Rediscovering hornbag movies from 2003

So, the other day I read some article about In The Cut and how Meg Ryan had lost her career after being in that film because we live in a misogynist horror show of which we can never escape.

Anyway – I thought to myself – I am sure I’ve seen that film. And then I read that it had The Ruff AKA Mark “Daddy” Ruffalo in it. And I thought – YES I remember this! It came out in 2003 and I remember, because I was an idiot, that I did not find Mark Ruffalo attractive and I thought he was hairy and I did not appreciate his moustache.

Now I am 33 and it’s 2019 and I’m the rosé drinking cliché wine mum watching dirty Netflix films on her phone while her kid snores beside her and her husband sleeps awkwardly in a bunk bed in the other room. And I am all about his hairy chest and commitment to eating out (both kinds) and I love that soft boi dad body.

So I decided I had to revisit In The Cut and let me tell you ladies who like dudes and the occasional gay guy who reads my posts: It was WORTH IT.

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Support your local girl gang

Hey so I made one resolution in 2019 that I’m going to try to only read women writers this year and I’ve actually been READING! Once I got into the habit of it, I got super into it. I used to just mooch on the couch watching shitflix but now I am reading and it’s great.

SO – you should join me! Here are some super great books I recommend you getting, all by amazing wāhine who really deserve your support! I’ve linked to buy them at Unity Wellington because Unity have been the most incredible support to me. They really are so awesome and supporting your local bookstore is another way to support your local girl gang (of writers and artists!)

But of course you can find all of these on Mighty Ape and Book Depository too! So if you’re overseas or they’re sold out – go there!

My books are at Unity so if you want to read Rants in the Dark you can get it here. And if you want to read Is It Bedtime Yet you can get it here.

I basically think whatever you like you can get it at Unity and it’ll be by an awesome woman from NZ.

Do you want sexy dark stuff that you can’t put down?

Girl, I promise you will love TESS. It’s by Wellington babe Kirsten McDougall and I was obsessed. I didn’t know what was going to happen and I loved it. It’s a short read and a great way to get back into reading. Buy it here.

Do you want to start a riot?

Clem Ford’s Boys Will Be Boys: An Exploration of Power, Patriarchy & the Toxic Bonds of Mateship is grim as all fuck. I’m not going to lie. You’ll want to lie down in a dark cave for a month after reading it, but maybe, just maybe you’ll also feel like I did – and you’ll want to destroy the patriarchy and make life easier for our children. Clem is hilarious and warm and angry and I love it. I adore her and I really think everyone needs to read her book. It absolutely IS hard to read – it’s about the ways the patriarchy hurts boys and creates boys who hurt girls and gender minorities. But it’s important we learn and it’s important we commit to change. Buy it here. 

Do you want to read something that makes you want to dance and be gay?

Get Poukahangatus by Tayi Tibble right now please. Just do it. I read this in one sitting. I’m obsessed. It’s poetry but not as you know it. It’s sex and heavy and light and dark and I don’t know I just read it like ten times and I want you to read it. Buy it here.

Do you wanna laugh at the absurdity of life with someone who you want to be best friends with?

Leah McFall is a national treasure and her book Karori Confidential is gorgeous. It’s made up of her Sunday columns which are always a joy to read. You can dip in and out and they just feel like having a pinot gris with someone you love. Buy it here.

If you want to get toeier than a roman sandal

In the country of my birth toey means horny but for some reason people insist it means angry. It doesn’t it means getting hot and bothered. Which you will if you read the NZ sexy times anthology Aotearotica. Now Unity sells #3 and #4 and they’re both fantastic. #4 has my favourite essay ever – I cried CRIED laughing reading it. I think it’s called Playing Cards Against Humanity With My Mum and one day I’m going to have an event and make Chris Tse read it because you all will LOVE IT. Buy it here.

Do you want to read something that will make you fall in love and sing and pash someone in a dark corner of Ivy Bar?

He’s so Masc is the BEST. Chris Tse is my heart so he gets to be on this list even though I said no women. Poetry might seem scary but it isn’t. I used to hate poetry but now I’m all about it. I realised in high school I just read shit poetry. Poetry is rad and this is my favourite collection ever. Buy it here.

Do you want to feel warm and fuzzy?

How We Met: The Ways Great Love Begins is a delight of a book. It’s like a big cuddle. It’s by one of New Zealand’s loveliest people Michele A’Court and you should definitely buy it. It’s a series of stories so you don’t have to read it all in one go, and it will honestly restore your faith in humanity. Buy it here.

Want to feel smart even though you’re not really?

You should definitely get Matter of Fact: Talking Truth in a Post-Truth World. Dr Jess is the writer I wish I could be and her stuff on talking about vaccination is perfect (I just need to take her advice!) Buy it here.

My wishlist

I have a huge crush on Hadassah Grace. I am so excited about her poetry book How To Take Off Your Clothes coming out soon. Follow her on Facebook or Insta for updates.

I want to read Tina Makereti’s The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke it has had rave reviews so I’m saving my pennies. I bought Where the Rekohu Bone Sings for all of my family.

I still want to get the Journal of Urgent Writing Vol.2 which features my favourite women Emma Espiner, Mamari Stephen, Jo Randerson, Sarah Laing and Dr Jess.

And on my bedside table I have We Could Make A Life by Chessie Henry and The Wish Child by Catherine Chidgey.

So there you go! Tell me what else I should be reading! x

Some one sentence reviews because I’m lazy

Well, I have woken up with a summer cold and my husband has taken the kids out because he’s the best. So I thought I’d review some things. I am not doing a best of 2018 because I can barely remember what happened yesterday let alone last year.

The favouurite


So good. I can’t remember if I reviewed this or not but I really, really liked it.

The Grinch

It’s my fave Dr Seuss story so you know – I loved it. Kids watched it twice. Such a good Christmas movie.

Green Book

Cannot believe Viggo Mortensen is not actually Italian.


I can barely make decisions in my own life and you want me to make decisions in someone else’s life? No thanks. But it did lead to some interesting conversations with my husband – he is quite sure robots will be taking over the world soon.

Bird Box

A+ arms on new crush Trevante Rhodes.

This potato salad I made when I was too lazy to make proper potato salad

It’s just pepper and sour cream and potatoes and pickles and I’m telling you it’s good. I don’t know if it qualifies as a salad or just a general life failure but I am into it.

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

I don’t know what this show is about but it’s extremely relaxing to watch. It’s like if lorazepam was a TV show for old tired goth soccer mums AKA me.

The Fall

Very late to the party on this one but just started watching it and though I am a fan of Jamie Dornan I don’t know how anyone even notices him with the reason why every woman is gay Gillian Anderson. And this show is a commentary on toxic masculinity, entitlement, and male violence right? Yes?


God I hate myself for watching this garbage.

The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair

Only lasted half an episode because male writers talking about writing is zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Leave No Trace

This has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes which means everyone thinks it’s good but I thought it was boring. Remember that old website Rotten? We used to all sit around a computer when I was a teenager and look it up then force each other to look at the pictures. I wonder if it still exists. Too scared to look. Bleurgh.


I don’t know what’s happening but everyone is hot.

The Bodyguard

He can call me M’am any time he likes.

The Favourite

Fantastic. Loved it.

My sunburn because I forgot to put sunscreen on

Terrible. Minus 150 stars. Now have a post-it note by the door that says “remember sunscreen on your back”.





Aquaman: A review

Sometimes there are acts of bravery, acts of great courage, that change the course of the world as we know it, or at least the course of a Boxing Day Wednesday.

We honour these people in many ways – maybe they win a Nobel Peace Prize or are named in the Queen’s Honours. We tell stories about them to future generations. We may take a moment, on a rainy day, to consider their contribution to humanity. They inspire us in all that we do.

Kym Barrett born 11 August 1965 is one such person. I would like to tell you why.

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All the shitty takes in one go

Tired of the shit emails and DMs and comments I’m getting so here I’ll answer your crap in one go.

Not all men are violent you’re being sexist

If I came to you crying and said – my husband broke my jaw – and you said to me “Well, not all husbands do that – I didn’t break my wife’s jaw” do you think that would be an appropriate thing to say? What makes you immediately disregard that a man hurt someone? Why can’t you express horror for violence without making it about yourself? Why can’t you say – That’s appalling, here let me help? Why is your immediate reaction to disregard what a woman has said? Don’t you think that’s messed up?

If women were killing men at the rate men are killing women all women would be on curfew by now. I would be marching in the street. So why won’t you stand with women?

You’re making men feel attacked

Well, boo fucking hoo. Women are literally being attacked – being raped, murdered, beaten. And you’re upset because a columnist expressed anger and sadness over it? Grow the fuck up. This isn’t about your feelings. I’m so sorry words make you feel uncomfortable – but I can assure you – being bashed in front of your kids or killed because you were out at night is worse than reading something on Facebook that makes you feel a wee bit unsure of yourself and your place in the world. Get over it.

What about violence against men

What about how you only bring up violence against men when you want to disregard violence against women? I’m horrified by violence against men. I have two boys. I desperately want them to be protected. Guess what Dave – That is why I am trying to do something about male violence! What the fuck are you doing? You only seem to care about these men when I talk about violence against women.  Why don’t you make ending toxic masculinity a priority to protect these men instead of sitting on your ass angry wanking over women having opinions.

Women hurt men too

They do. And it’s abhorrent. And if every day women were murdering men and raping them – I’d be calling for an end to toxic femininity. If my boys grew up being told it’s not safe for them to speak to women or be out at night you can bet your ass I’d be devoting my life to it. That’s not happening. And women being violent toward men does not cancel out male violence no matter how much you want it to. If my son hit someone at school, and their parent said – “Your child made my daughter’s nose bleed” what would you think if I then said “yeah but sometimes girls hit boys in the playground”. All of this is a distraction – it’s an argument designed to minimise violence against women. Nobody has ever said women being violent toward men is acceptable. You are saying violence toward women is – by trying to say violence against men cancels it out.

They’re just psychopaths.

Oh really? All of them. New Zealand has the worst rate of family and intimate-partner violence in the world. Cops attend family violence incidents every four minutes. ALast year, police attended about 105,000 domestic violence incidents. If all incidents were reported, they would have attended at least 525,000 calls for help.

And you think they’re all just crazy? Well fuck me, I want to see an inquiry into what’s in our drinking water because if it’s not our culture – you know the culture that means every time a woman writes about violence she gets 100 emails calling her a cunt and a whore – then it must be something else. Do you really think it’s something else? Do you really think we have the highest rate of psychopaths in the entire world?

By calling these men monsters or psychopaths we are saying there’s nothing we can do. It’s washing the hands of it all. It’s saying oh well, we have no responsibility here – none of us. That is simply not true – and it’s a dangerous attitude. I’m tired of this violence, aren’t you? Don’t you want us to work together to stop it?

You’re politicising murder

It is political. Stop trying to silence women. Silence is complicity and I refuse to shut up because you don’t like the reality of violence in this country. And you know what else is political – you trying to stop people talking about it! You trying to tell people not to talk about a murder victim because it makes you feel uncomfortable as a man? That’s political. That’s you prioritising your feelings over the need for us to work toward a world where women aren’t dying every day at the hands of men.

It is only when women die that we are accused of being political. People can march in the street (and should) over child abuse statistics and nobody accuses them of taking advantage or using the names of these children for political gain. They rightly see it as saying “Enough! No more!” If you’re unmoved by another woman murdered, and you want people to be quiet about it, that’s messed up. Consider why you don’t want us shining a light on this violence.

You’re pushing an agenda

Yeah I am. My agenda is that I want to see an end to women dying and being bashed and being raped.

You have a victim complex

Actually bro, you do. If a woman is murdered and you think you’re the victim because some other woman is laying down truths you don’t like? You’re the one with the victim complex.

WhY Do yOU haTE MeN EmILy???????????????????????

If I hated you – I would be marching for segretation. I’d want revenge. All I want is for all genders to be safe against male violence and entitlement.

Your views are extreme

If it’s extreme to think that every one of us has a responsibility to do everything we can to protect women and children – then yeah, I’m extreme. The reality is that every woman I know who parents boys is parenting like me. They’re all trying to teach their boys to respect themselves, their bodies, other people, and other people’s bodies. If you think it’s extreme to teach your child “these hands don’t hurt” then you’re part of the problem. If you think Boys Will Be Boys and Boys Are The Bosses is a legitimate way to parent in 2018 then that to me is an extreme and messed up view. There is nothing extreme or wrong about parenting in a way that protects your children and other children.

Telling your son he can’t hug someone if they don’t want a hug won’t change anything.

Maybe it won’t. But what’s the harm? Changing a culture is hard. You need to start in your own backyard. You need to do something. For me, that’s teaching my son he doesn’t get to hug someone if they don’t want to be hugged. It’s teaching him that his body is his own and if he doesn’t want me to tickle him then I won’t. It’s that if he says NO that NO will be respected, so he then learns to respect NO. I don’t excuse his behaviour with boys will be boys. I teach him boys are kind, boys are loving, boys are gentle – because they are. I don’t teach him boys don’t cry or boys are rough – because that’s not true. We don’t call him a sissy or tell him he throws like a girl – we are careful about our language. We nurture his interests regardless of whether they are considered gendered. This might not do anything – but then again, it might. It might make him think twice when he hears messages that are sexist or hateful toward women and minorities. He might think – hold on, I know that isn’t true, I know that isn’t right. He might step in against a bully. He might protect his friends against someone being hurtful. If someone touches him and he says no – and they don’t stop – he will know to tell me. He will know that it’s not his fault. That he shouldn’t feel guilt. He will know that’s wrong. And he will never do that to someone else because he’s been taught over and over and over again that his body is his own and his friend’s body is their own. All of my friends are raising their kids this way. Because we all believe that it has to make a difference. I will never understand why people find this controversial – especially when they spend their entire lives putting rules around their daughters.

Your sons will hate you/Your sons will be brats/You are making your sons hate themselves 

I refuse to be my child’s first bully. I will not give them the tools to hate the parts of themselves that are so precious to them and us – their gentleness, their affection for others, their kindness, their love of dancing, their love of glitter and flowers and tutus and their generosity. I will nurture and love them and protect them by ensuring gender stereotypes and norms and narrow views of masculinity don’t break them. My sons are free, I only wish the same for your children, for all children. I know you think going after my sons is what will break me, and it’s true – it’s the thing that hurts the most. But my husband and I are a team, and we are speaking out about these issues FOR our sons. It’s for them, they motivate us, their drive us to try to make the world a better place. You can’t hurt us here. We know our children and our children are loved.

Public grief is wrong

If your reaction to a young woman crying because she feels connected to another young woman – you’re a fucking loose unit. Hardening our hearts to everything is no way to live. Your cynicism is yours alone – don’t tell people how to feel. Unity and solidarity comes from grief. Change comes from grief. Snarking away at how people are upset just makes you an asshole.

What about all the women who aren’t getting media attention

They should be getting media attention. Women of colour and trans women suffer appalling rates of violence and every death should make the front page. Maybe then people would see just how widespread this problem is. I don’t know any women who disagree with this. But if you’re using this argument to stop people talking about violence against women, you need to consider why if it’s not to highlight racism and transphobia, and it’s instead to minimise the feelings women have about this case – you’re a dick.

I’m a cool chill girl and I just want to say I love you guys and you don’t have to do anything!

Internalised misogyny is a hell of a drug. We think if we suck up to men and throw our sisters under the bus we might be saved. They’ll like us. And we’ll be popular and cool. We’ll be one of the boys. If you’re raised in a society that makes you think women are bitches, of course you end up believing that. You don’t want to be a bitch like those other girls. So you slam them. And you kiss ass all day long making sure no man ever feels uncomfortable. We have all been there. I wasted many years of my life not realising women were my saviours in life. Now, I’m an adult – I know better. Nothing could make me want to prioritise men’s feelings now. Nothing could make me want to hurt my sisters or stand against them just so some limp dick knuckle dragging guy wants to fuck me. One day you’ll see.

YoU r A fEMinAzi?!?

I prefer the term boner-killer.

Jokes aside, consider who is watching you right now. Is your daughter? What are you teaching her when you come online and call me a cunt? What are you telling her about what her thoughts and ideas are worth in this world, to you? What are you teaching your son when you talk about feminazi sluts? What messages do you think he’s hearing about a woman’s worth? About her right to safety?

The kids are watching. What future are they going to have if you won’t change?

Well here I am

Hey – I’ve been busy writing and I don’t know, maybe if you like my writing you might want to catch up on what I’ve uhhhh been writing. So here you go my friends, I am writing for places other than the good ship Spinoff as well as The Spinoff. Please check out two sponsored posts I wrote – these help me continue to write, as they help pay my bills. This kind of explains it. I very, very rarely do sponsored posts as I only want them to be things that really benefit you. And I also don’t want you to feel like you’re being sold shit you don’t need or want. I hope I have the balance right. I turn down a lot but I genuinely think this wee project from Norton was worth doing. So here ya go. Writing only for publications starting with S is not intentional:

Sponsored content 


  • I wrote about speech and my son finding his voice. You can hear him in his dancingSee what others see when it’s love – love for your child’s different ways of taking on the world. See how they hum to concentrate – how clever they are! How smart their brains are to know this is what they need to be able to focus. See their communication when it’s not just limited to language. Open your mind to new ways of talking to each other.
  • I wrote an essay about grief and how kindy helped my kids process theirs. It has been a really rough year for us. Here’s my post: A heart-shaped community.  And home is two places now – where our children live and where they grow as well. Two little homes, somehow both ours. But one is shared with a whole community, a suburb, a village. And they sing songs while holding buttercups under the chins of babies so we can all remember that there’s so much joy.
  • I also wrote about how you can get your children involved in politics which made someone email me and say Eddie would grow up to be a socialist and let me just say we will love him even if he doesn’t – Can toddlers and under fives really change the world? How often has your child said: “It’s not fair!” Children have an innate sense of fairness. They want us to live by what is just and true. Of course, there are times when they must realise that having to leave the park because it’s getting dark might not feel fair but it is. But then there are other times when their view of fairness is spot on.


The Spinoff

  • I wrote about conscientious objection and abortion law reform in New Zealand. Currently doctors have the right to just drop you if you ask for an abortion and they don’t support reproductive rights. That’s a horrendous thing for anyone to go through – but what if you’re a vulnerable young person seeking advice? What happens then? It’s BS and in my view the NZ medical association is terrible for supporting it. Why are doctors and their medical association fighting against reproductive rights?
  • I did some little hot takes – one on how much I love Christmas music and one on how much I hate freakshakes.
  • I wrote about my dearest friend Lina and her family. We are very close to them and I love little Elliot. Elliot has a brain tumour – one year on. She was beginning an experimental drug that targets the BRAF mutation in the genes in the tumour directly. A drug that is being paid for by everyone who pays tax. Socialised medicine was the knight in shining armour for the family. But the knight didn’t quite beat Elliot’s dragon.

I’ve also been on Newstalk and I’ll be on again on the 22nd of December. You can listen to the last episode I was on here – where we talked about being judged as parents. 

I don’t know if you missed it but they published my session with the amazing Hollie McNish too. You can listen here: On motherhood: Hollie McNish and Emily Writes in conversation.


I have been sponsored to fight cybercriminals who wear balaclavas even though they are at home and nobody can see them?

So, a few weeks back I talked about how I’m adulting and I’m getting myself sorted with internet security.

I’ve been using Norton Secure VPN for a month or so now. The point of it is to secure your personal and financial information safe when using public Wi-Fi. Given the first thing I do wherever I go is to try log into the free WiFi – I’m a good candidate for this basically.

I never thought about WiFi security before now. I just have too many things running around in my head – you know how it is. I need to get a new car seat as Hamuel is growing out of the current one, I need to get the fuse on the stove fixed, I need to sew on buttons onto the pile of bloody clothes I have with broken buttons.

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The hustle

Nobody wants to talk about money. It’s horrible talking about money. But I feel like I should.

I’m 33 and my family and I live week to week. This is quite normal in our circle of friends. I gave up my day job earlier in the year thinking after two years at The Spinoff I finally had stable work. Then our great sponsor left The Spinoff Parents. So I lost my main income. I was lucky to pick up other contracting work but it’s been hard.

And then I see comments from people saying “She doesn’t need money – her books are everywhere and she’s at every festival”. I promise you – life looks very different here, in reality.

Here’s what you don’t see…

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Our children are not a burden

Today I cried down the phone as I was told my son had made it to the top of a wait list for early intervention support. I called my husband and loved hearing how happy he was – “How soon do we go?” he asked. I rang my son’s kindy’s head teacher, and my son’s key teacher – the kindy has been our biggest advocate in supporting our little one. I sobbed with happiness and they celebrated with me. The relief, the joy, it’s indescribable.

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Sponsored attempts at adulthood

Quite often, around 2am usually, I think to myself “I really need to grow up”.

At various points of my life I’ve basically thought – Am I an adult yet? I mean I’m 32. With two kids. So clearly, I am. Wait, I think I’m 33. Anyway…

I still often don’t feel like an adult because:

  • An adult would pre-order contact lenses and not just go to put contacts in and realise you haven’t got any despite wearing contacts for a decade or more.
  • An adult would be able to drive without having panic attacks when they sit in the front seat.
  • An adult would not run out of toilet paper.
  • An adult would have a will and insurance.
  • And an adult would know how to secure their internet and phone and make sure their kids don’t accidentally access porn or Trump rally videos.

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