Friday, October 5, 2012

Don't Mess with the Womenfolk

It’s no wonder that earnest conservative men have a problem with women. We girlie-types got sick of their grunting caveman attempts at communications, ventured out of our caves and started talking to each other, and there’s been no peace for anyone, male or female, since.

From Sappho and Cleopatra over 2,000 years ago, to Joan of Arc, the Queens Elizabeth ( 1 & 2 ), Mary Wollstencraft, Florence Nightingale, Emily Pankhurt, Rosa Luxemburg, Eleanor Roosevelt, Oprah Winfrey, Germaine Greer, Benizir Bhutto... these women and so many more have made themselves heard.

I ask you, what did those inspirational women do that was so revolutionary? They talked. They wrote about their lives and how things could be different. The spread concepts like respect and equality and hope. They conspired with each other and hatched plans to improve their lot. They went to war for what they believed in. They found whatever it is inside that made them women, and they used it. We’re still using it.

Well, that was never gonna work.

The Women’s Lib movement in the 1960s and 70s gave this girlie-thing a name, a logo and a few hairy-armpitted figureheads, but women have been begging, nagging, arguing, organising and fighting for equality since before the human race learned to speak in complete sentences. And the Women’s Lib movement was half a century ago.

Look around, Ladies, Gentlemen and random Cave-dwellers: women have come a long way, but there are still too many thugs in positions of power, trying very hard to shove us back into their image of what a woman should be: a bikini, a spritz of Chanel No 5, a maternity ward. In fact, we could be forgiven for thinking that the boorish cave-dwellers are fighting back. They’re not even trying to sound politically correct anymore, much less intellectual, educated or aware. With some of these brutes we can’t me more than a rearward evolutionary step or two away from Fred Flintstone.

I’d certainly never accuse Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of being a cave-dweller. I’m sure that his lovely wife Margie, who is again doing the rounds of the media to try to temper her husband’s poor image with The Women Voters, keeps a lovely home for her husband and daughters. In keeping with her special position as the spouse of a senior politician. Mrs Abbott runs her own business in the childcare industry. Good of her, really, and good of Tony to let the wife have something useful to do when he’s off being Important.

Mrs Abbott told News Limited, "Tony gets women. He is surrounded by strong women. He grew up with three sisters, has three daughters, is supported by a female deputy in Julie Bishop and has always had a female chief of staff."
No, Margie. Saying that Tony "gets" women because he's surrounded by them is like saying I can play the piano because I listen to a lot of music. Besides, no two people are alike, and simply making that comment devalues us all. Someone else who doesn't get women is American Republican Congressman Tood Akin. Several weeks ago, he told us that few women get pregnant as a result of being raped because the female body has some magical properties that makes the pregnancy go away. He was told, quite forcefully, that it was factually wrong...but you know these conservatives and their distrust of science...
Another, even better Todd Akin clanger has emerged this week. In 2008, the Congressman from Missouri was caught on camera in a rambling bluster linking the dangers of Sharia Law with evil abortion doctors. So great was this danger that some of these doctors were even performing abortions on women who weren’t pregnant.

Now I’m a woman who likes to use words, but in this case, I’d use an appropriate emoticon if I had one, because I really don’t have any words. Oh – yes I do! Can you believe that this clueless troglodyte has been re-elected to congress five times, and has begat a handful of children? I’m surprised he knew how…

Yet perhaps through all this thinking and talking and scheming, we got it wrong. Maybe we should be listening to these wise alpha males, lest we Destroy the Joint completely and for all time.

Clem Bastow shared her thoughts in the Sydney Morning Herald a month or so ago.

But what is #destroyingthejoint if not gleeful indignation? That the hashtag has hung around longer than a few days illustrates exactly that. Surely instead of hanging on to it to prove a point, we'd be better off getting on with actually "destroying the joint", and not defining it with some sort of winking slogan. It's not particularly funny and, after a week of constant hashtagging, it's pretty boring.
Ms Bastow was right too: we destroyers had to actually do something with our Jones-induced fit of pique. Luckily for us, and the men who are afraid of us, Alan Jones provided us another, even bigger outlet for our indignation. He insulted our grieving Prime Minister and her family in a secret little soiree for conservatives.

Well, you wanna see some joint destroying? Come watch the response, driven largely by an online petition and the Destroy the Joint Facebook Group. Over sixty of them have now committed to pulling their advertising dollars in some way from Alan Jones, whether its via advertising on Jones; radio show, advertising on 2GB, sponsoring their traffic reports or their website, slicing over $80,000 per day from 2GB’s bottom line.

That’s not a bad effort for a bunch of angry women, a common cause and a few communication tools.

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