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Fuck Politeness

This is a revolution, not a public relations movement

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Why not, all the cool kids are doing it…K Rudd, Malcolm Fraser. I wish Fraser had expanded somewhat rather than telling us to buy his book, because no, I don’t want to buy his book with two weeks to go before the election just to read that no one should elect Tony Abbott.

I’ve just been watching this unfold with increasing horror – is it actually conceivable that he could be voted in as Prime Minister? WHY? HOW? When did this become a possibility?

I’ve started to try to avoid all news about the election while donating to any GetUp! campaign I’m emailed about (and well done GetUp!, a successful High Court challenge to the constitutional validity of electoral amendment legislation is a BIG FUCK OFF deal!) but lately I’ve been unable to avoid it even by refusing to read/listen/watch.

My office has expanded lately and with it the quota of staff members prepared to sell women down the river to defend some dickhead white old man’s right to be awful/lecherous/a rape defender/a breaker of discrimination law/a perpetrator of sexual assault has expanded.

So this week I’ve heard all about how ‘neither of them will be that bad for US’ (actually it could be pretty bad for me, but apart from that even if it’s not bad for a handful of priviledged white middle class professionals/semi-professionals *I* actually give a fuck what happens to the rest of the country, the poor, the vulnerable, the homeless, I care about the rhetoric, I care about his ideology, I care about Indigenous health, welfare, education and employment, I care about women, I care about access to abortion, I care about health care and free education – I care); I’ve heard someone laugh (sincerely laugh) at Abbott’s vicious deployment of the anti-rape slogan ‘no means no’ and the way he called it/Prime Minister Gillard as a woman into question repeatedly. I’ve heard all about how Kristy Fraser-Kirk, the woman bringing the $37 million dollar law suit against David Jones (her employer at the time, where she was told to simply be firmer in saying no to a man that apparently the staff, the media and the entire business industry knew to be a serial groper/lech/pervert/harasser) is a ‘skank’, and how the lawsuit is ‘taking the piss’. This despite no one advancing any argument that Ms Fraser-Kirk is prevented from bringing such a claim, that there is anything illegal or unethical about doing so, despite no one acknowledging the law about harassment in the workplace, the fact that David Jones knew that law and had a policy, and the fact that David Jones did not enforce it caring more about this one pervy old guy and his ‘right’ to get his rocks off by abusing his position more than their policy, the law or the wellbeing of their employees.

Depending on who’s speaking when and on what topic I’ve shouted or shut my mouth. I’ve shouted at my boss because I know I can, I’m not ‘bullying’ anyone when I do that and because the defending the ‘no means no’ stuff was a bridge WAY too far and in that moment I knew that I didn’t care if I lost my job, I wasn’t going to say it was okay to make those remarks. I haven’t shouted at the co-worker in question over the lawsuit stuff, mostly because I’m staggered at her baseless assertions about the woman in question and the ‘piss taking’ lawsuit and I’m concerned that if I really push her and say ‘You don’t give ANYTHING to back up your views, give me something other than YOUR FEELINGS or repeating your assertions and we can talk’ that things will be said that make it impossible to work together – I don’t feel like I can yell at a co-worker the way I can with my boss, so I sit there going ‘Are you fucking KIDDING ME?’.

But anyway, I digress. Back to the election and Tony Abbott, I’m staggered that anyone can think of voting for this man! Everything he’s said and done, everything he stands for: this man is repulsive. Lest it be seen that this is my ‘feeling’ being asserted as truth a la my co-workers ‘skank’ labelling, I give you this collection from caitlinate at The Dawn Chorus because nothing says it better than his own words – again and again and again.

For real, READ it beginning to end and tell me you can say in all honesty this is a man you could vote as Prime Minister and not a rabid ideologue with staggeringly ill informed and bigoted views.

Hat-tip to Mindy at Hoyden About Town

Oh my good GOD. See I’m one of those nasty single mothers setting a bad example for impressionable girls anywhere who might see me and realise that humans can cope with a lot and still have choices, so I might be biased. As you would NOT expect from a ratbag single mum, I’ve just returned from a full day’s canteen duty at my son’s high school. Since uni’s out I decided I could spare one of my two rare days off (usually study days) to volunteer. I came home ragged with tiredness and thought I might lay down quietly for fifteen minutes to regroup but I’ve just read Bettina Arndt’s latest offering (here – sorry my net is playing up so not all my widgets are working: and instead, my body’s rigid with rage.

It’s an offering on what a horrid example Ms Gillard will be setting young women everywhere when she moves into the lodge should she win the election. Take a moment to chew on the absurdity of this claim could you please? I mean HONESTLY: she will move into the lodge as Australia’s first female Prime Minister, having won an election in her own right. What a magnificent example she will set to young girls! And we want to talk about the absence of a ring on her finger??

Arndt is in fine conservative form. De facto relationships are apparently less committed, less stable, less consciously chosen – Arndt discusses the issue of many couples ‘sliding rather than deciding’ as if couples never simply ‘slide’ into marriage and children cos it’s ‘what you do’, and as if all relationships involving a shared domestic relationship are the same. When I was nineteen I lived with my boyfriend for nine months with no decision that I wanted to share my life with him, simply to see how we went. As it turned out, not so well and I moved on.

Why on earth would you compare that to Ms Gillard’s relationship for heaven’s sake? It is plainly obvious to anyone with half an inkling of intelligence that de facto relationships can be every bit as committed to respectful, committed, long term relations as marriage. And guess what? Everyone can have them.

The rates of marriage dissolution suggest that marriage itself is not so stable – yes, there’s a study that allegedly supports the idea that de facto couples with children are ‘more likely’ to split than married couples. But let’s talk about how *much* more likely, let’s discuss the quality of the relationships of the married partners who stay together, let’s talk about reasons such as societal pressure not to leave a husband/wife, let’s talk about the problems in marriage, and let’s PLEASE acknowledge that the breakup of a parental relationship is not always an unmitigated negative for the children involved!

Ages of the children vary, circumstances of what they were subjected to within the relationship vary, reasons for and the amicability of the split vary (and I’d like to see some date on amicable splits in de facto versus marriage relationships). And it’s really simply just high time that we all backed the fuck OFF the notion that children not living in a nuclear familial unit are just worse off than kids in nuclear family units, just cos. For one tiny example, my son’s father lives in Germany, pays no child support and carries on like a goose. He rarely calls. And yet my son is a happy, funny, socially and academically successful child with a thirst for knowledge and a love of life. Me leaving his father when it became apparent that his father was an addict, and our lives would become enmeshed in his addiction and dysfunction was simply put the best thing that could have happened in his life. And yeah – we were married. Whoopty-fucking-do for marriage. As a contrast, my cousins would have had a vastly better experience of childhood had their mother been supported in leaving their father. And HER life would have been much better, and that is important too.  Oh yes, they were married. That’s why her priest could pressure her so effectively into staying with the abusive alcoholic prick.

Also according to Ms Arndt, those of us who didn’t marry (or didn’t stay married to) our childrens’ other parent, ‘drag’ our children through a ‘succession of chaotic blended families’. EXCUSE ME? That’s right, I said EXCUSE ME! You simply CANNOT generalise like that. Your bigotry is appalling.

First up, why are blended families of necessity chaotic? People are remarkably adaptable, and if they choose rather than slide into a blended family scenario (sure, you’re convinced that sliding only happens outside of marriage, you’re on your own there though) then they have full capacity to seek assistance in proactively managing the challenges of ‘blended families’ (which by the way can simply be referred to as families you know).

Second hey WHAT is with you and this ‘succession’/ ‘dragging’ thing? You seem pretty clearly to be implying that parents of children who don’t marry and may want to negotiate another relationship are irresponsible parents dragging through a ‘succession’ as if we can’t exercise our own good judgment about relationships and when and where and how to share an abode, and as if we can’t take our time as well as those who were married and moved on, and as if we have less ability to be able to choose again ONCE (given that appears to be your measure of a responsible parent).

There is NOTHING inherent in finding yourself a single parent after a de facto relationship that makes you more likely than someone who found themselves a single parent after a marriage breakup that make you more likely to ‘drag’ your child through a ‘succession’ of de facto relationships. NOR is there anything inherent in a commitment to de facto OVER marriage that makes a person more likely to be unable to find a relationship they want to be in for the rest of their life.

I mean Christ on a bike lady.

I have a child and am more cautious and more protective of my freedom than I have been at any other point of my life. I have been married – to my son’s father. It was bullshit. I am not saying that marriage itself has to be bullshit (though I eyeball it suspiciously very often). But that marriage was. So I left. And I’ve done it tough. And guess what. No dragging through a succession (or in fact ANY) of “chaotic blended families”. I’ve been on my own with my son ever since. And I’ve had a couple of relationships that didn’t go anywhere for various reasons, and so we never got close to discussing shared abodes. I’ve been in a committed relationship for three years now and we’re having long discussions about when and whether to share a house, how it would work, what it would mean, how we’d negotiate finances, how we’d manage space, what our expectations would be with regards to each other’s children. We’ve booked in to attend couples counseling in order to work through these concerns proactively before we move in. All hallmarks of a decision I would say, and I ask you how many marriages have that level of forward planning.

You’re banging on about Julia Gillard’s ‘real reasons’ for delaying moving into the Lodge? I suggest your real reasons for having a problem are that Ms Gillard has chosen not to have children, has chosen not to get married and has a wildly successful career and appears to all intents and purposes to be a funny, happy, intelligent and well rounded woman and THAT bothers the hell out of you as an example for our girls, since they might realise that they don’t NEED to slide into marriage and babies. I suggest your ‘real reasons’ are that you’re opportunistically seizing another moment in the limelight after your recent crap about how women should put out in marriage even when they don’t feel like sex.

Please also note: Some people are consciously, ethically against marriage as an institution. Some people are not interested in the whole monogamous relationship gig at all. Also, you are a twit.


Okay, I might try to go over this movie comprehensively some other time…I’ve almost been awake for twenty four hours and I finished a closed book law exam today.

But for now…see I went to see Sex and the City 2 to relax. To unwind. To laugh. To switch of my critical brain.

Now yes, I can see why people had problems with the tv show. I can. For me however, there was some benefit to having women (Sam) say things like ‘Ladies, I need a napkin to dry of my seat! That waiter is HOT!’ on screen.

But the last movie…well…it was…ho hum was about the best you could say for it overall. There were scenes I enjoyed quite a bit. But it didn’t have the snap of the series.

But THIS movie? Well let’s see…if you can get through the ‘GAYGAYGAY’ cracks, and the ‘BOOBSBOOBSBOOBSOMGBOOBSLOOKATTHEMENLOOKINGATTHEBOOBS’ ‘storyline’, well hold on to your seat, cos after a brief and dangling segue ‘Sam’ is going to ‘the new Middle East’. I think at about the point you stopped having her negotiate casual sex and her PR job in New York, about the time you ripped the Sass-Mouth-Queen from her context and plonked her in L.A, about the time you say had to give her a dog that HUMPED everything to keep the laughs coming; I think that’s about the time that ‘Sam’ became a parody of whatever female ’empowerment’ she represented and you had to put her in more and more ludicrous situations to create the impression of a ‘plot’.

Well what better than to dump simulacrum Sam in the middle east, all tits and hot flashes, all sweaty and loudmouthed, pure cliched obnoxious ‘Yankee’, and have her continually metaphorically and literally flip the bird at those whacky whacky Muslims. See her give the man a boner. See the dog humping. See her screaming ‘This is an outrage’, see her screaming ‘Oh yes I have SEX!!!’ and waving her condoms.

The final outrage, the nail in the coffin of my desperate attempts not to scream with rage? The ‘Look How Secretly Empowered THESE Muslim Women Are!!’, the ‘labels=empowerment’ reveal, and the ‘Escape in Whacky Muslim Disguise’ scene.

By the end of that movie I hated all of them…well maybe not Miranda for at least she *tried* to learn something of the culture and language, but still she was friends with these fuckwits. Carrie – learn how to have an honest fucking dialogue for once in your life. Big: you WERE acting like a tool, she cracked it for a reason. Aidan? Go away I never liked you. Charlotte – WHEN did you decide to do that whacky overexaggerated-facial-expression thing, and also could you BE more annoying? Harry? DUDE: I like you generally, you do NOT, I repeat do NOT stare at a woman’s breasts like that unless invited to. No, not ever. Sorry.

I think we’re done here. That was a steaming pile of shit and I want my money back.

This isn’t a movie. It’s a pisstake. It’s a pro-American, anti-Islamic, regurgitated hash of oppressive cliches and neurotic bullshit with the artistic merit of used dental floss.

There’s been an horrific plane incident in Libya. From the first story I’ve read the whole thing just blew up/fell apart when it landed. 103 people are dead and one is alive. An eight year old boy is alive, with broken legs and a head injury, his parents and his sibling were killed in the crash. There’s footage of this boy gazing glazedly at some unknown point. Someone is filming him. And the EU parliamentary president says it’s ‘truly a miracle’. From who’s perspective? I doubt it feels very miraculous to him right now, and out of the media, the EU parliamentary president, the investigators etc, his is the perspective I care about. This poor child has survived what must have been terrifying, he’s in pain and injured, he’s bedridden, he’s lost his family and he has cameras pointed at him because he’s ‘the boy who lived’? It’s not his miracle. It’s his horror, his pain, his soon-to-have-to-face-an-overwhelming-grief. The media is lapping it up, broadcasting it everywhere and the EU parliamentary president is putting a spin on it.

I often have these ideas that tickle my fancy when they stay simply in the realm of ideas (penises being attached by velcro so they could be confiscated should their owner misuse them remains my favourite).

I was bitching to a friend about the recent decision acquitting a guy of rape on the grounds (or at least partly on these grounds) that the woman he was alleged to have raped was wearing skinny jeans, and how oh how could he have pulled them down without her consent and assistance?

Well I have ranted long and hard about this and to anyone who will listen. But in jest I started shouting to a friend about how all these ’emo’ dudes wander around wearing tight black jeans. Serious. They look like they’re spray painted on. And those goofy slipper-looking shoes. But I proposed this: I start a city wide campaign where I raced up behind emo guys wearing these jeans…and dacked them. Yep, just pulled down those skinny jeans. Because if I can pull down *their* skinny jeans, surely there is no fucking legitimacy whatsoever to claims that men simply could not possibly take off a woman’s ‘skinny jeans’ without her consent and assistance. I proposed calling it ‘Dack an emo for rape awareness’.

What stops me is the actuality. It’s really funny. In my head. But to actually run up and grab some guys pants and pull them down is still assault, is still a big breach of their bodily autonomy. Also, it risks treating something lightly that is simply not fucking funny. The idea of some woman waging a city wide campaign to raise awareness that involves dacking emos *sounds* kinda funny. But it’s not funny to do that to someone. And the point that needs to be made is incredibly serious and risks being seemingly ‘mocked’ if you use ‘humour’ to make your point.

I’d like to nominate him for douchebag of the week.

I think it’s a good think for Nick Minchin that he’s retiring from politics after his ludicrous comments on smoking and smokers…then again, politicians make ridiculous statements all the time and people still vote for them.

Minchin seemed to be confused as to exactly what he was trying to say, who he was trying to defend and who he was trying to insult. Now going from the SMH article, in response to ‘smoking is a drain on the economy due to the level of healthcare required to treat smoking related issues’ he’s come out with:

“They die early, they actually save us money,” Senator Minchin told ABC television on Monday.

You said fucking WHAT?

but also:

Liberal powerbroker Nick Minchin has slammed the federal government’s plan to increase the tax on cigarettes as he told smokers to: “Go for it”.


The government was “slugging poor old smokers every time they need money” by proposing the tax hike.

Ok wow. So first the idea that smokers save the government money by dying earlier. That’s a pretty callous and cavalier attitude to human life – I wonder what Nick Minchin would have to say on abortion. Or is it that life in the womb is sacred, but once born if you can profit from early deaths then you should give tell people to ‘go for it’ and do what will kill them earlier.

Second the absolute gobsmacking ignorance of the statement. Excuse me Nick Minchin, but smokers dying early? From what please? Because as I understand it, it’s from heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema, various other cancers, gangrene, and well…really the sorts of long term health issues that require high level and expensive tests, diagnoses and treatments. If smokers ‘died early’ in the sense that they had an expiry date and on 3 April were fighting fit and on the 4 April simply ceased to be, then his ‘they save us money by dying early’ might have some kind of logic to it, though it’s still an incredibly callous statement, an almost sneering at the deaths of smokers. Simply to make his ridiculous, nonsensical politically point scoring ‘argument’.

Essentially it seems Nick is a Liberal. He doesn’t like Labour. He doesn’t care for a Labour plan for anything. But also as a Liberal he doesn’t like a tax. (Cutting money from the poor and vulnerable sure, but not a tax on luxury items). So it’s a double whammy for Nick. It’s a tax, it’s a tax, it’s a LABOUR TAX!!!

So rather than actually advance an argument that sounds like it’s been formulated by an adult who takes a lot of money from the public purse to formulate opinions he says smokers save money (not true) by dying early (oh hahaha).

But after kinda smirking at the smokers and their stupid dying early ways he then wants to play all working class hero. The big bad government is taxing the common people! They expect people to pay more for their cigarettes!!!! Oh noes. Look, yeah, smoking is legal. Do it if you want. But frankly I don’t give a fuck if a pack of cigarettes costs $50 bucks. My rent goes up every six months, I pay more for all my rates, I’m not asking anyone to keep a lid on how much my good sheets, nice coffee, or tasty alcohol cost – I have to make choices about what I can afford. True, smoking is an addiction, and good sheets are not – though in my case they ARE a compulsion – but there are a range of treatments out there to quit smoking, so if it’s too pricey you can quit. It’s not a necessity. It’s not fruit and veg, it’s not bread or milk, it’s not education…it’s not tampons and hey the Libs were all for taxing those. So what I ask is the big fucking deal about taxing cigarettes.

Oh and while we’re at it, if it was a misquote in the SMH then my bad (or theirs actually) but:

The government was “slugging poor old smokers every time they need money” by proposing the tax hike.

Uh…no. They might be slugging poor old smokers every time they want a nicotine hit. But not every time they need money. They need money, but they want the nicotine hit. Their body needs it, but their body can be trained to not need it. They can prioritise the nicotine hit over their budget, but that’s still a choice of “I want the cigarettes more than I need money”, so don’t fiddle with words in such a way as if the government is reaching into the piggy banks of smoker’s children when they need MONEY, it’s when they want or need cigarettes.

Smoking *does* cost money in terms of healthcare…and I don’t think that healthcare should be denied. Nor do I think that everyone should foot the bill for their own health issues. But smoking is a big issue in terms of health, and not just the health of those that smoke, but those they smoke around. And while freedom of choice is important, it’s also important that people weigh all the actions of their choices. I lost my grandfather to a heart attack because he wouldn’t quit smoking and I watched my aunt wither and die from emphysema because she refused to quit. She was ill and in need of high level medical care and income support for over twenty years. Because she liked smoking. I’m not suggesting it’s her fault or that she deserved to die, or that she should have been refused care or support, I’m simply saying ‘Yeah…charge what you like for cigarettes, use other ways – like taxes – to disincentivise smoking, because the cost is high in terms of money and lives and health’.

Even if it were not a health issue, they’re a luxury item so far as I can see so I don’t really care that they’re pricey. But it is a health issue. And I would far prefer that luxury items like alcohol, cigarettes, nice sheets, plasma tvs and all the bits and pieces of ‘luxury spending’ were taxed more rather than seeing cuts to benefits of people at risk, rather than seeing basic necessities rise.

Anyway, rather than being my opinion on smoking and taxes, this was simply about Nick Minchin. He wants to use smokers to swing in as their working class hero by defending the poor battlers from a Big New Tax, but he also wants to use them as a snide trump card of ‘Uh-HA: they die EARLY!!! Therefore they cost us less! Therefore we should ENCOURAGE smoking!’. What exactly is that logic again? Oh yeah, we should encourage people to do stuff that will kill them early if the government will profit from their death…and don’t forget! Life is SACRED starting at conception!

Trigger warnings.
When I was a kid I heard a joke. It was racist, sexist, generally demeaning but it went like this:

Confucius say no such thing as rape. Woman with skirt up run faster than man with pants down.

Because I have a very visual imagination I remember (to my shame) getting the giggles at some kind of Flinstones scene with a man falling over and a woman running away.

But of course the minute you think about it, it’s terrible. Rape does happen, and to insinuate the respective clothing of victim and perpetrator have *anything* to do with it, much less that they *prove* rape didn’t happen, is ridiculous. To my mind the joke acknowledged the ridiculousness of it, though it was still racist, sexist, stupid and open to a much more sinister form of humour, one that *did* blame women for rape, that *did* assume women lie, one that believes that women’s clothing *does* have any relevance to the occurence of rape.

Sadly, this logic seemed to come into play. In 2010. In a courtroom. In Sydney. From the jury.

During the trial the jury sent a note to the judge asking for more information about ”how exactly Nick took off her jeans”.

”I doubt those kind of jeans can be removed without any sort of collaboration,” the note read.

Oh you doubt it do you? Are you some kind of clothing physicist then? Do you have a scientific theory as regards the difficulty of producing downwards motion of fitted denim by the use of external force? I doubt it!!

[“Those kind of jeans” comes perilously close to those kinds of women in my mind, but let’s just stick to the facts and not conjecture (we are after all not the jury)].

Let’s turn to the defence counsel Paul Hogan. Not the Paul Hogan, however I doubt that even the Paul Hogan, completely untrained legally (so far as I know) would, if placed in the position of acting as Counsel for the Defence, have come up with an opinion to proffer quite so messed up as this:

“I’m suggesting it’s difficult for skinny jeans to be taken off by someone else unless the wearer’s assisting, collaborating, consenting,” Mr Hogan said.

Let’s discuss what they have articulated doubt over. Skinny jeans. They doubt they could be removed without any sort of collaboration.

I’d like to proffer an counter-opinion here (and I’d really like to make clear that in discussing this in relation to rape the following paragraphs might be triggering or distressing): when I have tight pants on I sometimes find them difficult to get off without assistance. Bending down, twisting, manouvering, it’s all quite complicated. They do tend to cling a little here and there, so that for me (NOT a 42 kilogram woman) I kinda need to take them partway off, then sit and tug them all the way off. But the issue is I’m trying to tug DOWN, from arms affixed ABOVE the pants.

What I need is someone there, someone who can just grab them and yank them – and miraculously (given they don’t have glue, chains, hooks, bolts or screws) they come straight OFF. One yank and they’re to my knees. A second from the feet and they’re off. Now I’m trying to imagine someone bigger and stronger than me trying to remove those pants while I put up a fight, while I struggle. So, I’ve got nothing right. I can try to stop them unbottoning. But if I weigh less/am weaker, not really effective. They WILL manage to undo my jeans. What then? I can flip around, thrash, lash out, try to grip on to the jeans with my knees, but there’s nothing to resist with til my knees, because I foolishly forgot to install my stock standard automated grapple hooks to shoot out of my hips at the first sign of fear and grab onto my teflon, non-tearing jeans.

So I resist with my knees, but even there. One big yank and I reckon it’s over. I probably now have sore, bruisy and denim chaffed calves, but there is no way for me to hang on against external force. So probably they will come all the way off. But even if they stayed around my knees, do we REALLY think that rape can’t happen while my pants are around my knees? Because I’m here to tell you that sex can. And if sex can, I’m not quite sure why rape can’t. And I’ll tell you something else (that is distressing) were a woman’s knees then bound by her own pants that HADN’T been pulled off, and the rapist put his body weight on top of her? She’s now lost her ability to fight effectively with her legs.

Well. Clearly then. No rape HAPPENED because she was wearing skinny jeans. Those impossible to remove articles of clothing. A big strong man exerting external force simply doesn’t have a chance against fitted denim on a woman’s body. But the jury and the defence counsel seem to think that while he had no chance without her consent, if she chose to help, or remove them herself, they’d just slip right off?

So, to counter the very convincing legal/scientific argument that ‘they doubt’ the pants could come off without the wearer’s “assisting, collaborating, consenting”. Well let’s look at this shall we. A grown man, so the theory goes, has NO CHANCE of removing fitted denim. UNTIL the 42 kilogram woman wearing them assists: assists how? Um…by…wriggling in a helpful way? By shifting ever so slightly where the denim sticks a little? (But shh…if we admit it’s just sticking a little, then we might HAVE to admit that the man could still easily get the pants off) Collaborates? How? Turning off those automated grapple-hook-hips? Removing bolts/screws/glue? Oh yeah, none of that stuff is real, so HOW would she ‘collaborate’? I guess…by wriggling in a helpful way? Not much in the way of ‘UH-HUH!! Collaboration!’ is it? ‘Consenting’? Again, short of turning off the non-existent grapple hooks I really can’t see how consent plays in, but let’s give them the maximum benefit of the doubt and really expose how ludicrous this is shall we? I mean consent? ‘Yes, you may remove my jeans’. Well even that doesn’t mean rape couldn’t have happened does it? But let’s look at this consent-re-jeans-issue. She says she did not consent and that he pulled her jeans off. They say he could not without her consent. So we’re expected to believe that if a Navy guy tries to pull the pants of a size 6, 42 kilo woman and she struggles he WILL NOT BE ABLE TO REMOVE THOSE JEANS. But, if she ‘consents’ he could…because she is just THAT MUCH STRONGER? Because she turns off all the ‘resist jeans removal devices’? Or because she wriggles in a helpful, not unhelpful way? So the major difference between his ability to take off the jeans is the way in which she wriggles: if she resists, no can do, if she assists, done deal? I would REALLY LIKE TO SEE the fucking science on this: a big man exerts all his external force on a pair of jeans and yet a pair of legs with no special devices is meant to simply RESIST by a winning combination of flailing and ‘lack of consent’. I call bullshit you arseholes, I call bullshit and I say you KNOW it is bullshit.

I am (and I should be used to it by now but I am not) SIMPLY FUCKING ASTONISHED, disappointed, and disgusted that in this day and age ANYONE can think like this, much LESS that it could gain any traction whatsoever in a court of law. It has all the traction of a pair of legs trying to resist skinny jeans being yanked off, ie NOT MUCH AT ALL!

Do I sound angry? Sorry. I am FURIOUS actually, I hope I didn’t mislead you. What a woman wears has jack shit to do with whether she was raped, and a pair of skinny jeans can be removed by another person much more easily than they can be removed by the wearer. This sudden resurgence of a variation on the ‘look what she was wearing’ argument is simply astonishing and frankly has no place in a court of law whatsoever.

Courts in Italy and Korea have also grappled with the skinny jeans issue. [ISSUE???]

In 2008 a Seoul court overturned the seven-year sentence of a man convicted of raping a woman wearing skinny jeans.

In the same year an Italian court upheld a rape conviction, ruling that “jeans cannot be compared to any type of chastity belt”. [DAMN STRAIGHT]


The chairwoman of the National Association of Services Against Sexual Assault, Veronica Wensing, said a woman’s outfit should not be an issue in alleged rapes. ”Any piece of clothing can be removed with force.”

Well thank you Veronica Wensing for making some actual sense. I am outraged that this bullshit was given any leeway in a court of law in Sydney. The next time someone talks to me about ‘backwards’/’sexist’ countries and cultures while maintaining that everything’s dandy over here I am going to go apeshit. This is not a joke, this is not trivial, this is not just an exception: this is about how we talk about women, about how we talk about rape, in a court of law. This is appalling, and we all know it, and I’m astonished that Counsel for the Prosecution didn’t object, or that the objections were overruled, I’m astonished that there wasn’t movement on the trial when the jury sent that note. He is ‘Nick’ and she is ‘her’? They doubt? They want the judges advice on the removal of skinny jeans? What the FUCK is going on here, this is a circus, not a valid legal proceeding. It’s times like this I’m oh-so-glad to be studying law. I feel torn between saying ‘Fuck you law’ and going off to be a busker or join the circus, and saying ‘That’s it, I’m telling you I’m going to be a criminal prosecutor so I can decimate your arguments in court’. But you know…imagine how very depressing when you throw everything you have at it, when you know you’re right to object, and in the end they still acquit on this bullshit grounds. It’s just disgusting.

[E.T.A – I have been thinking about how unfocussed/incoherent the post is. I’m not trying to say that there aren’t women for whom ‘Women’s bodies are more beautiful’ is a truth. I’m not trying to say that women’s bodies aren’t beautiful. I’m also not trying to reinforce the idea that only bodies that show a significant – nay, ludicrous – amount of work to obtain/maintain are beautiful. I am just trying to look at what goes unspoken underneath a woman saying ‘I’m straight but I think women’s bodies are more beautiful’ when – as it seemed very much at the time – she’s referring to a very specific *kind* of ‘woman’s body’. At how much work goes into creating and maintaining that idea…it really is all over the place, this post]

I dunno why but I was thinking back to a group of acquaintances together over drinks when one straight woman said ‘Women’s bodies are just more beautiful’.

At the time another friend said ‘No, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, it’s how we’ve been conditioned to think about it’.

That rings true to me. Beauty and sex are represented by and large in society, in media, in movies, tv, filmclips by women. Desirability is located in the faces/bodies/hair of women, their smiles, their mannerisms, their legs, their breasts…

Not just any women either. YOUNG, YOUNG, YOUNG women. So their skin is clear and bright and taut and glowing in a way that’s simply not possible past the age of say 23. But even the y0ung women with good skin have expert makeup piled on. Even the naturally thin have to diet and exercise and work hard for those bodies. And even those bodies: the very young, the dieted, exercised, buffeted, lasered, smoothed bodies get airbrushed. Even those with manes of glossy hair get hair extensions, fake eyelashes.

In essence what I am saying is that ‘beauty’ is not located in ‘a beautiful woman’, it’s in this ludicrously unobtainable-for-the-vast-vast-majority over-produced version of ‘beautiful woman’, a version that the woman in question works really fucking hard for. And then is ‘improved’ in all sorts of ways: fake tans, laser hair removal, makeup, air brushing, plastic surgery. Like when they airbrushed and photoshopped the shit out of Jessica Alba for the Campari calendar. Jessica. Fucking. Alba! Take away some non-existent waist, add more cleavage, change skin tone, widen eyes. FUCK! Can we not let Jessica ALBA alone?

So every day women are subjected to a barrage of these ‘beautiful women’ as the standard to which they’re compared, to which they *should* live up to. And for the poor old ‘average woman’, hell even for the ‘beautiful’ women, there is a lot of work involved in going anywhere near this stereotype, we’re talking hours and hours and hours of grooming, of shopping, of lasering, of exercise, of makeup, of accessorising, of contemplating outfits, of teetering in heels.

But for men…well for men, even in media…there are a couple of stupidly good looking men. But they’re just that. Stupidly good looking. For the most part, the ‘cute guy’ in the tv show, or the movie, or the film clip doesn’t really wear a tiny bikini or get his gear off, so he’s got a nice face…and sometimes a good set of arms. Sometimes they’re not even stupidly good looking. Sometimes they’re ‘goofy cute’ or sometimes just kinda average-to-funny-looking with some good lines or charisma.

And well, outside of media…well…for a good looking man to be seen as beautiful, he showers, brushes his teeth, puts on some clothes, and hell if he’s going all out, perhaps some after-shave. And men’s beauty will get noticed. Oh, he has nice EYES, or YIKES did you see that smile?? Or ‘Doesn’t Phillip SMELL NICE??’. Yes, I know that there are pressures on men as well. But a large spectrum of ‘types’ are considered sexy and what I’m trying to get at is the same level of work is not demanded.

But back to media etc: a range of men from allegedly not attractive, through to ‘yowsa’ are represented in tv. Where women predominantly have to be staggeringly beautiful to appear in tv/films, the type of beauty that requires a lot of work, for the most part, the men in tv, even the ‘attractive’ men don’t have to spend as much time and effort at being eye-candy.

Which is where True Blood steps in. There are male bodies in that show that require work. Like hours and hours and YEARS of dieting and exercise! They’re either naturally hair free or they’ve been waxed/plucked/buffed to oblivion. And I want to be clear: I’m not trying to say that some bodies are better than others or that people should just work harder or whatever. What I’m saying is our images of bodies, and of beauty are shaped by this continuous barrage of images. And then our ideas about whose bodies are beautiful is shaped by that barrage. And the whole ‘WHY do some bodies count as beauty and IS THAT OK’ issue to one side for just a moment: is it in any way possible that women will say that women’s bodies are ‘more beautiful’ because they’ve been soaked/immersed/drowned in images of naturally ‘beautiful’ women: naturally beautiful YOUNG women, naturally beautiful young women who have to NEVER EAT MORE THAN FOUR CHIPS (I’m looking at YOU Dita Von Teese – yes she said it, she’ll just NEVER have that next chip – only fattie mcfatfats do that) to keep working, naturally beautiful very young women who never eat chips/what they want to and must exercise a lot a lot, and THEN must have hair extensions, laser hair removal, fake tans, hair extensions, fake eyelashes, the latest jewellery and other shiny bits and pieces. And…well…say Seth Green, or Ben McKenzie/Adam Brody…cute yes, but really, where’s the indications of the work they do to stay toned/ripped/’hot’? Well generally we never get to see their bodies so we don’t know.

And then in True Blood you’re like ‘Holy fucking HECK, HOW did you get a body like that…no, really…HOW??’. The bodies are so astonishing that for a while you’re like ‘Well I…think that’s attractive, I’m still stuck on huh?’. And yet, that level of over-the-top-worked-for body is represented as just kinda normal for women, day in, day out, in ads, movies, tv shows, film clips, and in the way fashion displays bodies. Fashion simply doesn’t display men’s bodies in the same way. And nor, generally speaking does media. Yeah okay, a Beckham ad here, an Absolut ad there…but those STICK IN OUR COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS because they’re like ‘WHOA!!’, they’re the exception rather than the rule. And on the one hand that means we’ve got our noses continually rubbed in it: ‘this is beauty and you’ll NEVER EVER FUCKING BE IT’, and on the other, when we think about ‘women’s bodies’ we often think about magazines and media: girly mags, Who magazine, celebrities etc. And when you think of men’s bodies there simply is not the same level of saturation of ‘MENS BODIES ARE TEH HOT’, and even where it’s played it’s rarer, and even where it IS played it’s frequently bodies that don’t require the same level of work. Now again, whether bodies that require more work are more beautiful has to be left to one side again, because we’re indoctrinated to think that those bodies are more beautiful. And we’re indoctrinated to associate that kind of female body with beauty and desire.

I guess I’m just saying that ethics and complications to one side, if exposure were more equal, and demands on beautiful bodies more equal (and this is STILL only equal in terms of idealised/overworked/sterotypically beautiful/cis-gendered/male-female dichotomy equal), would that shift people’s answer? Who the fuck KNOWS what kind of body Clooney has? And who the fuck cares? He’s a sexy man. He’s got that chuckle, those crinkles around his eyes, the grey, the whiskery bits, a way of looking at people with warmth and flirtation…but you see what I’m saying? Dude is an INTERNATIONAL sex symbol and I’ve got no idea what his body looks like. Because men can be sexy for all kinds of reasons and men don’t have to show us their bodies to be considered sexy, they don’t have to jump through the same hoops.I mean I don’t even know what his ARMS look like! Whereas I know that woman opposite him in Up in the Air has a typically gorgeous body with very slender arms, because even in the clothed scenes, her body is much more on display simply by way of fashion.

It is entirely possible that I’m talking out my arse here. And it goes nowhere to redressing ablism/dichotomous gendering/compulsory heterosexuality/race etc. But I do sometimes wonder…if all the media worked like True Blood, where you saw a lot of male and female bodies, some of them more realistic and some of them more ‘how the eff?’ if things would shift. If men would maybe ‘get’ a little of the comparison stuff and how it can affect you. If ‘beauty’ and ‘desire’ wouldn’t stay located in the idealised female body (I think I’m on the path of advocating something just as problematic here)…that perhaps what was being said was not in the end ‘women’s bodies are more beautiful’. Yeah, it’s probably a totally fucked up idea that’d just end up with (white, hetero, able bodied, cis-gendered) men looking at their own bodies and feeling suddenly and startlingly ‘inadequate’ and all kinds of body issues. There are times though, even if the desire is unworthy, where you just for a moment want to go ‘See?? See how it feels to be compared to something you know you can never be? Something you move further away from each day?’.

In exactly forty five minutes I will sit a one hour exam for which I feel ill prepared. This is Labour Law and I’ve spent the last two days listening to a 62 year old man* mock everyone, but none so much as ‘4o year old women’ (!!) who dare to sit in International Law classes as though they have a place in the World Of Greatness. Haven’t they worked out, haven’t they realised, don’t they KNOW that you can’t have everything??? Don’t they GET IT!? Yes, you curmudgeonly bastard, they probably have, because life tends to teach women that a lot earlier than 40. Perhaps they’re not in class because they see themselves as the next High Commissioner for Refugees for the United Nations, but because they have a job in mind that requires it, or because they feel they can make a difference with it, or perhaps because they fucking WANT IT AND WHAT’S IT TO YOU?

He’s really quite funny at times in his scathing piss-takes of say the Liberal Party and High Court judges, the wealthy, the propertied, and anyone who appears to be…not him…but after a while it all just feels a little mean you know? I’m all for a bit of polemicist ranting, but honestly this man’s views of the world and what counts as success and what is meaningful are bleak and belittling at times and I’m not so cool with that.

I’m also not cool with the way he talks to women as opposed to men. I was the first woman to be asked to answer something about a case. I gave him the legal test and the reasons the case was distinguished from the test. He interrupted to tell everyone not to ‘go off on tangents like that’ and then (because he prefers the sound of his own voice) to recite – HEY! – the legal test and the reasons the case was distinguished from the test. Just like I had done. With maybe two words less. Damn those accused women-sy tangents my womanly brain will rattle down like a housewife let loose with some pin money at a shoe sale!

He doesn’t interrupt the menfolk, no. He did say ‘Good girl’ to one fifty year old woman. Woof. It appears that this was cold comfort to her as she made a remark while he was out of the room that she knew as a 50 year old woman she had ‘no right to be here in his view’. He has also told the two younger women in the class that they’re very beautiful and have ‘lovely souls’. Oh yack! You’re the teacher…teach!

Yesterday I was practising my ‘I don’t hear your sexism’ mantra so I wouldn’t get all cranky. Today I’m dead tired and I haven’t covered this section of the course (hey, he said we didn’t have to yet) so I’ve been trying very hard to focus…so giving up on that ill-fated effort, I started noodling around the net, and I’d like to thank him for loving the sound of his own voice enough to lull me into a boredom induced haze because otherwise I would not have had time to read through some more posts at Tiger Beatdown.

Happily I didn’t get to the conversation between Sady and Amanda on ‘vejazzling’ til the lunch break was starting because I just lost it. I laughed so hard I choked on the carrot I was eating and had to perform a kind of makeshift heimlich manoeuvre on myself by banging my back into the wall a number of times. Yes, happily all the other students had rushed off to buy semi-cold vege burgers and three day old pork buns by then so I was quite alone. And I’m quite well, a sore-ish back notwithstanding.

So I haven’t studied, or finished my carrot, or done my pre-exam wee, or gone for a coffee. I’m simply WAITING. It will start soon and that means it will finish soon. I refuse to freak out on account of it’s worth 15% and I’m good at talking out my arse and he laps that shit up [on a re-read that was a FAR more disgusting image than I meant to leave you all with…let’s rephrase as I can talk a good talk and he enjoys that] and plus he’ll have a student number, not a name, so may assume I have a dick in which case I should get a reasonable mark.

But the point of this was that Sady and Amanda are extremely funny women, and I refer you both to the whole post in question and to the choking-on-carrot-with-laughter-parts:

SADY: RIGHT? Like, I mean: I hate to be a jerk here, but if you need my vagina to dress up for this party, my suspicion is that it is not going to be much of a party. [FP decides to call her ‘first born daughter’ Sady, not that she’s having more children, but if she were, she would!] Not to be all second-wave, but the continuing impulse to make ladyparts look less like themselves and more like gifts you would get from your dingier variety of novelty shop, next to the lava lamps, bespeaks some ill to me. [FP laughs loudly, startles last student to leave]

AMANDA: The good news is that for the most part I think everyone believes this to be a ludicrous practice. Then again, I have not rolled with Jennifer Love Hewitt’s posse, so I may not be aware of the full scope of opinions on how much a woman’s vagina ought to look like the back of a 7th grade girl’s cell phone. [laughs louder thus ensuring full and continued solitary use of the room over lunch break]

*   *   *   *  *  *   *   *   *

SADY: Right. It’s this very basic deal, as expressed by the fact that the Washington Monument is not an ovoid hollow in the ground, whereby penises are super and vaginas, although necessary, are basically H.R. Giger shit that would freak any reasonable person out. [begins choke-on-carrot laugh] So you have to make them… like, really, REALLY infantilized, like to the extent of making them pink and sparkly and Lisa Frank binder-looking, to signify that they are female in the “harmless” sense rather than the “oh my God aaaaiiiiieeeeeeee” sense.

Well it amused me greatly (quite clearly). I’m a total sucker for women ‘telling it like it is’ about sex, gender and genitalia in fiesty funny ways.

Right. Off to sit an exam and hopefully (!) be told I’m a ‘Good Girl’.

* There’s no issue with him being 62. Simply that HE has a huge obsession with age and FORTY YEAR OLD WOMEN IN LAW SCHOOL OMG! When HE was in his forties when he started up with Labour Law…