For this guy, I’ll make an exception

I don’t generally think that footballers (particularly those of the NRL variety) make good role models. But standing up for yourself and for your family, against systemic racism and against one of the League’s most charismatic personalities – well I rate that.

I suspect – as we have seen before when high profile people get named (such as his brother, who could forget that episode?) – that Andrew Johns will be a symbolic scapegoat for systemic attitudes that he alone is not responsible for. So he’ll be scrapped from his job, hidden out from the public eye (or maybe not), and later, months down the track when people forget exactly what he said he’ll reappear (like his brother and that god awful show) unchanged, and unrepentant.

But in the meantime, let’s not forget that Timana Tahu, stood up, and walked away from, the racist bullying tactics of not his enemies, but his friends.

One thing that irks me though, is that the NRL hierarchy seems to find it easy to disavow racism and make it clear that its not acceptable. If only they could be that intolerant (heck I’d settle for even recognition) of sexism and misogyny.

Advertisements

The Down Under Feminists Carnival is here!

And I do mean literally here! Because this month I am pleased to be your host for the 21st Edition.

So let me pour you a cuppa (how do you take it?) and let’s enjoy this over high tea, shall we?

Well that’s January been and gone. What has happened in the last month?

It seems to have been a quiet month on the blogging front, what with the summer heat and rain and holidays and back to school and the myriad of other things going on this time of year, but there is still plenty to enjoy in terms of feminist writing.

The New Year has been seen in:

And we’ve been wished a Happy New Year! by Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty. And there has been some farewells too, leading Queen Emily to question The legacies of trans-exclusive feminism at her post at Hoyden About Town.

There has been some great discussion about things relating to the domestic sphere – the home, house and family concerns.

Tansy Rayner Roberts has been Writing While The House is Messy at tansyrr.com.

Parenting is a perennial topic, and January saw discussion of the added complexities when the parenting is being done by a step-parent. Stepmum Of The Year wonders Rights? What rights should step parents have? and Stef at A Touch of the Crazy is inquiring Does stepparenting = step-mothering?

Meanwhile, Sophie at 2 B Sophora paints a poignant picture of One woman and her guard.

As usual with feisty feminist writers there has been some great posts relating to Race, Rights and Identity

A shiny new coin muses on taxes and toilets. Tigtog, at Hoyden About Town, looks at Complacency, Indifference and Intent (or lack thereof) in terms of the discussion around the attacks on Indian students. Chally makes it clear that Disability is not your analogy at Zero at the Bone, and she examines The Privileges and Pains of Passing. Stephiepenguin examines her racial identity and muses and it looks like… posted at 天高皇企鹅远.  In examining identity and insults girliejones wonders Do some insults hurt less?

January 23 was Blogging for Choice Day  – this year with the theme of ‘Trust Women’

Deborah – In a strange land,  asks that we  Trust women, and Tigtog was also Blogging for Choice,  at   Hoyden About Town.

In addition to trust, respect was also a bit of a reoccurring theme this month.

Chally reminds us of The importance of women’s friendships at Zero at the Bone.  Deborah In a strange land sends a Note to Mike Rann: the title is “Ms”. Pharaoh Katt asks that we respect children and their bodies and not  Name and Shame them at Something More Than Sides.

The disrespectful and denigrating of image of the older woman as the ‘cougar’ seems to be an increasing presence in popular culture and thankfully this is being critiqued.  Fuck Politeness writes of Karaoke and cougars. Julie at The Hand Mirror suggests that there has been Vileness, and a bit of irony, from Air NZ and she gives us More on Air NZ’s cougar rubbish. The Luddite Journo asks why Those damn cougars just won’t lie back and think of England ?

Posts pertaining to politics and activism.

Deborah at In a strange land gives us A fabulous resource for feminists, womanists, disabilism activists, equality activists. January’s been an interesting month politically and Rachel Hills at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman has Sex advice for my future children… inspired by Tony Abbott. At the frogblog,  Catherine Delahunty asks Will Cathy Taewa get answers from Paula and Nick?

Posts pertaining to Body image and Sexuality

The bad news, according to The Dawn Chorus, is that Female Ejaculation Doesn’t Exist.   Also, did you know that Jennifer Hawkins does ‘real beauty’ wrong – In case you hadn’t realised blue milk examines the fallout from ‘that’ magazine cover.

Posts pertaining to fashion and rape culture – unfortunately paired together because all you need to know about rape culture has been encapsulated on some men’s T-shirt

(trigger warnings for the links to the posts in this section)

Chally, writing at Feministe looks at the offending and offense shirts in Today in selling misogyny and LudditeJourno has learnt that from said fashion items that It’s not rape if you yell surprise. If that’s what being sold and worn does the existence of such Virtual realities: Sydney University’s “pro-rape” Facebook group surprise anyone? It doesn’t surprise Chloe  at Feministing.

The dismissal from court of a particular gang rape case has led to Emma Hart at Public Address fantasising about chocolate mousse aerosol cans so that we can get All Together Now.

The rules of consent still apply in a group sex situation. Which is why it also doesn’t help when, at the other end of the spectrum, people say that women can’t consent to group sex, or will only do so under social pressure, or maybe only think they do because they’re buying into a male viewpoint. Both viewpoints assume that group sex is always one woman and a group of men. Both remove the emphasis from whether the woman said yes or no – because how can I have the ability to say no unless I also have a meaningful ability to say yes?

Of course, someone has once again blamed Feminism for the rise of raunch culture, but the news with nipples has been writing about Feminism and dolls in order to set them straight.

Posts pertaining to the Media and Movies

Rachel Hills presents Sex & The City and the great (feminist?) quest for love at her blog Musings of an Inappropriate Woman.

Lauredhel gives us Arsevertising*: Will You Be Ready For Your First Time? posted at Hoyden About Town. And she also examines That Homebirth Study in South Australia that was blatantly misrepresented in the media, also at Hoyden About Town.

Tansy Rayner Roberts  at tansyrr.com gives us a review of The Princess and the Frog.

Miscellaneous Musings

Kiwi back in Sydney! gives us a lovely walk through the Melbourne: CERES Garden. Jo Tamar at Wallaby has been Talking about mansplaining…. While meganwegan at Craft is the New Black reflects on Honesty, Anarkaytie gives us a Follow-up to academic feminism to be found at Anarkaytie’s Weblog.

Writing and Sci Fi

girlie jones not only looks at  the latest in female presence in SF ToCs but she asks do You know what’s fun to read in the debate on gender disparity in SF? .

And to see the carnival off, Whileawaying invites us to a Book Launch!

Well, its been lovely hosting you. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the tea and the writing.

Next month the carnival will be at Fuck Politeness‘ place. And don’t forget to submit (see here) – your own posts and those of other down under feminists that you’ve enjoyed reading this February.

What’s the difference between group sex and gang rape?

These are my confused thoughts on a complex topic.  I do not speak for all feminists although my thoughts are informed by a feminist perspective.  This post, which is probably attempting too much, is on the one hand about a group sex/gang rape case that took place in New Zealand in 2002.  On the other hand its about the dangerous mix of football, sex, success, fame and glory and the adulation of aggression that takes place in our sports loving culture. (If in regards to the case of “Clare” from New Zealand you are going to engage in some victim blaming, I suggest that you read the following link and comment when you aren’t going perpetuate Rape myths)

After reading this news story, (which really was just a “heads up” about this 4 Corners program about footballers and sex;  transcript here, the program can be watched from here -but only for the next four weeks) about a “group sex” incident in New Zealand involving football personality Matthew Johns,  I got thinking about the fine line between group sex and gang rape.  And I had a few thoughts.  

(The 4 Corners program discussed various aspects of the footballers and sex issue, and one of the most disturbing parts of the program was a description of the events in New Zealand in 2002, involving member of the Cronulla Sharks and a young woman the program calls “Clare”.  She was nineteen at the time, and while waitressing she was invited back by two players to their room.  About a dozen players ended up in room, and the events so traumatised Clare that seven years later she is still suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress)

Consent

Consent is obviously a key issue.  Absence of “No” does NOT mean that consent took place.  For this reason it is illegal to have sex with someone who is unable to say “no”, someone who is unconscious or asleep for example.  Just because they didn’t say no, doesn’t mean that rape did not occur.

Just because a man does not believe that he raped a woman does NOT necessarily mean that he did not. ( From Tigtog’s post on rape myths: “One in 12 men surveyed in this study admitted to acting in ways that satisfied the legal definition of rape or attempted rape, with 84% of these men believing that what they had done was “definitely not rape.”).  So in terms of the group sex cases discussed in the 4 Corners programs, just because the guys involved don’t believe that rape took place, doesn’t mean that it didn’t.

So if we are discussing the New Zealand case we have to consider whether a young woman is truly able to consent when surrounded by big, strong, football players? (From the transcript of the program: CLARE: “They were massive, like ah big Rugby players, I felt that I just had no idea what to do.”).  Consider this comment from this blog discussing the story:

Lisa S : I don’t believe it is “man bashing gone mad”. In the instance of the girl from new zealand it is very, very hard to get out of a situation like that, especially when there are a pack of men who are very large, and are “egging” each other on. In fact it is terrifying. I was followed into a bedroom once at a party by three rugby players. I had been speaking to one, (briefly because it wasn’t a very interesting conversation), I went to get my jacket from a room, and they followed me in. I was lucky that a friend had seen them, and came and got me. Why is it always about the woman having to take responsibility, when is going to mens turn to actually decide to not participate in that behaviour as well.

Her presence in the room does NOT equal consent.  If two guys say “Come to our room for a drink” and someone goes to their room for a drink, the drink is all they consented to.  Presence does not equal consent.  And while I’m on the topic, a drunk woman does not equal consent, flirting does not equal consent, skimpy clothes does not equal consent.  No woman, EVER, asks to be raped.  No matter what she’s wearing, where she is or how much she’s been drinking.  In this case it seems that something along the lines of “come to our room for a drink”, really meant “come to our room for group sex”, which really meant “come to our room so you can be the prop for our homosocial bonding session”.  This young lady certainly did NOT deserve what happened to her just because she did not understand the coded messages that were really being spoken.

If and when a girl consents to sex with one guy it does not mean that she is consenting to sex with any and all companions that he has with him.  This reminds me of this case, and I feel that the old virgin and whore dichotomy continues to run its insidious thread through society.  It seems that some pockets of society continue to hold the false belief that if a woman is willing to have sex with one guy than then it means that she is open to all comers whether they ask her or not.

Privilege (Message to the people of my town)

Just because someone is a famous football player it does not mean that every woman that they meet wants to sex with them.  (Granted a proportion do, but by no means all).  It is an abuse of privilege to presume that that is the case.  It is an abuse of one’s position to use it to degrade women, to make someone dress in bunny ears and give an entire team head jobs [example from 4 Corners].  It is an abuse of privilege to defaecate on the floor of a crowded pub, because you’re a famous hero in your town, and no one can touch you [local anecdote]. Its an abuse of privilege to grab a woman’s wallet and throw her money away because she winced when you hit her broken shoulder and you didn’t like that reaction [happened to a friend].  It’s an abuse of position to enter an unlocked woman’s room and expect that she is going to want to have sex with you because are you – young, famous, and hot [from the program].

We enable these behaviours when we as a society, excuse them.  When we apologise for rapists and blame the victims.  When we let young men get away with their anti-social behaviours, and excuse them as though they had no control over their actions.  When we laud them as heroes and praise them for their aggression, the fact that they are ” risk takers”.

From the transcript of the 4 Corners program:

STEVE BURRASTON, CEO NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS: These guys are pumped up, they are playing a very aggressive game and they are putting their bodies on the line, it’s fearless. It’s not as bad as going to war and I wouldn’t suggest that, but it’s probably like the old gladiator days and they get out there and they belt the hell out of each other and there’s probably no other game that is like it…When we want them on the field we want them to be aggressive. They’ve got to make tackles, they’ve got to be fearless, then we want them to do things that other people don’t do. So we attract an aggressive, young, risk taking male.  We give him a shower, put a suit on him and then say now we want you to be, you know, a submissive male. We want you to go out there and not have any problems, it’s very difficult to do that. [Emphasis mine]

Ok Steve, I know that you are trying to change the culture of the Knights and educate those young men, but sending the message that putting on a suit and acting in accordance to the norms of common decency is being a submissive male, is just not helping your cause.  You know that the men can follow the rules on the field, well do not excuse them for breaking the rules off the field. Most players do the right thing, get rid of the ones that don’t and if the team has too lose a valuable player, so be it.  A small price to pay to save further women from being raped, and it would be a decent contribution to stopping the perpetuation of a this particular culture.

The way Steve and others speak about these guys it sounds as though they are bulls being bred to fight, and we wonder why they behave like animals.  As human beings, we have control over our actions and that is one of the things that seperates us from the animal kingdom.  Elite sporting stars should be held to the same standards as everybody else, not excused on the basis that they have to take risks on the field.  Some football players manage to separate their on field and off field behaviour quite well, so it can done.  Footballers are not a special species that need protection and apologists for their down time antics.

Respect

One of the saddest aspects of the program, of the whole situation, is that these guys need an education program to learn how to treat women.  And from the glimpses we got in 4 Corners it doesn’t seem like the classes are working. SIMON WILLIAMS, NYC RUGBY PLAYER: It’s not during the act, it’s the way you treat them after it. Most of them could have been avoided, if they had put them in a cab and said thanks or that sort of thing not just kicked her out and called her a dirty whatever. It’s how you treat them afterwards that can cover a lot of that stuff up.

FAIL.  Sorry, pal, its not how you treat them after that can cover a lot of that stuff up.  Its how you treat them before, during and after.  Its how you view women.  It is about having respect for women and treating them as fellow human beings.  Treating their sexuality with the respect that you treat your own.  It not treating them nicely afterwards in order to prevent a rape call from being made.  Its treating them well with every interaction and respecting women so there’ll be no ambiguity, because you won’t be able to rape them, because you respect, care, and love women and their well being is important to you.

I’m not saying don’t have fun.  Lots of respectful consensual fun can be had by all.  But at the basis is respect.  Women are not playthings to be handed around between team mates.  Women are not tools for your homosocial bonding.  They are not the spoils of victory, they are not reward for your glory, props for your homoerotic fantasies, their bodies are not yours by right.  They are living breathing human beings who deserve to be respected as such, and not degraded because “sharing” with your mates is more important than their dignity, because it is not, ever.

Apology

From the transcript (Excerpt of footage from television apology on THE FOOTY SHOW)  MATTHEW JOHNS: It caused all parties enormous pain and embarrassment.  Um, for me personally it has put my family through enormous anguish and embarrassment and has once again, [sic] and for that I m just, can’t say sorry enough. There were no charges laid. But there has been a lot of pain and embarrassment to a lot of people.

PAUL VAUTIN, FOOTY SHOW HOST: Alright mate, well said. Alright, let’s get on with the show. (End of Excerpt)

This is not an apology.  This is damage control for Matthew Johns, for the Footy Show, for the NRL.  This is saying what had to be said, so we can all get on with our lives and pretend that the story was never brought to the light of day.  This was an apology to his family, to those that he cares about.  This was not an apology to Clare, because he couldn’t give a shit about this poor young women whose life he was a part of traumatising.  This is a fauxpology and simply does nothing to counter the pain and suffering of the real victim here.  This apology is insulting, so Fuck you Matty Johns, fuck you Footy Show and fuck you anyone who thinks that that measly weasly apology goes anywhere towards addressing the harm done here.

Want more from elsewhere?

From the Dawn Chorus

I was pleased to see training for rugby players about consent and sexual violence but despair that such training is necessary at all.  Such ‘education programs’ further perpetrate the notion that acts of sexual violence can be attributed to a lack of knowledge or willful ignorance of what constitutes sexual assault or consent. Surely respect for women at a deep internal level is not something which can be taught. Further, I shudder to think how one tabulates whether such programs reduce the instances of sexual assault against women.

‘One of the Boys’ Discussion from a man’s perspective

Perhaps this whole emphasis on team bonding and ‘one in, all in’ from the sporting field is translating to an inability to switch off that mentality when the game is over. If so, it is a worrying indication of what team sport is doing for our young men. Far from being a positive influence on our lives, if this is the culture that team sport is engendering, it is indeed a worrying thing.

From Tigtog ‘Elite male athletes and homosocial bonding through sexual coercion of women’

So often we hear “women are throwing themselves at these men, they don’t need to force anyone” (how revealing is that phrase I’ve emphasised with italics – we accept that some men need to, do we? or that a need might make it “OK”?). This is crap. The idea of men turning to sexual coercion out of sexual desperation is simply not an adequate explanation – men turning to sexual coercion due to their sexual expectations, their sense of entitlement due to their status, explains so much more.

ABC’s Background reading and support links

Celebrations, belated and otherwise

Well break out the champagne, congratulations are in order.

On the one hand I missed my blogoversary last week, oops.  On the other hand, this blog must be a similar age to the Down Under Feminist Carnival because this month is the bumper birthday edition! Yay!  The 12th Carnival is being hosted by Chally at Zero at the Bone.  Lots of good stuff there, so go read and enjoy.

Details of all previous carnivals can be found here, and a list of carnival contributors can be found here.

Can we talk about this (wage gap) civilly, please?

Apparently not, if the comments thread at the ABC is anything to go by.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

The ABC carried a story today about the wage gap, entitled “Men ‘earn $1m more than women’ “.  From the story:

A new report shows Australian men earn $1 million more on average than women over their working lives.

But the AMP-NATSEM report has found women are making progress in the pay stakes.  Female workers in their 20s and early 30s now earn the same as their male peers.  But researcher Rebecca Cassells, from the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, says young women may struggle to maintain equal pay throughout their working lives.

“I think Generation Y’s achievement is something that’s fantastic and really shows how far women have come, but we also shouldn’t be complacent and think that’s going to be the case all the way through their careers,” she said.

For 37 years the concept of equal pay for equal work has been enshrined in law, but Ms Cassells says the reality is somewhat different.  “Women have progressed considerably over the past few decades and they have actually improved in their educational attainment and their presence in the labour force and their presence in professional occupations,” she said.  “However, despite this there are signs that there are significant gaps, particularly in lifetime earnings, the accumulation of wealth and employment.

Did news of this report start productive discussion of reasons why, when we look at lifetime earnings, women’s are so far behind that of men’s?  Did people offer any critique about superannuation being premised on the male/full time/unbroken employment model?   Was there earnest conversation about the possibility of sharing parental responsibilities so that both parents’ careers are equally compromised affected?  Was any concern shown about the reality that very few women will have the same amount of super accumulated as their male counterparts?  Or the fact that women are over-represented in low paying occupations and under-represented in the upper echelons of high paying occupations?  Any questioning of the assumption that the gap is acceptable because women are heterosexually partnered with men whose money they can depend upon?  Was there mature conjecture about the possibility of challenging the dominant work structure and overthrowing the corresponding economic paradigm?  Was there reasoned argument about the need for well paid parental leave?

No, there was not.

I leave you with a selection of the misogyny found in the comments thread:

Me:  The work done at home contributes nothing to the economy – that’s why it is unpaid work.
Or should I say with baby bonuses, both family tax benefits and single parenting allowance us taxpayers pay you handsomely to do your ‘unpaid’ work [me = not rayedish]

equality does not exist: My point is that men work harder in paid employment outside the home than women and so it should be no surprise to find that they receive more pay over their lives than women.

Men earn the money that women spend. Coffee shops and department stores are not full of men spending money in the daytime are they? – the blokes are too busy grinding themselves into an early grave while women potter about at home washing a few nappies in between daytime tv and whining that they dont get paid for doing it – the only reason women claim “home duties” is a type of work equal to demeaning tasks typically performed by men is because women have no real concept of what hard work actually is. Just because you had to get out of bed in the morning and clean up after yourself does not mean you ought to be paid a wage.

steven: If you and your partner choose to have children (and it does take two willing participants in 99.99% of cases), then you must expect that these tasks will fall upon the two of you. At least a woman has the choice of wether to have children or not, men dont have the same choice without effectively permanent surgery. Wether the man does it or the woman does it is up to the couple (breast milk can be expressed and stored for later). There are a whole lot of tasks involved and lifestyle implications that you are aware of before you join. If one part of the partnership feels the other is not pulling their weight, it is up to them to do something about it. It certainly isnt up to the government or anyone else to pay you for doing these things you were aware of. I am a single man who has to work and choose to have a house, should I be paid for having to look after the gardens, clean it and do all the other tasks?. If I choose to join a social club or a sport that has additional demands on my time should I be paid for that as well.

The Bunyip: As the great Homer Simpson once said, “money can be exchanged for goods and services”. That’s an EXCHANGE. You do something for me, you get some money. You do something for yourself or your own kids, you get nothing other than the intrinsic benefit. Oh wait, sorry, maybe that should be “you do something for yourself or your own kids and contribute nothing to the economy, you get more government benefits than you could poke an excessive middle-class welfare tax rebate at.”

Lord Haw-Haw: If only she had left the apple on the tree.

Eric: If only he had kept that damn rib. No tree, no snake, no apple just eternal paradise.

mark edwards: what nonsense. There is also a stat that says obese people earn less- should we increase pay rates if someone is obese?jobs are paid according to the skills/hours provided- not according to gender. Men in general work their whole life, and are highly driven as providers. Most women take time off for children. The above article is about baby boomers- not the current less than40 yrs olg generation. You should be happy that men are driven to be providers, rather than using this as a excuse to fly the paranoid feminist flag

there is not a different award for men and women re pay. In generazl men are still driven to work/be creative and provide a little more than woman- that explains the discrepancy. Men in general are the ones working the 60 hours, and out doing deals. Of the 100’s of books written about wealth creation, how many were written by women? Different drives and different skill set. Men need to create and provide for wife and family-its in our genes

jonno:  men die younger because they want too.Its there way of getting some peace.
People make their own choice in income. Im sure my income is less than a lot of women, but who cares.

clobs: There are only so many positions at the top of any business structure. “flexible work options so that they can job share or work part-time or work hours that suit them”, and then still take the top job over some poor bloke who is equally skilled but devoted ALL of his time with no flexibility throughout his career … then denied this position due to affirmative action.

Haz: My wife is happy that men earn more. She’s also happy with the statistic that women spend more… i think i’ve been jipped.

Tim: I am a male and I have 4 sisters which all earn more then myself and they find work within 1 week of looking. I have a degree but they only finished Yr 12. Women have it good in the work place.. Why is it when moving any thing heavy in the work place it always done mostly by males… while women sip on there coffee. If its equal then women should pull there own weight. If men have to move heavy objects around the office such as chairs/tables/ etc. Then women need to participate.

Foolsday: and there’s also PLENTY of men who lose out on jobs simply because of the whole “we have to be seen to employ such and such percentage of women, indigenous people and handicapped people etc etc.

Sercro: The reality is that it is hard to see women ever attaining the same lifetime earnings as men because they will, on average, take more time off during child rearing. Simple biology. Men and women are different, get over it.

sucker: That extra $1m I’ve earnt has all been spent on women!