“Cultural Talking Points”—How Does Jackie O’s “Bad Parenting” Relate to Hunting?

 

From “Jackie O, Michael Clarke & the Pillorying of Pretty People” by Erica Bartle on Girl with a Satchel:

“[Michael] Clarke and Jackie O are, whether they like it or not, cultural talking points, as much as gossip ones. Such stories, particularly with glamorous figureheads, can create a healthy discourse at the intersection where the private and public spheres collide…

“The Jackie O story, while no doubt horrifying for O herself, gives us an opportunity to talk about women’s issues: how career women are managing their family lives (or not), employer progressiveness (or lack thereof) with maternity and paternity leave (particularly in male-centric media organisations), the pressure to maintain ‘superwoman’ standards of living, grooming and working even after a baby is introduced into one’s life and the value placed on motherhood…

“To me, both Clarke and Jackie O are culturally symptomatic, rather than the cause. It is very important that we are able to critique the culture—to challenge the status quo—which is a media construct perpetuated repeatedly until it is the norm, while not laying blame on the individual for their behaviours…

I bet Andrew Frank, who wrote yesterday of his disgust at how the Wheeler Centre panel handled his hunting question at “The Sentimental Bloke” discussion, would agree with this statement, particularly the last part in bold. Perhaps panelist Dr. Anne Summers should give it a read…?

I personally don’t agree with hunting but, like panelist Craig Reucassel said the other night, as a meat eater my stance is slightly hypocritical.

And I can certainly see where Andrew is coming from; killing your own food diminishes the carbon footprint of meat production on the environment. As long as the kill is swift and made by a skilled hunter, like Andrew, perhaps hunting isn’t so bad…

But as the meaning I derived from Bartle’s statements asserts, don’t hate the player, hate the game. A viewpoint the sentimental blokes—and Summers—could do well to take up.

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

Elsewhere: [Girl with a Satchel] Jackie O, Michael Clarke & the Pillorying of Pretty People.

Image via Girl with a Satchel.

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

I was so looking forward to “So Who the Bloody Hell Are We?: The Sentimental Bloke”, held on Monday night at the Wheeler Centre, which I attended with my staunchly feminist friend Laura (who has written for The Scarlett Woman here, and whom I’ve written abouthere) and staunchly MRA friend Andrew (who has also guest posted here and here).

I was rudely disappointed.

I expected the panel to delve into the masculinity crisis facing Australian men today by addressing such issues as rape culture in sport, domestic violence, metrosexuality and parenting. Well, three out of four ain’t bad.

I’m not the only one who felt that way, as Andrew Frank writes:

“I’ve got two words for you: Sarah Palin”—Dr. Anne Summers, AO.

I didn’t get it. Based on the participation rates of the laughter that followed, I don’t think half the audience did either.

Using a right wing American female politician to attempt to illustrate that there are no gender issues related to  men that hunt in contemporary Australia, only cultural ones, is using a form of logic that I can’t understand. But then again, she claims to be a feminist.

The setting was The Wheeler Centre, and the discussion loosely titled, “So Who the Bloody Hell Are We?: The Sentimental Bloke”. The presenter: Michael Cathcart. The panel was comprised of Craig Reucassel, founding editor of The Chaser newspaper and ABC television personality, Craig Sherborne, memoirist, poet and playwright, and Dr. Anne Summers AO, “best-selling author, journalist, and thought leader”. About that last one: I am worried.

Initially, the discussion promised to focus upon being a man, as individuals and as an ideal, in contemporary Australian society. This would include several aspects of particular relevance, such as parenting, the workplace, and various social settings. It would also examine the evolution of the ideals of masculinity, over the 20th century to the present. I was sadly disappointed.

After being egged on by Scarlett and Laura to “man up” [Scarlett Woman note: I say that sarcastically; I strongly disagree with “man-up” as motivation to be courageous.], I decided to ask the question that plagued me from the start, and gets under my skin from time to time. My question went something like this:

“I am a very passionate hunter. I do it because I love it, not because I need to feel manlier. This is something for which I am socially criticized, in a manner that suggests I use it as a method of compensation for feelings of being emasculated. Do any of you perceive any distinction between the social pressures placed on men of decades past to be the stiff-upper-lipped, emotionally suppressed and distant figure, and the social pressures contemporary Australian men are subject to in terms of being ‘metrosexual’ or the ‘Sensitive New Age Guy’?”

I missed Sherborne’s reaction, but Reucassel mocked hunting as an activity for the royal family {unbeknownst to him, I also fence!). Dr Anne Summers, screwed up her face and said, “Between being a SNAG and hunting?” in as condescending a tone as you can imagine.

It was asked that the microphone be returned to me. Reucassel asked me how I started hunting. I replied that it came to me through my Dad, and my Dad’s Dad. I then turned my attention to Summers again and stated that the hunting’s relevance here rested in the fact that according to my friends, hunting and masculinity were, for the distant father figure, and are, now, according to my friends, inextricably intertwined. It is the quintessential example of men today not conforming to the metrosexual, SNAG criteria.

Reucassel then said that the idea of hunting abhors him; that It is definitely an antiquated recreation, but it takes bravery to pursue in light of contemporary attitudes and if I want to, then more power to me. I respect his viewpoint. I would never force someone to hunt who didn’t want to, and he reflects my right to be autonomous in deciding where I get my food. But he missed the vital issue: is there a difference between my social pressure not to hunt and the social pressure on men from decades past to be emotionally restrained?

Insert Summers’ initial right-winged impression here, to which I didn’t get another chance to respond.

Sarah Palin hunts. I think Summers was trying to say that dealing with the bad rap that being a hunter carries is not specifically a male problem. And in that single fact, she is correct. So therefore, the issue faced here by hunters is not gendered, but cultural. However, to go so far as to imply that because Palin hunts, the social criticism of male Australian hunters—or indeed other men who engage in traditionally masculine recreational activities—does not warrant discussion is a fallacy. I believe that is what she intended to say. And soon after it became apparent from the comments of Cathcart and Sherborne that they believed she had jumped on the “cultural, not gendered” tack as well. However, because I did not warrant a detailed response, evidenced in hindsight by her curt reply and insulting tone, we cannot be sure. Perhaps she meant to say that Palin is an idiot, and therefore, all hunters are. But I shall continue through with the interpretation that Laura helped me conclude.

If we accept the premise of Summers, any criticism of my masculinity with hunting as evidence is blatantly flawed. Speaking regarding men in contemporary society, Summers has decided that the social reality is… wrong? Because a number of women engage in hunting, including the prominent Palin, they must be subject to exactly the same social criticisms that the men who engage in this statistically dominated male activity, right? If we accept this, Summers did not respond to me, as she intended. She responded to those that undermine the masculinity of Australian male hunters. Undermining my “masculinity in the metrosexual sense” because I hunt is wrong because women hunt, too. Unfortunately for her, your average person that rips on a hunter seems unaware of the tradition that hunting is a male thing. By the way: I hate that tradition. I really, really do.

On that count, any person seeking a discourse regarding being a man in contemporary Australia rather than trying to fulfill a feminist agenda would disagree. It’s like saying because both men and women are in the police force they obviously have precisely the same experience—I would have loved to get her started on that one pertaining to rape cases. If the topic for the evening had been, “The Sentimental Bloke and the Empowered Woman: Being a Man, Or a Woman, in Contemporary Society”, then perhaps it would have been a valid vein of thought. But could anyone really think that her premise was not flimsy and tenuous? She, too, missed the point: attempting to discern the differences and similarities of social pressure on males not to hunt and the social pressure on men from decades past to be emotionally restrained.

Discussion that followed pigeonholed me into the “shooter” stereotype as if I wasn’t even there. I won’t forget for a long time the sneer in her voice: “He’s a shooter”. I despise hoons that are hunters according to external perception, blazing through the bush with a beer in one hand and a gun in the other. Summers was perfectly willing to condemn me using a stereotype to which I do not conform. This after using a prominent female American politician, a single example, to attempt to nullify two gendered stereotypes and the resulting social pressures of two different eras that I wished to contrast. Yeah, that woman totally understood the topic for the evening. She is sooo smart! And yes, I’m bitter I didn’t get to verbally tear her to shreds.

The presenter, in my opinion, then made an awful mistake. Cathcart asked the panel, “Have any of you killed a mammal, and eaten it?” I think this was asked with the goal of illustrating the cultural differences between the contemporary and past societies in which hunters and men have existed. This wandered further still from the vital issue, as whether or not someone has killed an animal they have eaten and whether or not hunting is ethical does not address the relevant gendered issues. Reucassel said no, and then admitted to being a meat eater which, he realised, weakened his argument. Sherborne said yes, and told stories of how he grew up on a farm. Summers said no, and her admission to being a meat eater was accompanied with a bowed head.

In order to further display her tight grasp on the issues that were, but should not have been at hand, I remember Sherborne raising the following issue, when asked if he himself has ever hunted:

Sherborne: “Is fishing hunting?”

Summers: “No.”

Cathcart: “Why not?”

Summers: “I don’t know”

Cathcart ended that portion of the discussion with, “Well, I don’t know if we answered your question, but they certainly had fun ridiculing you”.

Subsequent audience questions referred to mine. They tried again to get at my “underlying question.” As far as I could tell, no such luck. My spirits were buoyed somewhat as I exited the room, as I heard the word hunting on the lips of four or five people, was complimented by a few others, and heard several chide the panel’s incorrect interpretation and inadequate response to my questioning. Walking down the street five minutes later I fortuitously heard an elderly couple discussing the exact same issue, and they could not have approved of my thoughts more.

Perhaps my motivation to have written all this down rests in the fact that I wanted answers—validation—and I didn’t get any. I am a hunter. I am also a kind, caring and sensitive man, who fully acknowledges the depths of his emotion wherever possible. I even have passing interests in skin care from time to time. The people on the stage were supposed to confirm my belief that pressures on me to be the latter (SNAG) are directly related to pressures not to be the former (strong, silent and conventionally “masculine”), and that the same situation with different polarities existed for men decades ago. Or, they were supposed to admonish this point of view, and provide me with enlightenment such that I could embrace my modern masculinity as the sensitive young man and the hunter with no sense of conflict.

But they didn’t. Aspects of life difficult for the contemporary sentimental bloke didn’t exist for every sentimental bloke. Consequently they were considered circumstantial and did not warrant discussion. Or difficulties that didn’t apply only for men, as women suffered similarly, meant that they did not warrant discussion. Or difficulties founded in culture were dealt with in a manner that suggested their gendered implications were irrelevant. Honestly, the only issue duly treated, was the evolution of male parents who now change nappies and push prams, juxtaposed against past male parents who would only pace outside the birthing room then work to support the child, occasionally throwing in a life lesson. Everything else was glossed over in a cursory fashion, played way, way down, or even straight out denied, suggesting that none of the panel members were prepared to really get their hands dirty and discuss issues that contemporary Australian men deal with in defining who and what we are. After all, even though the title of the event was “So Who the Bloody Hell Are We?: The Sentimental Bloke” it just wouldn’t be fair to deal with the impact issues have on men when they also effect women, would it?

Related: How to Make a Woman Fall in Love with You, Glee Style.

Double Standards.

On Stripping.

Unfinished Business at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Images via The Wheeler Centre, Indie Posted.

TV: How to Make a Woman Fall in Love With You, Glee Style.

 

Last night’s Glee episode dealt with Sam trying to win Quinn back by channeling Justin Bieber. “Who’s more rock ’n’ roll than Bieber?” he asked.

Well if appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone with accompanying comments about abortion and rape makes you “rock ’n’ roll”, then so be it!

There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding said comments, no doubt, with most of the blame placed on Bieber. Sure, he’s a 17-year-old (that’s right, Beliebers, it’s his birthday today! ZOMG!) male who will never know what it is to be a woman faced with an unwanted pregnancy and the question of whether to abort it. Not to mention the fact that he leads an incredibly sheltered life removed from the reality of everyday folk like you and me. But, seriously, what was the interviewer thinking when she asked Bieber those questions? They’re relevant how?

I feel a bit sorry for him, to be honest. He’s being ripped to shreds for these comments, when really, all he had to say was “no comment”. I’m sure as a teenage boy whose entire existence in the public eye depends on him being a “people pleaser”, he didn’t feel like he could say “no comment”. Well, I’m here to tell you, Justin: Just say “no comment”.

This episode was filmed before the Rolling Stone article went viral but, like those GQ photos, Glee’s never let a little controversy get in their way. And we already know they’re pro-life, with the absence of a proper talk with Quinn about her options when she finds out she’s pregnant.

But back to the episode at hand.

Sam’s other option to win back Quinn is to take her hunting. But according to guest blogger Andrew, this isn’t a feasible one:

“My dad always said there’re two ways to get a woman to love you: take her hunting, and rock and roll.”

Thank God it’s not theorized that the hunt must be successful. The chance of catching a deer with a heavily perfumed woman complaining audibly about the temperature, the undergrowth, the smell, the required lack of fashion sense and the cold canned food lunch trailing noisily behind you is practically zero. And any woman who doesn’t do these things is already taken.

But let’s imagine that said girl agrees to come hunting with me, and we do catch the proverbial Bambi unawares. And that she keeps quiet long enough for me to shoot it. Here’s what follows:

I’m holding down the beautiful, majestic animal as it goes through its death spasms, and blood begins to run over my hands and onto my clothes. The first romantic act in which the female must engage is an awkward dance around the carcass, designed to ward off flies. Whilst this dance continues, the deer’s stomach cavity is sliced open and, reaching up into its ribcage, I remove all the internal organs, getting its visceral matter all over my arms, coated in the smell of its innards. At this point I might turn around and ask for a celebratory hug, and to pose for a Facebook photo together!

Then, the second task for the female is required. She must peel back the folds of skin whilst I delicately remove it and the attached sinew from the cuts of flesh, and this must be interspersed over the next two hours with the aforementioned dance as I remove, and then debone, cuts of meat.

How exactly is this supposed to ignite the passions of a woman? Could it be walking, wading and climbing kilometres back to camp with mosquitoes everywhere, with parts of Bambi on her back, stinking up the place?

Nah, it must have been the tent sex the night before.

—Andrew Frank.

Related: Disturbing Behaviour: Terry Richardson Does Glee.

The Underlying Message in Glee‘s “Furt” Episode.

The (Belated) Underlying Message in Glee’s “Never Been Kissed” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Duets” Episode.

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

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Justin Bieber, Sex & Abortion. Connected How? Good Question.

[Jezebel] 6 Reasons Justin Bieber is Qualified to Talk About Abortion.

Images via Megavideo.