Women's Fightback 16, January/February 2013

Here's looking at you

Published on: Wed, 23/01/2013 - 08:13

The idea of “male gaze” flows from a psychoanalytical/philosophical theory brought into wider use by Jacques Lacan, but it is a huge subject and difficult to summarise.

According to this theory, and to put it at its most crude, the “gaze” is the relationship between the subject’s desire to look and the knowledge that one can also be viewed. The idea is that in our desire to look, we realise we can be looked upon. Then we lose some of our ability to govern our own behaviour; this process is tied into the idea of ego. We change our behaviour in accordance with who we wish to be.

Gaze theory

Historic moment for India?

Published on: Wed, 23/01/2013 - 07:58

On the evening of 16 December 2012, a young female student on a Delhi bus was gang-raped.

Less than a fortnight later she died of her injuries. After new reports came out, something extraordinary happened: a layer of young, urban, educated, middle class people protested, others joined, and the demonstrations sustained, evolved and escalated.

The early response of the Indian government was active disengagement, force — batons, tear gas, water cannons — and more conniving efforts to crush the protesters’ spirit (the woman was moved to Singapore, her funeral was hastily managed).

But, after

Feminism, love and Twilight

Published on: Wed, 23/01/2013 - 07:52

What does it mean to be a feminist heroine in the 21st century? What does it mean to be a feminist? What does it mean to be a woman?

These were the rather big questions that were going around my brain as I sat watching “Breaking Dawn: Part Two”, the last instalment of the Twilight Saga.

According to some, “Twilight” is a story of female empowerment. In this last film, the heroine Bella Swan becomes a vampire, can fight to the death, and is stronger and faster than many of the men that surround her.

Is this what it takes to be a feminist heroine? Who knows.

There are certainly elements of

The Marxes: labours of love

Published on: Wed, 23/01/2013 - 07:48

Janet Burstall

“Most people would come away shocked at what a moderate [Marx] was … if they read what Marx actually wrote.”

So says Mary Gabriel, of people who would see Marx as (unjustifiably) responsible for the atrocities of the 20th century, committed in the name of communism.

Mary Gabriel places Marx during the events about and for which he wrote, including the 1848 revolutions and the Paris Commune, and tells of his irreplaceable contribution to the International Working Men’s Association, afterwards known as the First International. But Marx was constantly torn between his devotion to his primary

Why we defend abortion rights

Published on: Wed, 23/01/2013 - 07:44

Rosie Woods answers frequently asked questions about the current threats to abortion rights.

What is all the fuss about? Women have the right to choose to have an abortion in the UK don’t they?

No, women do not have the right to choose!

First, though Northern Ireland is part of the UK the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply there. Nowhere in the island of Ireland do women have access to safe, legal abortion.

Abortion law is very limited: usually abortion is available only up to 24 weeks and has to be agreed to by two doctors using strict criteria.

Abortion is only available if continuation of a

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