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.

UPDATED: Skinny-Shaming VS. Fat-Shaming.

This is a post that is constantly evolving, as the skinny- VS. fat-shaming debate is always growing and changing. Below, a snippet from Kim Powell’s News with Nipples, in response to Bob Ellis’ take on the ADFA sex scandal, which I linked to last week:

“The belief that women’s bodies are public property is all around us. News websites and tabloid mags are filled with body policing—’evidence’ of a baby bump, boob jobs, nose jobs, a hint of cellulite helpfully circled and ridiculed, weight gains, weight losses, muffin tops, what a ‘real’ woman should look like, skin and muscles in motion decried as freakish, etc etc. (My personal belief is that if you’re going to enlarge a photo of a thigh in motion and hysterically scream ‘See! Cellulite! Here! Here! This woman’s body is disgusting!’ then you need to include exactly the same photo of your own thighs. Fair’s fair. Sure, there are people who make a living from their bodies looking a certain way, but we all know the magazines insist the photos are digitally altered so frankly, they can fuck right off with their body policing.)”

More on this to come next week.


I originally wrote this article in December last year in relation to my mum and her weight problems.

Now, I’m updating with a comment my friend April posted around the same time:

“My mum is faced with the same skinny-shaming as yours. She gets called anorexic all the time. She has always been thin. Her bones have always been visible. And although she is of a rather small stature, her average weight of 42kg is well below the normal weight range. However, my mum doesn’t have an eating disorder or even a problem with food (if you don’t factor in her aversion to vegetables!). My mum put on quite a lot of weight when pregnant with me, peaking at a size 14. That is the biggest she’s ever been and it took a toll on her poor skin. The fact she has stretch marks or even wrinkles that have come with age do not affect her self esteem anywhere near as much as people pointing out her weight (or lack there of!). I don’t know if it’s ever brought her to tears but I have witnessed her get angry about it. There is only so much judgment we can take. My mum still has a womanly figure, with child bearing hips and thighs that touch. It’s what she’s been given and she’s learnt to live with it. But when it comes down to it, if people ever actually saw a real anorexic they would definitely see my mother’s au natural body in a different light.”

I’ve met April’s mum before, and can’t say her size was the first thing I noticed about her. Then again, I’m used to tiny mums!

But on the weekend I went to a part at April’s auntie’s house, which her mother also attended. Some comments about April’s mothers’ weight I overheard prompted me to republish this post, with an added musing: JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT COMMENTING ON SOMEONE’S FAT DOESN’T MAKE ANY OTHER NEGATIVE COMMENTS JUSTIFIABLE. If you don’t have anything nice to say (like, “You look great” or “Wow, you’ve got a lovely shape”), don’t say anything at all.


My mum is very thin.

She wasn’t always, though. In her late teenage years and early twenties, she was quite overweight. Dare I say, borderline obese?

Now, though, she’s tiny. At 52 years of age (and about 47kgs on the scale), she struggles to put and keep weight on.

She is constantly told how skinny she is by friends, family and even people she’s just met. If she were heavier, do you think people would be drawing as much attention to her weight; at least to her face? I doubt it (with the exception of the media if she were a public figure).

Why do people feel the need to objectify and vilify thin women—using their weight as a weapon against them? Is it because it’s un-PC to do so with a fat person? Because they’re jealous? I would tend to lean more towards the former.

I have received this treatment myself, and while my body is nowhere near the slight size of my mother’s, I do try to take care of it by exercising. And to offset the fattening effects of my sweet-tooth indulgences. (The other day I ate a whole block of Cadbury Top Deck. And another whole block the following day!)

I wasn’t always the size I am now, either. (Truth be told, however, I have always hovered around a size 12; now I’m just more toned and lean towards a size 10.) In high school, my weekends usually consisted of sitting on the couch watching Friends and Will & Grace and eating. I led a very sedentary lifestyle back then; the difference between me then and me now is the fact that I exercise to counteract hours spent at the desk (okay, I won’t lie; it’s usually the couch!) blogging, or evenings spent chilling out with some books, magazines, blogs and TV.

So what gives people the right to blatantly draw attention to a small frame to the inhabitant of that frame? Don’t get me wrong; inhabitants of a larger frame have attention drawn to them all the time. But we usually have the decency to not do it to their faces. I don’t know which is worse; personally, that kind of thing is water off a duck’s back to me. Because I come across as cold, aloof and feeling-less, people think I have emotions of steel and they can say and do anything they want to me. I can take a lot of shit, but people like my mother can’t. People pointing out her pin-thinness is a sore subject for her; it’s not like she wants to be that thin.

I think it comes down to a similar school of thought that slut-shaming belongs to. And that seems to be that women who sell their bodies out to succumbing to the ideal shape or to receiving sexual pleasure are at the mercy of ridicule from others.

In this day and age, we’re learning to accept the curves of a larger woman (but only as large as the advertising and magazine industry displays as acceptable). But when can we learn to accept that women do take care of their bodies, and shouldn’t be singled out for doing so. More importantly, though, when will we learn to accept that some people really just can’t put weight on, and they shouldn’t be targeted as succumbing to the narrow beauty ideal presented by society. Much the same way as overweight people shouldn’t be targeted for not succumbing to it.


Elsewhere: [News with Nipples] Bob Ellis & Believing You Own Someone’s Body.

Images via Holy Taco, Losing Weight Zone, Pink Sheep of the Family.

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.

On the (Rest of the) Net.


Porn star Stoya Tweets, “If you think pubic hair on a woman is unnatural or weird, you aren’t mature enough to be touching vaginas.” You go, girl!

Beware hot baths in winter: they can cause heart attacks!

Celebrities and mental illness.

I was absolutely disgusted by Bob Ellis’ take on the ADFA sex scandal on ABC’s The Drum Unleashed, comparing the unconsented filming of a young female cadet during sex to the girls discussing last night’s date on Sex & the City. Here are some choice excerpts:

“Let us imagine the girl agreed to be filmed, and then, afterwards, being mocked for it, and flabbergasted by the number of leering hoons who saw the film, made the complaint. Would that then occasion the sacking of her commanding officer, the court-martial of fifteen or twenty of her fellow recruits, and the bastardising of her lover?

“… She would have been mortified. She would have cursed for months the prurient observers of her bed games. She would have railed at them in the canteen. She would have sobbed on the phone to her mother. She would have attracted some sympathy. She would almost certainly have got over it… And she might… have married the boy.”

“… They, and we, should be careful when we attend too closely to what occurs in a bedroom consensually, and how we punish either participant.

“… Is the young woman, moreover, to be named, and acclaimed, and promoted, and hereafter entrusted with frontline command on some field of battle? Who would trust her in any high army position? Who would be sure she was truthful? Or sound of judgment? Or loyal? Or reliable under fire?”

To end, he makes sure we know that group sex didn’t occur, “as it sometimes does in traveling footballers’ motel rooms”, as if that somehow makes it okay.

Kim Powell writes in response at News with Nipples about Ellis’ assertion that (male) society owns female bodies, as he began the above piece by reminiscing about an old M.A.S.H. episode in which the shower Hot Lips Houlihan is using is lifted by a crane and the menfolk gaze at her naked body.

Girl with a Satchel posts a smashing review of Tina Fey’s Bossypants.

Vintage Gala Darling, circa 2005. Glad to see she hasn’t changed :).

“7 Reasons to Get Excited About the Royal Wedding”… one week later!

In relation, is Princess Catherine doomed to repeat the same fate as Diana? A royal comparison.

Also, “Jessica Rudd shines some perspective on the wedding and the Republic.”

Much to my chagrin, tanning beds are safe… for some things!

Sarah Wilson on private schooling:

“I know parents want to provide the best for their own kids… I don’t know that fancy pools and excursions to Tuscany make for a better education.”

“Things Fat People Are Told”:

“If a fat person defied any of these pronouncements in any way, they spoke of having their lives and experiences denied. They couldn’t really have low blood pressure. They couldn’t really be getting married.

“The hostility fat people experience is extreme. One woman spoke about being on an operating table for a C-section and having a surgeon mock her fat, suggesting they get rid of it while they’ve got her open. Another spoke of sitting in an ambulance while a police officer refused to believe she was raped. Others were told they should be happy to have been sexually assaulted. We heard about how transgender persons were belittled for being too fat to pass. We heard about fat people who were sick and were denied treatment until they lost weight. Fat mothers were told they were selfish for being fat because they would orphan their children. Or that their children would never love them. Or that they’d just ruin their children’s lives so maybe the baby should just die in the womb.”

Lisa Simpson would “totally be a Jezebel reader if she were human.”

Images via Jezebel.

On the (Rest of the) Net.


“The Fashion Industry’s Anorexia Problem.”

Gala Darling offers an interesting take on pageantry. It seems not all beauty queens are vapid glorified prom queens with “miles of hair extensions, industrial-sized cans of hairspray and gallons of butt glue”.

Do you have to be a mother to be empathetic?:

“The reason Queensland Premier Anna Bligh was able to handle the flood crisis with such competence [is because she is a mother], according to a fellow mum. How true, how true, clucked a host of TV talk show mums the next day, as the commentators all agree that Anna won the ‘image’ war over Julia in the aftermath. Then of course she would—only a mother can cry with conviction for lives lost.”

90210: “The Sexist Postcode”?:

“So 90210 was an important early building block of enlightened sexism because it insisted that the true, gratifying pleasures for girls, and their real source of power, came from consumerism, girliness, and the approval of guys…”

My friend Anthony and I were discussing the benefits of cheap Coles milk when we paused and though, what exactly does cheap milk mean for farmers and why all the fuss? Rick Morton of MamaMia is here to answer our questions.

Also at MamaMia, the defence force sex scandal.

Speaking of, MamaMia’s 3.0 launch is the only blog redesign I’ve liked in recent months (Jezebel, I’m looking at you).

“Wait? What? This is where it gets interesting for me as a sex positive parent. My son just went from wishing he was sexy to shaming a girl for being just that? I rolled up my sleeves and got ready to do some unpacking.” The unpacking the primary school backpack on “Slut-Shaming on the Playground”.

This is just plain wrong: “The 15 Most Inappropriate Baby Outfits”.

The cigarette packaging reform.

Michael Cole, WWE announcer, tweets a gay slur. GLAAD faux pas or staying in character?

Are disability jokes really that bad? Or are we all just going PC crazy? (Just ask Laura Money and Kieran Eaton at their Unfinished Business stand-up show for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.)

The meaning of Sucker Punch according to io9:

“1. Insane people and sex workers are interchangeable.

“2. Women can only triumph over adversity in their dreams.

“3. Action movies spring from the imaginations of enslaved, mentally unstable prostitutes.”

“Do You Know What a Normal Female Body Looks Like Anymore?”

Francine Pascal as feminist literature pioneer?:

“In the beginning, that wasn’t enough for many booksellers, who deemed Sweet Valley too ‘commercial’ for their readers. The Times snubbed the series; librarians fought to keep their stacks free of the ‘skimpy-looking paperbacks,’ as one library journal put it. It was Pascal’s fans who defended her: buying a dizzying 250 million copies before the series published its 152nd and final title, in 2003. The series even became a case study in how to get young girls to read. ‘Sweet Valley changed the dynamics of the industry,’ says Barbara Marcus, who, as former president of Scholastic’s children’s business, published The Babysitter’s Club, Goosebumps, and Harry Potter. Sweet Valley spawned seven spinoff series, a TV show, a board game, and dolls. Not until Twilight came along have girl fans been so loyal.”

In this vintage post from the time of Jersey Shore’s debut, Irin Carmon discusses the cast’s views “On Beauty & Not Even Looking Italian”. Quite interesting, actually.

It’s time to go, Betty Draper.

Forget menopause; say hello to “manopause”.

First the video music world, now the movie world: Rebecca Black’s film debut in “Sunday Comes Afterwards”.

Porn WikiLeaks: damaging the reputation and safety of porn performers by publishing addresses, personal documents and hateful HIV diatribes (SFW).

The ugly step sister?

Images via Jezebel.

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

In Perez Hilton’s words, “2010 has really been the year of the cheater”. First we had Tiger Woods’ cheating scandal, which broke late last year but has continued to be a headline grabbing story, then Jesse James’ spiral of shame, and now David Boreanaz, who went public a few weeks ago with news that he cheated on his wife of almost nine years, Jaime Bergman.

And last year was the year of the sports scandal, you might say, with the Matthew Johns group sex story coming to light in May.

What do all these men, with, perhaps, the exception of James, have in common? Their shady pasts have virtually been forgotten in favour of their more positive talents. Boreanaz plays the lead in hit TV series Bones, Johns now hosts his own self-titled show, and Tiger is back on the Masters tour.

While the wrongdoings of the Australian underworld are being glorified on Underbelly no one bats an eyelid. To take it even further, O.J. Simpson, although acquitted of double murder, was held up as a hero amongst African Americans in Los Angeles following his trial, despite being thought of as guilty in the court of public opinion.

Perhaps this is just a sign of the times changing; that our society has become so desensitised to notions of war, violence, drugs and sexual depravity that they are not longer taboo. I would argue that this is true to some extent it is not reflected on the other end of the spectrum.

For example, a recently refurbished Heidi Montag admitted to undergoing 10 cosmetic surgical procedures in one day because she wasn’t happy with the way she looked. She obviously has deep-rooted body dysmorphic issues, however instead of helping and supporting her, the public has turned on her.

The same could be said of the Britney Spears’ and Lindsay Lohans’ of the world. A recent Jezebel article, “In Defence of Lindsay Lohan”, was in support of the former child star everyone loves to hate.

Sure, Lindsay has a father who “is a nightmare… and her mother is more of a friend than a parental figure. So perhaps she is lacking in guidance and role models. But who among us, in some way, is not? Her experience [of growing up in the spotlight]… is not one many people can relate to, anyway.”

The author surmises that the public’s fascination with Lindsay and their “build-you-up-to-take-you-down” mentality is much simpler: “She’s 23-years-old and being ripped to shreds in the press mostly because she goes out at night.”

Right. Someone like Colin Farrell has had a sex tape released, sexual misconduct allegations brought against him and has battled substance abuse problems, however he is still held up as a Golden Globe-winning actor. We all know Lindsay has the acting chops, it’s just a matter of her getting out of her own way. Double standard? In the words of Sarah Palin, you betcha!

The beautifully tragic Marilyn Monroe and Anna Nicole Smith were, and still are, vilified for being just that. Even in death, the girls can’t catch a break.

So that brings us back to the question, why do men get away with so much more than women can? Or, more to the point, why are men almost celebrated for their wrongdoings while women are banished into social oblivion?

I think, in a nation that celebrates sport as the highest level of achievement, especially, we want to give our sportsmen the benefit of the doubt. While I do think we focus too much on sport as the be all and end all of success in Australia, and the very nature of being “Australian”, it can be seen as admirable to offer someone a second chance. Johns, for example, could be seen as brave for coming forward and being the only one of his Cronulla Sharks teammates to own up to his mistake. But I do think it’s a bit soon to be running a television show off his back.

However, we also like to kick people when they’re down. Britney Spears, for example, was heralded as the princess of pop in her golden days, but when she started donning pink wigs, speaking to herself in a British accent in the gutter, and being carted off to the looney bin, we wanted nothing to do with her. Oh, I’m sorry, only to denigrate her on the cover of tabloid magazines.

Then last year she launched her comeback tour, and everyone was back on her side. That is, until, she lip synched (come on, it’s Britney! When has she ever not lip synched?) her way through Australia and out of our collective consciousness.

But how many second chances are we going to give these men, in particular? Charlie Sheen was embroiled in his latest domestic dispute over Christmas last year. But what of his past child pornography, prostitute and drug allegations? Not to mention the shooting of ex-girlfriend Kelly Preston in a domestic dispute. Do we just sweep them under the rug too so that Sheen can keep the $1.2 million per episode of Two & a Half Men coming?

When these mistakes are hurting people other than themselves, maybe it’s time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Do we really care if Lindsay, Britney or Mischa are off to rehab again? And shouldn’t we be caring that Jesse James allegedly ran dog fights out of his West Coast Choppers headquarters and is apparently a white supremacist? Or that Sheen is essentially being rewarded by the cash cow that is Hollywood for his reprehensible behaviour? Or that Tiger sleptand somehow found time to golfhis way across the country in a narcissistic bubble of admiration from his countrymenand women?

Related: All Eyes on Marilyn.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] In Defence of Lindsay Lohan.