Is male privilege real?

 

Screen shot of ABC's Hack Live on iView
New episode of “Hack Live” brought on controversy, but also interesting debate over “male privilege”.

I watched the controversial show “Hack Live – Is Male Privilege Bulls***” and I’ve got to say while it caused controversy in which the ABC kind of apologised for, the discussion on male privilege on the panel show “Hack Live” was actually very interesting.

One interesting panellist was *Adrian* (not his real name), who was a part of the Men’s Right’s movement. He, more than other panellists, emphasised what many men face in Australia more than women. These included homelessness and suicide. It was also pointed out that men are over represented in work related deaths as well as the alleged gender pay gap and domestic violence.

 

So, does male privilege exist?

It’s complicated. Economically, there may be a historical bias that favours men. But in areas like family law, mental health and other areas, these things have generally favoured women – from what I can gather. In the UK, there is a severe lack of appropriate shelters for male domestic violence victims. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was similar here. You don’t hear about domestic violence against men in the media as frequently as you hear about women.

I think another factor to talk about is male victims by sexual assault at the hands of both men and women. While there is a slow increase in awareness and female who abuse boys are finally getting exposed, I believe there is still a long way to go, especially on reducing stigma faced by many male victims, both as adults and children.

So, does ‘male privilege’ exist?

Like I said men may have some economic and professional advantages over women – depends who you believe on the age wage gap and poverty after retirement. But, I think there are areas in which women have the upper hand, including custody disputes and family law, awareness on domestic violence and mental illness and relevant services for these men.

Privilege in general

“Hack Live” also looked into – albeit too briefly – intersections of identity and how that plays in the privilege debate. I’ve written extensively about challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people over the years since I’ve started blogging. Is there such thing as straight privilege? I think most certainly! From adequate and fair media representation, visibility in education, LGBTQ+ people of faith struggling to find a place of worship where they feel accepted, (although as I have written before, things are slowly looking up).

In other areas, I think “white privilege” isn’t an overblown concept either, to be honest. I think, while things are improving for people of colour in countries like Australia, I don’t doubt that that some may still face racism in a way that Caucasian people generally don’t have to think about. I believe that there are people of colour who face racial profiling. People of colour and of Asian backgrounds do get stereotyped in a way that Caucasian people generally don’t get. I have also heard a few years ago that a survey (I think) pointed out that some employers tend to look past resumes that have a non – English sounding name. Whether this has improved over the three or so years since the story was on The Project, I’m not entirely sure. I hope it has.

Did anyone else watch “Hack Live”? What did you think about it? What do you think about the concept of male privilege? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. 

 

 

 

Red Symons Racist? Probably not. Controversial? Hell, yes.

This week, former guitarist and ‘Hey, hey, it’s Saturday’ regular, Red Symons came under fire for “What’s the deal with Asians?” podcast interview on ABC’s Radio National with Beverley Wang, who is Canadian of Taiwanese descent. I didn’t hear the interview (an Andrew O’Keeffe trick, ha!), but from what I read here, it seemed nothing more than satire.

I agree with Andrew Bolt in that calling Wang “yellow” was quite crass and unnecessary. Then again, Symons is well – known for controversy and crassness. I grew up watching him on “Hey, Hey It’s Saturday” back in the early 1990’s. He was a panellist on “Red Faces”, a skit where Symons and other panellists ‘judged’ performances. Red Symons was the ‘bad guy’, well and truly. And some people thought Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson and Kyle Sandilands were bad on Australian Idol! Sheesh!

Back in the 1970’s, Symons was one of the guitarists in Melbourne – based band, Skyhooks. They were controversial. They caused such a stir that in 1974 due to their provocative lyrics that fours songs from their debut album ‘Living in the ’70’s’ were banned from commercial airplay.

Skyhooks' 1990 'Latest and Greatest'
Skyhooks’ 1990 ‘Latest and Greatest which features two songs that were banned from airplay in 1974.

 

Did they mean any harm? Probably not. It was just satire. Biting satire, offensive satire, but none the less, satire.

With this particular interview, I get race, migration and in particular, boat people are sensitive topics, especially given the ongoing controversy of Nauru and Manus Island, plus the ongoing debate of our refugee intake.  Since then, Symons has apologised and the ABC has deleted the interview from its website.

I hope this is as far as it goes. I do think as a society we do need to be careful, both of what we expect from artists, but I do think it’s important that everyone in the public eye or with a wide platform (myself included), need to be careful not to cause harm to the people we talk/ write/ joke about. It’s a real balancing act.

Did you hear the podcast? Did you think it was offensive? 

Councils commemorating IDAHOBIT: is that such a bad thing?

IMG_0540
Image: iStock

 

 

This week, Geelong City Council raised the rainbow flag on City Hall as a part of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).

Good idea? I didn’t actually know this until a few hours ago, but May 17 marks the day when the World Health Organisation officially declassified homosexuality as a mental illness back in 1990. Sine then, transgenderism is slowly being destigmatised and is no longer officially being classed as a mental illness. With that, the western world has continued to make advances into ensuring the full participation and well – being of LGBTQ+ people in society. Of course, this hasn’t been smooth sailing, with continued discrimination and all out culture wars which still affect LGBTQ+ people in the West today.

Back to the Geelong City Council, like I said, I think almost any move to show acceptance and advocacy for LGBTQ+ is a good thing. However, if you watched a discussion on shows like Sky News’ ‘Paul Murray Live’ this week, you would sense a bit of ‘here we go again’. Panellist like ‘Herald Sun’s’ Rita Panahi attacked Labor again for voting down the proposed plebiscite earlier this year.

The thing is, do gestures like the ones that the Geelong City Council made win hearts? To be honest, I think the answer is no. Pushing ad nauseum, while attacking opponents of things like same – sex marriage, or even the signalling of IDAHOBIT by raising the rainbow flag on a government building isn’t winning anyone over.

So, what can we do?

First thing that comes to mind is… talk. Talk about same – sex marriage, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, etc. We need to work together to work it out so LGBTQ+ are included and accepted without others feeling unfairly targeted and silenced.

On a similar point, let LGBTQ+ talk. This is what has frustrated me over the so – called debate on same – sex marriage. On one hand, you have groups like Socialist Alliance running amok making LGBTQ+ look bad, then on the other end, you have conservatives (almost always straight), telling LGBTQ+ to suck it  up and how we should have just had the plebiscite.

There are LGBTQ+ Australians who don’t want same – sex marriage to be legalised, and yet there are those who do and take the debate hard and did have aerious concerns. I think I’ve said before that mental health was a topic that was unfortunately not talked about in the lead up to the vote on the plebiscite until it was too late and the bill was blocked in the Senate. This isn’t about treating LGBTQ+ people as ‘special snowflakes’ or ‘precious petals’, but acknowledging that, because of their circumstances, past trauma or toxic beliefs about gender identity or sexuality, that such people may have needed support in the lead up to the plebiscite.

 

I do any council or other institution who work to make LGBTQ+ people feel secure and included in their area. i do think LGBTQ+ need to be heard. Whether putting a rainbow flag on a government building, even for a week is a way to do it is I think questionable. Let’s hope it doesn’t have the exact opposite effect.

 

 

Apologies

Hi all.

I know it’s been a while and I apologise. The cold is going around.

Hopefully, I’ll be back in full swing next week. There’s so much I want to write about including the possible end of Everyday Feminism. As I always ask when media outlets face financial trouble, I’ll be wondering what it means for writers/ bloggers in the future, including left – leaning/ feminist writers.

Although I didn’t watch it very much, I realized that the comedy “Last Man Standing”, starring Tim Allen has been axed in the U.S. What does that mean for free speech, etc.? (More details shortly).

Geelong Council in Victoria raises rainbow flag until gay marriage is legal in Australia. Is that OK? I’ll offer my thoughts.

I might do a piece on the Alan Joyce vs. “Pie Man” saga. That’s another gift that just keeps on giving.

 

Anyway, there’s a few things that I’ve noticed this week. I usually like to keep on top of current events and try to write about them when they’re being talked about, but what are you going to do?

 

What’s been happening with you? What’s caught your attention this week? Leave your thoughts below in the comments section.

 

The collapse of Fairfax – what does this mean for the commercial media?

IMG_0507
Fairfax a victim of changes in the media landscape and mismanagement

 

 

Staff at Fairfax papers around the country have gone on strike this week to protest the proposed cutting of 125 jobs.

Whatever your views politically (Fairfax is a well – known Left – leaning company), I think this is sad. Several things have contributed to the collapse of Fairfax over recent years. One has been financial mismanagement and lack of sales revenue. “The Australian’s” Chris Kenny has said on his show that, unlike Newscorp, they went digital too early and their paper sales collapsed. They also relied heavily on advertisers – such as housing company Domain. This didn’t translate well to the digital world and therefore, their revenue went guts up.

I’ve said this sort of thing a couple of times before – what does this mean for journalists, columnists and even online writers?

See, I’m wondering even more now since I’m doing the Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing. My ultimate goal is to update this blog and make something out of it – sort of like what Mia Freedman did with Mamamia (I can dream can’t I?). But I want to work for someone else first. True, the course covers all writing, not just journalism and commentary, so I could get work in another field – hopefully. But, if I’m honest, I jumped at the chance to do the course when I heard that people can go on to do journalism after the course. The course outline for the Diploma lists journalism as one of the career options. I don’t think I’ll do that though. After I finish what I’m doing now I have to work!

 

As I pointed out before, ultimately, I’d like to update this blog and do something with it. It’ll take a while for sure, but that’s no guarantee either. I’ve written on another blog about how Wendy Harmer’s “The Hoopla” collapsed by 2015 after only four years.

People have probably heard the huge YouTube boycott controversy by now. I asked about it on a Facebook group whether bloggers who use AdSense for revenue had been affected (AdSense and YouTube are both run by Google). Some people said they had been affected, but not many. To compensate their losses, YouTubers have asked viewers to donate money via PayPal and Patreon. I’ve often thought about, rather than solely relying on advertisers (apparently, AdSense doesn’t pay a whole lot anyway), I’d go through other means like e – books, etc. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Maybe rather than throwing their dreams in the bin entirely, columnists, features writers, independent bloggers and others just need to be more creative if they want to turn their passion into a career like I want to. It’s either that or only have writing as a second job – which to be honest, I was happy doing anyway.

 

The future is so uncertain for writers now. It’s scary. With the rise of online writing, maybe this will revitalise the industry in the future. Maybe (hopefully) this is a temporary transition from traditional media to digital and journalism can be a robust industry again, just all online.

Are you a writer? How have you been affected by the ever – changing industry, if at all? I’d love to know what you think. Leave your thoughts below.

 

Gay marriage and fluid sexuality

South Australian Senator, Eric Abetz caused an uproar when he suggested that gay people can form straight relationships on Sky News when talking about the push for same – sex marriage. This has caused outrage among members of the LGBTQ+ community with accusations of Abetz using the harmful rhetoric that was used to make LGBTQ+ people believe they could become straight; a practice that has been condemned by mainstream health bodies. Former pastor, Anthony Venn – Brown has dismissed Abetz’s claims, saying that gays and lesbians don’t change their orientation when married to someone of the opposite sex. He said it was a case of ‘situational heterosexuality. I want to play the devil’s advocate here. Researchers have suggested that sexuality can be fluid for some people. That’s been explored in the media quite a lot the past few years. Some people are bisexual (sometimes on varying degrees), so theoretically, they’ll be able to fall for a man or woman (or other gender). There must be a distinction here, though:

Some people are, always have been and always will be gay. 

Also, fluid sexuality is said to have environmental factors, whether it’s to do with epigenetics ,  (a theory that is rejected by some in the LGBTQ+ community), or not I don’t think anyone has determined… yet(?). However, that’s not to say that LGBTQ+’s sexuality is definitely going to change due to environment. 

 

To be honest, I think the theory is quite pointless in the same – sex marriage debate (which I think that’s what they were debating on Sky). So some people experience fluidity in their sexuality and/ or fall in love with someone that doesn’t fall in line with what their orientation. So? That doesn’t mean that there aren’t gays, lesbians, people who are homo-romantic, etc, that want to get married. Some in the LGBTQ+ community, along with their allies, feel that marriage is a crucial step forward towards LGBTQ+ acceptance (I still argue that’s still an overly simplistic argument, but that’s another post for another day and it won’t be a magic bullet, but that’s another post for the future).

 

While I think Senator Abetz wasn’t entirely wrong in his statement, I think it was pointless and was bound to be taken negatively by members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially given his clashes with members of the LGBTQ+ community over same – sex marriage over the past two years. And I think it’s important to reinstate – I believe that some people may experience fluid sexuality or degrees of bisexuality. But there are people who are, always have been and always will be gay. Let’s not use the fluidity theory or bisexuality to bully and shame LGBTQ+ all over again.

 

 

Latham, free speech and responsibility

Sky News (Australia) has sacked former Labor leader, Mark Latham for attacking a student’s perceived sexuality when responding to speeches made on International Women’s Day.

Latham has been well – known for being politically incorrect since joining Sky, both as a guest on “The Bolt Report” and his regular show “Jones and Co”, with 2GB host Alan Jones. The latest jibe, however proved to be too far. While colleagues like Andrew Bolt and Paul Murray were sad to see him go, Bolt criticised Latham for his comments toward the student.

 

Free speech

The news of the sacking has sparked fierce criticism on social media, with some threatening to cancel their Foxtel subscriptions and boycott Sky News.

IMG_0446
Sky recieving backlash on Facebook over Latham’s sacking

 

IMG_0447
More backlash

 

Of course, free speech is also a hot topic when it comes to changing 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which has been defeated in the Senate. When it came to 18C, for a long time I was torn. I understood why a number of people, including some Jews, worried. However, the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) case made me change my mind. It was unfortunate that three young people had their lives and careers turned upside down because of a number of Facebook posts. The plaintiff, Cindy Prior wasn’t a winner either. She went bankrupt. I believe a law that was meant to protect people shouldn’t result in lives being thrown into turmoil.

 

Now, on the attacks toward Sky News. I think they did a reasonable thing. If they held on to Latham and he said outrageous things again and again, then it would’ve had looked bad on the media outlet. As others have said before, this is NOT a free speech issue. Latham WASN’T legally sanctioned for what he said. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism or being held to account when you go too far. This is what so many people don’t get. If you attack someone (verbally or on – line), then you should be called out.

Also, Sky has every right to decide on policies and codes of conduct that employees should abide by. I’m guessing that, while debate is encouraged and expected, discriminatory or rude behaviour and speech based on someone’s sexuality, race, etc isn’t. Most workplaces do demand that all staff members respect their colleagues and members of the public they associate with, and, in this case, write and talk about. It’s their right. Freedom of speech DOES NOT MEAN FREEDOM FROM CONSEQUENCES!

 

Another thing too – if a law like 18C was to be scrapped, I believe that it would put the onus on the public and the media to not tolerate discriminatory or bullying behaviour or language. This means that it should be called out – always. And people do. For instance, I’ve been particularly impressed with Andrew Bolt this year and how he has rebuked people, like cartoonist Larry Pickering, publicly for making inappropriate remarks against gays and Muslims at the Q Society fundraiser. (According to the Gold Coast Bulletin, Pickering expressed regret on his anti – gay slur, but is standing by his antib- Muslim comments). Bolt has also criticised his colleague and former Coalition member, Ross Cameron for his distasteful ‘joke’ that night. (Cameron did apologise for his comments).

 

I think what Sky News did to Latham was fair. This was NOT an attack on his free speech. It was Sky taking an ethical and professional stand on what they will and won’t tolerate. To be honest, even the Left could take a leaf out of their book – stand for ethics always. Don’t let tribalism stand in tge way for doing what you know in your heart is right.