Book Review: Night Games by Anna Krien.

anna krien night games

Everywhere you look lately, there seems to be a promo for Anna Krien’s latest investigative tome, Night Games, and rightly so: it’s a fantastic, impeccably researched and hard-hitting look at misogyny and power in football. I might be a little biased having a vested interested in the topic and, as I told Krien when I got my copy signed at the Readings Carlton book launch last week, the rape statistics she rattled off in an excerpt reading at the event, unfortunately they’re nothing I haven’t heard before.

Having said that, though, Night Games is an absorbing read for those well versed in the misogynistic nature of “jock culture” as well as for those new to the topic. Krien makes sure not to alienate sports fans who may be wary of picking up the book:

“This book is not anti-sport. ‘”Jock culture” is a distortion of sports,’ the American author and sports journalist Robert Lipsyte once noted, warning that America was in danger of finding its values in the locker room. It’s not the game, the pleasure of the play, that’s dangerous. It’s the piss stains in the grass, the markings of men who use sport as power and the people—teammates, fans, coaches, clubs, doctors, police, journalists, groupies—who let them do whatever they want.” [p. 266]

However, “football is an abnormal society” [p. 70], and nothing reflects that more than the bulk of the book, which deals with “regrettable sex” [p. 73] or rape accusations, depending on who you ask, against AFL and NRL players; “Camel Nights”, in which players bring two women they don’t care for so “everyone gets a hump” [p. 71]; and that infamous Cronulla Sharks group-sex scandal from 2002 that came to light in a 2009 Four Corners exposé, amongst many other examples.

Speaking of Matthew Johns and Cronulla, Krien quotes an anonymous player who laments the stigma of group sex bonding sessions:

“It’s like saying you can’t be homosexual, or you can’t have such-and-such sexual preferences. How can he tell us what to do in our private lives?… We already have so many rules; we can’t drink on these days, we can’t go to these places, now we can’t have group sex. About the only thing we can do these days is go to club functions and just hang around with other players. That’s just isolating us more from the rest of the world, and it could lead to even more violent acts.” [p. 46]

While it’s easy to scoff at these privileged footballer comments, he does make a valid point. It’s kind of like the argument against restricting dangerous dog breeds: the more you isolate a pit bull, for example, the more likely it is to be aggressive to other dogs and humans when it does come into contact with them.

Oftentimes, the difference between a rape allegation and the aforementioned “regrettable sex” is treating a woman well. You know, like a human being:

“‘It’s not during the act, it’s the way you treat them after it. Most of them could have been avoided if they’d have put them in a cab and said, you know, thanks for that, sort of thing, not just kicked her out, call her a dirty whatever, that sort of thing. It’s how you treat them afterwards that can cover a lot of that sort of stuff up.” [p. 183]

But what Krien makes the reader understand is that groupie sex with a footballer is not about the woman, it’s about them:

“A footballer does not look at another human when he fucks a groupie. He’s looking at his glorified reflection—and when he performs, he’s doing it for ‘the boys’, not her.” [p. 200]

And:

“[Sam Newman] said it [the hazing of sports writer Caroline Wilson on The Footy Show] was a compliment of sorts, a sign that the Footy Show culture ‘accepted’ her. In other words, it wasn’t really about Wilson, it was about them. About a subculture of men trying to find a place—albeit a very lowly place—in their world for a woman. Considering that it’s all about the boys, they prey doesn’t even need to be present.” P. 72.

Going back to the group sex-as-bonding scenario, it makes sense that the woman/women would be used as a vessel to bring the teammates closer together. And further to the absence of a woman, we can see this in the social media shaming of the Steubenville victim, for example. The whole team—and, by extension, the town—we’re brought closer together by reliving the girl’s assault on YouTube and Twitter.

Obviously this is one of the more extreme and brutal examples of sexual assault in sport, but Night Games also talks about the “gulf of uncertainty between consent and rape” [p. 73] and the many sexual experiences that occur therein. Krien also comes across as sympathetic to the “… ongoing education about how to negotiate sexual encounters in a way which ensures informed consent is always obtained” [p. 47] amongst the codes, but there’s still a long way to go, baby. This is exemplified by an educational male-on-male rape video that is shown during a training session. Many of the players are noticeably upset, with one lamenting that “You don’t really ask for trouble if you have too much to drink and get raped by a bloke. You don’t ask for that.” I’ll just let the double standards marinate for a bit after you consider that the video shown prior to this was one of mistaken identity male-on-female rape to which the players were less than sympathetic. [p. 188–189]

The abovementioned “grey zone” that exists between the sexes “to explain what was lost in translation” [p. 259] takes the form of the rape trial of Justin Dyer (name changed), an amateur footballer accused of raping Sarah Wesley (also not her real name) the night Collingwood won the 2010 grand final rematch. Many of the reviews of Night Games seem to focus heavily on this “he said, she said”, but Krien expressed relief when facilitator of the Readings event, Sophie Cunningham, skirted that issue. While the trial beautifully bookends all the points Krien makes about the treatment of women in male team sports, it’s not the be all and end all of Night Games. Similarly, though Sarah declined to be interviewed by Krien, thus leaving “all those little erased bits, I thought, hovering around like question marks” [p. 245], I don’t think it does the book detriment. In fact, I can’t envisage how Night Games could get any better.

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Related: In Defence of Mia Freedman.

Elsewhere: [The Vine] All Dogs Go to Seven.

This review has been submitted to The Australian Women Writers Challenge as part of their 2013 Challenge.

Image via Kill Your Darlings.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

oz-great-powerful-rachel-weisz-mila-kunis

Considering Frank L. Baum was writing about Dorothy and Oz over one hundred years ago and those tales were more progressive than Oz the Great & Powerful paints a pretty bleak picture of women in Hollywood. [Film.com]

“Vale Girls Gone Wild.” [Daily Life]

Division of household labour between couples. [Jezebel]

On male vanity. [Jezebel]

Celebrity gossip as anthropological experiment: why gossiping about John Travolta’s sexual orientation, whether or not Rihanna should take back Chris Brown and Kristen Stewart’s motivations for cheating on Robert Pattinson tells us more about us as people that in does about celebrities. [YouTube]

AFL fandom: women need not apply. [Erin Riley]

Using “Abortion Humour” to destigmatise it. [Daily Life]

Is My Kitchen Rules racist? [Daily Life]

I was a Sweet Valley High ghostwriter:

“The O[xford] E[nglish] D[ictionary] says the word ‘ghostwriter’ was first used in the 1920s to mean a ‘hack’ hired to write another person’s story. OK, hack, then. So be it. But a hack-in-demand. A hack they wanted. A type-A hack, the Elizabeth Wakefield of hackdom!” [The Kenyon Review]

If you’re a woman, particularly of a minority, carrying condoms in New York City, watch out: you could be arrested for prostitution. I’d better clean out my handbag before I jet off there in October, then… [Vice]

“Anne Hathaway, Ourselves”: why Jennifer Lawrence is your cool bestie, and why you are awkward Anne. [Jezebel]

Does it really matter if you do or don’t call yourself a feminist, as long as you’re advancing feminist causes? Hmm… I still think it’s really important to call yourself a feminist if you believe in and are advancing feminist causes, because it emphasises that gender equality (hell, equality of any kind) isn’t a dirty notion. But who knows? Maybe in the future we won’t need to call ourselves feminists because everything we’re working for will just be part of daily life… [Jezebel]

The Feminine Mystique, 50 years on. [NYTimes]

Image via Ace Showbiz.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Checkmate, Pro-Choicers, the latest in anti-abortion internet trolling. Good for a hate-read, not so good for logic. Ahh, pro-lifers, you odd little things.

How your birth control pill is contributing to water pollution and why you should pay for it. [Jezebel]

On plus-sized men, nude photos and male body image. [Jezebel]

The makeover as a patriarchal tool of oppression. [New Inquiry]

Stella Young on Daily Life’s feminist faux-pas embarrassing-crush countdown. [ABC Ramp Up]

Cutting off your misogynistic nose to spite your racist face: Clementine Ford discusses the two issues as they relate to the AFL. [Daily Life]

“Should Parents Be Allowed to Kill People Who Sexually Molest Their Kids?” Um, sure! While we’re at it, let’s kill that guy who cut us off at the intersection, and that woman who pushed in front of us in the lunch line. The article goes:

“Molesting any child is reprehensible, but taking advantage of a 4-year-old who has no awareness of what’s going on and no ability to fight back seems particularly deranged.”

I don’t disagree, but murder is a bit rich. Read the issue discussed further at Jezebel. [TIME]

Hey Christian Girl, for all your Ryan Gosling and associated conventionally-attractive-to-straight-women meme needs, with a religious edge.

What’s the male equivalent to Vagisil? Dick Douche? Dick Dip? Bacon flavoured Penisil? [psiakisterri, via MamaMia]

James Franco’s overly wordy take on Snow White & the Huntsman. [HuffPo]

Check out this mansplanation of what feminism’s really about. [Feminaust]

On the (Rest of the) Net: Catch-Up Edition.

Raising awareness about breast checks, one superheroine at a time. [io9]

Ladies of the year: Taylor Swift VS. Lady Gaga. Who do you choose? [Girl with a Satchel]

Why women fear the “n” word in relationships: “needy”. [Jezebel]

“The Turned-On Woman’s Manifesto.” Amen! [Turned-On Woman’s Movement]

How to talk to women, for men. [MamaMia]

Gah! Anti-vaccination extremists. Why are people like this allowed to promote views like that? Oh right, that pesky little thing called “freedom of speech”… [MamaMia]

Are you a woman and do you love your body, damned what conventional norms say you should be feeling about it in an effort to appease other women? Then sing it, sister! [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Wow. Mia Freedman offers some throwaway fashion advice to her 5-year-old daughter; shitstorm ensues. I think it’s a bit of an overreaction, but each to their own. [MamaMia, Fat Heffalump]

Male body objectification: in comparison to female body objectification, is it even a thing worth worrying about? [Lip Magazine]

Atheism = nihilism? [New York Times]

The latest trend in protesting: the Muff March. [MamaMia]

While we’re on the topic, is pubic hair making a comeback? NSFW [Jezebel]

Stop that booze-related victim-blaming. [Jezebel, via Feministe]

Who has late-term abortions? [Jezebel]

Hmm, Lego for girls? I’m not such a fan. What was wrong with the original, male-centric version, apart from the absence of female characters? We all know kids are imaginative enough to make toys whatever they want them to be. [MamaMia]

On beauty, failure and “this is the best I can do”. [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

The pros and cons of anal sex. [Jezebel]

Are princesses really that bad, Naomi Wolf asks. [New York Times]

The Good Men Project for boys. [Jezebel]

It’s been just over a year since the St. Kilda Schoolgirl released those photos, and I’ve only just gotten around to reading this article by Anna Krien from The Monthly’s April 2011 issue on sex and the treatment of women in the AFL. Let me say, it was well worth the wait.

Even if you’re not espousing misogynist bile to women (on the internet or IRL), not standing up to it is just as bad, says Mark Sorrell. [Beware of the Sorrell]

Alyx Gorman defends Miranda Kerr, asserting that there probably is more than meets the eye, but she just “won’t let us see it”:

“Even more problematic than its existence in the first place is the fact that Kerr’s construct is damaging to women and girls. By looking and speaking the way she does (when she has other options in terms of presentation), Kerr is intrinsically linking sensuality with stupidity. She is demonstrating that being ditzy and appearance-obsessed (albeit under the guise of being healthy) is what it takes to be one of the most desirable women in the world. By refusing to express a well reasoned opinion on anything of note, and then pushing the point of self esteem, she is sending a message that the source of girl-power, of pride in one’s womanhood, must always be grounded not in who you are, but how you look. Kerr has crafted an image that is the ultimate expression of the immanence de Beauvoir railed against, and she has done so (I suspect) knowingly.

“Instead of being brave enough to show what a beautiful, clever girl looks like, to delve into the nuances of what it means to be a wife, woman, mother and object of desire, Kerr plays to our worst stereotypes of femininity, giving an organic-almond-milk 21st century update to the image of the perfect  50s housewife.” [The Vine]

The Breaking Dawn Bechdel test. [Lip Magazine]

What’s the difference between a rapist and a men’s mag? Hmm, you tell me. [Jezebel]

On being a recluse. [MamaMia]

The allure of the May-December romance… for the December, not so much the May. [The Good Men Project]

Image via io9.

12 Posts of Christmas: In Defence of Mia Freedman.

In the spirit Christmas, I’ve decided to revisit some of my favourite posts of the year in the twelve days leading up to December 25th. 

You might remember back in July when Cadel Evans won the Tour de France, Mia Freedman said on the Today show that sportspeople aren’t heroes, and a shitstorm ensued. You can read the original post here.

Mia Freedman’s copped it pretty hard in the media the last couple of weeks, ever since her comments about Cadel Evans and sports stars being held up as heroes.

It’s no secret that Freedman is my idol, so I will go to bat for her til the cows come home. She’s the reason I became a writer. She’s the reason I did work experience at Cosmo. I share a lot of her views. Whether it’s just a happy coincidence, or I’ve shaped my views around hers (I started reading Cosmo at 15, a very impressionable age, so it’s more than likely the latter), I don’t know.

I’ve written about my love for Freedman, followed closely by formerGirlfriend and Cleo editor, and current Sunday Life editor, Sarah Oakes, numerous times, and how the incestuous nature of the magazine world ensures a similar writing and editing style from those who work together. Take Freedman and Zoë Foster, for example. Or Oakes and Girl with a Satchel’s Erica Bartle and Musings of an Inappropriate Woman’s Rachel Hills.

Speaking of Sunday Life, Freedman’s column last weekend solidified why she’s a woman after my own heart.

She wrote about spending time with her family, and how planning big events are always a disaster and it’s the little, “mundane moments” that are memorable.

But back to the issue at hand: sportspeople as heroes.

I agree wholeheartedly that sportsmen and women aren’t heroes. (I threw up in my mouth a little bit when Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson stood for the national anthem after Evans won the Tour de France.) Yay, they can “swim fast”, “kick a ball with accuracy”, “run quickly” and “jump over high things”. But how does this make them heroes? It makes them superficial “heroes” or emblems of sporting events in which they did good, but not actual heroes. We can leave that title to soldiers, doctors, activists, social workers, firefighters and others who face death and social injustice to save lives and make the world a better place.

As Freedman reiterates:

“I roll my eyes every time another Australian of the Year is named and it’s a sportsperson. I cringe at the CONSTANT sycophancy and praise heaped on sportspeople and the way they are forever lauded as heroes… How does being highly physically capable make you a hero?”

I read somewhere that it is highly likely Evans will be named 2011’s Australian of the Year, so start warming up those eye sockets, Mia!

I brought this notion up with a coworker last week, who said doctors aren’t heroes just because they’re saving lives. But what about Doctors Without Borders, or doctors and nurses with the armed forces? “Well, that’s different,” he said. Why? Because they’re facing their own death whilst trying to prevent someone else’s? But sportspeople aren’t facing death (okay, sometimes they are), and their payoff is purely selfish.

Said coworker mentioned some AFL “hero” who, back in the ’70s (I think; don’t quote me on this), finished the grand final with a torn ligament and brought the premiership home. Some might call it heroism; others stupidity.

And I think the sportsperson=hero dichotomy is abhorrent, considering the extracurricular allegations levelled at some of them. Is Nick D’Arcy a hero for punching some guy and leaving him with irreparable facial damage? Are the Collingwood FC guys heroes for winning last year’s premiership, with some of them subsequently going on to allegedly sexually assault one or some groupies? How about the world class douchebag Brendan Fevola? Or Tiger Woods? O.J. Simpson? Hardly heroes.

Perhaps we should be looking to sportspeople like Glenn McGrath, who works tirelessly for his late wife’s breast cancer foundation. Or the Essendon FC, who work with schools to improve literacy. While not exactly heroes per se, at least they’re doing something other than hitting and kicking balls.

Freedman writes in a related piece:

“Sporting stars may have great physical skills but that’s all. They’re no smarter or better or nicer or more well intentioned than the average Australian. In fact, I would argue that generally (and of course this is a generalisation), they are less informed, less aware and less street smart than the average bear.

“This is because to become a great athlete, you have to spend many years from the time you are very young, refining your skills. That’s years swimming up and down a pool. Years running around a track. Years kicking a ball or hitting it with a bat.

“Years…

“I’m happy for anyone who CHOOSES to spend years of their life dedicated to their sport. Go for it. But let’s not pretend it’s a selfless or noble pursuit.

“Professional athletes do it for many reasons. Sponsorship dollars. Personal satisfaction. A desire to represent their country or be the best at swimming or kicking or hitting or whatever it is they’re good at.”

Without humiliating anyone, I find the “less informed, less aware and less street smart” contention is particularly true of one of my physically gifted friends.

While he has a Masters and is one of the most book-smart people I know, he admitted to me that until he was in his late teens, he was completely sheltered by his parents. So much so that he didn’t buy his first CD until around this age. Up to that point, he listened to whatever his parents wanted to listen to, because it was pretty much school, practice, competitions, and the only musical exposure he got was in the car on the way to said school, practice, competitions.

Now the kind of sports he plays aren’t exactly your true blue AFL or cricket (in fact, they’re so obscure I won’t mention them here at the risk of giving him away!), so he’s in another boat altogether: his sports would be, and have been, ridiculed by both your Aussie bogan and your highbrow cultured Australian.

Now, from what I’ve read, Cadel Evans is involved in other noble pursuits, like charity. Unfortunately, I think Freedman’s point was sullied by using Evans to bring it up on national television. Perhaps if she were talking about Stephanie Rice or Ben Cousins her contention would have been more well received. But that’s the risk you run when you voice an opinion that’s not of the norm.

And that’s why I love her. Sure, she got crapped on by most of Australia for making a valid point. But she was able to return to voicing her opinion on Today the same time the following week, joking about going into witness protection, but getting a haircut instead. She was able to find the humour in the situation, and see where she might have been wrong.

For the record, I don’t think she was wrong.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] In Defence of Mia Freedman.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Everything They Touch Turns to Gold.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Mama Mia: A Memoir of Mistakes, Magazines & Motherhood By Mia Freedman Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Mia Culpa: Confessions from the Watercooler of Life by Mia Freedman Review.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Cadel Evans: Is He a Hero?

[MamaMia] Cadel: Here’s What I Learned.

[MamaMia] Is Being Australian Really So Much About Gold Medals?

[MamaMia] Stephanie Rice. Enough With the Hero Worship.

[MamaMia] When Family Time is a Nightmare.

In the News: In Defence of Mia Freedman.

Mia Freedman’s copped it pretty hard in the media the last couple of weeks, ever since her comments about Cadel Evans and sports stars being held up as heroes.

It’s no secret that Freedman is my idol, so I will go to bat for her til the cows come home. She’s the reason I became a writer. She’s the reason I did work experience at Cosmo. I share a lot of her views. Whether it’s just a happy coincidence, or I’ve shaped my views around hers (I started reading Cosmo at 15, a very impressionable age, so it’s more than likely the latter), I don’t know.

I’ve written about my love for Freedman, followed closely by former Girlfriend and Cleo editor, and current Sunday Life editor, Sarah Oakes, numerous times, and how the incestuous nature of the magazine world ensures a similar writing and editing style from those who work together. Take Freedman and Zoë Foster, for example. Or Oakes and Girl with a Satchel’s Erica Bartle and Musings of an Inappropriate Woman’s Rachel Hills.

Speaking of Sunday Life, Freedman’s column last weekend solidified why she’s a woman after my own heart.

She wrote about spending time with her family, and how planning big events are always a disaster and it’s the little, “mundane moments” that are memorable.

But back to the issue at hand: sportspeople as heroes.

I agree wholeheartedly that sportsmen and women aren’t heroes. (I threw up in my mouth a little bit when Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson stood for the national anthem after Evans won the Tour de France.) Yay, they can “swim fast”, “kick a ball with accuracy”, “run quickly” and “jump over high things”. But how does this make them heroes? It makes them superficial “heroes” or emblems of sporting events in which they did good, but not actual heroes. We can leave that title to soldiers, doctors, activists, social workers, firefighters and others who face death and social injustice to save lives and make the world a better place.

As Freedman reiterates:

“I roll my eyes every time another Australian of the Year is named and it’s a sportsperson. I cringe at the CONSTANT sycophancy and praise heaped on sportspeople and the way they are forever lauded as heroes… How does being highly physically capable make you a hero?”

I read somewhere that it is highly likely Evans will be named 2011’s Australian of the Year, so start warming up those eye sockets, Mia!

I brought this notion up with a coworker last week, who said doctors aren’t heroes just because they’re saving lives. But what about Doctors Without Borders, or doctors and nurses with the armed forces? “Well, that’s different,” he said. Why? Because they’re facing their own death whilst trying to prevent someone else’s? But sportspeople aren’t facing death (okay, sometimes they are), and their payoff is purely selfish.

Said coworker mentioned some AFL “hero” who, back in the ’70s (I think; don’t quote me on this), finished the grand final with a torn ligament and brought the premiership home. Some might call it heroism; others stupidity.

And I think the sportsperson=hero dichotomy is abhorrent, considering the extracurricular allegations levelled at some of them. Is Nick D’Arcy a hero for punching some guy and leaving him with irreparable facial damage? Are the Collingwood FC guys heroes for winning last year’s premiership, with some of them subsequently going on to allegedly sexually assault one or some groupies? How about the world class douchebag Brendan Fevola? Or Tiger Woods? O.J. Simpson? Hardly heroes.

Perhaps we should be looking to sportspeople like Glenn McGrath, who works tirelessly for his late wife’s breast cancer foundation. Or the Essendon FC, who work with schools to improve literacy. While not exactly heroes per se, at least they’re doing something other than hitting and kicking balls.

Freedman writes in a related piece:

“Sporting stars may have great physical skills but that’s all. They’re no smarter or better or nicer or more well intentioned than the average Australian. In fact, I would argue that generally (and of course this is a generalisation), they are less informed, less aware and less street smart than the average bear.

“This is because to become a great athlete, you have to spend many years from the time you are very young, refining your skills. That’s years swimming up and down a pool. Years running around a track. Years kicking a ball or hitting it with a bat.

“Years…

“I’m happy for anyone who CHOOSES to spend years of their life dedicated to their sport. Go for it. But let’s not pretend it’s a selfless or noble pursuit.

“Professional athletes do it for many reasons. Sponsorship dollars. Personal satisfaction. A desire to represent their country or be the best at swimming or kicking or hitting or whatever it is they’re good at.”

Without humiliating anyone, I find the “less informed, less aware and less street smart” contention is particularly true of one of my physically gifted friends.

While he has a Masters and is one of the most book-smart people I know, he admitted to me that until he was in his late teens, he was completely sheltered by his parents. So much so that he didn’t buy his first CD until around this age. Up to that point, he listened to whatever his parents wanted to listen to, because it was pretty much school, practice, competitions, and the only musical exposure he got was in the car on the way to said school, practice, competitions.

Now the kind of sports he plays aren’t exactly your true blue AFL or cricket (in fact, they’re so obscure I won’t mention them here at the risk of giving him away!), so he’s in another boat altogether: his sports would be, and have been, ridiculed by both your Aussie bogan and your highbrow cultured Australian.

Now, from what I’ve read, Cadel Evans is involved in other noble pursuits, like charity. Unfortunately, I think Freedman’s point was sullied by using Evans to bring it up on national television. Perhaps if she were talking about Stephanie Rice or Ben Cousins her contention would have been more well received. But that’s the risk you run when you voice an opinion that’s not of the norm.

And that’s why I love her. Sure, she got crapped on by most of Australia for making a valid point. But she was able to return to voicing her opinion on Today the same time the following week, joking about going into witness protection, but getting a haircut instead. She was able to find the humour in the situation, and see where she might have been wrong.

For the record, I don’t think she was wrong.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Everything They Touch Turns to Gold.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Mama Mia: A Memoir of Mistakes, Magazines & Motherhood By Mia Freedman Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Mia Culpa: Confessions from the Watercooler of Life by Mia Freedman Review.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Cadel Evans: Is He a Hero?

[MamaMia] Cadel: Here’s What I Learned.

[MamaMia] Is Being Australian Really So Much About Gold Medals?

[MamaMia] Stephanie Rice. Enough With the Hero Worship.

[MamaMia] When Family Time is a Nightmare.

Image via ArtsHub.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

The disturbing, tragic life of Hustler’s Larry Flynt.

Dubai isn’t the pink-buildinged, “Middle-Eastern Shangri-La” of materialistic Sex & the City movies it’s made out to be.

“All Work, (Almost) No Pay” for the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders. Fascinating stuff.

The cult of Oprah.

The case for women to serve in combat roles in the armed forces.

Hypocrisy and “male narcissism” in “political sex scandals”.

Got a problem with SlutWalk? Finally, some solutions to make it better.

Also, for all you anti-SlutWalkers out there, This is What Slut-Shaming Looks Like”:

“1. Was I suppose to just take it in stride that random pervs found out where my little sister went to high school and speculated about whether she, too, would become a ‘whore’? An anonymous asshole emailed her last fall asking her that. Don’t tell me that’s normal criticism.

“2. What about the manufactured ‘scandal’ that Internet vigilantes began in hopes of getting my boyfriend kicked out of his Ph.D program? They decided to email the entire sociology faculty list. I was a junior at the time in the same department. Do you have any idea how incredibly difficult it is to force yourself to graduate when your professors have all read about how you’re supposedly being ‘raped’ on a regular basis? That is not criticism.

“3. Is trying to get me fired also normal? In 2009, when I was working for an education non-profit during my time off from Harvard, someone wrote a fake article about how my employer was so embarrassed to have hired a ‘porn blogger’. There were made-up quotes from ‘company reps’. They disseminated it online, not realizing that I actually told my boss about my blog during my initial interview. (He emailed me the article and totally had my back. It was one of the most touching things I’ve ever experienced from an employer, no joke.)”

I originally blew off Roseanne Barr’s New York Magazine take on sexism in Hollywood. But I read it this week and couldn’t recommend it enough. Great writing.

The Smurfette principle:

“Little girls learn to split their consciousness, filtering their dreams and ambitions through boy characters while admiring the clothes of the princess. The more privileged and daring can dream of becoming exceptional women in a man’s world—Smurfettes. The others are being taught to accept the more usual fate, which is to be a passenger car drawn through life by a masculine train engine. Boys, who are rarely confronted with stories in which males play only minor roles, learn a simpler lesson: girls just don’t matter much.”

This article on the sexual misconduct of AFL players from 2008 is just as pertinent today.

“In Defence of Prudes.”

“Women are pieces of art, men aren’t”?

What is the average Australian’s yearly income?

Sarah Ayoub-Christie writes her final post for Wordsmith Lane.

Why Psychology Today hates women.

How the celeb sex tape ruined America (NSFW).

ADFA Sex Scandal—Just a Few Bad Eggs?

Here are some particularly poignant quotes from Insight’s look at the sex scandal that rocked the Australian Defence Force Academy, and their treatment of women:

“… We are recruiting from a society that may put great emphasis on masculinity, blokey behaviour, these young men coming into ADFA, their heroes are  footballers who are getting slaps over the wrists for sexual misbehaviour and alcohol. You have to realise that we are bringing those sorts of people in…”

This is very true of Australian “blokey” culture, but is it similar inside the defence force?:

 “The cases that we have been looking at are very sad and certainly not accepted in defence but they are in a minority and it is disappointing that I think the culture is not the negative culture that we are trying to portray in some of these stories. As bad as they are it’s a strong culture based on values and values based leadership. Yes, there are some bad eggs out there and bad incidents. But that’s not the culture of defence. The defence culture is a positive one based on really strong values.”

Is it really about just a few “bad eggs” amongst a lot of standup officers (as the below anecdote will illustrate) that happen to get their stories of “misbehaviour” in the news? Is “defence culture” a reflection of Aussie society that, indeed, slaps footballers on the wrist for major indiscretions and blames the victim? Or are “these attitudes… coming from within defence”, and somehow perpetuating the above cultural perceptions? Really, how can we trust the ADFA to act within the best interests of Australia and to keep us safe when they can’t even act within the best interests of their female cadets; to keep them safe?

“I had a private soldier come to me who said, ‘Sir, I’m really upset. The sergeant has given me some papers and I’m to be discharged and I don’t know anything about this.’ I asked him to sit down and tell me his story. He was being discharged because his fitness had decreased and reason his fitness had decreased was because he was upset because he had just lost his twins, his twin babies. Both his twins had just died. Of course he was beside himself with grief and wasn’t exercising and wasn’t able to pass his fitness assessment.

“So I said to the sergeant, ‘Leave this with me.’ I went off home, the sergeant had gone into my office and taken the papers out, gone back to the private and told him he was being discharged and that this was what defence was doing with him because he couldn’t pass his fitness assessment. I took that sort of complaint to my Commanding Officer and I was referred for psychological assessment. When I complained about that I was charged with insubordination, when I complained about being charged with insubordination for following the redress of grievance system I was threatened with court martial, a full on court martial for writing letters to people complaining about their behaviour.”

Related: Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

Elsewhere: [SBS] Under Fire: SBS Insight Transcript.

Images via SBS, The Daily Telegraph.

The Difference Between Lindsay Lohan, Ricky Nixon & Charlie Sheen.

 

In the past week, Lindsay Lohan began her community service in a see-through singlet with no bra, Ricky Nixon lost it on Today Tonight, and Charlie Sheen announced he’s bringing his Violent Torpedo of Truth tour down under. God save us all.

Lohan seems to get the shortest end of the stick out of these three, yet they’re all scars on the face of humanity by most peoples’ reasoning. Why is that?

Is it because she’s the youngest? If that’s the case we should be cutting her more slack as her brain hasn’t finished developing yet. Is it because she’s a member of young Hollywood, and has had everything handed to her? Sheen was also a member of the young Hollywood brat pack in his early days, too. And Nixon was a footballer himself before going on to be an agent, and we all know how footballers are held up to a different microscope than the rest of humanity.

The only common denominator that separates Nixon and Sheen from Lohan is that Lohan happens to be female.

I’ve written a bit about this before, and there’s also some more material on this topic over at MamaMia that’s well worth a look (see below), but there’s no denying that gender is the most likely reason for society’s vilification of Lindsay for being a party girl who’s been to rehab and jail five times each, while Nixon had an alleged sexual relationship with an underage girl who tried to ruin several of his clients’ careers, and Sheen is a well-known misogynist who beats and shoots women.

The reason I object to this blatant favouritism is that Lohan is only hurting herself. At the end of the day, if she can’t drag herself out of the depths of the addiction, rehab and prison cycle, then she’s only got herself to blame. It only affects her.

Nixon has screwed over his clients, who are a bunch of bad eggs themselves. Not to mention (arguably) preyed on an underage girl, who is as much to blame for this whole thing as Nixon. But, might I mention, Nixon is a GROWN MAN, not a 17-year-old child who was, in her eyes, used and abused by the AFL and wanted revenge.

But Sheen is the crown jewel in this group of hot messes: he’s a drug addict and seemingly mentally ill, which are understandable and treatable conditions in and of themselves. But it’s not just them. He also beats women, whether they be his significant other or no. He’s a fan of prostitutes, and child porn, it is alleged. He trashes hotel rooms. He has four young children to think about. His behaviour is most definitely affecting multiple others, yet he’s rewarded for it with a world fucking tour!

Those are the differences between Lindsay Lohan, Ricky Nixon and Charlie Sheen.

Related: Lindsay Lohan & Double Standards.

Good-Time Girls.

Poor Little Rich Girl: Lindsay Lohan in Who.

Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

Minus Two & a Half Men.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Charlie Sheen’s Witness.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] St. Kilda Schoolgirl: One Journalist’s Dilemma.

[MamaMia] AFL Sex Scandal on 60 Minutes.

[MamaMia] AFL Train Wreck: Is the 17-year-old Girl A Product of Modern Media?

[MamaMia] Is St. Kilda Player Nick Riewoldt the New Lara Bingle?

Images via WWTDD, TNT Magazine, Herald Sun.

Magazines: Independent Zine Zinm Preview.

 

Last week I was lucky enough to be featured in a friend of a friend’s Melbourne-based zine, Zinm by Marc Bonnici.

Our mutual friend Anthony had been urging me to check out his self-titled blog for the better part of a year, until I happened upon last month’s copy of Zinm that he’d brought to a get-together.

I was instantly drawn in as I briefly flicked through the pages, a picture from Mean Girls staying most clearly in my mind. (“Burn Book” is a regular feature of Zinm.)

Try as I might, I was never able to get my mitts on a copy of last month’s edition, but better still, I was able to be featured in this month.

As Australia Day rolls around again, guest contributors Anita Calavetta, Marc Bergmann, Dodie Smith, and Muriel Barbery, as well as Marc himself, muse about what Australia means to us. Yours truly continues on her plight to get the safety net for footballers behaving badly removed, as I feel that is a strong part of Aussie culture.

Unfortunately there are not any copies of the latest edition available, as there is a limited print run. But the title has doubled in demand since its inception three issues ago. If you are interested in bagging a copy, I suggest you check out Marc’s blog and drop him a line.

Us independent writers have got to stick together.

Related: Beauty & the Bestiality.

Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do? Host a Seven Family Show.

Elsewhere: [Marc Bonnici] Homepage.