Helen and Cristy both have absolute crackers of posts up regarding the widespread misogyny informing various religious and conservative thinkers who are coming out with variations of “but maybe the mad mufti had a point about you wimmin and your tempting bits, asking for it that is”. Helen’s post title, in particular, deserves some sort of prize. Ms Fits also pointedly notes the relative lack of outrage about Christian spokesmen being sexist tools in comparison to the reaction against the mufti – there’s protest, certainly, but there’s no front-page headlines.
Helen’s target is the cartoonist and occasional columnist Michael Leunig, who embodied the epitome of the ‘concern troll’ by publishing this cartoon:
originally uploaded by Gary Sauer-Thompson
There’s excellent discussion of the pronouncements of Leunig, the mufti, various pastors and archbishops at all these forums. What I want to contrast with these people who implicitly state that as women dressing immodestly is immoral then that immorality excuses male violence towards them is the message of the White Ribbon Day campaign this year:
The aim of the campaign is to get fathers to wear white ribbons against Violence Against Women this year on November 25th. The ad above, if you’re having difficulty reading it, asks “Prepared to give your right arm to protect your daughter?” and goes on to say “wear a white ribbon to help”. The idea they want to push this year is vowing that you won’t be silent in the face of male violence against women – that you will speak up against it when you hear it spoken of and see it happen.
They have other disturbing ads aimed just at dads – Take a Trip to Hell, Get Mauled by Sharks, Run You Over Bus Tours. I like the way they’ve compared the risk of social awkwardness involved in speaking up with all these hyperbolic images of noble, rescuing fatherhood. Sure, it’s playing right up to romantic patriarchal parenting myths, but it’s a valid question – if you would jump into shark infested waters to save your daughter from drowning, then why would you not be brave enough to speak up when other men threaten violence, or approve of others committing violence, against the daughters of other dads?