Eleanor Catton wins Man Booker Prize and talks about sexism, sexist comments ensue.

Posted in fail, on October 17th, 2013 by steph – Comments Off on Eleanor Catton wins Man Booker Prize and talks about sexism, sexist comments ensue.

So,  Eleanor Catton just won the Man Booker Prize for The Luminaries (which I am super excited to read given my enjoyment of The Rehearsal). And then she said some stuff about the way she is treated as a female writer ocmpared to male writers, which was very interesting and also pretty bold and important.  And then, after seeing a friend like’s article about her comments on Facebook, I got to read some awesome and insightful comments  on the posting of the article by the cool and intelligent people of the internet. On Facebook. Using their real names.







Cool, thanks for the comments, guys. Reeeeally insightful. I was nice enough to obscure names, although given that anyone on Facebook can see these comments on Stuff’s (public) page, with the names of these dudez (and links to their Facebook pages) right there next to the comments, I don’t know why I bothered.


Expecting to show sensitivity was my real mistake

Posted in fail, on October 22nd, 2012 by steph – Comments Off on Expecting to show sensitivity was my real mistake

So, lately it seems that pretty much all I post about is massive failures by online MSM writers to appropriately (and sensitively) describe major sexual abuse cases. Here’s another job superbly done (yet again by



I mean, come on. The sexual abuse allegations made against Jimmy Savile -a very serious situation that involves claims of sexual abuse, rape, and major endemic problems in various organisations that amounted to giving someone the thumbs-up to continue their abusive behaviour- are described as a “sex scandal” (in the title bar) and a “sex crisis” (in the headline). Really? COME ON. I hope I don’t need to point out how grossly offensive it is to describe the situation using phrases that would also be used to describe a married, adult politician being caught having an affair with an adult employee. Describing a situation where someone is accused of acts of rape and child abuse that occurred over many decades, with  possibly hundreds of victims, as a “sex scandal” is completely disgusting. fails with awful “sex teacher” headline

Posted in fail, New Zealand on August 23rd, 2012 by steph – Comments Off on fails with awful “sex teacher” headline

As anyone who has ever read, they are rather atrocious at paraphrasing stories to produce short headlines for their main page. If the story involves rape or sexual abuse, they generally just use the word “sex” (presumably to use as few words as possible), such as calling someone who is facing charges realting to rape or sexual assault a “sex accused”, which I always think is horrible. Today, their story about a school teacher ( a deputy principal) who has confessed to sexually abusing students has a pretty great (and by “great”, I mean “hugely stupid and offensive”) title on the main page:


“School warned about sex teacher”.


Come on. COME ON. What exactly is a sex teacher? I mean, obviously, I can imagine (ha), but in the context of a school? There’s no such thing as a sex teacher. The closest thing would be a sex education teacher, and that is clearly not what is meant by this. Using the phrase “sex teacher” is soooooooo offensive, and doesn’t even make sense. If you didn’t have the additional story text (or weren’t familiar with the story), you would have no idea what the headline meant. Sex teacher? School warned about the sex teacher? About what exactly? That the teacher wasn’t very good at teaching sex? That they weren’t a real sex teacher?  It’s a terrible phrase, and pretty offensive given the sensitive nature of the situation and the number of people who will probably see the headline.

So, that’s another tally mark in the “ fails at something” column, bringing the total to one million or so.


“Female Privilege”

Posted in fail, Feminism, New Zealand on February 14th, 2012 by steph – Comments Off on “Female Privilege”

The biggest mistake I made yesterday was reading this article on The Good Men Project when I saw the link. I really knew not to expect anything from a post on the GMP, but I couldn’t resist. “I Have Female Privilege”. I should’ve just walked away from the computer and never read this, because cleaning up the resulting mess from my head explosion was just not a great use of my time.

So, apparently the world is now a “woman’s world”, and women have all sorts of privilege; “I know that battle has not been won everywhere. There are countries or cultures where horrendous things happen to you if you are female. But in my country and in my culture, and in many other western countries, I would suggest the tide has well and truly turned.”


1. I’m allowed to be far more open about my sexuality than a man is. In fact, if I’m bisexual, it’s encouraged (both male and females encourage it funnily enough). If I’m hetero, I’m allowed to make comments about how hot men are, compliment men without others thinking it’s harassment and generally can make lewd comments about any person, be them male or female, and it’s considered ok. I can say “I fancy him so much I’d  even rape him” or “I need to pull him into the storeroom and show him I mean it” or “He is mega hot” about any male whether  he is seventeen (I am forty) or seventy. I can sit in a Twilight movie and drool at Jacob (for instance), and not be seen as a dirty old woman.


As QoT said on twitter last night, “I have privilege because people are happy to objectify my bisexuality!”. Some fucking privilege it is that lesbians and bi women are still positioned as being wank-fodder for guys- it’s so great not having your sexuality taken seriously! Additionally, the reason women are allowed to make “lewd comments” is because our sexuality is still seen as non-threatening; and, in fact, women are actually shamed for their sexual desires (too high=slut, too low=frigid, and there is no ‘perfect medium’ because no matter what you do you will always be a slut or a prude to someone). Some privilege that is. I’m not trying to say that men have it much better- in some ways they do, and in others they don’t. For me, that’s a part of why I’m a feminist; trying to work against mainstream stereotypes of men always being horny and lascivious beasts, and trying to combat homophobia. But just because men have it bad in some ways, that doesn’t mean that women have privilege over them in that area.


2. If my partner and I were in a domestic dispute and both violent, or both shouting, and I hit him … if the police were called, my male partner would still be the one far more likely to be taken into custody for the night. If my male partner tried to report domestic violence, it would be harder for him to have the charges laid, than if I did so. In fact, while there is a charge of Male assaults Woman in my country, there is no Woman assaults Male. That would be classified instead as General Assault.


So, because men may not be believed if they accuse a woman of violence, women have privilege? Even though the actual facts also include the statistic that women are much more likely to be the victim of violence (perpetrated by a man) than men? If that is what female privilege is, then you can have it back, thanks. It’s so reassuring to know that in a “woman’s world”, women are at risk of violence (domestic, but also sexual violence and rape outside of domestic spheres). I mean, come on. Really?! REALLY?! Because surely in a woman’s world, we would be at very low risk of being victimized. Oh, but men might not be believed if they report being victimized by a woman- well, that does suck. But it is in no way an indicator that the world is a woman’s world; in fact, it is a sneaky little byproduct of patriarchy- you know, that system that positions men as the top dogs! Yes, that’s right: in the patriarchy, where gender stereotypes roam free, women are seen as weak, submissive, passive, and generally incapable of violence against men. In the patriarchy, a man being hit by his wife is as absurd as a talking horse. So no wonder he might not be believed if he claimed to have been hurt by a woman- it is a ludicrous role-reversal. So, this example of “female privilege” is really just male power and dominant positioning backfiring for men. To be clear: as a woman and a feminist, my ideal world would be one where acts of violence were all treated seriously; I don’t want to live in a world where a man who is hurt by a woman is not taken seriously because I don’t want women to have power and control over men. That attitude – that the only dynamic is one group having power over the other- comes from the perspective that the world is a zero-sum game, and that improving the lives of women means an automatic switcheroo so that men are now on the bottom. That is a fairly common false conceptualization of what the goal of feminism is, and seems silly when you consider how explicitly feminists state that we want equality (which, as you can see, includes the word “equal”. It seems obvious enough…).


3. If my relationship with the father of my children was to break up, I’m far more likely to get the kids. And if I want a child, but don’t have a partner, I can do that too. I get to choose whether I have the baby or not, I get to choose whether the father’s name is on the birth certificate or not (and if he queries it, he’s the one who has to pay for the DNA test) and if he’s named as the father, he then has to pay child support, whether he was aware I was trying to have a child or not.


There is so much fail contained in this example. Firstly, the reason a woman might be more likely to “get the kids” is because in this world- the patriarchy!- women are positioned as the caregivers and often the primary parents, so who better to “give” the kids to than their figure of eternal love and nurturing?  This attitude is an attitude of the patriarchy, not of a “woman’s world”, so using this as an example of how women have all the privilege is just hilarious. A patriarchal attitude being used to explain how the world is no longer biased towards men- I find this very, very funny. Another clear example of looking at the small picture and not thinking about the larger causes and dynamics at play. And, to top it off, the idea that women usually “get” the kids is actually disputed- apparently, men not getting custody is often due to men not applying for custody, and when they do they often get it (in some form)- the whole “feminazis have infiltrated the justice system and the courts are female-controlled” line is most often spouted by good old MRA types who love to talk about the “gynocracy”.

And if I want a child, but don’t have a partner, I can do that too. I get to choose whether I have the baby or not”

Oh, what a privilege to live in a world where if you did what this first example suggests you would be slammed as a gold-digging deadbeat single mum, and your parenting routinely criticized until the end of time. We do not live in a world friendly to single mums, and often it is actively hostile. So sure, you can “do” that, technically, but to pretend that it is an easy option, and to not mention the backlash that comes with that choice, is utter misrepresentation. And great, we can choose to “have the baby or not”. Sucks that while we may have that choice, the world we live in- which is apparently a woman’s world- is still generally not very positive about the choice of abortion, nor does it provide great support for parents. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The post is, apparently, about New Zealand (given that the writer is from here, and mentions “her” country early on) and other western countries: we’re apparently awash in the privilege to choose not to continue a pregnancy in New Zealand, where abortion access is not nearly as easy as people believe and where grounds for abortions are laid out in the Crimes Act (“Serious danger to the life or to the physical or mental health of the mother. Risk that the child would be severely handicapped, physically or mentally. Pregnancy as a result of incest or unlawful sex with a guardian. Severe mental subnormality of the mother.”). That is not what a “woman’s world” in New Zealand looks like to me, and if that is considered to be “female privilege”, then it’s a fucking joke. Other western countries aren’t looking to great when it comes to choosing not to have a child either- the reproductive rights of Americans are being chipped away at, and abortion providers in the USA continue to be targets of domestic terrorist acts (and yes, that is what clinic bombings and the murders of doctors is) committed by anti-choicers, and access to abortion services (choosing not to continue the pregnancy) is fraught for many people in many states of America. This is NOT what female privilege looks like. To argue that because women have “female privilege” because we are theoretically presented with choices about pregnancy  is 100% tunnel vision, full stop.


4. I’m allowed to be as education- and career-driven as I want to be, and push for the top, seeking equity and equality in everything. But when it comes to dating and relationships, I’ll want the dates paid for, the doors opened, the bling bought. And if I want to choose to not be career-driven, and be instead at home, and not work, then I can far more readily choose that option too than a male partner could.


I’m allowed to be as education and career driven as I want, provided I make sacrifices in other areas of my life that a man would not have to, and put myself out there for criticism that a man would not receive. I can push for the top if I want to be called a ball-breaker, or have my ability to do the job questioned, or have it insinuated that I only achieved success because I used my sexuality and/or got the job because of sexual favours. I also may be the victim of sexual harrassment by coworkers, or be excluded from the old boys network that still exists in many places. And when I want to work and have kids, it’s considered “having it all”, whereas for men it’s called “being an adult” or not called anything at all. Hooray, female privilege! Life is so great.

But when it comes to dating and relationships, I’ll want the dates paid for, the doors opened, the bling bought.”

Two words: BECAUSE PATRIARCHY. Patriarchy is why men are expected to take care of women, and it sets up a world where this is an acceptable dynamic. When women are viewed as needing to be looked after and provided for like a small child, of course you are expected to pay for their dinner. Chivalry -such as holding doors for women- is a product of the patriarchy, and doesn’t actually mean that it is a “woman’s world”: in fact, if you actually think about the situation beyond the superficial interaction, it is an example of how it is still a man’s world. Chivalry is patriarchal, and patriarchal means, by definition, that the world is a man’s world. I guess it sucks to be a guy who is so goddamn pleased with his superior status (as bestowed by the patriarchy), but then realises that this now means he is expected to take care of the people inferior to him as part of the deal.


“And if I want to choose to not be career-driven, and be instead at home, and not work, then I can far more readily choose that option too than a male partner could.”

Yeah, it does suck that the expected dynamic is women stay at home and men go to work. But guess what? Once again, that is actually not an indicator that it is a woman’s world and that women have the privilege, but it is a byproduct of patriarchal attitudes that say  “why the fuck would any red-blooded man want to stay home to fold clothing and change nappies? That’s women’s work!”. So yeah, another invalid example, and another case of looking at the small picture but not the bigger dynamic and what causes the small picture. As a feminist, I would love for it to be easier (both practically, in terms of support systems, but also in terms of reduced social stigma) for men to stay at home with their kids. Women being considered the default caregivers is not a privilege that women have, because it robs everyone of choice.


5. If I write an inflammatory comment, or a blog, or article, and a man questions anything in it, all I need to do to shut the conversation down is call him a bully, or say he’s a privileged male. I can also make disparaging comments about his sexuality, his economic standing, the size of his penis, and his ability to do pretty much anything in return for him disagreeing with me. I can do this, because when I do, I KNOW there will be a bunch of other women who will stick up for me.


This is obviously a joke, right? Or written by someone who has never been a woman in a comments section in the internet? Because, come on. That is basically the exact opposite of what it’s like to be a woman on the internet. Generally how it goes is: woman has opinion, man calls her a feminazi slut who is too ugly to even be raped, then rinse and repeat. “Men call me things” is a great example of how women are attacked for just existing online. Sure, you will often have many women to back you up against the guy, the usually all that means is that they all get threatened and abused too. Generally, when people accuse feminists of “ganging-up” on a guy, it’s because he had blundered into a conversation to denounce their opinions and use his manly male authority to tell them how things ACTUALLY are; i.e. man waves his male privilege about in a space that doesn’t kowtow in deference of it, and suddenly he is the victim when his actions don’t go down well.


Basically, this whole article about “female privilege” is a huge joke. Most of the examples are actually examples of the patriarchy in action, and are actually not all that privileged when considered in their wider context. It’s the equivalent of describing a wrecked car as fine because that one headlight isn’t damaged; you absolutely must look at the entire picture, and the author failed spectacularly. And, because of this myopic perspective and the insistence that seeing women using their privilege all the time “sickens” her, and the repeated talk about how women now have freedoms our ancestors did not (did you guys know we can go to university? And, like, own property and stuff? I think women are even allowed to vote and drive cars and wear pants!) just gives the impression of a woman desperate to ingratiate herself with men by proving that she thinks guys are great and actually have it way tougher than them, and how she’s brave enough to call women on our greedy, ungrateful attitudes and ignorance of our own good fortune. The statement in her author bio, “She considers herself both a feminist and a masculist”, doesn’t do anything to change that impression either.

Superman throwing John Banks into the sun

Posted in fail on December 4th, 2011 by steph – 6 Comments

The other day I came across this post about John Banks on ALRANZ’s blog -here’s the quote for your reading pleasure:

I challenge you or any other New Zealander to name two other countries that murder more unborn children each year per capita than New Zealand. Everybody listening should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. This is state funded genocide and I am compiling a list of all the doctors in all the hospitals up and down the country that commit these murders every morning of the week and dump these babies either in the waste disposal unit in the hospital or into a ‘kleensac’ and I am going to release their names publicly so that you’ll be able to walk down the street “That’s a killer!” “That one who lives in that house. He’s another murderer!” “She kills babies before they are born!” and I’ll be able to identify the abortionist dash state funded killer because I’m getting the list together and I’m going to release it in Parliament so it can be published in every newspaper in the country.

and my response was basically ‘I don’t want John Banks to live on this planet anymore”. After repeating this sentiment to Mr LadyNews, he said “Yeah, Superman should just throw John Banks into the sun”, which I heartily agreed with. When I looked up the “hurl it into the sun” concept, I found out that apparently it’s used when someone (i.e. a character in a film or comic book) wants to get rid of something permanently, and it can’t be destroyed by ordinary means. Anyway, after going “yeah, I should draw that!”, I figured I would actually follow through with my plan. The other quote included is from here:


If we continue the bankrupt response of just paying young Polynesian, young Maori men in south Auckland the dole to sit in front of TV, smoke marijuana, watch pornography and plan more drug offending and more burglaries, then we’re going to have them coming through our windows.




Apologies for the handwriting and rusty drawing skillz. My natural laziness got the better of me part of the way through the project.

BLOKES. Blokes in charge of New Zealand. While being manly.

Posted in fail, New Zealand on November 4th, 2011 by steph – 6 Comments

This was a featured story on Stuff today:


That’s right, they even emphasized the word “man”, as it to remind us that yes in fact that saying does mean man, and not the generic “person” (as people often try to claim)

The post consists of a video of Key and Goff being asked questions preseumably designed to gauge whether they are real men or limp-wristed metrosexuals. They’re asked if they’ve ever punched someone, or shot a living thing, or done a yardie, and who drives on a trip to the bach with their wife. They’re asked for their best wilderness survival tip, and would they choose Tui or Pinot, and if they can change a tyre. Would you tell your wife that her new haircut looks bad? NO, they both say. What’s your best secret BBQ recipe? What if you ran out of undies- John would go commando, Phil would wash his stuff in the hotel sink. These are questions about MANLY things, you see. Men being men, and doing man stuff.

FUCK THAT SHIT. I have no energy to be more articulate than that. I am tired of this “here is what a man is like” crap. It’s so stupid, and so lazy, and SO pathetic. But sadly I am sure there will be plenty of people who eat it up.


Calling it a “va-jay-jay” is being frank and honest?

Posted in fail, Uncategorized on September 15th, 2011 by steph – 4 Comments

Apparently people these days are more laid back about their bodies, so now the ads used to sell us stuff to fix what’s wrong with our horrible bodies are now more “frank” and “downright shocking”.

This article describes the business of selling vagina-related products: no longer do we have tampon ads with women in white skirts twirling on the beach- now the ads make fun of that! Feminism has won the war, everyone!

The problem is, apparently this trend is great because we’re all talking openly about our you-know-what’s, and people aren’t embarrassed about it anymore; however, these products that are being touted often rely on shame and misinformation to get women to buy them. Summer’s Eve, one of the products mentioned, not only have they used terrible ads full of racial stereotypes, but what their product boils down to is something to sort out your stinky vagina because it’s gross and also needs a little help to do that. So, preying on the shame someone feels about their vagina: check. Misleadingly suggesting that the body doesn’t actually do this job itself (which it does) and might need help: check. A woman who helped create the “talking hand” ads said in the source article

“We’re really excited about having that kind of publicity and coverage. A month ago nobody was talking about feminine hygiene,” says Zahnen, who added that Summer’s Eve learned through research that women were ready to have frank discussions about their bodies.

“We just wanted to be sure that the conversation is focused on celebrating and empowering women.”

That shit is not empowering. You could argue that the choice to give your vagina some “extra help” or not is personal, which it is. But it also doesn’t occur in a vaccuum; it occurs in a world where women are conditioned to worry about whether their junk smells weird or not, and be afraid that someone (a sexual partner, for example), might be grossed out be their body and smell. So don’t give me this “empowering” bullshit. More like empowering women to spend more money trying to ‘fix’ themselves. You can’t just throw the buzzword “empowering” into a statement and actually make the product something that empowers people. Also, the idea that people never really used to talk about feminine hygiene? Well, I don’t know if it was talked about or not (given that I wasn’t alive), but there are a fuckload of vintage douche ads that suggest we have always been pretty preoccupied with touting this stuff to women. Vag shame isn’t new.


And seriously, the idea that we’re all so open and honest now, and not scared of calling a spade a spade when it come to vagina-related stuff, is kind of ridiculous when in the same breath you talk about “va-jay-jays”,  a celebrity’s favourite “vagina tattoo” (ouch! How do you get a tattoo needle up in there?), and also at one point call it “the area” (yes, I’m sure they got sick of writing “vagina”, but “the area” is so damn vague – are we talking about a body part, or a location on a map?). If we still don’t call things what they are, are we really so hugely empowered and free of our embarrassment?

“Manity sizing”

Posted in fail on September 10th, 2011 by steph – Comments Off on “Manity sizing”


If I read “he-cession” (and “he-covery”), “murse”, “mandals”, “guyliner”, “Bro-zilian”, or any other awful attempt to dude-ify a regular word that needs no dude-ifying (except for the reason that the foolish media people a) think they are clever and b) think that guys are scared if something doesn’t refer to them directly it’s a girl thing and will therefore emasculate them), I will probably smash multiple desks with my head.


Posted in fail on July 27th, 2011 by steph – 6 Comments

Did the author really have to call this fight between two women a “catfight”?? Even the title calls it a fist fight. SIGH. More importantly, the author forgot to tell us how much hair-pulling and scratching occurred. Did either of the women have her shirt ripped off??

“Feminism is anti-evolution”

Posted in fail, Feminism on July 21st, 2011 by steph – 4 Comments

I’m at home after having a wisdom tooth removed, and so not really in the mood for blogging, but one thing is causing me more pain and discomfort than the tooth extraction has: this horrible opinion piece, “But I’m a Feminist and I love chivalry!”. Sorry, I mean “Should chivalry be stopped?”. The entire thing is terrible, and is a great example of a bad opinion piece, but all I can really muster up the effort to ask is: do you think the men quoted in it (Ned, Tom, Jed, and Kent) are really just dudes the author made up (“Ned”, “Tom”, “Jed”, and “Kent”) to put forward her various perspectives on the issue but also include a man’s view? While reading it I was reminded of being a teenager reading Cosmo- pages and pages of sex tips and “what I like in a woman” quotes from men named Dylan, Sam, Jack, Christian, and I was fairly certain that rather than finding 50 new guys to provide opinions every issue that the author just made up a bunch of quotes and attributed them to fictional guys. Either that or asked the people in the office to make up silly shit (“My girlfriend wore her used thong as a scrunchie and it was super hot!”) and made up a bunch of guy names for their “sources”. So when I read that Ned, a “30-something finance guy” thinks that “From an evolutionary perspective, I’m meant to do the physical stuff because I was born stronger than her, and because she is busy with the children or whatever. Opening a car door is a tiny manifestation of that.”, it reeks of the Cosmo treatment to me. Or maybe I just don’t want to believe that the men quoted in the article are for real…