DR EMMA A. JANE

CHAMPIONING FOURTH WAVE FEMINISM 

Dr Emma A. Jane is an award-winning scholar, author, and former journalist and columnist at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian newspapers. Her work has featured in numerous journals and books, she’s appeared on ABC radio, and has written novels and non-fiction books. Her ninth book, Misogyny Online: A Short (and Brutish) History, was published by Sage in October, 2016.

After matriculating from school via TAFE, Emma did not attend university until she was in her thirties. In the relatively short time since then, she’s graduated from a Masters degree and PhD program, and now works as a senior academic at the University of New South Wales.

Emma writes about a number of topics using a feminist lens for analysis. Currently, she’s half-way through a three-year, government-funded research project studying the impact of gendered cyberhate on the way women use the internet. Her interest in this the interplay between misogyny and technology blossomed early in her career, when she first began including her email address at the end of her newspaper columns:

“This was when the hate mail I was receiving suddenly switched from letters accusing me of not knowing ‘about the subjunctive conditional’ to letters saying I looked like ‘a tart desperate for cock’, ‘all feminists should be gang raped to set them right’, etcetera.”

Emma first became aware of oppressive and abusive gender inequality, misogyny, and patriarchy from a very early age, and over her lifetime has cultivated a solid understanding of the cumulative effects of gender inequality on both society and the individual:

“Realising that my individual experience was diagnostic of far broader, systemic gender inequities, was, and continues to be, both a liberating and depressing aspect of my journey as a feminist.”

Emma has a strong belief in engaging her nine-year-old daughter in dialogue around gender inequality and how the patriarchy works (although sometimes they enjoy referring to it as the “pastryarchy”). She uses examples her daughter can relate to, such as that boys ask for and receive an average of 13% more pocket money than girls.   

As Emma looks to the future for herself, her daughter, and other woman, she hopes the feminist movement goes through a process where differences between participants are recognised and embraced rather than invisibilised or flattened out. She is a fan of the “unity through diversity” catchphrase and as she embodies her personal feminism that is inclusive, intersectional, and queer, she hopes similarly inclusive approaches will become more commonplace:

“My hope for girls and women going forwards is that we can achieve more equality in relation to men in terms of, for instance, pay and career progression, but accept more difference in relation to each other in terms of where we come from, where we want to go, and how we choose to look, engage intimately, express our politics, and so on.”