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Guest post: Swipe right for sexism

Written By: - Date published: 4:00 pm, October 21st, 2016 - 22 comments
Categories: feminism, newspapers, sexism - Tags: , , ,

Originally posted at Tangerina.

This is in response to an earlier column Society, not rugby, needs to change its culture by Peter Jackson, Editor of the Northland Age. 

tinder

Mr Jackson is right; society does need to change its culture. Rugby doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it’s played and managed by people. Imperfect people, impressionable people, people who will read Peter Jackson’s column and think too right! when he says that a player was “unable to control his testosterone”, or that a recent victim of alleged murder at the hands of her Tinder date knowingly “placed herself in a position where she was in jeopardy of coming to serious harm”.

Unfortunately, and somewhat ironically, Peter Jackson’s column is a product of the exact culture it’s admonishing: A culture which says rugby players should be more ashamed for hiring a stripper than allegedly assaulting her, a culture that questions whether a woman who was allegedly strangled and locked on a 14th story balcony while she begged to go home was complicit in her own death, and a culture which tut-tuts at Aaron Smith having sex in a public bathroom but doesn’t raise an eyebrow at the couple who waited outside, recording the incident on their cell phone.

This societal change is well overdue. Women’s Refuge cites that 1 in 3 New Zealand women will experience relationship violence, and yet we still feel that the issue is testosterone instead of setting higher standards for our men. Somehow, rather than sending clear (and surely common-sense) messages like hey guys maybe don’t assault women as part of your end-of- season rugby celebrations, our role models question the integrity of the alleged victim.

Women, and men, have casual sex. And they should get to do so without people like Peter Jackson bizarrely wringing their hands over the evils of Tinder but not, y’know, alleged murder. It’s frankly baffling how many of us are willing to invent the most tentative links to women’s complicities in the violence directed towards them, rather than spending that energy speaking with our friends and family about how to not be violent.

Our regressive view of sex and sexuality lets sexual violence flourish. When we admonish strippers, Tinder and casual sex, we put all sex outside of monogamous marriage in a big pile of ‘bad and embarrassing behaviour’. And in that pile the genuinely bad stuff gets to flourish because it’s safe there in the dark, and on the rare occasions it does get dragged out, it’s happily confused with the normal sexual behaviours we’ve been apparently dangerously indulging in since the beginning of time.

I’d hazard a guess that if we committed genuine resources and energy into teaching our young people (who are going to have sex, and maybe even play rugby) that sex is fine and good as long as it’s done with respect, enthusiastic consent and protection, we’d start to see a cultural shift that society – and rugby – would benefit from.


I originally sent this to The Herald in the hope that it might balance the scary, anti-woman rant from Jackson. John Roughan, their Leader Writer responded with a terse and baffling:

“I certainly won’t be publishing it until the trial is over, and not even then if Tostee is acquitted.”

Our lead news outlet, folks.

22 comments on “Guest post: Swipe right for sexism ”

  1. rsbandit 1

    Imagine if the tables were turned.

    If he had been throwing rocks at her, and she locked him out on the balcony, claiming she did this to protect herself and let him cool off. He then climbs over and falls.

    What would be the media position?

  2. red-blooded 2

    Great post. When are we going to have a national conversation about the issues around gender roles, sex and violence? If we never name it, how do we confront and start to control it?

  3. Chuck 3

    “I’d hazard a guess that if we committed genuine resources and energy into teaching our young people (who are going to have sex, and maybe even play rugby) that sex is fine and good as long as it’s done with respect, enthusiastic consent and protection, we’d start to see a cultural shift that society – and rugby – would benefit from.”

    Funny is this not what a parent /s job is??…teach your children what is acceptable and what is not.

    “Our regressive view of sex and sexuality lets sexual violence flourish”

    Thanks to social media, 10 year olds watching porn or 15 year old girls on dating websites hooking up with much older males for booze and drugs in exchange for sex.

    Its not a simple fix – as in committing more resources. You almost need to roll back the clock as the genie has been let out of the bottle (social media).

    • hooking up with much older males for booze and drugs in exchange for sex

      And thus Coley’s point is proved again: because apparently the “much older males” involved in these cases have literally no ability to not sexually abuse vulnerable young women. 🙄

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        +1

      • Chuck 3.1.2

        “And thus Coley’s point is proved again: because apparently the “much older males” involved in these cases have literally no ability to not sexually abuse vulnerable young women.”

        Trying to trivialize the issue is not helpful Stephanie…its very simplistic to say throwing resources into the issue will fix the problem. If that was the case then no one would be smoking or driving pissed etc.

        Its much deeper than that (resources)…it starts with the parent/s setting a good example with good advice. Even then, social media will be pulling at them…show casing all the sordid behaviour that no parent wants their children to be involved in.

        So yeh…social media is the main problem. Not resources.

        • mauī 3.1.2.1

          Most parents set a good example Chuck and don’t want their kids involved in anything nasty and do their best to avoid that happening. Teenagers aren’t going to listen to their parents anyway.

          From what I can see you’re saying it’s all social media’s fault and the next step is banning it. Good luck with that. Meanwhile the post is about changing society and attitudes, which guess what, changes how people use social media.

          • Chuck 3.1.2.1.1

            “Most parents set a good example Chuck and don’t want their kids involved in anything nasty and do their best to avoid that happening. Teenagers aren’t going to listen to their parents anyway.”

            Agree on both points. I also think a lot of parents just don’t realise what their kids get up to online.

            “From what I can see you’re saying it’s all social media’s fault and the next step is banning it.”

            I see some other comments have been made (social media). The difference between now and before social media came on the scene is this…

            It takes 30 seconds to jump online and find all sorts of porn and associated sites. Young minds are easily lead astray, and they end up thinking its “normal behaviour”. In the “old days” it was buying a adult magazine from the local dairy…that had to conform with NZ censorship guidelines.

            Using social media, sleazy guys can jump online, befriend / offer enticements to meet up with girls / young women.

            Before social media that was not possible…Yes we have always had abuse. The difference now is that social media offers a smorgasbord of victims only a click away.

        • corokia 3.1.2.2

          There’s a lot less smoking and driving pissed than there used to be.

          Throwing resources at those problems does seem to be doing something.

        • Nobody is trivializing the issue except you, with your talkback radio flamebait about “10 year olds watching porn!!!!!” and acting like sexual abuse and violence never happened before the invention of the internet.

          And nobody is saying “throwing resources into the issue will fix the problem.” Coley’s post clearly talks about resources, energy, and generating a genuine shift in our societal attitudes to sex and sexuality.

          Why don’t you try engaging genuinely with the discussion?

          • Chuck 3.1.2.3.1

            “Why don’t you try engaging genuinely with the discussion?”

            I thought I was…having some experience in pick up the pieces with someone very close to me and a couple of her friends.

            Our young people, some who are for what ever reason a little more vulnerable than others, social media is a huge danger. Its a direct path scumbags use to identify and harm them.

      • Groundhog 3.1.3

        You’re assuming the women are all young and vulnerable. Sure some are, but there are also women making poor choices who are neither young (based on Chuck’s) comment, or vulnerable.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      Funny is this not what a parent /s job is??…teach your children what is acceptable and what is not.

      You’re making the assumption that parents actually know.

      Thanks to social media, 10 year olds watching porn or 15 year old girls on dating websites hooking up with much older males for booze and drugs in exchange for sex.

      I’m pretty sure you’ll find that that’s been happening since before social media started up. What’s happening is that we’re now hearing more about it because of social media.

      • dukeofurl 3.2.1

        That happened too when I was at Intermediate school- 40 years ago.

        of course the media just love social media based stories, as they think it attracts younger demographic eyeballs.
        I think the average reader age at the Oily Orca is 60+, therein lies his problem at making any real money before he goes bust-again.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    Dam good post.

  5. Groundhog 5

    This is about people accepting personal responsibility for their actions. Men who are sexual predators are scum and need to be treated accordingly. Women who accept an invitation to visit a strangers apartment are stupid, and take the risk of being another victim. This is not that complex.

    • Bill 5.1

      And if I, a man, accepted an invitation to a strangers flat….?

      • Groundhog 5.1.1

        …and you were assaulted, you’d have to take responsibility for your own actions. This is gender neutral accountability.

        • fender 5.1.1.1

          Yeah best to assume everyone is likely to imprison us on their belcony./sarc

          It’s called a crime: holding someone against their will.

          • Groundhog 5.1.1.1.1

            Agreed. So whats your point? That she should not be held at least partly responsible for her own predicament? You might need to read some more details of the case.

  6. Siobhan 6

    Reading the transcripts of the evening it would seem that it was a case of two people who were rather lost, lonely and dysfunctional. Add alcohol to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster.

    For me it would seem to be a story not so much about Men vs Women, but a story about religious upbringings, distorted views on sex and casual relationships, mental health, loneliness and a broken society.

    It was probably the saddest thing I have read in a long time, and I feel bad for all the people involved in both sides of the case.

  7. Mrs Brillo 7

    Writing as a wheelchair user, I’d never before thought of producing a camera when kept waiting outside a disabled loo, but you’ve guilted me into it, not out of it.

    Let the rutting couples get a hotel room. They have that option. Their randiness does not take priority over the needs of those who have no option but to use the disabled facilities.

    And if the trespassers believe they run the risk of having their faces displayed on the net (or sent to their partners) when they emerge from a disabled loo adjusting their clothing, it might give them pause for thought. Ohdearhowsadnevermind.

    That is indeed my culture, and I’m sticking with it, thanks.

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