New Zealand

Slutwalk

Posted in New Zealand on June 24th, 2011 by steph – Comments Off on Slutwalk

Slutwalk Auckland and Slutwalk Wellington are today! I’m thinking of all you Slutwalkers, and hoping for good weather, a good turnout, and that the people doing the media coverage will pull up their socks and actually engage in the issue and practice some legitimate journalism!

It’s like Carrie’s prom in here

Posted in fail, New Zealand on June 23rd, 2011 by steph – 5 Comments

Sorry everyone, I can’t blog today;  I’m bleeding.

“What girls these days are wearing”

Posted in New Zealand on April 27th, 2011 by steph – Comments Off on “What girls these days are wearing”

So much nasty judgemental shit in the comments here. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised; an opinion piece about what girls are wearing “these days” is bound to bring out the haters. But the variety in the name-calling surprised me: slappers, sluts, hookers, skanky little street whores, girls with no class, easy targets for sexual predators, easy girls.  It makes me very glad that my own Mum encouraged teenage me to buy a mini skirt that I liked the look of rather than telling me I would look like a prostitute in it- possibly because she was never so shortsighted as to have forgotten her own sartorial past and the “whorey” and revealing stuff she wore: terry-towelling micro shorts, anyone?

Fruit and veg

Posted in New Zealand on April 26th, 2011 by steph – Comments Off on Fruit and veg

I have obviously completed my transformation into  a full-blown  cynical jerk: my first response to this piece about Claire Gourley trying to make cooking more appealing and accessible to teenagers was to zero in on this part

“Cooking is a dying skill,” Gourley says. “A lot of people don’t realise how food affects them. But two out of three children in New Zealand don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables. That might be fine now, but what about when they’re older? More people die in New Zealand each year as a result of illnesses caused by bad food choices than are killed in car accidents. That’s just terrible.”

(emphasis mine)

and to bitterly think to myself that perhaps there is more than lack of skills that is contributing to kids not getting their veggies. Not that cooking isn’t a potential issue, but I think that rising food prices and poor food security is a more significant part of why people (kids/teens in this case) aren’t eating fruit and vegetables.

I’ve got no issue with someone trying to address a skill gap, but if a family can’t afford produce to cook and eat then having the skills seems almost irrelevant.

/cynical rant over.

The Stroppery

Posted in blogs, Feminism, New Zealand on April 17th, 2011 by steph – 3 Comments

New blog alert! Some of my favourite feminist bloggers  have started up a sweet new blog, The Stroppery.

All I have to say is: I want to go to there.

Now is the time to start panicking, people

Posted in LOLZ, New Zealand on March 30th, 2011 by steph – 8 Comments

This whole column by Garth George is worth a read, but the bit that made me laugh the most was this

Just to show how really upside-down our society has become, the Colmar-Brunton poll of nearly 500 folk in their 20s showed that while females are busy focusing on their careers, it seems the young men they work alongside are dreaming about becoming fathers.

 

Good gracious me. The grass is blue, the sky is green, and some women don’t even know how to cook a roast chicken any more! Fetch me my fainting couch.

Please Sir, May We Have Some More Rights?

Posted in Abortion, doin' it wrong, New Zealand on March 22nd, 2011 by steph – 19 Comments

QoT hit it out of the park once again in an excellent post about abortion law reform over at The Standard (also published on her own blog here). But how great a point she made is irrelevant; her shrill, angry, demanding, enraged tone and style has completely ruined any chances of anyone wanting to side with her or give her what she’s asking for. Like a child who demands their parent buy them an ice cream, she’s blown it by not asking nicely.

 

Or, at least that’s what the commentariat over at The Standard have led me to believe. Yeah, they brought the tone argument with them, and liberally sprayed it about. Swearing is so crude, anger gets you nowhere, maybe if you weren’t so confrontational you might get what you want, and so on.

 

This is such a classic bullshit derail trotted out every time a feminist displays even a tiny bit of displeasure or anger. Don’t blow your chance honey, you’re only hurting yourself and your cause. Women getting angry? Not on my watch.

 

Personally, I think the anger and passion and outrage is what best motivates me, so I can’t see those things as anything other than valuable. When something is outrageous and unacceptable, I will get angry about it and refuse to soften my point because other people don’t want to hear about how something is making me angry.

 

And too many of the comments on QoT’s post on The Standard made me angry. Shit is wrong in the world, and in our society, and I refuse to grovel on my hands and knees, cap in hand, politely asking (but not asking for to much in case I seem demanding, or too often lest it be seen as begging) for just a few more rights please sir. No fucking way. I don’t care if my anger or my confrontational style is perceived as unacceptable: dancing around the issues isn’t going to get anything done, and ‘nice-ing” myself down to appease others is an insult to all the people before me who let their outrage feed their power and motivate their actions.

 

But if you do want to listen to those helpful people telling you that your anger is hurting the cause and alienating people from it, and you want to know the proper polite way to ask, Boganette has got you covered.

“The Skanks”

Posted in New Zealand on March 10th, 2011 by steph – 8 Comments

Could this man have said the word “skanks” any more times in his comment about prostitutes in Christchurch??

For the last 20 years the deal was that the skanks stayed in the area over Bealey Ave. We kind of accepted it. But now the skanks are hanging out here, they cross up and down the street and people are really nervous about them and the traffic and people they are attracting. “Yes, it’s legal, but it still doesn’t make it right or acceptable near the homes of decent people. If you have one skank, other skanks will come. It just escalates. Where do you draw the line?”

 

“If you have one skank, the other skanks will come”. I’m sure they have some kind of skank homing sense, and their skank-y senses tingle, and when one shows up the others will flock there too.

 

Yes, it actually is sexist

Posted in missing the point, New Zealand on February 7th, 2011 by steph – 3 Comments

Another woman has chimed in with her opinion that John Key’s “Hurley’s hot” comments weren’t sexist. Rebecca Barry thinks that while the comments were undignified and inappropriate, they were sexist. After all, she says, is it really sexist for a man to find a woman attractive? Well no, is isn’t necessarily. As far as I know, the criticism of this incident hasn’t actually been criticising the fact that Key finds women attractive. Guess what? Lots of people find other people attractive. Lots of people also dicuss it with their friends, or have a joke about it. But this isn’t a guy calling Liz Hurley a hottie over a beer with his mate; this is our Prime Minister discussing the hotness of celebs on a public radio show that he was taking part in in his role as Prime Minister.

The sexist thing is not that he finds a woman attractive- as a feminist I’m certainly not trying to ban men from being attracted to women, or any one person from being attracted to another- the sexist thing is that we have this kind of culture where it’s being framed as blokey and normal to go on public radio in your role as head of the country and talk about the appearance of women you don’t even know. A culture where women’s looks are a legitimate topic of general conversation, and a culture where trying to portray oneself as a typical, average guy involves talking about the appearance of women. What he did was sexist becuse he was creating a image of what it is to be a “normal” guy, and this revolved around rating the hotness of various women. If he had said “what does this have to do with anything?”, that would be opting out of participating in a sexist culture. But he opted in.

Barry herself also engages in some delightful sexist judgement while defending Key’s “non-sexism”: she says that Angelina Jolie has used her sexuality to advance her career, and uses this as an excuse for being able to judge her on her looks.

She also says “the s word” to refer to sexism, implying somehow that allegations of sexism are gigantic and damaging, and that saying something is sexism is a massive call to make.

She also reinforces this idea that the comments were all in harmless fun: Key chatted about his celeb crushes in a “casual, blokesy setting”. This again reminds us that chatting about women is a way to be a man, to perform masculinity and to show people you’re a typical down-to-earth bloke.

She also talks about the Anna Faris/street harrassment situation in this charming way

Then there was the case of actress Anna Faris, who told a US chat show host that two separate carloads of Kiwi men yelled sexual obscenities at her while she was in New Zealand.Most Kiwis are polite but it didn’t surprise me that a pretty blonde, walking alone along the street, experienced such charming hospitality.

Am I the only one who hears “well, she’s super hot, is anyone surprised she was cat-called??” in that statement? Because that’s what it sounds like.

Rebecca Barry also describes the world now as “post-feminist”, which I have an issue with, because clearly -given the size and strength of the feminist movement that I’m a part of, at least- feminism is still alive and kicking.

And, to round it all off, she gives us some examples of the big, bad real sexism to make the point that those things sound a lot more sexist than John Key calling some actress hot. Well, the thing about sexism is that it can manifest in lots of ways -big or small-, and more than one indicent of it can happen  at any given time. Shocking, I know. Just because there is other sexism happening, and some of it is bigger and more obvious, does not mean we get to give the small things a free pass. And the thing about the John Key situation that Barry seems not to have grasped is that it isn’t just about “calling some actress hot”: it’s about bigger and more harmful things, and a bigger and more harmful sexist culture.

Kerre Woodham says Sue should’ve kept quiet, PM just having fun

Posted in New Zealand on February 7th, 2011 by steph – 13 Comments

Once again, Kerre Woodham has caused me to headdesk; this time it’s because of her interpretation of the “John Key thinks Liz Hurley is hot, Sue Kedgley calls him on it” incident.

Apparently Sue shouldn’t be allowed to complain about his sexism because she once entered a beauty pageant (coming in second) as an undergraduate at university: see, because these two events are in the same spirit -the spirit of fun!- Sue looks like a bad-tempered hypocrite for complaining when John Key made his comments.

Ok, firstly let’s tackle the point that entering a beauty pageant as a student and making comments rating the hotness of various celebs while one is the Prime Minister are  actually the same thing. They aren’t. There are many, many things about those two situations that are different; maybe a brief, non-comprehensive list might help:

1)John Key =/= Sue Kedgeley. I think we can all agree on this one.

2)A beauty pageant =/= a radio show with a man who violently assulated his domestic partner.

3)A student =/= the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Oh, but apparently these things were both done in the spirit of fun, so surely they are the same thing. Except no explanation is provided as to why Kedgely entered the contest (and there are plenty of possible reasons if you even begin to think about it), and the thing about Key’s comments being in the “spirit of fun” is that the fun has it’s roots in sexism. It’s unlikely that Key would say “I said those things because I’m sexist”, and he probably didn’t think that as he was saying them, but that doesn’t mean the comments weren’t sexist.

I also appreicated how Kerre said that if ever there was a time for a “no comment”, this would’ve been the best time for it. I feel the same way, except she’s talking about how Sue Kedgely should’ve kept her mouth shut when the PM said some stupid stuff, and I’m talking about what the PM should’ve said when he was asked the question, thus avoiding saying the stupid stuff in the first place.

Finally, it’s a cheap low-blow to say that presumably Sue (and her twin sister, Helen) entered the pageant because they wanted people to think they were hot. Maybe there was a freakin’ sweet prize involved. You couldn’t tempt me into entering a beauty pageant very easily, but I know some people who would do almost anything for a joke and $50, or some free food, or whatever. And we are talking about students here… (I say with toungue-in-cheek, as a student myself). Maybe she was making a point, maybe she did want to win and have people think she was hot; who cares? As Kerre herself points out, times and people change. Even if Sue were absolutely gaggingly desperate for some form of sexist approval as a young woman and then later slammed someone for something sexist, this doesn’t make her a hypocrite and therefore the sexist thing is actually not sexist. Rather, the sexism has always been there it has just taken the person’s realization of this for them to start denouncing it. Maybe Kerre would think I’m a mean spirited hypocrite for this, but I have in my life participated in sexist acts and also put myself in the position of being objectified and victimized by sexism. Now I realise that those things were bad, and work to fight sexism. The things haven’t changed, but I have. That doesn’t mean that the stuff happening now isn’t sexist and I’m just shrilly overreacting, it just means that now I have the tools to deal with it.

To sum up: thumbs up to Sue Kedgely, thumbs down to Kerre and her sexism-endorsing, stereotype-reinforcing missing-the-point stance.