Sunday, September 30, 2012

don't blame me, Alan Jones made me do it

Misogyny is a cultural attitude of hatred for females because they are female”. Allan G. Johnson (sociologist)

This morning it’s hard to know who is the most hated man in Australia. If social media bytes are anything to go by, the award goes to Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones. A couple of days ago, without a doubt, it would’ve been a faceless man in a blue hoodie.

These two men, who’ve most likely never met, share a sense of entitlement, an internal disconnect between their actions and consequences and most of all, a hatred of women.

Am I drawing a long bow to tar these men with the same brush? Jones is notorious for his attacks on our Prime Minister, essentially because she is a woman. It could be because she’s not his hero John Howard, who is of course a man. But even her predecessor, and possessor of male genitalia, didn’t cop as much personal criticism from Jones, despite it being Rudd to topple Howard from his God-given right to rule our country.

Jones has long used his position as a highly influential media personality to promote the Liberal Party and push a right wing agenda. His listeners can’t seem to get enough of him. So while it’d be logical to presume that all non-Liberal politicians are fair targets for his ACMA-sanctioned vitriol,  female political figures seem to cop more than their male counterparts. Take the infamous “chaff bag” threats last year, when Jones repeatedly inferred on air that the Prime Minister should be “put in a chaff bag” and dumped at sea. If this doesn’t represent violence against women, I don’t know what does. But he didn’t just stop with Gillard, Sydney mayor Clover Moore and Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young received similar, misogynistic contempt. As for the chaff bag, Jones also had one for the then Greens leader, Bob Brown, but perhaps being gay makes one less of a man in Alan's mind?

When influential figures have air time to repeatedly indoctrinate their audience with hatred against a gender, race or religion and the regulatory body, in this case the government appointed Communications and Media Authority, defend his right to do so, it legitimizes a culture of disrespect.

This weekend Jones was caught out taking his women-hating campaign against Gillard a step further, by publicly asserting that the Prime Minister is a liar and this caused her father to die of shame.

Will this be comment be a bridge too far for Jones? While other Lefties are rubbing their hands with glee that this could be his undoing, I doubt this will be the final death knell for his influential career. (Update: maybe not the original comment, but after seeing his "apology", who knows) Why? Because misogyny is rife in Australia and if his previous assertions about wanting to kill Gillard and dispose of her in a sack in the ocean aren’t deemed inflammatory enough, why would this be? By bringing Gillard’s father into the picture he might be offending our sense of good taste but he’s not actually accusing the Prime Minister of partricide.

And that brings us back to the man in the blue hoodie. What’s he got to do with Alan Jones? We all know that rape is about power not sex, right? We have a culture that is infused with and condones misogyny, if Jones’s popularity is anything to go by. Through the week victim blaming was rife.  On the Facebook site “Help find Jill Meagher”, before her body was found, a commenter asserted that she’d been drunk “led someone on”, this would have pissed the poor man off “and the consequences followed her”. His logical conclusion being “she met with foul play as a result of her actions inside the pub”. Let’s not blame the guy who anonymously wrote this, he was just mouthing the inference of more influential media figures. Through the week our own local shock jocks were calling Ms Meagher a party girl and drawing their own victim shaming conclusions. And we know that women having fun, outside of the marital home, drinking, wearing high heels and a pretty dress get what they deserve.

If Gillard deserves to be killed (put in a chaff bag in dumped in the sea) for being an outspoken woman, what chance do ordinary women have? According to trial by media, a woman drinking with friends, without the protection of her husband, and daring to walk home alone is obviously asking to be sexually assaulted and murdered.

So why do we hate the accused, when he’s done exactly what so many men in our country believe she brazenly courted?

According to the anonymous commenter on Facebook, rape and even “foul play” may be warranted, if a woman merely has a drink in a public place with friends. Is it any wonder in a society that doesn’t blink an eyelid, when a public figure explicitly states his "joking" desire to kill a number of female politicians? That he didn’t really mean it and anyway, nothing’s off limit if you hold public office. These two men are merely the tip of the iceberg, reflecting the deep vein of hatred towards women that simmers in Australia.

As I concluded in my last post about Jill Meagher:
Society needs to change and we all contribute in some way to the environment that creates people who do not respect human dignity.
 We’ve created Alan Jones too.

Postscript: have just lost 42 minutes of my life live-streaming Alan Jones’s “apology”. To summarize: he was just repeating what someone said earlier on the day at his Godson’s birthday party and he probably shouldn’t have repeated it. Oh and carbon tax made me do it. The Gillard government’s failed promises made me do it. The “chaff bag” was just a figure of speech. And anyway, the tape could have been edited so he mightn’t have said it after all. Oh and people say nasty things all the time about him, so suck it up Juliar.

Enough rope?

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Blogger Clyde said...

Well written. I am highly flammable at the moment IRT men behaving badly.

Does anyone really care though?

Jones will live to fight another day just as Bolt and Sandilands have etc etc...

"They have a right to free speech", they say...,

What a load of shit!

That isn't free speech and I challenge anyone to explain to me how commentary such as what Jones an Bolt spew at regular intervals can be fit into the concept of "free speech"?

Tism were so right when they sung "I'm Interested In Apathy".

Maybe I should stop caring too?


1:35 pm  
Anonymous wobblyboot said...

In my mind misogyny is only part of Alan Jones outbursts. He's also a very useful tool for the right of politics in that he is sufficiently distant from the Liberal party to be classed as a free agent, yet speaks for them to a large audience. Clearly there is only a pretence of balance on his show yet he encourages his listeners to believe they are getting the complete story. Once again a convenient propaganda tool for the right.
I'm not suggesting that this is just political, I agree that Alan appears to view successful women as lesser to the male equivalent. But I think that ultimately it's about getting the "born to rule" party back in, wider ramifications of the misogyny are just an "unfortunate" byproduct.

1:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely spot on. I moved here from the UK but am becoming so disgusted by the attitudes in this country...which are rapidly becoming similar to those of the Afghan Taliban, backward, anti female, the triumph of ignorance over common sense and scientific knowledge...I am regretting doing so.
Tony Abbot said on air that he supported a CARBON TAX. He is not blasted as a liar, he can "change his mind".
Stephen from Adelaide

4:21 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Clyde, I defend the right to free speech, however we need more robust debate around what comes out of people's mouths. It's not what they're saying but the passive acceptance of so many repugnant views served up as fact that I object to. Partially this is because there is so little independent media. The ABC is so afraid of appearing unbiased that it's becoming toothless. Fairfax has slashed and burned editorial staff and dumped most of it's better, experienced journalists. And the rest are just whores to the shareholders/advertisers/their own big juicy paychecks.

8:08 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Wobblyboot, absolutely. Misogyny is only one of Jones's many poison arrows. And you can buy a lot of poison arrows with $4 million a year!

I don't have the time or desire to write a thesis on Jones. His failing are many. And he's not just a mouthpiece for the right but somewhat of a puppeteer.

As a Melbournian he's less in our face and even harder to take seriously than for some of those at the coal face in NSW. But also as someone living in this city, my focus is more immediately on making sense of the week we've had. We're in shock about another man who has not just a lack of respect for women but a throbbing hatred for us (if the emerging news of his criminal history is anything to go by, not just this latest, single repugnant act).

To me men like Alan Jones, who legitmize hatred of women, play a small role in creating me like the bloke in the blue hoodie. And by not speaking up and challenging people like Jones, our silence colludes.

8:16 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Hi Stephen. I'm also an import. It's over 20 years but I'll never forget how shocked I was at first by the men in this country, even the so-called Lefty blokes, compared with their kiwi counterpart.

8:19 am  

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