Damned Whores and God’s Police, liberation and the power of activist language: A guest post by Jon Piccini

A few thoughts I had re-reading Anne Summers’ great 1975 work ‘Damned Whores and God’s Police’, and the shifts in activist language. Does the decline of the new left ‘language’ signify something more than just words?

Hatful of History

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A few days ago, a conference wrapped up celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the feminist classic, Damned Whores and God’s Police by Anne Summers. A bestseller in its publication year of 1975, as historian Michelle Arrow points out, it has also greatly influenced not only the rise of feminist historiography in Australia, but also society itself, famously selling over 100,000 copies and remaining in print over multiple editions to this day.

The conference allowed for a discussion of just how much Australia – and the world – has changed since the hey-day of the second wave feminist movement. An all-star lineup of men and women from a diversity of fields reflected on how much has been achieved, and what still is to be done. The book itself was obviously central, and its effect on Australia was lauded by all, yet in many ways Summers’ book might be to modern…

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