Wannabe Cr David Donis and His Anti Gay, Anti Feminist, Pro Rape, Pro Nazi Rant

David Donis, on the people murdered by Anders Brievik:

“After causing the destruction of their own civilisation I’m [sic] sure those people on that island had a moment of regret when the gun was pointed at their faces. Same goes for the feminists when they get gang raped, same goes for the gays when they get aids [sic]…”

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How to spot a misogynist*

DAILY LIFE

May 1, 2012 – 8:42AM

Clementine FordClementine Ford
Writer

Follow @twitter

*By the five classic lies they tell

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"If you’re not trained in the spotting of smug, self-satisfied misogynists, you might not know the general thrust of their shtick."

When you’re a feminist, you get used to misogynists trying to challenge the necessity of your politics. “Feminism’s finished! Women are equal now and there’s no use for all the hairy arm-pitted rubbish! Quit your yapping! Embrace your curves!”

But misogynist isn’t a very fashionable kind of word – I mean, no one saunters into a room proudly pronouncing, ‘My name’s Don and I’m a misogynist!’, unless it’s the latest Charter Meeting of Online Trolls Monthly, or Channel Nine. So because people know it’s not really kosher to be a codified turd, they try and hide their misogynist views under the guise of legitimate arguments.

If you’re not trained in the spotting of smug, self-satisfied misogynists, you might not know the general thrust of their shtick. Luckily for you, I’ve become somewhat of an expert in the field since they all started following me on Twitter. So to help novices and outsiders, I’ve taken the following five popular misogynist arguments and parsed them into some kind of legible (if not logical) format for your benefit.

1. If you want to see real oppression, go to the Middle East.

The problems here are threefold. First, it implies women in the west should be grateful for the benevolence of their natural overlords. Who cares if 1 in 3 of you will experience sexual assault in your lifetime, while also enjoying the privilege of lower pay than your male counterparts and the symbolic annihilation of yourselves in literature and film? In case you didn’t know, women in Afghanistan are being stoned to death. So why don’t you just go ahead and submit your complaint to the STFU file known as my PENIS?

Second is the accusatory tone. Now, I’m no statistician, but I’d estimate that 98.76% of people outraged over feminism’s ‘failure’ to ‘protect’ their brown sisters from the oppression of their Muslim Male Masters (because let’s not forget, this is about racism too) are doing exactly zero to agitate for women’s liberation anywhere, let alone in the Middle East. But even though they hate feminism and all who dwell therein, they still think they know how to do it better than you do. This is because misogynists see themselves as Upper Management – which is precisely why we need to get more women into executive roles.

Finally, liberation and change aren’t beholden to hierarchies of need. It’s possible to seek the liberation of oppressed groups everywhere, at the same time! Asking comparatively privileged women (many of whom also live in the Middle East – it is not a vacuum) to be satisfied with ‘good enough’ just reinforces the patriarchal hierarchy of power that needs to be dismantled.

Besides, I don’t hear anyone accusing working families of selfishness for complaining about their rising electricity bills just because some slum dwellers in India don’t even HAVE working Playstations.

2. How can women expect us to respect them when they won’t respect themselves?

When Sheik Al-Hilali compared scantily clad women to uncovered meat, we were rightly outraged. In Australia, we yelled, we don’t treat women like that! Except that we do. We use clothing and behaviour to provide excuses for sexist everyday, be they rapists or simply the kind of people who think a woman’s right to be afforded a basic level of dignity is contingent upon how much of her skin she’s revealing. The fact that we criticise other cultures for it doesn’t make us champions of women – it makes us both sexist AND racist.

We’re not protecting women – we’re protecting our property. Asking women to respect themselves in order to ‘earn’ the right to be treated like a human being is total horse-shit. But suggesting that you have the right to treat her exactly as you please because she didn’t adhere to your archaic views of feminine propriety is misogyny, plain and simple.

3. Stop criticising domestic servitude! Some women are proud to look after their families.

This one’s a misogynist favourite, especially notable for the fact it’s the only time you’ll find them advocating for women’s rights in the workplace. Specifically, a woman’s right to iron her husband’s work shirts instead of her own. Misogynists who use this argument like to wax lyrical about things like choice, pride and sacrificial love. But what they’re really defending is their belief that women belong in the home, performing dull domestic tasks for the primary benefit of everyone other than themselves (and mainly their husband). Despite the fact that these dudes wouldn’t devote even an tenth of their lives to it themselves, they’re invested in outwardly maintaining the nobility of unpaid domestic work – because ascribing false honour to drudgery is how you reinforce invisible social power.

The thing is, women can choose those things if they want to. There’s nothing more tedious than the status quo trying to pit stay-at-homes against workforce broads. But the fact is, these people aren’t advocating for or defending a range of choices. How do I know that? Because if they were, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

4. It’s a science thing

“Look, men and women are built differently. It’s biological. Men are more visual, women are more emotional. That’s why more men are in executive roles. It’s about merit. If women were better, they wouldn’t be so crap. I didn’t make the rules.”

So goes the argument. Basically, it’s the kind of pop science spouted by the readers of such noted academic journals as NW Magazine and the Herald Sun. Whenever you hear someone say, ‘women are just better at washing up’ or ‘men are just better at being the leader of the free world’, ask yourself this: would that sentence be as benign if we replaced gender with race? Would we stand by, nodding sagely as mainstream pundits discussed how white people are just better at empathy than black folk? I sure hope not.

So why is it okay to say that women aren’t as good at stuff ‘because biology’? The biology argument is a Trojan horse that does nothing but sneak sexist propaganda into the castle. The only biological difference between a man and a woman is the difference of a Y chromosome – and even then, there’s a bit of wiggle room.

5. Men are oppressed too, therefore women aren’t! Or something.

“If feminists really cared about equality, they’d be addressing all the inequality that faces men. Like, why do feminists only care about breast cancer and not prostate cancer? Why aren’t feminists advocating for single dads? Why won’t women sleep with me when I’m a really nice guy and I’ve made a particular effort to be nice to them, particularly? Until feminism can answer that, I’m afraid I don’t really see it as being legitimate.”

This is the last bastion of the misogynist’s argument – their self fancying checkmate, if you will. What these people are basically saying is that, despite the overwhelming evidence of entrenched sexual, physical and ideological oppression of women, the only way feminism can really be fair is if it first identifies and solves all of the ways in which the patriarchy also oppresses men.

To be more specific, women who agitate for their own liberation are only allowed to do so once they’ve fixed all the things that make men sad, thus making them stronger and even more powerful.

There are probably a million ways I could tear this argument apart, but I think this says it better than I ever could.

Hahaha

To paraphrase the great Sarah Connor, a bitchin’ kick ass broad who saved humanity from blistering annihilation at the hands of the Terminators: if a stick figure, an animation, can reject the stupidity of misogynist rhetoric…maybe we can too.

Go forth and rebut, my friends.

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Shooting down the gender thugs

6 October 2011

Van Badham

female soldier

Van Badham

Sometimes my crazy female emotions, or hormones, or intuition, or shoes, or ovaries, or whatever, prompt the most gosh-darnedest sentiments in me.

Just today, for example, I found myself imagining that perhaps I should have more control over my identity as a woman than a couple of middle-aged men who write for newspapers.

Thank god, then, that Prof Clive Hamilton and The Australian’s Greg Sheridan have teamed up to set my pretty little head straight with their combined expertise.

Yes, that’s right – the tree-hugging, progressive poster-boy Prof and The Australian’s favourite cuddly Catholic apologist-for-dictatorship have stepped across the left/right divide for reasons of super-dooper importance to our country in these cash-strapped, climate-changed times:

They want to keep Australian women out of combat roles in the military.

Last week the  Government announced the long-overdue removal of the gendered prohibition against women soldiers serving in front-line positions. It was met with enthusiastic gratitude by women who actually serve in the military.

The previously discriminatory policy contravened the Australian military’s obligations under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 Article 23 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Hamilton and Sheridan, however, were one voice of self-righteous horror at the event.

In an article for Fairfax, Hamilton’s rhetoric was emotional. Ending military discrimination was “a victory only for the campaign to obliterate difference”, and a “great betrayal of the women’s movement” on a par – no less! – with women “driving like hoons”. For shame!

Sheridan in The Australian did it once more, with feeling. The ADF’s decision to have all tasks assessed for physical requirements and assign personnel on physical capability might be standard occupational health and safety practice in every workplace in Australia, but Sheridan’s opprobrium ascended the poetic. The change was “lunacy… The stupidest idea I’ve ever heard in my life…”, even “a punctuation mark in the larger grammar of madness.”

It’s heart-warming to see a rare moment of consensus amongst prominent identities of the Australian left and right on an issue of social policy.

It’s devastating that it seems to be a consensus belief in same-old, same-old misogynistic baloney – from dull, middle-class male Australian media commentators, left and right, once more telling women what they are, what they can be and what they should want.

Perhaps because he conforms to a particular stereotype so completely, Clive Hamilton’s article attempts to foist stereotyping upon three billion women across a diverse and complex world.

To him, we women are, homogeneously, compassionate and caring; we’re “pacifiers” who exercise a “subtle, civilising power” over the “violent tendencies of men”.

Yep, I know – I’m doing it right now.

Written with the anti-war earnestness of a camp-side rendition of Kum-ba-yah and dripping with the kind of  “why can’t we all be nice to one another?” idealism unfashionable even at undergraduate level, Hamilton’s chief objection to women in combat roles in the military seems to be that it threatens his sugar-and-spice notions of what little girls are made of.

The prospect that his fantasy female creatures “motivated more by care than duty” may transform into “women soldiers returning with their faces blown off” is just pseudo-leftist cake-decorating around a long stale cake of patriarchal assumptions.

For one, the myth of female delicacy. Conveniently ignoring the abject realities of menstruation and childbirth, this has variously employed over history to keep women out of universities, away from unclothed table legs and in a separate room of any Australian bloody pub until the mid 1970s.

Two words for you, Clive: volunteer army. There hasn’t been a draft in this country since the National Service Termination Act 1973 and any woman facing the risks and realities of front-line combat has not been forced to be there. Your desire to protect women from the implications of our own vocational callings, aptitudes and personalities is patronising and unnecessary, thank you.

No wonder you are “terrified of being accused of sexism” – you are writing sexist things and the accusation is thoroughly fair.

As much as Hamilton’s concern may be about the “uniquely female”, Sheridan’s piece is heartfelt for the boys. Every boorish stereotype associated with Australian masculinity is employed to defend Sheridan’s idealised male army of “common identity” with its “deep traditions of comradely bonding” – from the word “bloke” to an off-topic, impassioned avowal of both his love of rugby league and special, masculine feelings towards injured half-back Brett Kimmorley.

According to Sheridan, our army relies not on strategy, tactics or the most advanced technological arsenal in world history for its strength, but “very strong blokes” lifting things that “very few women can”.

That women – or (gasp!) men – who can’t lift things won’t be enfranchised the responsibility to do so under the new policy is of no consequence to Sheridan, who in a long career of syllogistic self-justification has not once yet let facts spoil a moment of prejudicial spewing. He declares “warriors are men” as if his own arrogant conviction in committing the words to paper are enough to make it so.

He similarly claims, without evidence, there are “inevitable romantic liaisons” when women enter mixed gender units, and that a “law of nature” as yet undiscovered by science forces a situation in which “male soldiers will try to protect female soldiers” in a combat situation.

That rather a lot of male soldiers throughout history have risked their own safety to protect other male soldiers, that this is the basis of tactical defence, troop cohesion and the very notion of “mateship” is, again, to Sheridan, of no concern.

The problem with generalisations at the Hamilton-Sheridan end of the scale of operatic pomposity is that they only require a single contradicting fact to utterly collapse.

Neither “women” or “men” are homogeneous groupings, a fixed set of behaviours or in essence anything other than one of two principle variations on a spectrum of random biological bits, all with unique and variable talents, aptitudes and dispositions.

Hamilton’s claims that violent tendencies and the killing instinct are the sole preserve of men could be disclaimed by anyone who saw my face or heard my unrestrained and colourful invective when first I read his essentialist, sexist knobbery in the paper.

As for Sheridan, I suggest he wander into a defence force bar, approach the largest group of male combat soldiers he can find, point a finger and holler “Everyone knows you put ho’s before bro’s!” and see how well that goes down with the assembled before he utters such nonsense again.

In their attempts to restrict women to their narrow ideal paradigms, Hamilton and Sheridan are equally guilty of purporting myths and stereotypes about dominant masculinity that burden and oppress their fellow men.

Repeated attestations that “real” men have “violent tendencies” or an “instinct to kill” enforce a coercive cultural cruelty on the male of the species, publicly bullied by the like of Greg Sheridan to participate in dangerous behaviour or risk criticism of their masculinity.

If there’s a single ideological reason for allowing women to have front-line military responsibilities, it’s that their inevitable achievements will expose the arguments of Hamilton and Sheridan as nothing more than old-fashioned gender-thuggery.

The purely visual change to what represents our notion of “warrior” or “defender” just may force a reconsideration of how damaging and dangerous untrue social constructions of “male” or “female” qualities and behaviours are to everyone.

There are some militarily-skilled women in this country who are willing to risk disfigurement or death in defence of their people and their homeland and this is something Clive Hamilton and Greg Sheridan should be bloody thankful for, not slagging off.

They are grown men with multiple university degrees who’ve been given the social privilege of a public platform and have no excuse to be pig-ignorant, nor any reasonable grounds for their apparent need to own and control the definition of “women” and “men”.

Their shared, hysterical comments towards feminists are revelatory in this regard – to Hamilton feminism is “a rotting corpse” while to Sheridan “the wilder shores of feminism” that demand full social equality “have never been inhabited by normal people”.

It’s remarks like these that reveal what the real problem is for calcified old misogynists about women in military combat roles.

If women who refuse to conform to the stereotypes they wish to force on us are frightening, the prospect of us trained, skilled and wielding a gun must genuinely terrify.

Van Badham is a writer and dramaturg. Follow her on Twitter @vanbadham

 
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All images © Australian Broadcasting Corporation