“Women seem to be engaging in these events as activism because we somehow believe that normalising exposure of “the nipple” will help liberate “it” because men will become so accustomed to seeing female breasts in everyday settings, that they will no longer find them arousing, and then women will finally have the same privilege as men do to go topless. One of the problems with this notion is that it rests on the same habituation principle as pornography does, and the trajectory does not lead to liberation. What happens instead is that men are habituated and desensitised to the point of boredom, and then the game is lifted. In pornography, that means more explicit degradation and violence. Men did not used to like watching a woman being anally raped until she suffers rectal prolapse: they do now. It’s called “rosebudding”, and it’s the new trend.

The point is, that as long as power is still in men’s hands, and men are still buying women, using pornography, broadcasting misogyny, and capitalising from it all, while controlling every position and institution of influence there is – the habituation principle doesn’t work in women’s favour. If we are not taking power away, but we are taking more clothes off in more places, we are succumbing to the demands of men. If we are forcing or coercing other women to accept this status quo, we’re doing the patriarchy’s work for it, gratis.”

writing by renee

A New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) spokesperson has instigated an online pact against yours truly. That might flatter me, if it weren’t so effective. It’s titled “Against Human Rights” – appropriately, since it exists specifically to help negate an individual woman’s rights to further education, a voice, and a livelihood. The pact (below) misrepresents my concerns about women‘s safety and the medicalisation of gender, and asks signatories to collaborate in withholding study, speaking and work opportunities from none other than myself.

This pact was instigated just after I was banned from the Wellington Zinefest, a community hand-made book market; and just before I lost my job. The reason Wellington Zinefest gave me for their ban was that my work is critical of both prostitution, and gender identity politics, and this makes me “unsafe”. Supporters of this ban then trained their attention on the impressionable new manager at my work, making her nervous with allegations of “hate speech”. Her…

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