I am disgusted by the revelation today that Liberal Party employees and MPs in the Victorian Parliament have been exchanging pornography on USB memory sticks with each other during work hours. The Age newspaper described it as a ‘porn ring’ that featured a lot of hardcore fetish material. I would be just as disgusted if Labor men were implicated in this. My anger is not partisan.
I am angry because this kind of behaviour creates a hostile space for women to move in. Sharing pornography and attending strip clubs in groups are ways men have traditionally strengthened their masculine bonds with each other. These activities allow men to assert their heterosexuality and sexual dominance in the presence of other men, ensuring their approval and acceptance within the group. As long as this behaviour is tolerated, particularly in a work environment, women will remain on the margins of power.
You only have to spend 20 seconds on a porn tube site to realise how violent and degrading mainstream pornography is. Pornography is an expression of hatred towards women. In an election year where both parties are promising to reduce men’s violence against women, our political leaders must acknowledge the role pornography plays in normalising the subjugation of women and girls.
Former premier Jeff Kennett dismissed the issue, asserting that the participants are ‘adults’, and the adviser who got sacked wondered what the problem is, seeing as it was ‘lawful material’. These are the same tedious, uncritical observations porn apologists have been making for decades despite growing evidence that pornography is harmful to both its users and the women and men used in the production of the material.
If we are serious about encouraging women to enter politics we have to deconstruct its hypermasculine aspects. Women should not have to work in an alienating environment where misogynistic hate propaganda is being circulated by their colleagues. This is not okay.
Facebook and Apple have both announced an uncommon program to help their female employees lean all the way in. The tech giants will now cover the cost of egg-freezing treatments for women (and their male partners) who want to delay their family plans in favor of advancing their careers.
Capitalist patriarchy at its worst. When companies can’t be bothered offering more flexible arrangements (thereby creating more women-friendly workplaces) you instead get appalling initiatives like this that require women to delay motherhood in order to emulate the uninterrupted work patterns of men.
I think that’s an oversimplification and doesn’t take into account the role poverty, absence of attainable alternative choices, and abuse play in shaping the choices people make when it comes to the sex industry. ‘Shame’ does not even come anywhere near it and is a clever little buzzword used by pornographers to take the attention off the abusers and onto the women.
That scenario is the case in my state of Victoria, sort of, even though marijuana possession is illegal. I used to work in youth justice and our clients, some of the most marginalised people in the state, were regularly caught with small quantities of marijuana. They were directed into education programs and avoided charges. Oftentimes that compulsory diversion program was their first point of contact with services that helped them sort out their issues with school, circumstances at home, and just getting fed adequately. We don’t have a really punitive system like some U.S. states do. I agree with you that fines and prison sentences for possession of marijuana are pretty pointless and will ALWAYS target the poor more than anyone else. There is another point to consider though, the fact that the law is a powerful model in terms of a country’s moral code. What are we saying about our cultural attitude toward marijuana when we legalise it? What message does that send young people? I also wonder about the gendered implications of easier access to marijuana. Who takes care of the kids? Generally women. I’ve witnessed the near immobilising affect that drug has on people who use it, and you can’t tell me that wouldn’t exacerbate the sexual division of labour in the home, or result in children being neglected. As I said, I’m open to shifting my position on this issue with new evidence, but my own experiences and the research I’ve seen (particularly around marijuana and mental illness) have been pretty persuasive so far.
Yep, Jon’s mum is making it. It’s going to be a white chocolate mud cake with white chocolate icing, decorated with the same flowers I’m having in my bouquet (roses and lisianthus). Our honeymoon begins a few days after our wedding and we’re spending time in London, Paris, the Amalfi Coast of Italy, and Istanbul. We’ll be away for just under a month. Cannot wait.