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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 3. 14th March 1973

Franks Fails Smear Test

Franks Fails Smear Test

Dear Sir,

I would like to draw to the attention of all humanitarians, radicals, revolutionaries and all women (who for one reason or another are not already included in any of these categories) — the 2 reviews of a book in the first Vol. of Salient for 1973.

These, I believe, are the people interested in a book having the entrancing title "Sexist Society". "Sexist" could be a new word to some of these people although they may be well aware of all the implications of the word "racist" (doesn't it have something to do with football?)

Could anyone fail to notice the rather different opinions of the 2 reviewers? The same "personal approach" which is to [unclear: D] Donna Hedgeland "Simple, direct and alive, the words of Dr Fraser McDonald bringing "sweet music to her ears" and "personal relief from guilt to many women" — all this to Don Franks "a messy piece of work","20 odd hard-luck stories and 7 fairly forgettable essays". It is "lazy and irresponsible". He would in fact scrap it in favour of "Social Surveys" and political treatises on "the relationship of the economic base of society to its cultural and political superstructure".

Don Franks need not fear that he will ever be one of the thousands forced to bear an unwanted child, or have the experience of begging a panel of wise men for an abortion — or be butchered by a back-street abortionist — because he is a man. It is most unlikely that he will ever be imprisoned in suburbia, on duty 24 hours a day, as a househusband — without any childcare centres to relieve him from the continual care of small children. Nor will he ever be paid less than his due just because he is a woman — because he is a man.

If living in a Sexist Society "results in immense pain and suffering", Don Franks has not noticed it — personally — he can afford to wait fairly comfortably for his revolution. But, if nothing else "Sexist Society" does demonstrate that many people do experience immense pain and suffering because of sexual discrimination — and as Donna Hedgeland says — although the book has its limitations — it will certainly not bore you. In my opinion it is far more likely to arouse political consciousness and Action (at least by that notoriously unrepresented, misrepresented and repressed 51% of the population — the women) — than are reams of political cliches or surveys.

Robin Peter

Drawing of a lady using a crank