Tag Archives: metoo

Men may be angry. Women are furious.

The last week has been dominated by the Gillette ad about toxic masculinity causing “men’s rights activists” to flail around in meltdown mode. They’re angry at some perceived assault on males and masculinity. They blame feminazis for their emasculation because they can’t be nice to women anymore. Me Too is a witch hunt bent on ruining people’s lives. They’re angry because NOT ALL MEN. If only those hysterical women had a real man to shut her up or put her in her place. What’s happening to this PC world where snowflakes are causing a blizzard? It’s a scary time to be a man.

They’re angry.

Here’s something for those man-babies to chew on. They may be angry. But women? We’re furious.

We’re furious because every single day we live with the very real threat of assault and violence, evidenced yet again by the latest murder. How it pains me to write those words.

In case anyone is unsure of what toxic masculinity actually is, please take a few minutes to watch this rather brilliant video explaining. Don’t worry, it’s a man talking, not a hysterical woman too emotional to understand. Go ahead. Watch it. I’ll wait.

I promise it’s worth your time

Finished? Good. So we’re all on the same page about what toxic masculinity is. Now let’s talk about the senseless tragedy this week.

Aiia Maasarwe, 22 years old, deeply intelligent, on an exchange student program to La Trobe University in Melbourne. On her way home Tuesday night she was stalked, attacked and murdered. Her body was found metres from the tram stop. Many details are still unknown but it’s clear she was also sexually assaulted and the police have described the situation as “horrendous, horrific, random, opportunistic”. An arrest has been made, and given how quickly investigators have moved and asked so strongly for public help, the violence speaks for itself.

She was talking on the phone to her sister at the time. Just trying to get home. Doing nothing wrong. Simply targeted by a random man who saw her and felt entitled to satisfy his evil lust. Rape is never about sex. It’s about power. Domination. Anger. And further evidencing toxic masculinity, the MRAs/incels have derisively “joked” that maybe the offender should have watched the Gillette ad.

Excuse me while I go throw up.

If your first reaction to a woman being raped and killed is to wail “NOT ALL MEN DO THIS DON’T TAR US ALL WITH THE SAME BRUSH YOU BITCHES WANT TO DEMONISE MEN”, your priorities as a human being SUCK. If you’re more concerned about your own feelings that the women attacked all around the world, you are part of the problem. Make no mistake, this IS the reaction of many to Aiia Maasarwe’s case and countless others. Meninists who’ve been ‘red pilled’ and their nauseating female defenders have taken to their keyboards to play the victims and somehow make this and other acts of violence against women all about them. How egotistical. Usually these guys claim they have daughters, wives, mothers. They insist they’d always step in against sexism. But any woman will tell you, so often they don’t. In fact, they’ll laugh at the “joke” about her body. High five a mate. Join in with the wolf whistling. Egg each other on.

Even worse is when an offender is described as a “good bloke” or having had his life ruined by a mistake. There was no end to such nonsense in the Brock Turner case. He was portrayed as a promising swimmer, an aspiring Olympian. His family and friends wrote glowing character references, lamenting how his life was now forever altered, painting him as the real victim while not sparing one iota of thought for the young woman he assaulted behind a dumpster. Geoff Hunt of Lockhart who murdered his 41 year old wife and their three children aged 6, 8 and 10 before turning the gun on himself was sympathised with because of his wife’s disability. And in 2018 when a grandfather killed his wife, daughter and his four grandchildren was again applauded as a great guy. A Good Bloke doesn’t murder people in cold blood or from some delusion that its better this way. These men are not pushed into anything. They are not pressured. They do not snap. They make a choice to end lives which they have no right whatsoever to do.

Not, it is not all men who behave this way. But it’s enough of them who do and enough of them who stay silent.

It’s enough of them that one woman is killed every week by a current or former partner.

It’s enough that 1 in 5 Australian women have experienced sexual violence.

It’s enough that there were millions of #metoo hashtags around the world.

It’s enough that Dr Christine Blasey-Ford is still unable to return to work because of hate mail and vicious death threats after bravely testifying to the US Senate.

It’s enough that every single woman has at least one story of a time she was attacked, demeaned, threatened, made to feel unsafe. From a terrifyingly young age.
You know how old I was the first time I recall a man making me feel uncomfortable?

Five years old.

Maybe he didn’t mean it. Maybe he was just being nice. Maybe I overreacted. But I have never forgotten the squirming of my stomach when a grown male kissed my hand and spent the rest of the day hovering while I was trying to read.

I’ve been followed by strangers on the street. Sometimes in broad daylight. Shockingly common for women. And that’s just the times I’ve noticed it. It’s entirely possible that I’ve been followed and haven’t realised. I’ve been groped. Touched. Threatened. Leered at. Catcalled (started when I was wearing high school uniforms). Propositioned. Had my path blocked. Guys asking me for my number and not handling it when I said I wasn’t single (because guys usually respect women if they’re already ‘owned’ by a man). Responses range from “Doesn’t matter. You’ll give it to me anyway,” or the classic “What, your boyfriend doesn’t let you have friends?”). I know women who’ve been threatened when refusing to give their number. Or given a fake number only to have the guy immediately call it to make sure it’s real. People pressuring me to start dating again, berating me for not wanting to. Because it’s not like I have a choice or anything, right?

From pop culture to reality, women are urged to always be smiling, available, ready to throw ourselves at the feet of white knights who pay us ‘compliments’ in the form of harassment. Blamed for ‘friend zoning’ Mr Nice Guy. Give that creepy guy a chance but if he rapes you, why did you put yourself in that situation. Dress for the pleasure of men but you’re at fault for leading them on with your clothing. Don’t be so paranoid about men wanting to attack you but for God’s sake keep an eye on your drink, and don’t walk alone. Don’t be anywhere alone. Make eye contact because otherwise you’re a bitch but how dare you lead me on with politeness and basic human decency? Here’s my Nice Guy card with eight loyalty stamps. Let’s get into bed because you owe me. If you are raped or assaulted report it straight away because waiting even a moment means it’s all made up to get money and fame from some poor man who has so much to live for. But we still won’t believe you because you drank alcohol at 18 and once had consensual sex with another person. If you come forward later why didn’t you say something sooner? It can’t have been that bad. And make sure there’s plenty of witnesses but how are they reliable because of this feminist conspiracy against men? Don’t be a prude but don’t you dare have sex because that proves you’re a whore who was asking for it. Remember to keep yourself safe but how can you be so paranoid. Do absolutely everything you can to protect yourself but please don’t be obvious about it because the poor men have such fragile egos.

It’s toxic masculinity that means women have to constantly be aware of their surroundings and alter their schedule in the name of safety. It’s toxic masculinity that led Elliot Rodger to shoot 20 people because he felt entitled to sex. It’s toxic masculinity that means the worst way to insult a man is by calling him a girl. It’s toxic masculinity that I witnessed when a male customer reduced his 3 year old son to tears for wanting to play with a bug catching net at my old retail job (“You want to be a girl?!? You aren’t playing with girl toys!”). It’s toxic masculinity that means male victims of domestic violence and sexual assault are forgotten because women are too weak and pathetic to ever be a threat to anyone.

Women are tired. So are the truly good men out there who support females. I am tired. Devastated. Furious. We cannot live our lives without the threat of assault, violence and murder. Which we are then blamed for.

We know men are better than this. We know the the patriarchy hurts men too. But if we say it we’re hysterical man-hating feminazi snowflakes who don’t know what we’re talking about.

My heart is breaking for Aiia Maasarwe, her family and the other women who experience this kind of violence. She is now another name on a tragic list.

Virginia Morse. Anita Cobby. Samantha Knight. Sian Kingi. Janine Balding. Leigh Leigh. Leanne Holland. Karmein Chan. Sheree Beasley. Ebony Simpson. Karen McKenzie and her three children. Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer, Ciara Glennon. Lauren Barry and Nichole Collins. Maria Korp. Jill Meagher. Masa Vukotic. Stephanie Scott. Eurydice Dixon.

Men may be angry. But women are furious. And we aren’t going to stay quiet any longer.

#metoo

August 2016

The Old Fitz Hotel Theatre, Sydney. My second attempt at watching Low Level Panic. A few weeks previously, my first viewing had ended at intermission when I had suddenly come down with a virus. But here I was again, this time ready to see Act 2. Low Level Panic by Clare McIntyre is a powerful masterpiece of theatre showcasing the subtle ways sexism bleeds into society.
As the first act concluded, I turned to ask my companion if he wanted a drink. Instead, I was greeted with the sight of tears streaming down his face.
“What’s wrong?” I was alarmed at this display of emotion. He was crying so hard I had to lead him outside.
“Have I ever made a woman feel like that? Have I ever made YOU feel like that?” He was nearly hysterical.

~

Every woman knows the feeling. A man who just won’t take no for an answer.  Who lingers, leers, follows, gropes, touches, makes some crude remark, licks his lips, asks how much you are…I could go on. And as always, every single time you get harassed or assaulted, it’s the same questions/statements we’ve heard a million times.
What were you wearing?
You must have led him on.
That’s just how guys are.
Lighten up.
How much were you drinking?
Learn to take a compliment.
Come on, you aren’t going to turn him down are you?
Give him a chance.
You were asking for it.
Well what did you think was going to happen?
You shouldn’t have been there/done that.
You’re lying.
You’re just trying to ruin his life.
Have you thought about what this could mean for him?

Even though I have never been raped, I’ve still heard a number of those things. Like every female who has ever existed past present and future, I’ve been hurt by men. I’ve woken up to sexually explicit messages or pictures from strangers.  The last time I dared look at my Others folder on Facebook, there were countless propositions. I’ve been leered at. I’ve been followed by men, sometimes in pairs. In August this year I had my path blocked by a male who later tracked me down at my day job. Just a few days ago, I was doing a corporate event dressed as Elsa with sleazy middle aged men asking for hugs, for me and my female coworker to come do the housework. Guys have made me their little conquest mission to take my virginity. Men have told me I can’t possibly be the manager at work and is there a man they can speak to instead? I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times men have yelled out “SMILE!”
And of course, I’m an actress/singer. An industry rampant with this sort of behaviour as we’ve seen with Harvey Weinstein and countless other disgusting individuals. Without naming anybody, I did my first professional show at 21. During the callbacks, girls were made to give lap dances to the boys. I am not making that up. I never knew lap dances were the way to tell if you can sing, dance and convincingly portray a character. But apparently, that’s considered appropriate behaviour for directors!

The first time I remember a man making me feel uncomfortable, I was about 5. It was someone I’d never met. He kissed my hand and told me how pretty I was. I didn’t even know how to react but I remember feeling scared and embarrassed.
Since then, it’s happened more times than I can count. But here’s my highlight reel, for lack of a better word.

I’m 9. A boy from school chases me around the McDonald’s playground, pins me down and says he wants to kiss me. I kick him off and get away.

I’m 12. My creepy teacher is always trying to get me alone in the classroom with him. Then he invites me to lean against his chest. I say no.

I’m 14. Walking home from school. A group of about ten boys from my class swarm around me in a tight circle. They ask me what my vagina looks like. About my clitoris. About all the boys I’m supposedly sleeping with. Would I ever sleep with them? I’m a desperately shy virgin. Male teacher laughs and tells the boys not to do that again.

I’m 15. Wearing a school uniform. A middle aged tradie wolf whistles at me while he drives by.

I’m 16. A boy in science class gropes me, then follows me onto the school bus and does it again.

I’m 18. A boy at school slips his hand down my uniform and starts sliding my bra off. When I push him away he replies coyly that he’s “Just keeping his hands warm.”

I’m 19. While working, a group of boys in their early twenties point at me and ask my male coworker “Can you ask that girl to show some breast?”

I’m 20. A man slows his car down and shrieks “I’d f*** you!” at me as I walk down the street.

The boy I’ve been dating for almost eighteen months breaks up with me because “Women need to provide sex for men,” and I wasn’t ready.

I’m at my friend’s 21st birthday party. Her grandfather makes a pass at me. Later on he comes to find me and rubs himself against my body. He laughs. People at the party wave it off as him being a dirty old man.

I’m involved in filming a music video. The producer reaches for my chest asking where my boobs are because I’m the only one on the shoot wearing a high necked top.

I’m 21. The only passenger on the bus. The middle-aged driver doesn’t open the door at my stop. He tells me I’m hot. I have to ask him to let me out.

I’m 23. My 46 year old co-worker asks about my sex life. I ask him to stop. He calls me a bitch. He tells me I need to start having sex to get the dicks out of my brain and into my life. I’m called the perpetrator.

A random stranger comes up to me at the train station while I’m reading a book and hugs me. I have to shove him off. He giggles “I like hugging people”. It’s reported, but never followed up.

I’m 24 and trying on swimwear. An old man walks over and asks if he can take over the fitting. The older sales assistant starts lamenting my generation and how we don’t like “those comments” anymore.

I’m walking around the shopping centre/mall dressed as a Christmas Elf for work. A man slips his hand up my skirt.

The #metoo hashtag is surging on social media right now, but this is far from the first time sexual harassment and assault has come into the public eye in the last two years. There was the Stanford case where Brock Turner was given a ridiculously light sentence for sexual assault because he can swim. Prominent members of the entertainment industry have been exposed for the predators they are, predictably leading to shrieks of “THOSE WOMEN ARE LYING”. America currently has an orange self-proclaimed sexual predator in the White House and he of course has no end of defenders in his conduct towards women. This is a man who openly treats women like objects to be defiled and played with, who bragged about sexual assault in that revolting Access Hollywood tape (his victims were mocked with the hashtag #nextfaketrumpvictim), who dismisses women as gold diggers and still became President of the United States. Remind me again how accusations of sexual misconduct will ruin a man’s career? God help us.
Domestic violence is rampant in Australia. One woman every week is killed by a current or former partner and people just shrug and ask “Why didn’t they just leave?”
And of course, everyday sexism is screaming from all directions. We all saw the ridiculous carry-on when Jodie Whittaker was announced as the first female Dr Who. Female politicians are constantly questioned first and foremost on motherhood and fashion choices. Any woman who dares express an opinion online or try to do a job in a “man’s industry” is met with jokes, threats of rape/death and an order to make sandwiches. I’ll probably get a few for writing this blog.

Women have put up with this since the dawn of time and we’re all over it. Instead of teaching girls to not give men the wrong signals or how to prevent being raped, we should be teaching boys how to respect women. Enough is enough.
And yes I know, #notallmen and all that jazz. But if your reaction to any mention of sexism, rape, violence against women or the concept of mansplaining causes you to go into a foaming rage, maybe it’s time to take a look at yourself and think, “Does this make me sound like a Grade A douchebag?”
Catcalling is not a compliment. It’s not funny. It’s threatening and intimidating and it is NEVER ok.

Ladies, keep talking about this. It’s not acceptable in any situation. It was wrong in the 50s and it’s wrong in 2017. Men, call out your friends and co-workers. Be a man and treat females with respect. Not because you have a mother/sister/daughter, but because we’re all human.

And this may come as a shock to the faceless morons on the Internet, but that includes women.