Marie Claire Australia
If, like me, if you have a teenager at home, no doubt the C-word has been a hot topic around the dining-room table. I’m talking about consent, not COVID (although the latter has consumed many hours of discussion, too).
Ever since student Chanel Contos asked girls on social media to reveal if they had been sexually assaulted, igniting an avalanche of terrifying testimonials, almost every Aussie household with kids has been thankfully forced to address the issue of consent. Full disclosure: despite editing a feminist magazine for six years, I’d never really discussed the topic with my 14-year-old daughter, Lexie. Sure, I’ve lectured her endlessly about female empowerment, the women’s movement and gender equality (prompting many exaggerated eyerolls), but this crucial issue had shamefully escaped our lexicon – till now.
Thanks to activists such as Chanel and the thousands of brave girls who told of their own traumatic experiences, we’re not only having open, honest and raw conversations around these issues, we’re seeing real change in the form of education and sexual-assault reporting. Which is why we decided to dedicate 10 pages to this critical topic in our extensive report, “Consent Matters”. First, we meet three incredible women (including Chanel) leading the fight to reform education and rewrite legislation. Understanding that knowledge is power and language is key, these change-makers won’t stop till consent is firmly on the agenda of every school curriculum. As Chanel perfectly puts it: “Being able to articulate what happened to you, or detail what you saw, or correct someone on their actions with an accompanying word, is so important.” Turn to page 50 for their compelling interviews and thoughts on what next needs to be done.
On the same topic, who could forget the government’s recent $3.8 million consent campaign, using milkshake, tacos and shark-infested waters as woeful metaphors for sex? (Lexie described them as “idiotic” and “insulting”, a pretty apt description for a young teen.) So we decided to take matters into our own hands and challenged Australia’s top ad agencies to create a campaign that clarifies consent, minus the embarrassing analogies. Flip to page 54 for their thought-provoking creatives and let us know what you – and your kids – think. (We’ll be posting the campaigns on marie claire’s Instagram throughout the month, so feel free to comment.)
Elsewhere in the mag, our fashion and beauty teams have been busy readying you for chillier climes with 50-plus pages of new-season looks. Our top-totoe winter edit (think cosy knits, luxe coats, stompy boots and dream denim) will have you covered for the cooler months ahead. Then turn to page 130 for our annual Prix de marie claire Beauty Awards; here, we put the year’s skin, body and hair launches to the test to present the editor-curated, reader-voted products we’ll be buying for years to come. Get shopping!