Posted: February 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Tags: Feminism, Language, rape, sexism
*Trigger warning for rape discussion (corrective sex)*
So Ricky Nixon, an AFL “personality” (former player manager), decided to publicly sledge a Fairfax columnist (is that different to journalist?) Suzanne Carbone on his Facebook page today. As it was a public page/wall* the whole world could (and indeed did thanks to the article published by The Age and other places) see what he and his friends said about Suzanne Carbone. It wasn’t pretty, it was incredibly sexist. It was also incredibly immature. Seriously guys, if someone says something you don’t like, debate it, don’t call that person names and suggest that the solution is “a good shag” because not only is that sexist and misogynist, but it also makes you look like a Neanderthal. Debating ideas and opinions is not that difficult. Name calling is certainly easier, but makes you look like a fool while the other person effectively wins. Not a good strategy.
Posted: May 4, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Tags: Feminism, gender roles, media, sexism
I had a random (and anonymous) comment left on my blog quite recently, and thought I’d share it all with you. It’s on my “Roses only… more like sexist only” blog post.
The commenter said:
Bec, it’s just an ad… get over it.
They’re not playing into anything, they’re doing a good job at selling their product.
I’m sure if you were trying to sell lots of your over-priced flowers you’d be trying to do whatever it takes to get people to buy them too.
Posted: October 18, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Tags: emails, Feminism, sexism, WTF
*Trigger warning – this post discusses language misuse detrimental to women*
I rarely encounter direct sexism (that I notice – different story) in my day to day life. I read about sexism, I comment on sexism in the media, but rarely do I end up calling-out sexism from someone in my day-to-day life. If that makes sense. I’m very, incredibly and wonderfully lucky in that my partners, their partners, my family and my friends are all non-sexist. We’re not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but there is little in the way of direct sexism in my life.
Enter Michael Barnett, a blogger and commentator, and a member of the National LBGTIQ Rights list (Australia) that I’m on. He has a blog, and is currently upset with a female member of the (Melbourne?) Jewish community who has been posting homophobic comments in various forums. He announced his latest blog post on the National LBGTIQ Rights list with:
More deluded rantings from this homophobic Jewish bitch. She really needs to see a vet.
I told Michael that I was upset with the language he’d used to describe the woman he was upset with, and told him that there were plenty of other ways to refer to someone without equating them to an animal or belonging.
Michael, to my surprise (I really don’t know him) refused to apologise stating:
No apologies. Please channel your offence at the viles (sic) homophobes.
I informed Michael that I can be offended at both homophobic behaviour (and individuals) AND people who are sexist and that I would indeed like an apology from him as well as an undertaking to modify his language use. At this point another member of the mailing list pointed out that homophobia and sexism were as vile as each other.
Michael decided at this point to deflect responsibility for his language use onto the individual he was upset with and also to tell me that I was not offended.
I won’t tolerate homophobic rants from vile bitches like [name redacted]*. If you are offended by what I write, I suggest you have a tete-a-tete with [name redacted] and politely ask her to stop writing the offensive material that I don’t like that drives me to write the material you find offensive.
Please don’t get all high and mighty on me. You are not offended. You are being precious. [name redacted] is the problem, not my writings.
So I should redirect my offence to the individual that has upset him, even though Michael’s choice of words, something he is responsible for, was the cause of my offence. I was flabbergasted that someone could even dare to suggest such a thing, and on a relatively public forum at that. I pointed out to Michael that he was responsible for his language use regardless of the actions of another person, and no matter how much that other person upset him – especially as he was reporting on it later.
I also told him that he could not tell me that I was not offended and that he was mansplaining my offence away and that did not make me suddenly not offended. I reminded Michael that sexism was as bad as homophobia and that his refusal to apologise or to agree to modify his language was increasing my offence. I asked him to be a better person than the person who had upset him and to apologise.
[name redacted] fits the definition of bitch “A woman considered to be spiteful or overbearing.”
I am not sexist.
I call homophobic rabbis cunts. They fit the definition “Used as a disparaging term for a person one dislikes or finds extremely disagreeable.”
This is not about you.
And that’s where he got it it incredible wrong, and I walked away (because I could not be arsed spending the energy and time it would take to educate this individual). Michael’s language use is sexist and his refusal to acknowledge that his language was inappropriate and harmful makes him sexist in my opinion.
I am incredibly grateful to those on the mailing lists (some of my comments were cross-posted – or replies were cross posted) that stood up and agreed with me. Many of them were more eloquent than I was able to be at that time, pointing out that language is an important tool and using appropriate language is essential in fighting for human rights. Thank you to those who stood up against sexism.
Some of the best comments (names withheld) were:
One would have to query why one should be so apparently determined to repeatedly to show such little respect and put off-side, those who share the battle and grief the result of these homophobic individuals?
Bayne Macgregor said:
It is every politically active persons responsibility to be aware of some of the basic ways language is part of politics and emotion. You don’t need a degree in linguistics to see that conservatives have made one of their main tools the control of language and the emotional meaning-association. Why the heck do you think people started using the word Gay instead of terms like Homosexual, Faggot, Poofta, Fairy, Fairy-Maggot or Pus-Person?
Now if you want to insult this person go ahead! But do so with terms that are not enforcing any other discrimination.So it would be in your interest and everyone elses if you explore the great cultural heritage of cretive insults and find some that do not reinforce any sexism, ablism, racism, transphobia or any other such problem which we as human-rights activists specialising in the GLBTIQ area need to be aware of and supportive of the fight against.
Michael, you’ve failed to grasp the meaning of the word “offended”.
Offence is in the eye of the beholder, not defined by the offender. Consequently, when someone tells you that they are offended by your language or your behaviour, they are right. You as the offender are in no position to claim that, “You are not offended. You are being precious.”
Further, when someone tells you that they are offended by your behaviour and you refuse to change it, you are indicating that you hold their views and their feelings in complete contempt.
* I’m not naming the individual that Michael is offended with, even though I have read some of her comments on a blog and found them homophobic, because right now she is not the issue.
Posted: October 7, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Tags: assault, Feminism, not funny, sexism, violence
*trigger warning – this post discusses violence against women*
Jim Schembri posted an article on The Age today which suggested that violence against women is funny. I wrote a letter to The Age about it, which is below.
I am appalled that Jim Schembri’s article, “Top 10 best movie bitch slaps of all time” has been allowed to be published on The Age online today.
“As civil and courteous a species as we like to think we are, we all know that there exists in this world certain people who, every once in a while, deserve a good smack in the chops. And how do we know this? From the movies, of course.”
No one EVER deserves a good smack in the chops. To suggest so implies that victims deserve the crime committed against them. Victim Blaming is where:
“Victim blaming (or blaming the victim) is holding the victims of a crime, an accident, or any type of abusive maltreatment to be entirely or partially responsible for the transgressions committed against them.”
Logically following Schembri’s statement through, people deserve to be mugged, domestic violence victims deserve their abuse, rape survivors deserved to be raped in the first place and murderees deserved to be killed. This doesn’t actually sound all that sane and in a week where we’ve already had plenty of victim blaming and rape apology printed in The Age, I thought that someone would be suggesting to the contributors to The Age that perhaps easing off the violence towards others would be a good start, and that making fun of violence would be a bad idea. Clearly this hasn’t happened.
Of the 10 incidents of violence he lists, 60% of them are men abusing women. Five of the 10 involve a man slapping a woman (or in one case the entire passenger manifest of an aircraft slapping a woman) on the face, one of the ten involves a woman slapping another woman. Only two of his suggestions involve men slapping other men, overwhelmingly his article and examples focused on violence against women and suggested that it was a good or funny thing. Violence is not a good or funny thing.
“3. Godfather II (1974): Al Pacino vs Diane Keaton.
If you’re going to abort a man’s child, and the father is an all-powerful mafia Don, best to keep that to yourself, too. “You won’t take my children,” Al screams after slapping her down. “You WON’T take my children!”"
Heaven forbid that a woman would like autonomy over her own body, to make her own decisions and not be subject to violence as a result. This entry clearly glorifies domestic violence.
“5. Flying High (1980): the entire passenger manifest vs the hysterical woman
Everybody would love to do this in real life. Maybe that’s why it’s still funny 30 years on.”
People who are scared, distraught or upset are not helped by being slapped. The idea that slapping someone and suggesting that they “pull themselves out of it” is a harmful one and again perpetuates abuse against those who cannot defend themselves.
“What do you think of the list? Impossible to limit it to 10, isn’t it? What great movie slaps do think warrant mention? And who, in all of movie history, do you think deserved a slap most – but didn’t get it?”
It’d be nice to not have a list of the 10 best assaults of our time, and to instead focus on something else versus a heavy handed list of violence against women. Who most deserved a slap? No one… but that doesn’t get mentioned.
And finally let’s look at Mr Schembri’s use of the phrase “bitch slap”. As commenter Jacinta rightly points out, “Further, the phrase “bitch-slap” has its own problems, suggesting as it does, that a woman who is slapped deserved it on account of being both unpleasant and female.” I have written about “bitch” being a problematic word and really think that the usage of this words needs to be carefully monitored.
Schembri’s mansplaining my and Jacinta’s comments and suggesting that it was all a joke was also completely unnecessary. It should not come as a surprise that some people do not find this kind of thing funny and that overall suggesting that violence against women (and men) is funny or can be funny is not a good thing, and using phrases like “bitch slap” is not good either.
Jacinta commented on Schembri’s article stating (with Schembri’s response in bold as in the original):
This article is appalling! Within context, there might be cause for a character in a movie to strike another; but to glorify these actions removed from context just so we can see one person hit another? That’s just wrong.
You wrote: “we all know that there exists in this world certain people who, every once in a while, deserve a good smack in the chops.” I disagree. Whenever I feel the urge to slap someone, it’s a fault in me, not in them. People do not deserve to be violently assaulted just for being upset or rude or hysterical or scared. People who are subordinate to you, weaker than you, less assertive than you or less powerful than you *never* deserve to be assaulted just because you’re angry with them or with something else. Yes, people say hurtful things, even that’s not an excuse to inflict physical pain. Slapping someone who is hysterical is never appropriate either.
Further, the phrase “bitch-slap” has its own problems, suggesting as it does, that a woman who is slapped deserved it on account of being both unpleasant and female.
You might think these are funny or memorable for some other reason, but I hope some of that is due to the context around the scene. If you watch these, unfamiliar with the context, you should be appalled too.
Schembri note: It’s all about context, Jacinta. That’s why Chinatown ghets No. 1. And a good slap in the movies isn’t gender specific, which is why we lead with Peter Lorre getting it good in The Maltese Falcon. Every now and again, you gotta cool the jets on the old reading-a-political-agenda-into-everything deal and just have a bit of fun. Take another look at hte Airplane! slapping scene. Tell us you didn’t laugh at least once.
So let’s look at this agenda thing (a similar comment was made by Schembri on my comment (under Rebecca) when he eventually got around to approving it in the moderation queue (some 4 hours after I posted it)). There is ALWAYS an agenda. Humans are political beings, and even when we don’t think we have an agenda we do. Wanting a hug, being hungry or being thirsty are small and easily identifiable agendas. Some agendas are more subtle and harder to pick, whether someone knows you like them, organising a surprise or your taste in music. Some agendas are unconscious and provided by society such as rape culture, victim blaming and the status of women. Although Schembri claims that there was no agenda to his post, he is continuing to add to the “violence is ok against women” agenda prevalent in society. And his comments were beautiful examples of mansplaining, “it’s funny, everyone else is finding it funny, you must have laughed at this – so you’re wrong”.
I was very disappointed in this article and in Schembri’s refusal to see that there were alternate points of view. I’ll be avoiding his articles from now on.
Posted: October 6, 2010 at 11:34 am | Tags: Feminism, victim blaming, words
*Trigger warning – this post discusses sexual violence against women*
“Spida” who apparently is someone (or was someone) in the world of AFL, decides to blame women today for sexual assault and rape. He made his views, which were then instantly news, available on Twitter so that the rest of us could bask in his glorious wisdom and knowledge.
Specifically he said:
Yet another alleged girl, making alleged allegations, after she awoke with an alleged hangover and I take it an alleged guilty conscience
Girls!! When will you learn! At 3am when you are blind drunk & you decide to go home with a guy ITS NOT FOR A CUP OF MILO! Allegedly
Firstly I’m going to pick on his use of allege (and it’s forms) which is something that always bothers me. I think in this instance that Spida was attempting to be funny, because you know rape and sexual assault are hilarious. The “girl” (notice the infantilism here) is not an alleged person. An individual who makes a complaint about rape or sexual assault, is not an alleged person. You cannot make an alleged allegation, you make an allegation, the end. The next two uses of alleged work, though I am not at all happy how Spida’s implication.
The second tweet is disturbing. Spida clearly doesn’t understand consent and that when someone is blind drunk or affected severely by any substance that they cannot consent to sex. I’ll just quote CASA on this (from the ABC):
The comments have outraged Victoria’s Centre Against Sexual Assault, which has had input into the AFL’s Respect and Responsibility program.
Centre convenor Carolyn Worth says the AFL’s efforts to enforce respect for women are not working as well as they should.
“They’re insensitive comments, and apart from anything else they show a scant regard for the legal status of some things, because if you are actually blind drunk you can’t consent to sexual intercourse… ,” she said.
Spida realised that perhaps he’d not been as clear as he liked and he tweeted the following yesterday (5 tweets combined into 1 paragraph):
neil mitchell has taken poetic licence to interpret my words to mean I support matters regarding sexual offences in favour of the perpertrator. This is so far from the truth it is laughable. I can not and will not ever support female abuse in any manner or form my comments are solely aimed at warning females of the danger of being drunk or under the influence of drugs. I do not condone any actions that lead to or may lead to a sexual offence being committed. thank you!
So he then says he will never ever support “female abuse” whatever that means, and then proceeds into some victim blaming – women shouldn’t get drunk or use drugs because it is dangerous! Because men clearly cannot be held responsible for THEIR behaviour.
Sadly both AFL and the rugby codes in Australia have a history of sexual assault, rape and abuse of women. The AFL (and I assume the rugby codes as well) have instituted policies and programs to combat this, to educate players and was compulsory viewing with a questionnaire afterwards (and hopefully if anyone failed they were counselled).
The AFL made a similar interactive DVD in 2008 pertaining specifically to sexual matters. It was compulsory viewing for all league players, and included a multiple choice questionnaire.
At the time, the AFL’s Respect and Responsibility program co-ordinator, Melanie Heenan, said the DVD aimed to “prompt (the players’) confident decision-making in situations that can be quite complex.” (The Age)
I’m annoyed that someone like this gets given any air time, but at the same time I was really impressed with the smack-down that occurred in the media. Even the MX (who has been quite sexist in the past) quoted people and groups who believed that Spida’s statements were wrong and condoned assault. In my opinion AFL players should stick to commenting on football and should not be allowed to speak about anything else unless they pass a test showing an understanding of the topic and the effects of what they’re going to say.
UPDATE: Apparently Spida appeared on Kerri-Anne Kennaley’s show this morning and they both engaged in some victim blaming with Kerri-Anne calling women who associate with footballers “strays”. The comments on the article were closed fairly quickly and were heavily moderated (unsurprisingly).
UPDATE: I’m loving John Silvester’s article in The Age about how people should stop victim blaming.
Posted: October 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Tags: Feminism, media, not cool, seriously?, sexism
Well actually I think its incredibly creepy, and I don’t think I’m alone in that assessment. So, the article was published in the Age, but taken from mashable.com – which I don’t read and today cannot be bothered investigating further. I’ll use The Age article for basis and go on rambles from there.
What happens when you mix male gamers, pretty girls, and a social platform where girls that connects the two for a price? The answer is GameCrush, which has just opened to the public.
GameCrush first made headlines in March when it entered public beta. The site hooks up “Players” (mostly nerdy males) with “PlayDates” (mostly young females) to play everything from Call of Duty to simple arcade games. Players can choose to play either Xbox 360 games or just a simple browser-based game.
Initially this does not seem all bad. The idea of “Play Dates” sounds nice, like something you’d take your children along to and getting people together to share common interests is a good way to meet people. But only if it were that simple. The article continues.
Users of GameCrush have four basic options for making connections with PlayDates. … The Edge is this service’s version of a red-light district.
There is a catch, of course. PlayDates don’t crush their controllers for free; it costs $US0.60 per minute to have a pretty girl sniping with (or at) you.
So there is a “red-light” district AND even just to play with “pretty girl[s]” you need to start paying. And this is where it is creepy – in effect this is purchasing time with someone, making their time, attention and their appearance a commodity. Which is pretty much what prostitution is. It still gets worse:
And before you ask, yes, you’ll find girls that are willing to do more than just play games if you ask nicely. Part of the reason for this is the service’s points system; Players are expected to tip points to PlayDates, who can then trade them to get real cash. Simply put, there’s a big incentive for PlayDates to “do more” to earn more points.
While reading this I kept thinking of “gentlemen’s clubs” where for extra you can get private lap dances or private shows… and where some women will go further depending on the venue. Is this really that much different?
Male geekdom already has big issues with the way women are viewed and this is not helping that at all. The whole “Play Date” thing would be nice, if money weren’t exchanging hands and if the mostly female participants were not likely to be pressured to go further than just playing a game. Sadly this type of enterprise just continues adding to the women are objects and can be owned, especially when you get to pay for them.
Posted: September 12, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Tags: Feminism, gah, media, sexism
Colour me surprised and everything… who thought I’d find rampant sexism and plain bad journalism in the Herald Sun’s tabloid afternoon news paper… but I did and I thought, why not blog about it with my OODLES of spare time (hah!). For what it is worth, one of their journalists wrote an opinion piece dismissing the article discussing gender roles being linked to biology (thank you so much Amelia Grevis-James).
So onto the articles which upset me. I’ll find equivalent links to either news.com.au articles on the same topic, or other relevant news sources as I discuss each article that offended me.
Sin? Your biology made you do it (Maria Bervanakis)
This article is so NOT newsworthy that it was not run by news.com.au nor any other actual news source (I cannot find it on google news at all). Instead, the best source I can find for it is Newswise from August this year. Maria tells us that:
A study by a church-backed uni found that biology has a major role in sinful behaviour.
US Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Matthew Stanford, of the Baylor University in Texas, examined years of research into people that commit the seven deadly sins and discovered their actions could be explained by their physical make-up.
What the article in the MX doesn’t say, which is reported in Newswise, is that Professor Stanford himself is religiously aligned, which is evident in the use of “sin” if you think about it. The Newswire also doesn’t report of Professor Stanford actually has any qualifications in biology other than his qualifications in Neuroscience, and indeed where he obtained the qualifications he holds.
Stanford said all of the behaviors outlined in the book violate, in some way, the creative order that God has established, yet something biologically occurs in us that causes the behavior. However, biology is not destiny, Stanford said, and when we fully understand the effects of sin on our physical bodies, it becomes clear that “broken biology” can never be used as an excuse for sinful behavior.
As Stanford studied the data, he also noticed that, on average, men and women sin differently. Stanford said men tend to be outwardly manifested and focused on obtaining immediate gratification like aggression or adultery. The sins of women, on the other hand, tend to be more inwardly focused and concern on relational status, privilege or position like envy or pride.
“Because God created men and women physically different, it is understandable that the effect of original sin on our bodies and minds varies between the sexes,” Stanford said. “This is not to say that men and women differ in their degree of sinfulness, but simply that they sin in different ways. Men and women are equally sinful and sin is equally destructive in both.”
Each of these paragraphs should be addressed, although briefly because I don’t want to give this whackjob more time than he’s already had.
- Professor Stanford has published a book. I haven’t read it, I’m not going to read it, and quite frankly am not interested in reading a book regarding what someone views as “sin” when I don’t share his religion. To suggest that sin has any “effects on our physical bodies” without actually being clearer and providing examples (yes I know this is a summary report) and then saying that “‘broken biology’ can never be used as an excuse for sinful behaviour” comes across more as homosexuality is a sin and even if being gay is biological it is still a sin and you can control your behaviour.
- Look, men and women are different so they act differently and sin differently. Quite frankly Professor Stanford, go fuck yourself and attend some Feminism 101 before ever saying such crap again.
- Look sinfulness is destructive (though it all depends on what you view as wrongful behaviour – according to Prof Stanford I’m a terrible sinner and would never get to heaven) and it impacts on women and men differently because they are different. Seriously Professor Stanford, go and meet some actual real people and find out how similar (apart from societal conditioning) men and women actually are.
Wife’s pay can cost a marriage (unattributed)
This article was also run The Times of India, I can find no other news source in Australia that ran this piece.
Apparently, if a woman in a heterosexual relationship out-earns her male partner, that relationship breaking up is far more likely than in situations where a woman under earns her male partner. From MX:
The finding is the result of a 25-year study of more than 2500 marriages and follows other research showing that house-husbands are prone to affairs.
The US researchers found that women who consistently made more money than their husbands were up to 38 per cent more likely to divorce than others.
Jay Teachman, of Western Washington University, said possible reasons for the statistic were that financial independence makes it easier for women to escape an unhappy marriage, and dented egos – of both sexes.
For a happy marriage, Teachman recommends a 60/40 split in income, with the husband being the higher earner.
Thank you Mr Teachman for suggesting that women continue to earn less money than men and therefore have less money as a safety net to retire on. Thank you Mr Teachman for proposing that instead of finding a way to solve the problem you’ve identified by having society treat each partner’s contribution to the relationship as valid, that women just take lower paying jobs. And you know what lower paying jobs typically are Mr Teachman? Would you do them?
This issue has been covered repeatedly, even on news.com.au. So here are some good links so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you can just read it yourself.
So it’d be nice Mr Teachman if you actually think beyond “let’s make the wimmenz earnz less” and into whether or not those relationships should have been saved, what societal changes need to be made so that if women out-earn men then nothing negative happens.
Payback for hubby theft (unattributed)
Matching article at the Vancouver Sun.
Now… last I checked if you were going to have an affair with someone, that other person had to be willing – otherwise we’re entering the realm of unconsensual behaviour – and the MX and the Vancouver Sun certainly do not suggest there was any question of consent. The MX used terms like “theft” and “stolen” in this article, which implies that the husband in this case was an automaton and had no part to play in the affair he clearly was involved in. So yes, it takes two to tango here and suggesting otherwise removes agency from the now ex-husband and makes him completely blameless. I note that the Vancouver Sun did not use either “theft” or “stolen”.
I’m not going to debate the strange law that North Carolina has on it’s books here right now.
So thank you MX for continuing the sexism that is prevalent in the world right now. You had a great opportunity to dispel sexism and make the world a better place, but no you decided to wander the easy path and screw women over again. I appreciate it, I really do.