Tag Archives: media

A random and unidentified visit

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.

Continue reading A random and unidentified visit

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How to radicalise your population

I’ve read with… well not exactly dismay because it is part of the whole USA falling into a chasm… more resignation, the stories recently of the US Congress setting up a body to probe US Muslims, of US taxes going towards law enforcement bodies to “educate” them about Islam and instead failing to do so, and about Tennessee wanting to ban Sharia.

[ok I now have a fever and am sick, so if this post doesn’t make all the sense that I intend, apologies]

The stories above are just the Government actions taken against US Muslims.  They do not detail in any way the daily prejudice, discrimination and bigotry faced by Muslims in the US.  Islamaphobia is in full swing.

From where I’m sitting (sick and fuzzy headed), the Islamaphobia in the US (yes, I know it exists in Australia too, and is equally problematic) can lead to some very bad outcomes.  The estimated number of Muslims in the US is around 2.3% of the US population (Australia’s Muslim population is 1.71% of the overall population).  There just are not enough Muslims in the US (or Australia) to rise up and protest against the oppression they’re suffering (unlike the peoples in many Middle Eastern nations currently – which has nothing to do with Islam and all to do with oppression, lack of opportunities, etc).  The research on stereotype threat also suggests that Muslims may feel that they have to conform to the predominant sterotype held of them, which doesn’t do anyone any favours.

If we look back at history, we can see many many examples of groups that have been vilified and terrible results (clearly we are very bad at learning from history and are doomed to repeat it).  The news media played a large part in the Rwandan Genocide.

According to recent commentators, the news media played a crucial role in the genocide; local print and radio media fueled the killings while the international media either ignored or seriously misconstrued events on the ground.[14] The print media in Rwanda is believed to have started hate speech against Tutsis, which was later continued by radio stations. According to commentators, anti-Tutsi hate speech “…became so systemic as to seem the norm.”

From late October 1993, the RTLM repeatedly broadcast themes developed by the extremist written press, underlining the inherent differences between Hutu and Tutsi, the foreign origin of Tutsi, the disproportionate share of Tutsi wealth and power, and the horrors of past Tutsi rule. The RTLM also repeatedly stressed the need to be alert to Tutsi plots and possible attacks. It warned Hutu to prepare to “defend” themselves against the Tutsi. (Source: Wikipedia – link above)

Sound familiar?

We can also look at the internment of Japanese people (definitions on who was Japanese or not was interestingly broad) in the US during World War 2.

Many concerns over the loyalty of ethnic Japanese seemed to stem from racial prejudice rather than evidence of actual malfeasance. Major Karl Bendetsen and Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, head of the Western Command, each questioned Japanese American loyalty. DeWitt, who administered the internment program, repeatedly told newspapers that “A Jap’s a Jap” and testified to Congress,

I don’t want any of them [persons of Japanese ancestry] here. They are a dangerous element. There is no way to determine their loyalty… It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen, he is still a Japanese. American citizenship does not necessarily determine loyalty… But we must worry about the Japanese all the time until he is wiped off the map.

Internment was popular among many white farmers who resented the Japanese-American farmers. “White American farmers admitted that their self-interest required removal of the Japanese.” These individuals saw internment as a convenient means of uprooting their Japanese American competitors. Austin E. Anson, managing secretary of the Salinas Vegetable Grower-Shipper Association, told the Saturday Evening Post in 1942:

“We’re charged with wanting to get rid of the Japs for selfish reasons. We do. It’s a question of whether the white man lives on the Pacific Coast or the brown men. They came into this valley to work, and they stayed to take over… If all the Japs were removed tomorrow, we’d never miss them in two weeks, because the white farmers can take over and produce everything the Jap grows. And we do not want them back when the war ends, either.”

The Roberts Commission Report, prepared at President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s request, has been cited as an example of the fear and prejudice informing the thinking behind the internment program. The Report sought to link Japanese Americans with espionage activity, and to associate them with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Columnist Henry McLemore reflected growing public sentiment fueled by this report:

“I am for the immediate removal of every Japanese on the West Coast to a point deep in the interior. I don’t mean a nice part of the interior either. Herd ’em up, pack ’em off and give ’em the inside room in the badlands… Personally, I hate the Japanese. And that goes for all of them.”

Other California newspapers also embraced this view. According to a Los Angeles Times editorial,

“A viper is nonetheless a viper wherever the egg is hatched… So, a Japanese American born of Japanese parents, nurtured upon Japanese traditions, living in a transplanted Japanese atmosphere… notwithstanding his nominal brand of accidental citizenship almost inevitably and with the rarest exceptions grows up to be a Japanese, and not an American… Thus, while it might cause injustice to a few to treat them all as potential enemies, I cannot escape the conclusion… that such treatment… should be accorded to each and all of them while we are at war with their race.” (Source: Wikipedia article linked above)

Again, the same sort of language is used to vilify a group, which then results in investigation and restriction of that group’s ability to participate in society.  I worry that the Muslims in the West (particularly in the US and Australia) are going to be increasingly targeted and that is going to end up being really bad.  I don’t really have a solution, just fears that the situation is going to get worse, but I hope I can stand up against Islamaphobia whenever I encounter it.

Propagating this fear runs the risk of radicalising the general population against those who follow Islam, and that crimes against Muslims may not be reported or may not be fully investigated by the authorities.  Discrimination and prejudice will continue to rise, people may feel obliged to recant their faith in order to face less bigotry, to hide their culture and act white, to remove their sense of self to find some safety.  This sucks.

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Repulsiveness

I’d like to be quite clear straight up, I loath Danny Nalliah and especially loath his god (and by that I mean his interpretation of god).  This is a man who claimed that Victoria decriminalising abortion resulted in the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 that killed 173 people and wounded 414, because he had a dream about fire and brimstone.

Now he’s come out saying that the floods in Queensland, specifically Brisbane, are the result of our former Prime Minister (now Foreign Minister), Kevin Rudd, being mean to Israel (don’t read the comments on that piece unless you’re prepared for a dose of scary).  Apparently asking Israel to to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and open all its nuclear facilities to UN inspectors is mean, and Australia/Queensland/Rudd needed smiting as a result.

I can’t (and even when I was Catholic struggled really hard with this) worship or believe in a god that would happily kill (or make miserable) hundreds or thousands of people because of something that someone else did (or even that they did).  I don’t even get how that makes sense.  I never liked the whole fire and brimstone methods used by some ministers and hate the rhetoric of fear (which is something that Nalliah uses all the time).

That Fleming Gent posted a comment on Nalliah’s press release/blog post/thing and unsurprisingly that comment was not published, because it disagreed with the message that Nalliah was pushing.  PZ Myers also had some good commentary on Nalliah:

Kevin Rudd has been insufficiently zealous in his support for Israel, and Rudd is originally from Queensland, so God is making it rain great buckets in Queensland to send him a message.

It’s a rather opaque message, O Lord, and it seems to be causing far more suffering to other people, rather than Rudd. Wouldn’t it have been far more effective and efficient if, say, the Lord God Almighty made the plumbing in Rudd’s upstairs bathroom overflow? I should think it far more persuasive that something mysterious and ominous was going on if every time Rudd flushed, he ended up with a gusher of feces and urine on his shoes. Taking aim at the whole of Queensland is just a bit sloppy.

I also don’t understand, if god is loving, forgiving and understanding, why ordinary, regular sinners are being punished for their representative’s alleged sins (I refer to Queensland (and bits of NSW and Victoria) for Rudd and Victoria for the decriminalisation of abortion).  That doesn’t make any sense to me, and I’d hope it doesn’t make much sense to those Christians who actually critically think about things.

And then, Nalliah and his “church” took credit for the Brisbane flood not peaking as high as it did, because they prayed for Queensland, filling the gap between Rudd’s actions and god’s wrath… or something.  Seriously, they gathered on the steps of the Victorian Parliament (because they’d get publicity there) and prayed loudly and publicly (you know, something Jesus recommended against):

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. Matthew 6:5 (NIV)

Prayers such as Nalliah’s are great thing, it’s not like you can test them scientifically, and discover whether or not the prayers had any effect (they didn’t), and when things turn out well you can say that your prayers had the right effect, and if things turn out badly, you can say it was clearly god’s will, and that you tried.  It’s a win-win situation and really does nothing for anyone.  It’s not like someone, who claims that god speaks to them, would ever admit that their prayers were not heard.

I honestly would like Nalliah and his Ministry to stop receiving publicity, to go away and be on the fringe where they belong.  I’d love Nalliah to stop being so afraid and infecting others with his fear.  I’d love him to recant his hateful and prideful ways and to be humble and listen to the stories of those he currently considers sinful and learn that there is more than black and white in the world.  I’d love him to actually love, unconditionally as Christians are called to love, and to stop judging as he should really know better.

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What is wrong with this country?

I’m Australian, and consequently value real-estate quite a lot (housing is in short supply and consequently rather expensive).  I’m also, I guess, an intellectual, and value knowledge and books quite a lot too.  So when I see photos, like these of Detroit, I am unable to comprehend why there is so much derelict property lying around (not to mention books, and police files).  I do understand that Detroit is in the process of being abandoned and that there are many (apparently) insurmountable social issues, as well as being part of the rust belt’s decline, but I am staggered by the decay and abandonment of the property in these photos.  Every time I see photos of abandoned real-estate in the US (without good reason like it being riddled with asbestos or unsafe to live in), I wonder how a nation can have such a glut of what is/was perfectly serviceable property that could be turned into residences or something else useful.

A photo of a library in disrepair.  Books line shelves or are on the ground, light filters through a dirty window and the paint is peeling from the ceiling
A photo of a library in disrepair. Books line shelves or are on the ground, light filters through a dirty window and the paint is peeling from the ceiling
Photos from police dossiers litter the floor of a police office.  Filing cabinets have their draws left open and the paint on a secure room door peels
Photos from police dossiers litter the floor of a police office. Filing cabinets have their draws left open and the paint on a secure room door peels

This photo (above) disturbs me for the wanton privacy breach.  Because the people represented in the photos here clearly don’t deserve any privacy.

A ransacked desk is in the foreground, with draws pulled open and a box of what appears to be brightly coloured Children's Books spilled onto the floor.  The pain in the wide but brightly lit room is peeling and books remain on the shelves on the far walls
A ransacked desk is in the foreground with draws pulled open and a box of what appears to be brightly coloured Children's Books spilled onto the floor. The paint in the wide but brightly lit room is peeling and books remain on the shelves on the far walls

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29th Down Under Feminists Carnival

Down Under Feminists Carnival Logo
Down Under Feminists Carnival Logo

Welcome to the 29th Down Under Feminists Carnival.  Thank you everyone for your submissions which I have organised as much as I can.  I hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I did, and that you continue to submit posts to an awesome carnival.  Thank you so much to Chally, of Zero at the Bone and FWD/Forward and Radical Readers and Feministe for organising this carnival and letting me host it.

Thank you to Chally, Jo, Mary and Deborah for hunting down and finding most of the great posts to include this month.  Thank you to everyone else who submitted their or other’s writings.

If I have used incorrect pronouns to identify any of the participants please let me know so that I can correct them.  Any misuse is unintentional and due solely to me being unfamiliar with the author of the post.

If I have misrepresented/badly summarised your post, please let me know and I’ll correct it.

So, this carnival is big and full of fascinating reading.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it all together.

This month’s optional theme was Awesome Women.

So, put your feet up, down, sideways or however you feel comfortable and enjoy.

Awesome Women

Ilaeria blogged about the three people who have had the biggest impact in her life, her mother and two grandmothers and share the lessons she learnt from them.

tigtog writes about Bell Hooks week at Hoydon About Town.  Deborah at In a Strange Land, during one of her Friday Womanist posts quotes Bell Hooks.

Deborah from In a Strange Land blogged about the anniversary of Sufferage for Women in New Zealand (17 September 1893) and the hard work that was put into gaining signatures for the petition that helped make is possible.

Mary at Hoydon About Town has been awesome and has developed a Firefox bookmarklet to make submitting blog carnival posts easier.  Please go and install so it is much easier to submit posts for the next carnival.

Media and society

Wildly Parenthetical at Hoydon About Town talks about Sexting and Slut Shaming and how bad the Minister for Home Affairs’s new campaign is for young women.

I spoke about Rampant Sexism in an edition of the MX where it suggested the women were different than men, that women should earn less than men for the sake of their heterosexual relationships and that women can steal men and that men can do nothing about it.

the news with nipples shreds an opinion piece in the SMH by Paul Sheehan.

Pickled Think writes about media and societal pressure on men to propose regardless of what their girlfriends may feel about marriage because it seems that their feelings aren’t important (all girls want to marry right?), and Pickled Think also discusses the patriarchal institution of marriage and the lack of the “big gay proposal”.  (The last line on the first comment is also gold).

Blue Milk demonstrates a little lesson in undermining women in power with thanks to the Courier Mail.

Blue Milk reviews Radical Act, a documentary about queer/feminist musicians in the USA, made in 1995

Ju at transcendancing has written a review of Glitter Rose, a short story collection by an Australian author doing interesting and challenging things with female characters.  The collection is published by a press that is also doing interesting and challenging things with a feminist focus in publishing.

Kim writes at Larvatus Prodeo about feeling sympathy for Stephen Conroy and the ongoing debate about the internet filter being more complex than liberties or the rights of adults.

Mary at Hoydon About Town wrote about #groggate and the outing of Grog Gamut’s legal name by The Australian.  The scary thing about The Australian’s justification is that they’re arguing for the outing of anyone who attempts to influence politics (or anything else) regardless of the wish for anonymity.

There are many ways that the less powerful are silenced, and conflating having something to hide or keep private with being not worth listening to is one of them, and insisting on identity disclosure is another. Not all pseudonymous writers are using pseudonyms to ethical ends, this is abundantly clear to anyone who has ever been on the Internet. But insisting that only those who name themselves and state their interest to everyone who lives in the country can speak is far worse.

Ariane at Ariane’s little world, adds to the discussion regarding #groggate by explaining that a person is not their job.

Image by Judy Horacek. Three panel cartoon of a Christmas decoration on a Christmas tree. The first panel reads, "I'm not a feminist but", the second "just hanging round being decorative is a bit boring", the third has the decoration walking away from the tree saying, "Actually I really am a feminist"

Bodies and health

Ariane calls bullshit on obesity being the root of all evil and society’s with  focus on fatness as a health issue.  Ariane also points out the negative health consequences of dieting.

Maia at The Hand Mirror discusses the politics of food and how our diet (what we eat) has changed, how food manufacturers want to make a profit from food and the impact that has.  Maia also posts a thread about why she hates The Body Shop and how conflating health and moral good or health and beauty are wrongMaia also posted a great 101 post on food and “healthy food” and how that is a misnomer.

Split Milk talks about why she doesn’t want to engage in discussions about dieting and how important fat acceptance places are.

Many fat activists also identify as feminists and in my opinion the most important tenet that those two movements have in common is a core belief in bodily autonomy. Advocating for fat acceptance is about asking for freedom from oppression and prejudicial treatment.

Spilt Milk also guest posted at Feministe about Fat acceptance: when kindness is activism where she discusses how acceptance of your body and kindness to yourself are activism.

Mimbles at Mim’s muddle writes about being fat and visible and includes links to posts that she’s found (some of which are in this carnival).

Michelle at The Red Pill Survival Guide writes about being fat and how societal sanctioned abuse of fat people is harmful.

You know what? Fuck you. You’re not me. You’re not that other person. You don’t know the circumstances surrounding why someone is the way they are unless they tell you. Yes, we all make superficial judgements but does that give you the right to be abusive or phobic? No.

Fat Heffalump shared her paper that she presented for the Australian Fat Studies conference this month.  She shares the effect that the “war on obesity” has had on her and most likely has had on others.

Sam at fat dialogue writes about her experience with Control Top Underpants and how important making people uncomfortable is as a really powerful critical and political intervention.

Julie at the Hand Mirror writes about Thin Privilege and how it isn’t all that great.

The Thin versus Not Thin dichotomy is yet another false division that just sets women against each other.  We need to fight, together, against a culture which judges us on our physical appearance, whether that appearance is one that conforms or not.

Steph writes at LadyNews that although Christina Hendricks is great, and the media acceptance of her not typically represented body type is also great, having her body shape/type as one to aspire to is not a good thing.

Pickled Think shreds an article discussing a new sitcom hopefully not coming to a screen near you, and how fat really isn’t coming back to Hollywood.

Health and disability

Jo at Wallaby writes about Accessibility and Sydney’s public transport, focusing on Sydney’s buses.

Michelle at The Red Pill Survive Guide (*trigger warning – discussion of suicide*) writes about World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, and talks about how she understands that level of despair.

Chally at Zero at the bone, writes about taking a sickie and how hard it is for people with disabilities to take a “sickie” for legitimate reasons let alone “bludging”.

Helen at FlyingBlogspot.com talks about her ordinary and what she does to manage day to day.  Helen also discusses how her ordinary may change with a review of her medication and trying some new treatment.

Race and Racism

Hexpletive blogged about the NSW Parliament amending the NSW State Constitution to finally recognise indigenous Australians as the first people in the State.

I wrote a piece about Boat People and how it should not be an issue.

Queen Emily at An Army of Rabbits discusses the concept of whiteness and the difference between white in Australia and white in the USA.

Jo at Wallaby writes a post about an anti-violence march asking some very pertinent questions for you to answer before you read Blue Milk’s post below.

Blue Milk writes about the march in Alice Springs by Aboriginal men to “stop the violence” and the lack of media coverage about positive Aboriginal stories.

Steph at 天高皇企鹅远 writes about japan ken and barbie, how they’re in Japanese inspired clothing and not actually Japanese, leading to the fetishisation and exotification of non Western cultures.

Chally wrote at Feministe about one of her favourite bit of cognitive dissonance.

stargazer at The Hand Mirror wrote about how collective responsibility is not productive, and states that, “i still don’t accept that i have any responsibility to apologise for the actions of someone i’ve never met and have absolutely no chance of influencing.”

the news with nipples writes Another burqa blog post and reluctantly gives Sergio Redegalli some of her time while she discusses how wrong his latest “art” work is.  Then asks why the debate about burquas is still being controlled by people who do not wear burqas.

LGBTIQ

Blue Milk talks about how Stephanie Rice’s apology to queer people was not adequate and points out all the flaws in that apology very nicely.

Steph at 天高皇企鹅远 went to WorldCon and discusses her experiences with two panels, one on queer themes in SF, which she had to walk out of and the other chaired by a trans academic which was a far more positive experience.

PharaohKatt at Distinctly Disgruntled (*trigger warning – discussion of suicide*) deconstructs Bob Katter’s comments regarding the apparently non-existent LBGTIQ population in his electorate, the high rate of suicide of LBGTIQ people and Bob Katter’s comments about suicide on a Q&A segment.

Fire Fly at The Long Way Home writes about Queer Femmes of Colour and their multiple burdens of authenticity.

I think the dynamic is deeply conditioned by internalised queerphobia. Specifically, internalisation of the double standard that there’s a threshold of queerness that someone has to prove in order to be ‘really’ queer (when there’s no such threshold for heterosexuality).

Intersectionality

Maia at The Hand Mirror discusses a proposed bill in New Zealand which would re-criminalise street sex workers and how the relevant political parties have voted.

It is specifically targeting street sex workers. Street sex workers do not generally have $2,000 to pay a fine. The fines, when they’re awarded, won’t have the magic power to stop someone being poor and working as a sex worker, it’ll just make them poorer. It won’t make street sex work disappear, it’ll just make it harder, more dangerous, and more marginalised.

Steph at vegan about town discusses how veganism, race and ethnicity intersect and how calling for China to be “wiped from the face of the earth” for the way they treat animals is hypocritical when every country mistreats animals.

Maia at The Hand Mirror also discusses how there is a connection between problems the way food is discussed and the problems with way food is produced and looks at this under a feminist framework.

Shiny writes about how she is all out of cookies and isn’t going to give them to people who meet basic human standards of decency.

Callistra writes about safety and safe spaces, what they can be and how they are created.

Safety and feelings of safe spaces are also a place of sanctuary. It’s an intimately known quality, where so much discussion has already occured that the system can meet your needs. It means when you’re miserable and need company to listen to, you have friends who can answer that need. Or if you’re miserable and need to talk; you know you can have these needs met. It means if you need to sit quietly and absorb group energy, you can do so without worrying what others might think, say or do. I noticed this as being ‘a place where you can exist without struggle of identity’.

Callistra also writes about what connections are and how they contribute to safe spaces.

Writing at The Hand Mirror, anjum writes about women in minority cultures, who as feminists want to criticise and change the culture, but who fear that it will only give ammunition to haters in the majority culture.

steph writes at vegan about town regarding exclusionary language in the vegan and animal rights movement in Australia and how veganism and the animal rights movement are often seen as white/Anglo-Saxon, middle-class movements.

Life

A Touch of the Crazy shares her recent life experiences, reflections and the importance of getting lost when travelling.

Pickled Think writes about surviving the Christchurch earthquake and how she feels right now.

Blue Milk writes about breastfeeding and how she felt when she first started and how she feels about it now.

Hexpletive writes about the 9th World Indigenous Women and Wellness Conference she attended and presented at in Darwin and then goes on to discuss the other Conferences and Conventions that she is interested in for the remainder of the year.  I’m going to have to look some of these up.

Spilt Milk shares an experience of encountering penis graffiti with her young daughter and recounts Helen Barne’s Young Adult novel ‘Killing Aurora’, in which the protagonist draws vagina dentata graffiti in response to penis graffiti.

Spilt Milk wrote about her childhood comforter and how that was taken away from her, and now how the childcare centre her daughter goes to wants to take away her daughter’s teddy bear.

Queen Emily writes at An Army of Rabbits, two (related) things that never happened to her in Australia, specifically the assumption that she’d been to church followed by an exhortation to keep god in her heart.

General Feminism

Chally wrote about how social justice can also be about staying silent and doing what is right for you versus the wider world (this post could fit under most categories, and I struggled to find the best fit).

Wallaby writes about how prioritising and choosing your energy drain is important for your wellness, and your choices in this regard should be admired, fostered and encouraged.

tigtog clearly states for the record why banning commenters and refusing comment publication is not censorship as blogs are privately owned spaces.

Women of Colour Australia has put a transcript up of their speech at NOWSA 2010.

the news with nipples writes about the petition put together by Plan Australia to make September 22 the International Day of the Girl.  You can sign the petition here.

Natalie at definatalie.com writes about her feral leghair and why she’s going to grow it.  She includes a great discussion about The Gruen Transfer and their discussion about redefining femininity based on advertising.

steph discusses at LadyNews the current Jadelle (a contraceptive implant) furore in the media.  steph advocates choice and education for women, which some of the quotes in the article also supported.

Megan at Craft is the New Black writes about the need for the ‘generations’ of feminism to recognise and celebrate each other’s worth.

In a post to mark Women’s Suffrage Day in New Zealand, Ele at Home Paddock writes of the need for us to exercise our hard won right to vote in the upcoming local body elections.

Violence

*Trigger warnings – posts in this section discuss violence against women*

The Dawn Chorus discusses Street Harassment and how when reporting it or writing down what has been said, the tone of what was said is missing which is one of the reasons why street harassment is often belittled or dismissed.

Blue Milk explains that asking is sexy and that without consent it isn’t sex and the comments are great too.

I don’t know why the idea has persisted that asking for consent is necessarily a clinical business – what is stilted about – more? do you want to? do you like? Because “mood-killer”? Are you kidding me? That moment when they close the space between you both and ask you to put your cards on the table – is this on or not, can I do this with you – is one of the most heart-flippingly exciting moments in all of existence.

Jo at Wallaby wrote about the treatment received by two women who had been sexually assaulted in different legal systems and how much those legal systems differed.

XY writes about why he won’t be walking in Reclaim the Night/Take Back the Night march and provides and excellent resource (if you need one) to explain to some men why they are not always welcome to march.

stargazer at The Hand Mirror writes about the governmental response to the task force for action on sexual violence and sadly how this seems to have been missed by the media.

AnneE at The Hand Mirror takes some relevant material from a paper on people who abuse their partners.

blue milk at Hoydon About Town writes about the strange behaviour of the state and society when a mother whose daughter was victim of incest is upset and protective of her daughter when pornography is displayed at a 7-11.

And isn’t it a strange world where police can be called in to protect your right to display pornography? So unquestioning are we about it that the newspaper article actually describes what unfolded as a “bizarre incident”. It is the same strange world where it is estimated that up to one in four girls will be sexually abused during their childhood.

Both Deborah from In a Strange Land and I wrote about Brendan Black and his opinion piece in Fairfax media on breastfeeding and breasts.  Unfortunately he fails terribly at being a feminist ally when he could have done very well.

Jo at Wallaby suggests that men should not go out alone otherwise they might, “be accused of, and/or commit, indecent assault, sexual assault, rape or other sexual violence.”

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Well this is disturbing

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.

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Rampant sexism in Friday’s MX (10 September 2010)

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.

Newswire reports:

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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