One for the WTF files: SMH cartoon on QANTAS “overbooked babies” error

WTF SMH? WTF Simon Letch?

Screen capture from SMH

Screen capture from SMH - 6-08-2009_3-52-40PM

Why represent women planning to engage in political action as smugglers? In their underwear? And barefoot?

What the hell is your point? That women are being treated like they should be barefoot and in the kitchen and not engaging in political activity when corporations can torpedo their plans for protest with a “computer says no” response? Hey, that might be a good point. Shame that the news story underneath just mentions a “national homebirth rally” without any description of what the government is planning to do that has instigated the protests.

So, if that was the possibly useful point of your cartoon, then why dilute that by showing a woman as someone wanting to smuggle infants clandestinely instead of travelling openly as the carer of an infant? And then dilute it even further by engaging in casual sexualisation with the underwear? Could you have trivialised this whole issue more if you’d employed a thinktank to brainstorm it with you?

Also, to all the other subeditors engaging in headlines about tantrums and dummy spits? Thank you so much for allowing your headlines to yet again minimise the political activism of women. Although at least most of you managed to keep that to stuff that actually referred to babies, unlike the heading below which accuses the mothers of throwing tantrums.

Screen capture from livenews.com.au - 6-08-2009_3-22-23PM

Perhaps noted fauxgressive “Lefty Tim” Brunero had nothing to do with the headline that accompanies the article carrying his byline. But in these days of swingeing corporate media cutbacks, does livenews.com.au even have a subeditor? Proper subeditors at least usually catch the typos.



Categories: gender & feminism, media, Politics

Tags: , ,

14 replies

  1. The hell? What the fuck does that cartoon have to do with anything?

  2. I thought there were benign interpretations for the cartoon (I interpreted the woman’s barefootedness and exposure as the humiliation people are exposed to in extreme cases, in customs searches) but I was much more annoyed by the verbal “dummy spit” and “tantrums” references.

  3. I also suggest a drinking game for the version of the post on LP.
    One drink for “Hysterical”
    One drink for “overreaction”
    One drink for every reply using the word “ladies”
    One drink for every suggestion we should be interviewing women in the Sudan if we’re so feminist, instead of whining about such irrelevant matters
    Other suggestions…?
    Gads i’m going to be plastered before the night is over 😉

  4. If you add “brat” to that list, Helen, we may all need our stomachs pumped by midnight.

  5. I think that’s one for the younger-girl slut-shaming, Lauredhel, rather than for the older-post-partum-past-it-no-longer-nubile so can’t get away with annoying the menfolk-type shaming, but you may sadly be right.

  6. Nope, there’s already one instance whingeing about babies on airplanes.

  7. And the obligatory “can’t you take a joke” comment appeared at 9.54pm.

  8. And the obligatory “can’t you take a joke” comment appeared at 9.54pm.

    It’s funny because it’s …
    oh, wait.

  9. Deborah, you mean the exhortation to Lighten Up?
    That’s such a troll classic, I can’t believe I missed it;. Alcoholically impaired already…

  10. That’s the one.

  11. I don’t think it’s funny, but I saw it as a kind of sarcastic comment on the fact that the women didn’t attempt to hide the fact they were bringing their babies; it was the Qantas booking system that didn’t alert a Real Person when there were ‘too many’ babies booked on the flight. I’m not quite sure why you need rules about how many babies can travel on a flight, but apparently you do, and Qantas has, and their system should have prevented the later bookings, and this has inconvenienced a large number of their customers.
    Maybe I’m overthinking it…

    • The rules about babies relate to how many of the special oxygen-masks for infants each plane has. These facilities are limited therefore for safety reasons the number of babies on board needs to be limited to match.
      That QANTAS’ booking system didn’t throw up an alert when the infant-capacity had been reached on each plane is a matter of an inadequate system analysis, obviously. For whatever reason, this particular safety requirement was either not accounted for in the specs of the booking system, or not properly implemented if initially specified, and nobody picked up on it until there were all these planes with all the safety travel-cots booked out and people still phoning wanting travel-cots – that’s when they realised they had more babies booked to be on board than safety oxygen-masks.
      I don’t demand that cartoons accompanying a news story be funny. That’s not always their purpose – they are often meant to provide an ironic counterpoint that isn’t funny at all. But it would be nice if such cartoons actually made a coherent point instead of throwing a whole heap of tropes at the reader and hoping that some stick.

  12. … Now that’s just being aggressively stupid and offensive.

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