Women highlight pro-war bias in mainstream media



MELBOURNE — At lunchtime on January 20, 200 women sat on the steps of Victorian Parliament House wearing bras on the outside of their t-shirts in protest against war on Iraq.

The action was organised by the prominent actor Kerry Armstrong, as spokesperson for "One Voice for Peace". Armstrong explained that the point of the display was to highlight the mainstream press refusal to report the 45,000 strong anti-war rally in Melbourne on October 13 last year, while it would eagerly "cover" a display of 200 "bosoms".

Armstrong mobilised colleagues from the entertainment industry, including actors Rebecca Gibney and Ann Phelan. Democrat senator Natasha Stott Despoja and former Victorian premier Joan Kirner also participated in the action.

The Victorian police did not permit speeches or the bearing of placards, but rally organisers were permitted to display a banner declaring "Not in Our Name". Various women experimented with the political message of the bra display.

Phelan garbed herself in a bra decorated with plastic babies bleeding with red paint, other women wore bras on their head or inside out and back to front.

Joan Kirner called from the floor that everyone should come back for an anti-war action on International Women's Day on March 8. Melbourne feminists circulated an official call to action for an anti-war protest on IWD, which was endorsed by the protest organisers, One Voice for Peace and a number of individual protest participants.

From Green Left Weekly, January 29, 2003.

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