an Aussie sculpture whose majestic hot air balloon / whale, The Skywhale, captivated Aussie all the way back in 2013. Now she’s putting on a huge immersive, multi-sensory installation in Brisbane‘s Gallery of Modern Art, which challenges what it means to be human and how far our power for empathy goes.
Give her a follow over on Instagram here: @patriciapiccini
Tiara is a writer, performance artist, activist and creative producer who navigates the world as a queer, gender-nonconforming person of colour. She (her preferred pronouns are She or They) moved to Brisbane from Malaysia over a decade ago, moving between Australia and the United States before settling in Melbourne. Among what seems to be a thousand other projects, she recently conducted a deep investigation into LGBT rights in Asia, and will soon be taking the stage at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, performing a piece about being a Queer Lady Magician dealing with imposter syndrome.
Give her a follow over on Instagram here: @creatrixtiara.
Shannon is a young Yawuru woman working tirelessly to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. She worked on the Recognise campaign for years, recently worked on the Marriage Equality campaign, and is basically one of those people constantly striving to make Australia a more equal, inclusive place.
Give her a follow over on Twitter here: @ShannonJDodson.
If you’re a young Aussie writer, you’ve probably come across Cathy at some point – she built a community of over 4,000 young Aussie writers from scratch, creating a huge strong support team for writers starting out in an industry that by its very nature can be isolating and open to exploitation. She also speaks up often on issues around feminism, body positivity, disability awareness and unpaid internships in an articulate way that’s always worth listening to.
Allison is a poet, writer, artist and trans activist living Sydney. They published a collection of poems about “what it takes to be in and amongst bodies, to be loving and empathetic in the internet age” called Parenthetical Bodies in 2017, and has written for a huge range of publications around trans issues and feminism.
Their Twitter is at times funny, moving, or seriously educational (or at times all three), but always worth reading. You should absolutely do it here: @allisongallaghr.
not gay as in happy but queer as in i don't have a driver's license
— allison (@allisongallaghr) March 4, 2018
You’re probably familiar with Celeste’s work via another name: FilthyRatBag. She’s a Melbourne teenage artist who’s accrued over 244k followers on Instagram for her clever comics that take on everything from mental illness to depression to the pure absurdities of life. Her unique style is instantly recognisable, and honestly it’s a crime they don’t hang art like this in a national museum somewhere. 2018 needs to fix that.
Give her a follow here: @filthyratbag.
Tilly is a sex worker and activist based out of Melbourne whose uses Instagram like a personal journal, writing poet posts about life, love, feminism, sex work, mental health and the occasional work of fiction. She’s a fierce advocate for sex worker rights and the importance of feminism not excluding this group of people, and has helped drive the shift in the way sex work and workers are discussed in public.
Go follow Tilly on Instagram here: @tilly_lawless
Michelle’s play Single Asian Female – about a Chinese-Australia mother and her two daughters each navigating a crucial moment in their lives – is currently earning rave reviews, and more importantly (probably) is making an impact on the lives of single Chinese-Australian women everywhere. Read this and TELL ME you don’t well up a little bit:
— Michelle Law ???? (@ms_michellelaw) March 7, 2018
On top of that, she’s a prolific writer, screenwriter and published author with at least one award to her name and always seems to be involved with some incredibly cool project that shines a light onto the experiences of Asian-Australian women.
Carielyn is an artist and woman of colour who uses Instagram to speak up on issues around feminism, post-colonialism, racism, toxic masculinity, mental health and just a bunch of other good, meaty stuff. Self care? Sure. Spirituality? Of course. Anyone who advocates for visible pubic hair is extremely okay in my books, but honestly, following Carielyn’s Instagram has taught me shit I’d never even THOUGHT about.
Charlotte is a Wiradjuri woman and illustrator who went viral around January 26 this year for a protest against colonialism and Australia Day.
But she’s been creating art for years, with a strong mythology and folklore vibe to her work. As she told Broadsheet in an interview earlier this year, she’s exploring her Indigenous heritage through art, and is working to portray Indigenous woman as strong, multi-faceted and powerful.
“It’s so overwhelming and touching to see how much my indigenous artwork has affected others,” she wrote on Instagram, after her work brought so much attention. “All the love I’ve received today has brought so much emotion. I thought I would be shunned for this type of work, but to prove my anxiety and doubt wrong is incredible. I wanted to show Aboriginal women as strong and beautiful in our modern world, and I hope I get to explore that more this year, but I want to thank everyone. Seriously, this has made me so happy and proud.”
Give her a follow here: @coffinbirth
The Leftovers are a comedy trio out of Melbourne: Pippa Mills, Helena Ruse and Andrew Mills. (Alright, so we got one dude in there, but TWO OUT OF THREE PEOPLE BEING WOMEN AIN’T BAD.)
Their on-point sketches will either make you piss yourself laughing or curl up into a bawl going, “uhhh that’s me” (or both), and recently earned them the Best New Talent award at the 2017 Online Video Awards.
The stress of uploading a new profile pic. "Girls on Facebook"Like Leftovers for more original videos.
Posted by Leftovers on Saturday, 27 February 2016
Keep up with all their ~hot video content~ over here: Leftovers Sketch Comedy
Madison is a writer, poet and woman of colour based out of Melbourne, penning searingly beautiful pieces on womanhood and her Sri Lankan heritage. Just quietly, she was selected as a guest writer by the Victorian Women’s Trust this month as part of IWD, and you can / absolute should read her essay ‘What Makes Me A Woman‘ here.
Give her a follow on Instagram here: @madisonrgriffithsImage: Madison Griffiths / Instagram; Carielyn Tunion / Instagram; Zach Janus via Allison Gallagher / Twitter.