4thofeleven: (Default)
Things Tony Abbott, newly elected Prime Minister, has said over the years:

"If we’re honest, most of us would accept that a bad boss is a little bit like a bad father or a bad husband … you find that he tends to do more good than harm. He might be a bad boss but at least he’s employing someone while he is in fact a boss." - 2002

"I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak." - 2009

"I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons" - 2010

"Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia." - 2010

"Climate change is absolute crap" - 2010

"Now, I know that there are some Aboriginal people who aren’t happy with Australia Day. For them it remains Invasion Day. I think a better view is the view of Noel Pearson, who has said that Aboriginal people have much to celebrate in this country’s British Heritage." - 2010

"There may not be a great job for them [Aborigines] but whatever there is, they just have to do it, and if it’s picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done." - 2010

But, hey, at least he'll stop the boats, right?
4thofeleven: (Default)
SWEDEN'S largest toy chain has pictured boys holding baby dolls and girls playing with swords and guns in its Christmas catalogue.
-
The Age

That this would be suprising enough to be worth reporting on in the modern world is... just plain depressing.
4thofeleven: (Default)
Julia Gillard calls Abbott on his mysoginy, double standards, and general ass-holery

Hopefully people will listen to this, and Abbott's pathetic attempts to improve his image with women without ever altering his nasty attitudes or behavior will be seen as the sham they are...
4thofeleven: (Default)
So here’s an interesting thing: the new DC comics reboot of Wonder Woman has made some… changes to the Amazons. Normally an idealistic utopia of immortals focused to a greater or lesser degree on consensual bondage, the Amazons now...

…go to sea every once in a while to force men to procreate with them. When they are done with the unsuspecting sailors, they murder them and dump their bodies overboard. Nine months later, some have daughters and are very happy while the rest give up their sons to be sold into slavery…(link)

So, yeah, bit of a change in theme there.


What’s interesting is that this is, apparently, part of a storyline that tries to bring the elements of Greek mythology that have always vaguely been in the background of the comic back to the forefront. Except.

Well, except that’s not how the Amazons reproduced in mythology. In Greek mythology, traditionally the Amazons had a deal worked out with an all-male tribe, the Gargareans. Every year or so, they met up, had lots of sex, and any male children from the last year would be turned over to their fathers to be raised by them. That’s it. No murder, no rape, nothing like that at all.

I find it faintly astonishing that the ancient Greeks – the ancient Greeks – could conceive of an all-female society existing that wasn’t determined to go out and kill all the menz, but that a twenty-first century western comic writer apparently can’t.
4thofeleven: (Default)
I have to say, I was pretty disappointed with this book. I haven’t read much Gaiman, but there’s a fair amount of overlap between fans of his work and fans of things I’m into, and Anansi Boys has gotten pretty much universally good reviews, so I was rather looking forward to it when I saw it on the assigned reading list this semester.

Here’s the problems I had. One, race. A lot of reviews make a big deal out of how the book handles race, and to be fair, it is nice to see a fantasy narrative where the protagonist is a black man of Caribbean ancestry. It’s also kind of clever that Gaiman doesn’t mention character’s race unless they’re white. On the other hand, I’m not sure if it’s necessarily praiseworthy to have written a book with an almost entirely black cast in which it seems most readers completely missed that aspect on their first reading. The book seems to almost go out of its way to avoid racial issues – a particularly bizarre example is the British police officer of Ethiopian and Korean ancestry who feels there’s a distance between her and the other officers she works with… because she focuses mainly on computer crimes.

I also found it a little dubious that the scenes in Britain were all in a fairly realistic London, while the scenes in the Caribbean are set on a fictitious island, the people of which are played mainly for laughs.

Two, storytelling. I felt the narrative rather wasted its concepts. Early on, it raises the idea of storytelling and who controls stories through the myth of Anansi stealing control of stories and by doing so turning stories of brute strength into stories of tricksters. Except this isn’t really a trickster story, rather it’s the story of the ordinary man who discovers he’s a prince and through overcoming adversity grows into his power – which is, if anything, the complete opposite of trickster stories which are about the proud trickster acquiring things or power that he has no innate right to, and often ending up humbled as much as his enemies in the process. Anansi himself ends up almost a footnote in the story, and really, the story wouldn’t have changed much if the protagonist had instead found out his father was really a Jedi Knight.

Three, and most importantly, the issues I had with the role of women in the story. This is pretty much the main reason I ended the book with a negative impression. The other two issues aren’t really problems so much as missed potential and the book is well written and generally entertaining. But there’s one bit that I felt was so badly handled that it completely threw off my enjoyment of the rest of the book. See, the main character, Charlie, has a brother Spider. Spider’s much more in tune with his semi-divine nature, to the point that people believe things he says just because he said them. So, at one point, Charlie’s too hung-over to go to work, and Spider decided to impersonate him for the day so he doesn’t get in trouble – said impersonation consisting entirely of walking up to people and saying confidently “I’m Charlie.” Now, Charlie has a fiancé, Rosie. You see where this is going, right?

So, yeah, Rosie sleeps with Spider thinking he’s Charlie. Just in case this wasn’t dubious enough, it’s already been established that Rosie and Charlie aren’t sleeping together; she’s intending to save it for when they’re married. So just in case it wasn’t bad enough that she wouldn’t have consented to sleep with Spider if she’d known who he was, she apparently wouldn’t have normally consented to sleep with him even if he was who he claimed to be!

Not only does the narrative not seem to realise this is a rape scenario, it doesn’t seem to recognise that there’s anything dubious about the situation at all – or when it does, the main focus is on how humiliated Charlie feels. And then, just in case the whole scenario wasn’t leaving a bad enough taste in my mouth as it was, it then goes on to have Rosie come to the realisation she never really loved Charlie in the first place, and then gets together with Spider, with an epilogue detailing that they’re happily married.

Throw in the fact that this otherwise light-hearted, vaguely Douglas Adams-esque novel also features bizarrely mood-breaking scenes where a woman is murdered or where two female characters are locked in a meat locker for at least a day by the murderer while he decides how best to dispose of the bodies… throw in that the only goddess in the story is the main villain, yet is still characterised as primarily a scavenger, a subordinate to a male figure who has power in his own right, and, well, like I said, the whole thing left a very bad taste in my mouth.

Anyone else read the book and felt the same? I was a little surprised not to be able to find a single review or discussion that mentioned these issues even in passing.
4thofeleven: (Default)
So, has everyone heard about this shitstorm-in-the-making? Basically, EA games have come up with the perfect way to promote their new Dante’s Inferno game at ComiCon: Run a competition centred on the theme of Sexual Harassment Lust!

It’s simple – simply take a photo with one of their booth babes, submit it, and you could win a copy of the game and dinner with the babes! And by ‘one of their booth babes’ I mean ‘any booth babe.’ And by ‘booth babe’… well, if they’re not limiting it to their own employees, presumably any woman at the convention is potentially fair game. And by ‘take a photo’… well, their phrasing was ‘commit an act of lust’.

So, hey, how could that possibly go horribly horribly wrong?!

Seriously, forget the fact that someone decided good publicity for a game was to run a variant of the Open Source Boobs idea, how the hell did this even get past EA’s own legal department? Surely someone should have noticed that the phrasing (‘commit an act of lust’ seems to imply far more than just ‘take a photo next to the woman’) and the fact that they’re encouraging harassing women outside their own stall is just asking for trouble.

Alright, say EA games do actually have some sort of clue as to what they’re doing, and are deliberately courting controversy with no intention of actually holding the competition. Two problems: one, a controversial game tends to promote itself through in game content. Grand Theft Auto gets publicity through violent gameplay, not because Rockstar employees run people over in real life. Two – Dante’s Inferno doesn’t actually look like a very good game; it's not a major release, it's a cheap attempt to cash in on God of War. It’s counterproductive to try and get a small boost in publicity for such a minor game if it involves a promotional campaign so repulsive as to permanently turn off a large number of people from your company.

Well, hey, the people turned off by this sort of crap aren’t the sort of people likely to buy video games anyway, right? I mean, everyone knows girls don’t play computer games! Right?

EA Games’ biggest money-maker is The Sims series.

It’s like a fractal of stupidity.
4thofeleven: (Default)
(via [livejournal.com profile] sunnyskywalker ) Feminist SF – The Blog posts “I will not die for your amusement” regarding an upcoming dire-looking film “Lesbian Vampire Killers”. That’s killers of lesbian vampires, not vampire killers who are lesbians*, which would be a no doubt superior film.

Hell, check the trailer – you could write a book just on the social issues involved there. Where to start? The heroes are, of course, both men. We get lots of women kissing each other for the titillation factor – but, you know, it’s the result of an evil curse, because as we all know, women exist purely for male entertainment. It’s fine if they make out with each other for our amusement, but you wouldn’t want that to be an actual relationship, now would you?

Fortunately, our heroes are there to decapitate the evil feminist vampire ringleaders and save the women from the nightmarish fate of not having sex with men. It’s a light-hearted comedy romp, and what’s more comedic that the bloody killing of historically persecuted groups? Nothing!

Hell, ignore those horrific implications – and that’s pretty much all this movie looks like it has to offer – and there’s still not much of value here. The writers no doubt feel that ‘lesbian vampires’ is an outlandish enough idea that it makes for comedy gold on its own. Except… well, Carmilla predates Dracula by quarter of a century. 'Dracula’s Daughter' came out only five years after the Lugosi Dracula film. Lesbian vampires are about as outlandish as vampires that avoid the sign of the cross.

There’s no actual comedic idea here, because the plot’s basically just a replay of an established horror movie trope; the identification of the monstrous others as gay. You could do a parody, exaggerating and mocking the plot and concept of the lesbian vampire sub-genre, but somehow I doubt that’s what’s going on here. Let’s face it, the people who made this film aren’t interested in examining the genre even at the most basic level required for a parody – they just want low-level lesbian titillation presented in a context that’s still completely non-threatening to male power. And then they call it a comedy so they can brush of any criticism by saying “lighten up.”

Christ, at least traditional horror films were at least willing to stand by their – often nauseatingly reactionary – work, not try and have their cake and dismiss it as parody at the same time…


* Movie idea – Vampires live in the Balkans, right? The Greek islands are kinda in the Balkans if you squint, right? So Lesbos logically would have vampires. Or Lamia or striges or whatever, doesn't matter. Alright, so they’re preying on the poet Sappho’s students, and she and the surviving students have to track them down and stop them. It’s Xena crossed with Buffy; can’t fail!
4thofeleven: (Default)
Brief story on the news about the election in Bangladesh, and it occurred to me to wonder: Has there ever been an election in a western nation where both major candidates were women?

I continue to find it faintly embarrassing that no major Australian political party has ever had a woman as leader…
4thofeleven: (HK-47)

Bleh.

“AUSTRALIA'S anti-slavery laws could be interpreted in a way that netted employers who exploit workers, High Court justice Michael Kirby has warned…

…Justice Kirby was part of a full bench of the High Court hearing an appeal against the conviction of a Melbourne woman on 10 slavery-related charges...

…[She] was convicted by a County Court jury of having possessed and used as slaves five Thai women she imported to work as prostitutes.

The women were told they had debts of up to $45,000 to work off, which would involve servicing up to 900 men. The prosecution alleged their passports were taken away, they were denied freedom of movement, and had to work six days a week for no payment other than reduction of the "debt"…

…Justice Kirby said it would be naive "if we did not keep in the back of our mind that there are very large movements of populations in the world today, including of commercial sex workers … who do so for economic advancement, and that is just part of the reality of the world we live in"….

…[he] said that when he was an articled clerk there were many elements of his employment that were "very similar to slavery: long hours, lack of food and various forms of oppression. But no one would have said it was slavery.”

Presumably while he was an articled clerk he moonlighted as a prostitute in a foreign country without a passport and completely dependant on the owners of the brothel who did not permit him to leave. Because otherwise that would be an utterly ridiculous and repugnant comparison to make, right?

Yes, sex trafficking is ‘part of the reality of the world we live in.’ It’s still illegal in this country to keep people as… well, Mr. Kirby doesn’t think ‘slave’ applies. Indentured servants, then? Serfs? Whatever, it’s pretty fucking disgusting, and the fact that it’s a lot more common than we’d like doesn’t mean we turn a blood blind eye to it, or start worrying about supposed slippery slopes that would result from actually enforcing the anti-slavery laws.

This isn’t about someone being paid under the table or working shitty hours or being screwed in their entitlements. This is about someone who intentionally forced five women to work as prostitutes for no pay, with no freedom, with no way of getting out of this situation. There’s no excuses for this, even if the women were desperate enough to initially agree to this bullshit.

Bleh.

4thofeleven: (Regret This!)

So, the Breast thing.

It’s been all over my friends list, and probably all over yours too. All the witty things have already been said, but if the internet’s for anything, it’s for throwing out your own unasked-for opinions, so here’s mine…

See, here’s the thing. I’m a guy, I can’t speak on behalf of women in general, and I don’t want to sound like one of those guys that claims to totally understand someone else’s oppression because of some trivial pain he once suffered… but I can speak for my own experiences, and why I personally found the whole open source groping idea pretty offensive.

Now, see, I’ve got pretty long hair – longer than shoulder length. And because we’re not ancient Spartans – who considered long hair the symbol of a free man – a lot of people assume I’m a woman if they can only see the back of my head. And sometimes it’s kinda funny, like when other guys toot their horns at me when I’m walking down the street, only to realise when they pass me that they’ve tooted at *gasp, horror* another man!

And sometimes it’s not so fun, like when some guy tries to grab my ass in a pub, or when it’s some drunk lunatic on the train late at night and I don’t know whether to turn around and let him see I’m a guy and take my chances on how he’ll react, or let him continue making obscene comments at the back of my head.

And I’m not saying this sort of stuff happens all the time to me, but it’s not exactly rare either. And it would probably be more common, except I don’t go to pubs very often, and I try not to ride the trains late at night. And, of course, this can only happen in situations when other guys can only see the back of my head, and can’t hear my voice. So I’m assuming actual women have to go through this shit ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

So, you know, here’s the point that [info]theferrett manages to completely miss, because he’s either a pod-person from Mars, completely oblivious of the nature and history of gender relations among us Earth-people, or, more likely, because he just didn’t think about things from anyone’s perspective but his own: See, he sees the problem as “I’m not touching enough breasts”. Fair enough, it’s a problem I can relate to. What he somehow failed to realise while he was excitedly telling the entire internet about his brilliant new solution to the world’s sexual problems is that, well, for most women, they’re probably not going to see the problem as being “Not enough people are touching my breasts.” 

And the problem sure as hell isn’t "Groping women isn’t being encouraged enough in public places.”

4thofeleven: (Kreia)
...for forty-eight hours.

That's right, for the first time in Australia's history, a woman will be head of government! Acting head of government. While parliament's still in recess. While the real head of government's overseas.

Still, progress! And just think of all the young women out there who can be inspired to believe that, someday, they too could grow up to become acting Prime Minister of Australia! Oh yes, a mere hundred years after federation, we're really making progress here!

*sigh*

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