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Fuck Politeness

This is a revolution, not a public relations movement

Tag Archives: discrimination

I’m feeling a little strapped for time, and particularly am feeling nervous about going back to study next week after six weeks off. Six weeks in which it didn’t feel like I actually had any spare time to fill, but in which the pressure of way to many balls in the air was lessened somewhat.

So because I’m flat out I think for a while I’ll be linking to articles that make me go “Wow”. Here is the first.

Trying to explain priviledge is both time consuming and frustrating. Frustrating because the starting point is so often, if not always “That’s not true. If you think that’s true, you’re stupid, if you think that’s true you prove it to me – to my standards to my satisfaction.” And you sit there and shake your head and think “Seriously? You want the right to assume I’m a full of shit moron, and then demand I explain myself, demand I satisfy you when it’s impossible? You want ME to teach you the world is full of bigotry when you could teach yourself?”

As a white cisgendered woman with a reasonably *acceptable* body type, in a hetero relationship, and on a decent-ish income, gender is where I experience the most personal instances of bigotry and discrimination. I notice and speak up about other kinds, but I’m thinking through the fact that while I can be an ally and speak up where I see other kinds of discrimination, I don’t fully *know* the experiences of those discriminated against on the basis of race, weight, gender performance, sexuality etc. And that my priviledge will play out in the same sorts of unthinking ways that say men’s priviledge plays out.

A good illustration of the way in which men’s priviledge plays out is in this article, discussing a women’s performance, a group of women allowing themselves to be vulnerable in public, quite a special thing…pissed all over by a dude standing up and requiring the women to *explain themselves* as to why men’s experiences were not included.

The article’s point that priviledge demands to be represented always and everywhere, to be included reminded me of a god-awful experience of white priviledge playing out in these kinds of ways at the 2007 Sydney Writer’s Festival.

It was an event at which Indigenous authors and activists were speaking. First bad thing? Well, the organisers decided that when there was a clash in timetable with an overseas guest, that, you guessed it, the Indigenous speakers ought to be moved, shifted, shunted to a smaller, more obscure location. Cos you wouldn’t want to displace a white French dude, but hey, Indigenous issues? Those are really kinda *peripheral* anyway right?

So they shifted it, which had me livid already. Anita Heiss stood up and remarked that ‘It’s ok, we’re used to being displaced anyway’.

So then these speakers took turns speaking. I cried almost the whole way through. These stories of pain, struggle, power, progress, frustration, silencing…it was a pretty sacred space to be allowed into. It wasn’t *my* experience, but the fact that I was allowed to hear these stories, to sit and listen felt really bloody special.

Then comes question time. First question? White dude. Along the lines of, “Well YOU’VE been excluded right? So aren’t YOU excluding by having only Indigenous speakers?”

Second comment, white woman “I was an Indigenous person in a past life…” basically something along the lines of isn’t it grand to be *so speacial*, I wouldn’t swap that experience, I wish I were an Indigenous person again, because it’s so much more *special*. To which Anita (my hero, be still my beating heart) replied along the lines of “Yeah? Well I’m an Indigenous person in THIS life, and given my experiences there are times I WOULD swap”.

Jesus people are arseholes. If they can’t immediately OWN the experience they move to tell you how much they *relate* or *get it* but how you’re wrong. So the guy feels *alienated* as a white guy, and therefore goes on the attack about exclusion instead of getting his head out of his own arse, and the woman needs to *own* the stories she’s just heard as a claim to inclusion. Fuck.

Anyway…go read the article. It’s very good, and a good (though gender specific here) example of the ways in which when people who feel and experience discrimination attempt to express it, there always appears to be one or two arseholes around to invalidate it on an ‘everything is equal, tit for tat, I’m gonna call you on your *hypocrisy*’ basis. GOD.

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Michael Savage is here to tell Da Troof about Autism. 

An excerpt from the linked article:

On his radio show last week, he said: “What do you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them, `Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, you idiot.'”

No, take a leaf out of Savage’s book and put a microphone in front of you to cry and scream into. Don’t forget to make it hateful, offensive, ignorant and bigoted.

Gee whiz am I sorry my son doesn’t have a father figure like you around! I feel his problems would be greatly lessoned under the loving care of your guidance.

Anyone traumatised by that prime example of fuckwittery can visit the following sites for Autism support and information:

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The following underlined section is from Sam de Britos post “Man Haters” on the Sydney Morning Herald blog “All Men Are Liars (Except Sam de Brito)” , posted Wed 5 Dec 07

This blog has tackled the topic of misogyny many times over the last eighteen months, most notably discussing how knee-jerk, two-minute feminists consistently confuse a hatred of women (misogyny) with sexism, as well as how men need to be aware and responsible for the way they and their friends talk about the fairer sex, as well as just how common anti-female attitudes are in this country.Misogyny is an ugly word and it’s my opinion it gets thrown around far too lightly; if you criticise or mock women in any way, some second-year gender studies student will accuse you, the media, the advertising industry, big business or Canberra of misogyny. Feminist Gloria Steinem declared in 1996 that “woman hating” is the only form of prejudice still acceptable. But what of its male equivalent?

Ask ten people on the street what the opposite of misogyny is and eight will probably say “polygamy” or “trigonometry”; in fact the term for a hatred of men is “misandry” and it’s so rarely used Microsoft Word’s spell check doesn’t even recognise that combination of letters (go and try it, I’ll wait.)

The fact is, if you were to apply the same criteria to misandry that some feminists use for misogyny and its “pervasiveness” in Western culture, you couldn’t turn on your TV, open a newspaper or attend a hens night without being swamped by our “hatred for men” …

In the book Spreading Misandry writers Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young make the observation that “like misogyny, misandry can be found in almost every genre of popular culture – books, television shows, movies, greeting cards, comic strips, ads or commercials, and so on…

“The misandric artifacts and productions of popular culture promote a particular world view. It is not a complex one. On the contrary, it is very simplistic. Symbolically encoded … is what we call ‘the conspiracy theory of history’.

“One specific group of people is identified as the threatening source of all suffering and another as the promising source of all healing. There is nothing new about this theory; only the names have changed.

“At various times over the past century, nations, classes and ethnicities have replaced religions as the representatives, or incarnations of good and evil. Today that is true of the two sexes as well.”

Now that it’s politically incorrect to blame black people, the Irish or gypsies for the world’s problems, assigning fault to men has become the wallpaper of modern life, with any number of TV shows, movies, books, comedians and commentators happily pronouncing men as stupid, vile, insensitive, greedy, destructive, self-obsessed “lesser” beings compared to women.

In her article ‘The Worse Half’ published in the National Review in 2002, Charlotte Hays said “that the anti-male philosophy of radical feminism has filtered into the culture at large is incontestable; indeed, this attitude has become so pervasive that we hardly notice it any longer.”

Like all prejudices, misandry does contain a kernel of unvarnished truth, as do misogyny and racism: some men are cruel, exploitative, manipulators of women and the earth, as some women are capricious, vengeful manipulators of men and the earth and some races are more war-like, prone to alcoholism, gluttony or dressing in polyester track suits.

This kernel of truth doesn’t make misandry, misogyny or racism acceptable but it does show us where the prejudices begin and offers men the opportunity to push against the stereotypes.

Perhaps the most notorious man-hater in recent history would be Valerie Solanas who literally shot to fame when she fired three bullets at pop-artist Andy Warhol almost killing him.

Solanas, who ended life as a prostitute turning tricks in San Francisco, was the author of a hilariously deranged 1968 rant, the SCUM Manifesto, in which she advocated all like minded women “destroy the male sex.”

Solanas’ tract is largely repulsive (SCUM stands for Society for Cutting Up Men) but, as mentioned above, it does contain seeds of truth that describe large numbers of men and suggest the way many women who’ve been abused or wronged by males perceive us.

“The male is completely egocentric, trapped inside himself, incapable of empathising or identifying with others, or love, friendship, affection of tenderness. He is a completely isolated unit, incapable of rapport with anyone,” writes Solanas.

“His responses are entirely visceral, not cerebral; his intelligence is a mere tool in the services of his drives and needs; he is incapable of mental passion, mental interaction; he can’t relate to anything other than his own physical sensations.

“He is a half-dead, unresponsive lump, incapable of giving or receiving pleasure or happiness; consequently, he is at best an utter bore, an inoffensive blob, since only those capable of absorption in others can be charming,” she says.

This is a tad more eloquent expression of the old “all men are dogs, cheats, arseholes” line, which you can hear in most hair salons, nightclubs or Sex and the City episodes; however, while Solanas is instantly identifiable as a fruit bat, women who express similar views are seldom castigated for them or asked to question their assumptions.

As I’ve argued in other posts, it’s quite acceptable to act out mutilating a man’s penis in a television advertisement, when even the suggestion of doing the same to a woman’s vagina would see the spot pulled and pilloried and probably draw litigation.

So while hatred for women has an easily identifiable and much-despised name (misogyny), hatred for men (misandry) can barely be articulated but is accepted as part of life.

The nub of all this is that if we’re trying to actively combat one form of contempt, we’re almost certainly doomed to failure if we don’t address the other.

Problem 1/ your most notable “tackling” of the topic of misogyny has been to discuss the problem of knee-jerk, two-minute feminists being confused between misogyny and sexism. Rather than “tackle” misogyny, you opt for the misogynistic manouevre of casting women who disagree as reactionaries, as knee-jerk, two-minute feminists with no grasp on the meanings of words.   

Problem 2/ You falsely limit and confuse the terms of the debate when you provide your own deliberately narrow definition of the terms misogyny and sexism, in order to assert, ipso facto, that they are utterly different and separate and you are guilty of sexism but not of misogyny.

Problem 3/ The resultant implication that sexism is not a problem, is in fact a problem.

Problem 4/ While you stopped the conversation with your friend who was being disrespectful and offensive by saying “Did you fuck that slut up the arse?”, you regularly write, and condone in the comments sections, many things about women that are equally, if not more offensive than this. ** (Examples at bottom of page) I would also like to ask where this friend got the information that you had or were going to, without you providing it, but that is a side issue.

Problem 5/ You assert that misogyny is an ugly word which gets thrown around far too lightly, instead excusing your writing of, and media portrayals of women, as one dimensional, purely for sex, gold diggers, vindictive etc, along with institutionalised discrimination against women as *sexism* but not misogyny. It is in fact the major crux of the first half of your argument, you evidently find it such a significant distinction to make, based even as it is on your false limiting of the terms to emphasise the difference between misogyny and sexism.

Then, in an amazing display of attempting to have your cake and eat it too, you paint the *equivalent* discriminations when directed against the character of men, as misandry and not sexism.

Problem 6/  Your double standards.

One minute you want to proclaim yourself champion of women’s rights, the most pressing problem facing the world today – your words, 5 June 2007.Y

Then you continue writing in ways which demean and belittle women and justify that as *sexism* not misogyny, but simultaneously label any and all mockery of men as the far more serious misandry rather than sexism.

Not only do you refuse to engage with the differences in the outcomes, gravity and implications of discrimination against women and men, not only do you seek to portray discrimination against men as more pervasive in culture and media than that against women, something I defy you to back up statistically, but you also seek first to efface the difference in impact and significance, reducing both forms of discrimination to the same thing, then you afford discrimination against men the gravity of it being misandry –  a hatred against men – a gravity you deny applies to discrimination against women, instead labelling it sexism, which you define as simply acknowledging difference and nothing worse.

Before you launch yourself at my throat the way you do at every reader who dares to criticise you let me pre-empt you most likely manoeuvre:

Sam: Women *always* play the victim. But men outnumber women in physical violence and murder statistics.

Me: Women get raped by men, men they know and trust more often than strangers at a rate equal to rapes of men in prison. Women in Australia get beaten by their partner at a rate of one in four. Women in Australia are most likely to be murdered by their partners, particularly when trying to leave.

Men get beaten up *by men*, men get killed, statistically most frequently *by men*.

Does this mean men are *bad* and women are *good*?

No. It means masculinity has a lot to answer for, and men suffer because of it too. However, women are punished in particular, fear inducing ways. If you do not like the stats about male on male violence, join with feminists in deconstructing masculinity rather than on the one hand posting about stomping on each other’s head and biting off fingers as acceptable responses to mild irritations by other men doing such terrible things as cutting in front of you in the bar queue.

Problem 7 The authors you go on to cite. They do not (at least in the excerpts you provide) prove the prevalence of misandry, they assume it to be proven, and go on to theorize about it. They in fact are guilty again of the straw person argument, setting feminists up as saying men are the root of all evil and suffering and women are the source of all healing. Feminists say *no.such.thing*. Read some (and you might want to try a nifty little trick of reading a breadth of recent feminist thinking from a variety of sources. It is not ok to say to use a soundbite from say Andrea Dworkin and then deduce from this that this one line therefore sums up the entirety of world views of millions of feminists across history).

And here’s where I got so very very bored I could die. Is SO much more fun to mock and poke fun, or at least to engage with what I find more troubling than the fact he is a piss poor writer and pathetic at making an argument which would stand up to a stiff breeze, which is the fact that the man just does NOT seem to care about ethics at all. He cares about sensationalism and a quick buck, the hero worship of the blokes at the pub and occasionally doing a number on “I’m such a nice guy I could cry with self pride”, painting himself a champion of women’s rights (June 5 2007 etc) then writing on The Myth of Drink Spiking today.

Other problems in his article? This claim: Like all prejudices, misandry does contain a kernel of unvarnished truth…oh Christ…I mean really, who has the time, to pull apart the warped fabric that makes up the argument of a de Brito post and show how each and every fibre is built on offensive, unquantified bullshit as well as the problem with the bizarre way they’re woven together??

 Sometimes I wanna take this guy out (in terms of disgracing him publicly about his writing and logic, not with a bullet, cos tempting, but you know, I have this pesky no killing thing) if it takes every waking second of my life – other times I wonder WTF I’m doing and why? He puts it out there so quickly, how could I possibly keep up even if I quit my job and gave up things like eating and showering?

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Reading the wonderful M.LeBlanc on BitchPhD I came across the phrase above “I call total bullshit” – I love it. It’s so friggin direct, and it brings to mind the card game which is a nice allegory for politics at the moment. You can just see them at the table, thinking, shit I am lying my arse off but if they buy it….wooHOO!

Since the time drew nigh for this latest Australian Federal Election the Coalition (Liberal/National parties) has announced that, if elected, they will *do something* about climate change – not sign Kyoto, not specify what exactly they *would do*, but they would do something and it would be BIG, allright?? How dare you doubt the government who refused (and still refuses) to sign Kyoto, who advocate(d/s) the building of nuclear processing facilities, who supported uranium mining in Kakadu?? Frankly Howard is insulted by your pessimism and doubt.

Also, Howard has now changed his tune on *special interest groups* – you know, women, the poor, gays and lesbians, and well, the actual owners of this land we call Australia, Indigenous Australians. How? Well, no, he’s absolutely still going through with the military occupation of certain Aboriginal Communities, and no he isn’t about to change the laws banning alcohol (or get them printed into Indigenous languages, and make efforts to ensure that people KNOW why they are being arrested). Nor, if elected, will he say “sorry”, as in his *white male hetero wisdom* he’s decided that it’s purely symbolic, and what’s needed is practical reconciliation – ie/more Aboriginals in jail than ever before. “We ain’t done yet! The Howard brand of practical reconciliation has more to do”. (See You Just Think That Because You’re a Radical post for the attachment outlining what the Howard government has *really* done for “practical reconciliation” in this country)

Suddenly after refusing to engage with the issue Howard has announced that, if fucking electedthere will be 12 months of paid maternity leave for all women. Hallelujah right? NO…the Government will not be paying for this, the business will…now given that we know that many businesses either cannot or consider that they cannot afford to pay this, the inevitable outcome will be discrimination against women of childbearing age (which, let’s face it, extends from adolescence, to late forties) in favour of men. So the Government looks good for supporting this (after 11 years of refusing to) without having to do a SINGLE THING, and the upshot? More discrimination. Oh you are a true friend of women Howard. Of course, as my conservative boss pointed out (tongue in cheek) Howard could merely be trying to help out the women over childbearing age – though you know, if you’ve been unable to build your career in any way before that, what exactly are your chances of getting a job in your fifties?

Now he’s announced an end to the discrimination against same sex partners in terms of superannuation access – that’s right, if elected. BullSHIT Howard – you have said you are *conservatively tolerant* to gays, I’m not sure if you’d even know what transgendered meant, and at the last minute you are Lord of the Gays by announcing that you *will* do exactly what you promised three years ago and didn’t fucking deliver on? Excuse me if I don’t swallow your horseshit point scoring. If you meant it, you would have done it already…and quite frankly given your loose relationship with the truth in general evidenced over the last eleven years, and specifically the fact you promised to do this three years ago and haven’t I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!

In each of these areas, he has taken a tokenistic stance. After damaging the cause of reconciliation irreperably, he now wants to use it as a slogan to get re-elected, but not if it will cost him anything. He has commited to paid maternity leave – to SOMEONE ELSE (business) paying, someone we already know WON’T pay, someone we’ve given free reign to with Work Choices. And he’s now trying to trade off a broken promise to establish his gay-cred. Wow. Too little far too fucking late? I’m sorry, but you simply CANNOT actively disparage and ignore and damage communities you have maintained are dangerous *special interest groups* that Australia *will not and should not* be *beholden to* and then expect me to believe the cards in your hand are what you say they are. We KNOW BETTER ARSEHOLE! On the 24th November this year you are going to hear a resounding cry of I CALL TOTAL BULLSHIT.

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