Today in ‘What Mia Freedman has done now’

WARNING: THIS POST DISCUSSES MALE SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.

Mia Freedman’s at it again, blaming women for stuff and calling it feminism: This isn’t victim blaming. This is common sense:

Let’s say you have a daughter. Or a little sister. And let’s say there was something you could tell her that would dramatically reduce the likelihood of her being sexually assaulted during her lifetime.

Would you tell her?…

I’ll tell her that getting drunk when she goes out puts her at a greater risk of danger.

Look, I get it, I really do. Telling women that there are things they can do to prevent sexual assault seems like common sense, but it’s really not. I’m sure it’s well-intentioned advice, but it simply doesn’t stand up to logic: if women could prevent sexual assault, then we’d all prevent it and there’d be no sexual assault. It’s a no-brainer.

Telling women that if they don’t get drunk they’ll “dramatically reduce the likelihood” of being sexually assaulted is also telling them a massive lie: Women are at more risk in their own homes, from men they know, than they are from someone they meet while drunk.

We’ve been telling women for an awfully long time not to get themselves raped and yet, men are still raping them. Could it be – gasp! – that this ‘women take responsibility for your actions/don’t make yourself vulnerable’ message is utter bollocks?

Freedman’s article perpetuates pretty much all of the rape myths – that rapists are creepy dudes in dark alleys, that she was asking for it by drinking too much, that guys can’t control their urges and roam the streets looking for victims, that nice sober girls don’t get raped, that it’s not rape unless she tries to run away – and she would know this by now. I mean, it’s not like it hasn’t been pointed out to her before. By hundreds of people.

Let me be clear: sexual assault is never the fault of the victim… But teaching girls how to reduce their risk of sexual assault is not the same thing as victim blaming. It’s not. And we must stop confusing the two.

Now Mia, I know you’ve learned the term “victim blaming” but you haven’t learned what it means. It’s like the time I thought “reactionary” meant someone who reacted to things. Boy, was I embarrassed when I discovered it meant someone who opposes political/social progress. If we teach girls that they can reduce their risk of sexual assault by not getting drunk, and then they go out and get drunk and someone assaults them, then what? It means that if she didn’t get drunk then it wouldn’t have happened, right? That means she’s kinda responsible for what happened, right? Hello, victim blaming! You can’t possibly say in one breath that “sexual assault is never the fault of the victim” and then in the next breath suggest that something she did caused the assault. That seems pretty bloody obvious to me. Some might say it was common sense.

Will I also teach my sons about this connection between alcohol and sexual assault? Sure. I will teach them that binge drinking will obliterate their ability to make good decisions – about getting into cars, getting into fights and having sex.

Hopefully you will also talk to your sons about not being rapists, since 93 per cent of offenders are male. As Carina Kolodny writes, you need to have the “don’t rape” conversation with your sons “because so many parents have thought they didn’t need to and so many people have suffered because of it”.

Somehow, in some quarters, the right to get wasted has become a feminist issue and this troubles me greatly.

I haven’t seen any feminist argue that the “right to get wasted” is a feminist issue. Fighting myths that give rapists excuses, now that’s a feminist issue.

Freedman then mentions the study that was in Emily Yoffe’s piece that “almost 20 per cent of college women will become victims, overwhelmingly of a fellow classmate. More than 80 percent of campus sexual assaults involve alcohol”.

So, what you’re saying is that a large number of college guys are sexually assaulting their female classmates. And they think it’s ok to rape someone if she’s drunk. That shit is scary, but no no Mia, you should continue to use your privileged position in our society to suggest that it’s women who are the problem here.

This is not an issue of morality. If you want to have casual sex, go for it. Safely. Just make sure it’s your decision and one you’re still comfortable with the next day.

You know, I’m gonna give Freedman the benefit of the doubt here and believe that she’s not suggesting that rape is the same as sex you might regret.

Here’s what you are responsible for when you get drunk: your hangover; losing your phone; falling over and smashing your knee; spending too much money on booze. Here’s what you are not responsible for when you get drunk: someone else commiting a crime. To suggest you are responsible for that is just ridiculous. So I’m gonna repeat the point I made earlier: if women WERE actually able to prevent sexual assault, there’d be no sexual assault. Ever. There’s your fucking common sense, Mia.

Ah Mia Freedman, it all makes sense now

Hey look everyone, look what I did for you. I read Mia Freedman’s latest piece of shaming nonsense so you don’t have to: Are you a mother or a porn star?

Because porn stars are bad, donchaknow, and looking like one is the worst thing in the world and mothers should never, EVER, look sexy or like they know what sex is, even though we all know they’ve done it at least once because there’s a baby.

Freedman’s wearing her shaming pants because Kim Kardashian isn’t wearing any. Kardashian posted a damn hot photo to instagram. Freedman reckons the photo is “ridiculous”. I reckon it’s SPECTACULAR. To quote @Msloulou77, “if my booty was bangin’ in a skimpy white cosi you guys would have more pics of that than hot dinners”. Hell yes.

You know, call me overly sensitive but starting your piece with a quote about burning the place down – when hundreds of people have lost their homes in fires in the last 24 hours – is a dick move. Justifying the quote later by saying it was written months ago doesn’t make it less shitty.

The thing that cracks me up the most about Freedman’s piece is that it demonstrates how little she understands the pop culture she’s been writing about for decades. Like this bit:

Why did you need to do this? Why does the world need to see up your bum and inside your top?

This has nothing to do with need. It’s about want. Kardashian instagrammed a photo for people who want to see her photos. It’s pop culture, not a meeting of the Security Council. If Freedman doesn’t want to see photos like this, it’s pretty easy to unsubscribe. It would mean she’d miss out on opportunities to shame other women, but surely that’s a small price to pay for no longer having to look at bodies she doesn’t like.

Why not just cut to the chase and post a link to the sex tape (you know, the one you claim to be mortified about while disingenuously ignoring its role in your fame)? Are you really that desperate to reclaim your hotness that you’re happy to discard your dignity and that of your daughter?

Woah, woah, woah, there’s a lot going on here. By Freedman’s logic, if you’re wearing a pair of swimmers – at the beach or the pool or in a change room – you might as well be having sex. Um, Mia, if that’s what you think sex is, then you are actually doin’ it wrong.

Now to the sex tape nonsense. The sex tape didn’t make Kim Kardashian famous – journalists creamed their jeans and made it a huge news story because she was already famous. Do you really think journalists would care about a sex tape made by unknowns? For fuck’s sake, it’s not rocket surgery.

As for the last bit, apparently once you have a baby it’s undignified to look good in a swimsuit. Particularly because it will discard your daughter’s dignity. I’m not quite sure how that works, but that’s probably because I don’t have a daughter.

I’m not suggesting that being a woman comes to a screaming halt when you become a mother. Nor being sexy, if that floats your boat.

Actually, that is EXACTLY what you’re suggesting. In your own words, you headlined your piece “Are you a mother or a porn star?” and you wrote that you got “whiplash” because Kardashian has posted a sexy photo AND a photo of her baby. So you’re either bullshitting and hoping that no one notices, or you don’t actually know what those words mean. Which is it?

But putting on a transparent and gaping white leotard, shoving your arse in the air and taking a rear view selfie (with extreme side boob) is not the action of a woman comfortable in her skin.

Gonna have to disagree with you here, Mia. I reckon it’s the action of someone who is incredibly comfortable in her skin. You can’t seriously believe that a woman who doesn’t like her body would take a photo of herself in a pair of swimmers and put that photo online for millions of people to see, do you?

I don’t have the ovaries to post a photo like that – probably because I read Freedman’s magazines when I was a teenager and learned that the most important thing I could do was to “Drop a dress size by Saturday!” then I’d be able to “Buy the swimsuit to suit my body!” (even though none of the models had a body like my body), so finally I would be able to use those “Sex tips to blow his mind!”. I don’t recall seeing anything about my pleasure, but seeing how icky Freedman is about sex workers and women recording the sex they have and women being sexy, it all starts to make sense now. After all, if you’re comfortable with women’s bodies and women being sexy (and if you understood social media) then you wouldn’t think it was so “weird” for Mariah Carey to tweet a photo of her boobs. Hey Mia, just to freak you out, here’s a photo of my arse and my boobs that I’ve tweeted. It’s no big deal, they’re just parts of my body that I happen to like. I’m 37 which means – going by what you wrote about Carey – you’ll probably suggest I tweeted these photos because I’m old and desperate. Whatevs, love.

wait, what’s the purpose of Kim Kardashian again?

Oh wow. Could there be a nastier comment than saying there is no point to a person being alive?

“Mia stop being a bitch about Kim Kardashian” some commenters will say in 3….2…..1……

“Stop judging and slut-shaming.”

Yeah but no. Because Kim is the canary down the mineshaft. Kim is simply a magnified reflection of society. In this photo – by taking it and publishing it and thinking it’s a good idea to do both – she is merely tapping into this sick societal obsession with women having to look hot at every moment in their lives – from child to cougar.

And I, for one, have had a gutful. New mothers are more than their arse. Stop reducing everything to that.

Oh, sweet jeebus, what a mess. I love how Freedman demonstrates that she doesn’t understand the criticism she gets over and over again.

If Kim Kardashian is “merely tapping into this sick societal obsession with women having to look hot at every moment in their lives”, then where’s the bit where society is blamed for it? Sure, let’s talk about the pressure on women to look hot – fuckable but not slutty – and let’s talk about how Freedman’s magazines and tv appearances and website have contributed to this pressure. But let’s not pretend that this is actually Freedman’s point. Because if it was, then that’s what she would have written about. Her article is nothing more than shaming a woman for posting a sexy photo of herself online. How dare she? She’s a mother!

As for reducing women to just their body parts, this is exactly what Freedman has done. The swimsuit photo and the baby photo show that Kardashian is a woman and a mother. Freedman just wants her to be the latter.

And you know the bit that makes Freedman look like a real goose? At the end of her piece she has a gallery of 98 photos of Kim Kardashian. Obsessed, much?

Update: Freedman is a goose AND a hypocrite. Check out this tweet from September 12. I guess now that Kardashian is being sexy in her body, instead of growing a baby in her body, then it’s ok for Freedman to define her by her body.

The Tipsy Rabbit is hungry

So we’re doin’ a night of food!

The Tipsy Rabbit is a writers’ event, with performances and food. It’s a fun night I put on with the wonderful Jen Shedden.

The next one is on Thursday 17th and we’re talking food. On the Tipsy Rabbit couch will be:

The gorgeous Kate Gibbs: food writer and author of The Thrifty Kitchen and After Toast, Kate also writes weekly food columns for Sunday Life magazine and Cosmopolitan magazine online. She was recently named by Madison as one of Australia’s Top 100 most inspiring women.

The fabulous Kumar Pereira: he’s the author of Kumar’s Family Cookbook, but you may know him from MasterChef. Make sure you’re not late because Kumar has a special treat in store from 7pm.

Sydney’s sauciest butchers, Feather and Bone: the F&B ethos is about knowing where your food comes from and using the whole animal. They’ll be talking about the ethics of meat (because The Tipsy Rabbit is words and ideas) and they’ll be giving a butchery demonstration. After all, this is not your average writers’ event.

We’ll also have musical performances by Camille Bernardino, and cake. Come along, eat, show me your faces, put questions to our three speakers and most importantly, have fun.

More info on The Tipsy Rabbit blog. Here’s the facebook invite, let us know you’re coming so we know how many baked treats to make.

Thursday 17 October at The Red Rattler, Marrickville, $10. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.

Silly women and their silly shoes

Oh hey look, here’s another “news story” based on a media release from a marketing company that says women are silly for spending money on some stereotypical thing: Some home truths about that shoe addiction of yours, by Jessica Martin. Well, it’s not by Jessica Martin. The article is by Bianca London for the Daily Mail and published a month ago. Martin did a re-write for Fairfax today.

The flimsy argument is that the amount of money women spend on shoes over their entire lifetime adds up to a house deposit:

Women wondering why they don’t have enough savings for a house deposit could do well to look in their cupboards for the answer. A survey has revealed women will spend more than $57,800 on shoes in their lifetime – almost $3400 more than the 10 per cent deposit needed for an average $544,000 mortgage in Australia.

So, if you never ever buy shoes, by the time you die you’ll have saved enough for a house deposit. Presumably so your corpse can rot in it for a month or so until the bank repossesses it because you’re not making any repayments because you are dead. Never mind the fact that you’ll have a hard time getting a well-paying job to save that deposit if you don’t wear shoes. ManFriend and I tend to have pizza on Friday nights (today, hooray!) – if we don’t do that for the next 70 years, we’ll have a house deposit. We’ll also have died from old age, but I won’t let that get in the way of the re-write of a re-write that I’m gonna pitch to smh.com.au.

There’s another problem with the calculations. From the PromotionalCodes website:

This results in an average annual spend of £570 which, over the course of 60 years, equates to a massive £34,200 spent on shoes.

It’s ridiculous to suggest that a woman in her early 20s who has bought 12 pairs of shoes in the last year will be doing that for the next 60 years. It just doesn’t make sense. Also, most flats will only last one season because they’re made of cheap pleather with crap soles, and don’t get me started on how hard it is to find a pair of boots that look like they’ll last more than a few months.

Mindy has a great take-down of this click-bait at Hoyden About Town:

To say that women frivolously buying shoes is the only thing between them and home ownership is really crap. Structural inequality might have a little something to do with it too. Also, for the majority of women just try and get one of those $100K per year jobs (I don’t have one) without being well turned out with nice shoes and see how far you get.

What Martin doesn’t mention in her re-write is that the survey was conducted by PromotionalCodes.org.uk – a URL that should have made a journalist think, ‘hmm, this survey is probably a load of bollocks and if I pretend it’s newsworthy then I’ll be adding to the whole pile of stinky bollocks that we call stories about women on news sites’.

A festival and a holiday

Jo at A Life Unexamined (what a brilliant name for a blog, eh?) is hosting the 64th Down Under Feminists Carnival.

The international symbol for women, with the Southern Cross inside

If you’re not familiar with the carnival, it’s a monthly round-up of the best feminist writing from New Zealand and Australia. The carnival covers politcs, the media, race, asylum seekers, paid work, parenting, bodies, sexism, harassment, intersectionality, and pop culture. It’s a great way to find new blogs, and see how consistently good our feminist bloggers are.

Now for the holiday bit. This lazy blogger is going to a four-day wedding in Tuscany. It’s gonna be hard, but I’ll struggle through. I’ll be back next month.

Fairfax’s fact-checking failure

The editors and journalists at Fairfax just don’t get how to use their fact-checking info.

Ok, so it’s mind-boggling that Fairfax has said, yep, we don’t fact-check the news we publish, so for the election, for a gimmick, we’re going get PolitiFact to do it for us. Apparently that doesn’t bother people like it bothers me. But at least they’re checking things, unlike News Ltd. So there’s that, I suppose.

But they really don’t understand what to do with the information PolitiFact gives them.

Take this story in today’s Sydney Morning Herald: Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme to begin July 2015. In the paper it’s on page 8, with the headline “Liberals smooth out the bumps with $6b paid parental leave scheme”. It’s buried deep in the bowels of smh.com.au – I had to google the first sentence of the story to find it. Below the story (in the paper), running across pages 8 and 9, is the fact-check statement from PolitiFact – Working mothers won’t be $21,000 better off under Coalition plan – which labels Tony Abbott’s claims as “mostly false”.

So, you’d expect that information to be mentioned in the story, right?

Right?

BAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Of course not.

Instead, we have 476 words from Jacqueline Maley about the scheme, including the claim that women will be $21,000 better off under the Coalition’s parental leave scheme, with no mention that the claim is nonsense. Honestly, what is the point of partnering with Politifact if you don’t put that information in your stories? I don’t understand how any journalist and any editor would think it’s ok to put the news in one section, and the facts over there in a different section. It’s just bizarre.

And, in keeping with the Australian journalism approach to online news, the two damn pieces aren’t even linked on the website. Nope. If you’re reading the fact-check statement, you can’t click to the story that it’s about. If you’re reading the story – if you managed to find it – you can’t click through to the fact-check statement. How can they be so clueless?

It’s a crazy idea, I know, but isn’t the point of fact-checking to put that info inside the story?

Information? Oh, we don’t put that in the news anymore, silly

I didn’t watch the debate last night. I was at the pub with my derby gang after training, which was a much better way to spend an evening.

So, this morning I thought I’d check the MSM for information about the debate. You know, what Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott said, whether they announced any policies, and how their claims stacked up when they were fact checked.

I wanted some news.

Shush, I can hear your laughter from here.

This is the debate coverage across the top of smh.com.au this morning:

Coverage of last night's debate between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott on smh.com.au.

Coverage of last night’s debate between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott on smh.com.au.

There’s an opinion piece by Peter Hartcher about who won – based on style, rather than substance – and 861 words by Judith Ireland (with AAP) about Kevin Rudd using notes during the debate and whether that makes him a cheater, and a video of the same news story. To put the 861 words about a simple “yes he had notes, no they weren’t allowed” into perspective, this whole post about the coverage on two websites is 476 words.

Hartcher’s piece mentioned that both Rudd and Abbott “ducked the question on building Sydney’s second airport”, so after reading the smh.com.au coverage I know about one question from an hour-long debate between the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader.

Righty-o then.

At dailytelegraph.com.au, there was one story at the top of the website this morning:

How dailytelegraph.com.au started their coverage of the debate.

How dailytelegraph.com.au started their coverage of the debate.

But it was replaced a short time later by this:

MAKE IT BIGGER - the same dailytelegraph.com.au story a short time later.

MAKE IT BIGGER – the same dailytelegraph.com.au story a short time later.

I guess they didn’t want smh.com.au to be the only ones shouting CHEATING CHEATERER.

The story is by Patrick Lion and it’s from the News Limited Network so it’ll be the same story on every website: Election debate: Kevin Rudd accused of cheating after using notes during debate. It’s 496 words about the notes, and not a single mention of any of the topics that were discussed. So, after reading the dailytelegraph.com.au coverage I don’t know anything about the questions in an hour-long debate between the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader.

Don’t get me wrong – the notes story is a story. But it’s not the story because it’s not really important. Having notes at a debate has fuck-all to do with helping people to decide which party’s plan for the future is the one they want to support. Because that’s the whole damn point of the debate.

But the notes story is an easy one to write. It’s a lot easier than reporting what Rudd and Abbott said and doing some research into their policy ideas and fact-checking their claims and finding a clever way to include all of this info in the same story so it’s actually useful to your audience.

PS – If you want to know about the content of the debate, abc.com.au has broken it down question by question, and junkee.com’s Jess O’Callaghan explains the debate with gifs in a piece that contains more info than Fairfax and News Ltd combined.