Arrow, Michelle: Damned Whores and God’s Police 40 years on

Arrow, Michelle

Damned Whores and God’s Police is still relevant to Australia 40 years on – more’s the pity‘, The Conversation, 21 September 2015

The article marks four decades since Anne Summers’ book. A conference is under way. Anne Summers’ speech at the conference is extracted here and commented upon by Gay Alcorn.

Damned Whores and God’s Police (1975) [says Arrow] was that rare thing in Australian publishing history: a bestseller. Since its publication, 40 years ago this year, it has sold more than 100,000 copies. Its success is even more remarkable when one considers its subject: “the colonisation of women in Australia.”

Anne Summers’ ambitious book reframed Australian history by placing women at its centre. The colonisation of Australia, she argued, had created a patriarchal gender order that reduced 19th-century women to one of two narrow roles: virtuous wives and mothers, dubbed “God’s police” and the transgressive “damned whores”.

Arrow concludes by quoting Julia Gillard on her experience, as an indication that change is still needed.

Click here for all items related to: , ,