Hey there readers. What a week. My condolences especially to any Australian women who might be reading this, for it has been a truly awful week to be female in this country. Although maybe we should all take heart in the positives – maybe if one hasn’t had ones body mocked by a creatively titled menu item, one should be grateful. If you happen to be fortunate enough to have spent the last 48 hours under a rock, let me enlighten you as to the great state of gender equality in this lucky country of ours. At a Liberal fundraiser a few months ago someone (who exactly is the subject of much conjecture) felt it would be a laugh to include the following item on the menu:
“Julia Gillard Quail: small breasts, large thighs, comes in a big red box”
I don’t think I really need to explain to you why this is offensive, dear reader. In the words of SMH‘s Jacqueline Maley it is ‘So vile it makes you want to shout and throw things’ and if I had the energy last night I probably would have done so. But I was tired. I am tired. I don’t want to blog about this stuff, I want to make jokes about the hairstyles in Game of Thrones. I want to tell you about my book cover. But I can’t get this crap out of my head, so I guess you’re going to have to wait me out.
Of course the Liberal party has since spun all sorts of nonsense about how they aren’t actually responsible for this and it’s all the result of some ill-advised hijinks by a restaurateur with too much FaceBook time on his hands. (I think we can all agree this is a lie. Anyone who has watched MasterChef knows that restauranteurs don’t have time for sleep, let alone FaceBook. It’s all cooking and yelling and sweating and writing cookbooks.) It wasn’t supposed to be made public, people, this little nugget of misogynistic hilarity was for private consumption. (I did not intend that pun, but I find it very difficult to rewrite. Sorry, I’m not sorry.)
Which reminds me of another little gem from this week, made by Socceroos coach Holger Osiek when he relayed a ‘private’ joke between he and his wife – which when said in Latin (or German, depending on which news outlet you listen to) sounds eccentric and exotically excusable, but when translated to the English (‘Women should shut up in public’) slightly less so. Interestingly enough, Osiek went one further than the blame-the-chef route taken by the Libs and chose to blame God, sighting 1 Corinthians 14:34 ‘Women should remain silent in the church.’ As if to say, ‘God thought it was funny, too!’. Channel Seven News went further in an effort to embroil God in the gaff by showing the quote on screen written in ye’olde font like we all know God uses.
Theological debate aside (If you should want to investigate what Paul is actually saying, let me know and I can point you in the direction of stuff written by people far smarter than I on the subject), it seems that it’s okay to have a chuckle about this stuff in private, just don’t go sharing your one-liners with recording-device holding journalists. We are a nation of free speech and so on and so forth, and one must accept that along with free speech comes tasteless (Ha!) jokes involving fast food and women’s figures. We all have the choice to choose our choice and say that choice that we chose, or whatever. CUE SEAMLESS SEGUE the the disaster that was Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown of the last 20 years. (It was a poll, people made their choices and voted. See what I did there?) In which out of 100 songs voted for by almost a million people, FOUR were by female vocalists. Four. Out of ONE HUNDRED. Now, others have already ranted about this including Eliza Goetze on The Vine and my friend Clare Woodley on her blog. I am not going to chime in on what as already been said so eloquently by others, but I will say this: we have a problem. Maybe it really is just a collection of songs people voted for as their faves and we should leave it alone. But have a horrible feeling it is a symptom of something more sinister in our culture.
We have a problem with a culture that brushes off grossly sexist comments made about our Prime Minister. We have a problem with a culture that allows Tyler the (so called) Creator to fill the Enmore Theater in an all-ages gig and glorify the rape and murder of women. We have a problem with a culture where ONE in THREE women will be the victim of violence. We have a problem with a culture in which a woman can not walk home at night without risk of being murdered by a guy who was repeatedly paroled for rape.
Maybe I’m wrong to lump all of these things together and say they are indicative of culture with an increasingly sick view of women.
I hope I am.
I had just finished writing this when news of sexist derogitory emails circulated within the Australian Defence Force broke. Enough said.