women's liberation

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.

"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.

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.

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.

Over October 16-17, 120 people participated in lively and informative discussions at the Latin America Solidarity Conference.

“Challenging corporate globalisation: people’s power is changing the world” was organised by the Latin America Social Forum. LASF brings together the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN — Australia), Guatemala Human Rights Committee, Ibiray-Fondo Raul Sendic (Uruguay), Honduras’ National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network and Socialist Alliance.

I welcome the discussion in Green Left Weekly about the burqa and the question of its banning.

I agree wholeheartedly that banning the burqa is not the answer for women. As in all aspects of oppression, the oppressed are the ones who must liberate themselves, with the support and solidarity of others.

It is not up to the state or religious institutions to impose “liberation” on them.

While the burqa remains worn by women, I support their right to wear it if they choose, for a variety of different reasons.

Pip Hinman has been pre-selected to run for the Socialist Alliance in the NSW seat of Marrickville in the March state elections. She is an activist journalist and stood in the seat in 2007.

Hinman was active in the pro-choice movement in Sydney and Brisbane in the 1980s and 1990s. Below, she responds to the October 14 not guilty verdict in the trial of the Cairns couple charged under Queensland’s abortion laws.
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The not guilty finding of the young Cairns couple should be the impetus for the NSW government to remove abortion from the NSW Crimes Act of 1900.

The outcome of a trial against a Cairns couple for procuring an abortion has turned the tables on the Department of Public Prosecutions and the Queensland government.

The Cairns jury swiftly returned a “not guilty” verdict on October 14 and the question now being asked is “what real crimes are exposed by this case?”

For many, the real crime is the fact that the anti-abortion laws from 1899 have not been repealed.

One hundred people rallied in Sydney on October 9 in solidarity with a young Cairns couple charged with abortion-related offences under Queensland’s 1899 criminal code. The court case begins on October 12, and the couple will be supported by a vigil outside.

The rally was organised by the Women’s Abortion Action Campaign (WAAC) as part of a national day of action coordinated by ProChoice Action Collective Qld: WAAC NSW: and Radical Women Vic. It called for the repeal of all abortion laws from the criminal code and for free, safe and accessible abortion.

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