Susan Hawthorne

In Future Active, Graham Meikle roams the electronic landscape picking out highlights and lowlights. Like all travellers, what he finds is influenced by his interests and perspectives. Sometimes this leads to illuminating insights; sometimes I marvelled at what he might have seen but didn’t.

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The Butterfly Effect is a travel guide to the inner sanctum of lesbian sensibility. The title of the work comes from the last line of the first poem, ‘Strange Tractors’ (which was selected in The Best Australian Poems 2006): ‘chaos in the shape of two vulval wings, the butterfly effect.’ The butterfly effect is also a concept from physics, where the flap of a butterfly’s wing on one side of the planet can cause storms on the other.

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Never far from one’s mind these days, the events of September 11, 2001, and their direct aftermath in Afghanistan and elsewhere, had to be prominent in this month’s issue of ABR, such is their complex resonance and ubiquitous iconography. To complement Morag Fraser’s essay in this issue on the consequences of ‘September 11’ for civic ...

In The Dialectic of Sex, published in 1970, the feminist Shulamith Firestone argued that the inequality between the sexes results from the different reproductive functions performed by women and men. In having to go through pregnancy, childbirth, and breast-feeding, women are dependent on men for support. The natural reproductive functions performed by females are not only enslaving women, they are also barbaric in themselves. ‘Pregnancy is barbaric’, Firestone argued, and women should be freed from the ‘tyranny of reproduction by every means possible’. Just as contraception had already been a liberating force for women, so would other new reproductive technologies. Firestone envisaged that ectogenesis – the growth and development of a foetus outside the womb – would be the answer for women, as long as ‘improper control’ was not exercised by men.

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