On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

The Dolly model search is back and seeking 13-year-old girls for their looks. Oh, and, like, a great personality and stuff. [MamaMia]

We need more men like THIS, who speak out about the blatant turning of blind eyes to violent and entitled footballers. [MamaMia]

Gloria Steinem urges voters to re-elect Obama, as he’s the only candidate who really cares about actual women’s rights. [Jezebel]

Rick Santorum used to work for the WWE?! Yikes! [Mother Jones]

Bristol Palin writes about President Obama and Sandra Fluke. I hate to say this about a Palin, but she makes a good point… [Bristol’s Blog]

Forced pre-abortion transvaginal ultrasounds, from a doctor’s perspective. [Jezebel, via Whatever]

Following on from last week’s article by Gala Darling on feminism and high heels, Jenna Sauers voices her own concerns on our sartorial choices dictating our political stances. [Jezebel]

On lady writers profiling “tall, brooding famous men with lots of money” for men’s magazines. [Gawker]

Jess McGuire on Jackie O’s Sunday Life profile. [The Vine]

The beauty politics of Snog, Marry, Avoid. [MamaMia]

What it’s like to be an executioner. [MamaMia]

Image via Perth Now.

Feminism, Jackie O & C*nts.

 

The weekend newspapers really produced their fair share of thought provoking articles, with Jacqueline Maley’s exposé on the word c*nt, and Jackie O’s anti-feminist and pro-Kyle Sandilands outing in new-look Sunday Life.

The first article was an entertaining read, detailing the historical responses to the word c*nt which, when it was a street name in London in the 13th century (albeit in the red light district), suggested a sort of acceptance in the old world. PC run wild in the modern day one, perhaps?

Maley also writes of the feminist connotations of c*nt, and why it’s deemed acceptable in some circles (“Hey, c*nt!” as a term of endearment) and not in others.

Personally, it’s just a word to me, like “fuck”, “slut” and a plethora of other expletives that can be used to offend. While the article insists on writing it “c…”, as per The Sydney Morning Herald’s editorial guidelines, I guess I’m doing the word no favours in its quest to become destigmatised: even though I use it quite often and in affection, I still asterisked the “u” out.

*

On to the apparent “Better Half” of Kyle Sandilands, Jackie “O” Henderson, who unshockingly somewhat excuses Sandilands treatment of women on his show. In last year’s “fat slag” journalist controversy, Henderson stayed mum, saying in the article that, “I wasn’t about to beat up on my friend when the rest of the country was, just to save my behind. So I did keep quiet.”

So it doesn’t surprise me when Henderson say she’s not a feminist:

“Does she consider herself a feminist? ‘No,’ she says, with a shy smile.

““Why?’ I cry in disappointed tones. ‘You’re a woman.’

“‘I know,’ she says, laughing. ‘I know. I do feel like I have achieved so much, in radio especially. But I’ve never considered myself a feminist. I’m just, you know, I’m doing what I love. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come. But … you know.’”

Yeah, we do. You’re embarrassed about the stigma being a feminist has, much like the connotations of c*nt. But someone who’s best friends and business partners with a man who uses his platform and influence to berate women on air for all manner of things—their appearance, their sexuality, their opinions—is not someone I want standing under the feminist umbrella.

Related: Who Thinks Jackie O’s Parenting Style is Beautiful?

I Think I’m Beginning to Understand This #MenCallMeThings Thing. Except It’s Not Just Men & It’s Not Really Me.

Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Break My Slutty Stride.

Elsewhere: [Sydney Morning Herald] The Incredible Explosive Word.

[Sydney Morning Herald] What Jackie O Really Thinks About Kyle Sandilands.

[MamaMia] A Letter to Jackei O & All the Other Non-Feminists.

Image via Facebook.

Event: Should Meat Be Off the Menu?

That was the topic of Intelligence2’s debate, in conjunction with the Wheeler Centre, last Tuesday night.

Going in, I voted that meat should be on the menu, as although I think vegetarianism and veganism is great and I fully support those movements, I personally love the taste of (some, mainly chicken, fish and beef) meat and don’t think I could give it up. I still believe this, although I have recently made the switch from dairy to almond milk in a bid to become more ecotarian, which you can read a bit more about in this link I posted last week.

But I based my final vote for the night, which is a staple of Intelligence2 debates, on which team presented better arguments. That team was the affirmative, claiming that animals should be off the menu.

That team consisted of the author of Animal Liberation, Peter Singer, jet-setting former banker turned staunch animal rights activist Philip Wollen, and Veronica Ridge, food writer, whose argument about the myriad of non-meat-based dishes was the weakest, and was challenged by those in the audience who claimed that while the meals she listed may have been meat-free, they still used a lot of animal by-products like dairy.

However, she did make some good points about hypocrisy and the ways we treat certain animals. For example, why do we butcher pigs and cows but lavish affection on our domestic cats and dogs? The special needs dog-in-training in attendance hammered this point home.

Opening for the affirmative team was Singer, who started off rather weakly but listed the three main topics his team would take on: our health, the impact meat production has on the planet (Wollen followed this up with the fact that it takes 50,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of beef. The irony that I’d had two beef-based meals the day before and the day of the debate was not lost on me.), and the ethical treatment of animals.

But if I thought Singer presented poorly right out of the gate, he had nothing on the dismal points of Fiona Chambers of the opposing team, who raises organic pigs on her Daylesford farm. It could probably be attributed to nerves, but most of what Chambers had to say seemed to get lost in translation. All I got was that human consumption of animal meat keeps their species alive and away from extinction, and that animals cannot be raised humanely for human consumption. Either she misread her notes, or her argument completely flies in the face of the work she does on her farm. Puzzling.

The second speaker for the opposing team wasn’t much better. Animal scientist Bruce McGregor talked about “natural loss” and the ecological impact not eating animals would have. There’s nothing “natural” about factory farming, and to answer McGregor’s question about what to do with all the surplus stock, that’s easy: stop using female cattle and poultry as baby-making machines and we wouldn’t have two billion animals killed per week, as Wollen told us.

Wollen went on to say that 10,000 species go into extinction every year because of humans, and we are facing the sixth mass extinction right now. (2012, anyone?) Wollen concluded his ominous but standing ovation-receiving speech with this:

“The axis of evil runs through our dining tables… [and] our weapons of mass destruction are our knives and forks.”

I don’t necessarily agree that this is always true, but I do think Wollen’s segment was responsible for the affirmative’s win on the night.

Almost retaining my vote for the opposing team, Good Chef, Bad Chef star Adrian Richardson said that meat consumption is all about choice: you can make the personal choice not to eat meat, or to eat meat that’s ethically produced. In his Melbourne restaurant, La Luna, he only serves organic meat, which is promising, but we all know that what it says on the packet isn’t always the case. For example, unless your “free range” eggs have a stamp of approval from a recognised animal welfare authority, “free range” could mean the hen gets 20cms to exist in as opposed to 20cms for it and four other hens in which to live. If people still buy cage eggs and factory farmed meat, there’ll always be a demand for it, making it harder for the regular supermarket shopper to discern and easier to justify the cheap cost of cage eggs versus the steeper cost of free range.

Annoyingly, though, Richardson appealed to the Aussie bogan (of which I don’t think there were many in attendance. Meat is the dietary staple of the bogan, didn’t you know?), opening by saying that not eating meat is un-Australian and that when we do, we’re closer to our savage ancestors. Or an AFL player (his words [paraphrased], not mine).

When the debate went to the floor, there was a (keeping with the animal theme) menagerie of viewpoints and arguments, but a few really resonated with me, whether I agree with them or not. A couple of people said those in the West have the luxury of eliminating meat from their diets and supplementing it with other forms of protein, while those in developing countries don’t. Following on, either someone from the affirmative team, someone from the audience, or both, said the 1.2 billion people who populate India don’t have a problem with a meat-free diet, so it shouldn’t be that hard for Australian population to adopt.

Richardson mentioned that he’s killed animals with his bare hands before. While hunting’s not for me, personally, I don’t have a problem with it in general, so long as the animal is killed swiftly and all of its viable by-products are consumed. Someone in the audience concluded that this is just another example of how we assert our dominance over animals because they can’t defend themselves or tell us how they feel. Interestingly, a boy no older than 13 in a private school uniform took to the mic and said choosing the kind of meat we feel comfortable consuming is all well and good, but animals don’t have a choice.  (The women behind me promptly dismissed the boy’s opinion because of his private school duds. Now, I’m not a fan of private school myself, but there are a few good eggs amongst the entitled and bratty ones. I support the kid.) As far as we know, they’re sentient beings who have feelings, self-interest and self-preservation instincts. Who are we to assert our superiority over them because we don’t understand them and we like the way they taste?

Related: Time’s “What Animals Think” Issue, August 16th 2010 Review.

Apocalypse Now: 2012 Come Early?  

“Who the Bloody Hell Are We?” The Sentimental Bloke at The Wheeler Centre.

Elsewhere: [Wheeler Centre] If You Missed Our Recent Debate…

[Wheeler Centre] From Chicken to Egg: A Journey From Vegan to Ecotarian.

[MamaMia] The Truth About the Eggs You Eat.

TV: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “On My Way” Episode.

 

Well, if last night’s Glee episode wasn’t an after-school special, I don’t know what is.

The writers had the opportunity to really shock with Dave Karofsky’s suicide attempt and actually have him die, whilst also getting the oft-heard message across that gay teen suicides are rampant in our culture.

Not only that, but the epidemic of cyber bullying in general. Warbler Sebastian threatens New Directions with the online publication of a risqué photoshopped image of Finn if Rachel doesn’t drop out of regionals, and Sugar remarks, “If someone posted a picture like that of me online I’d probably kill myself.” Not only is that an example, on the one hand, of Glee’s insensitivity to a myriad of diversity issues, it also hit the nail on the head: many young people do kill themselves when incriminating pictures of them, real or not, hit the net. Tyler Clementi, anyone?

What really irked me, though, was self-righteous Quinn and how, in Bible group, she admonishes Karofsky for putting his family through something so “selfish”.

“I feel sorry for Karofsky but I feel worse for his family. He didn’t just want to hurt himself he wanted to hurt everyone around him. I went through the ringer, but I never got to that place…”

Kurt, who despite not believing in God crashes the meeting to pay tribute to Karofsky, tells Quinn that teen pregnancy and pink hair hardly qualify as going through the same ringer as gay kids. “You really want to try to compare…?” Quinn says. “I just can’t imagine things getting so messed up that you would consider taking your own life.”

While I think what Quinn says does have some truth to it, what gay kids go through during school, and in society at large, is incomparable to most of us. But everyone has their line to cross, and if we remember back to last season, it was revealed that Quinn left her first high school because she was bullied for being fat and ugly. I think we can all relate to that; even if we aren’t actually fat or ugly, we’ve all been called those things at some stage!

Apparently, Mr. Shue’s line was his dad catching him cheating on a math test, so he went up to the roof and was about to jump. I’m sorry; I know I just said everyone has their cross to bear, but I think that piece of the storyline served to diminish real problems, like Kurt and Santana’s struggle with their sexuality, and Artie’s disability, and solidify Will as the worst character on the show.

Not to worry, though: New Directions wins regionals with a medly of “It Gets Better”-esque songs, like “Fly/I Believe I Can Fly” and “Stronger”, whilst burying the hatchet with Sebastian and the Warblers, who are equally after-school specialish, singing “Stand” and “Glad You Came”. Oh, and of course they dedicated their performance to Karofsky, who Sebastian met once when he rejected him at a gay bar and the rest of the Warblers don’t even know. Makes sense!

But the real shocker of the episode came right at the very end (and you can see it coming for about 10 minutes prior): Quinn’s car gets hit by a truck. I guess that’s what you get for texting and driving and comparing your white girl problems to those of people with actual problems.

Related: The Underlying Message in Glee‘s “Original Song” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee‘s “Grilled Cheesus” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee‘s “Born This Way” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “I Kissed A Girl” Episode.

Image via While Not Making Other Plans.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

In response to the cavalier and glorifying New York Times profile on rapey photographer du jour, Terry Richardson, a model he allegedly sexually harassed, Jamie Peck, writes on the fashion industry turning a blind eye to her allegations because Richardson gives good images. [New York Times, Jezebel]

The multifaceted nature of identity. [Feminaust]

Jessica Simpson naked and pregnant on the cover of Elle is all well and good, but what does it say about non-white, -straight and -abled women who also happen to be pregnant?  [Womanist Musings]

A journey from vegetarianism to veganism to ecotarianism. This is something I’m struggling with myself at the moment, as I love the taste of (some) meat and don’t think I could ever be vegetarian or vegan, but I care about the way my animal products and byproducts are obtained. I went to a debate at the Wheeler Centre on Tuesday night on this topic, so I’ll have more to come on this for you next week. [Wheeler Centre]

You can be a feminist and still wear high heels and lipstick. [Gala Darling]

Germaine Greer and Julia Gillard’s arse. [MamaMia]

An open letter to Rihanna about Chris Brown. [Billboard]

In defence of the Spice Girls as feminists:

“We were wrong about the Spice Girls. We were wrong about whether they ‘killed feminism’ by not representing our favorite kind. We were wrong about their not having a message. We were wrong about their not being unique. We were scared that the Spice Girls would make feminism too mainstream and commercial. Well, good news: feminism is totally unpopular now, hurray!” [Rookie Mag]

Image via The Gloss.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

It’s a very MamaMia-and-Jezebel heavy edition of “On the (Rest of the) Net”, but variety is overrated.

The grey area of domestic violence: a wifebeater who left his partner blind in one eye and made her miscarry their child also saved an elderly woman from a fire in her home as a bravery award-receiving firefighter. [MamaMia]

Bob Katter is the scourge of our society. Just like Pauline Hanson! [MamaMia]

Forget sexting: it’s all about the webcam striptease now. [Jezebel]

MTV’s latest show, I Just Want My Pants Back, focuses on the lives of twenty-something hipsters in Brooklyn, where apparently abortion isn’t an option. [Jezebel]

To circumcise or not to circumcise, that is the question. [MamaMia]

Is porn star James Deen a feminist? [Jezebel]

Hating Kony is Cool.

 

You could have only missed the YouTube documentary that went viral, Kony 2012, if you were living under a rock last week. It already has 74 million views and has been online for nine days.

While it’s all well and good that a documentary about child soldiers in Africa is getting the recognition it deserves and people are starting to take action to stop this, we have to ask why. Why now? Why this cause? Why?

Because it’s cool, of course.

Some commentators have been saying that Kony has been a force for evil for 35 years, so what’s getting everyone all hot under the collar about him now? Children being used as soldiers was no less bad 35 years ago than it is today.

Jason Russell, the brainchild behind Kony: 2012, worked on the doco for close to ten years. It’s great that a young activist is using the skills at his disposal to work towards a greater good, but there are so many other charities and causes out there that deserve recognition, too.

But on April 20, we’re going to be bombarded with posters and badges and volunteers stopping us in the street for our cash and urging us to watch the video, as if by then there’d be anyone who hasn’t seen or heard about Kony: 2012 and the Invisible Children organisation that runs it questionably spending money on documentary-making, when grassroots and on-the-ground activism would have put that money to much better use.

Why? Because it’s cool.

There are thousands upon thousands of charities and awareness-making organisations out there and have been for the 35 years it’s taken Joseph Kony to gain worldwide recognition. The reason everyone’s kicking up a stink about the warlord and his 30,000 child soldiers now is because it’s cool.

As Josh Kron and David Goodman wrote in The Age about the phenomenon this past weekend, “Some have called the video a pitch-perfect appeal to the so-called slacktivism, a pejorative term for armchair activism by a younger generation, often online.”

Now, I don’t agree that just because you’re young and use the internet as the primary means of publicising a cause it’s akin to “slacktivism”. Look at SlutWalk and the Arab Spring.

But I do agree that having all your Facebook friends and people you follow and who follow you on Twitter posting the video and pledging their money for the Kony: 2012 action kit (which is now sold out. They have some great marketers on their hands.) works as a kind of peer pressure to do something about it, too. When Rihanna and Taylor Swift and Angelina Jolie (though she promotes many a charity, with less-than-Kony results) come out in support of it, it must be totes cool. Because it’s not worth supporting a charity unless it’s a cool and popular one, right? Kony: 2012 is the new Pink.

I think we should be working towards a better world actively all the time or when and where we can, not when a fad YouTube video comes along.

Related: Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Break My Slutty Stride.

Elsewhere: [The Age] The Warlord Versus the World.

[Marie Claire] The Big Business of Breast Cancer.

[Jezebel] Kony: 2012 & Invisible Children Are Funded by Anti-Gay Creationist Groups.

Image via Human Rights Now.