Where women still don’t own their bodies
Nina Funnell; 5/5/10
The recent exhibition about female criminals – Femme Fatale – was spread over two rooms at Sydney’s Justice and Police Museum. The first room charted the history of deviant females, starting with that evil biblical temptress Eve. The vain, sexually rapacious queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs got a mention as did female sex workers who patrol Kings Cross each night. The second room stopped us dead in our tracks. A disclaimer advised its contents might disturb, and explained the room was devoted to abortion because it was the one crime Australian women were most frequently involved in, and it was one of the only crimes always involving a woman. The exhibition was not simply equating female sexuality with female deviancy; it was exposing the ways in which our current culture and laws do exactly that. My friend and I walked silently through the second room, reflecting soberly on the fact Australian women still do not have complete rights over our own bodies, 50 years after the contraceptive pill became available.