Mel Gibson's mugshot, after his arrest for driving drunk and also making sexist and anti-Semitic remarks. [image is from here]
[Some minor revision was done by me on 17 Nov. 2009, ECD]
One of at least 1000 key issues feminists have taken up in my lifetime is trying to convince men, by non-violent means only, to get other men to deal with their own and other men's sexism. To see, recognise, name, call out, interrupt, and STOP MEN'S SEXISM from happening. To try to get men to understand that if women are human, women ought not be continuously subordinated to and violated by men. Why, so many women have asked, does men's sexist behavior go UNCHALLENGED BY MEN? To try, with every tone of voice imaginable, with every effort, to get men to stop other men from socially treating women inhumanely, as wh*res, as "just wives" who are supposed to do wifely duties, as just mothers, as only mammys, as just mistresses, as receptacles for men's disgusting and harmful violations, as THINGS THAT ONTOLOGICALLY EXIST FOR MEN.
This blog exists to challenge men to challenge each other in this regard. To not be silent, supportive, and supremacist in the ways you behave when with sexist-racist men. This appears to be a lot to ask. And any man who asks it will be called various negative terms that women are called, or ridiculed as if "being influenced by women" is a bad thing. To challenge men to stop being sexist. What does it say about men, about our humanity, that only doing THAT is a lot to ask?
There are innumerable examples, in print, in many people's own lives, of men's sexist (and racist, and anti-Semitic, and homophobic) speech and the non-verbal behavior that accompanies it. There are also countless examples of MEN WHO GO OUT OF THEIR WAY TO DEFEND THEM.
Let's start there. Just with this very modest idea that, to be humane, men must not support, encourage, or defend other men's racist-misogynistic practices.
It has been my contention for some time now that it is not "feminist failures" that have allowed white male supremacy to thrive and flourish, it is this: men will not call out other men, will not risk losing friendships or some pseudo male bravado, some socially obtained man-status; men will not risk losing privileges and entitlements to have the opportunity to do to women what some men do to women. Men, by and large, will not systematically challenge other men who speak and otherwise behave in sexist ways, including racist and anti-lesbian ways against women. What men DO, usually, is to defend other men IN THE NAME OF MANHOOD. How quickly men forget that it was MEN, not feminists, who first equated sexist and racist behavior with what it takes to be "men". Men give medals to men who rape and kill, after all. Women do not. White Western men call one another heroes and brave soldiers, fighters for freedom and democracy, for invading countries of color and raping girls and making the mothers watch, and then raping the mothers too. And making the sons watch it all. And when feminists notice, they are called man-haters. Why is manhood as an identity that requires men to encourage harassment, exploitation, and violence against women?
Why is men interrupting and stopping other men from male-bonding-with-misogyny such a difficult thing to get going on an international level? What's the hold-up? Really. I mean it. What IS the hold-up?
Before getting to the main piece being focused on in this post, let me first mention a portion of a post at the page the Mel Gibson photo is from. The whole piece is written by a man named "Digger", who seems to like mocking and going after men who DO anti-racism work, such as Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a very well-respected organisation in the U.S. He makes it his practice to defend men's fucked up behavior and to criticise men who do good (humanitarian/pro-justice) work.
In the "defense of Mel", Digger, who doesn't deem it necessary even to mention the sexist remark, says:
filming Mel Gibson has been the continued target of Jewish activist groups. Before the was even "in the can" they were calling him an anti-Semite and barraging him, his family and his friends with outrageous comments and inserting themselves into his personal and professional life. They have done this not only with boycotts of his films but picketing and general harassment at every turn.In case you missed it, he says: "I find it totally understandable as a man." He finds anti-Semitism understandable "as a man"? He finds obnoxious, harmful, bigoted speech "understandable as a man"? WHO does he assume "men" are? Only non-Jewish men? only heterosexually sexist men? He's talking about this being understandable to non-Jewish heterosexual men (like him), to be clear. And his assumption that "men" = "gentile men" = heterosexual men is in itself anti-Semitic and homophobic, invisibilising gay men and male Jews of all colors.
the [Nazi] holocaust.
Now into this we throw some alcohol and personal or professional problems. What you end up with is a Gibson who reaches his breaking point and lashes out at all those he sees bringing these problems onto him, the police, the Jews, the media and the world in general. I find it totally understandable as a man.
Does he really have so little regard for "mankind" as to state this in no uncertain terms: "I find it TOTALLY understandable AS A MAN"? And to think there are men who get all up in arms if women make these sorts of generalisations! What does that say about that man's humanity? What does that say about what some heterosexual gentile men DO in order to BE "men"?
Let's move on to...
1,000 terrible things that Australian men have said about womenFrom RICHARD SHEARS in SYDNEY
Last updated at 23:13 11 November 2007
The world has always known that Australians speak their mind and do not seem overly burdened by political correctness. Where others aspire to rapier wit, they use a blunderbuss.
Some years ago, I spotted an advertisement on the back of a cattle lorry exhorting everyone to support farmers. It read: "Eat more bloody beef you b******s".
Every Englishman with an interest in sport expects to be called a "whingeing Pommie b*****d", and any time there is a looming contest against the Australians, the epithets fly.
But sporting opponents are not the only subject of Aussie invective. When it comes to insulting women, the Australian male appears to be in a league of his own - and the evidence is provided by an extraordinary book published this week.
Two of the country's top feminist academics have gathered together thousands of one-liners uttered by men in high places for the book which has taken the nation by storm.
Meredith Burgmann, a former president of the New South Wales Legislative Council, and her colleague, Yvette Roberts, have called their book One Thousand Terrible Things Australian Men Have Said About Women - and if that's a bit of a mouthful, the comments they have unearthed are even harder to stomach.
Could it really be true, for example, that a Sydney magistrate, peering down at a young female defendant in a mini- skirt, told her: "Come back when your IQ is as high as your skirt?"
Well, yes it is. Just as it's true that former rugby player Eric Rush, musing on the changing state of marriage, once remarked nostalgically: "In the old days, you were a good guy if you lifted your feet when she was vacuuming."
The authors describe their book as a "portfolio of piggery" - indeed, Miss Burgmann suggests it is a shocking barometer of her country's legendary chauvinism and should cause the Aussie male to hang his head in shame.
"We'd like this to be seen as a way of poking fun at these men but it's also a serious piece of research into misogyny."
Among those they want to embarrass are the Australian celebrity chef who watched Nigella Lawson's voluptuous performance on her TV show, before remarking: "Why doesn't she get them out - that's what they [the viewers] are watching for."
And the ever-charming [anti-Semitic and misogynistic] actor Mel Gibson, who asked a bewitched female fan: "What do you think you're looking at, sugar t*ts?"
The 1,000 chauvinist remarks have been culled from a list of 5,000 submitted for the Ernie awards for the most unacceptable sexist comment of the year.
"We started the Ernies in 1993 after the death of Ernie Ecob, a famous sexist," explains Miss Burgmann.
"Ecob, who was head of the [sheep] shearers' union, has had his name permanently etched in the annals of Australian history with his infamous comment that 'women only want to become shearers for the sex'."
One of the strongest contenders to win this year's award at today's book launch in the New South Wales Parliament House is MP Bill Heffernan.
It was he who appalled the nation in May when talking about his political opponent Julia Gillard, who happens to be childless. Heffernan suggested she was "deliberately barren" - adding that she did not understand the public because she had no children and was therefore unsuitable for high office.
Less offensive, but still included in the book, is the former Prime Minister of Australia who once told female reporters: "I will not be harassed by journalists, even pretty ones like you. Nick off."
Other politicians in the feminists' roll of dishonour include the Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey with his immortal comments on his expectant wife: "Well, it's exhausting for me, her being pregnant. I don't know why, during the birth process, they only focus on the women. What about the men standing there? I mean, that's pretty hard. Well, as long as they get the cricket [on television] in the hospital."
It is a mindset among many Australian MPs that a woman's place is in the home, even if she is working as a politician. In a Parliamentary debate, MP Andrew Fraser told Small Business Minister Sandra Nori in Parliament: "Go and wash up!"
Union leader Martin Ferguson described women campaigning for paid maternity leave as "hairy-legged femocrats".
Mind you, former Labour leader Mark Latham does not confine his insults in the debating chamber to women.
On one occasion, he told the Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock: "Hand in your badge, Adolf."
Despite the increased venom in recent weeks in our own Houses of Parliament, one can't easily imagine David Cameron saying such a thing to Hazel Blears.
The judiciary come in for criticism in the book, too, not least retired judge Roddy Meagher who insulted one of Britain's best-known Aussies when he said: "Looking at the shrivelled old parsnip Germaine Greer has now become, I can hardly believe she was the comparatively beautiful young woman I once knew."
Miss Greer has also become the target of radio announcer Ray Hadley, according to the book. On her 63rd birthday, Hadley told his listeners: "I bet she's now sorry she burnt her bra all those years ago."
And it's not just Nigella and Germaine who attract attention on account of their shape. Here's fashion designer Wayne Cooper's blunt assessment of Australian models: "Compared to the runways in Europe," he says, "they're porky".
Aboriginal runner Cathy Freeman was an Olympic hero, but her coach Nick Bideau seemed to think he was being generous when he once declared: "I never turned away from Cathy, no matter how fat she was."
Will the book have its desired effect? Will it finally shame the uncultivated, boorish Australian male - the ocker, as he is known - into apology and silence?
As Miss Burgmann says, she is campaigning against attitudes that have incensed women for decades yet remain firmly entrenched - attitudes such as "using semi-naked women to advertise products, saying career women can't be good mothers and regarding anyone over 40 as unattractive and past it".
"We can't bear it when Australian men blame their mummies for their unreconstructed views and it drives us insane when any professional disagreement between two women is described as a catfight," she says.
But change will be hard to come by if Mr Latham has his way. He is not going to give up the traditional sexist insult without a fight.
After all, the former Labour leader says: "The Aussie bloke is in crisis and in danger of being replaced by nervous wrecks, metrosexuals, knobs and tossbags because Leftwing feminists have sanitised public culture."
Among the comments posted under the above article, were these. I'll comment as we go along, in brackets and in bold.
The link to the article in full, above, is here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-493055/1-000-terrible-things-Australian-men-said-women.html#ixzz0WWGuRn7c