(And he’s just as bodgy DIY as he’s always been)
(And he’s just as bodgy DIY as he’s always been)
It’s International Women’s Day.
So, instead of reading yet another fucking article about Why I Am A Feminist or Is This Woman A Feminist – which is still just making women argue amongst ourselves, putting the Feminists on one side and the Not-Feminists on the other – you should read these two pieces:
I was told I needed to ask about accessibility in private, out of the public eye. Perhaps I am not part of the public? A disabled woman couldn’t possibly be made welcome by publicising how easy it would be for her to take part.
I have a dream. In my dream every woman with a public voice just for once refuses these speaking and writing engagements and instead throws her weight behind a National Day of Mourning on March 8, for the women world-wide, and particularly in Australia because this is our homeland where we can best have influence, who are murdered and abused by intimate partners, as well as the children who witness and suffer.
Why aren’t we angry enough?
*** THIS IS A GUEST POST. A HUGE THANK YOU TO THE WONDERFUL, FUNNY WRITER ***
Where do I begin? Maybe a little bit about myself to set the scene. I am 49 years old. I have raised two sons on my own. I have a career and I am financially independent. I am assertive and intelligent but not a bitch.
Eighteen months ago I waved my sociopath (3rd) husband goodbye who was chronically unemployed but busy having affairs that I financed on my credit card. I am saying all this because it shows that even though I consider myself intelligent there is also a side to me that is gullible and dumb when it comes to men.
So, here I am single again but happy. I thought that a little bit of online dating would be appropriate and nice and I would maybe find a guy who likes to go to the museum with me, the movies and coffee afterwards. The general idea was we would take it slow and eventually a romance would blossom and we drive off in the sunset hugging and being happy ever after.
In reality it is a very different experience predominantly focused on the male sex organ. 9 out of 10 guys are keen in the first conversation on Whatsapp or Skype to ask questions about sexual preferences. Even I find it odd to ask this within the first 20-30 minutes of ‘meeting’, considering myself liberal and progressive, I comply and answer that anything that doesn’t hurt and is consensual is ok.
In my world this statement leaves it wide open to everybody’s imagination what I am happy to do and one would assume that this blanket statement does the trick and is the answer. But no, it doesn’t. In all cases (but 1) the next questions is “do you want to see something special” – and, there we go, 30 seconds later the picture of the penis arrives on the screen of my phone. For a while I thought that this is maybe the new dating style and I missed it because I was busy working my arse off for husband #3 so that he has enough money to take other women out?
There are a variety of styles and tactics. A common one is to send a photo taken in a bathroom with a towel around the hips as a start, as a build up so to speak. The rationale when queried why the towel is “I want you to see that I am healthy”. Fair enough. But then you get the picture without the towel because he assumed that you want to see the penis is healthy too.
Another variation is that he lies on the bed and the TV is on in the background, and he wants to show you his new socks. Bang there we go, suddenly there is the penis in the foreground too and you didn’t see it coming – not sure if this is a good choice of phrase.
There is also a choice of video pre-recordings one can choose from. All with the penis being the star of the show.
What is puzzling that most men think that their penis is unique or beautiful and they expect praise for the size, colour, shape or something else? I wonder if any of them is aware that every man on the planet has a penis and it is not a special find if a woman comes across one, especially if I have on my dating profile that I have two kids. Like Suzie says to Lisa “guess what happened to me last night. I have finally met a men with a penis, took me ages to find one…”.
Also, you never see the man’s face. Just the penis, as if it is a lure or something, no, I wouldn’t go out with a guy just because he has a penis.
Maybe there is a market for penis accessories to decorate them and differentiate them, because remember, the penis never comes with a face. I wonder if I could get rich like the lady who invented the little decorations for crocs, jibbitz. Penises would be so much nicer with a little bit of glitter and glam. What’s the point of standing it up if you can’t hang anything off it or attach a bow tie?
Or maybe an app? Instapenis, we could look at penises all the time and compare, like them, write a comment and share without catching anything. Or penisbook where you can create communities and befriend other penis from foreign countries and see customised ads about penis decoration. The sky is the limit!
No seriously, straight women love penises when they are in pants attached to a nice guy. We want them out and admire them when WE want.
PS I am not on Tinder, and I am not wearing a revealing dress on my profile pictures. I also don’t have a call to action that says: only profiles with penis picture…
Journalists have a very important and privileged position in our society. They control what news stories we get to know about, and the way we tend to think about those stories. The words they use to describe a crime become the words we use to describe that crime. Which is why it matters when they get their reporting so wrong, like they do almost every time they report male violence against women. They focus on the victim and what she was doing, and barely mention the male perpetrator of that crime. As a result, when we talk about sexual assault we talk about women when we should be talking about men.
Take this story by Megan Levy on smh.com.au: Unconscious mother raped in toilet block while daughter cowered in cubicle:
A mother was knocked unconscious and raped in a public toilet block while her six-year-old daughter cowered in a cubicle just metres away on the NSW south coast, police say.
Australian journalists use the pyramid style of reporting, which puts all the important bits in the first sentence. There’s no mention of the man who did it, so Levy clearly didn’t think the man who committed the crime was an important part of her story about his crime.
The second sentence offers up an excuse for his actions – he’d been drinking:
The 37-year-old woman woke to find the man, who smelled like cigarettes and alcohol, lying on top of her on the floor of the toilet block in Batemans Bay late last month. He then ran away.
What is more important – that a man hit a woman so hard he knocked her out and then he raped her, or that the victim was 37, the daughter was six, the daughter was in a toilet cubicle, the cubicle was a few metres away, the toilet block was in Batemans Bay, Batemans Bay is on the south coast of NSW, it happened a few months ago, and the attacker smelled like cigarettes and alcohol? It’s a tough one, I know. It’s the kind of thing that would keep you up at night, wondering if you’d made the right decision about what was more important in your story about a violent crime.
The third sentence about what he did doesn’t even mention him at all:
Detectives initially believed the woman had been indecently assaulted during the attack, however they now say she was raped in the minutes that she lay unconscious on the toilet block floor.
Here Levy, let me fix that for you: “Detectives initially believed the man indecently assaulted the woman during the attack, however they now say he raped her”.
Later, Levy writes “The mother was then punched and knocked unconscious, before she was sexually assaulted”, when she should be writing “The man punched the woman, knocking her unconscious, and then he sexually assaulted her”. This is not complex stuff. The words we all use to talk about male violence are important. As Jane Gilmore writes in her excellent piece about male violent crime, the phrase “violence against women” means “Violence is the subject, women are the object, and the perpetrators of the violence aren’t part of the discussion”.
I know I keep going on about this, but journos don’t report other crimes this way. I used to give them the benefit of the doubt with this stuff. But this is not news to them. I know journos read these posts. Some of them contact me to say thank you, and some of them ask for advice on their stories. I’ve emailed Levy before about this. But there’s also the sub editor at smh.com.au and the homepage editor who didn’t see a problem with the way this story was reported. They either didn’t notice, or didn’t care, that the story about a man’s crime barely mentions him at all.
Update 15 December 2014:
Another horrific story about a man killing a woman but you wouldn’t know he did it by reading the headline: Deer Park woman found dead in suspected murder-suicide
On theage.com.au homepage, journos have minimised the man’s role in his violence:
But that’s not the worst bit. I am absolutely gobsmacked by this comment from the cop in charge of the investigation:
Homicide Detective Sergeant Paul Tremain said police were aware of a history of domestic violence going back to at least 2012.
“There was an intervention order taken out in 2012 which expired four days ago,” Detective Sergeant Tremain said.
“These are just shocking circumstances of two people who couldn’t work out their differences and it’s ended in a tragedy like this,” he said.
COULDN’T WORK OUT THEIR DIFFERENCES? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? They “couldn’t work out their differences” is what you say when a relationship ends. It most definitely is NOT what you say when a man with a history of being violent, threatening or abusive towards a woman decides to murder her. Tremain’s attitude is appalling. Australia has a huge problem with male violence against women, and many people have attitudes that excuse that violence. Journalists who interview neighbours for quotes about what a “nice guy” the murderer was are part of the problem because they are trying to excuse his actions. And yes, Detective Sergeant Paul Tremain, you are also part of the problem.
Woah, July was my last post? Sheesh. Sorry about that. Now I’m about to do something rude and ask for a favour.
I’m currently researching the news habits of young Australian adults, with a particular focus on social media and comedy as sources of news. It’s for my doctorate. Yeah, the one I’m still doing. I know, I know.
Anyway, I need some more 18-25 year-olds to fill out my online survey and it would be FREAKIN’ AMAZING if you could send the survey link through your networks:
The survey is open to anyone in the age range who lives in Australia.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
Here is me, seeing the finish line:
Right now, I am the strongest I’ve ever been. I admire my biceps. I marvel at my muscular thighs. We had to put the Elvis mirror up higher in the kitchen because I was constantly checking out my derby butt.
It wasn’t always like this – when I was skinny and when I was fat, I still hid my body. I’ve never cared what strangers thought of it, but I’ve always been so worried that people I know will look at my not-perfect body and think less of me. (No doubt this comes from growing up in a family who felt entitled to comment on my body all the time. Particularly during puberty. If you feel entitled to comment on someone’s body, stop fucking doing that.)
I figured this new body confidence was the result of playing sport. Of being physically active in a way I haven’t been for almost 25 years. But it’s not. This body confidence, this body satisfaction, it’s not a sport thing. It’s a roller derby thing. Peer-reviewed research says so.
For a lot of female athletes, there is conflict between their social world and their sporting world: to be successful in the former, they need to be feminine in appearance and demeanour, but to be successful in the latter they need to have strong muscular bodies and show characteristics associated with masculinity, such as assertiveness and competitiveness (Krane et al, 2004). So while they are proud of their muscular bodies in a sports setting, they tend to be self-conscious and have lower body image in a social setting. That’s no surprise. The ideal Western female athlete is slim, toned, white, and heterosexual-presenting – hell, that also describes the ideal Western woman and it is so damn hard to not internalise all that patriarchal bullshit. But this is where it gets interesting. Research by Andrea Eklund and Barbara Masberg (2014) indicates that playing roller derby leads to better body image, greater body satisfaction, and – in a surprise to no one who has been around derby players – a tendency to wear tight clothes in daily life. Wearing tight/revealing clothing at training and in bouts gives derby players the confidence to wear tight/revealing clothing in social settings. This finding contradicts research into other women’s sports that indicates that wearing revealing uniforms leads to lower body confidence (Krane et al, 2004).
Eklund and Masberg (2014) suggest that derby creates greater body acceptance, and acceptance of all body types, because unlike other sports, derby does not have an ideal-typical body type for that sport. Derby values all body types. However, in one of the greatest sentences to appear in an academic journal, “It should be noted that the respondents valued “booty”,” (Eklund and Masberg, 2014, p. 60).
This high level of body satisfaction and acceptance is also found in rugby (Fields and Comstock, 2008) and in belly dancing, which is one of the few styles in which dancers are not pressured to lose weight or to conform to any particular body shape (Downeya et al, 2010). Like derby, belly dancing promotes healthy body image in participants. Downeya et al (2010) suggest that belly dancing provides some sort of “immunity effect” in relation to social norms about ideal body types.
So there you have it. Proof that roller derby is better than other sports. I love the idea of getting immunised against harmful Western feminine ideals. An injection would be easier than learning to play derby, but it wouldn’t be as much fun. Not by a long shot. I fucking love my roller derby team.
Downeya, D., Reelb, J., SooHoob, S., and Zerbib, S. (2010). Body image in belly dance: Integrating alternative norms into collective identity. Journal of Gender Studies, vol. 19, pp. 377–393.
Eklund, A. and Masberg, B. (2014). Participation in Roller Derby, the Influence on Body Image. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 49-64.
Fields, S. K., and Comstock, R. D. (2008). Why American women play rugby. Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal, vol. 17, pp. 8–16.
Krane, V., Choi, P., Baird, S., Aimar, C., and Kauer, K. (2004). Living the paradox: Female athletes negotiate femininity and muscularity. Sex Roles, vol. 50, pp. 315–329.
I’m still chuckling about people who think that Joe Hockey having a different opinion now to the one he had almost 30 years ago is a BIG STORY.
When Joe Hockey was a uni student in 1987, he protested about the introduction of a $250 admin fee. Now, 27 years later, he’s part of a government that wants to make uni so expensive that students will be in debt for the rest of their lives. Women will cop the worst of it. (I couldn’t find anything on how the changes will affect Indigenous students, but we already know that the Budget hammers Indigenous people, with over $500 million cut from Indigenous affairs, including $160 million cut from Indigenous health programs, $3.5 million cut from the Torres Strait Regional Authority, $15 million cut from the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, $9.5 million cut from Indigenous language support, and that’s before you consider the GP co-payment and disgusting cuts to youth welfare. If you have an education link, please let me know and I’ll update this.)
Yesterday, the online editor at smh.com.au ranked the Hockey story in the top spot. The same story was still in tops (“above the fold”) this morning until 10am-ish, albeit with the date changed to today. I haven’t checked News Ltd sites because frankly, I couldn’t give a shit about their coverage.
Please note that I’m not saying it shouldn’t be reported. And I’m not saying that people shouldn’t talk about it. What I am saying is that, as far as journalism goes, it shouldn’t be the most important political story of the day. I saw journos on twitter congratulating each other over what a “good get” it was. Huh? That Hockey’s views about tertiary education were different when he was in student politics three decades ago is hardly a “GOTCHA” moment. Not least because his 1987 opposition to the $250 fee was reported last week (and at the time).
Mind you, I’m questioning why it was considered the most important political story on smh.com.au on a day when a video of some guys not getting caught in a tornado made news around the world, so I shouldn’t be surprised and why the hell am I wasting my time getting shitty about this stuff?
I’m yet to see a decent argument about why this story deserves the coverage it got. One argument is that it’s important because the education changes will affect a lot of people.
Yes, the changes do affect a lot of people, but what has a decades-old change of mind got to do with that? If it had happened in the last 12 months, then sure. But it’s probably closer to two decades ago, since he was president of the NSW Young Libs from 1991-1992, and made noises about changing Commonwealth funding of education in his maiden speech to Parliament in 1996. It’s an interesting side story, but it’s hardly OMG IMPORTANT.
Another argument is that it’s important because it gives his views context, and highlights his decision-making process.
Except it doesn’t do either of those things at all.
What does knowing that he said one thing in 1987 and now believes the opposite actually tell us about his decision-making process? Nothing. It tells us nothing.
What context does it provide to the current education debate?
But, you know, writing 466 words about what is said in an old video is a hellava lot easier than doing the kind of journalism that is actually important and useful. Yay, jernalism.