I am quite well suited to journalism and research because I’m nosey. I like to ask questions and find things out. And I’m well suited to blogging because I’m opinionated and like the sound of my own voice. So I find it rather odd that there are some things I don’t feel the need to have an opinion about.
Like whether Julian Assange is a rapist. I don’t know if the charges against him are true or false, because I simply don’t have enough information to make that decision. And – strangely, considering I’m an opinionated feminist – not having an opinion on that doesn’t bother me at all. On the issue of consent and whether it’s “rape” or “rape rape”, I want to quote a comment that kimsonof left here:
Consent was predicated upon the use of a condom. When Assange allegedly deviated from this condition, consent was no longer present. Thus if the alleged victims are accurate in their claims, it is rape in any jurisdiction including ours. Consent needs to be continuous.
That is spot on. And frankly, it needs to be a part of a national advertising campaign.
As a quick digression, Assange doesn’t actually present a problem for feminists, and the media commentary saying he does is yet another excuse to say there’s something wrong with feminism. You can support WikiLeaks and still demand that Assange goes to court to face the charges against him, because the two are unrelated. The rape charges arise from his private behaviour – unlike Mark McInnes’ sexual harassment of Kristy Fraser-Kirk at work functions which wasn’t taken seriously by the company. (Hey Lexy, can you link to that great WikiLeaks-ain’t-so-great article you were telling me about?)
And while I’ve got this high-horse saddled up, the thing about people saying “feminism is stupid so nyerrh” is that it’s sneaky. If they said that women should not have equal rights and opportunities to men, people would be lining up to tell them that only anachronistic arseholes hold that view. So instead, they use the f word – feminism – to hide what they’re really saying.
Anyway, back to not needing opinions on things I probably should have opinions on. I don’t know if Keli Lane killed/sold/gave away Tegan. I don’t have all the facts – I wasn’t in court and I didn’t follow the story – so I know that any opinion I form about it will be ill-informed. And I’m perfectly ok with that. But I find it quite frightening that we don’t need a unanimous verdict to convict someone of murder in a case where there is no body, no witnesses, and only circumstantial evidence.
The other frightening thing about this case is all the mother guilt/worship that’s going on in the mainstream media: “how could a mother do that to her child?”, “the strongest bond is between mother and child”. What utter bullshit. Firstly, it trivialises the relationship fathers have with their children. Secondly, it perpetuates the belief that only women can care for children and women only want to care for children, so women will continue to face a career disadvantage – men who leave work early to pick up the kids are called “great dads”, but women who do the same are “lacking commitment to the company”. And those who put their young kids in daycare so they can go back to work are “bad mothers”. And thirdly, like many people, I don’t have a good relationship with my mother. She wouldn’t kill me, but to say that the bond between us is the strongest of all is laughable.