Brazen Hussies is a fascinating documentary into the Women’s Movement in Australia, charting the period from the 1950’s to 1970’s. It’s fascinating for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that we get to hear directly from the key female figures of the time, as we watch flashbacks and interviews of them as young women striving for equality. It’s not often you get to see that. This is a must see to remind us never to go back and show what it takes to move forwards.
Starting with archival vision from the 1950’s Brazen Hussies reminds viewers of a time when women toiled away in the family kitchen, unable to vote, or even go to the pub for a drink. According to the women themselves they were “hijacked into a domestic nightmare” and “sucked up to men” in order to get out of the kitchen and into the world.
Using new archival footage and personal memorabilia, the movie charts life through the beginnings of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Australia. It moves through the formation of a small group called the Women’s Action Committee, to the first Women’s Liberation meeting, informal consciousness raising groups and underground magazines. We watch as the growing action gives birth to the first women’s advisory role to the Prime Minister, and onto the Women’s Health Movement, the Sexual Revolution, the Women’s Electoral Lobby and Women’s Commission to name a few.
The movie touches on topics such as abortion, equal pay, the media, sexuality and domestic violence. Of times when women knew to “scream quietly so the neighbours don’t hear.”
Because of this movement, laws were rewritten, the language changed, public space and personal liberties were radically redefined.
Brazen Hussies serves as both a reminder of what was, of how thankful we should be, plus an tutorial in how to create social change, and a statement in how far we still have to go.
The movie is also a personal reminder not to take the freedoms we have for granted. It was fascinating to think of where you were when this historical social change took place and that this immense change happened within our lifetime.
What a rare opportunity to hear directly from the people who created immense social change, and to hear them reflect on their part in it. The ability to see the women as they are now, and look back at their younger selves. Not only were their reactions fascinating, the images were a reminder that your average looking older woman has a past. That we should not judge a book by the cover. That every time we look at an older face we should wonder what lies in it’s past.
For more information go to Luna Palace Cinema. Including a special evening on October 27th which should not be missed as we will again get to hear from some of these brave women in person.
Rating 4.5. Stars