Feminists in anti-raunch-culture revolt

The Australian March 13, 2010

A decade ago, Mia Freedman was one of the country’s most powerful and provocative magazine editors. As editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, Cleo and Dolly, she chased circulation gains with sexually explicit “sealed sections”. Today, at 38, Freedman is deeply concerned about the harmful effects on children of what feminists have dubbed “hypersexual” or “raunch” culture. The former glossies queen and high-profile blogger says: “It is becoming more prevalent, this hypersexualisation, and this idea of raunch being OK and normal. “You’ve got mums doing pole classes or babies wearing T-shirts saying `I’m a tits man’ at three months.”

Freedman embodies a striking cultural shift – the revolt against raunch – in which a growing cohort of feminists and libertarians are turning against the 21st-century excesses of the “free love” cultures they once embraced. They are now allied, on this issue at least, with many of the social conservatives they once regarded as reactionary.