Banter in the Garden
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Tea and Strumpets
Follow along with me here, people. Young people in New Zealand drink too much. I KNOW. We have a problem with binge drinking and violence and people generally behaving badly at 3am on Queen St (And Courtenay Place, and the Octagon and wherever the hell Christchurch twatcocks gather these days. Papanui?)
Yes, this is a problem, one that has many causes, including but not limited to: the availability of cheap pre-mixed drinks, bar staff who fail to police people’s drinking, the concentration of bars in these areas, our general poor attitude to alcohol, and people’s general fuckwittery.
You know what doesn’t cause this problem? Short skirts.
Queen Street, just before midnight – there are pushes, shoving and foul language. We had just arrived, and already we see a woman bloodied after a girl-on-girl punch up….
All night I have seen young drunk revellers. Some of them are underage; most of them are women wearing tight, revealing dresses. They have admitted to me they are binge drinkers getting drunk on a Friday and Saturday night. They come to Queen St because they like the attention.
“The girls here are completely young and drunk,” says Lana MacFarlane. “They are so much younger than I am. It’s so awkward. You feel old at 21. I feel ridiculously old at 21.”
Combine that language with some loving, lingering shots of young women’s asses.
Here’s my question, Amanda Gillies. What on earth does it matter what these women are wearing? God knows, I am all for binge drinking, but I try to avoid the hideousness that is Courtenay Place (and I assume, Queen St, it’s been a long time since I was there after midnight) early on a Sunday morning. Looking after one’s beautiful shoes is much easier when one doesn’t ave to sidestep puddles of vomit. This is an actual, serious problem, and one isn’t going to be solved when the news is served with a good healthy dollop of slut-shaming.
What, exactly, are you trying to say here? Only sluts would get drunk like this? They deserve whatever happens to them because of their behavior and attire? What’s the subtext here? Because the actual text is more than offensive enough.
Now, Stuff being Stuff, the usual rules apply. DON’T READ THE COMMENTS. I managed to avoid the comments on the first two – because I don’t care to read (in the case of the sexual violence column) hysteria over BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MEN and FALSE RAPE CLAIMS and LESBIANS ARE ABUSIVE TOO.
However, on the How to Spot a Misogynist column, I read them, so you don’t have to. And how you spot them? Simply look down below the column, to where the comments are.
The reason I read them is because actually, the comments are hilarious, if you have the energy. This is a group of people who really, truly, do not understand irony. Here’s a tip, folks. If you preface a sentence with “I’m not a racist/sexist/pig, but…”, odds are, you’re about to say something objectionable. Also, the OMG this chick is so angry comments? This is one of the calmest, most rational pieces of feminist writing, like EVER. (Clem’s, not mine, clearly.)
So. Let’s look at some of the choice pickings, shall we?
From (probably not our) Emma:
….you need to do what every other sucessful and happy woman and man I know does, and ignore the remaining few imbeciles who make such assertions and instead, highlight the successes of the present, celebrate the fact that women are different from men (and that this is a great thing for both women and men) and focus your efforts on spreading the love, rather than refreshing the hate.
Gosh. I am sorry. I forgot that we successful women are to have nothing to do with “other” women, and should just focus on ALL THE GOOD PRETTY THINGS. And dudes. Forget the massive inequalities women face, reproductive rights, gender-based violence. Just shut up and love everyone. OMGAMIRITE?
I’ll believe women are oppressed when I don’t hear them complaining.
So, because we have voices we can’t possibly be oppressed. See #1 one of the article, If you want to see real oppression, go to the Middle East. The point, I think you missed it.
I was raised to be “a gentleman”. That probably reflects the age in which I grew up – chivalry doesn’t seem to be fashionable these days. I was told that I should open doors for women and let them go first, offer them my seat on the bus, pull out their chairs at the table, remain standing until all the women in the room were seated, all that stuff. It was my mother who taught me these things. Obviously she was a misogynist and passed these tendencies on to me.
Nah, it’s called politeness, loser. That’s really what your mother was teaching you.
“I have always found it interesting that the English language has a word like misogynist but not for the gender reversed noun/adjective.”
Um. You mean misandry?
From Peter Ashford:
Take item 3 about domestic servitude. Some people have attitudes like that for religious reasons (God tells them that women do dishes, men do hunting or some such). That may be an archaic or misguided point of view but I’m not sure if it constitutes hating women. An old fashioned woman who sticks with an undeserving husband and accepts outmoded gender roles is just old fashioned, not a hater of women.
Yes, because no religion could ever be accused as being misogynist. And OH! It’s just that they’re old fashioned. Oh, well, that’s OK then. I didn’t know. I thought that living in the 21st century meant I wouldn’t have to put up with 19th century attitudes. Fuck. I’ll just go get into my corset. At least my tits will look amazing.
Waldo wants us to know that this thing we’re fighting for isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Equality means you get just as much BS & mocking as everyone else without complaining about it.
Cos, shut up ladies, and stop your moaning. Being a man, or part of any dominant group is hard, what with walking all over the backs of the oppressed. I turned my ankle on one of them the other day!
I am suprised that the rantings of a misandrist are still being published
Could you talk to “Unfair” and explain the meaning of misandry? Also, could you explain it to yourself? And then explain to me where in the column it says “This applies to all men.”
Jabu is a peach. He’s worried about us ladeez and the man drought.
Women are definitely equal to men in all aspects of our modern world. Just without the benefit of reason and accountability….But sometimes its worth reflecting on why some traditional values were deemed approriate at certain times, before throwing your man to the lions. I certainly hope the next time you have a burglar banging round down stairs, if infact you have a man CLEMENTINE, you let him sleep soundly while you pop down and see him off. I suspect your attitude and the fact that helen clark was the face to our nation is partly responsible for the influx of internet brides in a country faced with severe man drought
Course she doesn’t have a man, dude. She’s clearly a hairy-legged lesbian. All feminists are dontchaknow. How’s that for reason and accountability. Also, you totally stole that line from As Good As It Gets. Way to be original. Dick.
Speaking of, here’s Thomas.
This is the sorta clap-trap that gives women a bad name in the first place. Why is it something that has worked comfortably for millions of years has to change just because some chick learns how to wear a pair of pants with a fly in the front? Things are good as they are, if you want more pay, work harder. If you don’t want to be a stay at home mum, find a new partner with life-views that align closer to your own, if you don’t want to get raped, don’t walk down dark streets at night by yourself while drunk. ez pz
Did you even read the column, Thomas? Because you’re the poster child for MISSING THE FUCKING POINT and inadvertently proving it.
Dave was doing so well until the last sentence:
All of these points are moot points. The point is women are still begging men for equality. The only reason women have any kind of equality at the moment is because men let them. This will always be the case until they take charge of their lives themselves and stop relying on misogynist men.
Sucks to be you!! Too bad arguments against misogynists won’t stop them or there influence. You’ve been relegated to spewing out your anti-man penis-hating diatribe in an electronic advice column on a news website that services a tiny country on the backside of the world. Way to influence things!! Surely that level of relegation and irrelevance has to be evidence of misogynism in action.
Nah, it’s not. You are though, dick.
Via various people on Twitter, and Jezebel, here’s Ashley Judd on the controversy surrounding her “puffy face”.
Consequently, I choose to address it because the conversation was pointedly nasty, gendered, and misogynistic and embodies what all girls and women in our culture, to a greater or lesser degree, endure every day, in ways both outrageous and subtle. The assault on our body image, the hypersexualization of girls and women and subsequent degradation of our sexuality as we walk through the decades, and the general incessant objectification is what this conversation allegedly about my face is really about.
Go read the whole thing. Really. It’ll make you feel better about your day.
One of my favourite April Fools “jokes” (by which I mean the only one I found mildly amusing) was this, from the HuffPo:
After wowing audiences in “Bridesmaids” and all but taking over television comedy in 2011, women have decided that they will no longer be funny….”We had a good run, but it’s time to move on,” said women in a statement released this morning…Sources close to women say that the decision was based on several factors, not the least of which is “just being over it.”
Would that the following was also an April fool.
Besides, Aronsohn isn’t a fan of the current crop of female-centered comedies such as Whitney and 2 Broke Girls.
“Enough, ladies. I get it. You have periods,” he said.
Aronsohn applauded women like Whitney Cummings, Chelsea Handler and Tina Fey securing a voice to discuss formerly taboo subjects on TV.
“But we’re approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation,” he said.
The current boom in female-centric TV contrasts with Two and a Half Men mostly portraying women as bimbos, something Aronsohn isn’t about to apologize for.
“Screw it,” Aronsohn earlier told the Toronto conference during a keynote address. “We’re centering the show on two very damaged men. What makes men damaged? Sorry, it’s women. I never got my heart broken by a man.”
Later, he clarified by insisting he was hardly one to take the moral high ground.
“We do far too many fart jokes on Two and a Half Men,” he conceded. “I’m the last person to judge.”
Someone’s a fool, but it’s not April.
I’ve never regularly watched Two and a Half Men. But the times I have seen it, it struck me as misogynist, homophobic, and overwhelmingly white. Female characters seem to be either Slut or Shrew, male characters are either Lovable Stud or Lovable loser. It’s horrendous.
Which is not to say Two Broke Girls is better. The one time I watched it, I was aghast at an astoundlingly offensive rape joke. “Rapists don’t knock and wave. And if they looked like [insert generic good-looking white guy], we wouldn’t call them rapists”.
But come on. We’re reaching labia saturation? FFS. We get articles every month about how women aren’t funny. Women are massively unrepresented in entertainment, to say nothing of women of colour, or lesbian, bi, or trans women. Or fat women or disabled women, or brunettes.
And actually, I am willing to bet Two and a Half Men has done its fair share of period jokes. Just they’d be of the “is it that time of the month, bitchy, whiny woman” ilk.
We wonder why there are no accurate, empowering, interesting portrayals of women? Because fuckknuckles like this are the ones who control the system. And I despair of it.
Oh, and Lee? Just because you’ve never had your heart broken by a man? Doesn’t mean there aren’t dudes who have.
FOTLG Boganette linked to this article on Tumblr last night. I have been mulling it over, and while it’s not the cause, it is definitely not helping this headache I have. So let’s, shall we, take this apart piece by piece. It is brilliant in it’s absurdity. As always, Don’t read the comments.
Is the pursuit for gender equality sucking life out of relationships?
Not mine, but you carry on.
Instead of harnessing the different qualities of men and women to energise us, we are striving to make men and women equal.
More women are joining the battle for the CEO’s chair and pursuing dominance in their homes and communities. But in the process they’re becoming more like men. And men are becoming… well, less like men.
Um, yeah, no. “Striving for equality” isn’t “making women more like men. And cutting off the men’s balls and turning them into namby-pamby apron wearing pantywaists. It means women having equal rights and opportunities and access to services and healthcare, and bodily autonomy, and freedom from fear of violence, and teh right to work or not work. It’s the choice. And if a woman has to “become more like a man” to do that, that’s a sad indictment on this apparently “post-feminist” world we live in. If she does that because she chooses to, fantastic. But let’s none of us fool ourselves into thinking that women wearing boxy pantsuits and drinking beer with the boys after a 14 hour day at the executive table is what every feminist wants.
Renowned Australian neurosurgeon Charlie Teo believes men and women have different roles “set not only by society but set by physiology”.
“The current trend is for dads to be more hands on. But for all we know it may be proven in a hundred years time that that may be a negative thing for the upbringing of children,” he said recently on Seven’s Sunday Night program.
Yes. Parental involvement is such a terribly bad thing. That’s why I just spent ten minutes googling and couldn’t find any study ever saying that. (I’m positive someone will come along to prove me wrong). But what do I know? For all we know, in one hundred years, it may be proven that cigarettes are good for you, lettuce causes heart disease, and bourbon is an elixir. (I can live in hope)
Feminism has achieved victories for women, but could it be at the expense of femininity, chivalry and attributes of the opposite sex that instinctively attract us to each other?
No. Have you not seen the recent retro-crafty-uber-feminine-apron-and-gingham movement. Or feminist embracing stilettos and lipstick. And I, as a card-carrying feminist (seriously, we need cards, ladies), have never once kicked a man for holding a door open for me. Chivalry is nothing more than politeness, and I expect that from everyone.
“This force of attraction is the dynamism that often disappears in modern relationships. If you want real passion, you need a ravisher and a ravishee. Otherwise you just have two buddies who decide to rub genitals in bed,” he writes.
*snort*. I just…can’t even. Hey, I liked to be ravished as much as any girl, but why is that to say women can’t be the ravisher? Oh. Because he wrote a book called “The Way of the Superior Man”, so he’s clearly the ideal person to quote in an article about feminism.
Earlier this month, TopGear presenter James May…
Noted without comment.
Well into the last century the husband provided his family with a home and food and this sole responsibility gave him a sense of power and purpose. And women didn’t feel pressure to justify their existence with a career. They were proud home makers and mothers.
That’s right, blame the bitches. We ruined _everything_. Just out of interest, this right you have to express your opinion, to be heard in a publication, that just came to you, did it? No one fought for that right, no one suffered so you could spout your “traditionalist views”? And also, you know there are women who are still proud homemakers and mothers? And the fact that some women feel pressured to stay in the workforce or not stay in the workforce, or wear heels or not wear heels or put our when they don’t want to, is exactly the reason you need to be a feminist.
However, a British survey of 2000 men revealed one-third of men would prefer to be the sole breadwinning traditional father while another quarter would like to be the main breadwinner with their spouse working only part-time.
Instead, men are sporting aprons, doing their own ironing and pushing trolleys down supermarket aisles – roles that don’t exactly exude manliness.
You know, one of the most “manly” men I know does his own ironing. In fact, I’ve asked him on occasion to do mine. Do you know what? Sporting aprons and doing the supermarket shopping is providing for a family. Challenging society’s vision of what makes a “real man” is extremely manly, and if you can’t see that, you are part of the problem.
“Kids, turn off the TV, Buster outside, Dave, the dishes aren’t going to clean themselves.” Dave feels like he’s surrendered his balls.
When a man is stripped of his sense of purpose, it’s more difficult to satisfy that instinctive hunger for power and purpose. Could this be part of the reason why one in eight Australian men experiences severe depression in their lifetime?
Deida describes it as a “weakened impotent existence”.
“Without a conscious life purpose, a man is totally lost, drifting, adapting to events rather than creating events,” he said.
Dave should probably talk to his wife. Of course, his wife is probably working a full time job, and doing the lion’s share of the caring at home, because our society continues to not value “women’s work”. He might feel like he’s surrendered his balls. She’s probably exhausted.
And you know what? I could care less that the poor delicate flowers that are men are lost, adrift, and confused and impotent. OK, I probably care about that last one. However. I expect everyone – of whatever gender – to treat me like a human being. Frankly, I don’t give a shit if you’ve been taught to hate my gender. Man up, and do the decent thing.
I don’t think that women should surrender their careers all together. But if we allow men to reclaim some power, we women could do more to embrace our femininity.
Would we be happier if more of us accept that men and women are not equal?
Aside from the fact that the first sentence makes no grammatical sense, um, what? I think you mean men and women aren’t the same. I’d argue that people aren’t the same, but actually, I will never, ever, not in a million years, not if you paid me a billion dollars, or gave me 100 puppies, accept that men and women are not equal.
And even if in your privileged life, men and women are equal, it might be worth thinking about the fact that that in a lot of places, women live horrible lives of poverty and violence and fear. And we need to do something about that. With or without aprons.
You know what’s awesome? Shaming women for their cankles and hairy legs. Also, “insisting” your “friends” wear more flattering clothing – instead of whatever they damn well please.
Also awesome? This sentence:
Hon, people argue with me all the time.
As always, exercise caution over the comments, but at this point, both published comments are along the lines of “WTF, who cares what your friends wear!”
Apparently The Lady Garden is just too full of naughty words for some people, so there are places where we are blocked. McDonald’s doesn’t like us, and neither does the CentralCiti FreeWiFi in Palmerston North. Out of idle Friday afternoon interest, where else have people found that they are not allowed to access our lovely mix of feminism and sex positivism?
Hey you guys! A woman was attacked in a notorious “problem spot”. Guess what. She shouldn’t have been there, then maybe she wouldn’t have been attacked. Of fucking course.
Thanks Stuff, for your in-no-way-victim-blamey poll. How about blaming the attackers, not women and dark corners?
[Updated: Stuff has apparently deleted the poll. Well. That’s….something?]
[Updated x2: Seriously, don’t read the comments. Or at least be aware they should come with trigger warnings.]
Today is International Women’s Day, a celebration which takes different forms in different countries. In New Zealand, it serves as a day to consider the progress that women have made, and the progress that is yet to come.
The New Zealand Herald focuses on the biggest concerns facing women, with various facts and stats, and an interview with Rowena Phair, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. The issues are… interestingly framed, in the way that Sheryl Sandberg’s analysis of why we have so few women leaders for TED is interestingly framed (video at link). Sandberg is Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, and her advice for women about how to get to top positions is all about how to behave like men. She pays no attention to systemic problems that confront women, and instead offers advice for individual women, not contemplating even for a moment that it might be better to look at the whole way our society structures work and work expectations. See Julie’s post at The Hand Mirror for a discussion of the Sandberg talk: Too few women leaders.
The CEO of Women’s Affairs tells us that the top five issues facing women are:
1. Balancing home life with paid work
2. Staying healthy
3. Getting the right reward for their skills
4. Backing themselves as leaders
5. Feeling safe in relationships.
All good issues to focus on, of course, but look at the advice that is given for each issue.
1. Balancing home life with paid work:
“A big issue for women is managing those responsibilities.”
2. Staying healthy:
“New Zealand women need to make sure they leave space in their busy schedule to take care of themselves.”
3. Getting the right reward for their skills:
“Women are concerned about their financial future, especially in their 20s, and Phair said one way this can be dealt with is by considering all the options available to them in the workforce.
4. Backing themselves as leaders:
“Women are really active in their communities, they’ve got opinions to contribute, but they’ve really got to have the confidence in their convictions…”
5. Feeling safe in relationships:
“It’s very unusual for men to be physically violent without some behaviours that lead up to that so women can keep themselves safe by being very alert … and to get help as quickly as they can.” She said young women are particularly vulnerable to abusive relationships. “Woman really need to keep their eyes open in relationships.”
With the exception of the first, it’s all about what individual women can do to change things. No discussion of systemic factors that might work against women. For example, it sounds like the easiest thing in the world to find a bit of time to stay healthy, but if you are trying to care for small children, and trying to work, then just finding the time to do anything extra can be difficult, even when it’s home based. As for trying to get to the gym, well, you have to sort child care first, so the cost can be considerable. Getting up and going for a run in the mornings might do, until winter darkness closes in. And even then, someone has to be a home to care for the children.
Getting the right reward for their skills? The evidence is that even when women don’t take time out for child care, and do push just as much for higher salaries, they still don’t get paid as much as their male colleagues, because it’s not nice for women to negotiate, so women who do negotiate are punished for it. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. More recently, Catalyst found that:
When women did all the things they have been told will help them get ahead—using the same tactics as men—they still advanced less than their male counterparts and had slower pay growth. (Source)
Being a leader in your community – it’s up to you to be confident in yourself. No mention of the constant put-downs that women are subject to, from on-going commentary on their appearance and what they wear (vide Helen Clark and Julia Gillard) to being spoken over, to the dispiriting experience of saying something insightful and helpful, only to have it ignored, until a man two seats further along the table says exactly the same thing, and the point is taken up with enthusiasm.
And the last one – that’s a real doozy. It’s up to the woman to keep herself safe in violent relationships, and the person who perpetrates the violence is not responsible for his, or more rarely her, violence at all.
We are hearing the CEO through the filter of the NZ Herald reporter, so we can’t be sure that Phair herself framed those issues and responses in exactly that way. Even so, it is at least disconcerting to find no attention paid to the systemic issues that women face. Instead, it’s all individualised, and the remedies are all focused on what individual women can do.
On the other hand, the Herald’s reporting is several light years ahead of what Stuff has come up on International Women’s Day. You can find out How to look 10 years younger! In a transparent piece of advertising for a book masquerading as editorial content, women are told that they need to use the right make-up so that they can look younger. The book’s author says that she loves, LOVES! working with older women, aged over 35, because they can look 10 years younger with the right make-up. And of course, it is a woman’s duty to look as young as possible, because older women are simply socially unacceptable.
This 46 year old woman declines.
For a much more inspiring analysis of International Women’s Day, take a look at Scuba Nurse’s post, where she writes about all the good things for women in New Zealand, as well as noting where there is still work to be done: International Women’s Day 2012. And over at Hoyden about Town, Mindy has some Sobering thoughts on the eve of International Women’s Day, reviewing the international statistics on violence against women.
If you can read the following paragraph, and not be angry, you’re not a feminist.
Women still don’t earn as much income as men in comparable occupations and there is still a tendency to think that women belong in the kitchen, but the feminists that have fought for equality over the years have had a huge effect on gender roles in our society.
Oh, fuck off, AskMen. I’ve spoken to you before. You don’t get to invoke feminism. Ever. Because those gender roles you talk about up there? You actively participate in maintaining them. In fact, you exist to maintain them.
You don’t think we should be angry? Fuck you, and the shiny little horse you rode in on. Let me introduce you to the words Tone Argument. And while I’m at it, Intent. And also, can I introduce you to my foot? It would like to meet your balls. Your patronising arguments on “how to deal with” us can bite me. Back off with your arms raised all you like, but I am still going to call you a group of misogynist shits.
No, I don’t agree with Solanas and Dworkin and Jeffries. At all. When it comes to the matters of sex, I couldn’t be more opposed to what they have to say. That’s pretty much why we call them radical and militant. You know what those words mean, right? It means they’re extreme, different from the norm, revolutionary. But, you know, way to handpick the women who have views about hating men to undermine all feminism. Despite your back-handed “some feminists are great!”, thanks for painting the whole movement as misandrist. For the record, I’ve been doing feministy things for years now, and I’ve yet to meet a woman who actually hates men. I like people to be polite in conversation, and here on this website. That doesn’t mean I’m not occasionally furious with the world. You can tell. It’s when I write in all caps.
But you bet your ass I am angry. Not about sex, as a general rule, but I’m angry about being called a slut because I like sex. I’m angry about old white men wanting to control my reproductive health. I’m angry that I can’t walk down the street without wondering whether my cleavage means I am “asking for it”. I’m angry about political representation and wage gaps and child care and meaningful work and the way women of colour are massively over-represented in US jails. I’m angry that I have to fight so fucking hard to be taken seriously by people like you. Because what’s frustrating is that I could not give less of a shit about what the editors and writers and advertisers of AskMen think. But if you’re going to perpetuate this kind of bullshit to your readers, then I do care.
So, AskMen, take your misogynist, woman-hating crap, and shove it somewhere painful. Women have every right to be angry. Your tone arguments are meaningless, please stop using them. Or just fuck off, that’d work too. No, the vast majority of us do not want to wipe out men. Some of us love them. But yes, sometimes we want men to shut up and listen. Because that’s how you learn and empathise and be a good ally. Which is not to say men can’t be feminists, or part of the conversation about equality. In fact, we can’t do it without you. It’s just that maybe, every once in a while, and especially if you’re going to talk about women’s issues, you could AskWomen.