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Why men can't be feminists


4 April 2013

Annamarie Jagose
Professor Annamarie Jagose: "I think the debate will be an entertaining way to think about the persistent barriers to female equality in our contemporary society."

Professor Annamarie Jagose will join a panel discussion this Sunday 7 April at the Sydney Opera House, where she will debate the proposition "Men can't be feminists" as part of the Ideas at the House program All About Women.

Other panel members will be author and television host Gretel Killeen, Women's Electoral Lobby spokeswoman Eva Cox, writer Bob Ellis, ABC journalist and author Richard Glover, and journalist and author Peter FitzSimons.

Professor Jagose is the Head of the School of Letters, Arts and Media in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. She is a leading scholar in the fields of queer and feminist theory; has recently published the book Orgasmology (Duke, 2013) and is the author of three novels. In 2004, her novel Slow Water (Victoria University Press, 2003) was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and in the same year won the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for fiction.

She said: "To debate whether men can be feminists might seem unnecessary in the 21st century when equality between the sexes is central to western liberal democratic ideologies, but the record, both historical and contemporary, suggests that men have not yet made a very good job of being feminists.

"I think the debate will be an entertaining way to think about the persistent barriers to female equality in our contemporary society."

Dr Kiran Grewal, of the University's Department of Sociology and Social Policy, will also speak at the event on the topic 'Is Rape Culture Everywhere?'

In the context of recent high profile rape cases, including gang rape in Delhi and the repeated assault of an unconscious girl in Steubenville, Ohio, the talk will explore what needs to happen in Australia and the rest of the world to make rape a thing of the past. If rape happens everywhere, but 'rape culture' is specific to local circumstances, how can the problem be eradicated?

A qualified lawyer who has worked in Australia and internationally, Dr Grewal's PhD research focused on ethnicised gang rape and the relationship between constructions of national, gender and sexual identity in France and Australia.

'Is Rape Culture Everywhere' will be chaired by Australian writer and public speaker Clementine Ford, and will also feature Dixie Link-Gordon, Executive Officer of Mudgin-gal Aboriginal Corporation.

All About Women is billed as a day of "debate and conversation". Other sessions include: Sex Myths and Why We Believe Them; The Power of Women and Girls; Free and Equal - What It Really Means; and M is for Misogyny.

Event details

What: "Men Can't Be Feminists", Ideas at the House, All About Women

When: 5.45 to 6.45pm, Sunday 7 April

Where: Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

Cost: $35

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Contact: Katie Szittner

Phone: 02 9351 2261, 0478 316 809

Email: 5a5719022e6f4110015b2341020b2c0a4d05365c21570a3e17570f34