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Rage against the machine: How women are being gaslit into compliance

Michelle Duff is a Stuff national correspondent, and co-host of the Tell Me About It podcast.

OPINION: I was looking for a dress, the perfect strappy kind. Maybe off the shoulder? A flash of leg? The more sparkles, the tighter, the better.

The website served me 13,002 items (honestly, capitalism is completely fine) and gave me the option to sort.

I could refine by sub-category, brand, colour, fabric, and what was this… age?

What kind of second-rate site was this? There was no way I was taking sartorial direction from some age-based algorithm. Who designed this thing? Women can wear whatever they like and don’t need your socially constructed and completely arbitrary advice, store I will no longer be giving my custom.

I clicked through angrily to the next page. What monstrosity would it deign to tell me was appropriate for my age bracket?

“Select all ages,” came the first option. Then: “Adult,” “Baby (0-24m),” “Child (2-7yrs),” and “Teen (8-16yrs).”

Oh. Right. The knot of rage in my chest subsided. The desire to look for dresses had abated but at least I didn’t have to be mad all night.

That feeling though - that tightening, the quickening of anger - feels so accessible right now. The expectation that another injustice is about to be visited upon women is so imminent that I’m triggered by shopping. (The ultimate injustice.)

Calling us snowflakes at this point is wildly inaccurate. There’s only so many daily microaggressions, casual sexism and just straight-up hatred against women one person can experience and witness before they become a rampaging snowball, smashing everything out of their wake in a white-hot fury of powder and icicles.

On the latest Tell Me About It podcast, author and activist Emily Writes says we should be angry. “We're allowed to be outraged by this,” she says, speaking about the erosion of reproductive rights currently in action in the United States.

“We're being gaslit if we believe that women should not be absolutely f..king horrified by this development, it is completely human and normal to be horrified by the idea that old white men are deciding what happens with another human being’s body.

”It’s not reasonable. It is an attack.”

LISTEN: Podcast Tell Me About It:

A quick round up. Just a few short years ago, there was a global reckoning against the ubiquity of sexual violence. It felt like a corner of the carpet had been lifted. Today, we have Amber Heard, mocked, doubted, and gaslit on the world stage with the full force of everyone from men’s rights activists to garden variety misogynists using the Internet as a tool for abuse, to control, to distort and diminish women’s voices while elevating and promoting Johnny Depp as a man who could do no wrong. The modus operandi of every abuser, writ large.

But the desire to punish and control those with wombs or who don’t conform to gender norms doesn't end there. It’s in the attacks on transgender and LQBTQA+ rights, from local school students to far right and anti-trans groups. It’s in the willingness of the US Supreme Court to overturn landmark abortion rights decision Roe vs Wade, which will have massive repercussions for women in the states and New Zealand because, quite apart from being global citizens, abortion was only legalised here two years ago.

As Terry Bellamak has written, it only takes a Government hostile to reproductive rights to underfund abortions (care can already be difficult to get, such as in rural regions) more anti-choice doctors, and the reversal of administrative rules to make access harder.

No hard-won rights are safe, and the tentacles of the patriarchy are everywhere. We’re not paranoid. It is out to get us.

But this week, for our season finale, the team at Tell Me About It are left strengthened by Emily. She says rage is borne from love, and we agree. It’s seeing unfairness and wanting to change that, for those you care about, for people you can empathise with. “As women, we're always told to be quiet or to not make it fuss or to not be so emotional, ‘don't be hysterical’,” she says.

“You don't have that rage, unless you have deep love for people. And you need both of those things. Rage is as powerful a tool as love, we have rage and love on both sides of the coin of what fuels us in our activism."

There’s great power in that. Pair it with a slutty dress, and we're golden.

No items found.

Michelle Duff is a Stuff national correspondent, and co-host of the Tell Me About It podcast.

OPINION: I was looking for a dress, the perfect strappy kind. Maybe off the shoulder? A flash of leg? The more sparkles, the tighter, the better.

The website served me 13,002 items (honestly, capitalism is completely fine) and gave me the option to sort.

I could refine by sub-category, brand, colour, fabric, and what was this… age?

What kind of second-rate site was this? There was no way I was taking sartorial direction from some age-based algorithm. Who designed this thing? Women can wear whatever they like and don’t need your socially constructed and completely arbitrary advice, store I will no longer be giving my custom.

I clicked through angrily to the next page. What monstrosity would it deign to tell me was appropriate for my age bracket?

“Select all ages,” came the first option. Then: “Adult,” “Baby (0-24m),” “Child (2-7yrs),” and “Teen (8-16yrs).”

Oh. Right. The knot of rage in my chest subsided. The desire to look for dresses had abated but at least I didn’t have to be mad all night.

That feeling though - that tightening, the quickening of anger - feels so accessible right now. The expectation that another injustice is about to be visited upon women is so imminent that I’m triggered by shopping. (The ultimate injustice.)

Calling us snowflakes at this point is wildly inaccurate. There’s only so many daily microaggressions, casual sexism and just straight-up hatred against women one person can experience and witness before they become a rampaging snowball, smashing everything out of their wake in a white-hot fury of powder and icicles.

On the latest Tell Me About It podcast, author and activist Emily Writes says we should be angry. “We're allowed to be outraged by this,” she says, speaking about the erosion of reproductive rights currently in action in the United States.

“We're being gaslit if we believe that women should not be absolutely f..king horrified by this development, it is completely human and normal to be horrified by the idea that old white men are deciding what happens with another human being’s body.

”It’s not reasonable. It is an attack.”

LISTEN: Podcast Tell Me About It:

A quick round up. Just a few short years ago, there was a global reckoning against the ubiquity of sexual violence. It felt like a corner of the carpet had been lifted. Today, we have Amber Heard, mocked, doubted, and gaslit on the world stage with the full force of everyone from men’s rights activists to garden variety misogynists using the Internet as a tool for abuse, to control, to distort and diminish women’s voices while elevating and promoting Johnny Depp as a man who could do no wrong. The modus operandi of every abuser, writ large.

But the desire to punish and control those with wombs or who don’t conform to gender norms doesn't end there. It’s in the attacks on transgender and LQBTQA+ rights, from local school students to far right and anti-trans groups. It’s in the willingness of the US Supreme Court to overturn landmark abortion rights decision Roe vs Wade, which will have massive repercussions for women in the states and New Zealand because, quite apart from being global citizens, abortion was only legalised here two years ago.

As Terry Bellamak has written, it only takes a Government hostile to reproductive rights to underfund abortions (care can already be difficult to get, such as in rural regions) more anti-choice doctors, and the reversal of administrative rules to make access harder.

No hard-won rights are safe, and the tentacles of the patriarchy are everywhere. We’re not paranoid. It is out to get us.

But this week, for our season finale, the team at Tell Me About It are left strengthened by Emily. She says rage is borne from love, and we agree. It’s seeing unfairness and wanting to change that, for those you care about, for people you can empathise with. “As women, we're always told to be quiet or to not make it fuss or to not be so emotional, ‘don't be hysterical’,” she says.

“You don't have that rage, unless you have deep love for people. And you need both of those things. Rage is as powerful a tool as love, we have rage and love on both sides of the coin of what fuels us in our activism."

There’s great power in that. Pair it with a slutty dress, and we're golden.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

Rage against the machine: How women are being gaslit into compliance

Michelle Duff is a Stuff national correspondent, and co-host of the Tell Me About It podcast.

OPINION: I was looking for a dress, the perfect strappy kind. Maybe off the shoulder? A flash of leg? The more sparkles, the tighter, the better.

The website served me 13,002 items (honestly, capitalism is completely fine) and gave me the option to sort.

I could refine by sub-category, brand, colour, fabric, and what was this… age?

What kind of second-rate site was this? There was no way I was taking sartorial direction from some age-based algorithm. Who designed this thing? Women can wear whatever they like and don’t need your socially constructed and completely arbitrary advice, store I will no longer be giving my custom.

I clicked through angrily to the next page. What monstrosity would it deign to tell me was appropriate for my age bracket?

“Select all ages,” came the first option. Then: “Adult,” “Baby (0-24m),” “Child (2-7yrs),” and “Teen (8-16yrs).”

Oh. Right. The knot of rage in my chest subsided. The desire to look for dresses had abated but at least I didn’t have to be mad all night.

That feeling though - that tightening, the quickening of anger - feels so accessible right now. The expectation that another injustice is about to be visited upon women is so imminent that I’m triggered by shopping. (The ultimate injustice.)

Calling us snowflakes at this point is wildly inaccurate. There’s only so many daily microaggressions, casual sexism and just straight-up hatred against women one person can experience and witness before they become a rampaging snowball, smashing everything out of their wake in a white-hot fury of powder and icicles.

On the latest Tell Me About It podcast, author and activist Emily Writes says we should be angry. “We're allowed to be outraged by this,” she says, speaking about the erosion of reproductive rights currently in action in the United States.

“We're being gaslit if we believe that women should not be absolutely f..king horrified by this development, it is completely human and normal to be horrified by the idea that old white men are deciding what happens with another human being’s body.

”It’s not reasonable. It is an attack.”

LISTEN: Podcast Tell Me About It:

A quick round up. Just a few short years ago, there was a global reckoning against the ubiquity of sexual violence. It felt like a corner of the carpet had been lifted. Today, we have Amber Heard, mocked, doubted, and gaslit on the world stage with the full force of everyone from men’s rights activists to garden variety misogynists using the Internet as a tool for abuse, to control, to distort and diminish women’s voices while elevating and promoting Johnny Depp as a man who could do no wrong. The modus operandi of every abuser, writ large.

But the desire to punish and control those with wombs or who don’t conform to gender norms doesn't end there. It’s in the attacks on transgender and LQBTQA+ rights, from local school students to far right and anti-trans groups. It’s in the willingness of the US Supreme Court to overturn landmark abortion rights decision Roe vs Wade, which will have massive repercussions for women in the states and New Zealand because, quite apart from being global citizens, abortion was only legalised here two years ago.

As Terry Bellamak has written, it only takes a Government hostile to reproductive rights to underfund abortions (care can already be difficult to get, such as in rural regions) more anti-choice doctors, and the reversal of administrative rules to make access harder.

No hard-won rights are safe, and the tentacles of the patriarchy are everywhere. We’re not paranoid. It is out to get us.

But this week, for our season finale, the team at Tell Me About It are left strengthened by Emily. She says rage is borne from love, and we agree. It’s seeing unfairness and wanting to change that, for those you care about, for people you can empathise with. “As women, we're always told to be quiet or to not make it fuss or to not be so emotional, ‘don't be hysterical’,” she says.

“You don't have that rage, unless you have deep love for people. And you need both of those things. Rage is as powerful a tool as love, we have rage and love on both sides of the coin of what fuels us in our activism."

There’s great power in that. Pair it with a slutty dress, and we're golden.

No items found.
Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program

Rage against the machine: How women are being gaslit into compliance

Michelle Duff is a Stuff national correspondent, and co-host of the Tell Me About It podcast.

OPINION: I was looking for a dress, the perfect strappy kind. Maybe off the shoulder? A flash of leg? The more sparkles, the tighter, the better.

The website served me 13,002 items (honestly, capitalism is completely fine) and gave me the option to sort.

I could refine by sub-category, brand, colour, fabric, and what was this… age?

What kind of second-rate site was this? There was no way I was taking sartorial direction from some age-based algorithm. Who designed this thing? Women can wear whatever they like and don’t need your socially constructed and completely arbitrary advice, store I will no longer be giving my custom.

I clicked through angrily to the next page. What monstrosity would it deign to tell me was appropriate for my age bracket?

“Select all ages,” came the first option. Then: “Adult,” “Baby (0-24m),” “Child (2-7yrs),” and “Teen (8-16yrs).”

Oh. Right. The knot of rage in my chest subsided. The desire to look for dresses had abated but at least I didn’t have to be mad all night.

That feeling though - that tightening, the quickening of anger - feels so accessible right now. The expectation that another injustice is about to be visited upon women is so imminent that I’m triggered by shopping. (The ultimate injustice.)

Calling us snowflakes at this point is wildly inaccurate. There’s only so many daily microaggressions, casual sexism and just straight-up hatred against women one person can experience and witness before they become a rampaging snowball, smashing everything out of their wake in a white-hot fury of powder and icicles.

On the latest Tell Me About It podcast, author and activist Emily Writes says we should be angry. “We're allowed to be outraged by this,” she says, speaking about the erosion of reproductive rights currently in action in the United States.

“We're being gaslit if we believe that women should not be absolutely f..king horrified by this development, it is completely human and normal to be horrified by the idea that old white men are deciding what happens with another human being’s body.

”It’s not reasonable. It is an attack.”

LISTEN: Podcast Tell Me About It:

A quick round up. Just a few short years ago, there was a global reckoning against the ubiquity of sexual violence. It felt like a corner of the carpet had been lifted. Today, we have Amber Heard, mocked, doubted, and gaslit on the world stage with the full force of everyone from men’s rights activists to garden variety misogynists using the Internet as a tool for abuse, to control, to distort and diminish women’s voices while elevating and promoting Johnny Depp as a man who could do no wrong. The modus operandi of every abuser, writ large.

But the desire to punish and control those with wombs or who don’t conform to gender norms doesn't end there. It’s in the attacks on transgender and LQBTQA+ rights, from local school students to far right and anti-trans groups. It’s in the willingness of the US Supreme Court to overturn landmark abortion rights decision Roe vs Wade, which will have massive repercussions for women in the states and New Zealand because, quite apart from being global citizens, abortion was only legalised here two years ago.

As Terry Bellamak has written, it only takes a Government hostile to reproductive rights to underfund abortions (care can already be difficult to get, such as in rural regions) more anti-choice doctors, and the reversal of administrative rules to make access harder.

No hard-won rights are safe, and the tentacles of the patriarchy are everywhere. We’re not paranoid. It is out to get us.

But this week, for our season finale, the team at Tell Me About It are left strengthened by Emily. She says rage is borne from love, and we agree. It’s seeing unfairness and wanting to change that, for those you care about, for people you can empathise with. “As women, we're always told to be quiet or to not make it fuss or to not be so emotional, ‘don't be hysterical’,” she says.

“You don't have that rage, unless you have deep love for people. And you need both of those things. Rage is as powerful a tool as love, we have rage and love on both sides of the coin of what fuels us in our activism."

There’s great power in that. Pair it with a slutty dress, and we're golden.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

Michelle Duff is a Stuff national correspondent, and co-host of the Tell Me About It podcast.

OPINION: I was looking for a dress, the perfect strappy kind. Maybe off the shoulder? A flash of leg? The more sparkles, the tighter, the better.

The website served me 13,002 items (honestly, capitalism is completely fine) and gave me the option to sort.

I could refine by sub-category, brand, colour, fabric, and what was this… age?

What kind of second-rate site was this? There was no way I was taking sartorial direction from some age-based algorithm. Who designed this thing? Women can wear whatever they like and don’t need your socially constructed and completely arbitrary advice, store I will no longer be giving my custom.

I clicked through angrily to the next page. What monstrosity would it deign to tell me was appropriate for my age bracket?

“Select all ages,” came the first option. Then: “Adult,” “Baby (0-24m),” “Child (2-7yrs),” and “Teen (8-16yrs).”

Oh. Right. The knot of rage in my chest subsided. The desire to look for dresses had abated but at least I didn’t have to be mad all night.

That feeling though - that tightening, the quickening of anger - feels so accessible right now. The expectation that another injustice is about to be visited upon women is so imminent that I’m triggered by shopping. (The ultimate injustice.)

Calling us snowflakes at this point is wildly inaccurate. There’s only so many daily microaggressions, casual sexism and just straight-up hatred against women one person can experience and witness before they become a rampaging snowball, smashing everything out of their wake in a white-hot fury of powder and icicles.

On the latest Tell Me About It podcast, author and activist Emily Writes says we should be angry. “We're allowed to be outraged by this,” she says, speaking about the erosion of reproductive rights currently in action in the United States.

“We're being gaslit if we believe that women should not be absolutely f..king horrified by this development, it is completely human and normal to be horrified by the idea that old white men are deciding what happens with another human being’s body.

”It’s not reasonable. It is an attack.”

LISTEN: Podcast Tell Me About It:

A quick round up. Just a few short years ago, there was a global reckoning against the ubiquity of sexual violence. It felt like a corner of the carpet had been lifted. Today, we have Amber Heard, mocked, doubted, and gaslit on the world stage with the full force of everyone from men’s rights activists to garden variety misogynists using the Internet as a tool for abuse, to control, to distort and diminish women’s voices while elevating and promoting Johnny Depp as a man who could do no wrong. The modus operandi of every abuser, writ large.

But the desire to punish and control those with wombs or who don’t conform to gender norms doesn't end there. It’s in the attacks on transgender and LQBTQA+ rights, from local school students to far right and anti-trans groups. It’s in the willingness of the US Supreme Court to overturn landmark abortion rights decision Roe vs Wade, which will have massive repercussions for women in the states and New Zealand because, quite apart from being global citizens, abortion was only legalised here two years ago.

As Terry Bellamak has written, it only takes a Government hostile to reproductive rights to underfund abortions (care can already be difficult to get, such as in rural regions) more anti-choice doctors, and the reversal of administrative rules to make access harder.

No hard-won rights are safe, and the tentacles of the patriarchy are everywhere. We’re not paranoid. It is out to get us.

But this week, for our season finale, the team at Tell Me About It are left strengthened by Emily. She says rage is borne from love, and we agree. It’s seeing unfairness and wanting to change that, for those you care about, for people you can empathise with. “As women, we're always told to be quiet or to not make it fuss or to not be so emotional, ‘don't be hysterical’,” she says.

“You don't have that rage, unless you have deep love for people. And you need both of those things. Rage is as powerful a tool as love, we have rage and love on both sides of the coin of what fuels us in our activism."

There’s great power in that. Pair it with a slutty dress, and we're golden.

No items found.
Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program

Rage against the machine: How women are being gaslit into compliance

Michelle Duff is a Stuff national correspondent, and co-host of the Tell Me About It podcast.

OPINION: I was looking for a dress, the perfect strappy kind. Maybe off the shoulder? A flash of leg? The more sparkles, the tighter, the better.

The website served me 13,002 items (honestly, capitalism is completely fine) and gave me the option to sort.

I could refine by sub-category, brand, colour, fabric, and what was this… age?

What kind of second-rate site was this? There was no way I was taking sartorial direction from some age-based algorithm. Who designed this thing? Women can wear whatever they like and don’t need your socially constructed and completely arbitrary advice, store I will no longer be giving my custom.

I clicked through angrily to the next page. What monstrosity would it deign to tell me was appropriate for my age bracket?

“Select all ages,” came the first option. Then: “Adult,” “Baby (0-24m),” “Child (2-7yrs),” and “Teen (8-16yrs).”

Oh. Right. The knot of rage in my chest subsided. The desire to look for dresses had abated but at least I didn’t have to be mad all night.

That feeling though - that tightening, the quickening of anger - feels so accessible right now. The expectation that another injustice is about to be visited upon women is so imminent that I’m triggered by shopping. (The ultimate injustice.)

Calling us snowflakes at this point is wildly inaccurate. There’s only so many daily microaggressions, casual sexism and just straight-up hatred against women one person can experience and witness before they become a rampaging snowball, smashing everything out of their wake in a white-hot fury of powder and icicles.

On the latest Tell Me About It podcast, author and activist Emily Writes says we should be angry. “We're allowed to be outraged by this,” she says, speaking about the erosion of reproductive rights currently in action in the United States.

“We're being gaslit if we believe that women should not be absolutely f..king horrified by this development, it is completely human and normal to be horrified by the idea that old white men are deciding what happens with another human being’s body.

”It’s not reasonable. It is an attack.”

LISTEN: Podcast Tell Me About It:

A quick round up. Just a few short years ago, there was a global reckoning against the ubiquity of sexual violence. It felt like a corner of the carpet had been lifted. Today, we have Amber Heard, mocked, doubted, and gaslit on the world stage with the full force of everyone from men’s rights activists to garden variety misogynists using the Internet as a tool for abuse, to control, to distort and diminish women’s voices while elevating and promoting Johnny Depp as a man who could do no wrong. The modus operandi of every abuser, writ large.

But the desire to punish and control those with wombs or who don’t conform to gender norms doesn't end there. It’s in the attacks on transgender and LQBTQA+ rights, from local school students to far right and anti-trans groups. It’s in the willingness of the US Supreme Court to overturn landmark abortion rights decision Roe vs Wade, which will have massive repercussions for women in the states and New Zealand because, quite apart from being global citizens, abortion was only legalised here two years ago.

As Terry Bellamak has written, it only takes a Government hostile to reproductive rights to underfund abortions (care can already be difficult to get, such as in rural regions) more anti-choice doctors, and the reversal of administrative rules to make access harder.

No hard-won rights are safe, and the tentacles of the patriarchy are everywhere. We’re not paranoid. It is out to get us.

But this week, for our season finale, the team at Tell Me About It are left strengthened by Emily. She says rage is borne from love, and we agree. It’s seeing unfairness and wanting to change that, for those you care about, for people you can empathise with. “As women, we're always told to be quiet or to not make it fuss or to not be so emotional, ‘don't be hysterical’,” she says.

“You don't have that rage, unless you have deep love for people. And you need both of those things. Rage is as powerful a tool as love, we have rage and love on both sides of the coin of what fuels us in our activism."

There’s great power in that. Pair it with a slutty dress, and we're golden.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.