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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Bleaching and Books.

There is something incredibly disturbing about this article, Getting to the bottom of an unwholesome obsession. It seems that the 'latest thing' in beauty salons in Australia is anal / rectal bleaching. It is as horrific as it sounds. One of the beauticians "acknowledges that her long-term clients (many of whom come in for treatments every six weeks) suffer serious skin problems. "I explain that it will give them eczema and so on, but they want it anyway," she says", and the Australian Medical Association say that
"the use of harsh bleaching substances could cause anal burning and scarring. This, in turn, could lead to anal incontinence or an inability to pass stools at all."

It is called Sphincter Bleaching and the article points out a direct link to pornography. We already know how damaging pornography, and the messages sent out by pornography, are to women, and this is clearly spelt out:
"I've got one client who's a divorced woman with a couple of kids. She was looking at a Playboy magazine with her new boyfriend and he was making some comments about how clean and light the women looked. My client started to get a little paranoid."

It seems we need Andrea Dworkin more than ever. It also seems to me that this is the exact reason we need to carry on her work.

There are many people who have never come across Andrea's work, but are reading tributes to her life and politics and are keen to know more. They are asking for recommendations of what to read, and mine are as follows:

Life and Death: Unapologetic writings on the continuing war against women. This is my favourite of Andrea's works. It is a series of writings, essays, speeches, on different subjects around the area of male violence against women. I have read it several times and it never fails to fire me up, inspire me, scare me, and make me go out and act.

Pornography: Men Possessing Women is a seminal work on the effect of pornography on the women used in it, and the effect on how women are treated by men who use pornography. It is vivid and detailed and distressing and absolutely spot-on politically, and is very, very thoughtful and insightful.

Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant is Andrea's autobiography which gives fascinating details of her upbringing and life, and the context in which she based her radical feminism. It is an incredible book which frames her other works in a unique way.

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