The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

When Violence Against Women Is “Odd”

Posted by Clem Bastow on November 29, 2008

Readers of the Fairfax newspaper stable will be familiar with the OddSpot, the long-running and beloved paragraph at the bottom of the front page, where you can usually find stories about cats who called 911, potential Darwin Award-winners, people with spiders growing in their ears, and so on. It’s occasionally moving, sometimes hilarious and, generally speaking, a bit of light “human interest” reading amongst the – at least as the MX likes to put it – doom and gloom.

Not today’s effort, however:

A man who says he eats 10 Mars bars a day has claimed a lack of sugar prompted him to attack his girlfriend when she wore big, Bridget Jones-style knickers instead of a G-string. Marco Fella, 38, from Cornwall, admitted two common assaults. His sentencing was adjourned.

Ho ho, very “odd”, isn’t it? So, let’s recap: a man loses his shit and assaults his girlfriend a) because she dared not to wear bum floss (presumably she tended to wear them, considering he took umbrage with her decision not to wear them, for his delectation) and then b) blames it on the fact that he hadn’t stuffed his face with junk-food that particular day?

That’s not “odd”, that’s fucked.


13 Responses to “When Violence Against Women Is “Odd””

  1. Rhiana Whitson said

    Completely fucked.

    I don’t get the joke? And it worries me that people will be laughing at reading this. Just another case of violence against women being trivialised. Some things just aren’t funny.

  2. rayedish said

    That’s horrible on so many levels. (Is he obligated to wear sexy undies for her benefit every day? And if she went nuts cos he was wearing old grungy ones instead of his calvin kleins how would that story be reported?)

  3. Steven said

    Does _every_ article that involves a woman in any sense have to be reported on as if it is an outrageous affront to women?

    The violence is not being made light of, it is the seemingly ridiculous defence*

    I think you could apply a similar line of thinking and get all pissy with Dawn Chorus for implying that the deaths (or near deaths) of other people is light entertainment – sometimes even hilarious.

    * though I’m not qualified in matters of neuro-chemistry, maybe it is the reason he snapped.

  4. Rhiana Whitson said

    Steven, you’re right: every article that involves a woman does not have to be reported on as if it is an outrageous affront to women. However,I don’t think this is the case at TDC. A role of TDC if to provide an open forum where the treatment of women in the media can be critically analysed, from a feminist perspective. Clem is right to bring this potentially dangerous implications of this ‘odd spot’ to our attention.

    I agree that it is the defense that is being made light of, but by casting such an assault in the frame of the day’s ‘odd spot’ the crime is subsequently stripped of any opportunity for further analysis (outside the blogosphere that is), and makes the violence perpetrated, mere fodder for readers entertainment.

  5. Steven said

    but the crime is not stripped of anything, it is not being prevented from being included in more expansive articles – as you can find online there have been other longer stories about the attack (I say online only because that is where I saw them, I imagine they also ran those articles in the print editions too).

    Again, the attack itself (or rather, the victims plight) is not being mocked as ‘odd’, or trivialised, only the defence… though I daresay that attacking someone because they don’t want to wear a thong counts as extremely odd (amongst other things).

  6. Clem Bastow said

    Quickdry, I’m not sure when you decided to become the voice of the apparently underrepresented men’s movement on here, but your continued “oh, what about men” gawping is getting tiresome – there are no ifs or buts about it in this case – a man assaulting his girlfriend, no matter how wacky or odd, is an affront to women.

  7. Steven said

    Quit it Clem, the only reason i checked TDC out was because I’d heard your show and figured you’d had interesting stuff to say in the past. I’m not representing any movement, and I don’t see anywhere that one person assaulting another is being supported as NOT a crime against the person assaulted. It has been condemned by every single poster as far as I can see. If you think that I’m not of that viewpoint then you have missed what I was saying.

    I simply disagree that the attack itself is being made into a joke, I don’t think that is clearly established at all – the little quote isn’t trivialising the assault itself, it is ridiculing the defence (and by association, the defendant).

    Summary – I agree with you wholeheartedly that men attacking women (or vice versa, or some other combination) is terrible, and should be condemned. I disagree with some of the comments about the particular article quoted.

  8. Clem Bastow said

    You’ve missed the point, though – simply by virtue of the story appearing in the OddSpot (where, I probably don’t need to remind you, the stories are usually “gee whiz” human interest pieces about animals doing hilarious things), it is trivialised.

  9. caitlinate said

    Yeah, quit it Clem. All your gawping about violence against women is so blase (and doesn’t recognise the real problem of the widespread violence against men which happens every day).

  10. Clem Bastow said

    Jeez yeah, you’re right caitlinate. Women are being raped, stoned to death, burned with acid, beaten and marginalised, but I forgot, it’s men’s issues that are the most compelling! Der.

  11. caitlinate said

    Hey, I’m only here because you said interesting stuff in the past. If you fail to continue saying things that interest ME then i’m outta here – and then where will you be? Hey?!?!

    Us women with our priorities all messed up…. if only we had a man to help us understand the important things, the right ways of thinking…

  12. tina_sparkle said

    ah, advocates for the male experience. where would be be without them.

    may as well pack up and go home, clem. after all, everything posted on TDC fails to consider the male perspective. tsk tsk.

  13. […] Paid Work | Tags: Australia, discrimination, Egypt, news, UK, USA There’s a large, ongoing conversation about how the representation of female subjects in the media, from the focus on female […]

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