Hello friends, and welcome to Refinery29 Australia.
I’m honoured and humbled to be entrusted with the launch of this publication here. In the 15 years since it was founded, Refinery29 has given a platform to marginalised voices, fearlessly told stories that other publications wouldn’t, sparked conversations that matter, and been the zeitgeist for the most powerful generation on earth.
This brand, and all it represents, is what young Australian women and underrepresented people need right now.
After the clusterfuck that was last year, we’re more than ready for a change. We deserve better than what’s on offer — clickbait, tired old listicles, thinly-veiled or overly-promotional sponcon — and the occasional token story by or about underrepresented voices.
The last 18 months have been nothing short of life-changing for all of us, and we have collectively experienced an awakening that we’re not okay with the status quo. COVID-19 has unmasked the inequities that exist in the world, and we know that its impacts have not been felt equally, particularly by women, people of colour, LGBTQI+ people and people with a disability. The March 4 Justice rallies and BLM protests here in Australia showed that issues of systemic oppression, racism and discrimination also hit close to home.
Refinery29 is created for, and by, women and underrepresented people. We hope that by launching in Australia, we can start conversations that reflect the lived experiences that are unique to living in our country, and create a platform for honest opinions and debates. And if you’ve been following along on our Instagram in the month leading up to launch, you’ve had a little taste of what’s to come and of the types of people and issues we intend to give a voice to from here on out.
This publication was created, for the most part, in lockdown, by an incredible team of women who are deeply passionate about finding new ways to tell stories that impact all of us. Pema’s piece on inheriting secondhand insecurities from your friends really hit home for me, and Alicia’s interview with Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, who plays Devi in Never Have I Ever, got me excited about the future of brown women that aren’t afraid to take up space. And for all the people-pleasers out there (guilty), reading Maggie’s piece on rejection therapy gives some food for thought.
We also welcomed pieces from a diverse range of contributors who’ve shared their inspiring stories with us — we're excited to share the first of many with you. Some of my favourites include Isabelle Truman’s piece on the co-opting of the anti-capitalism movement; Olivia Muscat’s story about how reinventing her personal style made people stop asking ableist questions about her blindness; and Grace O'Neill’s thought-provoking take on success bombing. I’m also proud to introduce the first pieces in our Ally Etiquette series: a glossary on gender (edited by Yves Rees, a non-binary academic) and disability (edited by Carly Findlay, a disability advocate). We hope that these stories will make you laugh, cry, provoke debate and learn something new.
This is just the start of our R29 AU community. I can’t wait for you to read our stories — and to share your own.