acknowledgement of country We acknowledge that it is on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation that this publication was written, edited and distributed. Without the existence of a treaty, this land remains stolen land; land that was never ceded nor bought or sold. Colonialism in this country is ongoing, and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wom*n continue to benefit from a regime of disposession, genocide, rape, exploitation of labour, and loss of culture and language. This does not exclude wom*n of colour. Though western imperialism has ravaged Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific, wom*n of colour whose heritage stems from these places cannot place their struggles above that of solidarity with Aboriginal people. White wom*n and wom*n of colour alike benefit equally from the specific form of racism that is directed time and time again at Aboriginal people; it is directed at them from the government, the media, the legal system, and more broadly from the colonial, patriarchal, capitalist and white supremacist superstructure under which these and other racist institutions operate.
Community Services continue to separate Aboriginal children from their families. It is evident in the notion that Aboriginal women are eighty per-cent more likely to be sexually assaulted than non-Aboriginal women. It is evident in the fact that profit-hungry clickbait centric internet “news” outlets consistently platform those who do not see the point of changing the date, and would prefer to drink beer with their identically racist friends on Invasion Day. It is evident in the disproportionate rates of incarceration and death in custody of Aboriginal people, and of NSW Corrective Services’ persistent refusal to investigate these deaths as ever suspicious. It is evident in the fact that the union jack flies high above our heads atop every building we enter: schools, hospitals, universities, et cetera.
The non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of the University of Sydney Wom*n’s Collective acknowledge and understand their intrinsic complicity in the activities and ideology of the State. We commit wholeheatedly to centre, prioritise and involve ourself in struggles for Aboriginal justice this year, and every year, until any and all oppression under what is not a residual, This racism is evident in the ongoing North- but a continual colonial Establishment is ern Territory intervention which has gauged dismantled and ceased. In publishing Growbi-partisan support from a farcial, power-hun- ing Strong, we pay respect to Indigenous elgry parliament. It is evident in the systematic ders past, present and emerging, and extend way that the NSW Department of Family and this to the ATSI members of our collective.
002 itâ€™s all another male tour preaching equality 003 responding to misogyny in a non-binary world 004 caliban & the witch 006 in conversation with sabella dâ€™souza 008 the whore story & nothing but the truth 010 desifuturism 014 just for me & not for you 016 to be eve 017 shookriya 018 messages with my (maybe?) rapist 020 independent escort 022 wiradjuri calling 023 abortions and infamy in 19th century america 024 the body 025 mum 026 sex werk 028 birangona 030 why have there been no great women artists? 032 victimâ€™s compensation
it’s all another male tour preaching equality Ranuka Tandan reflects on sexism in the Australian music industry The Australian music industry needs to do better for women, and Melbourne trio Camp Cope are bringing our attention to it. Anybody who knows their music knows that these three women are staunch and inspirational feminists who call out the issues all women face and demand better. This year’s Falls Festival was a brimming pot of these issues, with only nine women announced to play sets in the first release of acts. Of these acts at Byron Bay, there were only three women playing the main stage, and no women playing in peak time slots. However, when I was in the crowd at Camp Cope – at 3:55 pm, in a tent – they had a bigger crowd than some of the headline, main stage male acts. So, Falls Festival writing that female talent “isn’t always available to us at that headline level”, is nothing more than a pathetic excuse for their role in contributing to and perpetuating sexism in Australia’s music industry. In fact, it was inspiring to see how many people showed up for Camp Cope’s set, despite them playing on the smallest stage at the festival. There were hundreds of people spilling out the edges of the tent and hundreds more listening from the hills behind. The Camp Cope set at Byron Bay Falls Festival was one of the best concerts I’ve been to, not only because their musical and songwriting ability continually blows my mind, but because it was the safest I’ve ever felt in a concert crowd. I knew that if the men surrounding me – the men belting out every lyric to every song – wanted to see Camp Cope, then they would be on board with the bands messages of gender equality. It was probably the only gig at Falls Festival where women and non-binary people could simply enjoy the music without constant fear of being harassed.
Festivals are notorious for groping. We measure groping on a scale, and we go to festivals knowing that we will probably be touched without our consent, but hoping that that touching will sit on the ‘not that bad’ end of the scale. At Falls Festival this year, Camp Cope rallied artists to stand up and denounce sexual assault during their sets, and the response was inspiring. Artists such as Thundamentals, Luca Brasi, Alex Lacey and Liam Gallagher proudly wore shirts while they performed that read ‘the person wearing this shirt stands against sexual assault and demands a change’. More and more artists are standing up and speaking out. However until there is a cultural shift within Australia and the crowd takes on a shared sense of responsibility for the behaviour it sees and creates, it will be impossible to create a safe space at concerts and music festivals. Conversations around these issues need to be initiated, they need to be stimulated, and they need to continue until there is no longer sexism in the music industry and women facing harassment and assault when they attend concerts and festivals. Camp Cope are having these conversations. They are the strong, brave and passionate women saying what Australian music needs to hear, and they’re saying it at places like Falls Festival where that guy groping you in the Vince Staples moshpit is going to hear it. Camp Cope were the soundtrack of my 2017, the soundtrack that helped me embrace my rage, my femininity and my feminism. They’ve done the same for so many other women, and they continue to empower us by showing us that we can stand up and fight for the equality we deserve.
responding to misogyny in a non-binary world Connor Parissis is fitting into feminism
With the relatively recent acceptance of non-binary people that accompanied third-wave feminism, it is imperative to recognise the role non-binary people play not only in experiences of misogyny, but in the role they often play in being misogynistic and institutionalizing oppressive behaviour; not necessarily on purpose, but nevertheless it can occur. As a non-binary person, assigned male at birth (AMAB), I’d consider myself extremely new to feminism, particularly the entirety of the struggles experienced by wom*n and those assigned female at birth (AFAB). As a result, understanding the struggles fellow wom*n go through is a constant, consistent learning curve. I have no doubt that I have personally exhibited traits of toxic masculinity, despite not identifying with masculinity myself. However, whilst the feminist movement has, what I would consider, evolved into accepting non-binary people, we too must reward this gesture with constant acceptance of criticism and a pattern of reflective behaviour. The role of non-binary people in intersectional feminism recognises the notion that whilst men hold an institutionalized power over wom*n, these oppressions reach out further into race, sexuality, disability and class. Intersectional feminism is about recognising all axes of oppression. However, feminism as a movement has begun to recognise the fluidity of gender, and the key fact that gender isn’t binary – not biologically, not psychologically, nor socially. Society needn’t be separated into male and female. In many ways, the confused little boy I once identified as owes it to feminism for allowing me to not be afraid of femininity, and hopefully we can move towards an age where children and adults won’t have to grow up feeling pressured into a gender, but allow them the freedom to be whoever
they are, do whatever they enjoy, and hang out with whoever they want to. Considering all this, how do I, and other AMAB non-binary people fit into the feminist movement? Whilst some of us may experience misogyny, homophobia or transphobia based on our attire, hair, painted nails, voice, etc., I have come to realize that I often experience privilege when appearing “more masculine,” than feminine (usually, when I don’t have any painted nails, or make-up on). I haven’t experienced, to the same degree, the catcalling wom*n receive, or the fear of being harassed or assaulted. The closest I’ve come to these experiences is only in the presence of numerous gay men in nightclubs. These minor experiences continue to transform my own behaviour, and to remember what we’re fighting for. As time goes on, I’ve come to learn how certain language can be hurtful towards wom*n, how particular tones of aggression can be quite fear-inducing, and the fear associated with walking alone at night, even on campus. To play our part, non-binary people need to recognise the origins of the issues that disproportionally affect women. For example, non-binary people need to unite with wom*n in the fight for abortion rights, sex worker rights, sexual assault, queer wom*n’s rights, and a whole lot more. If we devote ourselves to the issues that disproportionately affect wom*n, and recognise this fact, we will receive in return an extreme increase in the rights and recognition of non-binary people, and the fluidity of gender that our society so wholly deserves. Whilst some of these oppressions affect some more than others, resistance to oppression is what unites us – and that is where non-binary people fit into the feminist movement.
caliban & the witch Tash Heenan In high school, like many young women, my friends and I developed a fascination with witches. Years before we knew what feminism was, a sense of foreboding had developed among us, about our place in the world and our power relative to adults and to our male peers. As ambitious teen girls wary of the how we were perceived in the adult world, we sought solace in the idea that we could harness a secret and subversive power to change things. After school we concocted potions, conducted rituals and created secret languages. For a time we believed in magic.
interpretations of the transition to capitalism as a progressive and necessary shift in social relations. Federici foregrounds the experience of women (characterised as witches) and colonised people (the metaphorical Caliban, from Shakespeare’s Tempest) to show that this was in no way a progressive moment in changing social relations, and that at every stage of capitalist expansion, new rounds of primitive accumulation involving violence and expropriation of land can be observed.
Unknown to us, hundreds of years earlier in Europe, thousands of women were tortured and killed in the most gruesome ways, for the alleged crime of witchcraft. This was part of a long campaign designed to instil fear and a sense of powerlessness among peasants, working class people and vagabonds alike. In her ground-breaking book, Caliban and The Witch, Silvia Federici argues that the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries served to create and enforce a newly established role in society for women, who were consigned to unpaid reproductive labour to satisfy the needs of an ascendant capitalist order. Published in 2004 and based on a research project started in the 1970’s with Italian feminist Leopoldina Fortunati, Federici draws upon an eclectic mix of historical sources, rereading the transition to capitalism from a Marxistfeminist viewpoint. Federici presents a close reading of the European witch-hunts, in order to re-appraise the function and nature of primitive accumulation in the transition from feudalism to capitalism. Her most important contribution in this regard is to reveal the mechanisms by which production was separated from reproduction, and how the resulting sexual division of labour had to be created and enforced through extreme violence. This account of primitive accumulation challenges Marx and subsequent
One of the most devastating aspects of reading Caliban is the recognition of what women lost in terms of social power in the transition to capitalism. Witches embodied everything “that capitalism had to destroy: the heretic, the healer, the disobedient wife, the woman who dared to live alone, the obeah woman who poisoned the master’s food and inspired the slaves to revolt” . Federici documents the changes in women’s social status, how they were encouraged not to walk alone on the streets or sit outside their homes, how herbal medicine and alebrewing (traditionally women’s work) came to be seen as men’s work, how the word gossip shifted its meaning from ‘friend’ to acquire a negative connotation . This all formed a part of the “intense process of social degradation” women were forced to undergo, in order to be remade in the image of capital. This was a process they relentlessly struggled against, by Federici’s account. Caliban reveals that in numerous ways, women refused to take their place in the emerging capitalist reordering of society, just as they refused the so-called ‘scientific revolution’ and its reconstitution of the body as a machine. Women tore down hedges and fences and reclaimed the commons, they engaged in nonreproductive sex and led peasant revolts. They met at night on hilltops, around bonfires, stole food and clothing, and they gossiped. Federici argues that the witch hunts, rather than representing
the last dying breaths of feudal order and the attendant superstitions of feudal societies, were a tool to discipline and shape the emerging working class and hence were integral to the transition to capitalism. The author concludes that only by ignoring the experience of women, slaves and indigenous people in the transition to capitalism can primitive accumulation be viewed as progressive. The women singled out for public burning were often peasants accused by their landlords or other wealthy community members of witchcraft, which the author links to accounts of poor women begging for or stealing food. As Federici notes, “the witch-hunt grew in a social environment where the ‘better sorts’ were living in constant fear of the ‘lower classes’” and their potential for insubordination. Throughout the book Federici shifts between centuries, sometimes bringing us all the way to the present, in order to show how this violence continues in the form of structural adjustment programs and in new rounds of land enclosures in developing countries. In seeking to uncover a “hidden history that needs to be made visible” Federici foregrounds the “secret” of capitalism, women’s unpaid reproductive work, slavery and colonisation. The use of violence in the witch hunts allowed the state to establish a level of control over women’s bodies and lives that was unprecedented, as seen in the rise of census taking and population monitoring, and the demonising of abortion and contraceptives. Federici further argues that “the persecution of the witches was the climax of the state intervention against the proletarian body in the modern era” and that the “human body… was the first machine invented by capitalism”. That the violence of slavery and colonisation in the New World was parallel to the patriarchal violence of Europe is a difficult argument to make and is one of the more unconvincing parts of Federici’s book. The relationship between early capitalism, slavery
and genocide is an area well explored by historians and critical race scholars, which could have been better utilised to extend the appraisal of primitive accumulation from the point of view of colonised and enslaved people. The horrifying scale and brutality of the witch hunts is difficult to comprehend, especially given their status as “one of the most understudied phenomena in European history”. In an ironic twist of fate (and clearly inspired by Charmed and Sabrina the Teenage Witch), my friends and I embraced the idea of magic without fear that the charge of witchcraft would lead to our torture and death. Perhaps this is because today women’s unpaid reproductive labour is so immutable, capitalists no longer perceive witchcraft to be a threat to the sexual division of labour within firmly capitalist social relations of production. However, this does not mean that new, if at times more subtle forms of subordination and control of women aren’t apparent. On the contrary, renewed attacks on reproductive rights and rights to bodily autonomy, the violation of livelihood rights by mining and agricultural companies in developing countries, and the daily assault by the state on indigenous lives in Australia and black lives in the U.S, all work in different ways to reaffirm the marginalised status of women and people of colour . Caliban is a reminder that it is the task of feminists and Marxists alike to demand that the sphere of reproduction and continuing forms of colonialism be seen as key sources of value for capitalism, and therefore as key sites of struggle against it. Many thanks to Gareth Bryant, Dinesh Wadiwel, Ariel Salleh and Miriam Thompson for their insightful comments on this post. This review was originally published in Progress in Political Economy. 005
in conversation with sabella d’souza Talking art, identity and affirmative action Jessica Syed: So tell us a little bit about you and your work. Sabella D’Souza: I’m currently a student at UNSW, doing a dual degree of Fine Arts/Arts, I work at FBi Radio. I don’t say that I’m an artist because I’m still at uni. I didn’t go into art school thinking I wanted to be an artist, I wanted to have a creative outlet and at that time an institution really validated that for me. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with research. I’m going to be doing honours next year, and I’m particularly interested in looking at women of colour in an online space, and how that space is inherently transnational. I’m also looking at the way that women, non-binary people and people of colour navigate that space, and how that affects their identity and helps them construct it. JS: You’ve dabbled a little bit in the Sydney art scene, do you think there are issues of diversity within it? SDS: That’s a really big question. I moved here from Melbourne in 2014. Melbourne is incredibly white. It seems really progressive, but it is incredibly white. In Sydney, you can tell in some ways who is going to align with your politics, who is going to agree with you based on how people dress, or how people act, or if they went to college, things like that… whereas in Melbourne, everyone dresses the same and you have no idea what you’re walking into. The Sydney art scene has a really big issue with diversity especially for queer people, women of colour, trans women of colour, in-
tersex women of colour… these groups are all really underrepresented. But because of that, there are a lot of really unique spaces that happen within the art scene, that have blossomed around this kind of exclusion. We’ve created our own spaces. I’ve also interviewed Justine Youssef, who has been challenging the the institution of art itself and also the scene. JS: In terms of finding your own spaces, would you say that it’s something of necessity due to the exclusionary nature of the scene? Or do you think it’s preferable to have autonomous spaces as opposed to trying to integrate yourself into what is a very white, straight, cis-male dominated scene? SDS: A lot of the shows I have been in previously have been autonomous shows. Either all South-Asian people, all people of colour, etc… I had a show in Seattle in July of last year, where we let less than five per cent of the audience be white, it was an all people of colour show. Which was really interesting, because the gallery actually had a class action brought against it for discrimination… JS: Why are we people of colour always being sued! SDS: Haha I know! But these shows I’ve worked in have always been about being brown, and often when you’re a brown artist, or a queer artist, or a deviant-to-the-norm artist, your work becomes just that. So someone will look at my work and be like, “oh, it’s about her brownness”. And that colours the entire thing, because it’s
not seen as neutral, or normative. And that’s really frustrating. Because yeah, I’m brown, but what else? It’s a moot point. So autonomous spaces can be really good because we can say, “yes, we’re all brown, but let’s move on from that and look at the art”. It’s difficult being pigeon-holed into producing a certain kind of art. On top of that, you also don’t want to be the only brown artist in an all white show, the diversity token within that space. It’s important to think about the way in which people of colour partner with white people: are white people getting more out of it than the person of colour? Does the white person get to say, “oh, look how diverse I am”, and that’s it? JS: You had a piece called ‘22/f/ aus’ at your show in Seattle, could you explain the concept behind it? SDS: It’s a video work that mimics the conventions of a YouTube makeup tutorial, I basically do ‘whiteface’, I make myself look white. It was inspired by a black female Vine maker, Jane Oranika, that I saw put white concealer all over her face after the Trump election. It explores the idea that in an online space, whiteness is seen as the default, that anonymous people are always considered white at first; the piece shows how this can be used to one’s benefit and that it informs how people construct their online identities. Everything we do to construct our identities is on purpose, online it’s no different – we can choose what our avatar looks like, we can choose what
our username is, and that creates our identity. But we can also withhold these things and be anonymous. People can do this for survival, or personal gain. I ended up showing the piece also at a competition for National Portrait Gallery in 2017, I was a finalist for it, but the winner ended up being this thirty year old white man who made a work about selfie culture… JS: Of course. SDS: And that’s just the pinnacle of everything that is wrong with the art world and commercial art spaces: a man who has never needed to take a selfie, critiquing selfie culture. JS: Going off the idea of ‘22/f/ aus’, I know myself and a lot of other ethnic girls I know are often perceived as racially ambiguous, and some are seen as white-passing. How do you navigate that? SDS: Within the work, I was aware of acknowledging my privilege: I am very light-passing, I’m half white. My friend who is half Sri-Lankan, is often asked what she’s “mixed with” to which she usually replies “I’m half Sri-Lankan”, but then she realises she’s saying that because white is the default. She’s now started saying “I’m half-white”, and trying to play with that. But I did want to acknowledge my ability to pass and show how makeup can be used to enhance Eurocentric features, and the ways in which that is subconsciously done when people of colour follow certain makeup trends, like contouring and highlighting. It’s a privilege to navigate
that space, but it’s important to know when to shut the fuck up and let other people speak. JS: With the anniversary of the Women’s March happening in late January of 2018, there has been a lot of discourse around performative feminism, whereby people attend these marches with colourful signs and banners, take a picture of themselves at the march and post it online, and then put their feet up for the rest of the year. So many of these signs are trans-exclusionary and white-centric, depicting pink vulvas as the pinnacle of liberation. Does this kind of feminism come up in art circles too? SDS: There is so much white-feminist art, like giant vaginas, and there are so many white-feminist art collectives who have maybe one person of colour in them, and I am so deeply wary of art about feminism when it’s only about whiteness. Or when it’s meant to be this universal piece about feminism but you’re only using white bodies, or only using people of colour as props, to give the effect of diversity. But more often than not the person of colour hasn’t been involved in the conversation about the piece. It’s difficult for some artists, because they say things like “oh, I don’t know any brown people, so I can’t get them involved”. There’s a redundant idea that some groups have adopted of completely excluding certain identities from spaces because of the fear of tokenising them. JS: That’s ridiculous. SDS: Yeah, and when pulled up on these things and critiqued, people become defensive and retreat from the discussion. On the other side, I get a lot of emails from these art collectives asking me to ‘source’ people of colour for them for a certain project, and I sometimes just ignore them. I think there’s a lot of room to grow. Nothing will change until more identities than the cis, white, straight, skinny ones are mainstream.
the whore story & nothing but the truth Mia Hawthorne
On a sunny day in October I started, after many years of deliberation, to finally be a whore. I met up with a friend, Sandy, who had been working at a massage joint for two years. She invited me to brunch after I expressed interest to give me “the talk”. I had tried once before. I was still in the country but had planned a trip to Sydney after some terrible-idea/minimal internet preparation. I misjudged or didn’t think at all about my period, which came while I was there. The first guy rocked up to my hotel room - I had used craigslist (yes terrible idea, like I said) - and was $200 short of the arranged price, so I kicked him out. I was too scared to follow up the other bookings. During brunch Sandy told me a few things about the place she worked at. She then said, “I’m going to work now- why don’t you come with me and I can show you around”. I agreed. We took the back entrance and first Sandy introduced me to the managers - two sweet old lady types, Marjory and Helen. Then Sandy showed me the premises. I was then asked if I’d like to start today. I had to leave at 3pm but I thought why not pull the bandaid and do it while I’ve got the courage. I filled out a piece of paper with just my first name and year of birth. Then they showed me a piece of paper with names - some crossed out to pick out my “working name”. I perused over the names- I noticed Peggy which I knew used to be a working name of a friend of mine, now available for use. Madison jumped out of me. It sounded sexy and appropriate, I picked it. Then Sandy was to train me. Sandy showed me to one of the rooms upstairs and instructed me to get naked, as she got naked too. I folded my clothes up on the chair and stood there in my undies. She pointed to them and with half a laugh “those too!”. She told me the first thing you do is ring the managers - there’s a phone in each room. You say who you are, which room you’re in, then the green number on the box - the start time - then the blue number that pops up - the end time. She then showed me the showers where you get them, the clients, to clean themselves prior. She then took me to one of the spas. We both got in and she showed me various positions and spoke on her initial worry of sitting on their lap and initially not making contact, which she recommends to do. Back in the room, she got me onto the table and gave me a back rub to demonstrate. Then the roles reversed as I practiced on her. She told me the ratio of 10, 10,
10 - initial 15 in the spa, then 10 on the back, 10 on the hand job and 10 to wrap things up - shower etc. I poured hot oil on her back, so sloppily that some got in her butt crack. The training was really quite short and then you’re thrown in the deep end. I watched Sandy do an intro with the other girls. Half way through the line up, one of the managers turned to me and said “no need to be scared, Madison”. My face must have been telling. The name Madison I would hear many times that day, it felt like a pair of new shoes still not fitting right while wearing it, waiting for the leather to stretch. It was on my third intro that I got picked; by a guy who worked in construction named Peter. Peter was very respectful and the perfect first client. It was his first time too, after work buddies told him about the place. I led him down the stairs in heels that were very precarious while having to lift up the long black lace number I was wearing. At first I struggled to find a room, not wanting to pick one of the fresh-water spas that I was warned take too long to fill up. I picked room 10, which at first I was worried the spa was too cosy, but couldn’t see another room. I was nervous. Nervous about the protocol and about getting the timing right. The session went fine with the only worry being that I couldn’t find the stairs back up. The day was full of firsts but went fine and I was keen to go back and make money there. A week later I was cut off Centrelink and due to then being in a vulnerable financial situation, I felt less laissez faire about the whole thing. It was no longer just money for jam and income that I needn’t worry about - it was now what will be paying rent, not fun extras like brunch. Despite the precarious financial situation I am largely a very privileged sex worker. I’m white, from a middle class background and a citizen of the country I’m working in. Other sex workers don’t start from first going to brunch with a friend. And that means sex work is less of a choice for those workers. I still face stigma, however not as much as if I were to do full service (meaning penetrative vaginal sex), although I do offer such as an ‘extra’. I’m not open about what I do, I’ve lied to my SWERF (sex-work exclusionary radical feminist) psychologist who gave me a massive rant when I mentioned thinking about going into sex work. Yet some of my psychologist’s criticism is not all things I disagree with. The sex work
industry which is predominantly men seeking sex with women workers, is a manifestation of patriarchy and exists in a capitalist structure. Although in saying that, most industries are not immune to those two forces either. I would also say that sex workers aren’t the ones propping up the patriarchy and are similarly workers under capitalism like any other worker. Other issues my psychologist had was the real fact that sex workers are more likely to experience rape. This is something we need to combat by embracing sex workers and creating an environment of respect for sex workers rather than blame sex workers for placing themselves in a more dangerous environment. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend sex work to everyone. It’s a job like any other job which means sometimes you like it, sometimes you don’t. Like in retail - you get some nice clients who brighten your day and you also get shockers which make you wish you hadn’t gone to work that day at all. The problem is, when you do get shockers in sex work it can be at worst really dangerous or best you’re sitting there naked and it’s awkward, annoying, or frustrating. With sex work there is another element to it which makes it difficult. You can also sit there for a six hour shift and not get booked once! Wasting a whole day of work where you get paid nothing. For now I’ll continue doing sex work and hoping for the days with kind and ample clients.
The following is a diary I’ve kept for some of the time I’ve been working.
My third client was a funny, sweet old guy named Paul. He was quick to ask for the extra of fingering. He was hard of hearing - having to usually repeat what I said, and there was a miscommunication in regards to the fingering. I told him 50 for kissing, 100 for fingering, 300 for oral. Between the hard of hearing and what he said, I thought he was asking if I did fingering to him. I said I would for 200. He checked he had enough. I went to get lube and a condom. I got back and realised he wanted to finger me! How terrible if I had got him on the table and thinking he had paid $200 and about to really enjoy a finger up his butt!! He fingered me most the time, uninterested in being massaged, and said old timely things like “You’re a real sort”. He also asked me “You must think I’m a dirty old man” in a really earnest way. He was very complimentary and even to the managers about me on the way out. The Saturday shift started shittily. The first was a guy who was waiting for me; me rocking up right on 11am (the time I was to start) and hastily getting ready, leaving my rings on and locker open. Fortunately what I was wearing was simple. Same undies and bra as I was wearing, black, and a red lacy throw over. His name was Jack, a business owner. He told me how I had to do my job to make men come back, that I had to show them I was horny. His advice included that I should straddle them and rub my pussy against their dick. I was not into it. He was largely apathetic in demeanour and warned he usually leaves 30mins in, despite always paying for an hour. I later found out he was a friend’s first client: clearly he loved the new ones, which I think is telling. He did leave within 30 mins and left through the door on that floor; before, ensuring to brag about his $27 000 watch and two other $14 000 watches. When I went up to reception though he was there talking to the manager. The manager then pulled me aside and quietly reprimanded me for having hairy armpits, suggesting I should shave. Jack, the darling, had complained. Why he couldn’t tell me to my face, I won’t know, cause he was a big enough dick to surely not worry about hurting my feelings. The second was a bit of a weirdo. Here I was thinking, right so today is the arsehole magnet shift. He spoke super softly and mumbled meaning I had to ask multiple times what it was that he was after, and he was pretty particular too. This caused problems. He also had his legs up in the air a lot which was just strange. and wanted me to squeeze his feet because they were cold. When I was done, I was then told by
management that I had been booked for a double with Kaylie. I went down, knocked on the door and found Kaylie in the arms of the client. His name was Jonathan. He was sexy. He had a scar down his cheek below his right eye. Kylie was jacking him off while I cuddled up to him also. A while through, he spontaneously decided for a triple and called for Bella to come too. The timing was a bit off for him, whereby Kaylie was finishing up while Bella arrived. When Bella got there, after a while he got us to kiss each other. He then wanted a threeway kiss but I wouldn’t. amongst the conversation, it came up that I had a boyfriend. Bella also had a boyfriend but she wasn’t open to him about what she did. They were surprised when I told them my boyfriend didn’t mind and was supportive. I was really run off my feet this day, having client after client, and only maybe 2 lineups when I wasn’t picked. Such a hot mess of a day that I can’t quite remember if I’ve forgotten a client amidst this mix. Then I had sweet Malcolm. A regular that was really popular by the girls, an easy client who was fun and chatty. We had a great chat in the spa and it really picked me up. We talked a lot about travelling and liberation - including that the body hair is a win, rather than something that should go. He asked what the most adventurous sex I had, as a segway into a couple of extras he liked. “Golden showers”, I thought “damn!” because as I popped out before to get juice, I also used the opportunity to pee… in the toilet. I missed out on an easy extra. The booking was still good though. We chatted so much that when I went to check the clock, we had a minute left. That day was my best yet, I left with $815 $415 from wages and the extras of $400. They asked me to come in on Sunday. “You should get booked a lot because there’s lots of Asians on”. I called them on their racist BS, they didn’t care, citing that it’s just the way it goes. So I came in on Sunday, 10am. My friend Sandy was in the change room getting ready. She had stayed the night before after a party and for just $5 for the night. Sunday was dead quiet. It took an hour before anyone came in. I also unfortunately finished my book, Anne Summer’s autobiography, early into the shift. Malcolm came in again but didn’t pick me, opting for Natasha, a girl who usually works nights, and is more in line with patriarchal beauty standards than me. The guy I first did full service also came in, and didn’t pick me. I had two clients the whole shift, fortunately the first was my sweet Paul - “Same deal as before, I was 009
hoping you were here”. $200 for fingering $50 for kissing - woohoo!, and I found out he was a unionist and quote “trouble-maker” with the glaziers union. Having just the one client all day, when 6 o clock, my finishing time rolled around I told myself that i’d wait till one more bell - if it didn’t take too long. Low and behold, it rang and I got booked. It was an easy booking, spent the whole time in the spa. $265 minus $8.90 for a pad thai lunch. It was my first late night shift and I was to be there till 1am. At 12.30 a guy comes in from a work christmas party. He works at TAB crunching the numbers and probability, but used to work on the docks with the MUA. I told him how I love the work of the MUA the militant union representing dock workers. We cheers with the champagne, “To the MUA” I said, he replied “Here to stay”. He asked if I “got on it”, I didn’t know what he meant, and then he offered me cocaine. He extended me, meaning I was to be there till about 3.30am. He also paid to finger me. As he was, his thumb started caressing my butthole. I’d usually shift away but I was enjoying it. He then asked to lick my arsehole. I said $200. We got a manager to bring the card machine down. I stand up in the spa so my butt was exposed.He paused and asked with concern “is the spa water dirty?”. In my mind I said “You’re about to lick from where I poo, but you’re concerned about the spa water”. I assured him it’s cleaned regularly, but honestly, I don’t know if it is at all. In total only two guys come to mind as ones I grossly didn’t like, and really pissed me off. A man who stroked me funny and a douchebag who had waxed his balls and wanted me to tell him how sexy it was. The guy who stroked me funny was treated to a firm ball grab which I acted surprised that he didn’t like, and also a sharp scratch up his back when it came time to the massage. He had also left a sizeable amount of shit on the massage table towel, yes literal shit, which sometimes happens - many men don’t know how to wipe their arses. I then gave him the soiled towel as he exited the shower; he rubbed it all over himself to dry himself. Conclusion: don’t mess with sex workers (especially when you don’t know how to wipe your arse) we have your balls in our hands. He gave me a $40 tip which is rare and surprised me given how I slightly tormented him and he me.
Tanushri is a Bangladeshi-Australian whose art dips into the realm of Desi-futurism, exploring post-colonial feminisms, decolonisation beyond the metaphor, environment and deep ecology. 010
the swarm 012
we have always been modern
//4. Hey Ley
JUST FOR ME & NOT FOR YOU //10. Madeline 014
//1. I am a tall, fat girl and I love my body so much. I’m not interested in accepting my flaws. I want to analyse why I was told I had a flaws in in the first place // 2. Self love is tough man! Ass pics make it easier // 3. I’m a sex worker and how I’m able to live as I do is utterly dependent on conforming to heteropatriarchal and racist constructs as closely as I can. I often take nudes before work to remind myself that I can chameleon into the ideals of this awful world (and I’m so lucky to be able to) but that no matter which of their games I’m playing, my body and my soul is my own //4. Somedays I don’t feel like my body belongs to me. On those days, I take a nude and love my body for being mine //5. Like all women, I grew up feeling insecure about my body. Taking nudes fills me with confidence and self love. today, the acceptance of one’s body image is derived from either adhering to or ignoring the western ideal of the white, cissexual, thin and able body. such ignorance is difficult, particularly when the capitalist, white supremacist patriarchy is consistently telling you that you are not the ideal. you do not need to be. nor do you need to bare all to be comfortable with how you look, with how you are. in saying this, we acknowledge that the submissions in this piece mostly conform to what is the aforementioned societal norm, and that there are structural and cultural barriers in place which may have discouraged some from contributing //6. I like this image because I’ve never sent it to anyone. This one is just for me, and I keep it to look at when I want to be turned on by myself. //7. Being nude is not inherently sexual - sometimes you just want to relax with your friends drinking VB in the river. //8. There is no better nude than a public love letter to your ass! //9. Not your exotic, curvy brown girl. I’ve come to terms with myself and so should you. //10. As someone who doesn’t exactly conform to society’s idea of beauty I like taking nudes to remind myself that I’m a hot piece of ass regardless. 015
to be eve
Pierce my finger and smear, Blood across my cheeks, So that I may possess the qualities, Of She who radiates Mother Earth. Cursed is my animated corpse, With sandpaper lining my jaw, Structured with the bones of Adam, Lacking the bust of Eve. Itâ€™s not just an extra rib Not just hated qualities, An expected way of living, A correct way to be. The canary sings beautifully, Yet I have the qualities of a frogâ€™s croak, burdened with a voice, that sounds antithetical to my mind. To be Eve not Adam, To embody humility and grace, Mother Earth is Beautiful, and I wish I could be too.
by Tanya Ali
I am almost seven. Abruptly, horses become my favourite animal For my birthday, I am gifted a book from The Saddle Club series I am extremely terrified of anything on television that is not animated, so I am yet to watch the show. I see a photo of the five main cast members on the back cover of my brand new book, and immediately assume the AfricanAmerican girl is the series’ villain Only when I eventually watch the show do I realise she is part of the core trio Even so, she remains my least favourite character; I openly call her ugly My favourite? Stevie, of course the blond-haired, blue-eyed tomboy. * I am nine. In our Year Three classroom, we are discussing physical attributes My teacher asks me and a few classmates to stand before the chalkboard shoulder-to-shoulder, arms out front, the colours of our skin compared. “Tanya has olive skin,” my teacher loudly declares. I rotate my arm, desperate to show that my inner wrist is paler than my forearm, almost matching that coveted ‘skin colour’ shade. “Olives are green, and ugly,” I think, silent, face hot. “I am not olive. I am not brown.” * I am eleven. My feet plant on my parents’ homeland for the third time. I do not realise this is probably the last time, too. I feel no connection but I learn the Urdu word for thank you: shookriya.
I still feel lost I refuse to wear a sari.
“there’s just something about that Meghan Markle.”
Every other day, someone hangs up the phone, bemoaning the “heavily accented person” they had to speak to, and couldn’t understand.
I am fourteen. On the school hockey field, we sort ourselves into teams to play rugby. A team member of mine exclaims excitedly: “Hey, our team is all white!” “Not me,” I mumble, despite myself. “Oh, you don’t count, you’re basically white.” Pride and acceptance swell in equal measure Shame lingers in my corners. * I am sixteen. I throw myself into loving white, so-called indie music Triple J is my fucking lifeblood I convince myself I do not notice when I am the only brown person at a concert, one of few not ruby red and flag-draped at Big Day Out. I am unique, Authentic. Just being me. So far from any semblance of my Pakistani roots, they wouldn’t even recognise me back there. * I am twenty. Standing in front of Christchurch airport customs, I am brimming with excitement to be overseas with my girlfriend for the first time. I’ve had no reason to talk yet, quietly patient as she gets her hiking boots inspected. Out of nowhere, the customs officer barks at me: “Do you speak English?” * I am twenty two. Last week, I overheard two colleagues – noses upturned, shaking their heads – repeatedly musing
I want to hear them say it Speak it, so I can fight it But they don’t. And so, I don’t. Yet I am twenty two, and I am blooming Unlearning the internalised racism drummed into me upon this stolen land; learning how to fight back, and not just for myself. I am Pakistani although Pakistan is a home I will never truly know I will know it through my grandmother’s stories, through my parents’ jokes. I will ask more questions. I am Australian even though Australia rarely feels like a place that deserves me. It is a home that I do know and want to make better I am a child of diaspora. I am Asian-Australian. I am brown, queer, proud.
cw: rape & sexual assault
CW: rape & sexual assault
K tells us how sex work helped her heal from her sexual assault
Last year in April, someone I had known for 3 years raped me. The circumstances of my rape are quite cut and dry. It was in the middle of the day, in my bed and I was not conscious, which is something I am continually grateful for. I had taken a Seroquel as prescribed to help calm down from a panic attack, an attack he had brought on by purposefully making me miss a house viewing.I fell into a deep sleep, fully clothed, as he sat against my bedroom wall, silent. I woke up with most of my clothes removed, my jeans thrown off the bed with my underwear crumpled inside and my bra hanging half off. My rapist was on top of me, still penetrating me. My rapist is not a violent person but he is an opportunistic and impulsive criminal. Once he saw a moment where I was vulnerable, he took advantage.I was so lucky to have the support of my now partner Matthew, who at this time was just someone who I had been seeing casually. Without him, I wouldn’t have had the strength to go to the hospital, do a rape kit and report to the police on the same day. He sat with me until two in the morning, as I finished getting my statement taken. I was assaulted on a Saturday and returned to my corporate finance job on the Monday. Looking back on it, I was on autopilot and I believed going on with day to day responsibilities 020
would help me heal.I sat down with my team leader and calmly explained how I had been raped two days prior – To this day I still wonder if it was how casually I brought it up or perhaps just the words “sexual assault” alone were the reason for his pained expression, nevertheless it stuck with me. How uneasy my assault made the people around me feel only made things worse. I was suffering from the common side effects of sexual trauma such as disrupted sleep, loss of appetite, flashbacks, anxiety, disassociation and random outbursts of rage. These all affected my performance at work, I felt incredibly ashamed for not being able to perform well and succeed. I was diagnosed with PTSD and it was suggested that my job could be too demanding of me emotionally and to consider going into casual or part time employment. With that, I handed in my resignation letter and I was left in this grey area of what to do. This is where sex work came in. Before my assault I had already felt complicated about my sexual agency. Sometimes casual sex was fun and even quite liberating but at times it made me feel almost used and ashamed. I had grown up giving sex away for free, not knowing how I was going to feel afterwards. I knew sex work couldn’t guarantee happiness but it
could provide money, which gives you security. I had grown up around so much instability whether it be drug abuse, mental illness, financial crisis and all I wanted was a way to keep my head above water financially without losing my sanity. A lot of society views sex workers as these victims who are exploited by the desperation of their situation, and of course there are people who use sex work to survive dire situations but this is not the majority. Given my situation I knew I wouldn’t feel safe or happy working underneath someone else, I needed to be behind each step of the process. I researched the laws, terminology, pricing, health and safety resources. I picked my working name, wrote my ad, booked a hotel and off I went. Of course it wasn’t easy, the first few months were trial and error; after all I was building a business for myself at the age of nineteen. I slowly got more involved within support networks of other workers, they gave me the confidence and information I needed to succeed as an independent escort. I built a structure that works for me, I set my own hours/boundaries/ rules. I have the final say in who touches me, how they touch me, when they touch me and for how long. I had never felt the courage to tell men how to treat
me within a sexual setting before sex work, I had always put their needs and wants before my own. When a client comes into a booking, I explain how important honesty and transparency in order to have an intimate experience with someone, especially an escort. I always start my bookings by asking, “what do you want from this encounter? What do you like to do to your partner and what do you like done to you?” I always follow up with what we share in common, in what ways they can ensure I enjoy the booking as much as they do and that we both have a clear understanding of each other’s boundaries. Sex work has allowed me the time and space I need to focus on my mental, physical and spiritual health. I am constantly reminded of my self-government, which has crossed over to my private life. Sex work has healed more than just my feelings towards sex; it has given me the strength to demand respect, to demand kindness, to demand to be heard and for that I am forever grateful.
wiradjuri calling by akala t. newman
â€œthe piece is about flying away but always coming back to your land (wiradjuri land in my instance), and always knowing where you belong and where your strength lies. like everyone, women, no matter what race, must be strong enough to spread our wings and fly and be true to ourselves.â€?
abortions and infamy in 19th century america Madeline Ward gives a brief history of the wickedest woman in New York
Madame Restell was born Ann Trow Summers in Gloucester in 1812. She married young and emigrated with a husband and young daughter to New York in 1831, and was widowed in 1833. She worked as a seamstress and midwife until 1836 when she married Charles Lohman.Her new husband involved himself in the publication of books on contraception and population control, and Ann began to develop a steady interest in women’s health. Restell began selling “preventative powders” and “female monthly pills” through the post and during house visits, and advertised her services as a “Female Physician” in the Herald and New York Times. Only surgical abortions were illegal at this time, with a woman being able to legally acquire an abortion until she could feel the foetus move. Not that this meant they were easily accessible by any means- much of the advertisement for Madame Restell’s services alluded to what she provided under the broad notion of women’s health. As Restell’s reputation increased and competitors emerged she expanded her repertoire beyond abortion and contraceptives and opened a boarding house where people could give birth with discretion. For an additional fee, Restell could also arrange an adoption. In 1840 Madame Restell was put on trial for the death of Maria Purdy, a woman who had died from tuberculosis a year after visiting her for an abortion. Restell was initially found guilty, until the decision was successfully appealed. She opened a further two offices in Boston and Philadelphia and increased advertising, but the publicity surrounding the Purdy case meant that public outrage at her services was growing. In the media surrounding the death of Maria Purdy, Restell and her services were framed as an enabler of women’s immoral behaviour, as someone who allowed women to “commit as many adulteries as there are hours in the year without the possibility of detection.” Restell published an ad in the New York Herald offering $100 to anyone that could prove her medicine was harmful, saying “what is female virtue, then, a mere thing of circumstance and occasion?” Abortions at any stage of pregnancy became a misdemeanor punishable by a year’s jail time in 1845. Women who sought an abortion where also liable- seeking to end a pregnancy was punishable by 3-12 months in prison or a $1000 fine. In 1847 Restell was sentenced to a year in prison for performing a fatal abortion on Mary Rogers. After her release she publicly claimed that her days as an abortion provider were over, but that she would continue to provide pills and services at her boarding house. In a bid to reform her unsavory public image, she applied for US Citizenship and was naturalised in 1854. By this point, Restell was struggling to escape her infamy. In March of 1873 a federal law passed making it illegal to sell or advertise “obscene matter” by mail, and in turn making specific reference to “any article or thing designed or intended for the prevention of conception or procuring of abortion” illegal. The law was named after an Anthony Comstock, the same man who later had Madame Restell arrested after finding pamphlets and ‘instruments’ with instructions for use in her New York residence. Restell found herself defending her practices in the press once again, saying “If the public are determined to push this matter, they will have a good laugh when they learn the nature of the terrible items of the preventative prescriptions. Of course, if there’s a trial it will all come out” On April 1, 1878, Restell committed suicide. Her body was found by a maid, and Comstock closed her file with the note “a bloody end to a bloody life.” Madame Restell ceased to exist, and the women of 19th century America had to find a new way of ensuring their bodily autonomy.
the body It’s a trap. In darkness Like purity. Light Plays On the Object Of your Desire. Porcelain sheen, Glassy-eyed, Slow clack Of eyelids Beneath Doll lashes. Prettily dressed, Catching on The Brick wall It’s propped against. Caught you …Leering. Caught In your gaze. Only The fear you Induce Sparks its self awarnesness. Its fragile sternum Come to life Under the Weight of an ancient Sunken Heart. In its Pretty Little Head, Thoughts Raging. Your Game Meat. Trying Playing Me Along. It takes two
To play. Won’t accept the role
You’ll have Me Play because I
words // Alev Saracogl art // Alexandra Mildenhall 024
mum by kimberley dibben
Words placed So precisely Land like bruises on my skin Years later I realise I was wronged Names sewn into my memory I am unable to unravel No bruises No scars Nobody has to know Hearts break Just like bones When the right person Wants to snap them Only when you see every ember Do you notice the fire Though nobody noticed Doesnâ€™t mean I didnâ€™t burn
I want to talk about the time I’ve spent working as a stripper. I feel like most readers would work hard to unlearn and constantly examine the most common assumptions about sex workers and I don’t need to use this piece to justify them, and there wouldn’t be enough pages to cover that. I want to talk about the way sex work has hurt me. I decided I wanted to talk about this because I spent an entire 45 minute booking sitting completely naked in front of a man who’d paid me to dance for him, telling me by 30 I’ll have saved enough money for a house with my job but have nobody to live in it with because nobody will want to date a girl who’s been a sex worker, and nobody will want to date someone who didn’t keep their job a secret.He said I’ll be a bitter old lady and I’ll be alone for the rest of my life. This dude genuinely thought he was imparting wisdom on me and saving me from a potentially horrible life. His rich insight and any other comments I’ve got about my work have come with literally not even a whisper of why my job is going to damage me – just the idea that it is. Part of that is a savior complex, but most of it is not listening. I think I share this kind of experience with all kinds of sex workers. I’m a stripper, so I work the sex work that has probably the least stigma surrounding it meaning I have it much easier than some. Maybe I will be a bitter 30 year old. I’m bitter now. I’m not bitter because I have to speak to men who don’t interest me or dance around in 12 inch heels and lingerie when I would really rather be at home eating spaghetti – because I chose that job. I’m bitter because people who know better won’t give up their concerns for things that don’t exist. I used to look at other jaded girls in the industry and think how I won’t end up like that. Now I’ve realized it’s a self-perpetuating cycle where sex workers are told their jobs will make them bitter and then being told that time and time again eventually does make them bitter. Men come into my work and tell me I need to quit after I tell them I’m happy. Opening lines on Tinder ask me about my relationship problems relating to my job. The fact that my doctor said, “have you encountered any problems with that” as the first thing after I tell her my job, is the biggest problem I will encounter. Someone dropped me and my mum as a family friend after she found out my job, despite me telling her I was happy and safe. I had a Facebook fight the other day where a man spoke about sex work as a “worse case, crime, with women selling their bodies” and two girls who I’ve known personally for years defended his stance and framed it as a kind of feminism. “Some people have to do sex work because they have no other choice”- I started my job because I was getting $40 a fortnight and my friends were having to buy me food and I think it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Why can’t people defend overworked and unsafe agricultural workers like this? Why don’t we attack the failing systems set up for minorities instead of the jobs they turn to? What 20 year old doesn’t get over their job sometimes? Nobody would tell me the reason I’m so tired is because I used all of my emotional energy after I worked until 3 am three nights in a row (if I worked anywhere other than a strip club or brothel). The worst way my job has ever hurt me is when someone close to me said “you can act like sex work is just like a normal job all you want but you can’t act like it’s not going to affect you” after I told them my issues didn’t relate to my job. I asked one of my sex worker friends what she wanted to say about this and she said, “I’m too jaded to talk about it. I’m sick of fighting to be treated like a real person”. I asked another friend and she said it’s a shame sex work has such a stigma that despite being a preschool teacher for 8 years, if she were to tell people of the sex work she’s been doing for only 5 months, she’d only be remembered for that – no other job would carry that weight. You could have been a good mother, daughter, friend, person, but once you bring sex work into the equation you’re a victim or nothing else you did matters. It’s true that sex work can be sensationalized so badly that people will pretend they know you more than they do to gossip about the work you do, whether that’s good or bad, and people think they can get away with saying whatever they want because there is a stigma and it generally goes unchecked. The stigma surrounding my job has damaged me more than any other part of my job. I want to love my job and not have to constantly justify that, and I want people to know that my work does emotionally affect me, but only when other people talk about it. As long as we keep taking away the agency of sex workers by silencing their experiences under a kind of concerned saviorism thing, people will keep seeing us as second class or even disposable people.
birangona Jessica Syed
CW: rape & sexual assault, violence
Only after Bosnia did the Rome Statute officially recognise rape as a weapon of war on an international platform. Though it should surprise no one that rape has historically been used in warfare by patriarchal states. In her seminal work, Women, Race and Class, feminist political activist and author Angela Davis outlines how slave-masters raped their Black female slaves to subjugate and degrade them. She explains how American forces during the Vietnam War classed rape as “unwritten, but clear [military] policy” – a direct, violent and misogynistic response to the contribution of women to their people’s liberation struggle. It is then ironic that in 1971, in the midst of the Vietnam War, the United States Consul General in Dhaka wrote what has become the most scathing internal dissent to military violence in American foreign service history. Indeed, the infamous Blood telegram denounced American silence in the face of the systematic rape of Bangladeshi women by the Pakistani Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War (yet the U.S. was perfectly happy to sanction the same practice in Vietnam, perpetuated against the same category of insurgent, at exactly the same time). There’s no need to expound on the consistent moral bankruptcy and incongruence of the United States here. But it’s interesting to note that, as with the Americans in the Vietnam War and in pre-abolition America, there was a disgusting eugenic justification for the Pakistani Army to participate in what is genocidal rape. Historian Rounaq Jahan posits that they viewed Bangladeshi people as a “a non-martial and physically weak race”. In this vein, up to four hundred thousand Bangladeshi women were raped by the Pakistani army and local collaborators (Razakars) during the war. In its aftermath, not all, but many such women were ostracised in domestic social settings. In being raped, these women (often girls as young as thirteen) had disgraced their families. No men would marry them, and if any man did, he would demand a lofty dowry to do so, perhaps even leaving his new wife after the sum had been paid.
Western nations with all their faux-progressivisms would ideally think of themselves as coming to the aid of Bangladeshi women after such a devastating conflict. Admittedly, international medical organisations did provide sexual health services such as abortion following the war (Bangladeshi legislation had temporarily legalised the procedure, which was internationally unprecedented at the time). However, at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in 2014, co-chaired by Angelina Jolie herself, journalist Nayanika Mookherjee was told by told the special representative of the UN SecretaryGeneral that the history of wartime rape during the 1971 war could not be included in the discussions. It was Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the driving force behind Bangladeshi independence, the first president of the newly founded country, and, incidentally, an advocate for socialism, who initially publicly extolled these supposedly disgraced women as war heroines: birangonas. When Western intergovernmental organisations for peace such as the United Nations do not bring to light the genocidal rape of Bangladeshi women in 2014, but Bangladeshi leaders legalise abortion and laud the same women as heroes as early as the 1970s, what sense is there for women in the global south turning to the West, and more specifically to bourgeois Western feminism for support in any struggle for liberation? On what grounds can Western women glorify their politicians and nations as more progressive and civilised? The Western superstructure cares only on a superficial level for non-white peoples. It has failed us over and over again. Its concern manifests in capitalist non-governmental organisations such as Oxfam, who puportedly donate less than twenty percent of its profits to its social causes. The United States largely ignored the Blood telegram of 1971. Its army continued to rape Vietnamese women during the war. Black women in America still experience disproportionately high rates of sexual violence over one-hundred-and-fifty years after slavery was abolished.
bangladeshi women freedom fighters during the liberation war
Let’s not forget that the Bangladesh Liberation War arose only due to British imperialism in Bengal and its idiotic partition of Bangladesh as East Pakistan in 1947, which eventuated in Pakistan’s attempted linguistic, cultural and social cleansing of the Bangladeshi people. It’s telling that there was Western opposition to the war crime trials that a nascent Bangladesh proposed at the end of its war. It’s telling that Bangladesh had to instill its own War Crimes Tribunal to bring justice to women who suffered a war which was in large part caused by the dirty residue of British colonialism. In 2013 Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Molla, who collaborated with the Pakistani army, was sentenced to death for, among other things, raping and murdering Bangladesh’s first martyred female poet, Meherun Nesa. Meherun was involved in the
1969 uprising which instigated the war, expressed her liberatory political views in her works, and paid the ultimate price for hoisting the Bangladeshi flag atop her home in the midst of the conflict. Hundreds of Bangladeshi women attended the trial, and even protested for a harsher sentence for him. Naturally, there was little mention of this in our mainstream news cycle, nor in online feminist circles. If only the white feminist notion of ‘sisterhood’ extended to brown women. Until it does, and until the West involves itself more thoroughly in our history and its complicity in our suffering, it is comforting to know that Bangladeshi women will fight for and support each other all the same.
Why have there been no great women artists? Artemisia Gentileschi was one of the greatest artists of the baroque age. She was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia Di Arte Del Disegno. She was trained in painting by her father, who was heavily influenced by Caravaggio. Artemisia in turn developed a style that was influenced by Caravaggio, but was more innovative and skilled than any of her peers. Gentileschi mastered the realism of Caravaggio whilst being fluent in the artistic languages of the greatest painters of her early years, a talent that distinguishes her from other artists of her age. Gentileschi was a successful court painter, enjoying the patronage of the Medici Family as well as Charles I of England. She associated with the great scientists, thinkers and artists of her era. 94% of her works feature women as protagonists or equal to men in their composition. In 1611 Artemisia Gentileschi was raped by Agostino Tassi whilst under his tu030
telage. Her father pressed charges against Tassi and she was subjected to torture, gynecological examination and public ridicule until Tassi was found guilty and exiled from Rome. The fetishisation of womenâ€™s pain and suffering means that it is rare that Gentileschi is discussed without mention of her rape. Her most famous work, Judith Slaying Holofernes, is rarely studied without mention of the rape. Gentileschi was not a great artist because of her rape, or despite it. Gentileschi was a great artist because she was one of the most innovative and expressive artists of her time, because her grasp of naturalism, of colour and light is unparalleled, because she was successful as a female artist despite existing in an incredibly patriarchal society, because she had a long and expansive career that resulted in some of the most beautiful works of art in existence today. Why have there been no great women artists? Because we havenâ€™t let there be. 031
victim’s compensation Katie Thorburn CW: sexual assault
You deserve money. You won’t get as much as you deserve, nor equivalent to the devastation that sexual assault creates, however, you can get some compensation. It’s called “recognition payment”. As a primary victim of an act of violence you are eligible to apply for a lump sum as an acknowledgement of the trauma you have suffered. As a victim of sexual assault and/or domestic violence you can claim up to ten years from the offence, and victims who were under the age of eighteen years have no time limit to apply. The amount you can receive is based on the nature of the offence. Sexual assault involving serious bodily injury, involving multiple offenders or the use of a weapon, or patterns of sexual or indecent assault such as multiple incidences over a period of time by the same offender: can receive $10,000. An incident of sexual assault, an attempted sexual assault involving serious bodily injury, grievous bodily harm or the pattern of physical assault of a child can receive $5,000. Indecent assault, or attempted sexual assault involving violence can receive $1,500. In order to claim you will need to file a police report or a report from a government agency such as FACS (Family and Community Services) or NSW Housing AND a medical, dental or counseling report corroborating that you have been injured. As for the police report, you can now file a SARO – Sexual Assault Reporting Option – which is an online form (you can also neatly hand write it and send it via mail or email). This is for if you decide you wish not to report formally to the police. The questionnaire contains a series of questions to ascertain specific information about the offence. There is a section where you can provide a summary in your own words about what happened. Completing a SARO means a formal investigation won’t take place, however, you can always start one by contacting your nearest Police Station; completing SARO does not negate a formal investigation later on. Completing the form may be difficult as you are being asked to recount, in some detail, what happened. You may wish to have a support person with you, or contact a counseling service to support you. It is recommended that you complete the form in a place you feel safe and have some privacy. If you a seeking a counseling service, there is a sexual assault specific counseling service located at RPA Hospital: which is just one street away from main, Darlington/Camperdown, campus. Their service is free and they offer unlimited sessions. They can also help you through the process of accessing victim’s compensation. Their contact number is 9515 9040. You can find more information and start the process by Googling recognition payments, and SARO NSW Police. Whatever you decide to do, know that I hear you, I see you, I believe you. You are courageous and brave whatever you do. 032
we are acutely aware of our failure to represent the voices of transgender women in this edition of growing strong. historically, autonomous women’s spaces have not welcomed transgender women. though the university of sydney wom*n’s collective is no such place, the absence of a transgender woman’s perspective and creativity in this publication inadverdently reinforces an exclusionary attitude. we accept that we have made the same mistake as mainstream media; at the time of publication, we have been ineffective in reaching out to the large community of transgender women not only at this university, but in sydney more broadly. we apologise, and endeavour to educate and involve our collective more rigorously in organising around the unique oppression that transgender women are subject to.
growing strong 2018 ----------------------------------editors in chief: jessica syed & madeline ward ----------------------------------contributors: akala newman, alev saracoglou, alexandra mildenhall, connor parissis, mia hawthorne, everyone who sent us their nudes, harriet cronley, jessica syed, k, katie thorburn, kimberley dibben, madeline ward, ranuka tandan, sabella d’souza, tanushri saha, tanya ali, tash heenan, @polemoney & those who submitted anonymously
fuck you white feminists, fuck you life choices, fuck you the sydney university conservative club, fuck you abc, fuck you QandA, fuck you charles waterstreet, fuck you michael spence, growing strong, fuck you the univerisity of sydney, fuck you white men, fuck you white australia, fuck you israel, fuck you western stanards of beauty, fuck you germaine greer, fuck you keith windshuttle, fuck you quadrant, fuck you the australian, fuck you the smh, growing strong fuck you patriarchy, fuck you voluntoursim. fuck you mamamia, fuck you bi-partisan government, fuck you adam smith, fuck you the australian labor party, fuck you the liberal national party, fuck you the greens, fuck you one nation, fuck you alan jones, fuck you defamation law, growing strong fuck you honi soit, fuck you the legal system, fuck you mia freedman, fuck you lena dunham,fuck you pro-lifers, growing strong fuck you special consideration, fuck you pauline hanson, fuck you vogue, fuck you terfs, fuck you swerfs, fuck you amy schumer, fuck you NGOs, fuck you yuppies, fuck you capitalism, fuck you milton friedman, fuck you scabs, fuck you anti-unionists, fuck you harvey weinstein, fuck you woody allen, fuck you don burke, growing strong fuck you craig mclachlan, fuck you the catholic society, fuck you rupert murdoch, fuck you adani, fuck you gladys berejiklian, fuck you male feminists”, fuck you ralphs, fuck you susf, fuck you fee deregulation, fuck you voluntary student unionism, fuck you st pauls. fuck you st johns, fuck you wesley, fuck you st andrews, fuck you tom tilley, fuck you australian masculintiy, fuck you united patriots front, growing strong fuck you the australian christian lobby, fuck you homophobia, fuck you postal plebescite, fuck you keep sydney open, fuck you lockout laws, fuck you australia day, fuck you cory bernadi, fuck you australian conservatives, fuck you white supremacy, fuck you GOP, fuck you performative activism, fuck you colonialism, fuck you miranda devine, fuck you daisy cousens , fuck you fascism, fuck you the bourgeoisie, growing strong, fuck you sectarianism, fuck you slut shaming, fuck you untamable shrews, fuck you the ladies network, , fuck you barry spurrs, fuck you the univeristy of sydney misconduct rule, fuck you falls festival, fuck you abusers, fuck you r*pe apologists, fuck you IDF, fuck you captain cook, fuck you the first fleet, fuck you the white australia policy, fuck you northern territory intervention, fuck you the university of sydney wom*n’s collective says fuck you
USYD Wom*n's Collective handbook