Media Circus: read my memoirs edition

This week it’s Maxine McKew telling her version of what really happened behind the parliamentary scenes. I’ve yet to see anybody sound particularly impressed about this, even those who hoped for more from McKew while she held office.

Then there’s the latest dehumanising bullshit being dished out to asylum seekers:

There’s also been a strong reaction to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s report on Sexual Harassment:

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick says targets are most likely to be women under 40 and harassers most likely to be male co-workers.

“Four out of five perpetrators are male, although we did find that targets of sexual harassment, the overwhelming majority were women, but also there’s a growing group of men who are sexually harassed in the workplace,” she said.

The survey shows the type of harassment against men is typically different from that perpetrated against women.

“It is predominantly from other men, and it’s often – the target is often the man who is not part of the traditional macho culture of the organisation. So he’s the man who likes music not sport, he’s the man who sits about outside the group, maybe exhibits greater feminine qualities than other men,” she said.

“They’re the ones that are the targets of sexual harassment. It is about gender stereotypes, it’s also about power. In fact women are five times more likely to be harassed by their boss or manager, men more likely by their co-worker.”

What’s piqued your media interests lately?


As usual for media circus threads, please share your bouquets and brickbats for particular items in the mass media, or highlight cogent analysis elsewhere, on any current sociopolitical issue (the theme of each edition is merely for discussion-starter purposes – all current news items are on topic!).



Categories: media, parties and factions

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18 replies

  1. I think that excising the mainland from the migration zone is an appalling decision. Its times like this that make me ponder if we’d actually get more humane treatment of asylum seekers under an Liberal government. At least then we’d have an opposition that protested against these sorts of policies rather than one that just eggs the government on to further extremes.
    When is the ALP going to realise that no matter how far they go the Opposition under Abbott is always to going to demand they go a little bit further and portray them in public as not having done enough?

  2. A. How can you excise the mainland from the migration zone? It makes no sense to me. I’m so disgusted. It’s getting really hard to tell who is least evil, Liberal or Labor. It’s why I can’t vote for either of them.
    B. There was a recent discussion on Feministe.us about street harrassment of queer men, which degenerated as discussions often do, but this report reinforces connections between sexual harrassment of women (queer and nonqueer) and of men who dare deviate from our strict gender codes (who may also be queer or not queer).
    C. Shonky awards out: shocking! Mould killers don’t kill mould. But vinegar does. It makes the mould explode! I feel so mean now, cleaning my shower.

  3. @Chris, re the decision to excise the mainland from the migration zone: yes, absolutely appalling. Also truly absurd, isn’t it? I wondered when I saw it if it was 1 April or if someone had picked something up from The Onion.

  4. That sexual harassment point in really telling. Obviously the stats still show that women are overwhelmingly the targets of harassment. But maybe the thing under attack isn’t so much women anymore but femininity. Or maybe it was right from the start. Women who “get ahead” are typically seen as those who are less stereotypically feminine. And men who may perform aspects of what is traditionally deemed “femininity” are getting mocked all the more. Backlash, anyone?

  5. But maybe the thing under attack isn’t so much women anymore but femininity. Or maybe it was right from the start. Women who “get ahead” are typically seen as those who are less stereotypically feminine. And men who may perform aspects of what is traditionally deemed “femininity” are getting mocked all the more.

    As a woman who’s not particularly stereotypically feminine, I’d dispute this. I’ve not experienced sexual harassment at work, but I’ve certainly experienced discrimination, and in my experience that’s all about being female and nothing to do with being feminine (or not).

  6. Hmm, maybe you’re right Rebekka. There is definitely a thing of femininity = woman = baaaaad thing though. Urgh, sexual harassment/discrimination is the worst.

  7. Jo @ 3 – I was very surprised by the announcement, but apparently it was one of the recommendations from the Houston report. Still very disappointed.
    Jo/Rebekkah – the femininity angle was suggested by Broderick in an attempt to explain the growing number of discrimination cases where men are victims. I doubt it explains all the cases though. Anyone who sticks out from the “norm”, for whatever reason is at increased risk – the sexual aspect of the harassment is just the weapon.

    • Jo, I suspect it’s more about policing a very traditional/rigid gender binary. Expecting women to be supportive/submissive and men to be competitive/agressive for a start, and (a) punishing those who don’t fit neatly within those bounds, and (b) expecting the submissive women to put up with sexual suggestiveness from their bosses.
      Which means pretty much that no matter what a woman does, it’s likely that somebody will see her as a target deserving of either hostility or “seduction”, while for the men it’s mostly being non-macho that makes them a target (from their male co-workers anyway).

      • I haven’t actually watched an episode of Kitchen Cabinet, but I think I maybe should start, because it looks like sometimes the pollie doesn’t realise what they’re revealing about themselves. Tonight Annabel Crabb ate with Barnaby Joyce:

        Wine and meat for a pregnant vegetarian. Brilliant. *shakes head* #kitchencabinet
        — Natalie Hambly (@nataliehambly) October 31, 2012

        …and a glass of water!…@PrimMich: RT @madadventuring: Is Barnaby Joyce really just serving @annabelcrabb mashed potato?! #kitchencabinet
        — Molluscan (@molluscan) October 31, 2012

        According to another tweet I saw but can’t find again, Barnaby also gave himself the seat with the view.

  8. I just watched Senator Joist with Ms Crabb. He’s a [redacted], but so’s she, frankly. He tried to come over all philosophical. It didn’t work, although it may have fooled Ms Crabb.
    Moderator note: try and find a more creative insult than a gendered slur, please, next time?

  9. tigtog @ 9 – The Joe Hockey one is worth catching if it’s still on iView. Discovered that the Minister for Defence (Brendan Nelson) was living in a converted garage that only had enough power to run either the heater *or* the lights in a Canberra winter (he was going through a divorce and so couldn’t afford anything else). This is where defence personnel used to visit him at night to get his permission for various things….

  10. Kind of enjoyed Triple J’s Hack edition yesterday on the whole excising issue, in that they let a racist caller carry on in such a way as to point out just how stupid he was, inviting a Turkish refugee to comment on the “back door” crap, and then getting a very measured elder politician (can’t remember her name, sorry!) to comment on the “one liners being thrown around, when it’s a very complex issue” ending with commentary about human lives and dignity being worth more than politics.

  11. Jo, I suspect it’s more about policing a very traditional/rigid gender binary.

    Yes, that – the thought was trying to happen in my brain but I wasn’t quite getting there.

    There is definitely a thing of femininity = woman = baaaaad thing though.

    Not sure about this one either Jo. My feeling is more what Tigtog was suggesting – femininity is good for women (we’re conforming to our socially approved role) but bad for blokes (they need to be manly).

  12. There is definitely a thing of femininity = woman = baaaaad thing though.

    Perhaps not so much baaaad thing, unless you are a bloke in which case yes definitely, but a less valued thing?

  13. Femininity is a member of that class of things, along with motherhood, hotness, and so on, that will make you more valuable as a woman at the same time as it makes you less valuable as a person. The savage paradox of womanhood.

    • That’s a well made point, Orlando. Gender roles not only perpetuate a double-standard regarding what behaviour by whom is considered appropriate, they’re also a double-edged blade in exactly that way: femininity-conforming makes one perceived as a more valuable helpmeet, but feminine submissiveness also makes one be perceived as incapable of independent endeavour and thus undeserving of the respect given to those assumed to have the potential for independent endeavour.
      There’s a reciprocal (not necessarily equivalent or exactly opposite) double-edged blade going on with the gender expectations surrounding masculinity, of course.
      Anyone who doesn’t fit neatly into the gender binary boxes is going to disturb many people who find traditionalist expectations comforting.

  14. Excellent point, Orlando.

  15. Fair cop, moderator. Perhaps I should have used “lackwit”. It conveys most of my meaning.

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