Ruby Hamad

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Ruby Hamad is an Australian journalist, op-ed writer, and public speaker. She has written articles in The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC News (Australia), Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) Life, Eureka Street[1], Crikey[2], The Guardian, and The Saturday Paper. Her public speaking includes giving the 2017 International Women's Day keynote speech and Feminist Intersection - In Conversation (with Celeste Liddle) for the Queen Victoria Women's Centre, and hosting panels at Melbourne Writers Festival and Newcastle Writers Festival.

Personal life[edit]

Hamad grew up in Sydney Australia as the second-youngest of seven children to Arab Muslim parents.[3][4] She is of Lebanese and Syrian descent[4] and describes herself as the product of "an Arab Alawite Muslim family".[5] As a small child she was a tomboy who spent time with her younger brother playing on monkey bars, swimming in the pool, and taking part in backyard cricket.[3][4] At age 11-12 her parents became stricter about her being out after dark or playing sport with boys and she was assigned similar home duties to her older sisters, including making her brother's bed while he continued to play, a transformative moment in recognising gender inequality.[3] Hamad says "my parents were caught by surprise when, nineteen years old and unmarried, I left the house one morning and never came back." She reconciled with her mother over a decade later when her brother died without warning.[3][4]

At age 5 she witnessed the decapitation of a family chicken that she considered to be her best friend, her first brush with what she described as "eating meat is, in its very nature, an expression of male power and control over the bodies of others". At age 15 she witnessed a home video of Syrian relatives slaughtering a sheep as a mourning ritual after a death in the family, which caused her to become vegetarian.[3] The process was made easier due to her religious pork-avoidance. She became a vegan in 2011 after an Animals Australia investigation into the live export trade to Indonesia, saying she saw herself in video footage, "the self that once felt as trapped as those cows and yearned to be free", and resolved never to participate in any form of animal exploitation again.[3] In 2012 she stated she had not fasted for Ramadan in over 15 years, though much of her family still does, and occasionally the whole extended family will get together for Iftar, the nightly breaking of the fast.[6]

Hamad describes her 20s and a good deal of her 30s as spent "flailing and floundering" about what she really wanted to do with her life and not being mentally and emotionally equipped to pursue career ambitions that would lead to early success.[7] She spent several years living and working overseas and studying, seeking out in her 20s the freedoms of life experience she said she missed from having a strict upbringing.[7]

In 2016, at age 41, Hamad was diagnosed with a jaw abnormality called long face syndrome (vertical maxillary excess) brought on by bad breathing habits as a child, requiring braces and surgery to correct.[8] The condition causes oxygen deprivation during sleep and teeth wearing.[8]


Hamad has a bachelor's degree in Political Economy from the University of Sydney. She is a graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts, where she majored in film writing and directing.[9] She has a master's degree in journalism and media practice from the University of Sydney, and teaches part-time in history and social sciences at the University of Western Sydney.[10]

Early writings[edit]

Hamad describes her early writings as "focused primarily on overtly feminist issues including gender representation in popular culture, the treatment of women in the Arab world, and the virgin-whore dichotomy."[3] She cites reading The Sexual Politics of Meat as a personal watershed moment in realising that eating animals acts as mirror and representation of patriarchal values, with a focus on the line "If meat is a symbol of male dominance then the presence of meat proclaims the disempowering of women", stating meat reminded her of her powerlessness as a child.[3]

In 2008 Hamad wrote for Australian e-journal Online Opinion.[9] In 2012 Hamad became a columnist for Fairfax’s Daily Life, writing there for five years.[10]

Later work[edit]

Ruby Hamad is an Associate Editor for the progressive feminist publication The Scavenger[11] where she states her passion is for pursuing social justice, including justice for the most vulnerable amongst us, non-human animals.

Hamad has been asked to critique the writing of other Arab and Muslim women, including Fighting Hislam by Susan Carland and Beyond Veiled Cliches: The Real Lives of Arab Women by Amal Awad.[5]

In 2017-18 Hamad produced an essay series on the cultural and political significance of food for SBS.[12][13][14][15][16] Also for SBS in this time period, Hamad created a series on the real people behind mental illness, including myth-busting that helped shape public opinion on the stigma of sufferers.[17][18][19][20][21]


Hamad has regularly been criticised for her racist ideologies. A large proportion of Hamad's work argues that white individuals are inherently racist aggressors against dark-skinned invividuals. Her Guardian article entitled 'How white women use strategic tears to silence women of colour'[22] drew particular criticism as it suggested that the act of crying by white women was a form of violence against dark-skinned individuals. Critics argued that the term 'white women' could be replaced with any number of identities, races or gender-types and be considered offensive with others arguing that the article cited anecdotes rather than scientific data[23]


  • Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and The Sexual Politics of Meat. Edited by Kara Davis and Wendy Lee, with a foreword by Carol J. Adams. Published March 2013 by Lantern Books.[24][25] [26](Chapter: Halal by Ruby Hamad)


Ruby Hamad is a graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts, where she majored in film writing and directing. While living in Melbourne she worked on[clarification needed] a feature film script.[9] Returning to Sydney, Hamad was developing several feature film scripts in 2011.[27]

Hamad is known for her work[clarification needed] on Pure (2013), The Road Not Taken (2004) and A Short Portrait of Zora Zakowski (2003).[28]


  1. ^ "'Both sides' journalism betrays the public interest". Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  2. ^ "What leaders are really doing when they call Arab nations 'regimes'". Crikey. 27 September 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Intersecting oppressions: perspectives from a Muslim vegan feminist". Scavenger. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d "My mum's grapevine is our family's lifeline". Food. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b Hamad, Ruby (21 July 2017). "Uncovering the myths of Muslim women". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  6. ^ "The Month of Feasting". write away. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  7. ^ a b "The overwhelming pressure to be professionally accomplished while young". Daily Life. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  8. ^ a b Hamad, Ruby (22 June 2016). "If you ask me 'why the long face?' you might be surprised by the answer". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  9. ^ a b c "Ruby Hamad - On Line Opinion Author". On Line Opinion. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Queen Victoria Women's Centre International Women's Day Address: Ruby Hamad – Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and the Global South: When Feminism and Neoliberalism Collide |". Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Staff". Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Why food is another way for your family to say 'I love you'". Food. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Long before the eggplant emoji, art has used food in suggestive ways". Food. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Comment: The real history of tahini". Food. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Why Hitler wasn't a vegetarian and the Aryan vegan diet isn't what it seems". Food. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  16. ^ "My mum's grapevine is our family's lifeline". Food. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  17. ^ "The truth about personality disorders". Topics. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  18. ^ "Sex addiction: When too much isn't enough". Topics. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  19. ^ "The emotional turbulence of borderline personality disorder". Topics. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  20. ^ "It's (not really) all about me: Inside the mind of a narcissist". Topics. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  21. ^ "Abused as children, feared as adults: the extreme trauma behind dissociative identity disorder". Topics. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  22. ^ {{Cite web|url= white women use strategic tears to silence women of colour||language=en-gb|access-date=2019-09-20
  23. ^ "Guardian Status 993828666600755200". Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  24. ^ "Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and the Sexual Politics of Meat". Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  25. ^ Adams, Carol (1 March 2014). Davis, Kara; Lee, Wendy (eds.). Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and the Sexual Politics of Meat. Lantern Books. ASIN 1590564197. ISBN 9781590564196.CS1 maint: ASIN uses ISBN (link)
  26. ^ "Defiant Daughters". Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Save the world with salad". Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  28. ^ "Ruby Hamad". IMDb. Retrieved 13 April 2018.

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