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Fuck Politeness

This is a revolution, not a public relations movement

Tag Archives: sexism

OMG SHOES! Miranda Devine is beside herself, wailing and weeping and gnashing her teeth over the daming and far reaching effects of the intellectual monoculture. No, it’s not about an increased risk of glandular fever amongst uni students, it’s one of her pet soapbox issues: THE LEFTIES ARE BRAINWASHING OUR CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The lefties are apparently totally in control of the content of Australia’s education system, even though the Howard government was in power for the last eleven years and set in place measures to force their own special brand of nationalism and ideology down the necks of schools and universities across the country.

Not content with exerting undue influence over schools the Howard government’s culture wars extended to the sacking of Dawn Casey from her curatorship at the National Museum for telling a version of Australian history factually true, but considered unseemly and unpalateable.The Howard government, far from allowing the diversity of views it purported to allow hunted down dissident voices, new approaches to history in line with museumology and, well, fucking exterminating them. Not before decrying them as traitorous, treachorous and unpatriotic though.

Think it stopped there? What of the closure of the peace institute? The absorption of the Office for the Status of Women into the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs? The ‘special dispensation’ granted to the Catholic church to appeal the rights of single women to access IVF. The government funded “think tanks” that spouted their politically situated, ideologically driven crap presented as neutral ? Yeah, you fucking forgot to mention that shit Miranda, that and the fact that you and your right wing, neo conservative, bigotry apologist twerps have laid claim to NEUTRALITY with all the power that holds.

Political correctness gone mad? Um, excuse me??? Firstly, what exactly does she mean by political correctness? I’m guessing she’s referring to the pesky notion that we should treat women, ‘coloured folk’ and ‘the gays’ with respect? Yeah, that shit’s taken off hasn’t it? We’re all tyrannised, ruled by the Mighty Iron Fist of The All Powerful P.C! That’s why Frank Sartor was able to tell Mick Mundine to get off his arse and get his black arse down to his office? Why the SMH published Rolf Harris’s fucking self indulgent racist vitriol? That’s why the SMH published this cartoon in response to bush rats being released in Mosman to rid the area of the common problem of black rats:


That’s why Zoo thinks it’s A-O-fucking-K to run wanktastic spreads on Getcha Hawt Murdered Babes Free Here, that’s why commenter APublicBlogging pointed out that really, the nine year old kid who wrote his article on how to score chicks has more discursive power than online feminist bloggers combined, that’s why every mother-fucking day everywhere I go I hear the jokes about women, that’s why the White Ribbon Organisation’s Report on gendered violence gets slammed, ridiculed and reviled as worthless, pointless propaganda.

In schools, Australia day is celebrated uncritically, no one gives any thought to the fact that a gazillion kids come from sole parent families when they have their father’s day barbeques and their mother’s day stalls, single mothers still get letters to Mrs So and So despite repeated corrections, kids who don’t ‘do’ the religion class get lumped with more classwork, that’s why The Day for the Elimination of Racial Discimination got rebranded and repackaged as Harmony Day.

Andrew Fraser got to defend his racism (sorry, growing tired and short of patience hunting this crap down) by recourse to academic freedom, and the Macquarie University Law Society IMMEDIATELY jumped to his defence with some of the lamest analogies in history (sorry, I’ll dig out the pics of the idiot posters in defence as soon as possible). Fuck this shit, I’m tired. Part two to come soon.

With thanks to Dredgirl from Fuckthepostpolitical for ranting with me and sharing her thoughts with me over this.

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So I was thinking that someone (not me though cos I have my hands full of papers to write already) ought to write a paper/thesis on mainstream media and the selection of photos, particularly of women used to villify or deify. Remember when the divorce of Heather Mills and Paul McCartney was being dragged through the courts? They had all these shots of her looking really quite deranged, exaggerated expressions with eyes super wide, mouth open, lips curled. They didn’t need to use those pics, they could have used any, but they had the story in writing, then the story they told through their pictures – Sir McCartney looking composed and ‘dignified’ even though I’m sure they’ve got a few pics of him pulling strange faces, and pictures of Mills part way through a word or a facial expression – we’ve all seen pics like that, taken at inoportune moments, that are extraordinarily unflattering. Pause a dvd at the wrong moment and you get conventional stunners looking really quite unattractive, cross eyed, slackjawed, like they’re about to spit. It’s what happens when you interupt the continuity of expression – one moment captured and taken out of context can paint a very different picture than if you could see that in context, in flow with the moments before and after.

I was reminded of this when I saw the following photo on the front page of the SMH:

Writing underneath:

Shackles on his ankles, student has his day in court

David Kernell faces five years’ jail and a $350,000 fine for resetting Republican’s email password. 

I dunno, maybe I’m reading too much into it, but the wind seems to have changed a little in the mainstream media, who are fickle in their political allegiances. Contrasted with the image below when she was the darling of the mainstream media, a fox, a babe, a chick in politics, oh the WONDER:


Oh looky there! So *cute*! So *harmless*! So very very feminine! Why WON’T those pesky feminists support her? Look how sweet and sexy she looks, nevermind the corruption allegations! Irrelevant!

But now, post debates, when the mood has shifted a little and there are papers to be sold in sledging her for the inexperience, and the corruption allegations (conveniently ignored initially in favour of a little of everyone’s favourite sport Let’s Bash Those Unruly and Unreasonable Feminazis)…let’s put a picture of her looking overly grumpy and unattractive next to a headline emphasising how trivial the boy’s misdemeanour is and how much she’s overreacting. Just *like* a woman really.

I just think that there’s a little sexism involved in portrayals of women as angelic hotties when that suits your cause, and moody unattractive irrational despots when that suits, and I think the use of these photos, given the focus on looks when it comes to women in politics/in the public eye, is kinda sexist. And that ain’t cool.

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So it’s Friday night, my head has been buzzing all week with tangled thoughts and readings on Catholicism and “World Youth Day”, feminism and body image issues, race and white privilege, aging and misogyny, and running through all of these the issues of the personal and the political, and the compulsion to be ‘nice’, to be ‘fair’…and a headcold.

So because it’s cold, because I’m tired, because the cold is making me a little ‘stupid’, because others have written about these things before, and better, because other people are discussing things in really cool ways, tonights post is links to other cooler writers:

In this post, tigtog, of Hoyden About Town blogs way more articulately than I (in fact I cannot even describe what the post is about articulately tonight) issues connected with discussions surrounding plastic surgery and body image: how it gets reduced to *oh, silly woman! doesn’t understand most men don’t want *fake women*’…which, well, what explains the massive commercial success of porn and FHM then? And also maybe we’re not always motivated by what “most men say they want” or what “most men DO want”….AND that (even supposing we’re all hetero) it isn’t just about *you* and *me* or *men* and the individual woman, it’s about real social pressures on women, real issues of visibility, economics, pressures in the workforce, youthfulness as currency etc etc etc…anyway, where this stuff has been a big ole swampy soup in my head of late, causing my every attempt to articulate it to sound like “Grggaaaggrrrlummmphhhtppphhhtriick”, tigtog manages a powerful and incisive post…and the comments are worth following through as people begin to unravel a little more of what’s at work here.

Tigtog comes through again with Drongo Day at HAT: Disengenuous Troll of the Week, and cos I love a good arse kicking of any man who starts with the whole “Oh, PLEASE stop your whining ladies, it’s BIOLOGY!”, I laughed my arse off at the responses from commenters. I don’t in fact know enough about biology to come up with counter examples, but these people rallied beautifully.

Stephanie, a guest poster, has been getting conversation started with her post The Privilege in your pocket: A Manifesto. This is a wonderfully articulate post and rather than butcher it by trying to describe it in this cold-induced-fog, I will just say: PLEASE go read this…aaaand from Stephanie, I borrow the following link:

Check My What? On Privilege and What We Can Do About It – THIS!? It would make me a very very happy person indeed if everyone read this post and tried to learn from it. I think I’m gonna pin it to my wall to read periodically.

Now my head is seriously giving me problems so I’m gonna retire injured….

But…also check out the vids linked on Hoydens of Kristen Schaal on the Daily Show, Nelly McKay singing Mother of Pear (‘Feminists Don’t Have a Sense of Humour’), and watch or read the transcript of the link to Matthew Garrett discussing How Not to be a Dick.

It’s been a happy week of reading for me. Here’s to hoping more people figure out how not to be a dick. Sam in the City obviously has not. If you’re up for some horrendous misogyny may I recommend Sam’s delightful musings on “The Third Date Rule” (???). It’s too disgusting for me to bother using my words on…I dunno. Go. Read. If enough of us despise her maybe her head will explose or something. One can hope.

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So fuckthepostpolitical has again taken the axe to the Gruen Transfer…it’s a great post and well worth reading.

One further point for me though: where dredgirl says that it comes off as simply a chance for bigshot ad execs to tell us what works and what doesn’t, I wholeheartedly agree…except that they don’t even engage in this properly. Their answers as to why a particular ad works/doesn’t work are glib, smug, devoid of much in the way of content and far too short and self congratulatory: “because it does” is delivered with a smug-cocky-aren’t-I-so-very-very-urbane-in-my-lime-green-shirt look (so urbane that I don’t need to answer the question). Well fucking duh dipshit! We know it does work…any punter could have told us that…and if it didn’t we wouldn’t need the show in the first place. But your JOB on the panel is to delve into how or why…

I mean even leaving aside the expectation that it might actually ‘take a scalpel to the advertising industry’, even accepting the limitation that they will not engage in the social implications of their ads and the images they use, the fears, prejudices and desires they play into…just talk to us about responses to colours, surveys that show what people respond to that make you pick particular things ton include in an ad to make sure it works. Even in their evading of any critical engagement with the effects of their craft they come off as condesceding twats too important to discuss anything in any detail.

To discuss semiotics in advertising need not mean dirtying their hands with political discussion or context…they could, if they so chose, discuss but it only got a two second mention! In one single ad in one single episode…

So…if they’re going to *avoid* acknowledging political implications by simply discussing what is at work in advertising…well do that, and do it properly.

It actually feels like what is going on is an attempt to present this panel as ‘objective neutral experts’ with all the heft such a stance grants in this society: I’m the rich white expert, mostly male, token female just to prove to you if you’ve got a problem, it’s all yours and nothing to do with me: “I’m just stating facts honey pie, get in the kitchen and cook me a pie – in your undies in front of my mates…and don’t eat any tub-o-lard” .

Are they ‘experts’ in advertising? Sure. Are they sharing this expertise? Nope. Are they enlightening us? Nope. Are they discussing the tricks of the trade in any meaningful way? Nope.

And by presenting themselves and their opinions as neutral and objective (when in actual fact their viewpoints are vested, political and context specific in the extreme) by noting and glossing over the sexism in ads, and then cracking funnies about it…it’s reinforcing that this shit is funny, is not to be taken seriously, has no ‘real’ political implications, is not to be engaged with and critiqued, it’s entertainment, it’s fodder for money making, and now it’s apparently smart and anyone who takes offence is a whiney snivelling little pussy who needs to harden the fuck up. If you’re offended, that’s your personal psychological affliction, cos we are not here to discuss that pansy left wing crap…this is the real world…of advertising, cocaine and designer clothing. Fuck off with that crap.

On the one hand they’re not going into the social implications of what they make a packet doing…cos OHNOES that would be a political act/boring/not funny…but they are erasing the politics of making ads that sell us images of what femininity is, what sexuality should be, who is allowed to have it and how, ads with no racial diversity, ads which sell certain attitudes and make disrespect ‘funny’…erasing the politics of the act of them making sexist, homophobic, racist jokes and expecting that we’ll sit here and take it since our opinion doesn’t fucking count anyway. Gaarghh!

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