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September Member of the Month

Member of the Month 

Tara Porter



1. Name, age and what do you do with yourself?

Hi, I'm Tara and 24 years old. I've moved to Melbourne a little under a year and a half ago from the UK and I've just started studying to become a counsellor full time.

2. Why did you join the Y and what do you like about it?

I joined the Y after going to one of the TINAtalks a few months ago. It was the panel #5, Writing While Female - Subverting Expectations and I absolutely adored it. Sitting and listen to four incredibly talented women talk about their work and themselves was really informative and inspirational.

3. Do you call yourself a feminist?

Yes, definitely.

4. If so, what is the most important issue facing you, your country and community at the moment from a feminist perspective?

As I mentioned, I've recently begun studying counselling. When I opened one of my text books and there was a whole section on Feminist Therapy, I was so excited! I'd had an inkling that there'd be people who considered the feminist perspective important to study, but I'd honestly assumed that I'd have to do my own research into the crevices of the internet to find such discussions (after studying an English and American Literature undergrad back home that focused heavily on the great fathers of literature, I wasn't holding out much hope for this course). Anyway, I learnt about Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). This is a condition in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, a manual which many mental health professionals use within Australia as a diagnostic tool. Essentially, it pathologises the menstrual cycle. Saying that if a woman's period and all the hormones associated affect her behaviour there is something psychologically abnormal with her.  Of course, if a male's hormones affect his behaviours ('Boys are bound to be angrier because of all that testosterone, so give them a break' 'boys will be boys' 'boys just need to have more sex, they don't have any control over it, so you'd really be doing me a favour if you slept with me') the American Psychiatric Association don't seem to see any problem with that, as there is no corresponding 'disorder' for men. Women and periods is already a contentious issue, and learning about the existence of PMDD stopped me in my tracks. I feel like this issue is important for many reasons and affects women whether or not they have periods, as it adds to the perceived notion that women are weaker than men. I think that is really stupid.