Tag: words

Bad slogan number 4,598,765,197,984,651 (no really)

Pain is temporary.  Quitting is forever

No and no… and no and no and no and no

Neither of those two statements are true.  Pain is not always temporary, and to suggest it is makes those who live with chronic pain either non-existent, or delusional.  Some pain is temporary, and some pain is not.

Quitting is not forever.  Quitting is just a thing.  Sometimes it can be about personal boundaries, abilities, or coping capacity.  Sometimes it can just be because you are done and don’t want to continue.  Sometimes it can be because you’ve changed your mind.  None of these things are necessarily permanent – though of course they could be, but that doesn’t mean that all things you quit are.

So, poster on the wall at my gym, kindly take your offensive slogan away and sod off – because fire… the effects of that can be permanent.

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Yeah… no… Spida get back in your box

*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

and then

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.

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Problematic Words: Bitch

This is the first in which may or may not turn out to be a series on words I have issues with.  I am aware of and support efforts in reclaiming language used against marginalised groups and bodies.  I support people’s identities and the words they use in describing themselves.  This is a post about words that others use and how they are used by others.

Ok, so bitch… lets break it down a little.  Initially the word was used to describe a female dog or female canine.  Dogs are lower life-forms (traditionally) than people and are belongings.  So to refer to a woman or another person as a bitch is a dehumanising exercise, they are now a lower life-form (not human) and are a belonging, whether yours (my bitch) or someone else’s (their bitch).

Its also used in a sex negative context as well, referring to women (and only women) as being like a “bitch in heat”, which suggests that women are uncontrollable when they want sex, much like female dogs.

Bitch is also used to describe certain types of behaviour, such as bitchiness and bitchy.  Typically this refers to back-stabbing, gossiping and other unpleasant behaviour.  Descriptions of this behaviour is also given to gay men, which suggests that gay men are acting like unpleasant women.

If you are “someone’s bitch” then typically this means that you are their belonging.  So if I refer to X as “my bitch” then they’re mine, dehumanised and property.  Not such a good way to describe someone.  However, I do understand, and do refer to my physical belongings, as bitch from time to time.  If something slips out of my hands and I’m frustrated, I’ll say, “Argh! You bitch”, but I’m actually referring to inanimate objects here. And because I don’t like to dehumanise people I’m not going to call someone a bitch.

The Harpies, refer to women sometimes just having to “Be A Bitch”, usually to men, when boundaries are overstepped and there is a need to be assertive or opinionated because the other is not paying attention to your subtext, body language or even polite words about going away.  They’ve written about such things here and here and elsewhere on their site.  I am all behind assertive behaviour and sometimes just having to be rude if that’s what it takes for you to be safe, happy or unharassed, but I still have issues with calling it “Being A Bitch” because I don’t think that that word should be used to describe a set of allegedly unpleasant behaviours which are clearly just being assertive or opinionated as you see fit.

But I’ve been thinking about men’s fear of women’s anger and power and the word “bitch.”

Bitch, bitching, etc.:  these are thrown at women all the time, for any minor “infraction,” from asking for parity in pay or pleasure to daring to stand up for yourself.  I have no doubt that those who use it mean to silence and intimidate women.  (From The Pursuit of Harpyness)

I’m all for telling people to “shut the fuck up” or to “fuck off” when they harass me on the street, on the internet or anywhere else.  If someone calls me a bitch for knowing my boundaries, knowing what makes me feel safe or for turning them down, then that’s their problem and not mine. I’m not going to go home and be upset about it overly, but I don’t think I’ll personally ever reclaim the word “bitch”.  I can be assertive, just like men are allowed to be, and that doesn’t make me a bitch.  I can be opinionated, just like men are allowed to be, and that doesn’t make me a bitch.

I think the word “bitch” is usually pulled out when women act in ways that we’re “not supposed to”.  We’re supposed to be submissive and easy to target.  We’re supposed to be soft, gentle and unassuming… and quite frankly all of that can fuck off.

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