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Date: Wed, 24 Sep 97 15:22:08 CDT
From: NY-Transfer-News@abbie.blythe.org
Subject: GL Wkly: Sexism in Student Media

Sexism in student media

By Amanda Lawrence, in Green Left Weekly
#290 (14 September 1997)

CANBERRA - When the September 11 issue of ANU's student newspaper Woroni was released, it caused disgust. On the cover was a photograph of a woman sitting on a car with the words "No Fat Chicks" painted on it, advertising a feature on "booner culture".

The article describes "The Female Booner" in an offensive and patronising attack: "The female booner smokes, swears and drinks until she vomits ... She gives of herself to her 30-year-old boyfriend, rewarded in full by lifts to school in his black Torana, free booze and the occasional slap to make sure she doesn't forget her place." The description of "booner relationships" was equally degrading, defined by "mutual abuse, early pregnancy and big age gaps".

If Woroni was trying to be amusing, not many students were laughing. Pippa Wischer, one of ANU's sexuality officers, told Green Left Weekly: "The editors need more than a rap over the knuckles for this. They have to be stopped from doing it again because it damages students' confidence in the paper ... and undermines the Sexuality Department, which Woroni should be positively promoting."

Wischer is considering legal action over a letter in the same issue which vilifies her. She is also angry about the treatment she received from Woroni editors when she approached them to complain about the paper; she was told to "come back when you are acting more rationally". Rodd Messent, president of the Sexuality Department's social club, Jellybabies, commented, "Woroni has a history this year of being homophobic and sexist".

Sexism in student newspapers seems to be a trend, if the latest issue of the University of Canberra's Curio is anything to go by. An article entitled "Chicks you wanna punch in the face" lists some well-known women and describes their existence as "intolerable".

Six-month airmail subscriptions (22 issues) to Green Left Weekly are available for A$80 (North America) and A$90 (South America, Europe f Africa) from PO Box 394, Broadway NSW 2007, Australia http://www.peg.apc.org/~greenleft/ e-mail: greenleft@peg.apc.org