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Jean Barker

Rites vs rights

As a cheese-eating, toyi-toying teenage ''activist'', I remember chanting ''Nonsexism! Nonracism!'' And a third chant of ''Nonhomophobia'', which was a lot harder to get my tongue around, and even harder to argue to my sometimes socially conservative comrades.

Getting down with dirty

Ha ha ha. Men and women are different. Men are messy and women are neat. It's such a tired joke, yet it keeps filling theatre seats. From Punch and Judy to Defending the Caveman, to a new Cape Town production, Train Your Man. Surely there are other things to find funny?

Does hardness count?

''It's all porn,'' a colleague said. He was reacting to the Patricia Lewis skande. ''It doesn't really make a difference if it's hard or soft.'' We'd seen the morning headlines, and this time the news was huge. This was not just a catfight with market rival Amor Vittone. Nor just news that she was pregnant and capable of breeding.

Girls will be boys

Tomboy: ''A vernacular term applied to a girl whose developmental differentiation of gender-identity/role (G-I/R) as stereotypically defined is in variable degree discordant with the evidence of her genital morphology. See also sissy boy.'' — Webster Dictionary, 1913. It is a long time ago. And the early 1980s in South Africa were also a very long time ago if you consider what was — not just socially, but legally — due to women.

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