Let the Good Times Roll: Prostitution and the US Military in Asia by Saundra Pollock Sturdevant and Brenda Stoltzfus (The New Press, New York, USA; 1993, 343 pages, US $24.95 paperback) is a collection of six essays (by Cynthia Enloe and Walden Bello, among others), plus interviews with five Korean, Okinawan and Filipina prostitutes, which examine the links between militarization and the oppression of women. The authors point out that unless ‘sexual imperialism’ is dealt with, no change of power will mean real autonomy for women in the region.
Gathering Rage: The Failure of 20th Century Revolutions to Develop A Feminist Agenda by Margaret Randall (Monthly Review Press, New York, USA; 192 pages, $12 paperback) is a feminist critique of socialism, and a passionate call for a re-examination and definition of power. Randall, an award-winning writer who had to battle US Immigration authorities to be re-admitted to her native United States after living in Central America, gives a detailed account of women’s experience in revolutionary Nicaragua and Cuba. While such revolutionary movements have permitted women to think about their own liberation, Randall argues that their ruling parties have also been frightened of and opposed to an autonomous women’s movement.
Back Off! How to Confront and Stop Sexual Harassment and Harassers by Martha J. Langelan (Simon & Schuster, New York, USA; 380 pages, $12 paperback) examines the dynamics of sex and power in sexual harassment, the motives behind harassers’ actions and why traditional responses of appeasement or aggression don’t work. The book describes 70 real-life examples of successful strategies against sexual harassment. The examples range from a 10-year old girl who escaped a child molester, to women who successfully confronted landlords, rapists and employers. The author, past president of the Washington, DC Rape Crisis Center, argues that sexual harassment is often used by rapists to test potential victims; women who respond passively are viewed as easy prey. The book is particularly important because it names and emphasizes direct action techniques and nonviolent resistance. It makes for inspiring reading. A bibliography and list of US organizations and groups is included.
Ours By Right: Women’s Rights as Human Rights, edited by Joanna Kerr (Zed Books, London, UK; 192 pages, £12.95/$19.95) is a collection of essays by an international group of women’s rights lawyers, scholars and activists. Obstacles are detailed, as are the key issues and the action required to place women’s human rights on the international agenda. Also available from Zed Books is Katarina Tomasevski’s Women and Human Rights, a well-illustrated book which looks at women’s historical position, and how education and anti-discrimination legislation can improve the status of both women and girls. Zed Books, 7 Cynthia St., London N1 9JF, UK. Tel. 071 837 8466.