Western women today have unprecedented freedom and power. In Australia, we have a female prime minister and governor-general; women are at the forefront of almost every area of public life. Yet when Julia Gillard's misogyny speech ricocheted around the world, it clearly touched a nerve. Why? In the fiftieth Quarterly Essay, Anna Goldsworthy examines the world we've landed in after the gains of feminism. For young women in particular, it is both rewarding and confusing.
What cultural messages do they receive about work and home, about sex and their bodies? Why do so many reject the feminist label? And why does pop culture wink at us with storylines featuring submissive women, from Mad Men to 50 Shades of Grey to the darker recesses of pornography? This is an original, often hilarious look at role models and available options in the age of social media and sexual frankness. With piercing insight, Goldsworthy lays bare the dilemmas of being a woman today and asks how women can truly become free agents. Download and start listening now!