Nov 29 2009

OzWatch ’09: Misogyny on Parade

Displaying an astonishing capacity for patriarchy-blaming, somebody in charge of public education in Victoria AU wishes to implement anti-violence-against-women training in a couple of schools. It’s called “Respectful Relationship Education.”

Possible classroom activities include students acting out scenes of sexual coercion after which students would suggest more appropriate behaviour. […] They would combat common attitudes among boys such as young women are either “good girls or sluts”, the report said. […] It said feminist theories were best at explaining the link between gender power relations and violence against women, and must underpin the programs.

You go, Victoria! Sounds great, right?

Wrong! Because it’s “shoving capital ‘F’ feminism down their throats.” It’s — brace yourself — “compulsory feminism.”

Compulsory feminism, unlike the heartwarming compulsory capital ‘M’ misogyny the shoving down of which our throats are all accustomed to, is apparently nothing short of child abuse. One nervous misogynist, Australian Family Association spokesman John Morrissey, blurts with swaggering bravado that “strident feminist propaganda won’t wash with boys,” but he nevertheless vigorously opposes the program; apparently his confidence in the red-blooded Australian boy’s natural aversion to strident feminist propaganda is not 100%. He is anxious that some strident feminism might work its way in through the chinks. The “feminisation” of boys is already a Number 1 red-alert crisis situation, given the declining population of male teachers in schools.

The fear that oppression-sensitivity training will pussywhip boys into a class of oppressed autobot pansies is not confined to Australian Family Association spokesman John Morrissey. This knob at misogynist dudesite Mensnewsdaily puts it this way: “Beware boys! The female Taliban is coming for you!”

And then he says — I’m not even kidding — “Don’t such programs send the grossly incorrect message that all boys need to be ‘educated’ about how to treat women?”

That’s right. Apparently men spring from the womb fully enlightened. It insults them sorely to insinuate that they are in any way responsible for violence against women. Any attempt to suggest otherwise merely represents another diabolical tactic in the feminists’ bid for “global dominance.” Educating boys about the culture of domination will strip them of their ability to form “a single original thought on any subject.”

And then he says — I’m still not even kidding — “Who made feminists the experts on explaining violence in relationships?”

Seriously! Apparently misogynist schmuckwads, not women whose lives are devoted to the study of oppression dynamics, are the only persons capable of such intellectual nuance.

Fucking moron.


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  1. Rae

    “Education Minister Bronwyn Pike said four schools would run anti-violence pilot programs from early next year.”

    It’ll be interesting to see how that goes. Even a toehold of sanity amongst the cesspool of popular culture these kids are stuck in, would be nice.

    Meanwhile, both the quotes and the biased language of the article itself generate much head-desking.

  2. yttik

    “Don’t such programs send the grossly incorrect message that all boys need to be ‘educated’ about how to treat women?”

    They are already being educated about how to treat women from day one, that’s the whole problem. It’s a constant assault on their little brains, non stop programming. As any feminist mother will tell you, trying to raise aware sons in this culture is a nearly impossible task. You are only one voice in a sea of brainwashing. If you’re lucky, at best you manage to plant a few seeds.

    You can go on a second grade playground and announce that “girls are people too” and several will disagree already. No they’re not, they’re girls, girls being a separate species that must be avoided so you don’t start to throw like one, catch like one, think like one, act like one, look like one.

  3. Gayle

    We need programs like that here.

  4. Danielle

    Ooof that got me seething. “They are already being educated about how to treat women from day one, that’s the whole problem.” Yes! People appear not to realize that they have a culture, let alone a woman-hating one.

  5. humanbein

    When you get right down to it, this is pretty good news. I have hope.

  6. Larkspur

    There are some men who simply cannot get over the stark, indisputable fact that the only reason they are here is because some dumb woman grew them inside her icky uterus and then, in all likelihood, pushed them into the world through her yucky slippery vagina. Some stuff just can’t be excused or forgiven.

    Yay, OZ.


    THis guy is terrified of Feminists! He’s terrified of US! Sometimes it is just so clear that misogynists KNOW they are treating women like SHIT and they completely fear that if women get the upper hand, they are going to get RETRIBUTION.

  8. thebewilderness

    Who made feminists the experts on explaining violence in relationships?”

    All the people throughout the years who deemed it unworthy of their time and attention, that’s who.

  9. Citizen Jane

    Just what I need is another anti-feminist man telling me how feminists are trying to control and dominate him by asking him not to rape us.

  10. Ayla

    The comments on that article are more terrifying even than those on MRA websites. You would think there would be a little more balance on a website with a more general audience, but those fuckwads could make Glenn Sack’s commenters jealous with their rabidness and single-minded woman-hate.

  11. Felicity

    These responses to looking at male violence against women make you sick. Fear and hatred of feminism is so strong, even looking at anti- violence and how that might be slightly ‘feminist’ gives violence an ‘edge’ not seen elsewhere. The result is we get idiots like him permitting the belief rape, murder and the beating of women is ok, and getting away with it. As always, anti- feminist nutjobs ranting with a 100% lack of logic and given the platform for it.

  12. Rae

    Felicity, it is sickening, isn’t it?

    I am reading through the comments there also. Don’t expect to see anything worth the paper it (isn’t) printed on, but I keep forgetting that Men Hate Us and the reminders come in handy. (sigh)

  13. Notorious Ph.D.

    The Mens’ News Daily site has a trackback feature in the comment in which a link to this here IBtP post appears. Just a heads-up, so we can brace for the inevitable: Do Not Feed the Trolls, folks. They thrive on it.

  14. Mortisha

    There is a very organised campaign presently in the Australian media by MRA groups. It is making me physically ill reading the things are being published and added to comment pages. They were readied for the White Ribbon campaign and flooded all the media networks with their “research” at the same time. This is just one example – grossly distorted statistics that have been used to recruit some well known & respected Australians. http://www.oneinthree.com.au/

    A least some journalists are seeing it for what it is

  15. Lindsay

    “Compulsory feminism”!

    We should be so lucky.

  16. SargassoSea

    “Apparently men spring from the womb fully enlightened.”

    Yeah, and they like to kindly and gently ‘remind’ us every time they come up for air.

    Fucking morons, indeed.

  17. Shelby

    How fucking scary are some of the nutjobs’ comments to the story? If it were a story about educating children on the unacceptability of apartheid, granted, you’d still get your redneck fucknuckles commenting, but the overwhelming majority of comments would be in agreement. But then with apartheid, we’re talking about human rights, not women’s rights, right?

  18. Saurs

    Shaun of South Yarra writes in one of those comments, while probably either wringing his hands or his wife’s neck, that: “I refuse to let anyone teach my son to be a fag. Feminism is a dirty word BTW: sluts are real both male and female…” Apparently Shaun thinks feminists, in addition to wanting to fag up his son, don’t want sluts to be shamed as the sluts they are. You’d think somebody had stolen his bicycle or shit on his god-fearing X-mas tree, the way he’s frightened that the feminist fag-run government of Oz might want to take away his natural right and duty to call out sluts for being sluts. Slutty, slutty sluts. The world must know their names!

  19. MarianK

    As an Australian, I should point out that Michael Flood – of the ‘shoving capital ‘F’ feminism down our throats’ comment – is actually one of our most high-profile pro-feminists. As the rag the article appears in is hardcore anti-PC Murdoch at its most explicit, I suspect his unfortunate comment has been either taken out of context or only part-reported. His website is here, and worth a look:


  20. otoc

    I’m sure Shaun’s son will be very grateful that his father prevented him from learning the faggy interpersonal skills necessary for relationships with other people. Afterall, what young straight boy doesn’t aspire to grow up to be the creepy guy women avoid like the plague?

    Unfortunately, I’m sure Shaun Jr. will direct his gratitude at the rest of us instead of his father where it belongs.

  21. Judi

    Agreed: it’s encouraging to see recognition of the need to teach kids to behave humanely in relationships.

    Also agreed: the P’s reaction is predictably despicable. The indignant sputtering is almost funny, if you squint a little.

    But, there’s a troubling suggestion in that otherwise praiseworthy proposal:

    ” ‘Possible classroom activities include students acting out scenes of sexual coercion ….’ ”

    So the kids are going to be role-playing rape or other sexual assault scenes in class? Oooo, bad, bad idea, like sandpaper on sunburn.

    A program like this should encourage kids to identify and analyze bad behavior, but not rehearse it. Save the acting out for better behavior. It’s good and useful to teach kids what reality is like and how to make it better, but the teaching shouldn’t be done by means that could actually produce or aggravate PTSD-like harm in the people it’s trying to help. As a youngster, I would have been humiliated, appalled, wounded, enraged, and generally traumatized if pressed to take part in classroom re-enactment of a real, daily terror. (Yikes—still true, at 57).

    In general, having people act out cruel behavior does a better job of teaching them how to be cruel than of teaching avoidance of cruelty. Think of the famous 1971 Stanford prison study in which college students acted out roles as prisoners and guards. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment)
    That experiment was terminated early, when the participants became “too grossly absorbed” in their roles, and some showed genuine emotional disturbance resulting from the exercise. True, the role-playing proposed here would be much briefer than the 6 days of the Stanford study, but the participants would be of a particularly vulnerable age, and not pre-selected for emotional stability as in the Stanford project.

    A better approach would be to identify examples of sexual bullying from popular culture and the ‘news.’ The ubiquity and appalling over-abundance of such examples would itself be a rich lesson. Then have the boys role-play treating girls like capable, sovereign, entire humans. Have the girls rehearse standing up for themselves and for each other, rather than competing as decorative objects and as MiracleGro for penises and boys’ egos. Teach them how to expect and demand decent behavior from males. All this would require real creativity, since it is mostly beyond human experience or imagination, so far. What would that look like? I’d love to see what kids could come up with.

    (I’m not an educator, or even a parent, and my reaction here is based solely on being an ex-kid, imagining what it would have been like to be in a class where we acted out scenes of sexual coercion. Holy guano, Batgirl! — I definitely would have wet my pants. And I fear the boys would have had way, way too much fun.)

  22. AileenWuornos

    Oh wonderful, once again we have another bugged-out-boy-brain telling us laduhz what’s good for us.

    For a second there I was worried.

    { / sarcasm }

  23. Jill

    What is a “laduhz”?

  24. nails

    From what I understand, acting out drug deals was part of why D.A.R.E. actually ended up increasing drug use for people who went through the program. I remember doing stuff like that in D.A.R.E., using pieces of chalk to be the ‘drugs’ we sold in the little skits. It just normalizes behavior. Other than that, I think its a good idea.

    The knobs would never object to a self defense course for girls, even though it could also give the impression that guys don’t automatically know how to treat women. It makes it very clear that they are mucn more upset about the idea that women aren’t being seen as resonsible for the violence they experience.

  25. Unree

    Nails nails. It, I mean. It’s fine to preach female empowerfulness in the form of self-defense; the pornsick can conjure up an image of Angelina Jolie from years ago. But imply that men rather than women are responsible for sexual assaults? Never. Boil them heretics in a cauldron.

  26. AileenWuornos

    My apologies for not making my point clearer, it was meant to be “ladies” but spoken with an Aussie drawl and that’s as best as I could type it from saying it out loud.

    Translation: Great, we have another dude telling us womyn what’s best for us.

  27. november

    I forced myself to read all the comments and count who is against and who is in favour of that program. So, of the 97 comments 76 males are against the program and 2 support ist. 7 women think the program is a good idea and 5 oppose it. (I know that these numbers do not add up to 97, but I did not count some of the comments, because they were so confusing or the gender of the commenter was not clear or could not be easily guessed.Though the latter was not a big problem in most cases, ahem.)

  28. Barn Owl

    So the kids are going to be role-playing rape or other sexual assault scenes in class?

    Fundangelical godbags in the US of A have no problem with such role-playing at their Halloween Hell Houses, where the storyline is that girls who meet men on social networking sites “deserve” to be raped by them. Apparently, there is intense competition among the kids to play the hell-bound roles, such as Rape Girl, Abortion Girl, and HIV-AIDS Gay Boy. This bizarre patriarchonomenon has been captured in a documentary by George Ratliff.

    Beware boys! The female Taliban is coming for you!

    *dies of irony poisoning*

  29. j

    In defense of his idiotic opinion the writer explains,

    “Completely ignoring the boys’ ability to reason, and literally shoving feminist theories down their throats will undoubtedly lead to them growing into a generation of self-loathing and ill-confident young men who would rather stay away from women.”

    To which I respond, ‘yeah, that’s the point!’ I guess those wacky feminists are putting their money on the idea that educating boys and men about feminism and women’s rights might get them to leave us alone and stop raping us. If the safety of my body induces self-loathing among boys and men then so be it; however, I don’t see the direct connection that the writer of the article suggests.

  30. Liah

    Ahh the lovely Herald Sun, where saying, “Don’t bash women” pisses people off. Bluh.

  31. ew_nc

    I’ve always found that Australian men are quite celebratory about their love of violence and their hatred of women. Mel Gibson being an outstanding example of this. I guess it’s good in a way, at least they don’t try to pretend they’re “nice guys”.

  32. Pantsuit Sally

    Men and boys who would commit the type of behavior this program is designed to prevent SHOULD loathe themselves.

    The MRA types always rely on misleading statistics and generalities to support their conclusions that women aren’t suited for employment, that their proper place is at home caring for the children and housekeeping, and that women are all just looking to trap a man into marriage through pregnancy and then taking him for all he’s worth in a divorce and riding the child support and alimony ladder to the stars. But when feminists use very real statistics proving that the vast majority of rapes are committed by men to logically conclude that rape prevention efforts should be focused on males (or rather, on the would-be perpetrator rather than the victim, regardless of gender), we get accused of being sexist.

  33. nails

    Holy crap Barn Owl I forgot all about that documentary!

    I think it was called “Hellhouse”, right? I don’t know if there are more than one of these things. The one I watched had the teenagers making a pagan scene, but instead of a painting a pentagram on the set they painted a star of david, apparently not knowing the difference between the two symbols. Then they argued about the color of it being wrong.

  34. PandanCat

    The female Taliban? That’s some bad, bad Arabic grammar. (Actually, Taliban itself is faulty Arabic, as it implies that there’s only two of them.) That’s some bad, bad Arabic-via-Pashto grammar.

    Regardless, where do I sign up?

  35. yttik

    “Michael Flood – of the ‘shoving capital ‘F’ feminism down our throats’ comment – is actually one of our most high-profile pro-feminists.”

    His comment could well have been taken out of context. Media is notorious for doing just that, especially to people who genuinely have something decent to say. Or if they backed him into a corner with heaps of abuse, it’s possibly to defensively say stupid things in protest that come across all wrong.

    On the other hand, it is all too common to have even the best feminists afraid of the word “feminism” and to be quick to point out that they aren’t actually advocating that. “That” of course being the hairy legged strident kind of feminism that keeps insisting that women should have full human status.

  36. Jezebella

    Judi, yes! I also got the heebie-jeebies when I read about the role-playing of sexual assault in the classroom. There’s no safe way to do that.

    You can also hear about the Hellhouse haunted houses on the latest Halloween podcast from This American Life. The kids all want to play the bad guys and bad girls; no one wants to play Jesus and the goody-goodies.

  37. goblinbee

    Judi and Jezebella, amen. I once “supervised” an invasion simulation (when my fifth graders were studying the explorers), wherein the third graders in the school came and invaded our classroom. They ordered the bigger kids around, corralled them into one small area, took over their desks, chairs, and supplies, etc. The “invaders” basically went ape-shit with all that power; it was terrifying. I had a little Lord of the Flies going on right in my own classroom.

    I never did it again.

  38. Doctress Julia

    @goblinbee: That’s positively chilling.

  39. Barn Owl

    nails and Jezebella –

    Yes, the documentary is called “Hell House”; I haven’t seen it, but I heard the This American Life Halloween segment. Usually the program makes me laugh, but that particular piece made me cringe. Ugh, and to think the first Hell House started in Cedar Park, not too far away. Apparently there were highly coveted Squickademy Awards for the actors playing “Best Rape Girl”, “Best AIDS Victim”, “Best Internet Pedophile”, etc.

  40. Jill

    Cedar Park Texas? Why am I not surprised?

  41. wiggles

    7 women think the program is a good idea and 5 oppose it.

    Or only 7 women bothered to post comments in MRA-staked territory, and 5 dudebros wrote, “I’m a woman, and I think blah blah blah.”

  42. Larkspur

    The only way role-playing has any hope of being useful in this program is if the roles are assigned at random and shuffled up frequently.

  43. Jezebella

    Larkspur, even with random assignments, it’s not safe. Any child or young person already subjected to actual assault does not need to endure such role-playing. Any given class of 30 kids will, unfortunately, probably contain a few victims.

  44. Katherine

    When can we get programs like this in NZ too?

  45. Larkspur

    jezebella, of course you are right. I guess that Stanford experiment already showed us.

    This makes me think of a teenager I knew. His family’s early model SUV rolled over on the freeway (those Toyota 4-Runners loved to roll). The father was killed instantly, but mom and the two kids walked away with a few bruises. (The kids literally were able to get out; mom was trapped against the body of her husband.)

    Anyway, cutting to the chase: this boy, already in the throes of a difficult adolescence, was now dealing with grief and guilt, and so at his school, the well-meaning grief counseling folks thought it would be a good fucking idea for him to work through his issues with a peer group. Yes, this traumatized boy met repeatedly with four diligent, caring classmates so he could process his experience.

    It was a fucking disaster. These were good kids, but they were children. Within weeks, when the boy was still upset and non-forthcoming with his feelings in spite of how hard they were trying, his peer-counselors began to get frustrated and angry with him. I don’t know the whole story, but he had to leave the school entirely and re-enroll elsewhere.

    So: role-playing. Maybe not such a good technique here. We simply have to keep talking to each other and to our children.

  46. makomk

    Pantsuit Sally: be careful which rape statistics you use. For example, some of them don’t count men who’ve been forced into penis-in-vagina sex without their consent as rape victims, only men who’ve been forcibly penetrated. (The NCVS and surveys based on it appear to do this, for a start.) If you really, really want to measure rape against men, even studies considered good by feminist academia aren’t necessarily useful since this isn’t a feminist issue.

    [That reminds me; I should look at what idea of consent this relationship education is using. Presumably one in which men can actually be raped – it ought to make it easier to deal with other issues, like male sexuality and the role of women as gatekeepers.]

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