I Can’t Keep Quiet

A couple of things making me think.

  1. Friend comments that I really should start blogging again (thanks Nick!)
  2. Red wine.
  3. This:


So here is something that I truly believe. In these dangerous times, if you have an ounce of creative instinct in you, it is unethical not to create. Make good art.

This joy in protest, in the face of ugliness, this beautiful resistance. This harmony in the face of being torn apart. Personally this is my favourite act of protest that I have seen. What could be greater, what could be more glorious than this?

(There’s something ancient and undeniable in song. When you open your mouth and your throat and your everything and it comes pouring out like the purest fucking thing you’ve ever experienced)

What if this is opportunity? There’s a crack in everything, and that’s how the light gets in. What if this could be how the light gets in?

How dare I stop writing? Even for a moment. You have to write like you’re running out of time, because what if you are? Hard times require furious dancing.

And what if it happens here, what if this insane wave of neo-liberal-fascism comes to my country? It’s already stirring. If it can happen in America it can so just as easily happen here (let alone all the places around the world that are in even greater suffering), and the planet these days is just one big place, anyway, what’s an ocean or two in separation?

I gave up on this stuff for a while, I burnt out, I thought we got what we deserved, I stayed (relatively) quiet. Fuck you Tony Abbott.

… You know what? No.

No one deserves this.

That’s not good enough. Try harder.

We (earth, people, us, the pale blue dot) are better than this.

Time to re-ignite.

~

Cause I can’t keep quiet,
a one-woman riot.
I can’t keep quiet
for anyone.
No. Not any more.

 

Why the anti-gay-marriage agenda should make feminists uncomfortable

The title of this post may be a little misleading: there are MANY reasons why the anti-gay-marriage agenda should make feminists unconfortable. Partly there’s the simple fact that feminists are human beings who believe in equality, so there’s that. But I feel it’s also something more specific.

More and more these days I am hearing people trying to disassociate themselves from homophobic bigots by saying something along these lines: “I totally respect gay people and absolutely believe that they should have equal rights, but the definition of ‘marriage’ is a relationship between a man and a woman, centred on procreation. Gay partnerships should be recognised as equal, but they shouldn’t be called ‘marriage’.”

As a human being who is capable of smelling bullshit, but also specifically as a feminist, I find this statement almost more disturbing than the out and out tin-foil-hat-wearing loonies screaming about how Teh Gayz want to brainwash your children. I mean… at least the blatant homophobes are honest about where they’re coming from, you know?

The “I believe in equality, BUT” people are making some extremely disturbing conclusions that they probably don’t even consciously realise.

They are saying that we are all basically just walking uteruses (uterii?) and penises. They are saying that love does not matter. They are saying that infertile couples should not get married. They are saying that my entire purpose in life and love is to squeeze a baby out of my nether regions, because that’s all that’s important.

Heaven forbid you are a woman who doesn’t want to have children. (And you’d  better not be gender-queer in any way, because we don’t even acknowledge that you people exist!)

Everyone knows that Traditional Marriage is the only REAL marriage! You know, when your dad sells you for the price of a few goats to a man you’ve never seen before where you become his property and can legally be raped or abused whenever he feels like it. Yeah! Traditional Marriage is the best! Oh and also you’d better make sure you and your husband have matching levels of pigment in your skin, otherwise you’re going to get lynched. BECAUSE TRADITION.

Ugh. The argument from tradition is the stupidest fucking thing I have ever heard. Probably even stupider than the argument from religion. Technically no one knows God’s divine opinion on these things, but we KNOW that human beings have done some fucking stupid things in the name of tradition (genocide, slavery, etc) and yet some people STILL persist in pretending it’s the valid basis for an argument. If “But it’s always been this way!” is the best that you can come up with, you need to sit the hell down and shut the hell up, you puffed-up failure of an intellectual peon.

I’m more than a walking uterus. People are not property. Love actually matters.

GOOD GRIEF.

That is all.

“Abusive” feminists make ironic comments about a guy’s shirt, receive death threats

1. Women on twitter make politely ironic comments regarding a NASA representative’s choice of shirt and how it’s kind of a small example of science/technology’s problem with attracting women to the field.

NASA tweet

2. These women on twitter receive death threats.

3. Mainstream media publish ridiculous articles about those “abusive”, horrible, nasty feminist bitches. Because how DARE they question a man’s fashion sense? They obviously just don’t appreciate science!

… I can’t heave a sigh that is big enough to adequately express my exasperation.

Roxy’s Nonpology for the Surfer-Butt-Bingo promo

Roxy has released what sounds like their final statement about their porn video surfing promotion, which I originally blogged about here.

… How disappointing.

Missing-the-Point

It’s basically just a crappy nonpology where they wank on about how awesome they are, and those mean nasty people just don’t understand how awesome they are, because they’re really awesome, didn’t you know??

Roxy, the problem is that we do think you are awesome. Many people are already aware of the history of Roxy and its attitude to female empowerment in sports. There was a reason you were one of my favourite brands, you know, I didn’t just pick you out of a hat. Don’t you know what you mean to young female surfers? Don’t you care?

That’s why people were so upset by your advertising campaign in the first place – they expected better of you. And now you come out with this:

“We are disappointed by recent mischaracterizations of the Roxy brand…”

You could have just come right out and admitted that you made an honest mistake. You severely underestimated your audience, you screwed up, and it won’t happen again.

But you didn’t do that, did you, Roxy?

Instead of taking responsibility, you try to blame the very people who pointed out your mistake in the first place, thus clinching the fact that you see your customers as complete idiots. We didn’t mischaracterize your brand; you were doing a perfectly adequate job of that all by yourselves when you created your porn video woops, I mean, promotion. This whole saga was of your own making and it was easily avoidable. Stop trying to pretend that it’s someone else’s fault. There’s nothing uglier than not being able to admit to and learn from a mistake. Don’t just dig in your heels and bluster on about how spectacular you are. You have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. You have to stand for something. It’s the one thing you can do to differentiate yourself as a brand in a sex-saturated marketing world.

Until Roxy realises this, I don’t feel much like giving my consumer dollars to an organisation so lacking in the ability for self-reflection. The problem is that their products are, well, really damn nice. Can anyone recommend some other surf brands that respect women as human beings? I’d love to give them some of my hard-earned moolah.

Summer’s coming, and I need to buy a new bikini. Preferably one that’s not so skimpy and flimsy that it comes right off as soon as I get on a wave.

Let’s Have a Vocabulary Lesson [trigger warning]

This is a troll:

This is a troll

This is not a troll:

This is not a troll

… This is a barely human, ignorant, arrogant, misogynistic, violent, flaming asshole.

Can we make an effort to be a bit more accurate in our terminology, please?

‘Trolling’ is not the right word. Call out gender hate for what it is.

I’d rather be a Surfer Girl than a Sex Toy – Roxy’s advertising Fail

I have been trying to learn to surf (with varying degrees of success) for the past ten years of my life. I’d like to think of myself as a surfer girl, even if only an aspiring one.

Here are some of the words that I, personally, associate with surfing:

Surfing
According to Roxy – clothing brand and supposed supporter of female athletes and active women everywhere – it looks like I’ve been going about this all wrong!

The Roxy twitter account has this brief mission statement for its bio: “We bring inspiration to girls to dream big and have fun in and out of the water.”

Well, as long as they’re dreaming big while rolling around in bed being scantily clad, I guess…

This is Roxy’s recent promotion for their Roxy Pro Biarritz 2013 event (“an original blend of elite surfing & top class music”):

 

… Yeah. Where to begin.

A summary of shots would go something like this: scene-setting beach exterior, ocean view, ass, ass, ass, product placement, legs, ass, legs, back, ass, hand, legs, a bit more ass… mix and repeat. ‘Elite surfing’? Not so much.

It takes until 42 seconds into the ad before we see a surfboard – and thus, a hint of what this ad is supposedly about. I don’t know about the average advertisement viewer, but there’s no way that I’m going to be bothered sitting around for more than 40 seconds waiting for an ad to actually get to its point. Apart from anything else, this promotion has already failed purely on the basis of effective advertising.

It takes 63 seconds before we get our next glimpse of the ocean.

And it’s not until the 1:27 mark that any actual surfing takes place – and that’s only if you count paddling out, since this promotion for an ‘elite surfing’ event doesn’t bother to feature any actual, y’know, surfing.

It’s scary to think about how many professional eyes must have seen this ad before it went public. How many dozens or scores of people watched this and didn’t bat an eyelid? Was there not a single person in a boardroom somewhere who thought to say “Hey, wait a minute, perhaps we shouldn’t be quite so blatant about our objectification of a female sportsperson?”

This promo was not designed for women. This promo was not even designed for people who are interested in surfing.

Surfing, according to Roxy, is not actually about standing on a board and catching a wave, anyway.

Surfing is about being a faceless sex object.

I know, I know – it’s not like Roxy are the first brand to hit upon the spectacular idea of using sex appeal for promotion – but this is one brand that I actually liked, damnit. Generally I will refuse to wear anything that is clearly ‘branded’ with a logo or symbol. Roxy is one of the very few that I would make an exception for; after all, it’s pretty cool that they were the first dedicated female surf brand.

Now it seems that they’re just like any other boring, unimaginative, exploitative fashion line. Sigh.

The cherry on top of Roxy’s cake of fail was their reaction. When the social mediasphere blew up in their faces, instead of recognising their ludicrous mistake and apologising, they had this pathetic piece of PR spin to say (taken from their Facebook page):

‎#DAREYOURSELF. It’s our mantra. Whether you are athletic, smart, funny, sexy, daring, confident — we support whatever combination you choose to be. Women are complex and multi-dimensional. To ignore this fact is to ignore who we truly are. Obviously, there’s been much conversation around the video we recently released. We believe all athletes are naturally beautiful, in and out of the water. You certainly don’t have to be sexy to be an athlete, & we also believe it’s not wrong to be an athlete and to be sexy, if you choose to be. We don’t judge one to be better than the other & we don’t believe in excluding one for the other.

Thank you for the passionate thoughts shared on the video, & for expressing how much you respect women in surfing. Oh yeah, & for the parody, thanks for making us laugh.”

Women are “complex and multi-dimensional”?

You could have fooled me.

Hey Roxy – that sanctimonious, holier-than-thou bullshit really doesn’t make me feel any better, or any more keen to invest in your products. Try again.

~~~

The identity of the faceless woman in the ad is not yet confirmed (we’re supposed to guess, teehee, isn’t this fun, let’s play surfer-ass-bingo), although I’ve heard rumours that it might be 5-time women’s world champion, Australian Stephanie Gilmore. To scrub the blah-ness of that promo out of your brain, here’s a video of Gilmore doing what she does best:

 

Strength. Grace. Peace. Release. Natural. Joy. Courage. Power.

 

Why isn’t feminism taught in schools?

… Because it’s clear that there is a vast chunk of Australia’s population who fundamentally do not understand what sexism is. There are swathes of people (at least in internet comment sections) who cannot understand why calling a male politician a “fat man” is not considered sexist (just impolite), while commenting on the Prime Minister’s cleavage or the use of words like ‘bitch’ and ‘witch’ is sexist.

Just in case it’s necessary to elaborate: ‘fat’ is not a word that is limited by the person’s gender. Both men and women can be ‘fat’. So while using it is still potentially an insult (and problematic for other reasons I won’t go into here), it’s not a gendered insult. Perhaps what confuses some people is the use of the word ‘man’, but how can there be anything inherently insulting about calling a man a man? Calling Julia Gillard a woman is not an insult or sexist. Calling her a bitch or a cow is (dehumanising her by using terms for female animals), as is commenting on the shape of her ass and thighs.

“But men have thighs and asses too!” I can hear the indignant babble rising from the netherworlds of the internet already. The trick is remembering the context. The context is that women have been treated more or less as sexual objects for hundreds and hundreds of years up until a comparatively recent point in time, so really, this shouldn’t be that hard to remember. If you are struggling, try harder.

There are people who seem to think that even talking about feminism is a kind of reverse-sex-discrimination in itself, that the act of criticising men for being sexist is a sexist act. You have to wonder if these same people, a few generations ago, would be telling off black people for complaining about slavery (“What do you mean, white people and black people are equal?! That’s racist! How dare you!”), or criticising the gay rights movement for having the gall to say that being gay shouldn’t be a criminal offence (“How can you suggest that you’re being oppressed?! Stop being such meanies to the nice straight people!”).

Some examples of comments I have actually read, with my own commentary:

  • “The only reason Julia Gillard was Prime Minister was because she was a woman.” – Yes, because it is a well-known fact that thousands of years of patriarchy never happened, and women have always been socially advantaged when it comes to positions of power.
  • “Julia Gillard is way more sexist than the Opposition!” – Gillard is more sexist by herself than the whole of the Opposition combined! SHE IS THE GODZILLA OF SEXISM.
  • “The fact is: Julia Gillard has made gender an offensive topic, not Tony Abbott. She has set the tone and subject of debate.” – Damn womenz, actually talking about prejudice instead of doing the honourable thing and ignoring it like the rest of us!
  • “I must be a real incompetent twat [sexist insults should always be used when trying to prove how un-sexist you are] cos even though I am a guy, lots of women (oh geez I said the “w” word) at my work place gets paid more than me. [Perhaps it’s because of their superior ability to construct a grammatically correct sentence? I hear basic literacy goes down really well in the modern workplace.] Let me tell you, people get paid what they deserve and what they bring to the place they work for. [So back when slavery was still around, slaves didn’t get paid for their work because they didn’t ‘deserve’ it? Good to know that prejudice doesn’t exist cuz Some Guy On The Internet sez so.] Also, one gender over another has the privilege to bear a child. This is not a chore nor an obligation, it’s a natural privilege.” [Oh, hurray! I can’t wait to squeeze a squalling infant out of my uterus! LUCKY ME.]

This was the point at which I did a ragequit on the comments section. I never seem to learn.

* Quotes are plumbed from the reeking depths of the comments section on this article (although they’re fairly standard – pick any article about Julia Gillard and gender and you’ll get the same stuff). That’s right, folks, I read the comments so you don’t have to.

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