60 seconds with Kim Grosser

Kim Grosser is Communications Officer at MCWH.

What are you enjoying doing at the moment?
Since we’re in our sixth lockdown here in Victoria, I’m going to be a cliché and say that I’m enjoying the escapism of TV at the moment. Like everyone else, I’m watching The White Lotus, and enjoying its take on the evils of excess wealth! I’m also enjoying a series called Tehran which is a women-led spy drama.

What is your favourite possession? 
My travel diary.  I wrote every day for 13 months while I solo backpacked around the world in my late twenties. Re-reading it fills me with laughter and admiration for how fearless my younger self was.

Name a film that you love 
Dirty Dancing. The author Clementine Ford recently wrote a great deep dive analysis of it, where she suggests it’s a stealth feminist masterpiece. It features a young woman who has an abortion, yet the film doesn’t morally judge her for it. It covers issues of class, virginity and female desire. It’s a coming of age story, but about lust not love. It’s directed by a woman and certainly passes the Bechdel test.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a woman from an immigrant or refugee background?
The very specific type of everyday, casual racism that seems prolific in Australia.

Many women of colour will be familiar with this conversation from total strangers: “Oh you have a nice suntan/can I touch your curly hair?” Or “where are you from? No, where are you really from? Oh, but you don’t look British?”

The concept of ‘othering’ needs to be better understood and dismantled. We need to move away from it being framed as acceptable ‘curiosity’ from a white gaze.

What are you reading right now? 
Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror. I read about an amazing panel that she spoke on at the Melbourne Broadside festival. I wish I’d seen it live.

For you, what’s the best thing about being a woman from an immigrant/refugee background? 
Our resilience. Being able to raise a family with parental help and a wide support network from your country of birth is a privilege. COVID-19 lockdowns have given society a small insight into how it feels to not have that support. Many migrant and refugee women do this day in day out! We really shouldn’t underestimate that achievement.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone new to Australia, what would it be? 
Read Bruce Pascoe’s book Dark Emu. Then read everything by Tara June Winch and Anita Heiss. In short, engage with First Nation voices and conversations.

Finish this sentence: “We need feminism because…” 
We need intersectional feminism because, as activist Rachel Cargle says: “If there is not the intentional and action-based inclusion of women of color, then feminism is simply white supremacy in heels.”