women's liberation

Public displays of sexual desire, sex and agency are almost synonymous with the broad Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) rights movement.

Positive displays of queer sexuality challenge narrow and dominant ideas about "acceptable" sex and sexuality. They play an important role in the struggle for democratic rights and against persecution; and in exploring sexual pleasure and desire.

Sections of the women's liberation movement investigate and promote women's sexuality and sexual pleasure for similar reasons.

Sydney is the “sex capital” of Australia, said an article in the November 12 Daily Telegraph, which called the city the “Amsterdam of the South Pacific”.

The article reported recent figures from the Government Interagency Brothels Taskforce that showed 271 legal brothels in the state, as well as claims that “the industry is being infiltrated by organised crime”. The figures, which were labelled “shocking”, were blamed on “dysfunctional planning laws and legislation” by one figure quoted.

The federal Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard filed a submission to Fair Work Australia (FWA) on November18, which backed away from its year-long commitment to support the Australian Services Union (ASU) application for an Equal Remuneration Order for social and community sector and disability workers.

The government said it supported the principle of pay equity, and agreed community sector workers were underpaid, but its submission argued against granting equal pay to this historically exploited section of the workforce because of budget constraints.

Pope Benedict XVI has told a German journalist that condom use can be justified in some cases to help stop the spread of AIDS.

News of the Pope’s historic new stance was first posted online on November 20 in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s newspaper.

When the Victorian Parliament decriminalised abortion two years ago, the battle was finally over, right? Then why is the Fertility Control Clinic in East Melbourne still targeted by anti-abortion zealots? And why, after five years, has Melbourne City Council started harassing clinic defenders, potentially handing a victory to those same zealots?

Freedom or at least women’s freedom is still defined by men’s perspective. There’s still a patriarchal attitude towards the woman’s independent decision making.

Society’s attitude towards women’s religious beliefs are defined by patriarchal values. So if we happen to cover ourselves it must be because of the men who control us, not our own choice or beliefs.

If we claim that we follow our own faith, it must be us who is brainwashed by a patriarchal society — but not a patriarchal society that tries to rip our headscarves off.

The Anti-Porn Men Project was recently launched. Anti-Porn Men is a website providing men with information and a platform to explore anti-pornography views and arguments.

Criticisms of porn from moralistic and religious standpoints are nothing new, but the Anti-Porn Men Project isn’t about moralistic preaching — it comes from a feminist and pro-sex perspective.

"When I was 15, I remember going to parties and being really uncomfortable when someone put on porn. Porn told me how, as a woman, I needed to look, act and experience sex; and that people found women being treated this way funny or arousing rather than frightening." — Anonymous.

Porn reflects ideas about what is considered explicit and arousing. But the meaning of "porn" is altered by historic, cultural and economic contexts.

Made in Dagenham
Directed by Nigel Cole
Starring Rosamund Pike, Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson
In cinemas nationally

Review by Jeff Sawtell

Given the advance publicity, I was looking forward to Made in Dagenham. It is based on the 1968 strike of women sewing machinists at Ford Motors, which was supposed to have inspired the 1970 Equal Pay Act.

Three hundred people gathered at Sydney Town Hall on October 29 to protest against physical and sexual violence against women, as part of global Reclaim the Night protests.

Professor of Law and Indigenous Studies at the University of Technology Sydney, Larissa Behrendt, outlined the challenges Indigenous women face, not only from Indigenous men but also the white legal system when reporting incidents of physical and sexual assault.

Charlotte Long from Burma Campaign Australia spoke about the systematic rape of ethnic minority women in Burma.

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