Tankard Reist threatens defamation action against former colleague

13 Sep




As many people who visit this blog already know, in January this year I received a letter from Melinda Tankard Reist’s lawyer Ric Lucas of Colquhoun Murphy, threatening me with defamation action unless I removed material from my blog about his client, publicly apologised, and paid the expenses Reist had incurred as a consequence of threatening to sue me. There’s an entire category on No Place for Sheep titled “Defamation Threat” that records these events and their interesting consequences, in particular the “Streisand Effect.”

It now turns out that in the same week, Tankard Reist also instructed Ric Lucas to send a defamation threat to Catherine Manning, a former colleague of Reist’s who had decided to leave the group.The same demands were made: that Manning retract comments made on her Facebook page, publicly apologise and pay Reist’s costs.

Defamation threats remain active for twelve months, so Catherine and myself can be sued by Reist at any time until January 2013.

Like Catherine, I’m very wary of these things declining into unseemly playground brawls, however, a pattern is emerging of bullying, and attempts to silence differing points of view through the use of threats, including contacting the employers of those Reist feels have offended her.

I’m in possession of similar information from other people who at this stage don’t want to be named.

Manning recently wrote a piece for Mamamia in which she challenged the usefulness of Reist’s Collective Shout campaigns against girls’ and women’s clothing choices. In the comments thread Manning revealed plans for a proposed fundraiser that involved guests dressing up in the style Collective Shout aggressively opposes (my post “How Collective Shout shames women and girls” is relevant here).

The comments left by Tankard Reist supporters, and some responses by Manning and others, have, interestingly, been deleted from the Mamamia site. One of these deleted comments is from Sarah McMahon, Chair of Collective Shout, who writes:

Comments on this thread have been brought to our attention.

We feel it is important to advise that the account of the proposed fundraiser for our organisation posted by Catherine Manning above contains significant inaccuracies.

We do not feel it is professional to further engage on this matter in this forum and we will not be entering into further correspondence.

I received the following letter from Catherine yesterday. It includes emails that confirm Collective Shout had indeed been planning a dress-up fundraiser where guests were invited come, as Reist puts it, dressed as “hot nurses” and “pimps.”

The comments deleted from Mamamia appear below the letter.

Dear Jennifer,

I should be outraged over the reaction of Collective Shout and some of their supporters to my ‘shorts’ article and your subsequent post but I’m actually a little bemused and a lot relieved.  Over the past two years, I have been bullied and undermined both personally and professionally by some of those I once campaigned alongside.  This includes clandestine investigations amongst friends, threats of withdrawal of support for the company I worked for whilst I was under their employ, and aggressive emails to me directly.  It seems they don’t like the company I keep, nor the things I have to say that challenge their views.

In fact, like you, I also hold a threatening legal letter from Melinda Tankard Reist and her lawyers (dated 3/1/12) for citing the reason I was tossed from the Collective Shout fold, and lamenting that the fear and silencing of other voices stifles progress.  Of course I have documentary evidence and witnesses to support my claims.  Up until now I have remained publicly silent about my treatment, aware that by revealing their antics, my summary of events may be reduced to playground politics.  However, in light of their recent public outbursts, I feel it timely and necessary to defend my reputation.

As well as the Mamamia comments (since removed from their website)  I am also providing part of an email thread between myself and Melinda Tankard Reist about the CS FUNdraiser for those new and vocal recruits at Collective Shout, who may not have the full story.  Slut-shaming isn’t limited to just some within Collective Shout, hence my not naming any individual or group in my article, but it was they who came out swinging in response, and ultimately forced me to share this.

Catherine Manning via email 9/7/1o 10:55am …I just wanted to send my thoughts about the ‘sexualisation theme’ though, as I’m concerned it could be used against us. I understand the intended ‘humour/fun’ in encouraging people to dress up, but I think it’s risky in that when we condemn Lynx for ‘taking the piss’, it seems hypocritical for us to say we’re just doing this for ‘fun’/parody.  I personally just don’t think it’s the right event for it, if you want the campaign to be taken seriously.  I also worry about any media attention the event might attract – if there are any photos taken for papers, etc, upon first glance, assumptions will be made and minds made up before reading the ‘context’.

Melinda Tankard Reist via email 9/7/10 11:11am‘appreciate your thoughts on this…..I have put a halt to the flyer that was about to go out and have insisted the wording be changed.  I want to focus on those doing the objectifying – the culture and the industry, not on individual women. Doing what I can to minimise the risk. I hope it’s not too late’

I was then asked to contact the organiser to advise her to reject the theme, which I obliged.

Melinda Tankard Reist via email 9/7/10 12:59pm ….‘Thanks for anything you can do to take the heat out of this.’

And the ‘damage control’ in a CS statement:

‘It has come to our attention that we have not communicated the intention of this event as clearly as we could have. The intention was not to poke fun at individual women who engage in particular beauty practices, or an invitation for people to come as ‘hot nurses’ and ‘pimps’ but to highlight the ridiculous pressure placed on women to change everything about themselves, in order to fit into our culture’s narrow definition of beauty.

What we had pictured was people dressing up in an exaggerated way that highlights this pressure and takes it to a ridiculous extreme, hence the ‘humorous protest’ aspect of the event. It was intended to be a jab at the beauty industry, the diet industry and the fashion industry, not at women. We wanted it to be funny, not derogatory.’  The Collective Shout team 9/7/10

As I stated, no matter how it was spun, it didn’t sit right with me and I began to question, but I soon learnt that questioning ‘the experts’ was not on.

The issues I raised in my article about my child sex abuse, are far bigger and more important than this sideshow Collective Shout, Julie Gale of Kids Free 2B Kids, and ‘Helen Lovejoy’ have turned it into.  I hope from here, we can move on and start discussing what is really important.

Catherine Manning

Comment thread deleted from Mamamia

September 2, 2012 at 08:27 pm Julie Gale – Director Kids Free 2B Kids Hi Catherine – I appreciate your courage to share a personal and distressing experience. You make some very valid points.
I find it a great shame tho, that you have used the opportunity to have a go at people who have tirelessly spoken out against the sexualisation of children and in doing have created significant change.
I have worked for half a decade raising awareness about this issue and so am very curious to know who are the ‘many you have worked alongside’ that have said:
‘girls dressing like women was asking for trouble’ – or –
‘if you want to project your child from predators, cover them up’.
In my 6 years of raising awareness about sexualisation I have not heard any of my ‘anti-sexualisation’ colleagues say either – but it would be concerning if someone did.
I agree it would be important to correct those ‘many people’.
It wasn’t me – so was it Dr Michael Carr Gregg – or Dr Joe Tucci – or Dr Emma Rush – or Dr Clive Hamilton – or Maggie Hamilton – or Melinda Tankard Reist – or Professor Louise Newman – or Former Chief Justice of the Family Court Alastair Nicholson – or Danielle Miller – or Steve Biddulph – or head of the AMA Dr Steve Hambleton or Professor Elisabeth Handsley?
Or perhaps it was someone from the Victorian Principals Association – or maybe you read these statements in a report from the American Psychological Association, or The UK Home office report, or The Scottish and Irish Parliament and French Government reports – or perhaps from the
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
I’m sure I have inadvertently missed some people – so apologies.
I’ve also just read Caroline Norma’s piece 3 times and cannot find where she says or even intimates that ‘The length of a young girl’s hemline is a marker or a cause of sexualisation.’
I recently asked Wendy Harmer at ‘The Hoopla’ for the names of people who she stated had been ‘scare-mongering about rampant teenage sexuality’, and unfortunately she didn’t provide any – so I’m hoping you can answer my question.
Thanks Julie

September 3, 2012 at 10:49 am Catherine Manning Of course I can answer your questions, Julie. Thanks for asking. 1. Caroline Norma’s article was in response to those written about the Target shorts. The whole issue was that the shorts were ‘too short’. Hence my comment that ‘the length of a girl’s hemline is not a marker or a cause of sexualisation’. They were my words, not hers (that’s why there are no quotation marks around that sentence), and the classism argument she uses to derail conversation around this issue is most concerning. 2. Of all the people you list above, there are several that I have heard speak publicly and/or read books/articles, and/or had private conversations with, where the inadvertent – if not blatant – message was to promote a very conservative dress code for girls/women to protect them from sexualisation. Personal conversations with some, campaigns with others, all pointed toward slut-shaming. I am questioning the rationale behind that. If it’s not slut-shaming, what is it? (I should point out that slut-shaming isn’t just victim blaming. It’s labelling someone less holy than thou based on their clothing choices.) Of course there are genuine instances of sexualisation when it comes to clothing, such as items sloganed with ‘porn star’ or ‘flirt’ for children. Short shorts, bikinis and denim-look undies may not be to your taste, but they are not ‘sexualising’. They are just clothes. 3. I also find your own presentations where you dress in fishnets, heels, short shorts, corset top and bunny ears in an attempt to tsk-tsk those who do wear ‘that kind of stuff’, quite questionable. That is also slut-shaming. 4. I haven’t read Wendy Harmer’s comments yet and I don’t speak for her, but she may share my concern about the negative way girls are being portrayed through some claiming to advocate on their behalf. In my experience of working directly with girls, there are certainly body-image issues, in part due to the relentless bombardment of narrow beauty ideals, but they are not victims of sexualisation en masse as some commentators would have us believe. 5. I think it is the criticism of their clothing choices that is far more damaging to girls’ self-esteem, than any harm you perceive may come their way from actually wearing the clothes. I am also concerned that the APA and other reports you cite are often misused, and disingenuously held up as ‘supporting evidence’ by those pushing a conservative ideology. I should also point out that some of the reports you name here actually contradict each other. Finally, I think it’s noble that you go in to bat for your band of experts when their views are challenged, but please remember, just as there are ‘average mothers’ who don’t agree on what constitutes ‘sexy’ for a child, there are also other experts who don’t share the views of those experts and commentators you hold close. And that’s a good thing, in my opinion. It’s good to challenge some of those long-held beliefs, especially those that despite best intentions, actually mess with kids just being kids.

September 3, 2012 at 05:28 pm Julie Gale – Director Kids Free 2B Kids Your feedback is interesting Catherine – but does not include names of people who have purportedly said these things – so they remain straw man arguments unless a particular person can be quoted and then challenged.
I must answer your very judgmental comment about my presentation tho…
In fact, it is interesting how you have interpreted my choice of clothing for some of the presentations I have given. I have only ever worn clothes I have bought from stores marketed specifically to young and teenage girls… and have never worn fishnets or a corset – so it’s fascinating to me that this is your interpretation of the clothing.
I quote professor Marika Tiggeman from Flinders university and her work about ‘appearance culture’.
Of course it is for comedic impact as well – as I have always aimed at breaking the stereotype that anyone who speaks out about the impacts of sexualisation is a prude/wowser – and as a comedy writer and performer, I am neither. I wear the bunny ears to speak about how effective ‘Playboy’ has been in mainstreaming their brand and I discard them when I speak about the success of getting Girlfriend magazine to stop advertising Playboy products (and when I challenged them about their free giveaway playboy t-shirts).
Curious that you interpret this as slut-shaming.
I have spent years shaming corporates and a culture that tells girls their whole value comes from their appearance… but I have never shamed young girls – and nor have I ever heard any of my colleagues do so.
I am sorry that you have used this public forum to judge my work.
I really just wanted the information that I requested – otherwise they are straw man arguments. These sorts of sweeping statements are very destructive to the evidenced based (global) advocacy work of so many.

September 3, 2012 at 09:27 pm rebecca I can’t believe Girlfriend magazine was advertising Play Boy products and giving away their t-shirts. September 3, 2012 at 09:49 pm Julie Gale – Director Kids Free 2B Kids Hi Rebecca,
Hard to believe but true. It was as couple of years ago and with input from Dr Michael Carr Gregg, (who writes for Girlfriend) they saw the error of their ways regarding advertising free giveaway Playboy t-shirts – that were ‘a must in every girls wardrobe’ and also advertising Playboy products.
But campaigning also got Dolly and Girlfriend magazines to stop advertising backgrounds for mobile phones that said for example…
‘Sex when it’s good it’s really good – when it’s bad it’s still pretty good’
‘Save a virgin – do me instead’
‘Free sex just ask”
‘I’m a good girl trapped in the body of a slut’
‘Naughty hunk get’s it off for you – to order this hot and sexy video text Dolly”
I show copies of these (and more) in my presentations.

September 3, 2012 at 08:03 pm Just a kill joy Catherine, I have to wonder along with Julie here, what experts exactly do you mean? You still do not name or provide evidence of any. I am sure by experts you do not mean journalists, social commentators or some media studies graduates who never actually work with any children on a daily basis. Please could you provide the peer reviewed work of your claims. With all due respect, I know that you go into schools, but you do this perhaps once a month or so, with the organisation you are with? And then after a 5 minute conversation with a few girls, you leave. That sounds far more like anecdotal ‘evidence’ to me, than any of the empirically based studies or daily work of psychiatrists, child psychologists, paediatricians, school counsellors or even PDHPE teachers have. The experts I trust are those who have first-hand, long-term experience with children. THEY are the ones that are indicating concern and they are the ones used in research. Not because they are slut-shaming or simply conservative, but because they honestly see the effects on child behaviour every single day. They don’t have some kill-joy agenda – they genuinely care about the kids. Also, I am not saying that going into schools is a bad thing, it is very powerful and I have heard some speakers from your organisation do a really brilliant job. But to use your time there as ‘evidence’ for what young people need, is a little bit of a stretch. Just as an aside, I have seen Julie Gale perform at Generation Next conferences. You must have seen some other actress, otherwise you would know that the act that you describe is not Julie Gale’s. You would know what she has and has not worn (not what you describe) and you would understand the power of satire.

September 3, 2012 at 10:14 pm Melissa Recently the Australian Medical Association said we need to hold a government inquiry into the sexualisation of children. The impacts they are seeing from sexualisation are very real.

September 4, 2012 at 11:21 am Anon Hi Julie- I think it’s really important to be able to talk about this complex debate. Sexualisation of children is a real issue and I applaud your work in the area. Victim blaming is also a real issue and one of the things that makes it difficult for victims to speak out is the issue of dress and slut shaming. This means that it’s a very very delicate subject area- and it’s difficult to talk about sexualisation without also engaging in slut shaming/ victim blaming. Which gets me onto my next point. While I think the debate is an important one to have, there is a time and place. Catherine has just disclosed a sexual molestation. Regardless of whether or not you agree with her politics, or the way she mounts an argument, she has only JUST disclosed sexual abuse. She’s done this trusting that the MM community would back her up and support her- not interrogate her and nit pick her arguments. If you want to take some of the issues up with her, that is of course your right- but please think carefully about whether this is the appropriate context for that. Also please think carefully about the fact that Catherine isn’t the only survivor reading this thread. Victims often fear being interrogated when they disclose. And while you haven’t interrogated her over the abuse, you have demanded quite agressively that she prove things… this is actually quite distressing to watch since this is also what happens to sexual abuse victims when they disclose- please by all means take up the conversation about sexualisation and the debate- but please please be mindful that this is not the appropriate forum or time to do that and that there will be victims watching this thread unfold thinking “I knew it would be a bad idea for me to ever disclose- because this is what will happen- I’ll get attacked and told to prove things and treated aggressively”. September 4, 2012 at 04:35 pm Melissa As a survivor, I confessed my sexual abuse to a church leader who proceeded to interrogate me- why was I there, why didn’t I leave, basically, why had I put myself in that situation? At the time this was devastating, as I was already in a very fragile emotional place. I agree that critiquing and interrogating victims of sexual assault only does more damage. But this is not my perception of what is going on here. Catherine Manning made some representations about the nature of sexualisation and the attitudes of those fighting the legitimate fight against it. I feel that Julie Gail is well within her rights to respectfully question Catherine’s opinion. I couldn’t see any evidence of interrogation about sexual abuse.

September 4, 2012 at 07:56 pm Helen Lovejoy “Catherine has just disclosed a sexual molestation. Regardless of whether or not you agree with her politics, or the way she mounts an argument, she has only JUST disclosed sexual abuse.” Sorry, but what?? Catherine Manning has not ‘just disclosed sexual abuse’, she has used her story as ammunition in a very political battle about child sexualisation. The fact that she is a survivor of sexual abuse – as so many of us are – is tragic, but it’s not a trump card that can be pulled out to silence those who disagree with her (or who she attacks in a public forum). Given the context, Julie’s questions seem both relevant and valid, and I am watching with interest to see if Catherine answers them.

September 4, 2012 at 08:16 pm Novel Activist In no way was Catherine using her experience as a trump card to silence others. Be careful of accusing her of doing so in order to silence her.

September 4, 2012 at 10:37 pm Julie Gale – Director Kids Free 2B Kids You are quite right Anon, I certainly did not interrogate Catherine about her abuse. Nor did I make any personal comments about Catherine at all. But the article was more than a disclosure of abuse. The article contains serious accusations that those campaigning against sexualisation are blaming women and girls for their own sexual assault. If the concern is about ‘shaming’ it is also not ok to shame people for views they do not hold and things they did not say.
In all my time campaigning on this issue I have not worked with one person who would hold the view that girls or women are responsible for their assault due to their clothing choices. Given the seriousness of the claims and the fact that as an ‘anti- sexualisation’ campaigner I am implicated in those accusations, I feel warranted in asking for clarification. Your anonymous post, in contrast, is very personal and an excellent example of public shaming.
I will not be participating in any further comments. September 4, 2012 at 11:40 pm Leesa Interesting that Catherine is being blamed for shaming people when she never mentioned anyone by name….

September 4, 2012 at 05:58 pm Novel Activist Julie, That’s an interesting list you’ve provided. I’m glad you’ve included the Scottish report. It is regarded as one of the most comprehensive and balanced of all the reports. But I have to wonder if you’ve read it. Interestingly it is very critical of some of the other reports you mention, the one written by Emma Rush (and Clive Hamilton through the Australia Institute), Corporate Paedophilia – and the APA report (perhaps the most misrepresented of all). The Scottish report says of it that “Despite its comprehensive and apparently systematic nature, the APA report is problematic on a number of grounds.” The Scottish report was also interested in the definition of sexualisation, concluding that “There is a lack of consistency and clarity about the meaning of ‘sexualisation’, and the crucial distinction between ‘sexual’ and ‘sexualised’: other related terms (such as ‘objectification’) remain poorly defined and theorised.” One of the more astounding statements, given your mention of Melinda Tankard Reist (and by association, Collective Shout) is this: “Despite the apparent public concern about this issue, our research data does not allow us to state with certainty that ‘sexualised goods’ in fact represent a major problem for parents, as compared with other matters.” It also raises concerns about the moral dimension of the sexualisation debate, cautioning that. “Much of the research rests on moral assumptions – for example about ‘healthy’ sexuality, about ‘decency’ or about material that is ‘inappropriate’ for children – that are not adequately explained or justified.

September 5, 2012 Catherine Manning I am deeply concerned about the tone of your posts, Julie Gale and ‘Helen Lovejoy’, but despite that I am grateful for your questions, although I refuse to enter into a ‘name names’ scenario with you, particularly as I’m concerned that this information may be used by some in an attempt to polarise people and further stifle the debate. However, I will say this: I can assure you and ‘Helen Lovejoy’ that I do understand the meaning of ‘satire’ (the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.). Whichever way you spin it, your choice of attire for your presentations is still slut-shaming, and regarding your claim that you’d never slut-shame little girls, aren’t you inadvertently encouraging parents to do just that? That may not be your intention, but I ask you to please consider that it is the end result. I think some of those speaking out about the sexualisation of children, really don’t understand what slut-shaming means. Going back a couple of years, I’m sure you and others would recall the Collective Shout Fundraiser (aka FUNdraiser) where guests were invited to join in the theme of the night, by dressing as a ‘sex worker/bratz doll/slut’? I expressed my concerns back then about the ‘just a bit of harmless fun/satire’ that was being promoted, and the dress code was eventually changed. This incident rang one of many alarms for me, and was a turning point as I began questioning what I was really supporting and what its leaders were saying. Another more recent incident was at a very well attended and profitable parenting seminar I attended, where the presenter used a story of two girls as an example of parenting and girls gone wrong. The ‘bad girl’ went to a party, had a few drinks, had consensual and safe sex with a boy she liked from school, then upon belatedly following him back to the party room, was devastated to find him and his male friends scoffing and laughing at her from the corner of the room. She fled the party and remained silent about the incident for years. Of course, the shoddy behaviour of her partner and his friends wasn’t called to account. She was slut-shamed by them, and the speaker relating the story, for choosing to have sex with a boy she liked. The message was ‘Hmm, see what happens to ‘girls like that?’. This was as opposed to the ‘good girl’ story, where the girl decided not to have sex with her boyfriend as she didn’t feel ready, and was waiting for the ‘right time’. She spoke to her very supportive mother about it. The message for parents was ‘if you don’t want the bad girl…’ . This person is apparently a ‘world renowned parenting expert/speaker/best-selling author’, who I expected would know better than to ever pit ‘this kind of girl’ against ‘that kind of girl’. I have heard other experts/commentators engage in this type of inadvertent shaming of girls. My point is, these are the experts contributing to the reports you keep holding up as gospel. The conversation can be challenging, especially when we all have different beliefs, morals, opinions, etc., but it should never become a battle of egos, where people are required to pin their flag to any mast to join the discussion. We all want the best outcomes for children. All sides need to be listened to. I have not used my experience of child sex abuse as a ‘trump card’ (what a truly revolting and offensive thing to suggest), and I’ve NEVER said sexualisation isn’t an issue. Quite the contrary. I have simply presented my personal opinion gathered from deep reflection of both my private and professional life, and my own experiences of slut-shaming. If that’s not expert enough for you, so be it, but I am always open to hearing the views of others around me, as it has really helped me open my eyes to who and what is really at fault for our slut-shaming culture, and where the ‘sexualisation debate’ often buys in to all of that. Finally, just to reiterate Ray Harris’ [Novel Activist] comments, as the Scottish report you cite points out, there is no global consensus on evidence based research. However, your comment that my article and opinions can be destructive to that advocacy/research suggests that maybe it’s time to rethink who really does have the straw-man arguments.

104 Responses to “Tankard Reist threatens defamation action against former colleague”

  1. ann odyne September 13, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    I hope you both remain unhindered by T-R and her leprechaun lawyers, but really,
    I waded through all that intense articulate bitchiness and longed to read input from Vikki Pollard. HSH Grace and HRH Margaret Rose were both famously sexually indiscriminate, while modestly and expensively clothed. My opinion is that the larger crime is that the ‘offensive’ trashy/skimpy clothing is not locally made, but pouring across the ocean from China’s factories, and I wish these campaigners would re-direct their energies to eliminating Hypocrisy, which is an epidemic. What we all need to be is less Judgemental, so I wish I hadn’t said any of that.


    • Jennifer Wilson September 13, 2012 at 8:50 am #

      LOL! It’s a bit of a concern that advocates for women and girls act in bullying ways!! Not a good example to set


      • againstadultbullying September 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

        Agree with this comment 100%. For the record and without taking any sides Catherine you have come across as a woman who wants to debate issues . I have never seen you personally attack others.
        The saying give someone enough rope and they will hang themself is certainly true in this case. As is the saying evil prevails when good people do nothing. So congratulations on standing up to the bullies !!
        We must set an example to our children that this behaviour is NOT acceptable.


  2. hudsongodfrey September 13, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Oh how I wish that they would engage any of us who have tried to understand better, to reflect the facts and questions we have as clearly and succinctly as possible and to engage in the work of addressing social change for the better.

    But they won’t and it frustrates me to think that a person like Catherine whose capabilities are such that her article represented for me a point of clarity in an otherwise clouded debate is saddled with their utter bullshit.

    My admiration of Catherine who until a few days ago I hadn’t heard of redoubles as I read how she changed her mind as her questioning process developed. It speaks to the one thing I admire and aspire to in any discourse, the ability to think for oneself and re-evaluate one’s position. As one who takes the view that the most important conversation or discourse we engage in is the one when we lose the argument and discover we’re wrong I celebrate the moments when change becomes possible through should engagements.

    How can I not despair of the tactics Reist and Collective Shout employ then?


    • Jennifer Wilson September 13, 2012 at 9:12 am #

      I totally agree with your sentiments, HG. Catherine demonstrates a wonderful model of interaction that opens up debate and civilised discourse. How disappointing it is that others will not engage with this.


  3. Hypocritophobe September 13, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    How long has MTR been a PTY LTD ?
    (See her site )


    • annodyne September 13, 2012 at 9:23 am #

      P/L? I think it is being ‘Incorporated’ that saves an outfit from monetary damages in a lawsuit.


  4. The Annonynonnymoose September 13, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    That MTR is a piece of work, isn’t she? She’s a thug pretending to be a humanitarian. What on earth made her such a miserable, angry person?

    And I LOATHE that this slunt thinks she speaks for me, at all, ever. She needs to speak solely for herself and STFU about my life and my choices. She’s an embarrassment to women.


    • Paul Smith September 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

      “LOL! It’s a bit of a concern that advocates for women and girls act in bullying ways!! Not a good example to set”

      Wondering what the above post does for the blog? Surely should be removed and author warned?


      • Hypocritophobe September 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

        Agree with that call, PS.
        And I ‘do’ owe you an apology for my wire crossing.
        We have indeed crossed swords before, and indeed agreed (once or twice) as well.I had to review recent history to put it in context.
        I shall place myself in the sinbin of shame.


        • Paul Smith September 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

          Thanks for that.


      • Jennifer Wilson September 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

        Look, the people who engage here are adults. I expect you all to sort things out yourselves. I have neither the time nor the inclination to police comments at the moment. You can deal with comments you find offensive any way you like but don’t ask me to do it for you.


      • The Annonynonnymoose September 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

        You could at least reply to the correct comment instead of accusing me of something I didn’t say.


  5. Moz September 13, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    I read that original thread and comments, directed there from here – thanks.
    Catherine’s ‘short pants’ story really opened my eyes to the distorted characterisation of some campaigning against “child sexualisation”. Don’t get me wrong – there are real problems in that area but for the most part short are just shorts..
    As always it’s the sanctimonious types who are the real hypocrites – cheering that good girl/bad girl stereotype and blaming the victim’s legitimate choices instead of the real problem, the partner and his mates’ attitude. That is why it is so important that campaigners are up front about their background and supporters – then I can decide whether there is another agenda behind their actions.


    • doug quixote September 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

      Always another agenda : the Banning And Censoring Wowser Agenda. The bacwas think that there is a risk that “someone somewhere might be enjoying themselves” and like to project their own foibles (and potential pedophilia?) onto others, just in case.


  6. Ray (novelactivist) September 13, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    I can confirm that I have also been the subject of a legal complaint, although not by CS or MTR.

    I haven’t bothered to comment because it was silly and groundless and not worth wasting my energy on.


  7. Sam Jandwich September 13, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    Fascinating news and fascinating read. Thanks Catherine and Jennifer for releasing this.(oh and Sheep, congratulations for passing 200,000 hits! though admittedly I was responsible for more than one of them…). Again, Catherine I particularly appreciate your ability to give such thoughtful and balanced responses to these unwarranted attacks. Your reputation is certainly secure here!

    I have trouble understanding the vehemence with which Julie Gale sticks with what is in essence a political position – ie not an intellectual one. What I will say though is that, apart from a lot of other things I could say, her stance, and her willingness to name-drop and take uncritically what the “experts” say is quite strikingly anti-feminist.


  8. 8 Degrees of Latitude September 13, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    For my money, MTR is a serial pest. In any gender 🙂


  9. Joslo September 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    What a disgrace you are to your profession Jennifer. Psychotherapists are meant to be people who build others up and bring healing to society. I don’t see one piece on this blog that builds up anyone, from the PM to your opinion of other bloggers.

    Your blog is one big bully fest and you have the cheek to accuse others of bullying? For all your espousing ‘no place for sheep’ it appears that you enjoy your place as shepherd to a small bunch of bitter and angry ‘anons’ and ‘pseudos’.

    I would be careful Catherine – Jennifer sees everyone as fair game. “We’ll lambaste anybody! We have no favourites”. I think she is giving you a nice little platform and is watching on in glee as you destroy yourself.


    • Hypocritophobe September 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

      Another threatening tone arrives(right on cue) from the usual suspect/s.

      Hypocrite much?

      What’s next, the threat about digging her own grave?


    • The Annonynonnymoose September 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

      You’re…..not all there, are you.

      When you step away from the cloud of delusion one day, I hope you look back on all the sanctimonious bullshit you’ve spouted and realise what a jackass you’ve made of yourself. For a stranger who really doesn’t give a shit about you.

      Be an individual and learn to think for yourself. Tanky is a thug. Hanging out with thugs and enabling them is not cool.


    • hudsongodfrey September 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

      Pot meet kettle anyone?

      “….you enjoy your place as shepherd to a small bunch of bitter and angry ‘anons’ and ‘pseudos’.”

      And your name is?

      Not that I use my own or expect you to do so, but just to say that what you’ve done here is to make an invalid criticism into a hypocritical one. There’s nothing wrong with using a pseudonym to make an honest and genuine point or to engage in debate about the issues. What you’re clearly missing here is precisely that kind of focus.

      Jennifer and Catherine have raised some questions about Melinda Reist and Collective Shout on a number of levels. Their conservative credentials are I think plain for all to see, but their religious affiliations remain something of a mystery.

      Their agenda seems well intentioned, but like all ideologies theirs may be open to question. When those questions are posed, repeatedly and at length the response is either a tirade of the kind of ad hominem you’ve indulged, complete silence and disengagement from the debate or even the attempts to use legal means to silence their critics.

      How many times are you going to let them shoot the messenger before you wake up and smell the manure?


      • Goku September 13, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

        Good point Hudson, MTR should be a lot more open to questioning if she is serving up such heavy questioning to the media.


    • Anonymous September 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

      Why don’t you do a dummy spit article on the Drum, Goslow, sorry Joslo?
      You could title it,
      Surviving on a diet of worms,my crush on a modern madonna?


  10. doug quixote September 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    Thank you for republishing this stuff, Jennifer. It seems to me that Catherine is the only one of them to emerge with her integrity.

    Expect some other trolls to come by; the bacwas are nothing if not persistent. Get your red pen out.


  11. paul walter September 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Joslo’s attempt at reversing blame fails badly.
    I subscribe to hudsongodfrey’s observation that the Moral Majority folk have experienced an unconscious slip into dogma and ideology from a more idealistic stating point and are sexual Stalinists who have morphed from substance to form, as evidenced by their inability to cope with discourse and questioning.
    It seems Mamamia for reasons of their own( “protecting brand”? ) have followed Collective Shout into first the ignoring then the suppression of inconvenient viewpoints; surrendered to expediency at the expense of truth and integrity.
    Joslo’s comments are the more despicable in the light of the fact that it is the Moralisers who have avoided debate and lowered themselves so far as to employ vexatious legal action to silence their opponents- whatever value in their theories is now obscured by the recourse to de facto censorship.
    Joslo’s conscience, really, should prick her/him, as to the “bearing of false witness” involved in this deplorable attack employing an unconscionable reversal of onus intended solely to attack the association and exploration of ideas in the service of a dogmas that adherents clearly lack confidence in, as well as their ability to defend by logic these in discourse.
    You clearly lack the courage of your own convictions.


  12. Nick (@nick__nobody) September 14, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    Thanks once again Jennifer for your clarity, and for putting things on record that others would keep hidden. And props to Catherine for an excellent article, for avoiding the bullying tactics MTR has engaged in, and for being courageous enough to share deeply personal things in public. And for the intellectual strength to evolve your point of view, and admit it. I think simplistic, populist, moralistic crusades like the one mentioned here will always find followers, and always get media attention, while valid, reasoned criticism simply isn’t as exciting copy.
    Your link to Catherine’s article doesn’t seem to work, maybe MM moved it? For those who haven’t read it try this –


    The work of people like MTR seems symptomatic of a new strategy of the religious right in cultures where Christianity is no longer the default, dominant ideology. Faced with public scepticism and impertinent questioning like never before, which it cannot answer, the religous right tries to do a wolf in sheep’s clothing trick. Christians like MTR cannot help themselves, their religion claims to be the one truth above all others, so there is an arrogance and sense of entitlement to own and run the moral discourse of society – with God’s unchallengable authority. Now they are using the appearance of discourses with more public acceptance, like feminism, or the shock-jock approach, to wedge the agenda of the Christian right back where they believe it should be, running the country from the inside out. MTR is a hero to some for her success in getting media coverage and public support for what seems to me to be essentially a right wing Christian morals campaign.


    • doug quixote September 14, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

      That pretty well sums it up – the bacwa, as I like to call it.

      The most dangerous words ever written : “God is on my side”.


      • hudsongodfrey September 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

        Followed closely by “This time it’s different”


    • Jennifer Wilson September 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

      Thanks Nick. I don’t think there’s much doubt that MTR believes in the work she does – and as I’ve said before, there’s some things I’m in agreement with her on. Definitely not her tactics,however


  13. paul walter September 14, 2012 at 9:05 am #

    Pondering out loud. Much of this hangs on women as adults faced with the issue of protecting their kids, which must but one example of a raft of pressures they may face on a given day.
    I just wonder if women themselves get enough support from society.
    I say this in light of last night “Catalyst” episode on ABC tv.
    This proved a gruesome and Dante-esque affair, as (Dr) Mary Anne Demasi offered viewers a sort of tour through a sequence of encounters with various mostly expensive, scientifically valueless and ineffective treatments and nostrums for skin ageing on offer from “clinics” and cosmetic surgeons.
    Some these treatments verged on fearful, as great hypodermics filled with various types of stuff were prodded, jabbed and poked into women’s anatomies after intense scrutiny and amound of palpable bull shit from “Clinicians”.
    But what was fearful for the women featured, largely tome, was fear of the natural effects of ageing bordering on terror ( also, recent reports on inner labial surgery that seems to be becoming more frequent, just thinking on it).
    What sort of horrors have been inculcated into women; what sort of pressures from marketing, exploiting or reinforcing some previously minor cultural memes that has many women themselves reduced to the level of conforming virtual children, in the clutches of some sort of nebulous public opinion?
    This on top of the nagging criticism of them as mothers.
    I’d love to see a campaign, including involving MTR and the like, that restores WOMEN’S sense of self and competence. Would we have healthier children if women themselves were allowed to feel better about themselves?
    Surely better than the humiliating sight of women reduced to the level of edgy prey for a humungus great industrial machine?


    • Hypocritophobe September 14, 2012 at 9:42 am #

      Should we not also ask why a large proportion of society is NOT sucked into the use of something, even though they are/were exposed to the same advertising,peer pressure,lust for vanity etc?
      Shouldn’t we seek to find the simple before we create the complex?


      • paul walter September 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

        Yeah. I said that in an earlier post.


        • Hypocritophobe September 14, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

          Apologies for repetition,then,pw.


  14. Catherine Manning September 14, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    PW: ‘Would we have healthier children if women themselves were allowed to feel better about themselves?’

    Yes, but there are entire industries built on making women feel they don’t measure up. As Hypocritophobe says, the question is why don’t all women feel affected by it. I believe the answer is media literacy. I think the sooner you can teach children to be critical consumers of media messaging, the better off they’ll be (in more ways than one!).

    Btw, thank you to those of you who have left supportive comments. I really appreciate it.


    • Poirot September 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm #


      I couldn’t agree more.

      The Western Eye fastens onto a narrow perception of beauty and desirability in older women as much as in young women. It taps into a sense of self-value that is conditioned via media and peer pressure – each feeding off the other.

      It’s an extremely fraught task to instill independence of thought and discernment in children who are swamped by this stuff. Our entire system is predicated on the inability of its members, for the most part, to think for themselves. It takes effort to step outside the square and approach the commercialisation of self-esteem in a critical manner.

      Btw, you come across as a very wise soul. We need people like you to be heard.


    • hudsongodfrey September 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

      I agree up to a point, but if one had to nitpick then it would be to say that the contra-statement that “there are entire industries build on making men feel that they don’t measure up” wouldn’t be totally insupportable. And I just don’t mean those unsolicited spam e-mails I keep getting (how do they know?). I mean that marketing creates desirability of a product for any reason that works on their target consumer, even if not all of those reasons are valid much less laudable.

      But then if one wanted for example to say the beauty industry is bad then I struggle with making the kind of generalisations that might result in banning anything for adults. Though I suspect means for parents to protect children from being inducted at too tender and age would have a certain amount more support.

      Even while fully acknowledging some very problematic issues with body image, we know there are some women who might be considered fortunate to enjoy the natural advantage of their physical appearance and might thus be impacted negatively by any measure that too officiously struggled to deny their beauty. And the parallel there with Slut Shaming does seem to exist. I think at some point it is all about choices, because social pressures either way seem to have more or less the same tendency to be unhelpful.


      • Poirot September 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm #


        If there’s one thing we have in our society, it’s choices….yet we appear beholden to popular fad, engineered by media and advertising. Humans are prone to fashion and fad, but I assume in other times, each one enjoyed a more enduring and, therefore, prolonged phase . We are blown by capricious winds in modern times. A consumer society, feeding its vanities, can’t be anything other than what it is. If parents wish to instill some critical insight into their children, it remains their job to so – difficult as that may be with children mixing in the social milieu.


        • hudsongodfrey September 14, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

          Maybe so but I think we know a couple of groups who don’t much prefer choice and I’d have to say that nor would I prefer having my choices made for me by them.


      • Catherine Manning September 15, 2012 at 12:06 am #

        HG, self-esteem issues and body-image anxiety amongst boys is also on the rise. The beauty industry now has its sights set on this relatively untapped market, and the advertising of beauty products, particularly for young men, is increasing.

        Back to adult beauty procedures for girls, the pageant industry is a prime example of where this is rife. Little girls having their eyebrows waxed, fake tans, false teeth – where does it end, and what is that teaching them?

        It’s unusual to find a teenage girl, regardless of how close she comes to the advertised ‘beauty ideal’, who is 100% happy in her skin because she’s often still comparing herself to images of airbrushed ‘perfection’. It can take a lot to challenge self perceptions of young people who have been brought up with relentless media/advertising, but I do love imagining how powerful they can be when they realise they don’t have to conform!


        • hudsongodfrey September 15, 2012 at 9:18 am #

          I agree with all that. It is more or less obvious when you’re able to to as Ray below writes he has, by stepping back and getting a better perspective on things.

          What I was trying to articulate were misgivings around political activism producing rules and solutions that proponents seem to believe they’re justified in imposing upon society in pursuit of some greater good. The freedom of which you speak is to be had in freeing the teenage girl’s mind from the tyranny of both the beauty industry’s clutches and I think perhaps also the clutches of a kind anti beauty industry movements like CS. They who are in their own way just as repressive and just as bent on imposing conformity to an image they hold in their minds of what it means to be an ideal woman. It saddens me to think that the only alternative on the political horizon seems to be so much like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

          I share your love for imagining empowered individuals though not so much for empowered institutions. CS is a salient example of how well intended ideologies can go either way.


          • Catherine Manning September 15, 2012 at 9:44 am #

            I agree with you too, HG. Especially this part: ‘What I was trying to articulate were misgivings around political activism producing rules and solutions that proponents seem to believe they’re justified in imposing upon society in pursuit of some greater good.’

            Despite my ‘journey’ being quite harrowing, it has also been very enlightening. I have learnt that the best way to create change is to empower people, not further police them.


            • hudsongodfrey September 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

              Enlightening is a great word.

              I’m very much in favour of advocacy as long as it is part of a discourse. It seems to me that the minute we edge towards thinking there are finite answers then the evolution of an idea becomes the devolution of that same idea. In thinking that questions are meant to have answers people can be given to swinging between extremes and more often than not sadly letting egos get in the way of progress.

              The link to a T-Shirt design says it all.



        • bgmuma April 8, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

          Yes, Catherine, spot on…I don’t agree with a lot of MTR’s views/agendas,but I passionately support her Collective Shout Campaign, & applaud that she has raised public awareness & is confronting the issue around the disturbing reality of the sexualization of children, particularly younger & younger girls….toddlers. I am also a survivor of child sexual abuse & a feminist & I feel MTR is on the right track on this issue.

          Your last paragraph pretty much sums up how the fashion industry is v. good at fucking with girls heads & the damaging effect it has on them. It knows no boundaries. Can’t Jennifer see that the advertising industry, the fashion industry does sexuzalize children. She can intellectualize it all she likes,…I feel she is in denial & colluding with those who exploit & degrade little girls.


          • Hypocritophobe April 8, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

            Western Religion degrades shit loads of people.From birth to death, and everywhere in between.
            Collective Shout is ‘mainly’ silent on the role of the Catholic church because a heap of their flock are Catholic.
            Where can we witness your PERSONAL loud public outrage of the sexual predation of toddlers by the church?
            Which is worse and why?
            Dressing children in a way which offends you, or the rape of children by a protected cult?
            Support CS all you want.To me they look like opportunistic hypocritical windbags.


            • bgmuma April 8, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

              It’s really got nothing to do with me being offended by what children wear. It’s about wanting to protect them from the sexploitation of the fashion industry, the advertising industry…& I can see that Collective Shout does that. I am not religious,.. I support what CS stands for. I don’t support any religion…in fact I’m quite vocal about how anti-religious I am. Hate the Greek Orthodox Church & hope the victims who have suffered abuse by it go to The Royal Commission & expose them. You have no right to accuse me of remaining silent & passive re; child abuse. A day does not go past that I do not speak up about, write about, do whatever I can to defend, protect & take care of victims of child abuse/family violence. And I don’t get paid for it,.. I do it because it needs to done. Because I see it as number 1 priority, over & above everything.


          • hudsongodfrey April 8, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

            I doubt Catherine will reply to you at this late date, but she certainly helped me understand a few things. Included among them that when you think others are fucking with the heads of children then you may also be making a value judgement of your own that if you’re not very careful could see you also fucking with their heads, just in a different way. And one of the ways is called slut shaming.

            Protecting people from things or wanting others to intervene at your behest seems to be a common thread running through these issues, and it seems to have at its core a really disempowering attitude towards our children, young women and even adults. We’ve observed a casual relationship whereby this is often consistent with people’s faith, but in a movement that claims to be secular and based on sound rationale is simply inconsistent with what survivors like Catherine tell us actually worked for them.

            There’s better news available on this issue and it comes from the likes survivors like Jennifer and Catherine rather than your MTR’s et al.


          • Catherine Manning April 13, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

            Hi bgmuma, thanks for raising some interesting points. First of all, I don’t believe that those who disagree that the fashion industry sexualises little girls are ‘colluding with those who exploit and degrade’ them. That accusation was often made by MTR, Julie Gale, etc (ie. Caroline Norma as referenced in my ‘shorts’ article) in response to those who challenged their views. Labelling people sex industry apologists makes it a whole lot easier for them (and those they encourage) to simply disregard alternate views – especially when they’re challenging their own dogma.

            Of all of those supposedly ‘evil’ people I have met & spoken with since exiting the Collective Shout scene, I haven’t heard any deny that there are occassionaly genuine cases of sexualisation, nor do they disagree that children should be protected from exploitation. The problem with MTR & Collective Shout, is that their idea of exploitation is a child wearing just about anything other than a pair of netball boggers, long shorts/pants/skirts with no lace, and a polo neck skivvy (okay, before Helen Lovejoy et al pounce, that may be a slight exaggeration – but only slight). They claim that girls are being harmed by retailers pushing certain types of clothing. Of course, the very real harm is coming from those slut-shaming adults who, as hudsongodfrey points out, engage in the judgement/policing of girls & women’s bodies and sexuality. They seem to have gone from campaigning against the involuntary exposure to porn and rescuing women from sex slavery, to trying to hide girls away completely (unless they’re ‘properly’ dressed).

            I’ve always thought it telling that when it comes to how horrified CS seems to be about girls mimicking older girls/women, although KMart sells little toy ovens, cooktops, washing machines, etc. – all designed for young children to mimic adults – they remain silent. (Not that I want to give them any ideas! lol).

            I’m not denying that there are some major issues for many young girls (and boys) around body-image, but the focus on sexualisation is something else. Being ‘sexy’ is part of that whole narrow beauty ideal for girls (always has been) and girls simply need to learn to be media literate and reject the message if they so CHOOSE.

            Finally (and I am sorry to hear of your own child sex abuse experience), even if CS/MTR were successful in ridding the world of frilly undies and short shorts, unfortunately it would not make a scrap of difference to how many cases of child sex abuse there are.


      • Ray (novelactivist) September 15, 2012 at 8:44 am #

        In some ways I’m amused by all this – because of the choices I made decades ago. I’m an old hippie. Part of being a hippie was to totally reject materialism/consumerism – stop watching TV, actually creating an alternative lifestyle. The criticism of bourgeois society is nothing new.

        We know what to do. Just do it. No excuses.

        You don’t have to live by their rules. I never have.

        The key is to teach children there is an alternative – btw, plenty of kids have been raised that way.


        • Poirot September 15, 2012 at 9:10 am #


          We are home educating – although that term is somewhat inadequate for the “thing” we are reaching for.

          I know firsthand how difficult it is to decide to deviate from the herd. Helping your kids to learn and self-direct their learning is not difficult. Guiding them is the key. One is attempting (hopefully) to instil in them a certain independence of thought and a confidence to critically appraise their own choices.

          I found the most difficult aspect of my choice to reject institutionalised schooling was the psychological one. Nothing about beginning it or doing it is difficult – deciding to do what most other people aren’t doing was the major hurdle. Once we got over that, the rest was easy.


        • Catherine Manning September 15, 2012 at 9:14 am #

          So true, Ray, but let’s face it, there are so many more pressures on kids today than we ever had. Our kids are growing up in a much faster society, and online technology can and does present some challenges for some.
          I think while we’re pointing that out though, we need to be acknowledging that many kids are very switched on. Those working ‘for’ them should be careful that despite good intentions, they’re not actually working against them.


          • Ray (novelactivist) September 15, 2012 at 10:18 am #

            True, but only inasmuch as their parents allow the exposure. A great many of my alternate friends raised kids differently and successfully, so it can be done.

            Of course there are families that fully embrace the consumerist culture and raise their children accordingly.

            Uncritical parents equals uncritical kids.

            As for increased pressure on kids, true, but there’s increased pressure everywhere and marketing has become far more sophisticated, and it has to be said, desperate.

            As much as I despise Clive Hamilton’s prudery, he did write a good expose of consumerism and the economics of growth.


            • Poirot September 15, 2012 at 10:38 am #

              Regarding Clive Hamilton’s expose – I agree.

              I’m learning that all those who are concerned about the conveyor-belt-like nature of consumer society tend to react differently. We shouldn’t write off views on some aspects because people display notions we disagree with on others.

              When all is said and done, children require guidance. There will always be some kind of boundary set up. My take is that parents have a responsibility here to assist their children to see beyond the hype and vanity of it all.

              This is where to challenge emerges. Many parents are complacent and happy to recline on that conveyor-belt. Their children merely take their cue from them.

              In a society predicated on profit and growth, anything will be pushed to achieve those ends. If our children aren’t taught the value of discernment, or aren’t given the psychological tools to value themselves beyond the advertising, we’re on a hiding to nowhere.


              • Hypocritophobe September 15, 2012 at 11:04 am #

                I have not seen a much more succinct summary of the issue at hand than this;

                “In a society predicated on profit and growth, anything will be pushed to achieve those ends. If our children aren’t taught the value of discernment, or aren’t given the psychological tools to value themselves beyond the advertising, we’re on a hiding to nowhere.”

                If we throw in the overpopulation elephant in the room,I think that paragraph is the building block for a world dialogue,which could result in the incubation of our next visionary leaders,on a journey to reconnect with our humanity.

                The only things our community talk about(politically) is the shit that in the end won’t save our arses from the inevitable.And guess who inherits the mess?


                • Catherine Manning September 15, 2012 at 11:20 am #

                  Absolutely! It’s not just about the consumption of media messaging around beauty ideals, but the over-consumption of products that further degrade our environment. Mess, indeed.


                  • Poirot September 15, 2012 at 11:37 am #

                    I’ve only been to IKEA once…but when I was there it occurred to me what a perfect metaphor it was for consumer society. I noticed that on the floor there were arrows to guide you through the wonderland…and when we left we were glided out via an escalator cum conveyor belt and deposited into the the carpark which was situated in the bowels of the building.

                    It was a very “automaton” experience – even under the guise of “choice”.

                    I thought it summed our predicament up perfectly.


                    • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) September 15, 2012 at 11:53 am #

                      You are getting into anally- accommodative Swedish chair territory, and The Dog is starting to growl in anticipation, Poirot.

                      And you should check your Twitter @ mentions.


                    • Catherine Manning September 15, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

                      Not to mention their appealing playground for kids while Mum and Dad shop. Like McDonalds and their ‘free toy’. Gah!

                      Speaking of which, I’ll share a funny story with you. When my kids were younger, I told them that we weren’t going to McDonalds because they cut down too many trees to graze their cows to supply all those burgers (in a nutshell!). A few months later, after leaving a party late and hungry, the only place open was McDonalds. I caved in to my husbands reasoning, so as we drove through for some chips, my eldest (6 at the time) said, ‘Mum, I thought you said we weren’t going to McDonalds anymore?’. My younger daughter (3 at the time) said ‘No, it’s okay, they have trees at this one’. Bahahaa!


                    • Poirot September 15, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

                      Sorry, Forrest, for not replying to those tweets. I not much of a “twitterer”…I’d never noticed the Twiitter@ before either….Thanks for that – one learns something new every day.

                      (Your expertise could never kill a thread…it often keeps them alive : )


                    • Poirot September 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm #


                      Loved the McDonald’s story. Children are so perceptive, and they remember the things they’ve been told, especially if we take the time to explain, as you did, the reasons behind our decisions. Your three year-old’s comment was a hoot.

                      The thing is that children aren’t cynical, they take things at face value, and if everybody else is into something, they don’t question its validity in the scheme of things.

                      My eleven year-old son often senses my cynicism with places like McDonald’s. We do go there once in blue moon. He seems quite perplexed when I look down my nose at such places, because we are immersed in a society where these things are accepted without question.

                      I suppose it’s a bit like walking a tightrope, living in the mist of it all, yet trying to be discerning – and most of all explaining to the younguns why we
                      question the status quo.


                    • hudsongodfrey September 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

                      Hello Catherine,

                      It could have been any MacDonalds in Australia I suppose, but when I put the franchise and trees together then I always think of the one not too far away that was built on the site of what must have been an original homestead with a magnificent stand of trees. When the development was proposed and the site was to be cleared people got together and as a result of their activism ensured the preservation of those trees. Some have since expired but thanks to a quick internet search I’m able to discover that the main and best example still exists. And I’m cheered to think that the reason it still exists is because of the actions of ordinary people all those years ago.

                      A couple of extra car parking spots could never have made up for this…


                    • Catherine Manning September 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

                      That’s encouraging, HG.

                      Residents of Tecoma in the Dandenong Ranges (Vic) have been fighting off the golden arches for some time now. They’re awaiting the final response. http://www.starnewsgroup.com.au/mail/ferntree-gully-belgrave/361/story/154384.html

                      But around the corner, another tragedy in the name of ‘progress’ (aka rampant growth) for this historic tree (and others) in Berwick.

                      EVERYday examples.

                      There’s a great children’s book by Graeme Base, called Uno’s Garden. I think some of our decision makers should read it.


                    • hudsongodfrey September 15, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

                      Hi Catherine,

                      I’m not particularly familiar with Berwick, but it may be that sadly the tree was already relocated.

                      From the Vicroads website

                      VicRoads has removed and transported the oak tree which was located in front of the Genesis Gym to Monash University in Berwick. The tree has been moved in anticipation of its development as a public art carving honouring Berwick’s heritage.

                      After cutting the tree trunk away from its roots a crane and a specialist over-dimensional haulage vehicle were used to lift the tree and place it at its new home.

                      I don’t think they quite get it!

                      The connection of the tree to an historical person or persons is manifest in its ability to outlive them. It is in the knowledge that the life that persists in it somehow connects us to those of known individuals in bygone eras that spans the intervening years. It may not be particularly logical of us to require that symbol of connection but that doesn’t stop us from feeling that it might just be the least we could do.


        • hudsongodfrey September 15, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

          Indeed plenty of kids have been raised that way. They’re probably happy well adjusted adults and maybe as such they’re not very politically engaged. Is it just me or does it often seem like it’s just the screw ups who are always the ones who seem to be mostly bent upon overrunning the place.


    • doug quixote September 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

      The question I have for you is “Why were you with them in the first place?”

      (To soften the implied criticism, your recent posts make you seem very sensible indeed )


      • Catherine Manning September 14, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

        Valid question Doug. I could just about write a book, but I’ll try to keep it concise!

        About three years ago, I entered my local general store with my then four year old son. I was concerned about the location of the ‘lads mags/porn’ beside the ice-creams and lollies at his (young children’s) eye level. The captioning and imaging weren’t age appropriate in my opinion, so after an unsuccessful attempt to have them relocated within the store, I started Say No 4 Kids – a campaign to Attorney’s General to remove pornographic material from children’s view and access in everyday retail outlets.

        After some media exposure, I came into contact with Julie Gale of Kids Free 2B Kids, and was initially embraced into their ‘circle’ of experts/commentators, including MTR et al. Collective Shout was just starting up. I was led to believe that these were the ‘feminist voices’ speaking out about the way women/girls were portrayed in the media. Over time, I began to question that and their stance (as you’ve seen through my posts), and look further afield for answers.

        Also around that time, the U.S. Universal Royalty pageant circus came to town. I started Pull the Pin (on beauty pageants for children) out of concern about the self-esteem impacts of pitting young girls against each other in a competition based on physical beauty.

        I happened upon meeting Leslie Cannold, who agreed to speak at one of the public rallies I’d organised. I shared an online article Leslie had written about pageants, and was soon made aware that this had angered Melinda. Up until then I was unaware of the politics, and not having the time or inclination to pander to egos, I thought that this provided the perfect opportunity for everyone to come together on the issue. Leslie agreed. Melinda did not.

        It was around this time that CS started their own anti-pageant campaign, investigations began where colleagues and friends were asked whose mast they pin their flag to, and I started receiving aggressive emails including some from Julie Gale also cc’ed to my then employer, and as stated above, said employer was also threatened with the withdrawal of support for their company if I remained under their employ.

        When I respectfully challenged some of Collective Shout’s focus on sexualisation in pageants, instead of discussion my posts were quickly deleted and replaced with Melinda Tankard Reist’s contravening comments. Soon after, when I questioned on my personal Facebook page MTR’s claim in an ABC interview that she keeps strange bedfellows, etc., I received her legal threat.

        Yes, it’s that ridiculous.


        • ann odyne September 15, 2012 at 9:03 am #

          Hi Catherine – that is a stunning sequence of events for you. Thanks from me for setting it out, bravo to you for your guts, and massive sympathy.


          • Catherine Manning September 15, 2012 at 10:00 am #

            Thank you Ann. This whole experience has given me a new perspective on how difficult it can be for those suffering adult bullying to speak out. I appreciate your kind words.


        • doug quixote September 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

          Thank you for your candid reply, Catherine. I can see how there are genuine concerns, and that many people are co-opted into such organisations, more or less by accident or through friend-of-a-friend connections, with the best of intentions. Welcome back out of it!


          • Hypocritophobe September 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

            Is the ‘Shout’, a cult?


  15. paul walter September 14, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

    Quite simple Doug. I expect she is a feminist for right motives, who has sensed the coopting for other purposes of a movement initially in play to correct a misapplication of techne, involving media communication techniques aimed at the socialising and commodifying of a section of the public.
    Once it stopped being a forum and form of social reform and feminism after its misappropriation by conservative forces for ideological, leading to political goals atoddes with her goals, she obviously felt the need to withdraw- I hope Catherine doesn’t feel me presumptuous for offering this view and will accept any refutation or correction that she may be moved to offer in response; I’ll be glad to stand corrected, for my own better education.


    • Catherine Manning September 15, 2012 at 12:13 am #

      Well, that was a whole lot more concise than my response!


  16. paul walter September 14, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    Well,Snap! Hullo Catherine Manning.
    Just briefly add to above by contexting the”techne” sentence concerning misapplication of techne to its origins: neo liberalism’s faulty ideological position endorsing socialisation and objectivisation on the basis that civilisation exists exclusively for an unself reflexive, subjective “self” and the making of money regardless and institution of control without concern, or heedless of, for consequences involving others.


  17. paul walter September 15, 2012 at 1:30 am #

    Objectivity is easy when you’re an onlooker not subject to the pressures another actively involved in a situation is experiencing
    I see it from a distance, you are ”
    living” it.
    Self respect some times requires active decision-making in the defending thereof, that I can identify with if I’m even remotely human.


    • Catherine Manning September 15, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      Thanks Paul.


  18. Hypocritophobe September 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    I think the public would also be interested in some of the stories of women interviewed for (or speaking to those involved with) the book “Giving Sorrow Words”, and whose story did not make the cut, or whose journey reflected a different perspective to the book.


    • paul walter September 16, 2012 at 6:59 am #

      That’s a thoughtful comment, Hypocritophobe.
      You are wondering if they weren’t “milking” it a bit?


      • Hypocritophobe September 16, 2012 at 10:49 am #

        I’m saying there are two sides to that story,and that I ‘think’ church/churches may have invested in it’s outcome.Would they want the stories of women who were comfortable in their skin,post abortion in a book like this?


        As for milking it, how would anyone know?
        Perhaps there is a ‘confidentiality’ $$ incentive for those whose stories were contributed.
        Time will hopefully tell.

        As for milking it, how would anyone know?
        I know that in the case of church paedophilia,the powers that be are not averse to milking time.
        And I know that in the case of mesothelioma,the same ‘milking’ appears true of the legals and corporations.

        On a side note;

        Click to access Arnold_1.pdf


        • paul walter September 16, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

          Not so much for money as sympathy.
          Stories about with women who are comfortable in their skins are inconvenient, but if so many wailing wallflowers are hauled off and held prone by anonymous wicked people out to malignantly murder their little innocent babies, even over their heart-rending protests, then you have a story.
          This story appeals to instincts both worthy and base; there is a vile element of sado masochism involved that could really get uninformed minds doing somersaults.
          This is the stuff of movements.
          Passions roused, we storm the ramparts and defenestrate the evil doers. We hunt down the prophets of godlessness; the Dawkins-ites and Singerites, the libertarians with their free love that we sit back and watch in envious frustration.
          The wicked pot smokers who pleasure while we grind for the “elites”, the socialists who have banned God and handed over OUR MONEY to the strumpets of the lazy and worthless lower castes who can;t keep their knees together; the abominable gays.
          It is eventually the stuff of crusades.
          Who gets to direct and finance such a movement has the prospect both of power both in this life- being righteous as these are- and the promise of the afterlife, as soldiers of God wielding the sword as instruments of god’s revenge and chastisers of the dole bludgers, heathens from offshore and inferiors within.
          The prospect of permanent employment richly remunerated beckons. The war on Communism, for example, and we know that the War of Terrorism and conveniently, economic “reform” are never ending.
          For the genuinely inferior we could even apply a “Final Solution” painful though this might be (for the victims).
          You see, the possibilities are endless…


          • paul walter September 16, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

            ..And let’s not forget the feminists, those ungrateful malcontents.
            Not content with the fulfilling reward bestowed upon them directly from the Almighty himself, of unquestioning labour underneath their unworthy and weakling husbands in submission to the loathsome baser appetites of these; not content with the blessings of gestation, birth and childrearing conducted with cheerful resignation and no aspiration of reward in this life for their service, or sense of gratitude felt at their god given opportunity of service in a higher cause commensurate with their feeble abilities, they have become afflicted of the evil spirit of rebellion.
            Worse still, these have set forth to educate their purer sisters in the dark arts of wilful and contrary disobedience.
            The very unquestioned rule of their husband itself is transgressed!
            These will be the very first of miscreants banished to Discipline Colonies, to learn repentance anew, in contrite abasement, the true roles apportioned their sex by the Most High.


  19. Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) September 16, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Catherine Manning’s statement quoted in JW’s article is, indirectly, most illuminative. It says, inter alia:

    “In fact, like you, I also hold a threatening
    legal letter from Melinda Tankard Reist and her
    lawyers (dated 3/1/12) for citing the reason I
    was tossed from the Collective Shout fold, and
    lamenting that the fear and silencing of other
    voices stifles progress.”

    It is illuminative because it perhaps goes part of the way to providing an explanation for the demand made that the fact of the lawyers’ letters being received should not be made public. Without in any way seeking to be dismissive of Catherine, it can hardly be claimed that she ever had a high public profile in relation to ‘Collective Shout’. Could it be that she was, for her very reasonability and propriety, seen as a threat to the control of the future directions in which Collective Shout might go? Could it be that there are more people than is commonly realized who have been subjected to this intimidatory tactic, and perhaps for similar reasons?

    Lest there arise any implied criticism of the Mamamia blog over the removal of some comments, it is worth bearing in mind that similar pressures may well have been applied to Mia Freedman in this matter. In the context that Catherine Manning reports as to her EMPLOYER having been subjected to pressure in a matter of essentially private political expression, it is worth noting that Mia Freedman seems no longer to be being published as a regular contributor to the ‘Sunday Life’ insert magazine to the Sun-Herald newspaper. Bearing in mind that ‘Sunday Life’ was the vehicle for Rachel Hills’ 8 January 2012 article promoting MTR (anti-raunch, anti-porn, pro-life), upon which JW first commented IN HER THEN OBSCURE BLOG (‘Sheep’), that was to become the start point for the ‘#MTRsues’ saga, it may well be that Mia Freedman may have become collateral damage in like manner to that threatened against Catherine Manning along the way, whether or not she (Mia) knows it.

    That the lawyers’ letter of concern that Catherine Manning received was dated 3 January 2012 may well be an indicator that an MTR promotional campaign was underway in which no criticism would be brooked! If such was to have been the case, one would have to ask whether the funding derived from supporters of Collective Shout, even if with the agreement of contributors applied to such seeming personal benefit, would normally be adequate to support a putative wider litigatory campaign.

    Cui (apart from MTR) bono?


    • Hypocritophobe September 16, 2012 at 11:39 am #

      ….and what of Brian Baxter?
      His site? etc….

      Free speech?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson September 16, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      Forrest I know of others who have been subjected to MTR’s legal threats and her approaches to their employers. They want to stay anonymous.


      • doug quixote September 16, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

        She will be rather busy – like a one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest – if she is to sue all of them. No wonder her lawyers tried to insist that the letters remained confidential.

        Publish and be damned, all those so threatened! Call her wretched and cowardly bluff.


        • Hypocritophobe September 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

          And what if those who would sue people, end up causing mayhem in peoples lives?
          Impacting on the welfare of women and girls and children indirectly?
          Or other family members?
          What if the impact of the pursuit/threat/implementation of legal action causes people to harm themselves?
          Wouldn’t compassion (if not common sense) dictate a better way?
          Wouldn’t a God? If not, I wonder why? I really do.


          • doug quixote September 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

            So long as those who threaten defamation proceedings can get away with cheap threats ( lawyer’s letter, $300-$500 in a job lot, cheaper by the dozen) Hypo. A change to the defamation laws would be desirable.

            BTW, the High Court has evolved a doctrine of implied freedom of political speech, from the nature of our political system. It is not stretching it much to include a political player like MTR in the ‘fair game’ category (my words not theirs!).


            • Ray September 16, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

              Yes Doug, this is true. By the very fact that she and Collective Shout have made submissions to various senate inquiries, they have involved themselves in the political process and any defamation case will be considered using the High Court decision.


          • Hypocritophobe September 16, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

            BTW my supposition is general in nature, (big picture) but your points are ultra valid to this discussion,for sure.


      • hudsongodfrey September 16, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

        If there are a mounting number of legal threats in evidence then it might even be worth getting her declared a vexatious litigant.


        • Hypocritophobe September 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

          A hypothetical,then;

          “in evidence”

          And so, if it turned out ‘a number of ‘legal threats’ was approaching a number ‘conceived to be potentially vexatious’,the ‘anonymous’ (litigiously silenced) targets may feel empowered to ‘come out’ en masse.
          “Safety in numbers”


          • Hypocritophobe September 16, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

            ‘perceived to be’


          • hudsongodfrey September 17, 2012 at 10:18 am #

            Or just the danger of crying wolf once too often


  20. Hypocritophobe September 17, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    Some of you will remember a discussion around this subject.


    I am not condoning any level of violence,BUT!
    So a person can drink 30 cans of beer,
    be harassed by a shit stirrer and his film crew (with no prior permission from the women concerned) on a mission to secure ratings and give India a taste of ‘his’ real Australia.Yet somehow they have no defence in law.Nor mitigation.
    Amazing.My recollection is that people (not indigenous) have got less time for one hit punches which have killed someone.

    Hildebrand and the ABC should hang their heads in shame, over this.

    Sadly Hildebrand would be a lousy witness because he was (if I remember) cringing in his room, with his sphincter clattering.

    And I remember he once said this too.
    “I happen to know this because I am a proud self-identifying Jew who knows too well the suffering my people have endured.”
    A pity other peoples suffering means squat.
    The rancid smell of an empathy free hypocrite pervades the air.


  21. Hypocritophobe September 19, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    Never seen this place so quiet for so long.
    Hope JW and her issues are travelling well.


    • Poirot September 19, 2012 at 12:29 am #

      Was wondering about that…

      Btw, I was hugely entertained by your line: “….with his sphincter clattering.”


    • Jennifer Wilson September 19, 2012 at 7:53 am #

      Bit of pressure on Hypo. Wading through it.


    • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) September 19, 2012 at 8:42 am #

      Perhaps it is the silence of the lambs?


      • paul walter September 20, 2012 at 2:59 am #

        You should ask Cory Bernardi about that, Forrest.


        • doug quixote September 20, 2012 at 7:51 am #

          Hypo is reputed to be keen on the Enzed woolly quadrupeds, too. But that may only be a contingency plan (?)


          • paul walter September 20, 2012 at 8:50 am #

            Well, at least I know not to bring the reptile. Forewarned is forearmed, ( or legged).
            “Four legs good; two legs bad”.


  22. technology April 9, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    How do you be capable of create such a excellent group associated with commenters to your website?


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