By author: Sharon Hurley Hall

Image courtesy of Sharon Alger

Sharon Hurley Hall, an anti-racism writer, is the author of Exploring Shadeism. As a white feminist, I’m aware of feminism’s history of excluding black women’s experience from our activism. I want to do my part to rectify this wrong by educating myself as much as possible on women of color’s experience of feminism (or womanism, a term I have learned thanks to Allison Gaines).

My feminist reading list to date has predominantly featured the works of white authors. They made efforts towards inclusion, which is a good thing. However, I want to read the works of non-white writers, too. I…

Let’s knock virginity firmly off its pedestal

Image created by author on Canva

Society has a strange attitude towards virginity, huh? We broach this in mainstream media through a hetero-normative lens. Our broad definition of virginity’s end is via penis in vagina (PIV) sex.

We treat sex as a milestone; the maker of women and men, when in reality we need to reach a certain maturity level before we start. Mainstream culture is just exploring virginity outside of PIV intercourse, as we become more aware of non-straight sex.

Our culture’s approach towards virginity is toxic and often contradictory. Aren’t we’re overdue to give virginity a much-needed makeover? Young people today are staying virgins…

Is ageing honestly the worst thing that can happen to a woman?

Photo by Dmitry Nikulnikov from Moose

Let’s dissect the cautionary tale delivered to young women about ‘hitting the wall;’ a horror story of love, rejection, fear, revenge, and wrinkles. The ‘wall’ is a new term; the concept is centuries old.

Society teaches women to fear the passage of time. One day, they warn young women, you will grow old. You will age, gain weight, your boobs will drop, and wrinkles will take over your face. This is the ‘wall’, and depending on who you speak to, the age women reach it varies. Different men say the age is 25, 30, or 40.

This is a popular…

An inanimate object doesn’t hold that power

Photo by Thom Bradley from Burst

When I resided in Sydney years ago, I had Muslim next-door neighbors; a father and his 15-year-old daughter. Both acted polite, quiet and affable towards me. The daughter didn’t wear a hijab and dressed like any white Aussie teen. In a chat with the father outside our front doors, he mentioned his mother was moving to Australia to live with them. The block of flats I lived in had thick concrete walls, and they never made much noise. I was shocked when they started screaming at each other one morning, as I dressed for work.

He demanded his daughter wear…

If my doctor hadn’t prioritized my issues, there’d be two children missing from my family

Image by KELLEPICS from PixaBay

‘You seem fine to me.’

‘You look so healthy, I’m sure everything’s fine with you.’

To most people, these words bring reassurance. As an endometriosis sufferer, they’re the words I dread hearing the most. Whenever a doctor has uttered them, it’s been my signal to find a new one.

I’ve had awful periods since the age of eleven. It never occurred to me that endometriosis could be the culprit until my diagnosis at 32. In the 80s, my school gave us a decent education on the anatomy of menstruation. Except the lessons focused on making us feel good about ourselves…

Finally, they’re here

Photo by Rodolfo Clix from Pexels

I’ve loved heavy metal music since I was an emotional teen in the 80s. I wasn’t strictly a metal-head; I enjoyed a variety of music. But there was something about the raw aggression of metal that let me vent my pent-up stress at the time. The simple act of playing a Metallica song was like plugging into pure power. What teenage girl couldn’t use that, huh?

Back then, I didn’t notice that all the metal bands featured men only. Looking back, that’s pretty weird, right? We knew women could rock. Look at Joan Jett, Suzie Quatro, The Runaways, and Heart…

The ‘sex play gone wrong’ defense against murder

Image created by Sharon Alger on Canva

Recently, in Wagga Wagga, Australia, an ex RAAF corporal walked free from court after killing someone. Free from prison time. What was his crime? He strangled a Filipino transgender woman to death.

“The matter is towards the lower end on the scale of seriousness for matters of manslaughter.” [Source]

Although Rian Toyer pled guilty to killing Mhelody Bruno, he walked free. The reason he got away with it? The sex play defense. The pair had dated for three weeks, and Toyer admitted he had never asked Mhelody for consent to strangle her during sex. I’m deliberately using the term, ‘strangle,’…

How about, no?

Image created by Sharon Alger on Canva

Today, Mick Fuller, the New South Wales state Police Commissioner, suggested using an app to record sexual consent. Because people are already used to ‘swiping culture,’ he thinks people will get used to clicking yes, as well. It went down like a lead balloon with the public. Let’s discuss why it’s an awful idea, his reasons for wanting to introduce it, and what would be a better alternative.

What are you consenting to?

When a person clicks yes on this hypothetical app, they’re consenting to sex, right? But what sorts of sex acts are they consenting to do? Oral sex? Anal sex? Penis in vagina…

Transphobes have found a new way to pile on

Image created by Sharon Alger on Canva

Last night, a new hashtag sullied my Twitter feed: #SuperStraight. I was trying to find the best way to watch the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras at the time. It was obvious to me this wasn’t going to be about something positive. I discovered it was a new way to attack the transgender community. Again. ‘Super straights’ claim their identity centers on attraction to opposite sexed, cisgender people. They want to make sure transgender people know they won’t date them.

They are demanding ‘safe spaces’. Isn’t that everywhere, for a straight person? They’re demanding to slap their initial onto…

My defence of ‘basic’ culture

“Paris” by barnyz is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

About a year ago, I watched To the Bone, a movie starring the actor, Lily Collins. It showed the journey of an anorexic woman struggling towards recovery. It was my introduction to Lily Collins’ work, and I fell in love immediately. Although I’ve never struggled with an eating disorder, I watched the movie several times. I announced to my family that I wanted to see more of this actor.

Late last year, I started seeing women’s websites all talking about a new show; Emily in Paris. My first reaction was, ‘yuck.’ It wasn’t long until people were roasting the hell…

Sharon Alger

I’m an Aussie mother, carer, dog-lover and feminist. I write about feminism, humor, opinion pieces, and whatever else I feel like.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store