Trump isn’t ironic about women, & neither is Turnbull

2 Apr

 

 

 

The announcement by US President Donald Trump that the month of April is national sexual assault awareness and prevention month was greeted with hollow mirth by many, and described by some as “ironic.”

There’s nothing ironic about this announcement. It is a calculated display of contempt for women, particularly women who endure sexual assault. It’s the most powerful man in the western world demonstrating to the women of his country that he can toy with them, as and when he chooses, in case they haven’t already worked that out.

Contempt isn’t irony. It’s far more dangerous, and we’re seriously underestimating the danger if we misread it.

Trump’s announcement is similar to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s campaign aimed at encouraging men to “respect” women as a means of preventing sexual and other violences perpetrated upon us. However, Turnbull simultaneously ripped federal funding from community legal centres, and frontline services such as refuges and crisis counselling.

The “irony” of Turnbull’s scathing indictment of men who abuse women, and his own abuse of us by withdrawing resources we need when we are attacked, apparently escaped the PM. Except that it wasn’t irony: it was reckless disregard, born from contempt, for the safety of women and children under threat.

Turnbull acts from the same deep-seated contempt for women as does Trump: he is better at disguising it, or rather, Trump doesn’t care about disguising his contempt, while Turnbull needs to maintain at least the appearance of interest and concern to preserve both his self-image, and votes.

Yesterday I read this account of how Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee forced a prisoner to give birth while her hands were shackled. When during her labour she needed to go to the toilet, her ankles were also shackled. She was not permitted to move into positions that eased her pain or aided the delivery of her child. Her baby died at birth. It is customary in Clarke’s jail, for pregnant women to be shackled.

Last week I read many accounts of former politician Mark Latham’s attacks on women, enabled by much Australian media, up until he called a young man who spoke about feminism “gay.” For gay, in this instance read feminised, and therefore a suitable target for Latham’s misogyny.

It is no coincidence that misogyny and homophobia go hand in hand. For Latham, obviously a proponent of hydraulic male sexuality, the most toe-curling aspect of love between men is the assumption he makes that somebody has to be “the woman.”

There’s barely a day without attempted or successful attacks on women’s reproductive rights somewhere in the world. In Queensland and NSW abortion is still a crime for both women and doctors. Male politicians, such as former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and right wing senator Cory Bernardi, continue to imply that women who seek abortions are morally corrupt. Bernardi describes abortion as “an abhorrent form of birth control”

Just yesterday in Iowa, legislation that could force women to continue a pregnancy to term after the foetus has died, was passed.

Women’s access to contraception is continually under attack. 

There is no irony to be found in any of this.  There is unrelenting hatred and fear of women, expressed in… let me count the ways.

That our governments, state and federal will not, and it is will not, it isn’t cannot, provide adequate frontline services for women and children fleeing violence tells us everything we need to know about the contempt in which women are held in this country.

The contempt for us is so great that state and federal governments enable violence against us by refusing practical options that will give us an escape route, while at the same time launching ludicrous campaigns to “raise awareness” of that violence. This is not irony. This is full-fledged misogyny, and it is murderous.

So next time you think feminism is about female CEOs, or the choice to enlarge your breasts, or more women in parliament, remember that your governments hate you so much they will not provide a refuge for you and your children, they will not provide accessible legal assistance for you, they will not ensure you have housing if your home is too dangerous.

More female CEOs has not changed this. More women in parliament has not changed this. It’s difficult to see how becoming part of the system can ever change the system. Feminism’s ambition used to be to destroy an abusive system, not to be subsumed by it.

Where it actually matters and where it actually counts, governments have turned their backs on women, while engaging in expensive and useless campaigns to convince us otherwise.

Hatred of us is normalised. And now it’s so normal we’re calling it “irony.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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35 Responses to “Trump isn’t ironic about women, & neither is Turnbull”

  1. townsvilleblog April 2, 2017 at 8:29 am #

    Until men is positions of power including in governments realize that women are just as capable as them and in many cases more capable than them nothing will change without a people’s revolt. At the moment there are a number of issues here in Australia that everyday people should be revolting over and mass protesting about, this is one more important issue that this toxic version of conservative politics does not want discussed in this country. This makes it all the more imperitive that this and many other subjects are discussed in forums such as these. Keep up the great work Jennifer.
    Warm Regards,
    Shaun.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson April 2, 2017 at 8:46 am #

      Thanks Shaun.
      I agree, we should be in revolt & in the streets: it’s almost as if we are so drugged by reality tv & bad food that we can’t get off the couch.
      1984?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Arthur Baker April 2, 2017 at 10:00 am #

    At the 2016 Australian federal election for the House of Reps, 5,693,605 people gave their first preferences to Liberals, Nationals and associated parties (LNP in Queensland, Country Liberal in NT).

    I don’t have the breakdown of how many of those voters were female, but if just 45% were female, that means more than two and a half million Australian women, despite all the very obvious evidence you present, couldn’t think of anyone better to allocate their first preference to than the Coalition who treat them with contempt.

    Why?

    Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote April 2, 2017 at 10:23 am #

      Just so. And perhaps a million more didn’t even cast a vote when forced to attend a polling booth.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson April 2, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

      Mostly because the women’s movement consists of middle class women who are now relatively comfortable within the system, & no longer see the need to upend it.

      Like

  3. doug quixote April 2, 2017 at 10:21 am #

    Women should be marching in the streets.

    Power is never surrendered willingly.

    But there are many women, brainwashed perhaps, of the conservative persuasion who think that there’s nothing wrong with things as they are and even many who want to go back further – who agree that abortion is a heinous crime and that (other) women deserve what they get, from abusive spouses.

    Short of revolution, education is the only way forward. But it is a gradual process and the forces of conservatism want to control, determine and if possible pervert the syllabus into their own narrow minded way of thinking. The campaign needs to be a “get your rosaries off my ovaries” style of demands; women need to get the media’s attention.

    As for Trump, the absurdity of millions of American women would couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary will play out for years to come. It makes my blood boil.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Arthur Baker April 2, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

      Well, many women HAVE marched in the streets. And a fat lot of good it did them, because seemingly a swag more numerous were the women who did, and still do, prance around at Trump rallies brandishing “WOMEN FOR TRUMP” placards, not only utterly disregarding his “pussy-grab” comments but openly expressing their wish for him to be president regardless of that.

      Besides, what are we saying when we talk about women who “couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary”? That we should automatically vote for candidates whose genital configuration is like our own? Sorry, that doesn’t work for me.

      I like to consider candidates’ policies, and if those policies stink, I cast my vote elsewhere. Clinton (let’s not trivialise her by referring to her by just her given name) had a number of rather unattractive policies and track record, plainly sufficient to deter a lot of voters. The Democrats put the wrong person on their ticket, perhaps? We can’t re-run the election with Sanders at the Democratic helm, but maybe that would have made a difference. Clinton carried too much negative baggage, and therefore lost.

      Liked by 1 person

      • doug quixote April 2, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

        Well I got on your wrong side, Artie. (Sorry to seem to trivialise you, but Hillary is rather well known by her first name. To call her Clinton risks confusion with her rather well known husband.)

        Personally, I don’t care if the President has a cock, a cunt or neither if only he/she/it is competent, sane and compassionate.

        They may have marched, but they’d better do it again and in greater numbers. Liberty – use it or lose it.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Arthur Baker April 2, 2017 at 4:20 pm #

          Doubtless they will march, Doug, while ever Trump continues further to demonstrate his incompetence, insanity, misogyny and utter lack of compassion and empathy.

          But I tend to think that the impetus for his impeachment will largely come from his own party rather than street demonstrations. The Republicans, I believe, most of whose really influential members are male, want rid of the 8-year-old in the White House more fervently than the women who oppose him nationwide.

          He won’t last four years. And it will be his own party who sacks him. Order in more popcorn and observe from your sofa, as I am doing. Great spectator sport.

          Liked by 2 people

          • doug quixote April 2, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

            They have already refused to repeal Obama’s Affordable Care Act and it will be interesting to see how much of his absurd budget survives. Congress hasn’t passed a budget since 2009, and they’ve gotten used to not bothering.

            I gave him six months before impeachment – and July isn’t far away.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Jennifer Wilson April 3, 2017 at 11:51 am #

            I’m not sure Pence will be much of an improvement.

            Like

          • AnnODyne April 8, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

            yes, popcorn and “all great spectator sport” until, as in that old saying ‘All great fun till somebody loses an eye’ – until Syria, and until Australian troops are deployed to die so rich conservatives who own companies who sell trucks and truckloads of stuff to supply military activity … etc etc. Writing my Representative is pointless. he is minister for war [or ‘Defence’ as they put it]

            Like

        • Jennifer Wilson April 3, 2017 at 11:50 am #

          We haven’t actually bloody got it yet, DQ, one step forward ten steps back.

          Like

      • Jennifer Wilson April 3, 2017 at 11:49 am #

        Agree, Arthur that genitals are not a reliable marker for democratic leadership.
        Also agree that Democrats ran the wrong candidate. Not because of genitals, but because of baggage.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jimfitz April 2, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

      Doug, I certainly understand that your observations lead you to highlight that in some cases, women are at fault too. It sometimes appears so. What us fellas often fail to see or understand is that, by and large, the women who do appear to comply, do so because the consequences of not complying are either too dangerous, as in DV, or the consequences of non-compliance are too socially painful. Women should never, ever have to march in the streets! They have been doing that for over a century, just to be able to vote and, in some circumstances, gain maternity leave. You accurately state “Power is never surrendered willingly.” Women should never have to strive nor struggle for power. Us blokes must surrender power. We men do not need power. It is a socially-constructed myth.
      A simile is that victims of bullying need to take a stand. No, No, No! Bullies need to stop bullying!
      For women’s rights, all of us men need to get out of the way. That is all! We need to stop judging women! We need to move to the background and support all women. Those who take charge and those who don’t, can’t or won’t.
      Believe me, it is not conservatism (make no mistake, I despise those neo-con, capitalist, arse-pissing, hegemonic, profiteering, ….. ) It is patriarchy and toxic masculinity that causes problems for women and also incredible problems for us blokes, too. (Male suicide is an associated but other topic).
      As an example: this is the final comment I will ever make on Jennifer’s blog. I challenge all men (yes, Shaun) to follow this blog without ever commenting. No matter how essential you believe that our male opinion is. As men we can stand or sit aside, and let women run this world, as they should. We can do this so that women never have to “take to the streets” or struggle for power. It’s not that us men are giving power to women. it is that us men are allowing power to gracefully slip from our hands / selves.
      Cheers
      Jimmy Fitz
      Also from Townsville NQ

      Liked by 1 person

      • doug quixote April 2, 2017 at 6:50 pm #

        Crap.

        The rain has gotten into your brain.

        Women are doing it for themselves, certainly. But a little help from those with the XY gene wouldn’t hurt.

        A fuckwit like you won’t be missed from the struggle, nor the blog. 🙂

        Like

      • Jennifer Wilson April 3, 2017 at 11:54 am #

        No, Jimfitz, this isn’t a segregated blog!
        Apart from that, I like your philosophy. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arthur Baker April 3, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

        As DQ so eloquently and economically says, Jimfitz – crap. Expression of opinion, here or elsewhere, should no more be restricted to one sex than should the right to stand for election or the right to oppose oppression. One’s gender is irrelevant to those things, and always should remain so.

        If you want to rule yourself out of expressing an opinion, that’s your absolute right. See you round like a rissole. Bye.

        Like

      • lizzielegit April 19, 2017 at 9:36 am #

        Really, this is the best you could write, thanks for your not-commenting resolution, it’ll save precious time and effort.

        Like

    • lizzielegit April 19, 2017 at 9:39 am #

      Actually, why not advocate for contraceptives for married women no longer interested in childbirth.

      Like

  4. Marilyn April 2, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

    I wonder if anyone knows that women have been marching for their rights for centuries or if they even give a flying fuck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote April 2, 2017 at 6:59 pm #

      No, no idea. Never heard of Pankhurst, Wollstonecraft, Shelley. Anthony nor any of hundred of others. To borrow a phrase, you stand upon the shoulders of giants.

      Try to balance the chips on your own shoulders.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marilyn April 4, 2017 at 7:31 pm #

        Ah yes this girlie should know her place hey Doug.

        Like

    • paul walter. April 2, 2017 at 11:28 pm #

      What? “women” or “anyone”?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sam Jandwich April 3, 2017 at 4:12 pm #

    I’m so sorry you had to write this article Jennifer.

    But you’re spot-on with “Feminism’s ambition used to be to destroy an abusive system, not to be subsumed by it”. I guess you could say that like many abusive systems when faced with a challenge from outside, this particular example has adapted by providing some token compensation, without conceding anything that is really valuable to them… ‘cos apparently it’s not worth it!

    I’m not sure it’s the case that we are going backwards, because there are many many microcosms of great people who do their best to keep feminism happening. But the backlash is definitely getting more extreme, and perhaps people are feeling so isolated and powerless to stop it that irony is the only defence they have left.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson April 4, 2017 at 8:11 am #

      I’m pessimistic Sam. I think the human species is a failed project & we’re on our way out. I doubt there’s going to be many more uprisings of the kind we’ve seen in the past. People too seduced by comfort, or too demoralised by struggle.
      A destroyed world can’t feed the rich, either…

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter. April 4, 2017 at 10:57 am #

        * Like*.

        Liked by 1 person

      • AnnODyne April 8, 2017 at 3:19 pm #

        Wish I could connect all the sad bad politics with the present prevalence of internet ‘selfies’ by women in bikini knickers in front of mirrors. There must be a correlation. every time one is thrust at me I am sickened that matured females would do it even after ALL the Steinem, Friedan, Germs, etc. what have we come to?
        Donald says “Sad!”

        Like

        • doug quixote April 8, 2017 at 5:30 pm #

          Bikini knickers? Apologies to the feminists, but it isn’t hard to find bikini-less selfies . . . the petals of a bearded iris never looked so fleshy.
          To shock, to titillate, to excite. Liberating, or exploitative?

          Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

          Like

          • franklongshank April 9, 2017 at 9:38 pm #

            Doesn’t take much to excite old Dougy-boy to start wanking away…

            Like

            • doug quixote April 10, 2017 at 11:50 am #

              Fwankie you old bonobo its a wonder you can still see anything in your mirror for bukkake. 🙂

              Is Nurse on long service leave?

              Like

  6. lizzielegit April 19, 2017 at 9:30 am #

    Trump’s not just the guy to think of something pleasing as this, this seems to have undertones of sexism.

    Like

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