The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Posts Tagged ‘homophobia’

Toyota Prado Campaign Doesn’t Want No Poofs Or Women ‘Round Here

Posted by Clem Bastow on September 27, 2009

Back in gender studies class at uni, momentum was regularly stopped while our lecturer explained to whinging sportoes that the patriarchy was bad for men, too – and the new Toyota Prado campaign has had me thinking precisely that for the past week. Here’s the ad, if you’ve not yet seen it:

The ‘net has been abuzz about how hilarious it is, particularly as a skewering of the myriad ‘phobias exhibited by Border Security-type television shows (xenophobia springs to mind), but that’s where it falls down for me, and all because of one of my least favourite phobias of all.

It is “funny”, much like the Snickers/Mr T ads and moments of the new VB campaign. But here’s the problem I have with it: campaigns like these (and, for a real flashback, the old Collingwood “What’s that in your locker, you big girl?” Sunsilk ad), play into your average “Aussie” person’s latent (or in many cases, not so latent) homophobia.

All that’s missing is for one of the tough boder patrol team members to use the phrase “a bit of a poofter”.

That might seem like a stretch, but it isn’t when you examine the campaign’s examples of apparent “soft” manhood (i.e. “men’s cosmetics”, “manscaping”). Much like the phrase “real women” makes my blood boil, so does implied ideals of “real manhood”, which, let’s face it – despite the presence of a few women in the ad, both on the Patrol and behind the wheel – is essentially at the core of the Prado campaign: people who drive “soft-roaders” are either not real men (in other words, potential gay men), or women (who are most certainly not real men).

We’ll keep laughing at this sort of humour in advertising because in our post-internet-slang (“Taste the future in your mouth”, “The drinking beer”, etc) and satire-drenched world, it will be shrugged off as “irony”. But isn’t it time we examined the deeper implications of such depictions of manhood, real or unreal?

Methinks it’s time for Joe Jackson’s sage meditation on gender roles to climb back up the classic hits charts for a much needed repeat airing:

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Posted in Film & Television, Media Watch, Relationships, Watching The Ad Breaks | Tagged: , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

What A Silly Murdered Lesbian!

Posted by Mel Campbell on December 12, 2008

Just now I was reading a very sad story about a woman in Yagoona, NSW, who was found dead under suspicious circumstances in a hotel where she and her lesbian partner were long-term residents. But the way the Daily Telegraph “exclusively” decided to cover the story was very dispiriting: “Dead Yagoona woman a lesbian who thought she was a man”.

Headlines like this really expose the patriarchal idea that being a man is the best thing evz, being a hot hetero woman is the next best, and being a butch lesbian – a woman who doesn’t want to fuck men, but adopts other ‘manly’ attributes – is the absolute bottom of the heap.

The story goes on to detail how the dead woman’s partner is allegedly pregnant from a one-night stand – because, y’know, lesbians secretly crave spermination – and that the dead woman “had convinced herself she was the father of the child”. What a silly lesbian! Thought she was a man – and now she’s dead! Ding-dong!

Seriously, though, the most disgusting part about this story is that way it presents lesbianism as just another one of the “grim” yet sensationalised circumstances of a woman’s death. I found this story through a link on another page that read: “Tragic delusion: Lesbian’s life and death at Snake Pit”. The Snake Pit, you see, is a bar the couple, “both heavy drinkers”, frequented. The story repeatedly juxtaposes the victim’s sexuality with the run-down surrounds of the hotel where she lived. (The latter forms a “grim scene”, which the paper has helpfully made into a photo gallery.)

It’s just shoddy, exploitative journalism. The entire angle, complete with quotes, – that the murdered woman “thought she was a man” – comes from an unnamed “friend” of the couple who spoke to the paper. Didn’t the journalist, Lauren Williams, treat this story with any skepticism or compassion at all? Perhaps she even made the whole thing up – there’s no evidence she didn’t.

I hesitate to say dismissive stuff like, “Typical Daily Telegraph tabloid crap!” because we shouldn’t allow tabloids to get away with sexist, homophobic crap just because they’re tabloids. We should demand rigorous, unbiased reportage from all newspapers: bleeding-heart broadsheets and populist rags alike.

Posted in glbt, Media Watch, violence against women | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

She Kissed Me And It Felt Like A Hit

Posted by Clem Bastow on October 10, 2008

For some time now I’ve been meaning to discuss Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl, but find the song (and its reprehensible predecessor, Ur So Gay – I hope Hilary Duff pays Perry a visit) but I find her songs so odious I haven’t been able to bring myself to get into the zone, so to speak. To listen to UR So Gay – and this is speaking as a long-term defender of pop music – is to experience the joy drain from your life like Mosquitor sucking the life-force out of He-Man, only less entertaining. (On that note, you can have a schadenfreudetastic read of this interview with Perry, conducted by TheNewGay, in which she attempts to argue that lyrics like “I hope you hang yourself with your H&M scarf” are, like, not meant to be insulting to gay men.)

Back to the topic of I Kissed A Girl, though – and fortunately, SameSame founder Tim Duggan has spurred me on with his opinion piece, “The dangers of fauxmosexuality“, in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

In interviews, Perry implies it’s just all a bit of fun. But when up to 30 per cent of teen suicides in the US are by lesbian or gay teens, it’s very a dangerous game for celebrities to play.

The gay equality movement has gradually, thankfully, started to take hold across the world. And then along comes a simple, straight singer with dollars in her eyes who takes us back to a fantasyland created by video-clip directors.

It’s time for Perry to stop kissing girls and start taking responsibility for the knock-on effect of her thoughtless lyrics.

Duggan’s piece is not the first on the topic of the apparent boom in “celesbianism”, though not many have discussed how shrewdly Perry is pitching her material not at lesbians, or even confused teens, but at men. As Jude Rogers said in the Guardian (on the topic of I Kissed A Girl and its video clip):

[…] When she says “it felt so wrong”, she’s pandering to your thoughts. And when she adds that she hopes that her “boyfriend don’t mind it”, she’s not exactly laying the groundwork for a radical lesbian revolution.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Celebrity, glbt, Media Watch, music, Sex And Love | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Is Anyone Else Sick Of Perez Hilton’s Misogynist Bullshit?

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 11, 2008

Okay, I try to limit my posts about Perez Hilton on any of my blogs (and I certainly won’t be giving him any click-through traffic), because I don’t think he needs the extra attention. But I’m just about reaching boiling point when it comes to his constant sexist, misogynist and frequently homophobic crap.

For example (from a piece on Ethan Hawke marrying his children’s former nanny):

Now, the pregnant whore has finally married Ethan in a ceremony that took place last month in New York City, as we told you, the actor’s rep has now confirmed.

Or from a piece on Jessica Biel’s Harper’s Bazaar cover:

They did manage to make her look more feminine, though, and less like a dog.

Or Rose McGowan:

The pair met and fell in love on the set of the film Grindhouse. Rodriguez was married at the time and McGowan was the homewrecker.

I don’t think I need to go on, or mention things like calling Cynthia Nixon’s partner Christine Marinoni “The Hobbit”, or Brooke Hogan “Tranny”.

As he becomes more and more famous/”powerful”, it seems there are fewer and fewer voices questioning this side of what he does.

I realise that the gossip/celebrity “news” world isn’t exactly the most right on at the best of times, but I find Perez’s dribblings particularly distasteful. It’s the gossip mags’ deal to draw hot pink arrows pointing to “cellulite” (and so on), but Perez takes it to a different, far more alarming level. I find Perez’s constant use of terms like “bitch”, “dog”, “slut”, “fag”, “whore” and “homewrecker” abhorrent. Naturally the comments on each of his scribblings degenerate into a cesspit of hate speech and viciousness.

It would be very interesting to do a ‘word cloud’ of perezhilton.com and see how many times those sorts of sexist/homophobic terms came up. Fairly regularly, I’d predict.

Am I the only one who feels like this?

Posted in Blog Watch, Celebrity | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »