The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Posts Tagged ‘idiots’

Kyle Sandilands: “Rape Happens”

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 30, 2009

As Caitlin yesterday noted, Kyle and Jackie O – and, by extension, 2Day FM – have been embroiled in a particularly distasteful “scandal” after a 14-year-old girl they cornered (at the request of her mother) and forced to take a lie-detector test live on radio yesterday revealed she’d been raped at the age of 12 – to which Sandilands’ response was “Right… and is that the only [sexual] experience you’ve had?”

On today’s show – and via the News Ltd stable – Sandilands and Jackie O have responded to the fury that rightly exploded within both the media and broadcasting industry and from rape counsellors, and child psychologists (and, and…). Prepare yourself to be enraged/appalled/mind-blown by Sandilands’ defense of his behaviour on-air (emphasis mine):

“It is just one of [those] things, unfortunately rape happens in society.”

Incredible. Not only has the poor girl had her rape revealed on live radio (and then played and replayed on various media sites) – not to mention being in the “care” of a mother who evidently knew about the rape but did nothing about it, and forced her to discuss her sexual activity and drug use on live radio – but now she has Sandilands essentially shrugging and saying “shit happens”.

No, Kyle, it’s not just “one of those things” – and I dread to think where we’ll end up as a society if people think that “rape happens”. Get this idiot off the air, NOW.

Update: tigtog from over at Hoyden About Town has set up a comprehensive site, Sack Kyle & Jackie O, which offers all the background information you need on the debacle, plus instructions as to how to lodge a complaint – the latter being particularly important, as ACMA won’t formally investigate 2Day FM over the matter unless written complaints are sent to the broadcaster first.


Posted in Celebrity, Film & Television, Media Watch, Parenting & Family, Sex Crimes, sexual assault, violence against women | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

What Makes Perez Hilton The #1 Gossip Blogger? Oh, Comparing Women To Dogs

Posted by Clem Bastow on January 29, 2009

I have been planning a long-form post for some time regarding the gratuitous sexism, fattism, misogyny and – yes – homophobia of Perez Hilton, and I will eventually get around to it. In the meantime, have a look at his most recent effort to inform his millions of readers:


How do you think that woman and her family felt when millions of people saw her compared to a whelping bitch?

When The Dawn Chorus first launched, we received some flak about our occasional-to-regular focus on sexism within the media and, in particular, in popular culture (i.e. the “celebrity” realm).

But what bothers me about this ‘ignore it and it will go away’ stance is that it turns a blind eye to the casual sexism that tells Hilton’s many readers (a high percentage of them female) that it’s okay to call women whores, sluts, fatties, homewreckers and, yes, dogs. Bear in mind that this is a man heralded by many major media outlets, syndicated across commercial radio and tabloid magazines, and even given publishing and A&R contracts, all based on his “work” on his infamous gossip blog. His is one of the biggest blogs out there; he is ranked highly in lists of influential web entities by Forbes and Time Magazine. He has made millions from his “brand”.

Obviously the appeal of is its very shabby bitchiness – so is a great deal of material online – but when will the major media wake up and realise exactly what it is they’re supporting?

Posted in Blog Watch, body image, Celebrity, Film & Television, Media Watch | Tagged: , , , , | 11 Comments »

Pregnant Woman Stripsearched In QLD Bottleshop

Posted by Clem Bastow on January 29, 2009

We hope you’ll forgive the infrequent posting this week; all but one of the Chorus are based in Melbourne and we’re currently in the middle of a 100-year heatwave! It’s not condusive to particularly rational or eloquent thought, but I could certainly tell heat-stress from pure rage when I read this story this morning: a woman, eight months pregnant, has been forced to undergo a stripsearch – in full public view – in a Queensland bottleshop after staff became suspicious that she was shoplifting:

A 40-year old Ipswich woman, who was eight-and-a-half months’ pregnant, was forced to lift her shirt after being wrongly accused of shoplifting at the Springfield Lakes 1st Choice Liquor store on Monday.

The woman, who was taking her time with her purchase, was buying a birthday present for a friend.

The distraught woman was told if she refused the search in full view of other customers, police would be called.


Queensland Consumer Watch spokesman and Ipswich Councillor Paul Tully described the incident as totally appalling and an invasion of individual rights.

“This is a matter for the police, not voyeurs working in liquor stores forcing pregnant women to undertake partial strip searches in front of other beady-eyed customers,” he said.

Incredible! The store’s feeble excuse for the gross invasion of privacy was that there had been an incident a week or so earlier when a shoplifter posed as a pregnant woman in order to cart out stolen goods.

I’m completely zonked from heat right now and my knowledge of the intricacies of Queensland law in these instances is limited; can any Sunshine State readers shed any light on whether this is even legal?

Posted in Media Watch, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Note To The Morning After Pill Isn’t An Anti-Depressant

Posted by Clem Bastow on December 17, 2008

Gotta love a bit of braindead photo editing in a major news source: today’s (and, presumably, its accompanying News Ltd papers) have run a story regarding the latest study by Women’s Health Australia that has suggested depression (and the accompanying use of anti-depressants) is “rife” amongst Australia’s young women. It’s a concerning trend; as the piece notes:

The search for answers in prescription medicines has had young women making about seven claims for anti-depressants a year against the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and spending $113 a year out of their own pockets on treatment.

They reported higher rates of depression (18 per cent) than women aged 53 to 58 (13 per cent) and those aged 79 to 84 (10 per cent).

So what do the champs at (not known for its particularly shining feminist credentials when it comes to reporting on women’s health, reproductive rights and/or issues of choice) do with the story? Well, everyone knows stories are boring unless they have pretty pictures, so they trundle over to AP to grab a shot of some “pills” (because, you know, anti-depressants = pill popping, or something):

Except, what’s that in the anonymous (and seemingly male) hand? Why, it’s the ‘morning-after pill’, Levonelle!


Seriously, it’d be a stretch to suggest that someone in the photo room is trying to subliminally imply that women are depressed because they’re sleeping around and using emergency contraception, but feminist conspiracy theories aside – is it too much to ask for a bit of care in both reporting and illustrating of stories, particularly when the issues they are illustrating are a cause for concern? Oh, you know, I guess it’s just chicks’ news – no one will notice!

Posted in Media Watch, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Zoo Weekly Wants You To Have A Hand Shandy Over These Hot Murdered Models

Posted by Clem Bastow on December 5, 2008

Sometimes in the blogosphere it feels like there is a statute of limitations on the timeliness of reblogs, but when I stumbled upon a post by feminist blogger (and D&D enthusiast!) Crimitism via su’s comment at Hoyden, I thought that despite being a week past its “blog-by” date, this absolutely had to be brought up again.

To wit: Zoo Weekly‘s feature on “hot” models who have been murdered.

(scan via Crimitism)

(scan via Crimitism)

Is a feature such as this surprising from a magazine whose website currently features a hilarious gallery (“Beer Goggles Babes!“) of “ugly” women to laugh at, or who have run competitions to win, variously, a divorce, a breast enlargement surgery for your girlfriend, or a lifetime’s supply of deodorant for Australia’s hottest feminist?

Surprising, no. Alarming, horrifying and rating off the charts in both misogyny and bad taste? Definitely. **Triggering** and generally faith-in-humanity-destroying details over the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Media Watch, Sex Crimes, Sexist Stock Photo Watch, sexual assault, violence against women | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

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.

Posted in Media Watch, violence against women | Tagged: , , , | 13 Comments »

Don’t Want Domestic Assault Charges To Hinder Your Career And Travel Prospects? How About Not Assaulting Your Partner In The First Place!

Posted by Clem Bastow on October 31, 2008

Fashion designer and sometime reality TV personality Wayne Cooper was charged with common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and stalking and intimidating his partner Sarah Marsh in June, and has today been found guilty of common assault (he had earlier pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to guilty when the other charges were dropped).

It’s always shocking and disappointing when someone who is so frequently in the public eye acts in this way, but what struck me was this kicker at the end of the article:

“We accept … that there was a hostile intent in the end and there was an assault,” [Cooper’s barrister, Ian] McClintock said.

He asked the court not to record a conviction against his client as it may hinder his travel to the United States as required by his fashion business.

That reminded me acutely of the similar denouement to the Brooke Satchwell/Matthew Newton domestic assault case, in which Newton’s assault conviction was overturned and not recorded, ostensibly because he and the defense counsel argued it was a one off, but also because it would be injurious to his career. As Acting Judge Joseph Moore said, when clearing Newton:

“If a conviction is recorded, it will continue to have a lifelong effect not only for his reputation in Australia, but also his chances overseas.

“He has suffered severe shame personally, and he feels remorse for the attention he has brought on his family and friends.”

How about the “lifelong effect” having been assaulted by the man she loved will have on his former partner?

What on earth do these decisions say to the woman involved? “Oh, yeah, we see your husband/boyfriend/partner beat you, but he’s got a career to look after, you know? Chin up”. There are enough shamefully short sentences, pointless good-behaviour bonds and, in many cases, no convictions at all when it comes to domestic violence and partner assault and rape, adding this pathetic celebrity escape clause is an insult to survivors and victims of domestic violence.

If these notable men don’t want assault convictions hampering their career travel options, why don’t they consider, you know, not assaulting their partners? I know it’s a pretty revolutionary idea, but maybe, just maybe, it’ll catch on.

Posted in Media Watch, violence against women | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Victim Of Indecent Assault Or “Drama Queen”? Don’t Ask The Defense!

Posted by Clem Bastow on October 20, 2008

Reader Estelle (congrats on being our 1000th commenter, too!) tipped us off to this mindblowing piece today: a 16-year-old girl’s victim impact statement, issued as part of the trial of her former teacher (who was handed a 15-month partially suspended sentence in July, with three months of imprisonment, for dealing indecently with the girl), has seen her labelled as a “drama queen” by the defense. But that’s not all!

[T]he Northern Territory Supreme Court judge in the case said he found parts of the 16-year-old’s statement – which she read out to Darwin Magistrates Court in July – “over the top”.

In her three-page statement, the teen victim said an incident where she was indecently touched by her former 40-year-old teacher Paul Incani had “ignited a loathing for my body” that made her want to “scratch off her skin”, leaving her with 27 self-inflicted scars and daily panic attacks.

“I have stayed alive when I wanted to die,” she said.

Justice Dean Mildren made the comment during Incani’s appeal against his three-month jail term for indecently dealing with the girl, the Northern Territory News reported.

Defence lawyer Robert Richter QC told the judge he had written the words “drama queen” when reading her statement.

If you think that’s bad, it gets worse. To provide a bit of backstory, the teacher (40-years-old) had sent her “intimate” text messages and requested she send him photos of her in her underwear, then forced her to strip and touched her indecently when they eventually met up upon his return to Darwin. Got that? Right:

Mr Richter said the incident was an “evolution of a friendship” and could be described as “pashing on”.

I’m still struggling to get my head around all this. At least the defense stopped short of saying the girl asked for it, or that she had seduced the poor, defenseless teacher who was powerless to resist her teenaged wiles.

I fail to see how labelling this poor girl, who was obviously – if her victim impact statement was three pages long! – traumatised by the experience, a “drama queen” does anything other than belittle her experience and putting legions of other victims of sexual assault off ever reporting with a view to taking their attackers to court. And why would they, if this is the sort of treatment they can expect once they get there?

Posted in Media Watch, Sex Crimes | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

“Staff Writer” To Sophie Monk: Get Your Kit Off, Tease

Posted by Clem Bastow on October 8, 2008

I wasn’t surprised that this “article” in today’s Herald Sun/ was credited to “Staff Writer”, because I sure as hell wouldn’t want my name associated with it had I been forced at gunpoint to pen it: to wit, Sophie Monk is coming back home to Australia to help launch a lingerie line she’s involved with. “Staff Writer” can’t resist a bit of old-fashioned slut-shaming mixed with some pervasive low-key misogyny.

Let’s count the moments of stinking sexism, shall we? Let’s start with the headline:

Sexy Sophie Monk keeps her shirt on

Right, because she can’t stop taking her clothes off! Tell us more, “Staff Writer”!

The blonde seems to have suddenly gone shy since posing naked for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), shooting an ad campaign for her own lingerie range (above) and filming a sex scene in TV’s Entourage and a nude romp in the flick Sex and Death 101?

Organisers of next Thursday’s Hollywood Fashion Shapes and Bodywear Collection launch at Docklands say Monk herself won’t strip to smalls from the range.

The cover-up is despite her earning a six-figure fee to spruik the brand.

(Bold emphasis mine.)

That’s the worst of it; “Staff Writer” then goes on to drool over “home-grown hottie” Alyssa Sutherland for the final few paragraphs.

So, essentially, what “Staff Writer” is saying is, jeez, Sophie, they’re paying you six-figures and you still won’t get your kit off for them? What a cocktease! Why don’t you give the men people what they want, Sophie? Hey, Sophie, I just put a $5 note in your g-string, what are you gonna do for me? (etc)

When will these morons realise that women in Monk’s position have absolutely zero responsibility to snap to and do/show whatever the media deems appropriate? How shocking that she might choose to pose naked or film a sex scene, and then stay clothed at a following event!

Posted in Celebrity, Fashion, Media Watch, Sex And Love | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Forget Sexualising Teens, Now You Can Sexualise Your Newborn!

Posted by Clem Bastow on September 12, 2008

While I usually look askance, to a certain extent, at the “sexualising our kids” debate (a lot of it is Australian Family Association-led hot air), there are times when I have to agree to file things in the “yep, that’s fucked up” file – like Heelarious’ high heels for babies, for example:

They sold their first shoes 14 weeks ago and haven’t looked back. “Oh yeah, it draws attention,” Jenelle Kulaas said. “People see them and are like, ‘Those are hilarious’.”

The booties are only made for children up to 6 months old, and the heel is squishy for safety reasons.

The shoes are the brainchild of Washington woman Britta Bacon, who thought up the idea and the brand name, “Heelarious” on her daughter’s fourth birthday.

The shoes are described as “extremely funny, completely soft shoes for babies 0-6 months designed to look like high heels.”

“That’s kind of all I could think about at her birthday party and came home and registered the website, and called Hayden,” Bacon said.

Supporters of this incredibly naff product will no doubt cry “It’s a joke, get a sense of humour!” (already boxes of the booties are being shipped to the Emmys to include in goodie bags, evidently). But I fail to see the gag.

Of all fashion and clothing items, one could argue that the high heel is – along with perhaps the corset and, if you want to go there, the bra – one of the most contentious points in discussions of gender conditioning and the perceived oppression of women. Added to that is the fact that, really, high heels are designed with sex appeal in mind and you have one unbelievably icky proposition. It’s not heelarious at all, really.

Posted in Family, Fashion, Media Watch | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »