“Beauty, Women’s Bodies and the Law: Performances in Plastic” by Jocelynne Scutt

Beauty, Women's Bodies and the Law, Performances in Plastic by Jocelynne A.  Scutt | 9783030279974 | Booktopia

Leading human rights lawyer Jocelynne Scutt AO, known for her
influential contributions to the reform of Australian sexual assault laws,
revisits the vexed question of consent in her latest book.

Clearly, there is more money in women and girls hating their bodies
than accepting them as they are naturally. Reminiscent of the
rough sex defence, “consent” can apparently release surgeons
from their obligation under the Hippocratic Oath: “first, do no

Source: LSJ June 2021

The Radfem Starter Library (5 books) — Spinifex Press

Spinifex Press has put together the Radfem Starter Library – five core titles from our list for readers and activists new to radical feminism. The books cover surrogacy, pornography, prostitution, misogyny and the radical feminist classic Radically Speaking edited by Renate Klein and Diane Bell.

Source: The Radfem Starter Library (5 books) — Spinifex Press

Mary Beth Edelson obituary | Art | The Guardian

On a boiling hot morning in June 1984, hundreds of women converged on the Museum of Modern Art in New York to protest. MoMA was holding a huge exhibition of recent art and of the 165 artists showing, only 14 were women. The crowd chanted “You don’t have to have a penis to be a genius” and wore suffragette sashes. Among them was the artist Mary Beth Edelson. By that point Edelson, who has died aged 88, had spent 20 years at the forefront of the feminist art movement.

In 1972 she created a collage titled Some Living American Women Artists/Last Supper. Riffing on the Leonardo da Vinci painting, she replaced the faces of the disciples with those of female artists, among them Yoko Ono, Louise Bourgeois and Helen Frankenthaler. In the place of Jesus is Georgia O’Keeffe. The work became a poster, widely distributed and iconic to those fighting misogyny in the art world.

Mary Beth Edelson, artist, born 6 February 1933; died 20 April 2021

Source: Mary Beth Edelson obituary | Art | The Guardian

Mother’s Day’s origins are in activism. Today’s saccharine version is suffocating | Jennifer Zeven | The Guardian

In its early guises, Mothers’ Day was about fighting for a better world for women, not breakfast in bed

Born in the United States amid gunfire, civil war, the antislavery movement and the feminist fight for suffrage, Mother’s Day was meant to be more than it is today.

An early iteration of Mothers’ Day (note the collective possessive) was established by abolitionist and suffragist Julia Ward Howe in the 1870s after the end of the civil war. It was never about confining a mother’s purpose to the unpaid service she gives her children and partner.

Mother’s Day as we know it today was first celebrated on the second Sunday of May in 1908. Founder Anna Jarvis worked to realise the wishes of her mother Ann Reeves Jarvis, a pacifist and abolitionist who wished to acknowledge individual mothers, to “commemorate the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life [my emphasis]. She is entitled to it.”

In 1914 US president Woodrow Wilson proclaimed it a national holiday – with a twist. The 1914 speeches linked explicitly to women’s roles in home life and privacy, rejecting suffragist visions of women as a political class with important political and social roles outside the home.

Jarvis prescribed hand-written letters or cards, and white carnations as Mother’s Day gifts. She was enraged when florists sold the inexpensive flower for a dollar a stem. In 1923 she stopped political and commercial Mother’s Day celebrations in New York, citing breach of copyright. Jarvis grew increasingly litigious as Mother’s Day slipped away from her ideals, even starting campaigns to have the day cancelled. The fight against the politicisation and commercialisation of Mother’s Day at the hands of the floral, card-making and candy industry was one she would lose.

Source: Mother’s Day’s origins are in activism. Today’s saccharine version is suffocating | Jennifer Zeven | The Guardian

Looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift? How about smashing the patriarchy!

The history of protesting mums is rich and influential. It’s time we recognised this group as significantly active.

During the 1970s, second-wave feminists thoroughly critiqued the relegation of women to childrearing. This left some with a lingering sense that becoming a mother was an old-fashioned or politically regressive choice.

But in fact there is a long tradition of maternal radicalism in Australia. Mothers have been out on the streets, fighting for change, as frequently as they have kept the home fires burning.

The effectiveness of these maternal activists was proven in 1894 when South Australia became the first electorate in the world to give women the vote.

Further evidence of the political power of first-wave feminists came in 1912, when the Commonwealth government approved the Maternity Allowance. This was radical in using government funds to provide state support to mothers as citizens, undercutting the authority of their husbands.

In the 1960s and 1970s, while women’s liberation movement activists such as Merle Thornton, Marcia Langton and Zelda D’Aprano were demanding equal rights for women, middle-class mothers around Australia were quietly rebelling against the medicalisation of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.

Mothers have a long history of political activism not just in Australia, but around the world.

Source: Looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift? How about smashing the patriarchy!

Activist slams UN appointment of Iran to women’s rights panel

As Iran takes its seat on the United Nations’ top panel on women’s rights, former political prisoner Shaparak Shajarizadeh slammed the appointment in an interview with The Post, citing her experience in her home country as a warning to the international body.

Women are not permitted by the government to have certain jobs, and must remain covered in public as a result of mandatory headscarf laws.

Daughters are under the supervision of their fathers, and wives are to follow the orders of their husbands. This means not going outdoors without spousal permission.

Aside from being forced to wear hijabs and lacking basic freedoms, women in Iran have no laws protecting them from spousal abuse or forced marriages.

Federal law in Iran permits a 13-year-old to marry, and they require parental consent if the child is to be married any younger than that.

The flurry of regressive and dangerous policies make the country an odd choice to lead on women’s issues for the UN.

Last Tuesday, the UN’s Economic and Social Council elected Iran — along with China, Japan, Lebanon and Pakistan — to the Commission on the Status of Women, the principal team handling “the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.”


Source: Activist slams UN appointment of Iran to women’s rights panel

Iran’s Election to UN Women’s Body Draws Outrage From Rights Activists, US Silence | Voice of America – English

Austria-based Iranian rights activist Sholeh Zamini denounced Iran’s election to the commission as “shameful.” In a VOA Persian interview Thursday, she said Iran will be the only country in the 45-member commission to have not ratified the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. “Not only has Iran not done this, but it is acting quite systematically to violate women’s rights,” she said.

Source: Iran’s Election to UN Women’s Body Draws Outrage From Rights Activists, US Silence | Voice of America – English

Consent video: Milkshakes bring all the headshakes to the government

After a litany of own goals that led to a crash in its approval ratings from women, the government has doubled down with a ludicrously ham-fisted suite of consent education videos, targeted at year 10 to 12 students.

It’s quite a challenge to get so much so wrong on consent and respectful relationships, but it appears this is one challenge the Morrison government is well able to meet.

The list of failures is long and would be hilarious if this wasn’t so serious.

They include:

  • A boy aiming a speargun into the distance as he sits next to a fearful girl
  • Another boy lifting weights next to a slim girl standing passively in a weight-loss machine
  • Drawing a deeply insulting equivalence between rape and eating tacos
  • Coyly avoiding any mention of sex, as if 16 to 18-year-olds might never have heard of it
  • Not even addressing the concept of consent with students until they’re in year 10, contrary to the advice of almost every expert in the country
  • Disrespectful relationships explained by showing a mean girl smearing a milkshake over the face of a poor, hapless white boy, ignoring all the evidence that shows violence is overwhelmingly committed by men against women
The “tortured metaphors” of milkshakes and tacos have been slammed.
  • A disturbing emphasis on fixing or staying in a relationship (despite the milkshake disrespect) because she’s pretty and has wavy hair and kisses
  • Relating to the youngsters with pinball machines and badminton
  • Videos with sets that look like Play School leftovers
  • The voiceover for the video in the technology section for year 10 to 12 students that sounds like it was recorded for the Play School demographic
  • Commissioning a grandad-professor-from-the-1950s type to do the voiceover about sex and rape – without ever actually mentioning sex or rape
  • The video called “Kiss”, about girls being the conflicted gatekeepers of sex, while boys pursue sex with no conflict or questions.

And that is far from a complete list.

If you follow the links through The Good Society’s website, you . . .  end up on a site called Fight the New Drug.

FTND is a US-based public charity, which claims to have no religious affiliation, despite all its founding members being Mormon and as The Atlantic’s James Hamblin notes, “its facts rely on claims from Mormon author Donald Hilton’s He Restoreth My Soul: Understanding and Breaking the Chemical and Spiritual Chains of Pornography through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

This is not the only American link. The videos have a strangely American slant.

Source: Consent video: Milkshakes bring all the headshakes to the government

The UN, ILGA, Stonewall and the Women’s Caucus: Jo Bartosch investigates calls for the removal of laws prohibiting sex with or between adolescents – Lesbian and Gay News

In 2020, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, 200 NGOs signed a so-called ‘feminist declaration’ which calls for the removal of laws prohibiting sex with or between adolescents, the abolition of laws prohibiting of certain forms of violence against women and the full decriminalisation of prostitution.

The ‘feminist declaration’ was the work of the Women’s Caucus, a collection of organisations which lobby on the fringes of the UN. The declaration is hosted on the website of the New York based NGO, the International Women’s Health Commission (IWHC).  IWHC are described on their website as co-conveners of the Women’s Caucus. According to their most recent financial report, one of IWHC’s most generous donors is the Open Society Foundations (OSF) which gave in excess of $100,000 in 2018-19. OSF donate to many organisations which call for the full decriminalisation of the sex industry, and the replacement of sex-based rights with those based on gender identity.

Here, couched in the language of human rights, is a call for a reduction in the age of consent. The World Health Organisation define adolescence as occurring between the ages of 10-19. Furthermore, the phrase “sexual and reproductive services” ushers in the possibility of commercial sexual exploitation of adolescents in surrogacy and prostitution.

Elsewhere in the document there is a commitment to “replacing punitive laws with comprehensive social interventions” with regard to issues including “female genital mutilation, domestic and intimate partner violence, and child, early and forced marriage.” This would seem to be a call for decriminalisation of some the most pernicious forms of violence against women and children.

Interestingly, the UN has some qualms about the type organisations with which they will work. Those who promote what are in effect laws that could lead to the rape of children are welcomed into the fold. Whereas grassroots organisations which promote women’s sex-based rights are not to be tolerated.

On 26 March 2021 the WHRC were removed from the online space on the grounds that they had ‘disrupted discussion’ during an event and made ‘offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, physical appearance, political affiliation, age, race, national and/or ethnic origin, immigration status, language, religion, or indigeneity’. WHRC co-ordinator, Jo Brew, contests this;

“My only comment in chat during the whole event was that the opening meeting was inspiring” she said. “It is impossible for me to have done the things that they say that I have. Chat transcripts from conference events would confirm this.”

The story here extends far beyond lobby groups like ILGA and Stonewall. The Women’s Caucus document could legitimately be recognised as rolling-back every gain feminists have made over the past two hundred years. It is clear there are a host of organisations working at an international level to undermine basic human rights and moral boundaries.

Source: The UN, ILGA, Stonewall and the Women’s Caucus: Jo Bartosch investigates calls for the removal of laws prohibiting sex with or between adolescents – Lesbian and Gay News