Destroy the Point

It is hot, my life remains in the lavatory and I have no icecream. More to the point, my #Helen100 date scheduled for tonight cancelled and so I am left alone on a Friday.  With my empty muff and head.

Frankly, I’d rather write more about the former but its neglect cracks open the latter; and she is bordering upon madness at this hour, the close of International Women’s Day.

Don’t. Even. Talk. To. Me.

Seriously, don’t.

Anyone who knows me even a little makes sure to avoid the topic of gender in my company.  Actually, one of the #Helen100 tried it in a pub in Coburg last week but we’ll get to that story – which ended with me raging “I couldn’t possibly fuck a biological essentialist; not even one with an EH Sedan”– in the fullness of time.

That guy didn’t know me.  If he did, he’d know my ideas about gender come more from Judith Butler than they do  from, say, Growing Pains.  He’d know that an express route to my trousers is to talk about the seams that join Freud to Marx. He’d know my relationship with feminism is long, ardent and difficult.

Feminism.  It keeps me awake at night.   Yeah, I got problems.  But not so many, I’d venture, as an Australian feminism that produces twaddle like this.   For International Women’s Day, here is a piece that considers the special qualities women might bring as leaders of professional media.

WHAT?  What? WHAT?

Are women better media leaders?

Rebekah Brooks is the answer.   Marissa Mayer is the answer.  Gina Rinehart is the answer. Fucking NO is the answer.

That professed feminists can think – just as the man in the Coburg pub did – that women have “special” qualities that they might bring to enterprise is fucking beyond me.  Women are not nicer.  Women are not a civilising influence.  Women are just as capable of avarice and stupidity as anyone.

This “If Only Women Ruled the World” shit has no place outside the Hallmark Corporation. Ascribing a Marian grace to my gender might work in the Catholic Church but it really shouldn’t have any function for those who do not worship the Blessed Virgin.

Women are not gifted, either socially or biologically, of anything special.  If we believe that they are, then we must also accept the possibility that the gender could be marked with unpleasant characteristics.  If we believe that women are “better negotiators” or “great multitaskers”, we can also easily believe that they are “not very good with money” or some shit.

I find any work that even considers the idea that privileged white women do things in any way that is markedly superior or different to the things done by  privileged white  men so ineffably deluded I want to take ALL of the Alanis Morissette CDs purchased in the 1990s and make a sculpture of an enormous plastic masturbating woman and win the Turner Prize with a piece I have called Enormous Plastic Masturbating Woman Wins the Turner Prize.

Anyhow.  The writing.  One of many pieces of crap I saw today. I know little of its author Jenna Price. However, I certainly do know how to Google and, as a Media Professional, could easily pretend I have been aware of the lady’s work as an activist and academic for some time.  And, in a way, I have as she is one of the architects of the local “movement” known as “Destroy the Joint”.

No.  Destroy the Joint is not a competitive league of doobie smokers nor is it the work of those who especially like to eat spring lamb. It is, in fact, the locus for much feminist “action” and so, for my dateless purposes here tonight, a good site for inquiry.

Look. If you don’t know about it, read this hagiography. In short, the campaign sought to reignite feminism through a social media critique of traditional media.

For mine, Destroy the Joint began, very quickly, to Destroy the Point.  As a fairly rash user of social media myself, I made the view known to tens of followers that I found the exercise distastefully onanistic.  The fast cycles of uncritical rage that greeted a number of purportedly “misogynist” incidents – the average comedy of Daniel Tosh, the dressing of children in inappropriate clothing, the naming of a racehorse as a woman – brought to mind the usual pace of my own visits to RedTube.

We sit in front of screens and we suspend our thought to enhance our desire and then we mash our own genitals to the point that they explode in a brief but ecstatic frenzy of nothing especially productive.  It’s a sad little  ragegasm we need to repeat seven times a day  in the absence of genuine congress.

I do not mind a good wank but I have little patience for a bad one and this mean and dessicated  DTJ masturbation must, at some point, cease.  The expense of this libidinal energy cannot be calculated.  We are spending our climaxes in tiny online moments when, really, they are due elsewhere to fuck the system.

Feminism is the struggle against masculinsed violence and feminised poverty.  Or, the acknowledgement that physical violence is enacted disproportionately by men and poverty is experienced disproportionately by women. That’s it, really.

And don’t give me that “there are many feminisms” shit.  Yes, of course there are and my experience of gender is markedly different to that of a lass (or lad) living, say, in Maputo. But, for the sake of fuck, at SOME point, we have to agree about our basic aims and get off this DTJ-endorsed fap-wreck before we all perish from the carnal stink.

There are two chief DTJ problems and the first is that it feels like a cultural studies tutorial from 1991.  I know what it is like to be absorbed in the novelty of semiotics and that “Angrily Calling Out Sexism Wherever You See It” is habit-forming.  The behaviour is compulsive and sometimes, you know, it makes you act before you think and you get it wrong.  SO wrong.  I recall, for example, this  moment in which DTJ ally Anne Summers called a urinal shaped like a mouth “misogynist”.

That the mouth urinals purchased by a Sydney restaurant were very clearly referencing the famous John Pasche Rolling Stones male mouth logo was immaterial; the lavs are on display at a Rolling Stones museum in Germany.

And, that these latrines had been present for years just a kilometre away in Oxford St in the bathroom of a club for homosexual men was not deemed relevant, either. Didn’t matter. Here, recourse to logic and facts would mean a pause in the fun, fast online work of screaming “MISOGYNY”.

In one social media conversation, a DTJ “pledge” told me I was a misogynist for “supporting” (N.B. if one is not objecting along with DTJ then one is supporting rape et al) this “crap”.  As a great fan of Marcel Duchamp’s readymades, I couldn’t have been happier when she told me that “a urinal could never be art”.  HA HA HA.

How am I the only person reminded here of the Piss Christ shame of the nineties with Summers and DTJ cast as George Pell? The idea that art (yes, even low or middle-brow art; and that includes Sexist Comedians) needs absolution from the Feminist Cardinal is, to me at least, anathema.

(Was it a similar frustration with dummies that drove both Greer and Paglia to publish on the topic of visual art?)

So. Yes. Bad cultural studies practice is the first problem.    The second problem is that DTJ and her associates actually believe they are healing the faithless.

Look.  Here’s the thing: telling people they are being disadvantaged is a tricky business, Caroline Chisholm. There’s something dangerously missionary in an approach that seeks to draft sisters to a Crusade chiefly at war with nonsense on the behalf of hollow gods.  You are make-believe-slaying paps that snap pregnant celebrities.  Oooooh.

Are these your true adversaries?  Do you REALLY think The Patriarchy will cease to function if you boycott a bar or a performer or a clothing store? Are you jamming the gears of capitalism by defending Chrissie Swan?

No, honey.  You’re not.

Baby, what are you fighting for?  I presume the rationale is that by talking about “Everyday Sexism”, Everyday Women will join the struggle.

No.  Don’t think so.  People aren’t that easily led or recruited   I know the ALP deludes itself that the electorate can be nudged to good by marginal lies and marketing.  Don’t make the same mistake.  Tell your constituency it is the struggle against masculinised violence and feminised poverty.  They are bright and brave enough to hear it.  It is arrogant and unhelpful and even alienating to suppose that they are not.

If you want to politicise someone, here’s a thought: talk to them about politics.

You don’t need some ridiculous spin about inappropriate plumbing or sexist wallpaper or whatever the fuck it is this week to apprentice folk to The Struggle. You need to read some macroeconomics, bitches, and spread the fucking word.

Hey.  I’m right.  I was, in fact, appointed feminism’s door bitch. And, no, you can’t come in if all you have to talk about is The Need For More Women CEOs and Less Sexism in Ads.

I am, however, flexible about double denims.

112 comments for “Destroy the Point

  1. Julie D
    March 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Dear Helen, interesting piece, if a touch too vehement for my tastes i do appreciate your argument, though

    I’ve lived most of my life in the country in the Deep North, so I’m educated but not sophisticated. I was thrilled to see Julia’s speech in Parliament. I gladly joined Destroy the Joint on FB and Twitter in its first few weeks and you can see my face in their artful montages. Then I retweeted a piece written in the Hindu Times by a woman in Delhi about its rape culture after Jyoti Pandi was murdered and the women of Delhi (and many men) rose up. I was instantly followed by several dozen Hindu men attacking me personally, my race, nationality, age, class (most of which they got wrong). I blocked them, so they then made up racist tweets and put my name to them, urging other men to harass me, copying in DTJ.

    Instead of supporting me, DTJ became an apologist, denying there was any rape culture in areas or castes in India. With complete lack of logic, they then posted a tweet about rape culture in English soccer supporters, as though showing white subcultures also do this somehow means a black culture doesn’t. I tweeted back I was being harassed, but they didn’t defend me, this bastion of politically correct feminism. Guess who else I “blocked”?

  2. X
    March 9, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Hey Helen,

    Totally understood what you meant. I was wondering if you could expand upon that in a tangible way, ie, what research is necessary, and what outcomes would it be looking for?

    • March 10, 2013 at 12:05 am

      Oh, goodness.X, I am a humanities person and not a social scientist. I’m simply advocating for the use of evidence-based policy rather than knee-jerk reactions to the problem of the violence that is enacted by men on both men and women.
      This is a question for social psychologists. Not for me.
      As I’ve said, I don’t have answers. Nor do I feel that I need to in critiquing liberal feminism. I just feel it’s my gig to problematise the dominant talk; especially when it sounds like total bullshit to me. Sure, it’s bad to do NOTHING. But isn’t it worse to do a something which may, in fact, have a negative impact? As I have tried to explain, the primary function of DtJ and the new habit of the liberal feminism from which it comes is SCOURING the culture for sexism and yelling “THERE IS SEXISM OVER THERE” and then spreading a sense of viral rage and subsequent satisfaction that something has been done. When in fact, nothing has been done. This sense of achievement is a time-sink.

  3. X
    March 10, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Thanks for the response. I’m not looking for answers, but more for a direction.

    I guess what I’m asking is: are you saying that, in your opinion, we should be studying what makes the culture of masculinised violence so pervasive in culture in the 21st century, and therefore what mechanisms we could put in place to truly equalise society?

    Not trying to put words in your mouth, just trying to explain my position by example. :)

  4. LL
    March 10, 2013 at 1:10 am

    Hey Helz, did you ever get that ice cream? It’s still fucking hot.

  5. Steve
    March 10, 2013 at 1:45 am

    Hi Helen,
    A really thought provoking read.
    Thank u.
    Is it ok to question DTJ feminist opinion on issues? No that’s right, I can’t because I’ve got a dick……
    Helen, You challenged my thinking. I like it
    Cheers
    S

  6. Clare
    March 10, 2013 at 10:42 am

    LOL at the dudes whose takeaway from this article is “Right on! I’m being oppressed by Destroy the Joint because I’m a man!” Don’t think that’s what she was going for, guys.

  7. Carlene
    March 10, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Agree “… it’s bad to do NOTHING. But isn’t it worse to do a something which may, in fact, have a negative impact?..” but also much worse to continue to do it after it is clear that it isn’t actually changing anything other than to have a whole lot of people searching out whatever it is that happens to personally shit them about others’ behaviour, calling it sexist, mysoginist whatever and then have everyone declare themselves the new vanguard by clicking like on FB

  8. Sally
    March 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Fantastic piece Helen. My comments are on some parallels I see.

    I’m politically engaged as a progressive and see/hear exactly the same discussions going on, as has always gone on, amongst people who don’t support the mainstream and want a better world. eg. Do we lobby/agitate/act to cover coal wagons (to prevent coal dust spreading and damaging peoples’ health )and score a minor goal or do we say simply no more coal. If coal wagons are covered does that then excuse the multi-national mining companies to continue their rape and pillage. I think it does.
    Now throw in social media. Look at the crap that was said about the role of social media in the Egyptian Arab Spring. No facebook didn’t bring it about, there had been years of union/community/grass roots organisation against the corrupt regime. People putting their lives and jobs on the line for years, not just a tweet here and there or a facebook like, or a corporate award.
    DTJ should look carefully at itself. Note Julie D’s story – it’s horrifying. Accepting award from NAB is a joke.
    And thank you for introducing me to Judith Butler.

  9. Elle
    March 10, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Hmm, better brace yourself, Helen. Bet there are several pithy Open Letters & petitions being formulated right now. Ugh. Save me from both.

  10. Marcia
    March 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Childcare as basic right : check; Chicken standing up : check ; double denim : only if worn with a crew neck t-shirt sans motif or script ( hair product optional) . Read this twice & it gets better with every read X

  11. Kasey
    March 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Helen, I think you are a gifted writer. I just wish you would use your gift for good rather than evil. By evil, I mean – writing something that is clearly going to make Jenna Price feel like crap. You criticise her writing and her DTJ movement. While I agree with some of your argument, I think that by repeatedly saying you “are not a nice person – deal with it” does not carve out your responsibility to treat people nicely. People are terrified of engaging with you, me included. You may have some supporters who won’t be honest enough to tell you that. But do you want to form a community for yourself based on meanness and put-downs? Make peace with Jenna, please.

    • March 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      I will contact Jenna privately. But please consider why you are suggesting that I refrain from critiquing a piece of writing published on a professional website on a topic about which I am expert. And consider why you think it is unacceptable for me to critique Destroy the Joint.

      Read my piece again. It is not about Jenna Price. It is about liberal feminism and the current, widespread habit of using social and traditional media to “call out sexism” in a way that I believe diminishes any real action.

      Tell me why I am required to be pleasant. Tell me why I should, even for a millisecond, not be terrifying? Ask yourself why you are terrified. This is just debate. I did not make an ad hominem attack. Unlike Ms Price who begins her rebuttal by “apologising” for the personal trouble (???) I am so clearly having.

  12. Martina
    March 10, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Is there a reason why you won’t respond to the men who love you because you are so critical of feminism (and criticism is good and healthy)? An example is Steve up there, who feel oppressed that they can’t speak because of their dicks or something. But you respond with such ferocity to women? And besides — you are not a nice person, you’re edgy, avant-garde or whatever it is.

    • March 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      I guess it’s because I just love cock.

  13. m26-7
    March 10, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Great to see a different perspective to the debate. I too feel that feminist rage could be better directed than taking offense at poor old Black Caviar – although I do also appreciate the necessarily ceaseless fight against sexism in advertising.

    I think the ‘special qualities’ argument may have some merit – I’m thinking of some (evidence based!) studies into risk attitude and market behaviour by men and women that points to more responsible corporate boards being the ones with better gender balance. Before you shoot me, read Eckel, Grossman, Fellner.

    And sexualised violence – I’m not sure women are quite as good at that as men.

  14. Jonathan
    March 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Wiston texted. He thinks you’re awesome, and wants you back.

  15. Bee
    March 10, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    For the most part I agree. Identifying & complaining should not be an end in itself for Liberal Feminists. And, what it’s worth DtJ’s Price was the one who wrote the SMH article where she admitted saying ‘sorry’ to women who revealed they were childless. I still can’t understand how someone who (apparently) stands for women’s freedom to make choices didn’t realise women ARE making those choices and further, are happy. (Of course acknowledging there is childlessness by circumstance and childlessness not by choice). Price, it seems may have once been as biologically essentialist as that Helen100 date. Even now, laden as I am with my white semi-privilege guilt, I’m just so tired of the million little micro aggressions of patriarchy we’re mired in, let alone the fundamental principles they shroud.

  16. Steve
    March 10, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Martina, you missed the point.
    It’s because “I have a cock” that many (not all) DTJ crew dismiss my opinion, and that of others “with cocks”, as having no validity.
    For the record Helen, I’m so pleased you love cock.

    • March 11, 2013 at 12:02 am

      Oh. Who doesn’t love the odd bit of cock?

  17. March 11, 2013 at 1:18 am

    I absolutely agree with your points against biological essentialism – I so hate all that stupid “women are better” stuff, which is just silly and insulting and also caused me wasted anxiety as a youngster worrying I might not be ‘feminine’ enough because I can compartmentalise home and work, hate reading horoscopes and I tend to channel surf watching TV.
    Also, I do believe feminism stands for more than just ‘personal choice’. Life is hard, and constraining. Men don’t have limitless personal choice and neither should anyone. Violence, poverty, labour rights, childcare etc, yes, the important issues.
    BUT there is no reason why you can’t call out the “little” things too.
    Pink Lego pisses me off. It just does. I know we’re talking consumerism here and so who cares, but my little girls constrain themselves into ‘girly’ choices even when they don’t want them because of the avalanche of pink crap and cultural noise around them telling them what’s for girls and what’s for boys. I know this would still exist without pink Lego – of course – but it still annoys me. In fact speaking of that, since my girls started school I have been quite shocked to realise/remember how boys censor and shame girls in the schoolyard, and girls accept it.
    So is this all nothing, because we’re middle class and I am absolutely against destroying capitalism?

  18. Lauren
    March 11, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Helen,
    Fantastic article. I agree with most points, disagree with some.
    I’ve been trying to understand why I feel we are stagnating as a society
    in terms of gender equality for quite a while now. I’ve never seen women as being ‘more special’ than men and I don’t think either sex should be treated as such. I’m 31 now and for many of those years wondered why people don’t just ‘get it’. I am optimistic that there will be a time when people will ‘get it’, there’s just a shotload of things that need to happen first.

  19. Alex
    March 11, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Women aren’t special. But neither are men. However, when I want an equal chance at a fat pay cheque, why should men get special treatment (as they do relative to women). Me being paid as much as men for doing the same job will not help women in poverty or stop violence,but why the hell shouldn’t I get equal treatment? Capitalism might not look different but lots of women’s lives would.

  20. Barbara
    March 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Dear Helen,

    Thank you for articulating so many of the issues that have been swirling unresolved in my head.

    I’d been struggling to ‘align’ myself with one of the feminist streams and in the end merely referred to myself as a Guerilla Feminist.

    As a single mum I know first hand how much harder it is for me to do well financially, compared to the vast majority of blokes I know in a similar position.

    I also struggle with the whole gender determinist claptrap. As if my vagina bestows me with additional ‘kindness’ and ‘compassion’ as the outgoing Pope would have us believe.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing your fine intellect to the discussion and for articulating so many things.

  21. Fiona Thompson
    March 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    You’re a tasty read Helen Razor.

    • March 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      You spelling my name like than to shite me, love? ;)

  22. Fiona Thompson
    March 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Oops…apologies to you Helen Razer. No harm nor shite was meant.

  23. Tat
    March 11, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    One of the catch phrases of Generation Y feminism is “You can’t be what you can’t see”. Thanks for opening my eyes to how society as a whole can benefit from feminism. Now I will be better able to recognise feminism when I do or don’t see it.

  24. Kasey
    March 11, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Thanks for your respectful reply Helen. I was worried that you might have taken offence. I should have known you don’t offend easily!

    I get a bit of anxiety during confrontation. Even if it is over the internet. I think everybody does to some degree. For me, anxiety is not something I like to experience, so I avoid it as much as possible. So that is why I’m a bit terrified of getting into it with you.

    My response to your suggestion that I consider why I think it is unacceptable to criticise JP & DTJ: in the great scheme of things, is this something you feel is worthy of such a targeted rant? It must be I guess. I agree with your criticisms of DTJ and the article. But Jenna Price seems like one of the good guys; she appears to be motivated by gooddoing some really good work. She has her own crosses to bear.

    I agree with your criticisms of Destroy the Joint.

  25. Kasey
    March 11, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Ah fuck, I didn’t get to finish before my some unidentified body part pressed ‘submit’. But I think it’s all in there.

    Actually, one more thing to add. I think Jenna started with “I’m sorry about your relationship problems” or whatever it was because she was addressing your article from top to bottom, and the top of your article talks about your relationship.

    PS. You are making me smarter, thank you.

  26. CeeGee
    March 11, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    An interesting read, Helen. Feminism is viewed differently by different women, according to their circumstances.

    The academics view it through the lense of funding grants, the media clique/self appointed ruling class use it to stay part of the cool group, the women raising families live it and the struggling, single mothers and carers, undereducated and underprivileged don’t have the time or resources to even think about it.

    The doyens of social media, frankly, well, I detest them to be honest. Their pseudo-left, faux outrage, mean girl mentality belongs in the year 9 common room.

    I won’t bore you with my suburban take on feminism but I will say that I don’t see misogyny in Abbott or Alan Jones. I listen to Jones when I can and, even though I have voted Labor for the last time, I’m not really a turd. Neither is he. His generosity extends from putting his hand in his pocket for a family with a sick child, to CSG protests, to giving exposure to young performers and financial support to the arts. He kicks politicians from the right, it’s just that the left as so incredibly woeful at present.

    His language and turn of phrase is considerably more refined than what I read around the femosphere.

    The insulated privilege that allows women to waste their time on the DtJ trash is telling. They are so out of touch with the suffering this government has caused less privileged women.

    I live and work in the western suburbs. Every second shop and every taxi listens to 2GB. Our new migrants and workers take no notice of the ravings of the lefty elite. They don’t think it’s racist to stop the boats. They think that border protection is a sovereign right. They know that while thousands of single men are arriving, thousands of mothers and children are still suffering in refugee camps.

    Anyways, feminists in ivory towers should put their money where their mouths are and get out here teaching refugee women to read, mentoring teenage mums, getting abused by the Islamic servo attendant for buying the Women’s Weekly, advocating for the 600 FGM cases to get before the courts or screaming from their blogs about the hideous leniency in rape and child abuse sentencing.

    Little Aboriginal girls hiding from daddy’s perversions on distillery night register higher on my feminist radar than the premeditated, prewritten ramblings of a plaything of the faceless men. She abused the word misogyny. It isn’t hers, it belongs to the women and girls who endure unspeakable suffering.

  27. CeeGee
    March 11, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    An interesting read, Helen. Feminism is viewed differently by different women, according to their circumstances.

    The academics view it through the lense of funding grants, the media clique/self appointed ruling class use it to stay part of the cool group, the women raising families live it and the struggling, single mothers and carers, undereducated and underprivileged don’t have the time or resources to even think about it.

    The doyens of social media, frankly, well, I detest them to be honest. Their pseudo-left, faux outrage, mean girl mentality belongs in the year 9 common room.

    I won’t bore you with my suburban take on feminism but I will say that I don’t see misogyny in Abbott or Alan Jones. I listen to Jones when I can and, even though I have voted Labor for the last time, I’m not really a turd. Neither is he. His generosity extends from putting his hand in his pocket for a family with a sick child, to CSG protests, to giving exposure to young performers and financial support to the arts. He kicks politicians from the right, it’s just that the left as so incredibly woeful at present.

    His language and turn of phrase is considerably more refined than what I read around the femosphere.

    The insulated privilege that allows women to waste their time on the DtJ trash is telling. They are so out of touch with the suffering this government has caused less privileged women.

    I live and work in the western suburbs. Every second shop and every taxi listens to 2GB. Our new migrants and workers take no notice of the ravings of the lefty elite. They don’t think it’s racist to stop the boats. They think that border protection is a sovereign right. They know that while thousands of single men are arriving, thousands of mothers and children are still suffering in refugee camps.

    Anyways, feminists in ivory towers should put their money where their mouths are and get out here teaching refugee women to read, mentoring teenage mums, getting abused by the Islamic servo attendant for buying the Women’s Weekly, advocating for the 600 FGM cases to get before the courts or screaming from their blogs about the hideous leniency in rape and child abuse sentencing.

    Little Aboriginal girls hiding from daddy’s perversions on distillery night register higher on my feminist radar than the premeditated, prewritten ramblings of a plaything of the faceless men. She abused the word misogyny. It isn’t hers, it belongs to the women and girls who endure unspeakable suffering.

  28. CeeGee
    March 11, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Oh, sorry, that looks more like a rant than a comment. Feel free to not waste your time!

  29. Rose
    March 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    “Labour rights. Childcare. Welfare justice. A science-based approach to violence. Stuff for which the State can and should be held responsible.
    lobbying. That’s the main course. The rest of the stuff is dessert.
    IN short, change the material conditions of lives.” (March 9, 2:44am)

    So this is your ‘Back to Basics’ approach to feminism, Helen? Excuse me for questioning your response here, but shall I tell you what ‘child care’ means to me? It means further institutionalisation for my children; someone else getting paid–other than me–to care for my children; my not being allowed (socially, politically and financially) to care for my children. I’m a sole parent (not by choice: I was widowed at 26, I’m now 35) and due to an extremely non-feminist welfare constitution I’m no longer a parent, I am a job seeker. The choice of being a full time carer for my own kids is no longer mine. Thanks to the so called grass roots feminist “thinking” and action and lobbying, the government will force-pay me to pay someone else to look after my children while I work somewhere else. What the fuck? Does this sound like feminism to you? Yes, I certainly agree with labour rights, of course I do, who the hell wouldn’t? But what the heck is a’ science-based approach to violence’? And what exactly is the “stuff” that the State should be held accountable for? And do you have proof that women don’t actually have any biological advantages? Last question: is feminism redundant, or even possible damaging? I’ll leave you with something I said in Year 9 photography at Lilydale High School 20 years ago when asked by my teacher if I was a feminist. “No,” I replied. “I’m an equalitarian.” They looked at me like I was an idiot, but I meant what I said. Still do.

    • March 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      Rose. If you read my piece you will see we are TOTALLY in accord. I am APPALLED by the New Start scheme onto which single parents have been shafted. That Gillard passed this change on the same day she delivered her purportedly impromptu “misogyny” speech illustrates our point perfectly, I think, about symbolism taking the place of action with liberal feminism.
      In no way did I suggest that feminism had done its work. In no way. I am sorry that you saw my comment as off-hand but, really, I am not a macro-economist nor a social scientist and I would like to leave it to such grown-up experts to give women the material equality that they need to undo the cultural inequality that has arisen, very largely, as the result of female poverty.
      As I have said several times, I am not required to develop solutions. Clearly, I’m a bit of a nut and I wouldn’t trust me with public policy.
      Let me be very clear and say again: there is far, far, far too much time bound up in banging on about the harm that media et al does to women and so little time given over to the role than economics plays in their lives.
      To the women who say, again and again, “we can do both”, well, fucking do both, then. Let me have one day without an article about “rape culture” driven by the absolutely unproven assertion that sexual abuse is fuelled by media.
      Let’s get mothers off New Start. Just for an entree.

  30. Duncan
    March 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Well said. And well done.

    Now, get up off the floor and write another one.

  31. a
    March 12, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    What a horrible bratty article that achieves absolutely nothing positive for feminism. Ill certainly remember to never read one of your ridiculous articles again!

  32. March 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    The *awesome* thing about Feminism is it’s not a religion. I will not go to hell if I don’t subscribe to any and all tennants of the faith as preached by one prophet or another.

    The awesome thing about Feminism is I get to put on my Critical Thinking hat that I found when completing my philosophy degree in the early 2000s and I can agree or disagree or remain neutral on any particular point at any particular time.

    And so it was interesting for me to recognise that my initial reaction to this piece was “Oh look it’s another ranty feminist bitching about a different ranty feminist because they’re not being ranty or feminist in the right way”. And the more I thought about that, the more I thought
    FUCK YOU

    I wasn’t around in the 70s to burn bras and march in anti-war protests. And even if I was I couldn’t burn my bra because my boobs are freakin huge and I need a bra to hold them up so there’s some airflow and they don’t get all sweaty and gross.

    I was a baby in the 80s which meant I didn’t get to party when various institutions from NASA to academic instituations to professional orchestras FINALLY permitted women to enter their hallowed halls and men-only spaces.

    I was still in school in the 90s when you were reading your gender and cultural studies texts and quickly becoming bored with the rhetoric.

    I was at uni studying logic and determinism in the 2000s and breading pre-maturely and fighting the fucked up sexual attitudes I was forced to swallow when growing up in a fucked up Christian cult.

    So fuck you and your righteous, self-important ranty pants.

    I am angry. When a bar advertises a drink that is promoting date-rape IT PISSES ME OFF. When a fuck-tard on radio disrespects the deceased father of a prominent politician IT PISSES ME OFF (and I don’t even like labor but you just don’t talk to people like that). When some moronic comedian gets up on stage in front of millions of people and sings a song about boobs in rape scenes IT PISSES ME OFF. And when some ranty elitist stands on her soapbox and tells me my feminism “just isn’t good enough” IT PISSES ME OFF.

    Educating myself (even when done ‘correctly’ as prescribed by you) benefits only myself. It is nothing if I don’t somehow share that knowledge. And if I choose to share that by standing on a virtual stage and screaming myself hoarse at the passing hoardes then that is my choice and FUCK YOU for telling me it’s not good enough.

    Because even though you’re right about gendered violence and poverty, DTJ is also right about sexism in advertising and fuck-tards on radio and rape jokes at comedy shows and the policing of women’s bodies (pregnant or otherwise). AND IT PISSES ME OFF.

    I can’t join a union because I don’t have a job and unions are just another boys’ club.

    I can’t read economic texts because they bore the shit out of me and I would rather spend what little reading time I have learning about Valentina Tereshkova so I can write about her on my blog.

    What I can do is get FUCKING PISSED OFF when idiot people rip into each other, and I can share that pissed-off-ness with people who are in unions and who do care about economics. And in the process if my anger gives my mum that little push she needs to stand up to her boss when he makes misogynistic and degrading comments about the women who work for him, then that is FUCKING AWESOME. And if my screaming means that my sister asks her friend to stop calling her 2yo daughter “fatty” then that is FUCKING AWESOME TOO. And if my anger influences my sons even a little bit, so that when their friends make a stupid comment about “crying like a girl” or reducing women to their sex appeal then that is EVEN MORE FUCKING AWESOME.

    So I will keep following DTJ even though I don’t always agree with them; and I will most likely continue reading your stuff too even though right now I think you’re just another ranty-pants yelling from their soapbox acheiving nothing much in particular. Because multiple opinions are AWESOME and I’ve got the skills to look at each of them and take what’s relevant to me and leave the rest. Because I am “bright and brave enough to hear it” – to hear them all – and make my own fucking decision about what is a “worthy” feminist action and what is not.

    So if you’re the doorbitch of Feminism then FUCK YOU; I’m going to a different club.

    • March 12, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      That probably sounded a lot more punk in your head, dearie.

  33. Amy
    March 12, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    Helen! I’ve loved your rants ever since I was an angsty teen, ever since the one on jjj after cobain’s death, you nailed it. Now, as an angsty mid 30s lass, am so pleased to see you on twitter etc, distilling this stuff. This is spot on, articulating what my feeble brain was trying to work out why this was just a bit NQR.

  34. Amy
    March 12, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    I just re- read that & it sounds like I might be taking the piss- pls be assured I’m not!!

  35. Country Boy
    March 13, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Hey Helen – good to see you stirring the pot without apology. I see the point in what you’re saying but I think there is more to DTJ than just feminism on training wheels. There is a lot of awareness-raising going on which is particularly helpful for blokes. And in gathering 25,000 members they have considerable power to influence as shown in their recent coup getting Telstra to drop the fee charge for silent number where an AVO is involved. They may not be as evolved in thinking as some, but there is still progress being made IMO.

  36. Catherine Manning
    March 15, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I love your piece, Helen, and have also loved reading the comments.

    I hope the DTJ organisers and supporters also read your piece carefully, and take it constructively. I don’t believe they should stop doing what they’re doing, because I think there is merit in standing against sexism in all its forms, but it’s also important for them to understand how the cause is being perceived by others outside of their support base.

    The first time I met you, you verbally face-slapped me about my Pull the Pin campaign against child beauty pageants, citing similar reasons as you have above for your distaste for such ‘trivial’ feminist action.
    I am grateful to you for that. You gave me the opportunity to see things from a different perspective, and I did agree with much of what you said – but not all of it. Needless to say, I haven’t shut up about pageants as I do think they are yet another stepping stone for bigger conversations with people who have limited – if any – experience of ‘feminist issues’. I’ve found that with most campaigns, be they environmental or human rights, most people tend to start out with a NIMBY (not in my backyard) issue, then the bigger picture begins to sink in. It’s not such a bad thing.

    Of course, where the media are to blame is that they look for issues that provide ‘colour’ (like pageant girls) and often miss the point entirely, turning a feminist issue into something entirely different – like slut-shaming, while ignoring some of the more serious issues that are not so picture friendly.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. I LOVE your work, girlfriend! x

    • March 16, 2013 at 1:25 am

      Cath, you have been an important influence for me, too. I am moved your gentleness and reason. I apologise for my lack of softness when it comes to feminist matters to you – most everyone else can go fuck themselves ;). I have bad manners and am impatient for revolution. xx

  37. marissa
    September 17, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Helen, I’m really interested to know why you didn’t engage with Monica up there? I assume you didn’t agree with what she was saying, but she was clearly passionate about it and took the time to articulate her point. I think the fact that you shoved her a condescending one-liner about the swear words is pretty crappy.

  38. September 25, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Marissa. I did not engage with Monica as I have engaged with nearly everyone in this thread because
    (A) Her chief complaint seemed to be that she was “PISSED OFF” and also “FUCK YOU”. I do not know how to argue with an individual’s state of mind. I can argue only with argument.
    (B) I would have more hope that the slamming of my tits in a door could produce more useful knowledge than to converse with Monica.

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