Tag Archives: Discrimination

Do as we say, not as we do: the moral code of the censors

27 Feb

Talk about hypocrisy!

In the above link to a post titled ‘Surrounded by a culture in which girls are all body and only body’ Melinda Tankard Reist objects to Lea Michele, star of hit television show Glee, appearing on the cover of Cosmo showing cleavage. Michele is in her twenties, BTW, and the dress is unremarkable.

Such appearances, claims MTR, teach girls that the only thing that matters is what they look like, and that it’s of prime importance that they look “sexy.” Who they are and what they do is subjugated to the imperative to cultivate and flaunt their sexual power.

All well and good.

So how  does MTR feel about her fellow campaigner, (who also trains those recalcitrant footballers in how to respect women)and frequent contributor to her website Nina Funnell, appearing in Cosmo October 2010, wearing a sexy mask, and stilletos  with slave girl ankle bands? (About as “offensive” as the cleavage shot.)

The occasion was a competition to find the year’s most influential woman. But before Cosmo selected contestants for their career and personal achievements, they first had to pass the Cosmo “look” test.

Every woman in the competition is styled within an inch of her life. There are no mature aged women. Odd, if we’re looking for influential role models. They are all slim, have good hair, teeth, and legs, and some of them show a great deal of thigh. As much if not more than we see of Lea Michele’s breasts.

by Clee Villasor via flickr

The women’s faces are partially covered in glamorous masks, I really don’t know why. The glamourous mask usually implies the possibility of anonymous sexual encounter. So what does that sexual implication have to do with being influential, and a mentor to young women?

‘Surrounded by a culture in which girls are all body and only body’, you might say, seeing as how they look is the most important consideration in this competition, and if they don’t have the look, they don’t get to enter, no matter how much they’ve achieved in their lives.

Not a peep from the Tank about this travesty. Maybe because her fellow campaigner is one of the stars?

Bottom line, the Cosmo competition is way more destructive than the Michele cleavage shot. The competition pretends to be about a woman’s achievements. But it’s really only about the achievements of a handful of women who have the right look. If you don’t have the look, forget it. No matter what you achieve you’ll never be a Cosmo influential woman of the year.

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How to “lovingly” expel a homosexual student, or, God is in the house.

20 Feb

God hates fags.com via flickr

 

Brigadier Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby believes that a church school should have the right to expel any openly gay student.

“But I would expect any church that found itself in that situation to do that in the most loving way…I think it’s a loving response,” he says.

It’s legal for religious institutions in NSW to expel homosexual students, and Attorney-General John Hatzistergos, supports that law. While there are churches that oppose it, Jim Wallace gives it his whole-hearted support.

It’s difficult to know where to begin addressing the offensiveness of Wallace’s comments, but perhaps from a human rights point of view, it is most shocking in its reduction of the identity of a young human being solely to their sexual preference.

Nothing else about these students has any apparent value for Wallace, other than their sexuality. The intrinsic worth of the student is reduced to his or her sexual orientation. If the young person is brilliant, gifted, a high achiever – and gay, the Christian school should expel him or her, according to the well known Christian, Wallace.

“Lovingly,” of course.

Would this be another version of “tough love” perhaps?

How does one “lovingly” expel a young person from their school community because of their sexual orientation? Please explain.

Reducing a human being to one aspect of their character is a dehumanising tool used in all propaganda. When we can’t see another’s humanity, we’re far more likely to treat them badly.  It requires a leap of the imagination to make an identification with people who’ve been reduced to stereotypes, and many of us don’t want to/can’t be bothered with that imaginative exercise.

Propaganda ensures that certain lives (homosexual in this case) are not considered lives at all in the fullest sense. Reduced to the issue of sexual preference, and on the sole grounds that they are not heterosexual, gay students are punished by expulsion from their community, their lives stigmatized as deviant by their churches.

Failure to see young people as individuals in their own right leads to serious repercussions for them, and for society. Homophobic religious imperatives are determining the course of some students’ lives, with the support of politicians whose first concern is not the welfare of young people, but winning the religious vote.

Belief systems with discriminatory attitudes are putting young people at risk, and governments are supporting the process. This is described by Hatzistergos as maintaining “…the sometimes delicate balance between protecting individuals from unlawful discrimination while allowing people to practice their beliefs.”

Since he admits homophobia is “unlawful discrimination,” Hatzistergos’ position is that what the rest of the community has declared illegal is acceptable if it occurs within a belief system.  That church schools are granted permission to behave illegally makes a mockery of anti discrimination laws.

If a behaviour is illegal, it is illegal.

Religions in this country should be abiding by the laws of this country.

Around Australia, churches are exempt from anti discrimination legislation that prevents others from dismissing gay, lesbian, and trans gendered people, solely because of their sexual orientation.

Culturally salient beliefs normalize these problematic practices. One of these beliefs is that religious freedom trumps the anti discrimination culture.

But only some religious freedom, otherwise we’d be condoning genital mutilation and the polygamous and forced marriages of ten year old girls.

We’re selective about which religious freedoms we uphold.

Religious beliefs are fluid. Values change, often quite radically. There’s disagreement within religious circles about the expulsion of gay students.  It isn’t the government’s role to legalise these vacillating values, or to give legal validity to one point of view within the churches at the expense of another.

As our law declares discrimination illegal, the government’s role is to support and validate the country’s law.

Religions in this country should abide by the laws of this country. We require this of non Judeo Christians, especially those most recently arrived here. State and federal governments must require it of all religions in Australia, and particularly of all schools.

GOD IS IN THE HOUSE,  Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Nick Cave, by Ben Houdijk via flickr

 

Homos roaming the streets in packs,
queer bashers with tyre-jacks
Lesbian counter-attacks
That stuff is for the big cities
Our town is very pretty
We have a pretty little square
We have a woman for a mayor
Our policy is firm but fair
Now that God is in the house
God is in the house
Any day now he’ll come out
God is in the house.


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