Three days in Australia, or, “Sexism. Sexism everywhere”.

Ever since Julia Gillard was elected, Australia has been forced to shine a light on its attitudes towards women – and more specifically, women in power. At times the ride has been exhilarating and empowering, and at times it has drifted towards the ugly and downright rude.

But the last 48 hours have really demonstrated to me just how far we have to go. So, without further ado, I present to you the last two days in the life of an Average Australian Woman:

Tuesday morning: Wake up, make a cup of tea, and read the front page of the paper. Try to keep your toast down as you realise that the murderer of Jill Meagher was on parole, and had been convicted of 16 other counts of rape. Your mind immediately jumps to how many others serial rapists are currently “rehabilitated”, and are now out in public.

Tuesday afternoon: You read that Julia Gillard has attempted to start a “gender war” – and remain somewhat confused, because you were under the impression that this particular war was started centuries ago. You realise that Julia Gillard is concerned about Tony Abbott’s views on abortion, which is, in all honestly fair enough. The man does have a track record.

Wednesday morning: You read the victim impact statements from the Jill Meagher case, and wonder if it will stretch on years. The answer, of course, is yes. You will think about it next time you’re walking down the street, or next time a strange man approaches you when you’re alone.

You jump to the next news section, only to read that the Australian Socceroos coach has told a press conference that women should “shut up in public”. You wonder what his mother, wife, and other female friends and family members think about this, before realising that it doesn’t matter – their voices probably won’t be heard in the media, anyway.

Wednesday lunch time: Your social media feeds spring to life, with the words “menu” and “Mal Brough” cropping up. It only takes you a minute to work out that yet another LNP member has had a serious lapse of judgement – this time, in relation to a menu, of all things. You scan through the articles until you finally reach the image of the menu in question – and find the phrase “small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box”. Your thoughts sway between immediate, explosive outrage for the PM and a sense of disgust that the menu ever reached the public eye. You also take a moment to note that although Simon Crean, Wayne Swan and Kevin Rudd are also mentioned, none of their menu ‘items’ feature a reference to their appearance (or, indeed, their genitalia). 

Wednesday afternoon: You hear your two male colleagues laughing at something on a computer screen. You glance over, only to see an enlarged version of Brough’s menu appear. Your colleagues then ask you if you think it was funny – and when you reply that you don’t, are told that this sense of humour is “just the Australian way”. You point out that none of the male politicians that appeared on that menu were sexualised, or had attention drawn to their physical appearance. You then exit the room to get a coffee and bang your head against a wall.

Wednesday evening: You avoid watching the news or hopping on Facebook, because you don’t wish to buy into everyone’s outrage about a menu. You’re just as outraged as your friends and family members – but you’re also tired of nothing ever changing, and would prefer to spend an evening pretending that offensive menus never existed.

Thursday morning: You wake up to the news that a restaurant owner has taken responsibility for the ‘offensive menu’, and that the LNP party has “condemned the menu in the strongest terms”. You wonder if the LNP keeps a document on its shared hard drive entitled “Apologies for Sexism”. What would it read like? Perhaps, as this: “We apologise for [sexist comment] made by [sexist politician] here. We will try harder next time. Plz vote 4 us, c u in September, kthanxbai.”

Thursday lunchtime: You venture back to the wide world of the mass media, only to read the news that 17 Australian Defence Force personnel are under investigation over “offensive emails“. You don’t need to read any further to guess that the emails were related to women. Instead, you wonder how common these “offensive emails” in workplaces are, and recall the incident with the menu in your workplace yesterday.

Thursday evening: The media wrap-ups for the entire menu-related affair start coming through, and you brace yourself for a mention of the term ‘menu-gate’. You then reward yourself with a coffee when News.com.au and the ABC (yes, the ABC) follow through on your expectations for the most unoriginal journalism.

….. And these are just the local examples. I thought about including some of the international examples of sexism within this run down, but then I realise I would be typing this until midnight.

What does it say, when this is almost an “average” day in Australia? Firstly, it says that gender is still an issue, and will continue to be for quite some time (indeed, until the election results are counted). I’m grateful for the focus on the topic of gender – but some intelligent debate wouldn’t go astray. I’m tired of the petty name-calling, the exaggeration and simplification of all “news” content to suit the biggest audience. I’m sick of attention-screaming headlines, and “gender wars”. What I would like is an honest, forthright discussion about the current treatment of women within Australia. One that carries on up until the election, and spans across the issues of rape, domestic violence and sexual assault, attitudes of victim blaming, the representation of women in the media, the issue of female CEOs and politicians, paternity leave, equal pay, single parent (and mother) payments, and everything else I have simply missed. Of course, this is a vast discussion – but it is one that every single problem raised earlier shows we need to have. What we don’t need are any more infantile “menus”, or sports coaches with jacked-up opinions on whether women have the right to a “voice”.

How to meet your local MP and discuss gay marriage

They should hand out some sort of boy-scout style Activist badges for this stuff. Badges for attending protests, badges for petitions, and one big arse badge for meeting your local MP. It’s quite intimidating, really. Of course everyone tries to make you as comfortable as possible, but, still….it’s a POLITICIAN.

So, dear readers, meet my politician:

My Voice in Canberra. The Vessel for My Thoughts. My Personal Representative in the Nation’s Capital (alright, maybe not personal). Josh Frydenberg, meet my readers. They’re rather rowdy. Gird your loins.

Now, I trotted off to Josh’s office earlier today to have a good ol’ chat about gay marriage. It’s at this point that I should mention Josh is from the Liberal party, is in a blue-ribbon Liberal seat that has never been held by the Labor party, and is Jewish. A chat about gay marriage was going to be….interesting.

But chat we did. It was all very polite, and very “I don’t want to offend you, but….”- but still, I’m glad I went. I can’t say anyone got into a screaming match (sorry to disappoint), but I’m glad that at least I tried. It’s kind of useless talking to someone about this when they say “My personal view is that marriage is between a man and woman”- because you don’t quite know if you’ll change their mind. I certainly don’t think I did that- religion and politics has a tendency to wipe the ability to change your mind from people’s heads. But I made the point that by the time my generation is a bit older, Australia’s stance on gay marriage will have changed. How can it not? Everyone is either gay, has a gay friend or relative, or gay parents. This isn’t going to change. What is going to change is the law that forbids two people who love each other to get married, simply because they’re the same gender.

That’s all I said to Josh, for those of you dying to know. I just said that to me, it makes sense. It’s equality in the absolute sense. Why shouldn’t gay people be allowed to marry. They’re allowed everything else in this country- they should be allowed this simple thing too. There are a million and one other reasons why gay people should be allowed to marry- but the simplest argument is equality. If you say that you believe in equality, and that your party has done X, Y and Z to make sure that gay people are not discriminated against, you CAN’T draw the line at marriage. You can’t say “Oh, no, sorry, that’s one step too far. You can have everything else, but you can’t have marriage.”

Equality. Try it on for size. Josh Frydenberg told me he only got married a few months ago. How would he feel if he COULDN’T get married to the person he loved, because the person he loved was a man? It’s that simple to reach a fair decision on it.

I should clarify; it’s complicated to CHANGE the law, but it’s SIMPLE to reach the conclusion that the law needs to be changed.

Finally, just to prove that I did talk with my local MP- here’s a picture of his office. Not too exciting, really. I was expecting more minions!

 

I hate people- especially during election time

This, to me, pretty much summarises what is wrong with people my age:

This was a real screen shot, taken from my real Facebook, no less than 5 minutes ago. On the day of the Victorian election.

I need to go and lie down. But first, I’m going to get a little shouty. Gird your loins and hold onto your keyboards, people.

YOU DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT PARLIAMENT?????? WHY???? If you don’t like them, VOTE AGAINST THEM, you fucking nincompoop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And as for you backwards friend calling the Government a waste of time? TRY NOT HAVING A GOVERNMENT, BUDDY!!!!!!! Go and talk to the people in China about the THRILLS of internet censorship, or  talk to the people Afghanistan about what is was, and is like, living during and after the Taliban’s regime!!!!!!! THIS is what is liked to have either a corrupt government, or NO GOVERNMENT AT ALL, you backwards hillbilly.

The government in Australia CAN’T JUST DO WHAT THEY WANT because they ARE a Government. I’m not sure if you have ever heard of DEMOCRACY, but you are LIVING in a democratic society. Yes you, you dumb arse. And this means that we ALL GET A SAY, and we can overthrow the government for another one- LIKE WE DID IN 2007.

Trust me, if I had my way, people like you would not be living here. I would ship you off to somewhere that the government CAN just do what they want. I’d give you TWO DAYS before you’d be crying for good ol’ J to the Giz-wizzle to come and RESCUE you, because you can’t handle the concept of those nasty government employees taking your X Box and your. Let alone what they’d do to your wife, your girlfriend, you mother, you sister, your children, or your friends. You fucking nit wit.

Of course it matters how you vote, you thick headed bumpkins. If if didn’t, NO ONE WOULD BOTHER HAVING AN ELECTION. And as for leaving the voting paper blank, because you “just don’t give a shit”? Trust me, you’d give a shit if everyone did this, and you had to go back for Election # 2.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

If you genuinely don’t care, FINE. But you get what you deserve, in my opinion. Controversial, somewhat, but true.

The attitude of these people makes me wonder if certain people shouldn’t vote. That way, these dumbasses’ votes won’t cancel out my well-thought out, carefully planned one.

*Gulp*

Please no. Our country cannot be ruled by a combination of this:

….and this:

I need me some stress relief. I mean, I’m not a big drinker. In fact, I’m not even a drinker. But Saturday night?  I may as well have bathed myself in vodka and juice. I can’t handle the suspense any more. SOMEONE PUT ME OUT OF MY MISERY, GODDAMIT.

Bob!!@!@!#1123!!@#@!$@!~!!!!!!!!!

Thank GOD you’re here. No, really- we’ve got ourselves a hung Parliament. And when I say ‘hung’, I don’t mean hung like this man:

I mean HUNG. Quite literally, if this continues. Bob, canyoujustsaveusalready???? I’ll take care of the right-wing conservatives, you handle the environment, and together, we’ll be like THESE PEOPLE:

Shotgun being Linka, the sexy USSR blonde with a thang’ for the red head.

But in all seriousness, comrades- gosh. I think I need to go and contemplate another bath.

Eyes shut, fingers crossed: less than 24 hours to go

Currently, I am like this:

Honestly, though- WHO are these people that are actually going to vote for the Coalition? I mean, I understand partly- I’m not voting for Labour, either. But surely even the most blue-blooded, rusted on Liberal supporter can see that Abbott is a nut job.

And I’m not just saying that. Please see my 38291 previous posts on WHY Tony Abbott isn’t suited to being our Prime Minister. But for now, just let me say this:

I am not, and will never be, a fan of a person who actively interferes with policy based purely on their personal beliefs. A representative for the people SHOULD represent the people, NOT themselves. Yes, Abbott, I’m looking at you and your Catholicism. I can accept the fact that you’re Catholic (hell, I was Catholic too)- but I don’t accept you taking your beliefs and forcing them onto the general population.

All I am hoping for at this point is that the Greens have the balance of power in the Senate. I’m not impressed with Julia’s policies, and I never have been impressed with Abbott’s. I’m disgusted at how asylum seekers have been made into an election issue again- and yet the parties stonewall when it comes to gay marriage.

Anyway. I don’t want to think about it more, because I’m superstitious and if I think about it, then it’ll make the whole situation worse. How about I just leave Tony Abbott with this parting gift:

True Blood: Shirtless Swedish relief, anyone?

Yes- it’s time that I conjured some visual pleasure for the lay-dee readers of this blog. It may be superficial, but heck, we’re less than a week out from an election, people. What isn’t superficial at the moment?

Allow me to introduce to you Alexander Skarsgard. Best known for having long hair and fangs in ‘True Blood’, he’s originally Swedish, and…….

Sorry. Lost my train of thought there. It must have been that pretty picture above.

As you can tell, I’ve been getting right into ‘True Blood’ at the moment- and no, it’s not just for scenes like this:

It’s because I don’t have to see shit like this:

No more pasty, sparkly ‘vampires’ with about 432901 layers of make up on. I sense another blog post coming on. One that compares how much Twilight sucks when compared to the kick-ass vampires I’ve been seeing in True Blood.

But, in the mean time- let’s just enjoy, shall we? Happy election, everyone!

See? Even Julia and Swanny can’t handle it:

Let’s do the time warp again….

So, out of all the people in my life who are aware of my crazy rantings blog, it’s my mother that sends me this video clip.

And I wonder where I got my hatred of Tony Abbott from…..

I especially like the bit with John Howard in the coffin..oh, and Tony’s sparkling budgie smugglers.

And just in case you haven’t had enough:

If there was a prize for the best election advertisements, I’d nominate these two in the ‘comedy’ category.