This U.S. Election wasn’t about gender

‘The Project’ has received a backlash after this heated exchange between Mamamia’s Jamila Rizvi, 2GB’s Steve Price and Carrie Bickmore. This occurred in the aftermath of the U.S Election. Jamila, Carrie and former Big Brother host, Gretel Kileen were lamenting how Hillary Clinton didn’t become the first female President.

A part from agreeing with the anger of how both Rizvi and Bickmore pounced on Price, in my opinion, the U.S election WASN’T about gender! I agree with other commentators who have said that it was a backlash against the pokitical class and corruption.

That aside, this reminds me of the big hoo haa when Julia Gillard became the first female Prime Minister in Australia back in 2012. Rather than it being seen as a ‘victory’ for women, it only exposed the severe fracture in the Labor Party – a fracture that has negatively affected the party ever since.

Unfortnately, Hillary Clinton’s reputation went down the gutter. Questions over e – mails, corruption in her ‘Clinton Foundation’ and her handling of allegations of sexual assaukt aginst her husband and former President, gave her absolutely no credibility.   Like Gillard, Clinton wasa symbol of corruption and lack of integrity. Her claims of standing for women, African Americans, Latinos, Hispanics and the gay community ended up falling on deaf ears after all the allegations, including giving funds to Saudi Arabia, a kingdom well – known for publicly executing gays and also being condemned for human rights abuses against women.

 

This election was a revolt against corruptionand what wasn’t working. It was a revolt against people who felt like they were being cornered. It was about people who were sick of not being heard when they raised concerns. This was a backlash against the overt – PC culture that has flooded the U.S. (and has come here to a lesser extent). People want to be heard! They want their voices back! This is, I believe the reason why Trump won. I can understand why it might make people uncomfortable. People have expressed fears about what might happen. I’ve expressed my own fears, especially on the issue of LGBT rights and anti – discrimination legislation. I sincerely hope that Americans don’t face a back pedal from the steps torward that have been taken. It still doesn’t change my view that Clinton didn’t lose because she is a woman. She lost because people found the voice to oppose the political narrative that the voters thought had gone on for too long.

 

 

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This is what feminists have to complain about. Really?

Watching the video embedded in this Tweet, UK Sky News reporter gets in a heated debate about men calling women pet names. Yes, really. Now, when it comes to names, I always say that if you call someone a term of endearment or a nickname that they don’t like, then back off and don’t push the issue. I think it’s a matter of respect. And this applies to all people regardless of gender.

But it does make me raise the question, is this all feminists have to complain about? This is the sort of unfunny joke I talked aboutin this post – making EVERYTHING into a bigger deal than what it is while largely turning a blind eye to real issues facing women, particularly those from racial minorities. Since I wrote that article, on the ABC’s “The Drum” last night, they did have a woman talking (very briefly, I must say), about how to combat domestic violence in ATSI communities. So it’s something… I guess.

 

Back to pet names, etc. Again, respect is key. If you’re asked to stop saying/ calling someone a particular name, then stop. But how this has become a major feminist issue – at least in the UK, I just don’t get. Is this all there is? I mean, FGM, the atrocities committed by ISIS and other terrorist groups, domestic violence in racial minority communities… I mean, that’s not worth a mention…. or maybe worth a one – off mention here and there, but is the issue of pet names really more important than these?

There’s another thing too – this idea that men, by default, have to be demonised, for something. Anything. It’s another thing that have men walking on egg shells about. Is this how we want our society to be – a place where our fathers, brothers, uncles, male friends, etc don’t know what to say or how to interact with women in fear that someone might be offended. What would happen if men even starting withholding affection, either verbal or physical, not out of spite, but just out of fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. That would be something, I’m sure most women won’t like.

 

Ladies, we have to start picking our battles and realise that all men are not our enemies. If we continue to treat them like they are, then I can’t help but fear that we’ll end up regretting it.

Feminism needs to advocate for ALL women – including ATSI victims of domestic violence

Former chairman of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council and Order of Australia, Warren Mundine wrote an piece in “The Australian” highlighting the pandemic of domestic violence in Aboriginal communities. He condemned the Aboriginal leaders for being silent on the epidemic and also punishing anyone who does speak out. Women who dare speak out about violence are shunned by their tribe and are often blamed for what happens to them. The perpetrators are often protected. For those who don’t know, this isn’t coming from a “white” columnist. Mundine is from the Bundajulung tribe – traditional inhabitants of of far North – East New South Wales and southern Queensland.

Mundine highlighted a number of cases, (which are really hard to find on Google, I might add), of where women were brutally attacked or killed by partners. One was near Bill Bell Park, Darwin and another incident was a woman who was constantly stomped on and kicked by her partner in Alice Springs. According to Mundine, the Bill Bell  Park murder occurred the same time Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull demanded an Royal Commission after ABC’s “Four Corners” aired a segment with concerning footage of events in the Don Dale Detention Centre in Alice Springs. These were not heard of in mainstream media. The only exception was Sky News’ (Australia), Matt Cunningham. Since then, Andrew Bolt from the Herald SunABC Radio National (RN) have spoken about Mundine’s article.

Nothing on Mamamia even though they have spoken about the domestic violence rate in Aboriginal communities last year… that article took me a while to find, by the way. From what I saw, there was nothing about the more recent murder near Bill Bell Park. Nothing from Clementine Ford’s site (should I be surprised?). I didn’t watch “Studio 10” today. Whether the panel mentioned it, I’m not sure.

This is quite an appalling record by many in the Australian media, especially by those who claim to champion the rights of women and children. As Mundine asked rhetorically:

Are people outraged only when white women are abused? Do only white children deserve protection from pedophiles? (sic)

 

So, why is there a lack of reporting? Most likely “cultural sensitivity” gone mad, not wanting to rock the boat and risk causing offence or demonise Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people collectively. Mundine had a blunt message about that in the article too:

Frankly, if Indigenous people remain silent we deserve to be tarnished. When communities protect abusers they are complicit in abuse.

 

Maybe a part of the problem is that Australia, maybe out of guilt, has over – romanticised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. But Mundine pointed out failings in Aboriginal communities in regards to domestic violence. For example, women who are abused are too often afraid to speak out because she runs the real risk of being blamed and ostracised by her own family, as well as the supporters of the perpetrator because the abuser and victim are often from the same tribe. Brave women have risked backlash by speaking out. These include: Jacinta Nampijimpa and Bess Nungarrayi Price, who condemned the number of children being abused in Aboriginal communities.

 

Yes, there is a lack of commentary and reporting from feminist bloggers/ journalists. I must admit, I’m not innocent in this. This is the first post that I’ve dealt with the issue of violence in Aboriginal communities in any sort of depth. It hasn’t been a topic that has entered my mind a lot. And, admittedly, the fear of seeming like stigamatising the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities has crossed my mind. But this can’t be seen as acceptable by anyone. It’s appalling and should be called out. I do commend Warren Mundine for speaking out about this. I doubt this would’ve been easy for him to expose, either. Hopefully, he’s sparked a much needed discussion about violence within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. A discussion that is long, long overdue.

 

“Rape Culture” and It’s Affects On Young Men

Many people have probably heard of the case of Brock Turner, a 20 – year – old student at Stanford who was convicted of raping an unconscious female. His father, Dan, caused outrage when it seemed like he was trying to excuse his son’s behaviour and blame the then unconscious girl. However, I read this post from Clare Flourish, and I can see where she’s coming from.

She argues that Brock – the Stanford student convicted of rape, may have felt pressure from the culture of Stanford. That’s not excusing what he did. But it does shine a light, I think on how pressure to “get some” so to speak can affect young men, and, sometimes, tragically, like Turner, make a tragic error in committing an assault on a defenceless woman.

Many radical feminists, like Clementine Ford, talk about rape culture extensively. They argue that men rape because they are entitled and because society permits men to use women as they wish. Rape culture exists because of the emphasis on things like women and what they wear, and demanding that women make themselves safe, rather than telling men not to rape. But maybe there’s more.

 

Are men overly pressured to “score” – as in get to have sex with a woman, or even multiple women? One of the core aspects of masculinity that is often emphasised is women – how they “get” women; whether to sleep with, marry, etc. Sure, sex is a natural part of a relationship for most men. But has it got to the point that, for too long, it’s become compulsory – or at least it’s appeared that way to many young men?

Another point: who was there to for Brock to talk to about his insecurities about his relational or financial status? If he talked to someone about his fears, would’ve the assault not have occurred? Which brings to me to this – men and boys NEED to be told that they can talk to someone whenever they need to if they feel troubled and insecure.

Maybe men talking about, or at least dealing with their feelings needs to become, not just a suggestion for society to make, but an expectation. Men should be expected to deal with their emotional baggage before any abuse of any sort happens: coward punches, sexual assault, abuse of drugs, etc. We should make it an expectation of men to get their crap together because ABUSE IS NEVER OK.

Here’s the thing: If you have problems, DEAL WITH THEM. Because you DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT  to take it out on someone else and ruin someone’s life. Period.

Wom*n Grow Up!

Apparently some students at a Melbourne university want to replace the ‘E’ and ‘A’ of words like ‘woman and ‘ women. Reason? Probably patriarchy.

For heaven’s sake, grow up!

Seriously, how is this helping any woman, here or abroad? All it’s doing is giving feminism a bad name! Why something so petty? Enough’s enough.

Fight for women’s RIGHTS everywhere. Fight for womenin the Middle East. Fight against violence. Demand better services for those escaping domestic violence (fighting for shelters and whatnot). ENOUGH WITH THE PETTINESS ALREADY! It’s become beyond a joke.

“Pink Carriages” The Answer for the Safety of Women and Children?

Last night on Ten’s “The Project”, there was a report on “Safe Carriages” – a push to have separate train carriages exclusive for women and children to avoid would – be predators and sex pests on city trains and to prevent further assaults. Currently, according to Sydney’s “The Daily Telegraph”,* the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics show that six men and six women were sexually victimised in the first nine months of last year. Overall, the statistic is more shocking – 142 women and 24 men have been reportedly victimised.

Other countries like Japan and India have implemented a similar idea to try and keep women safe on city trains. The suggestion, however, has received fierce opposition both here in Australia and in the UK. Feminist, Eva Cox has been one vocal opponent, fearing that it’ll do more harm than good and that it puts the focus on the victim, rather than the perpetrator:

I suspect if men are being drunk and obnoxious, they ought to be stuck away in a separate carriage, rather than limit women in a separate carriage.

Cox worries that, in fact, the move could potentially backfire and make women on mixed – gender carriages less safe:

I get fairly wary of it being seen as we have to protect ourselves by excluding ourselves

 

I can’t help but feel that it’s just a Band – Aid solution to a complex societal problem. What about cracking down on drunkenness on trains. How about, like it was suggested, employing more guards, and I’d also add, give them adequate powers to ban pests or abusive passengers. How about the legal system as a whole stop treating sex crimes and other crimes like a complete joke and give perpetrators lengthy sentences, like life or 30+ years? Or, if need be, increase funding to sex offenders rehabilitation programs? How about tightening liquor laws (times, etc), so patrons are less likely to get drunk and be aggressive in public? It’s worked in King’s Cross in Sydney of all places! (Trading hours for alcohol has been limited until 1 a.m… I think).  I agree with Cox that it takes the responsibility away from the perpetrators and putting the responsibility back on victims (men are also be victimised).

I can see how “safe carriages” could fail commuters. I also think it’s a diversion tactic, rather than dealing with the problem head – on. Everyone should be safe on trains and other public transport. That’s a no – brainer. People should be safe everywhere. Let’s deal with the issue of sexual harassment, sexual assault and other violence holistically, rather than trivially.

  • Note: if you are not a paid subscriber to the Daily Telegraph, you probably won’t be able to access the article in the link.

 

 

Is Cleo Magazine Going To Stop Production?

Rumour has it (apparently not confirmed), that Australian women’s magazine, Cleo, will soon follow the footsteps of Zoo Weekly and stop production.

According to the Australian, the magazine closed it’s website in December last year and former users were diverted to the Cosmopolitan website, due to the Cleo website reportedly closing down.

 

Cleo was a trailblazer magazine in it’s launch in 1973; one of the most controversial and revolutionary features being the Sealed Section which, for the first time, featured nudity and frank discussions about women’s sexuality.

 

I wonder how it’ll affect feminism in the media, since the Cleo magazines did feature articles about sexism, sexual harassment in the workplace, and domestic violence, in the years I read the magazine. One month a few years ago, they even featured blogger Johanna Qualmann talking about asexuality. Admittedly, one of the things that annoyed me in the end was the number of advertisements, and how, quite frankly, it often outnumbered the number of quality articles.

Cleo I think has kept feminism and women’s issues in the spotlight to a certain degree. If the magazine does stop production, where will women get their information and hear the views from? Marie Clare? Cosmopolitan? Online publications? Blogs?

I often wonder too, where journalism will be in t he future, considering the closing of news papers, and now magazines across the country. Will the best bet for magazine journalists now will be to look at other media, like TV, radio, or even on – line? Seems to be like that.

 

Have you/ do you read Cleo? What do you think about it?