Tag Archives: sexism

Carbon Tax Repealed…for Women

In a recent interview, Lisa Wilkinson asked Tony Abbott a brilliant question. She asked him to name his greatest contribution to women as the Minister for Women in 2014.

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Coke Makes Milk, Sells Out Women

Since approximately the beginning of time, women’s bodies have been used to sell everything. From clothing to food to cars to animal welfare- you name it, the female form has been splashed across billboards, screens and magazines to entice consumers to part with their pennies.

Coca-Cola Amatil, known best for soft drinks, is branching into dairy with it’s new product, Fairlife Milk, which will cost double the price of regular milk and is high protein, lactose free something something…sorry, got distracted by the ads:

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You Are Not The Jerk Whisperer

Last week, I responded to a column written by former Labor leader and resplendent stay-at-home dad/gourmet cook/native gardener extraordinaire, Mark Latham.

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My response was one of many “left-feminist” perspectives roundly criticising his remarks. This one is a doozy.

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Anyone but Abbott

The election has come and gone, leaving the Liberal Coalition in power. Since then, PM Abbott and co have formed an interesting cabinet, removing key portfolios, amalgamating others and forming the new and dubiously titled “Border Protection” one- but that is a whole other post.
This cabinet contains exactly one woman. Other parties and governments around the world manage to include more females. Is it that there are no other women qualified for this position within the Liberal Party? I can think of a few off the top of my head so surely this is not the case. Suffice to say, this cabinet is hardly representative of the community it would govern and this is a real shame, and an embarrassment.

Even Lord Voldemort’s “cabinet” had more women than Abbott’s cabinet.

Tony Abbott himself has taken on the portfolio of Women’s Issues. I am sorry to say it, but almost anyone would be better qualified. A vagina is certainly not essential to the position, though it would be an excellent start. PM Abbott has proved himself, over and over, to be out of touch with Australian women. The following quotes from the man himself speak volumes on their own:

What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up.Sydney Morning Herald (February 9, 2010)
I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.– Quoted in “FOUR CORNERS” on www.abc.net.au (15/03/2010)
The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience.- Quoted in [1] “RATE OF ABORTION HIGHLIGHTS OUR MORAL FAILINGS” on www.tonyabbott.com.au (Wednesday, 17 March 2004)]
I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak.- Panel discussion “Religion, Sex and Politics” on www.abc.com.au (19 March 2009)
Abortion is the easy way out. It’s hardly surprising that people should choose the most convenient exit from awkward situations.– Quoted in “Rate of abortion high-lights our moral failings” on www.tonyabbott.com.au (17 March 2004)
I think I would say to my daughters if they were to ask me this question… it [their virginity] is the greatest gift that you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving and don’t give it to someone lightly, that’s what I would say.– Quoted in “Hypocrite Abbott panned for Virginity Stance” (27 Jan 2010)
While I think men and women are equal, they are also different and I think it’s inevitable and I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all that we always have, say, more women doing things like physiotherapy and an enormous number of women simply doing housework– Quoted in “Rudd hands PM a crucial lifeline” (6 August 2010)
I want to make it clear that I do not judge or condemn any woman who has had an abortion, but every abortion is a tragedy and up to 100,000 abortions a year is this generation’s legacy of unutterable shame.- Abbott to parliament in February 2006 (Four corners transcript of speech)

Got all that, ladies? Your power bills are up because you have to iron- it’s inevitable. Try to understand that. It’s not Tony Abbott’s fault.
Also, you just don’t have the aptitude and ability that men do. That means you are dumber and less useful. Feeling like a valued member of society yet? You should. We need more physios and housewives like you!
Sex is not yours to withhold either. Not really. I mean, your virginity is a precious gift and you shouldn’t give it away to just anyone, but if someone really wants to have sex with you, you should remember that it’s not really your right to say no. So if you have sex with someone after realising that it’s not your right to withhold sex, and then find yourself in that awkward position known as pregnancy- well, you CAN get an abortion. I mean, Tony Abbott certainly won’t judge or condemn you. He will just say you’re doing it for your convenience and that you’re contributing to a legacy of unutterable shame because abortions are tragedies. But he’s totes not judging or condemning you, ok?

Putting aside all these telling comments for just a moment- lets look at one of the other reasons Tony Abbott should not be in charge of women’s issues- he’s proven himself to be sexist. His sexist treatment of former PM Julia Gillard is well documented. Her now legendary speech in parliament addressing his misogynist and sexist behaviour was not a bolt from the blue, it was the culmination of long term sexist and poor behaviour on his part and addressed specific incidences of sexist and misogynist behaviour.

This man would look after women’s affairs?

Click here to see Julia Gillard’s speech detailing Tony Abbott’s sexist and misogynist behaviour.

So what can we do? Probably not very much. Get back to the ironing, I suppose.

No.

I just remembered, we have the Internet! Sure, our National Broadband Network might be on hold, but we can still work with what we have. So why not sign my petition? Will it make PM Abbott give the portfolio to someone better suited? I don’t know. But it may well at least let him know that he’s further alienating a significant proportion of the population that he hopes will keep him in government. And if he has even half a brain, he needs to take note of that. I don’t expect him to be a genius, after all, “No one,however smart, however well-educated, however experienced … is the suppository of all wisdom” But I do think enough people letting him know that they aren’t happy with something he is doing might help to bring about change.

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Sex sells, but what is the price?

Rape culture is a term being used a lot lately. It’s not a new term, but there is a new awareness of how acceptable it has become to sexually assault women in our society. Rape culture endorses blaming victims for their assaults, making women responsible for preventing their assaults and shaming women for the sexual exploits that men are applauded for. Why women are treated this way is a big question and there isn’t one single answer but rather many facets of our society that come together to form the larger picture. And as we all know, a picture can speak a thousand words, which is why advertisers have much to answer for in perpetuating this disturbing culture.

Women are near constantly sexually objectified in advertisements, used to adorn products often completely unrelated to female sexuality. How is it that women’s bodies  are required to sell men’s fragrances, alcohol, socks and protein bars? Why does it take naked women to sell animal rights and veganism?

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Tom Ford Fragrance for Men- striking imagery but degrading all the same. Where is the rest of this woman? Where is her face? Who cares, buy the cologne.

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An American beer ad- because this drink will see you, too, draped in attractive women wearing swimsuits.

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American Apparel- Sweatshop free, soft core porn.

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Breasts sell bars.

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PETA have been defending animal rights and exploiting women for years.

Magazines aimed at men such as Zoo Weekly are among the worst offenders for their portrayal of women as nothing more than sexual playthings for men and they actively encourage their readers to join in, like in this subsequently banned Facebook post:

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A bifurcated woman is pictured, while the caption asks which “side” men prefer, and why. The post was banned by the Advertising Standards Bureau.

Advertising has crossed the line on what we should find acceptable many times over with regard to the use of women to sell products, but none more so to my mind than those that have utilised sexual assault to sell product. Well known vodka producer Belvedere and high end fashion house Dolce & Gabbana found themselves in hot water over using rape imagery and “humour” to promote their products.

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Seriously, what on earth were they thinking? Not only did this ad lead to widespread outrage, it also prompted a lawsuit from the woman in the picture. Turns out they used the image without permission

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Beautiful, glossy gang rape, banned back in 2007.

Are men objectified in advertising? I think sometimes they are, but not to the level or the extent that women are- for example, I’ve yet to see women’s perfume advertised by jamming a bottle of it against a man’s oiled, waxed genitals. 

This type of advertising perpetuates the myth that a man’s attention can only be caught be appealing to his sexual interests- otherwise, they won’t be interested or won’t understand. The length and breadth of language, art and humour is apparently lost on men unless it is crude, demeaning or jammed between a pair of glossy breasts.

 

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Unilever brand Lynx (a.k.a ‘Axe’ in other parts of the world) are well know for their crude, demeaning ad campaigns.

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Another naked woman selling Tom Ford’s cologne. Or is it the same one? Who knows, still can’t see her face.

 Although this is extremely demeaning to men, who are just as capable of being sensitive, thoughtful, inspired and humorous beings as women are, it also sets a dangerous standard for younger men and boys, who are bombarded with this kind of imagery as society tells them this is what should appeal to them, this is what is acceptable.

It seems obvious that these messages we are sending our young men are a part of the reason rape culture still exists today. Our society tell them that on some level, women are objects, objects are just things, and as things, they don’t have thoughts or feelings. To quote American Democratic Strategist and rape survivor Zerlina Maxwell, “I don’t think that we should be telling women anything, I think we should be telling men not to rape women and start the conversation there.” I think Zerlina makes an excellent point. Start the conversation. Start it with your sons and stop accepting the exploitative advertising we are bombarded with each day. Let advertisers know it’s not on. Tell them with your emails, your posts on their Facebook pages, your tweets, your phone calls, your name on a petition and your buying power going elsewhere. The advent of social media has given people a power to bring about positive change that hasn’t been seen before, with web-based campaigns bringing about positive results, like an online petition stopping 13CABS from running an advertisement playing on fear of rape to encourage people to use their taxi service, or anti-sexism group Destroy the Joint successfully petitioning Telstra to remove silent number fees for domestic violence victims.

You have a strong and powerful voice. Use it.


 
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