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Tag Archives: sexism

The day I realised I belong to THAT generation

That generation – the one populated with a surplus, it seems, of angry, aging, white men attempting to cling to a sense of long-past-its-use-by-date supremacy. Even after the Trump election victory in the USA I somehow still thought of such men as “the older generation”. Not, to be honest, that I consciously thought about it – it just seemed that way.

I read many of the published letters of daughters to their Dads/parents expressing their concern over the parents’ voting choice. Even though I knew these daughters were young enough to be my daughters, somehow I still saw their fathers as not my generation. I did not see the same number of letters to mothers – which surprised me, given the percentage of white women (that actually voted) that voted for Trump. I did see an interesting analysis; it still doesn’t help me understand that particular demographic.

It wasn’t until I had a conversation with a man I’ve known for many years that the reality of my generation was brought home to me. In response to something I said, he kindly suggested I read a column in that day’s Herald Sun. The sub-text proposed I would be enlightened – or have my views “corrected”. On the basis of “keep your friends close, your enemies closer” I do sometimes find myself reading the tabloid and always end up in a grumpy mood. In this case I chose not to subject myself to such an irritation.

Driving to school later that day, I was still puzzling why the conversation had taken the turn it had. The light dawned. Then an even bigger light blazed through my consciousness. HE IS YOUNGER THAN I AM. Oh my God, I thought to myself, these men are MY generation!

I have enough men of my generation as followers on Facebook and Twitter to know not all men of my generation fall into this category. Thankfully, otherwise I’d be rather distraught. Perhaps their existence has cushioned me from the reality. Men of the other variety don’t follow me – or I them. I was interacting with like minds, not seeing the wider picture. I also know there are many men of younger generations who are caught up in the ideology of regaining white male supremacy but I do think hope the ratio is lower. It is men of my generation and slightly younger that are in power: they worry me more.

As a society, we have made important progress in challenging men’s illegitimate authority in the past century. But the Trump campaign made it painfully obvious that men’s sexual exploitation of women, possible only in a society in which men believe themselves to be naturally dominant over women, remains deeply entrenched. The ease with which so many men embraced Trump’s celebration of sexual exploitation, and so many women were willing to excuse it, is evidence of the strength of patriarchal values and norms.

Source: ABC

The above article was written about the USA, clearly, but how applicable is the content to Australia? More so than I would have thought, despite the evidence of Abbott’s behaviour (and others of his ilk). Those are men I don’t know personally: somewhere in my sub-conscious I still viewed them as, well, rather odd. Not the norm. That was too scary. It wasn’t until someone I knew, someone of my own generation and cultural background, led me to my light bulb moment.

How, at my age, could I think all these patriarchal types were an older generation? I suspect it comes from my father. I recall my mother disagreeing with my father involving me in what my mother saw as “male stuff” on the farm. I drove tractors, worked in the shearing shed, delivered lambs, marked lambs (for city readers, marking is removing tails and testicles) and gave mouth-to-nose resuscitation to a calf. I never remember seeing my mother on a horse. I have a faint recollection of her steering (not driving, steering) a tractor once. I suppose I grew up more as a boy than a girl, per “traditional” roles. My father never treated me as if I was “the fairer sex” so why would men younger than my father treat women differently? Not just treat women differently, but minorities as well. My father, if he was still alive, would be 95. So men like Trump, only 25 years junior, I could still sub-consciously put in that “soon they’ll all be gone” category.

I can’t put men my own age in the “soon they’ll all be gone” category, for that means I have to include myself and I’m not planning on “going soon”. What I failed to acknowledge was Trump’s age in relation to my own. Selective reasoning on my part.

We have generations to still battle this societal problem. Fathers of my generation are still influencing their children and grandchildren, male and female. It is going to be tough being a parent in the USA for the next few years: yet is Australia really all that different? Just less “out there” perhaps, at least in relation to sexism although racism is particularly rampant at this time.

Now, as the reality of a Trump presidency sets in, concerned parents face a new slew of questions about raising their children in a time of collective change and uncertainty ― not to mention bad behavior being modeled by our highest elected official. Seventy-five percent of Americans with kids under the age of 18 say Trump is not a good role model for children, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll.

With kids being more exposed to arguments from adults around them and in the media, it’s important to teach them how to disagree and have their own opinions without attacking or undermining those who hold different views.

Source: Huffington Post – Advice From Psychologists On Raising Kids Well In Trump’s America

Now I have to adjust to being a member of THAT generation. I don’t like it already.

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Turnbull, Credlin And “Interesting Times”…

“May You Live In Interesting Times” = Chinese Curse.

“As they craft their new economic narrative, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison must reframe the national conversation about debt.

“To listen to the conservative right, government should never spend a penny more than it raises – and it should raise a lot less at that.

“To listen to the loony left, government debt is simply an investment in our future, and anyway, our debt levels are much smaller than in other countries.

“Neither description of Australia’s debt position holds water.”

Jessica Irvine, The Age, September 24th, 2015

OK, so according to Ms Irvine, the section of western civilisation containing Tony Abbott, Cory Bernardi, Donald Trump, the Tea Party and Sarah Palin is “conservative”, while the one with people such as Bob Brown, Bernie Sanders, Russell Brandt and the Socialist Alliance is just “loony”.

Yes, she was just using “loony left” because it’s a term often used, and unfortunately, my suggestion that we start using the term “ridiculous right” to cover extremists on the conservative side of politics hasn’t really caught on.

However, I suspect that now Malcolm’s in charge, the phrase we’ll be hearing a lot more is the “sensible centre”.

Of course, when I say Malcolm’s in charge, I simply mean that now he’s Prime Minister. Yes, he certainly isn’t “in charge”. because, well, if he were, wouldn’t he be doing more on climate change and same sex marriage?

And the Republic. Lest we forget all those diggers who died at Eureka trying to make this country free from tyranny.

Oh wait, we should forget them because under today’s laws most of them would have their citizenship stripped and sent back to their country of origin.

No, we should only say “lest we forget” when refering to those diggers who went and invaded Turkey to keep our country safe from the potential invasion in World War One.

Anyway, let’s not get bogged down in history. As we all know these are “interesting times”.

Malcolm Turnbull is proving to be a polarising figure. He’s winning popularity with some for two major reasons. First, not only is he not Tony Abbott, and is responsible for sending Tony into such a funk that he hasn’t turned up for work in over a week. This endears Malcolm to a number of people. Second, although he’s only been in the job a week, he’s actually done some things that people agree with, such as removing Hockey, Andrews and Abetz from Cabinet, and his announcement on extending services for victims of domestic violence. Not only that, he’s managed to do things without a major stuff-up.

On the other hand, there are many who mistrust Malcolm and think that he’s too slick and has a hidden agenda. They feel that he doesn’t mean what he’s saying and his main goal is to stay as Prime Minister. This simple fact is helping to heal the rifts between the Left and Right in Australia, as it’s something that both Cory Bernardi and Sarah Hanson-Young can agree on.

So, because of a couple of polls, everyone has written Shorten off as Labor leader, and the commenteriat will speculate about when Labor will remove him, overlooking the obvious fact that the hard-heads in Labor may be ready to concede the next election and be working on the one after. Why chew up a good leader when Shorten can be dispensed with after he’s lost, and you can approach the future with a fresh face? I still think that it’s likely that the Liberals may go to the polls before they have to frame another Budget, and, with a rise in the GST on the table, they’ll lose some seats even with the drover’s dog leading them. Replacing a leader after an election loss, doesn’t have the same “here we go again” about it that replacing Shorten any time soon would create.

And now that Peta Credlin has joined Julia Gillard in playing the “sexism card” – which was just being a bit of girl then, but OK now (yes, yes, irony intended, don’t clog up the comments with about accusations of me being sexist, I’m not, and being a white male, I’m in the best position to know when I’m being racist or sexist!). She came out against the sexism Abbott spoke of when he commented that things would be different if her name was “Peter” rather than “Peta”. There’s no doubt that Abbott’s right on this, as one of the problems people were complaining about was the fact that she was married to Brian Loughnane, long term Federal Director of the Liberal Party and to have his wife as the PM’s Chief of Staff meant that too much power was in the hands of one couple. (Loughnane and Credlin, that is. What did you think I meant!) Given Abbott’s strong opposition to gay marriage, there’s no way she would have been his Chief of Staff if her name were “Peter”.

Anyway, we were treated to a rather frank assessment from Ms Credlin yesterday:

“And if you’re a cabinet minister or a journalist and you’re intimidated by the chief-of-staff of the prime minister then maybe you don’t deserve your job.”

Now, this is rather interesting. Is she suggesting that there were cabinet ministers who didn’t “deserve” their jobs? If so, which ones? And did she bring this to the attention of the PM? Because he could have done a reshuffle and dropped them. Actually, one has to ask if they were, in fact, the ones Turnbull dropped, or are there still people there who don’t deserve their jobs.

She also informed us:

“I am not going to be one of those people who go out and kick the Liberal Party and kick the new Prime Minister on their way out. I think that is undignified,”

Interesting that her way of not kicking the Liberal Party is suggesting that some of the cabinet ministers weren’t up to the job. Also interesting that she’s not doing it because it’s “undignified” and not because they don’t deserve a damn good “kicking”.

Yep, like the curse says, “May you live in interesting times.”

Footnote: In spite of a boost in consumer confidence after Turnbull’s ascension, Australia is still likely to slip into recession owing to massive redundancies in our flag manufacturing sector.

 

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Would you take advice from this man?

Queensland MP George Christensen has thrown his two cents worth into the debate about marriage equality issuing the following warning to Tony Abbott:

“The party policy to retain the definition of marriage as contained in the Marriage Act is supported by the majority of Liberal and National MPs and senators and I’d say many of them would hold the view that this is what our party stands for.

To many it would be both bizarre and a slap in the face to our grassroots members to suggest that the conservative parties adopt a policy which says we don’t have a stance on marriage and everyone can be a free agent and vote how they want.

The party membership didn’t like being ignored on the ETS and they won’t on this one either.”

Aside from the hubris of an inexperienced backbencher issuing veiled threats to the Prime Minister, and the fact that the government have already broken more promises than I can list, Christensen is courting danger by inviting attention in this area.

As editor of a student newspaper, he published a series of virulently racist, anti-semitic, homophobic and woman-hating rants back in1998.

On one page, Christensen expressed concern that new versions of the Bible were “removing accusations that the Jews killed Christ.”

On another page, he tells jokes about AIDS:

“A homosexual walks into the Doctor’s office, sobbing. ‘Doctor, Doctor’, he says ‘ think I’ve got AIDS. ‘Well,’ replied the Doctor, shocked ‘Who gave it to you?’

‘I dunno, says the homosexual. ‘I haven’t got eyes in the back of my head.’

He doesn’t restrict his venom there either. In an article about the Hollywood actor Will Smith he expressed his thoughts on women:

Most Aussie men often try to crack onto good-looking women and neglect the not-so-good looking (read fat) ones

Perhaps it’s the intelligence of women or, rather, the lack of it?

My thoughts: the truth is women are stupid and that’s that. So on behalf of you, me and the guy that’s shrugging his shoulders in bewilderment after reading his sister’s copy of Dolly, let me just say: Will Smith, you’re lucky God gave women no bloody brains.

Other contributions express concern about the special privileges being bestowed on Aborigines, the transgendered, republicans and so on. He is even critical of former Prime Minister John Howard for being a sell-out to aboriginal interests. He argues that there is an Australian system of “apartheid” which benefits Aborigines through land rights, Abstudy and so on.

After this was revealed during the 2010 election campaign, Christensen apologized. Kerry O’Brien interviewed Tony Abbott who brushed it off as adolescent silliness and defended Christensen as a good candidate.

Gay group, the Coalition of Equality, accepted Christensen’s apology:

“If he has apologised for that particular publication and he’s willing to recant the fact that they were not in the best of taste, and he apologises for them, then I think we should let bygones be bygones and move forward,” he said.

“[We should] make sure that we do understand what is acceptable and suitable comment in regards to gay and lesbian people in Australian.

“We have to accept that what he says now on face value is a sincere and heartfelt apology.

“If in the future, it turns out not to be, I’m sure there will be words said at that point, and embarrassment caused to him.”

But George seems impervious to embarrassment.

Right from the start his tenure was questionable as he had failed to resign from his position on the Mackay Regional Council before the election, putting himself at risk of high court action because of the constitutional ban on “officers of profit under the crown” being elected to federal parliament.

Coming from generations of cane farmers, in 2012 Christensen launched an attack in parliament on the National Health and Medical Research Council which he accused of demonising the sugar industry through their new food guidelines. The strong defence of the sugar industry earned Christensen the title of “sugar plum fairy”.

George hates environmentalists with a passion. In September 2014 he labeled Greenpeace and other environmentalists as terrorists, stating that they are “gutless green grubs” for opposing the expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal in his electorate. In a speech to Parliament, Christensen said “the greatest terrorism threat in North Queensland, I’m sad to say, comes from the extreme green movement”.

In January this year he posted on his Facebook page a cartoon depicting Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk naked on a wrecking ball, crashing through a wall with the words “Abbot Point Coal Terminal jobs” written on it.

When criticised, he defended his actions saying “Some people need to get a sense of humour I think it’s pretty pathetic to fake outrage at a cartoon that’s satirical just to score political points.

“Taking the mickey especially out of politicians has always been a strong part of the Australian culture and I think we should all just lighten up and have a laugh sometimes because as a nation we’re losing our sense of humour to political correctness.”

Unsurprisingly perhaps, George is also in favour of the death penalty. In May 2011, he refused to back a motion condemning the death penalty and instead told federal parliament he supported the death penalty “for terrorists and for those found guilty of the most heinous of crimes – murder of a child, particularly those involving rape, murder of an elderly person or a person with disabilities, again particularly those involving rape.”

And when it comes to Muslims, George really fires up.

He started off slowly with the live trade export ban, blaming Islam for the torture of cattle in Indonesia and saying it wasn’t the concern of Australian farmers.

He ramped up in the wake of the 2012 Sydney anti-Islam film protests, launching a public attack on those taking part in the demonstration, saying those who broke the law, other than himself, should “jump on the first plane and head back to where you come from because that stuff is just simply not on in this nation.”

In 2013, Christensen was the only federal MP to attend a rally featuring controversial Dutch politician and anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders during his tour of Australia. Christensen said he supported Wilders’ view that “people of dual citizenship who act in a way that is contrary to the values of this country and engage in extremist violence should have their citizenship stripped and be deported.”

Last year George tweeted “We shouldn’t tolerate sharia law in Aust and the burqa/niqab shouldn’t be worn in public.”

In November 2014 Christensen claimed in an online opinion piece that Halal certification was “outrageous” and a “religious tax.” He also claimed that it is “entirely feasible” to think some halal certifiers could be financing groups such as Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood.

When the #illridewithyou campaign was created to counter potential anti-Muslim sentiment in the wake of the Sydney siege, Christensen took to Twitter calling it a “pathetic left-wing black arm band brigade campaign” that casts “Aussies as racists who will endanger Muslims”.

He elaborated further on his public Facebook page.

“So Twitter has erupted with a typical politically correct, left wing response to the Sydney siege with these hashtag campaigns #weridetogether & #illridewithyou going viral,” he wrote.

“These campaigns falsely portray Aussies as thugs who terrorise Muslims and, in doing so, create victims where there are none.

“How about we just focus on the real victims of the Sydney siege (who, in my view, are more heroic than the left-wing twitter clicktivist keyboard warrior army combined): Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson.”

So, in summary, George appears to hate Jews, Muslims, Aborigines, republicans, environmentalists, gays, transgender, women, and anyone who says we should cut down on sugar.

And the scary part is that he is feeling increasingly empowered to thrust his views upon us as our government continues its lurch to the extreme right.

 

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