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 and religion – can they co – exist?

This article in Ravishly got me thinking about feminism and religion or spirituality. Many religions – especially Christianity and Islam have come under fire in recent decades over how people, especially the leaders, view and treat women. There is no doubt that there has  been – and still are women treated atrociously in the name of religion – the sex slavery carried out by ISIS in the Middle East is an obvious modern day example. Earlier this year, Herald Sun columnist, Rita Panahi, herself of Iranian – Muslim background – now proclaimed atheist, slammed the celebration of the “burkini” in the Olympics, arguing that it was a form of oppression, and women in Islamic countries had no choice but to wear such restrictive garments. When the French government tried to ban the burkini across the French beaches, it was met with a push back from some Muslims. Columnist for “The Conversation”, slammed it as “politically convenient”. 

 

Christians haven’t escaped criticism. The “purity movement” that dominated American Christianity in the 1990’s and in Australia, trickled in some churches in the way of books, speakers, etc, has received a backlash from Christians and non – Christians alike. Organisations like the American Congress of Obstetrics even went as far as saying that people who grow up in such a culture of shame and are extremely misinformed about their bodies and sexuality during their development suffer similar symptoms to child sexual abuse and incest victims.

Due to strict views to warped views on sexuality and gender, many religions, including Christianity, have failed to protect women from domestic violence and have failed to bring justice to sexual abuse victims. Yazidis in Iraq have also had to reevaluate their views on virginity and sexuality after a number of women have escaped being captured and sold into sex slavery by Islamic State. Over the centuries, issues like modesty, the role of women in public life, the role of women in churches, (i.e. the great Catholic and Anglican divide) and the role of women in marriage are all topics that have plagued the Christian community in the West in one way or the other. Sound oppressive? I’ll let you make up you’re own mind.

Feminism vs religion

Issues like the ones I mentioned above, and issues such as the rights of women in regards to abortion are the barriers between feminists and those who claim a certain faith – especially those who are practising a conservative branch of that faith. It makes anti – sex work advocate, Melinda Tankard – Reist so polarising. Some people claim she’s a feminist, but yet, is conservative and pro – life. There has been a hostility between feminists and people who practice a faith – something that Ravishly columnist, Christine Stoddard, strongly criticises:

All that being said, I cannot stand when people bash, dismiss, and generalize (sic) religion, with no understanding or appreciation for people of faith. It’s true that religion is not perfect and it’s true how some people misinterpret religion is vile- just look at the Westboro Baptist Church and ISIS. But how can you say that the Catholic Church’s charitable refugee relief isn’t necessary? The Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration and the Movement of Peoples is beautiful.

As I pointed out above, Christians in particular are Christians themselves are starting to speak up about rights of people regardless of gender and even arguing using Scripture itself. People are starting to hit back at the sexism that has been, quite frankly, quite prevalent in some Christian circles. I think this has particularly come about because of the increasing of exposure of sexual, emotional, spiritual and physical abuse that both men and women have suffered at the hands of religious leaders, other people in their church or even spouses. Both conservative and progressive Christians are starting to have a frank, overdue discussion about how both men and women are to be treated. It needs to keep going.

Since the invasion of northern Iraq by ISIS, the Yazidis, who like Christians, have long held a traditional, black – and – white view about sex, have had to reevaluate their beliefs, especially on virginity. The traditional Yazidi view saw women who had “lost their virginity”, (i.e. had ANY form of sex, including rape), stigmatised and shunned by society.

So, can you be a feminist and religious? Well, maybe it depends hon who you interpret your branch of faith and what you view feminism to mean. But to me, if you believe in a God that created the universe and everything in it, including people, it’d make sense to stand up for the rights and dignity of all people.

Do you practise a religion or spirituality and do you identify as a feminist?

Kudos to Andrew Bolt

I don’t always agree with Newcorp columnist and TV host, Andrew Bolt (well, that’s a tad bit of an understatement, but anyway), but I fully applaud him for what he said last night on Sydney’s 2GB about Donald Trump’s outrageous comments about assaulting women and suggesting that a 10 – year – old girl could be his “date” when she was older on an escalator. Bolt slammed Trump as a “pig”.

So, he should. And good on him for doing so!

 

Have you kept up with the American Election? Feel free to tell me your thoughts below.

 

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.

 

So – called ‘feminists’ making feminism a laughing stock

No wonder why many women don’t want to be associated with feminism. From the abuse of ‘trigger warnings’, blatant hypocrisy and the never – ending attempts to shut down anyone who isn’t them, modern – day feminism is becoming a (unfunny) joke. The lack of condemnation against a spike of child brides in Australia becoming the latest sickening example (note: the article is only available to paid subscribers).

In the U.S.,  university students presented with a sign giving a ‘trigger warning’ for the showing of the first of a number of Presidential debates.

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(Image: via Sportsgrid)

Unlike some, I’m not against trigger warnings as a principle. I use them myself in my blogging and I also think that it’s not a bad thing. I think it’s actually good for writers to be sensitive to their readers when writing about potentially traumatic or disturbing topics. I believe that it shouldn’t prevent a writer from saying what he/ she/ they want to say, I think it can just be a nice 20 – word heads up to readers about potentially traumatic and/ or disturbing content.

In an educational context, I don’t think it’s a bad thing – it’s a good thing actually – for a teacher/ professor to be sensitive when dealing with potentialy traumatic content. I thinkit’s good forcthem to comfort students who are upset and allow students to calm themselves by leaving the classroom when needed. I remember when I was in Year 10 and we studied ‘A Property of the Clan’ and it’s movie adaptation, ‘Blackrock’, both written by the late Nick Enright. Many Austrakians would be familiar with the play and movie or at least be familiar with the real 1989 murder that inspired it. Many students – including me – were upset, angered and disturbed while studying both the play and film. The teacher at the time was very good at alloepwing the students to express their emotions and sensitive to their feelings. I don’t think it would be a bad thing if university staff did the same thing. However, there is a point when it goes too far. When ‘trigger warnings’ are used as excuses to zshut down debate or demonise someone with a different opinion, that’s when trigger warnings are being abused.

The sign above is what I consider to be an abuse of trigger warnings. Since when has a Presidential/ Prime Ministerial debate contained sexual violence or abuse? Really? Another example of, not abuse of trigger warnings as such, but political correctness gone mad is students at another university campus, tearing down posters advertising a talk by Christina Hoff Summes. She’s a feminist and a Democrat supporter for crying out loud! And yet, flyers, put up by the Young America’s Foundation at the University of California, Los Angeles, because a student said she found them ofensive and that she was practicing ‘free speech’. What I don’t get is, what’s tge wordt Hoff Sommers could possibly say. She’s a critic of the Third Wave of Feminism’ and the PC culture at U.S. university campuses, and I can ser why, quite frankly.

Hoff – Sommers, is not only a feminist and academic, but she’s one of an increasing number of liberals who are starting to retaliate against the modern Left, not dissimilar (I don’t fhink), to the rise of the Alt – Right rebelling against modern day conservate politics. They reject the totalitarianism, abuse and hypocrisy of such that now label themselves as of the Left. They include people like UK’s ‘The Spectator’ columnist, Brendan O’Neill, American commentator and comedian, Dave Rubin, Secular Talk’s Kyle Kulinski, and Australia’s Daily Telegraph columnist and ‘Studio 10’ co – host, Joe Hilderbrand (he has said in the past that he was involved in Left politics at university, yet, rejects the overly aggressive and often violent nature of those on the political Left).

Back to feminism more specifically. Last week on ABC’s ‘The Drum’, ‘The Australian’s’ Senior Writer Sharri Markson clashed with writer for Daily Life blog and controversial feminist figure, Clementine Ford over Ford’s abuse a number of ‘The Australian’s’ columnists on Twitter, with Markson accusing Ford of being a ‘troll’.

Clementine Ford, to be frank, is an example of the reason why many women in particular, disassociate themselves from feminism. While she may have some valid arguments, for example, how women’s genitals shouldn’t be treated like used cars, her propensity to resort to abuse – especially on Twitter – and hypocrisy is what gives feminism in general a bad name.

 

Another point I want to make is how feminism is so selective. I’ve written about this before and I’ll talk about another example this week sometime, but that, too, needs to stop. ALL women – all races and transwomen, should benefit from the actions of feminists, not just a select few. That means trans – misogyny and  racism needs to be condemned within feminist circles. That includes not turning a blind eye to what other women go through (more on that later this week). It really should be all or nothing. Only then, I believe that feminism may stop being an unfunny joke.

 

What is sexism?

Content Warning: some of the links in this post contain articles on underage marriage and such stories on (inevitably) rape may trigger survivors. 

Apparently asking asking women to smile is “sexualisation”. Still can’t understand what makes it ‘sexist’. Commenting on a woman’s “charm” has also been condemned as sexist by the Radio National (RN), on the ABC. The spike of number of child brides in Australia?

*Tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet*. To be fair the ABC has published a few  on – line articles and radio transcripts, such as herehere and here. It’s still a pity that I have to use Google to find any evidence though.

 

People don’t like the Murdoch media (Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, etc). I get it. But let’s give credit it where it’s due. None of the mainstream media, at least what I’ve seen, a part from the “Daily Telegraph” and a few other media outlets, commented on the worrying increase of children as young as nine being sent overseas to be “married’, i.e. raped, often by much older men. According to current Australian Federal Police statistics, the number of children taken overseas by parents to be subjected to this is 73. I wrote about it here. I argued that there needs to be much more done when it comes to abuse of children – that’s including dealing with cultures that seem to normalise child rape – at least in cultures where it’s widely practised.

 

Women have every right to speak up about behaviour that they find uncomfortable. Men should adhere to cues that women are giving on whether their conduct makes them feel OK. To me, that’s personal autonomy – something that everybody regardless of gender should be free to exercise. And others should always respect the boundaries of the ohter person, including in a professional or platonic context.

But how can something like  what looks like a compliment cause such a storm when the media on the whole is very quiet about children as young as nine being raped by much older men? That is ridiculous. It’s wrong! It’s why feminism continuously gets a bad name! Enough’s enough. We need to stop attacking those who mean no harm and start condemning those who do! There should always be mores that are used to protect the vulnerable, including children, regardless of cultural background. Anything less should not be tolerated.

And let’s stop screaming and calling everything sexist! It doesn’t do anyone any favours. Neither does falsely calling people sexist – including someone who you don’t like or strongly disagree with on ideological grounds. Can we, those who call ourselves feminists – and even those who reject the label but agree with the underlying principles of gender equality, autonomy, etc, use our voices usefully and call out atrocities against women whenever they occur? There are good cause for feminism in the world, but so – called feminists seem to constantly miss the mark.

 

What do you think? Do you label yourself a feminist? Why or why not?