— Stuff (@NZStuff) March 3, 2018
There is so much in there. I suggest people wanting to understand what is going on take the time to read the links, and follow the #metoonz hashtag on Twitter and Facebook.
Read the work being done in the Russell McVeigh case and understand it in the much wider context of the misogynistic culture within the NZ legal fraternity, and start making the connections (including between that and why women have such a hard time in our justice system when reporting rape).
Learn what happened with the Morgan Marquis-Boire case and consider why this has been discussed so little in NZ. Think about why Tony Veitch continued to be employed in television. Why a New Zealand Prime Minister was able to promote rape culture, including the government doing nothing about the rape of young teen girls. And so on.
Then stop and listen to what women are saying. If you are unable to make the connections in all of that, then there are things for you to learn about women’s politics. If you do make the connections, then amplify women’s voices and actions, because they have a deeper understanding and they are the ones that know how and what to change.
The thing that’s with me most about Mau’s investigation is the utter imperative of having enough women in positions of power to do something. I’ve had this argument in left wing spaces before, a lot of people, usually men, pushing back against the idea that numbers of women per se are important. It’s not just the anti-solidarity/anti-identity politics crowd, it includes feminist-supportive left wing men who see politics through a white male political lens. So let me state it plainly. Women have been talking about #metoo and rape culture for ever and it is only because women now have enough institutional power that something can be done. Men have been told about these issues for a long time and were simply unwilling to change.
I’m the same age as Alison Mau and like many of our generation I was marching in Reclaim the Night marches in 80s. Women were working on these issues in the decades before us. Much has changed since then, including very heartening things like the term rape culture being mainstream enough that the MSM use it. These are big gains because they signify that the culture is changing. But 30+ years is a long time and there is so much more to be done. There have been not only the major backlashes against feminism from within the mainstream culture, but the resistance from men within progressive spaces.
Margaret Thatcher or Jenny Shipley are often cited as reasons to not support women into institutional power in numbers, but this misses the crucial points. The reason that Alison Mau was able to stand up and have the organisation she works for not only say yes but support her strongly, is because women are now in those organisations. When Mau describes the support she has from Stuff, I see the generations of women behind and beside her who have worked so hard to change the culture so this could be possible. We remember what it was like when men were largely in charge, and we see what it is like now that women have some power.
To get that kind of support you have to have the numbers, and that means we let all women through the gate across society, not just the ones we politically favour. So please, stop using Thatcher and Shipely as rationales to block women’s politics and access to power.
The other issue here, equally important and intrinsically connected, is why The Standard, the largest progressive political blog in NZ, is still largely a white male space. We have lost feminist authors here, and those that remain often choose not to write about feminism, or at all. Women commenters often disappear silently when the debates become politically or behaviourally ones that suit men and not women.
There are reasons for that, some of them to do with historical events that I’m not going into here, and some of them just to do with the simple fact that even in 2018 women still have to work so hard just to carve out equitable space because the default is male and/or because there is resistance. It’s exhausting.
I’ve been spending time on Twitter since 2014 and I’ve been around many men there who are not only supportive of feminism at a theoretical, philosophical level, but who actively support women by amplifying them, by holding other men to account, by choosing to not take up space and listen instead. I’ve seen this on TS sometimes too, but the fact that this is still largely the space of white men tells me there is still a resistance to true power sharing and making the changes necessary to include women (and that’s not even getting to who else is being excluded here).
The reason I am talking about this here is two fold. One is that the dynamics that underpin #metoo and rape culture also underpin other aspects of misogyny and sexism, including the domination of space and power by white men.
The other is that there are many progressive men here on TS, and there will be a general support for #metoonz at the philosophical level. But I’m pointing to the work that needs to be done in our own house around sharing power with women and I’m suggesting that it is on the men here to do that if they want to keep considering themselves progressive.
Details on how to take part in the #metoonz investigation are here,
Tonight I’m launching a national #metoonz investigation with @nzstuff into sexual harassment in NZ workplaces. Please, contact me privately by DM here, by PM on Facebook page @alisonmauNZ by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by dedicated phone line 0278394417
— Alison Mau (@Alisonmau) February 28, 2018
Moderator note: The primary focus of moderation will be on making this space a good space for women and survivors of sexual assault/harassment to read and take part in. Please bear that in mind both in terms of the content of your comments and behaviour. If you want to comment please make sure you are reasonably informed about the topic, links provided in the post. Genuine questions are also good.