The War on Feminism and The Normalisation of Misogyny in Australia


gender_equality_scale_450Since I was a young girl I believed I lived in a world where my gender made no difference whatsoever.  I was raised to see myself as a person whose worth was measured by my deeds, my achievements and my failures.

As I grew older I continued to see the world through this lens.  As a someone who attended a girls only private school those teachings were re-enforced.  The subject of whether or not I was in anyway less capable or deserving than my male counterparts was so unheard of that it didn’t even bear mentioning.

While studying history I learnt about the long fight for women’s rights and their battle to be seen as equal in our society but to me that was all it was History.  Even at university where I was introduced to a much deeper appreciation of the legacy that those who have come before us let behind I still saw it as something academic.  I was introduced to the idea of feminism but STILL in my mind I thought of it as a word that encompassed what had been achieved NOT something we are still fighting for.

discrimination-def.pngIt was not until I entered the workforce that it became clear to me that there was still a subtle form of discrimination still in play.  While it may not have been overt it was nevertheless still present.

I will never forget interviewing for positions once I was married and had a child and the very clear double standard of questions I faced.  There was no disputing my qualifications or aptitude but I was often asked how I was going to balance being a mother and working at the same time.

I found myself having to explain the arrangements I’d made for the care of my son and reassure those interviewing me that it would not affect my work.  My husband on the other hand was never faced with those questions and in fact it was deemed a positive thing as being a ‘family man’ he would be committed to providing for us and would therefor make a diligent employee.  But still this seemed like something small and that over time this subtle discrimination would disappear also.

That has NOT happened, if anything it has become worse.  Forget subtle discrimination there are those out there who do not even pretend to pay lip service to the idea equality in all areas of life.  Something has happened that has led men [and I will point out here that it is only some men not all] to believe that discriminatory behavior and even violent acts are not something they need to apologise for or even attempt to contain.

This as a world wide phenomena but I have seen the rise of hate groups here in Australia that gain momentum at an alarming rate with little intervention from our government, with little comprehension by men and even worse the belittling of women by their own gender.  For many women Feminism is considered to be an extremist idea that sets male against female when in fact it is meant to bring equality to both.

destroy the jopintThis rise in Domestic Violence [DV] here in Australia over the past decade is staggering especially when you consider the fact that the most common cause of death or injury for women under the age of 45 is DV.  Last year alone 79 women were killed by their partners and so far this year 4 women have been killed for the same reason. Yet funding for this atrocity is set at $25 million a year up until 2017 where it will be reassessed with the view to reduction as for some strange reason they believe they will be able to reduce domestic violence by providing less support.

In New South Wales alone, refuges for women and children are being shut down as the state government cuts funding in an efficiency overhaul intended to replace more expensive specialist services such as women-only shelters with generic services that experts say are less likely to be used by victims of domestic violence. As with pretty much everything else, shelter services in regional communities and indigenous communities are particularly vulnerable. Women and children in regional and rural communities, indigenous women and children and disabled people are much more exposed to the risk of domestic violence and still nothing is done. [care of Crikey]

Rose Batty, last years Australian of the Year, has be lambasted by men’s groups claiming her work in the field of DV has discriminated against men and some have even gone as far to say that they feel sorry for her husband.  Now remember this is the man she left because of DV who then beat his son to death with a cricket bat in the middle of a park while she and others watched but sadly could not reach the boy in time.  This is the level of discrimination and antagonism towards women that we are faced with today.

I wish to make it perfectly clear here that I am not denigrating the trauma that some men face nor do I wish to paint all men as ‘evil’ but too many men insist that we are making too big a deal out of DV and making other men feel guilty or ignored.

abbott-on-womenHowever this culturally embedded misogyny has grown and the term Feminist has become an insult used against women who speak out and sadly it is both men and women who take that stance.

Our previous Prime Minister, who also named himself as Minster for Women was an outspoken and unrepentant misogynist who helped strip funding from much needed services.  We sadly have few female MP’s and even fewer at a federal level and instead of being a voice for women some, like Julie Bishop, run down Feminism despite the fact that they would never have been there, let alone allowed to vote, if not for those feminists who came before them.

anti feminist robertsonWe see casual misogyny in the highest levels of government where Jamie Briggs, a cabinet minister was set down for sexist behavior but no action other than that taken.  We have support for him from Peter Dutton in the form of texts lambasting female journalist for calling him on his behavior, describing her a ‘Mad Fuc*&^g Witch’, and just to top it off we now have our PM saying that he would see Briggs back on the front bench.

It is this attitude which has encouraged the worst of sexist groups to act as they believe they will receive little government intervention for their statements.

The most recent examples of this attack on women rights in Australia comes in the form of a group who call themselves The Return of Kings who are staging meetings here in Australia and in 48 other countries around the world on February 6th.  The ideas and beliefs of ROK are based on neomasculinity. Here are a few of its principal tenets:

1. Men and women are genetically different, both physically and mentally. Sex roles evolved in all mammals. Humans are not exempt.

2. Men will opt out of monogamy and reproduction if there are no incentives to engage in them.

3. Past traditions and rituals that evolved alongside humanity served a net benefit to the family unit.

4. Testosterone is the biological cause for masculinity. Environmental changes that reduce the hormone’s concentration in men will cause them to be weaker and more feminine.

5. A woman’s value significantly depends on her fertility and beauty. A man’s value significantly depends on his resources, intellect, and character.

6. Elimination of traditional sex roles and the promotion of unlimited mating choice in women unleashes their promiscuity and other negative behaviors that block family formation.

7. Socialism, feminism, cultural Marxism, and social justice warriorism aim to destroy the family unit, decrease the fertility rate, and impoverish the state through large welfare entitlements.

Along with the firm belief that rape should be legal if it is on private property and that women are programmed to follow the orders of men show that these ideas represent just about everything women have stood and fought against this past century. Also one of the premises of their group thought is that women are programmed to follow the orders of men and not to do so will end in the break down of society in general.

Now they are not the first, nor will they be the last group who believe such things but what is extremely worrying is the lack of response on behalf of our Minister for Immigration AND the support they have received from men here in Australia and around the world.

When asked about Daryush ‘Roosh’ Valizadeh’s application to come to Australia to host these meetings his Dutton’s response to the ABC was:

A man who believes rape should be legalised has not applied for a visa, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says, despite ‘Roosh V’ confirming plans to visit Canberra this weekend.  But Mr Dutton has not ruled out stopping his entry into the country, stating he would continue to monitor the case. [ABC]

This is somewhat similar to his attitude earlier this year when deported US pick-up artist Julien Blanc’s mates planned an Australia tour.  The massive social media backlash, accompanied by a petition signed by thousands of men and women here in Australia forced the Minister to deny their visa applications BUT prior to that he had been very quiet on the matter.  It appears he will do the same here, see which way the wind blows and then take action as well as credit for that action. [as he did earlier]

make her stayThis also holds true for Julien Blanc himself who was deported from Australia when he came here to provide his own special seminars on how to pick up women using degradation and abuse. The group behind these seminars is Real Social Dynamics and consider choking women into submission as a legitimate way of achieving consent.

If there was any doubt about the damaging nature of his methods, Blanc uploaded a domestic violence chart to Instagram with the caption “May as well be a checklist… #HowToMakeHerStay”.

So I have to ask myself, has feminism failed or has a very clever PR campaign been run over a number of years to to wage war on the word and all those who associate with it.  If that is the case then it’s been very successful as there is an entire generation out there who wish to distance themselves from that word and the side affect of that is that the subtle discrimination that was slowly losing ground has come back with a vengeance in this past few decades and is rapidly normalising misogyny into our culture yet again. But remember this when people try to tear you down for being a feminist:

fem

All in all I think those that hold the kind of beliefs spouted by ROK and others are ignorant at best and morally bankrupt at worst but I think in this particular case [that of ROK] Waleed from the Project has a good point:

35 thoughts on “The War on Feminism and The Normalisation of Misogyny in Australia

    • It’s so sad to have to re-fight the battles other women fought in the past. I mean it’s not as bad as prior to the vote etc but increasing tolerance of abuse toward women is not something we can let continue. It is the same attitude the reflects in our treatment of those of different race or religion. You’d think that as a species we would learn from history but it seems we are slow learners doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Thanks for writing about this. I just saw a video on YouTube of a woman explaining why she’s not a feminist. I didn’t know about these groups in Australia that think rape is OK. It’s pertinent to some work I’m doing, thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you – I think it is sad that we are losing so much ground in the area of gender equality. So many women fought so hard to give us the choices we have today and yet they seem to be slipping away.

      Liked by 2 people

      • During the past 5 or 6 years, my eyes have been opened quite a bit regarding feminism and its role in my life and the world at large, due mostly in part to women like yourself, who bring awareness to the issues, and explain them in a way that make them relevant on a more individual level. So thank you for what you do!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. This is happening here also, at an alarming rate. Those who point it out are ridiculed as blowing something out of proportion. I especially liked your sentence “(they believe that) even violent acts are not something they need to apologize for or even attempt to contain”.

    The Return of the (Self-Inflated, Ego/Power/Aggression/Sex) “Kings”have no business out on the streets. They may as well be Taliban.

    It’s worsening because they spread ideas among similar-minded young males who spend their time on the internet watching internet porn and playing vicious, violent online games often with hypersexualized female characters. It’s not occuring to them to treat women well, form a relationship, and be a good boyfriend or husband. And more responsible adult men themselves don’t always stand up and oppose them on women’s behalf – it seems we will be fighting this mostly on our own. How sad that they feel they have to threaten and abuse to feel powerful in themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m doing a piece a little later about on-line abuse and bullying of women, especially women writers or gamers who make no secret of who they are. The threats of rape and violence made from behind the safety of a computer are only a short step toward acting on those in real life and as you said it reflects on how they treat women in ‘the real world’ .

      Liked by 1 person

      • Completely agree! I’ve stopped going onto almost ALL comment boards (and am always careful to use gender-neutral screen names to try to avoid being targeted) because they’re infested with what sound to be hostile, arrogant, vicious young males – the hostility for women is incredible. You’re right – it’s just a short leap to actual physical violence. I’d be embarrassed to say the kinds of bumper stickers I’m seeing around here, yet nobody says a word…..

        Liked by 1 person

      • And THAT is the problem – the silence which implies agreement with those ideas or at the very least see nothing harmful in them. The silence has to be broken or nothing will change.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for reinforcing feminist reasoning but especially for alerting women to the existence of such disgusting male groups who perpetrate violence and disrespect toward women. What is truly disturbing is that the wives and daughters of men such as these often believe them and therefore go on to perpetuate these self depreciating concepts.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am so sorry to hear of this terrible problem in Australian society. Appallingly, I see similar issues in the United States. We feminists have to keep speaking our truth and working for the common good and the dignity of each individual, even in the face of those who deny equality. I think they take their own fear and deficiencies out on women rather than honestly taking stock and trying to improve themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on Dolphin and commented:
    This is so freaking outrageous I can’t even get beside myself. We already live in a rape culture and this asshole is putting gas on the fire.
    In the last month, I have seen a woman with two black eyes, another woman with a black eye and missing front teeth; another woman with a bruised cheek and missing front teeth; others whose scars are spiritual wounds and are hidden from view….
    So, no, I don’t want to give this piece of work more publicity that he craves…please do what you can to counteract the rape culture. Educate yourself on verbal abuse (a good book is this: http://www.powells.com/book/verbal-abuse-survivors-speak-out-on-relationship-recovery-9781558503045/7-5 ); read books on boundaries….we have been conditioned to ignore boundaries and respecting others’ rights to be let alone and to have their own space and their own privacy. And if you are able, please help domestic violence shelters. A good one in need is White Buffalo Calf Woman Society in Mission, South Dakota. They need your donations.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Jenni, I feel, what you write here about the place of women in our world, is a very important piece and I definitely like to reblog your writing even though so far I only could read about half of it. What I did read so far, speaks very much to me and a lot coincides with experiences in my life of 81 years! Thank you very much for writing all this, dear Jenni.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Catching up on my blog reading and glad to have read this. I must admit, I never noticed the double standard until I had kids – I think that’s really when views on traditional roles come out and when you really need to deal with them – both from those who firmly believe in them and those who SAY they don’t, but have been raised in a culture that has them and so they are influenced by them. I remember being asked when I became pregnant if I’d be staying home with our kids. As the primary breadwinner in our family it was really tempting to tell the questioner that my husband and I had discussed it, but I realized that he found his job rewarding so we decided he should continue to work outside the home and that we’d figure out a way to MAKE IT WORK.

    As for ROK – I’m Canadian and they were suppose to come here too until the Canadian mayors from a number of major cities basically told him he wasn’t welcome. The tweet from our Ottawa Mayor on the issue was awesome!

    It’s a slow battle, and there’s back-sliding, but I also know there’s progress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sadly in Australia we seem to be going backwards on this front, along with a number of other areas related to choice, freedom and human rights. Never thought I’d ever see what is happening day by day here but it is and it’s snowballing. The federal government is not listening to the states even those of their own party but we’ll see.

      Like

  7. Thanks for your courage in bringing this to our attention. How sickening. Any person or group that promotes violence and such degradation of human dignity ought to be considered criminal and terrorist.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s