The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Spill fever and the feminist fallout

Posted by Nic Heath on December 9, 2009

Politicians, pundits and the public alike have been giving women’s role both in the electorate and in elected office a fair amount of thought recently following the spill fever in federal and NSW state politics.

First off: the Liberal spill that led to Tony Abbott’s surprise ascension to Leader of the Opposition. As the Twittersphere lit up and the nation tried digesting this unexpected development one thread of analysis looked at Abbott’s somewhat erratic relationship with female voters.

I must admit I rarely pay mind to anything that flows from Miranda Devine’s pen, but now I’ve read her defense of Abbott’s inherent appeal to women (or rubbishing of “the aggressively secular, paleo-feminist, emasculating Australian broad, for whom unabashed red-blooded blokeishness is an affront of biblical proportions”) I might as well take a moment to disagree with her.

In Abbott’s real trouble is the sisterhood Devine’s premise is to refute the claim that the “popular perception of the new Opposition Leader is that women can’t stand his blokeish, confrontational style.” This is a deliberate misinterpretation of the reason women voters may steer away Abbott. By pinning the problem on Abbott’s style, Devine skips over the real problem – which is the substance of Abbott’s views on social policy.

What women voters are more likely to find worrying than political bluster is Abbott’s previous history of blurring the line between his personal religious beliefs and his public role in federal cabinet. A notorious example of this is Abbott’s handling of RU486. As Health Minister Abbott was seen to make a decision based on his personal morality rather than for the overall good of Australian women’s reproductive rights, which effectively constituted a violation of trust.

I would argue that the big issue here is not Abbott’s attitude to women per se, but how his Catholicism affects his political and social views. Is it acceptable in Australian secular society to have the country governed by leaders who have trouble separating religion and politics? It strikes me as dangerous territory.

So what makes Abbott potentially divisive to the electorate lies in his conservative views and whether you are sympathetic to them or not, rather than your sex. Miranda Devine for one is clearly unperturbed by Abbott’s views on abortion (she probably thinks he’s a bit liberal). It is likely though that an openly religious politician whose faith directly informs his politics such as Abbott has a greater chance of alienating women when his religious views clash with reproductive rights.

More worrying than his perceived ‘blokeish’ demeanour is Abbott’s reshuffled front bench. As Crikey’s Bernard Keane puts it:

“In the event of an Abbott election victory, this line-up would almost certainly drive action on abortion and other social policy touchstones in government. Eric Abetz tried to stop Medicare funding for abortions in the last term of the Howard government. Hardline Catholic Kevin Andrews first came to prominence striking down the Northern Territory’s euthanasia laws. Barnaby Joyce, another Catholic, has described abortion as “carnage” and has said he wants sexual assault victims to take a resulting pregnancy full-term. Bronwyn Bishop, Phillip Ruddock and Sophie Mirabella all voted in support of retaining the ban on RU-486”.

It remains to be seen whether this conservative shadow ministry will campaign on conservative social policy, or will Abbott as Opposition Leader put his electoral responsibilities before his faith? This comment made by Abbott on the 7.30 Report isn’t at all encouraging:

“Well, I’m not gonna try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes – women’s or anyone else’s. I will be myself. I will not try to remake myself. I imagine that as my political circumstances change, people will see different aspects of my political character, and they’ll make up their own minds.”

It will be interesting to see how women vote in next year’s federal election.

Meanwhile, Kristina Keneally has the dubious privilege of becoming NSW’s first female premier. Dubious of course because it is NSW, and a privilege because Keneally has made one more crack in the glass ceiling.

Or has she?

Much has been made of Premier Keneally’s ties to factional heavyweights in the Labor Government, with the epithet ‘Puppet Premier’ appearing in dozens of headlines reporting her promotion last week.

So is it true, as Tory Maguire suggests, that “those looking for a feminist victory to celebrate should probably look elsewhere”?

Is it fair that every female politician in leadership roles be assessed for their suitability as a clear-cut feminist role model? What makes a ‘feminist victory’ anyway? Keneally is an imperfect candidate for the post of premier in much the same Nathan Rees was 15 months ago. She’s inexperienced and at the helm of a government flawed by its factions, so we’d best wish her luck.

So where do I look for my feminist victory? Can it be argued that KK makes the cut? Julie Bishop – Stepford Deputy?  Who in Australian politics constitutes a bona fide candidate for feminist success? Who can we be proud of?

My vote is for Julia Gillard, but comment with any other suggestions of female politicians who float your boat.

Advertisements

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Montmorency Football Club & The Legal System

Posted by caitlinate on October 28, 2009

As I’m sure many of you have read, three junior members of the Montmerency Football Club – a suburban football club in Victoria – have been charged with the sexual assault of two young women. Thirteen other players were interviewed and the police say they expect to lay further charges. At the end of their playing season a group of young players had organised an unofficial weekend away to Phillip Island. **trigger warning** Whilst there they lured two women to the villa they had rented and held them prisoner whilst raping them. One woman was reportedly ‘sexually assaulted by as many as eight men’ and the other at least five different times. They finally escaped when a brawl broke out between the men and they could sneak away unnoticed.

I know that it is because it’s a high profile case (it appears sports teams raping women is in vogue for the media) but it is so exciting to see the police taking this crime seriously and the courts processing it quickly. Several women I know are still caught up in the legal system two years after their original assaults. One woman I know had to wait a year and a half before she even got a committal hearing. Rape and sexual assault cases frequently take years to be processed and, as I’m sure you can imagine or are aware, this is not an enjoyable process. It’s not as easy to move on and heal when you have a court date in two months… and then in five months… and then in a year… Apart from the waiting and the wondering there’s the potential – or at least fear – of having to see your abuser. A given part of the process is that you have to relive the experience of your assault over and over and over again – to the police, to the judge, to the lawyers, on paper, in person, via video link up. You have to be cruelly cross examined by the lawyer of the person who assaulted you (I state unequivocally, right now, that the majority of lawyers that represent rapists are fucking scumbags).

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in law, Media Watch, Politics, sexual assault, violence against women | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments »

Womens’ bodies are whale like

Posted by Cate on August 18, 2009

I was angered on Friday to receive a copy of PETA’s latest marketing campaign to turn meat eaters over to all things vegetarian…. petasavethewhales

Yes apparently womens’ bikinied bodies that don’t fit some lithe physique that’s unattainable to many are ‘whale’ like and contain ‘blubber.

Further, their press release states,

“Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA has a free ‘Vegetarian Starter Kit’ for people who want to lose pounds while eating as much as they like.

I was vegetarian myself for 10 years during which I certainly was not able to lose pounds eating whatever I  liked. And haven’t PETA made women feel inadequate enough about their bodies with their advertisements of naked vegetarian female celebrities, usually draped with fruit or baby animals?

PETA also fail to consider the reality that many women are curvy or ‘overweight’ despite a vegetarian diet? You can eat a lot of vegan Oreos or ice cream in one sitting. They also seem keen to simply ‘guilt’ women into restricting what they eat, for weight loss instead of ethical reasons. Certainly one step towards an eating disorder for those with any propensities for such things. It reminds me of when I was at school and the participants in the World Vision 40 Hour Famine were overwhelming young girls.

Posted in body image, Politics, Women's Health | Tagged: | 20 Comments »

On banning the burqa

Posted by Nic Heath on August 18, 2009

As has been widely reported in the last few months, French President Nicholas Sarkozy has the burqa in his sights. In June he announced to his compatriots that France would not accept a garment that made prisoners of the women who wear it. The latest controversy has seen a woman banned from wearing a burqini in a French public pool, ostensibly on hygiene grounds.

Sarkozy is the latest in a long line of politicians who have attacked aspects of Islamic dress in the name of women and their rights. These moonlighting feminists, by headlining their stance with a women’s lib tag, I think mask the true scope of their agendas – which in Sarkozy’s case could be to protect a certain aspect of a country’s cultural identity, or to marginalize another, or to assert authority.

As much as I dislike the burqa myself, vilifying the aesthetics of fundamentalist Islam – rather than say, focusing on the actions and beliefs of those who oppress women in the name of Islam – is a misalignment of energy and policy. Symi Rom-Rymer says it well in the Christian Science Monitor:

There are, no doubt, some women who are forced to wear this all-encompassing garment by their families, just as there are non-Muslim French women who are mistreated by their families in other ways. But to view the garment solely as a prison and as a symbol of male oppression, as Sarkozy does, oversimplifies a complex issue and may end up hurting the very women he’s trying to help.

If Sarkozy is truly concerned about the rights and dignity of these women, he ought to use high-profile speeches to discuss their needs, their concerns, and to focus on what they can contribute to and gain from French society, rather than on what they wear while doing it.

What will happen to women not permitted to wear the burqa in French public life (of whom there are reportedly 400 in France)? Will they happily cast it off and bare their exposed faces to shopkeepers and bus drivers? Will they enroll in university or vocational courses? Will they leave abusive husbands? Will it solve all their problems?

I have no definitive answers of course but I imagine that the result could be otherwise – could lead to further marginalization, could leave women further ostracized and isolated from the general community. As difficult as it is, if one is concerned about the rights of women wearing the burqa, it would be more useful to take a positive stance through giving those women support and fostering opportunities for their self-determination.

The wider Australian community also has a strained relationship with Islamic dress. The burqa perfectly manifests the other when held against Australia’s traditional cultural identity – laidback laconic larrikins living it up on the beach etc. The burqa threatens many people’s sense of self and of belonging. As Irfan Yusuf noted in July in The Age, Muslim women wearing the burqa provide the media a ‘potent symbol of Islam in the West’, one that is regularly exploited by news outlets.

When one Sydney Muslim man called for polygamy to be legalised, the Herald Sun website carried a photo of two burqa-clad women crossing the street. The website of its Sydney equivalent regularly carries photos of burqa-clad women in any story even mildly related to Muslims.

Julie Posetti, speaking at a forum at the ANU in July (which you can watch at ABC Fora), sums up my position pretty well. She argues that banning the burqa would be an oppressive move, and that much of the language used in calls against the burqa recalls cultural imperialism. She rightly says that the state has no place in a woman’s wardrobe. Imagine the government legislating against bikinis, or Catholic nun’s habits – it becomes an ethical minefield. Similarly murky of course is the boundary between cultural sensitivity, or regard for an individual’s rights, and cultural relativism.

Banning the burqa looks more like another symptom of France’s troubled relationship with ethnic minorities than a step forward for feminism and women’s rights. Policies of social inclusion and education would surely be more beneficial than those of prohibition and exclusion.

Posted in Faith and Religion, Fashion, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

McClelland Talks, Says Mostly Good Things

Posted by caitlinate on July 24, 2009

Attorney-General Robert McClelland today announced a series of (potential) changes to the family law system in Australia. These changes are aimed at tackling domestic violence and child abuse in Australia and altering the way the courts operate in terms of these issues. In the introduction to his speech he stated:

“I believe that at the moment there are still too many families that slip through the safety net. Complex problems rarely have simple solutions and they can’t be overcome by taking action in isolation. To address violence we need to identify holes in the system, and collaborate to tighten the safety net. It’s not enough to look for holes in the law, or in court processes or in the delivery of services, or any of these things on their own. Our safety net must provide the tightest protection possible for families negotiating the family law system.”

This is obviously in large part politician speak (he says ‘safety net’ three different times, somewhat unnecessarily) but I feel that his heart is in the right place and that revamping or strengthening the way the system works is a good thing. I do, however, have some reservations, in particular that the focus of this speech and these changes seems to be to the system after the fact – so after when the abuse occus rather than working on prevention in the first place.

The four main announcements he made are outlined in bold.

• A training package for family law system professionals and the development of minimum screening guidelines;

Training and information for ‘professionals’ within the system is a really amazing thing and I’m glad they are prioritising this. A lot of the problems that victims and survivors of violence have with legal system professionals (including the police) is that they are untrained and unaware of the impacts and complications involved in violence and abuse. This often results in behaviour/advice that can be further traumatising or unhelpful.

I am a little concerned that these training packages will be of a bureaucratic nature. The best way to inform people about the requirements and experiences of abuse survivors is to have survivors communicate about what they need or needed and the best ways to proceed. Nonetheless, it does seem that they are taking cues from the National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children’s April report ‘Time for Action’ which came from a lot of community and survivor consultation.

The ‘minimum screening guidelines’ mentioned aren’t really elaborated on but I think McClelland’s talking about mandatory reporting levels and altering what he terms ‘inefficient jurisdictional boundaries’

• A pilot of legally assisted mediation for families experiencing violence;

I think this is an interesting one. The Howard government pretty much banished lawyers from some aspects of family law disputes, preferring separating couples to use counselors for mediation. McClelland has commissioned this pilot project to instead fund lawyers for mediation in cases where violence is alleged. He states:

“In assisting families to exercise choice in resolving their separation disputes, I am funding a pilot program to provide legal representation in mediation sessions to families who have experienced violence or are at risk of it.”

This could be positive. I don’t think that someone should have no legal support or recourse when the partner they are separating from has been violent towards them or their children. However allowing lawyers to the table could bring about two negative possibilities. One that bullying abusive lawyers will be in the room and it will be about forcing one party into submission. Secondly that if one partner is in a more stable financial position they will be able to hire a more experienced lawyer who can work for more favourable outcomes for their client – regardless of if they’ve been violent.

• A review of the family court practice and procedure, lead by Professor Richard Chisholm, a former Family Court judge;

This review seems to be about expanding the current model for dealing with children who have been abused or in abusive situations. Currently in use is the Magellan case management model – introduced in 1998. It brings together the family courts, police and child protection agencies to ensure the Court has all the information it needs to make decisions “in the best interest of the child” but is incredibly flawed. The current laws require the Family Court to presume the “best interests of a child” are served by a meaningful relationship with both parents after divorce, regardless of if one parent has been abusive. It forces parents into ongoing relationships with violent ex-partners and requires them to regularly hand over their children to the care of said ex-partner.

Chisholm is going to be consulting experts and examining whether the practices and procedures in the family courts encourage appropriate disclosures of family violence, and whether appropriate support is provided within the family court system for families who have experienced or are at risk of violence.

• An enquiry by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) to identify gaps in the law and reinforce the previously mentioned ‘safety net’.

This inquiry will look at two important issues raised in the National Council’s report:

1. It will examine the interaction of State and Territory laws relating to family violence and child protection with Commonwealth family laws and criminal laws to determine whether changes are required to better protect women and children; and

2. It will examine the impact of the inconsistent interpretation or application of laws in cases of sexual assault occurring in the context of family violence, on the victims of violence.

I can do nothing but applaud the fact that this enquiry is happening and cross my fingers that the outcomes will be positive for victims and survivors of violence, abuse and assault.

Overall I find the announcements to be on the positive side, even if only because action is being taken and family violence is being taken seriously. Some of the measures that will be introduced do raise questions but I don’t feel that any are to be damned but rather watched closely to see what the results are. I do wish that this was all less about enquiries and reviews and about real and substantial action being taken. However if the ‘reviews’ and ‘enquiries’ involve talking to communities, affected groups and survivors then I think extended evaluation is probably a better thing that rushed but ineffective action.

Finally, one other thing of interest McClelland mentioned is the following:

“Measures to address family violence will assist the Government’s effort to halve homelessness by 2020, as we now know that family violence is the principle cause of homelessness among young women with children.”

This statement displays, to me, an understanding of the wide and varied effect that domestic violence has on families, individuals, women and children, something of a relief after the draconian attitude of the previous government.

Posted in law, Parenting & Family, Politics, violence against women | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Madeline Grey: Challenging Women

Posted by Nic Heath on July 10, 2009

Last year we had cause in Victoria to reflect on women’s suffrage, as 2008 marked one hundred years since Victorian women were granted the right to vote in state elections.

It wasn’t until 1923 that Victorian women were eligible to stand for election, and then ten years later Lady Millie Peacock won a by-election to become the first female parliamentarian in Victoria.

Women – not just in Victoria, but also around the country and federally – remained under-represented in parliament right through until the eighties. I didn’t realise just how sparsely represented – during the early sixties there were only 15 women total in all Australian parliaments. Today there are 251.

Melbourne historian Madeline Grey has written a book, Challenging Women: Towards equality in the Parliament of Victoria, that looks at the increased politicisation of women in Victoria, from the foundation of the Women’s Electoral Lobby in 1972 through to 1997.

The first part of the book constitutes a small history of second-wave feminism in Australia, through a political lens. The origins of the WEL, born from the burgeoning second-wave feminist movement, are fascinating, as are the group’s early strategies, campaigns and achievements.

During this time the number of women elected to Australian parliaments increased, with 19 women in Victoria elected in the 1980s and 20 in nineties. Grey (in her introduction) attributes this rise partly to the work of second-wave feminists who from the 1970s sought to put women’s issues on the mainstream political agenda.

The feminisation of politics, granted a chapter in Grey’s book, is an issue that continues to resonate – think the storm in a teacup recently after Sarah Hanson-Young had her toddler ejected from the Senate. And yet it is a nod to how much has changed that she is a Senator and a young mother and was able to have her child with her in Parliament House at all. 

Despite the feminisation of politics, and the inroads made into changing the culture and practice of male-dominated politics in Australia, female parliamentarians are still treated differently. Look at Julia Gillard’s flak from Bill Heffernan regarding her decision not to have children. Likewise, I have heard Maxine McKew address her childlessness numerous times in the media and yet I have no idea if Greg Combet has no children or six.

The epilogue gives a view from 2009, appraising the performance of strategies to increase the representation of women in politics, as well as the reach of cultural and structural change and to what extent party politics constrain the scope of women’s success in parliament. Grey’s book includes lots of material from interviews with women who have served in Victoria’s Parliament, and the personal accounts are bracing.

Madeline Grey will be discussing Challenging Women at a free event at Kew Library next week. 

When: Thursday 16 July at 7.30pm
Where: Phyllis Hore Room, Kew Library, Cnr Cotham Road and Civic Drive, Kew
How to book: 9278 4666 or online

Posted in Books, events, Politics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

When Supermarkets Are More Aware Of What Women Want Than The Government

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 2, 2009

One of my – and I’m sure many other Australians’, female and male – biggest bugbears is the fact that the Rudd Government has flatly refused to remove the GST on women’s sanitary products that was brought in approximately fifty thousand years earlier by the Howard Government when the GST was introduced to Australia. Their refusal to bin, as my friend Mel called it on Twitter, “the world’s stupidest and most sexist tax” suggests that there are people in the Rudd Government who honestly believe that tampons and pads are monthly “luxury” items and not feminine hygiene essentials.

Well, I never thought I’d live to see the day that a supermarket chain drew attention to the idiocy of the ‘tampon tax’ – which it’s worth adding is nearing its 10th birthday – in a marketing campaign: Coles will be “paying” the GST on all women’s essentials for the next week as one of their specials. I spotted a television ad during morning tele today, and here’s the word-up from Coles’ website (emphasis mine), in this instance regarding Carefree liners (though all sanitary items are included in the special):

You shouldn’t be taxed for being a woman. Coles will pay the GST to the government for all feminine hygiene products bought in our stores, so that you don’t have to.

It’s a shame that the special only lasts for the next week, but in terms of a statement made within an economic climate and retail industry that generally wants women to spend as much as they possibly can (or perhaps more correctly, can’t – hello credit cards) on anything and everything, I find it quite revolutionary. Sure, it’s a marketing ploy – they want you to spend your dollars at Coles – but the fact that they are also willing to highlight the ridiculous nature of the ‘tampon tax’ in the meantime is heartening and suggests that, unlike our Government, someone high up in Coles is actually listening to what Australian women want. (If you’d like to send Coles a thumbs-up, you can do so here.)

So, for the nth time, Prime Minister Rudd and Mr Swan: WHY ARE WOMEN STILL BEING TAXED FOR GETTING THEIR PERIODS?

Update at 12.30pm: here’s the catalogue page, too, in all its newsprinty glory:

Picture 61

Can we say it’s a small handful of loose change, but one giant change for womankind?

Posted in Business, Media Watch, Parenting & Family, Politics, Watching The Ad Breaks, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

A Sentence Reflects Its Crime – But What Is “Less-Serious Rape”?

Posted by Clem Bastow on June 30, 2009

Initially I began reading this report on the sentencing of serial rapist John Xydias with a sense of justice being served, a feeling that at times can feel increasingly rare when it comes to the sentencing of sex criminals. Victorian Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Warren sentenced Xydias to 28 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a history of criminal sexual behaviour that almost beggars belief (particularly upsetting is the fact that many of the victims were not aware of the assaults until they had been shown the video tapes by police):

He pleaded guilty to 86 charges, comprising 25 of rape and 61 of sexual assault, in a series of sex attacks on 11 women between 1991 and 2006,

He rendered the women unconscious, probably with the date rape drug Rohypnol, before sexually assaulting them and filming the attacks.

Too often, rapists receive sentences that in no way reflect the seriousness of their crimes (particularly in light of the ongoing damage it wreaks on their victim’s life) – that is if they receive sentences at all.

However, I was shocked when I read this particular passage of Justice Warren’s sentencing (emphasis is mine):

“Your offending was sustained over a period of 15 years, your conduct was not low-level or less-serious rape.”

It’s particularly disappointing as I feel it lessens the impact of a sentencing statement that otherwise conveys the severity of Xydias’ crimes. As she then continues:

“The worst aspect of your conduct was the degrading and dehumanising of your victims,” she said.

“The community will not tolerate the abuse, degradation and humiliation of women as you have carried out.”

All true, but I read the entire thing but what stuck in my mind was the passage I emphasised previously.

What on earth is “low-level or less-serious” rape? Would “the community” tolerate these supposed “low-level” offenses, thus necessitating a lighter sentence? Rape is rape. I appreciate that she perhaps was referring to relative levels of physical violence with regards to the act, but even then, surely the core issue is that the rape itself – the sexual assault – is the most damaging part of the crime for the person who suffers the attack?

The perceived semantics and language of rape – witness the ongoing debate about “grey rape”, “marital rape” and “date rape” (with many pundits and politicians seemingly believing the latter two don’t even exist) – are doubly frustrating because the fact that we even need to argue about the impact of language in these situations demonstrates that the seriousness of rape is still doubted or misunderstood. If a man rapes me, no matter whether I am given a black eye, a slit throat, a drink laced with drugs, or a bunch of flowers afterwards, a man has still raped me. When will the wider community (and, importantly, the legal world) realise that the issue is not (primarily, at least) what happened before, during or after the rape, but the rape itself?

What do you think?

(PS go here for Hoyden About Town’s excellent discussion of the use of passive voice in reporting rape and sexual assault – something that, in rare respite, hasn’t happened in today’s coverage of Xydias’ sentencing.)

Posted in Media Watch, Politics, Sex Crimes, sexual assault, violence against women | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

This Just In From The Pointless Sexism Desk: Miranda Kerr Poses Nude To Save Koalas!

Posted by Clem Bastow on June 1, 2009

Picture, for a moment, this scenario: Rolling Stone Australia are to launch their inaugural “green issue”, which will feature a handful of environmental issues discussed by favourite celebrities – a noble idea, you might think; maybe ‘the kids’ will look into some conservation charities or turn off a few power points at the wall. So how do they spin it? By getting Miranda Kerr to pose nude on the cover, chained to a tree, of course!

the forthcoming issue of Australian Rolling Stone; koalas not pictured

She says she decided to go “au naturel” to raise awareness of the environment, specifically koalas.

“I feel strongly about the need to protect our natural environment because it supports our life – it really is that simple,” Kerr tells the magazine, in stores on Wednesday.

Kerr shot the cover for Rolling Stone’s first “green issue” in Sydney in January, with photographer Carlotta Moye behind the lens.

The day-long shoot also included a real koala named Koral, as Kerr is the face of the Australian Koala Foundation’s No Tree, No Me campaign.

The campaign aims to protect koalas’ natural habitat, hence Kerr’s only prop for the shoot is a chain locking her to a tree.

“It’s a sad thing – there are only about 100,000 koalas left in Australia,” Kerr said.

In an odd way I feel for Miranda in this instance; she believes she’s making a statement that will give strength to the cause, and I’m sure that’s how the cronies at RS headquarters pitched the shoot to her, too. I have visions of publishing fatcats schmoozing, in between puffs of Cuban cigars, “Yeah, baybee, get your gear off – that will really help raise the profile of the No Tree, No Me campaign!”

Unfortunately the only thing being raised here (apart from the obvious gutter colloquialisms) is Rolling Stone‘s sales, which will surely go through the roof for the July issue, and not because the readership suddenly develop an environmental conscience en masse. As for the whole ‘chained to a tree’ angle, I’m having nightmare visions of PETA’s various “women = battery hens” protests.

When did naked women in bondage become the international visual slang for environmental/ethical protest? What does Miranda Kerr’s (clearly beautiful but here, completely irrelevant) naked body have to do with anything held within the pages of the Rolling Stone Green Issue? I am aware that the magazine is far from a paragon of feminist (or even just non-sexist) excellence, but this is taking things to a new low.

Am I the only one who finds this whole debacle deeply depressing?

Posted in Celebrity, Fashion, Film & Television, Media Watch, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Lewd Liberal losers

Posted by Cate on May 22, 2009

The Young Liberals are at it again with a website of photographs of ‘sexy’ Liberal women.

The purpose of the site, according to creator Tim Andrews, was to recruit more men into the Liberal Party on the basis of the calibre of its women.

“To put it simply, we have all the hot girls,” the Washington-based blogger and member of the Ashfield branch of the Young Liberals wrote.

“Well, judge for yourself. I present to you the conservative and libertarian girls of Australia!”

What followed was a gallery of University Liberal Club women, one dressed in lingerie and others in provocative poses and bikinis according to The Daily Telegraph

This reminds me of my time at University with a Liberal Party women’s officer who wanted to bring back a Miss University competition and who auctioned off the campus Women’s Room message book with the details of all the women who’d signed up for a ‘surviving rape’ workshop.

It’s a shame that the Daily Telegraph had to extend the pathetic sexism by reproducing the photographs of the women from the website.

Posted in Media Watch, Politics | 5 Comments »