Aug 17 2005

Australian Men Offended By Lack Of Flattery


Moonrise Over The Abandoned Trailer And Piece-Of-Shit Basketball Hoop. South Austin, August 16, 2005

I hate to be the bearer of only moderately good news, but there may be a flicker of hope for the feminist cause. There’s that BBC talking head, Michael Buerk, who’s making a big idiotic stink about how women now apparently rule the world, and those morons who spoofed the Feministing site, and now some Australian dudes are whining about “sexist” TV ads. Apparently men can dish out the pie, but they can’t take one in their own face. The Australians are calling the ads "discrimination." Quoth The Advertiser:

“There was a storm of protest last year over a Volkswagen Polo ad in which a female driver sniggers when she sees the crotch of a male courier in her side mirror, which carries the message: "Objects in mirror may appear bigger than actual size."”

And an ad that shows “a woman striking a man over the head with a spanner.”

What’s a “spanner”? I’m assuming it isn’t fluffy.

Anyway, somebody ship some dictionaries to Australia! It’s totally lame to confuse mockery by an oppressed class with discrimination.

And you know, it chaps my hide, and chaps it good, when men resolutely ignore that the essential non-humanity conferred upon women by patriarchal tradition substantially weakens their already pretty untenable women-have-taken-over position. Not to mention when they ignore the readily-available statistics showing women as the primary population living in poverty, or showing women as the primary victims of systemic violence, or showing women as earning an average of 25% less than men, or showing women as exploited commodities in strip clubs, or showing a laughably miniscule percentage of women in high political office or in the upper echelons of the corporatocracy.

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that these dipshit fucktards are all obviously feeling threatened by whatever small steps forward women’s movements have managed to take recently. So, boo-yah, more or less.

[Thanks for the link, Deana]


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  1. Mychelline

    I think a spanner is a wrench.

  2. judy

    a spanner is a monkeywrench. i guess the brits say, ‘a spanner in the works’, like we’d say ‘a monkeywrench in the works’. john lennon wrote a book called, ‘a spaniard in the works’, which was sort of a spoof on that phrase.

  3. Exo

    Gosh, not only clubbing a man over the head, but usurping a manly tool to do so. I bet if she’d used a mop there wouldn’t be any problem.

    Incidentally, you will no doubt be shocked to learn that both the female BBC bosses mentioned in Michael Buerk’s rant as proof of a female meglomaniac conspiracy have in fact been replaced by men.

  4. Christine

    Oh, poor babies!

    Three ads in two years, how dare they!

    Please. If Australian TV is like American TV…loaded with ads and infomercials, how often could these “offensive” ads possibly air amongst the competition?

    Hell, the volkswagon ad was probably written by a man. He found a funny way to show off his endowment and get a woman to swoon while selling cars.

    Get over it, and keep watching, I’m sure there will be an ad degrading women just around the corner to re-level the playing field.

    That little rant being said, I’d like to see these ads. They sound more amusing than the dove ads.

  5. yankee transplant

    Aaah, Twisty, this is one of the few blogs that never makes me wonder why I read.
    Thank you for keeping me informed, amused and outraged.

  6. Finn

    >It’s totally lame to confuse mockery by an oppressed class with discrimination.< This has truly been a key distinction for me in my quest for a better understanding of feminism. I trip over it all the time, partially because I'm generally in favor of mockery of all classes, I guess, and get put off when genuine humor of any kind is taken too seriously. But, it's been pointed out to me that since I'm a white male, I don't get it. So, I labor on. Not that it's your job to convert people or anything, but it does seem like The Cause might do well to find a way to laugh at itself once in a while. Can someone point me to a feminist humor website? -finn

  7. ozmiz

    Let Scott the spokesmodel what a spunk, whoot! teach you how spanners are named in New South Wales, the state with Sydney for a capital. There are minor naming variations around Australia but everyone knows what you mean when you talk about a shifter or a set of ringies or a pair of Stilsons.
    And tv the world over is one giant festering ad. Why bother fighting over the nuances. If it’s an ad, then it’s demeaning by definition

  8. curiousgirl

    “Not that it’s your job to convert people or anything, but it does seem like The Cause might do well to find a way to laugh at itself once in a while”

    Here’s one:

    Q: A pompous man asked a woman, “Why do you suppose it is that women so
    utterly lack a sense of humor?”

    A: “God did it on purpose,” she replied, “so that we may love men instead of
    laughing at them.”

  9. yami

    Finn, you’re at a feminist humor web site. Twisty is snarkily hilarious. I’d so make out with her.

  10. alphabitch

    If I’m not mistaken, tradition demands that we gals use rolling pins or cast-iron skillets to strike men on their head. We’re really not authorized to use spanners. Or wrenches. For anything. If we need to fix something we always have a hairpin or a nail file handy.

    Isn’t there another funny one, curiousgirl, about Adam & Eve in the garden & god’s almost finished creating them but he’s got a couple of features left over to install & so he asks them “Let’s see here, I’ve only got one each of these, so who wants to pee standing up?” and Adam says “me! me! me! that’s so cool! let me have that one!” So god gives him a dick, and says “OK there you go. Pee wherever you want. Here Eve, you get the multiple orgasms.”

  11. Twisty

    “Can someone point me to a feminist humor website?”

    Well, I Blame The Patriarchy is considered by some to be humorous. In fact, a guy recently left the comment “whoa, am I ever in the wrong place! Bye!” A couple days ago he emailed me to tell me that he’d put IBTP on his blogroll because he’d realized later that it’s all a big joke! I’m still not sure how to take that!

    If you’re looking for funny feminist bloggers, they’re everywhere. If I could figure out how to work my sidebar, I’d list’em here (start with Bitch.PhD, Feministing, Feministe, and their blogrolls). Self-mockery you will find. You aren’t, however, going to find too many feminists who side with the enemy just to get a laugh.

  12. norbizness

    I think a spanner is a small, ball-shaped marsupial. I also enjoy the Australian dramatic cinema classic “The Days of Wine and Chundering.”

    As for Finn, I can’t help you. I think that it’s theoretically possible for feminists to be funny, but it would take a spanner across the dome for comedy gatekeeper white males such as ourselves to allow access by people who tell jokes about menstruation or throwing rocks at boys.

  13. Twisty


  14. Steph

    How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?

    One. And that’s not funny!

    There’s a documentary by the National Film Board about women commedians called Wisecracks. It’s a bit dated now, but you get to see a whole bunch of “stars” at the start of their career talking about women and humor.

    And if getting a spanner in the head in an ad is all you can come up with for “discrimination” then go find something else to whine about. Sheesh.

  15. Sam

    I think it’s about knowing the difference between laughing with someone and being laughed at by someone. I’ve laughed with and been laughed at and they’re worlds apart on the emotion-meter.

  16. Finn

    >>”Can someone point me to a feminist humor website?”

    >Well, I Blame The Patriarchy is considered by some to be humorous.< Oh, don't get me wrong, I get laughs aplenty from your blog; occasionally for the intended reasons. ;-) I do think it's brilliant the way you weave the food discussion and the patriarchy-blaming. I've almost started to equate eating with feeling bad about myself. See how successful you are!

  17. curiousgirl

    Finn. Seriously, now. You’ve missed the point of patriarchy-blaming. If it was meant to make you feel bad about yourself, it’d be called man-blaming.

    Blaming the patriarchy, however, is no reason to run out to a strip club cause its not your fault. (or run out and buy butt cream, either.) None of us are off the hook!

  18. Finn

    >You’ve missed the point of patriarchy-blaming. If it was meant to make you feel bad about yourself, it’d be called man-blaming.< Well, I was just joking, but... This is the other slippery distinction that I often trip over. This time I did it on purpose for comic effect. You've heard of that, right? ;-)

  19. Tony Patti

    It never fails to amaze me how often we men tend to think that the system we benefit from is somehow our fault and something we have to defend because we know that we aren’t as bad as all that.

    I think I’ve learned to get over it myself. It’s like being rich; people tend to think they can attack all the economic inequities in the world through you, when in fact you are a nice person who cares about these things but are still helpless to solve them singlehandedly in the face of a world gone mad.

    And Finn, this is definitely THE feminist humor site on the web.

  20. Twisty

    Finn, I know you were kiddin around, but then, I know you.

    (Disclosure: Finn and I are pals in real life. We played in a band together, and have been on the same music-related listserv for years. Currently he is teaching me, via email, how to catch a fish–or promised to, anyway. I swear, he is quite the bundle of joy, despite certain of his more antediluvian views!).

    I mention the listserv because if Finn casts his mind back he will recall the plethora of vicious remarks that I and one or two of the other women managed to elicit from male group members just for suggesting that patriarchy exists.

    It appears that all feminist women have encountered similar or worse male internet bullies, which fucktarded chumps especially like to infest feminist blogs. So if people seem quick to jump your shit, that’s why. It’s not, perhaps, the ideal scenario, but what’re ya gonna do? I blame the patriarchy.

  21. Finn

    >So if people seem quick to jump your shit, that’s why.< Oh, I figured that must be the case, but it's cool by me all the way around. I can take it. I didn't come here to be told I was right all the time. I came to hear other viewpoints. I'm interested in learning the subtle distinctions in perception that cause us to see our human relationships differently. Or, get a good chicken salad recipe.

  22. curiousgirl

    mmmm. salad.

  23. Chris Clarke

    I didn’t come here to be told I was right all the time.

    That’s probably at most the third or fourth time that’s ever been said on the Internet since its inception.

  24. Liz

    I’ve seen the mirror advert! It’s funny, and the woman is also laughing at herself. It doesn’t promote violence or anything unwholesome. Women buy cars, women laugh at men and themselves, hence the ad.

    Anti-woman adverts proliferate here in Australia as they do everywhere. Mens shoe ads are particularly offensive and are often deliberately pitched so that outraged women will complain and get the ads a free run in the news.

    A spanner is either an island off the coast of Tasmania, a famous cricket player’s bawdy nickname or an alcoholic cider drink. A wrench is a woman of loose morals.

  25. TimT

    Wild wenches wielding deadly wrenches in Australia? Arggh! Save me!

  26. Christopher

    Conservative generally think that there is no difference between an oppressed class making fun of the privileged, and the privileged making fun of the oppresed.

  27. Kate

    Ad with wrench goes like this:
    Manly man is fixing car. Takes spanner (wrench) and some other assorted car part to kitchen, pops it into dishwasher, pops in super dishwasher cleaning thingy that ad is for.
    Wife comes to garage with assorted car part and wrench, both now extremely shiny. Asks Manly man “what’s this?” Manly man responds “It’s a number 7 and it’s a whatever part.”
    Wife scowls and hits man over head with wrench, then stalks away.
    Man says, “fair enough.”

    The add is one of those typical “duh men so dumb don’t know anyfing about cleaning duh” type things.

    I don’t think such ads are discriminatory in the way the uptight men who complained about it do, because, as Amanda at Pandagon has often explained, they continue to present woman as “nagging wife stuck in the house doing the housework” and the men as “manly and with amazing car fixing skillz and hence with no knowledge that it is inappropriate to clean tools in dishwasher”.

  28. Kate

    And on further reflection…

    And also because of what Twisty says.

    But also because these ads continue to perpetrate the idea the poor little men just can’t cut in the kitchen — and continuing to perpetrate the “second shift” that women have to put up with. In Australia, women still do the vast bulk of the housework — after working a full work day outside the home, in most cases. There’s a myth that men can’t or won’t do these things because they just don’t get it, they do everything badly, they can’t be trusted. Which suits the patriarchy just fine, it seems.

  29. Denise

    There’s a myth that men can’t or won’t do these things because they just don’t get it, they do everything badly, they can’t be trusted. Which suits the patriarchy just fine, it seems.

    Anythign that means less effort for the patriarchy to perpetuate itself (and to keep the women-folk out of the car parts) is A-OK by them. It’s up to all of us to call them on it. And to learn how to wield a wrench/spanner well.

  30. tweety

    God, that spanner (wrench, whatever) ad is horrible, but the guy isn’t demeaned (not in the way the complainants are going for, anyway) in the damn thing.

    The setup of the ad is that the guy put car parts and the spanner in the dishwasher, used the dishwashing stuff that is being advertised and left them in the dishwasher. The girlfriend/wife (in full bitchy harridan mode) finds the stuff in the dishwasher, rushes out the garage where the guy is, asks what the stuff is, he gives the techy names for the parts, she bitchily stares, he tries to joke about how the dishwasher worked, she huffs and whacks him on the head with the spanner, he shrugs and says fair enough. End scene.

    If it wasn’t for the way the whacking bit played it would have been your standard Everyone Loves Raymond- type bullshit ad but, although I think it is mostly the way they dubbed the sound effect in, she really does crack him on the head hard and it sticks out in the ad.

    Everytime I see the ad, I blink at that bit of it, it’s quite odd and actually is probably designed to get the sort of complaints it has been getting.

  31. tweety

    sorry for the x-post

  32. ae

    Finn, dig it: MadKane.

    Plus, I always thought the Guerrilla Girls were funny. Not funny ha-ha all the time, but funny patriarchy sucks.

  33. WookieMonster

    In the hospital the relatives gathered in the waiting room, where their family member lay gravely ill. Finally, the doctor came in looking tired and somber.

    “I’m afraid I’m the bearer of bad news,” he said as he surveyed the worried faces. “The only hope left for your loved one at this time is a brain transplant. It’s an experimental procedure, very risky but it is the only hope. Insurance will cover the procedure, but you will have to pay for the brain yourselves.”

    The family members sat silent as they absorbed the news. After a great length of time, someone asked, “Well, how much does a brain cost?”

    The doctor quickly responded, “$5,000 for a male brain, and $200 for a female brain.”

    The moment turned awkward. Men in the room tried not to smile, avoiding eye contact with the women, but some actually smirked. A man unable to control his curiosity, blurted out the question everyone wanted to ask, “Why is the male brain so much more?”

    The doctor smiled at the childish innocence and explained to the entire group, “It’s just standard pricing procedure. We have to mark down the price of the female brains, because they’ve actually been used.”

  34. ae

    Finn, what do you think of this?

    Q. Why are blonde jokes one-liners?
    A. So men can understand them.


  35. Chris Clarke

    The doctor quickly responded, “$5,000 for a male brain, and $200 for a female brain.”

    Alternate ending:

    The doctor quickly responded, “$5,000 an ounce for male brains, and $200 an ounce for female brains.”

    A man unable to control his curiosity, blurted out the question everyone wanted to ask, “Why so much more for the male brains?”

    The doctor smiled. “Do you have any idea how many male brains it takes to make an ounce?”

  36. Emily

    Twisty –

    I’ve noticed that you employ the word “fucktard” often…much more often than you use the word “retard”. Can you explain to me what exactly is a “fucktard” and how it is different from a “retard”?

    You see, I’m afraid that my retarded daughter might not understand the difference when she grows up, and that might disqualify her from your exclusive patriarchal battle. I guess that would leave her as the physical manifestation of the newly coined term (courtesy of one of your ever so eloquent readers) “retardly cute”.

    I am as much of a fan of angry feminista rhetoric as the next gal (and Twist, you do it so well), but I must admit that it starts to ring a bit insincere when my daughter is objectified by the very arguments that are supposed to liberate her. I can only assume that there is no room for my mentally retarded baby woman in your fight, because if there was you wouldn’t employ language that inherently excludes her from it.

    If I can’t dance with my baby girl then I don’t want to be part of your revolution. After all, that’s a revolution only in the sense that the wheel keeps turning, but it’s not really a revolt at all.

    In the end it’s still the same shit, just a different pile.

  37. Kes

    Well said Emily. I often think that it is easy for everyone to be so right on about their own cause, without any true sensitivity to many other targets of discrimination and oppression. Same shit, different pile should become a catch-phrase that reminds us that just because our language is not anti-woman doesn’t mean its automatically sound. Widen our thinking to encompass the complexity of the matrix of oppression.

  38. Twisty

    Emily, I am sorry to have offended a person so forbearing and poetical as you appear to be. I am also sorry that you object to my appropriation of “–tard” as a suffix for my made-up word. The word has no definition, but its meaning, which I had hoped was evident from context, is something like “anyone who disagrees with me.” It is in no wise a synonym for “mentally retarded person.” I do not advocate, openly or tacitly, the oppression of mentally retarded persons, and am therefore surprised to discover that such a position could be construed from my published remarks.

    Neither do I endorse the phrase “retardly cute.” I don’t even know what it means.

  39. glinda the good bitch, phd

    here’s a glimpse of the bullshit sexism that goes on in the institutions of higher learning:


  1. feministing


    According to BBC’s Michael Buerk women rule the world (at least of broadcasting). According to the BBCNews… The former Nine O’Clock News presenter told the Radio Times: “Life is lived in accordance with women’s rules” and men are now merely…

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