*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.
The simplest strategy at all is to not actually respond if you have nothing to say. So Suzanne Carbone suggested that Ricky Nixon was full of himself, is that really that big a deal?
Anyway, that aside the main reason I am writing this post is to comment on Dermott Brereton’s amazing lack of insight into his own sexism, but before I get there, let me pull this apart a bit more. One of Ricky Nixon’s friends suggested that Suzanne Carbone’s sole justification for writing the article she did was that Ricky Nixon spurned her at some point. Of course, the only reason women write about men being full of themselves, is not because they’re full of themselves, but because they were once turned down by said man. Why didn’t I ever figure that out? Anyway, said friend then continued on and suggested that all Suzanne Carbone needed was a good shag. Yes, that’s right corrective sex/rape.
I don’t know a thing about Suzanne Carbone. What I do know is that women should never ever be told that all they need is a good shag, because the next thing we know is that someone will offer to do it, and then we start into rape territory. Ricky Nixon continues to prove that he is all class, and suggests that Dermott Brereton should “do that on our behalf”. Dermott Brereton at least turns down the suggestion, but instead of saying “FUCK NO” which I think would be the most appropriate response, says, “I don’t do charity like that”. Which suggests that he might think that there are times when corrective sex is a good option.
He was quizzed on his statements and whether or not they were inappropriate today. “Of course they weren’t” says Dermott, “I am the least sexist person in the world and have the greatest respect for women, so there would be no way I’d say anything that was sexist”. That’s not a direct transcription of what he said, but for all intents and purposes, that’s what he meant as far as I can understand it.
What he actually said (From The Age article above):
“My understanding is that that is your charter [to sensationalise], and that if your were to look into it, if you were to go down that line, I am one of the few people who has actually lent my time to awareness of social etiquettes from males towards females,”
“I’m very comfortable in my own skin. Very few people have more respect for women but I understand what your charter is. Common sense will prevail here so you make of it what you will.”
I am absolutely fascinated as to what “social etiquettes from males towards females” even means. Does that mean that he’s spent time talking about how to communicate and treat women? Does that mean he’s attended a 1950s chivalry class and now expects that he’ll protect women from… well whatever it is that women need to be protected from, and make sure that they are not dishonoured, because their honour is tied to his honour, and wow isn’t’ it all fucked up?
So after saying something that doesn’t make any real sense (I need to remember he’s just an ex-footballer), he then suggests that he is one of the world’s most respectful people ever when it comes to women. This is after he said that he doesn’t do charity like that, after failing to condemn his friend’s suggestion that corrective sex was a solution. Surely the most respectful person towards women ever (no that’s awkward)… Surely Dermott Brereton as the epitome of male feminism, would know that the phrase “I don’t do charity like that” would be viewed by thousands of people as sexist and misogynistic.
Of course, the real issue here is Ricky Nixon and his vendetta against Suzanne Carbone, which probably extends to any other female journalist who doesn’t agree with him, or who has an opinion. What Dermott Brereton said was wrong, his failure to see that is also wrong. It’s interesting that no one has found the one who suggested corrective sex in the first place to crucify him – but then I’d never heard of Grant O’Connor before today either.
A failure to respect women, a failure to respect that women will not always agree with you, and a failure to recognise that women are men’s equals results in the shit poured forth from Ricky Nixon and Co. Women don’t deserve bile for doing their job. Women don’t deserve bile for being women. If you wouldn’t treat a male journalist that way, don’t think that it is suddenly acceptable to say or write all that shit just because she’s a woman.
It is a simple fact of life that not everyone will like you all the time. It is a simple fact of life that people will disagree with you. The correct ways to deal with people who don’t like you or who disagree with you range from ignoring them completely to engaging constructively with the comments they made to rebut them if necessary or to attempt to resolve any outstanding differences. Sledging them is not appropriate. Threatening corrective sex (and it is ALWAYS a threat) is never appropriate. Childish insults and name-calling is also not appropriate. Now gentlemen, try this again and this time as mature and productive members of society.
* I don’t know how Facebook works. No I am not interested in learning further.