Category Archives: Men being dicks

Sara, Maggie, Shane, some internet asshats and a photo essay

Trigger warning- This post is about Domestic Violence.


So while wandering around the internet a little while ago I stumbled upon an article about Sara Naomi Lewkowicz, a photographer who did a photo story on the relationship of a couple with entrenched domestic violence. She then had the photos published as the US government was debating the reauthorisation of the Violence Against Women Act.

Some of the photos are very confronting showing 31 year old Shane throwing his 19 year old girlfriend Maggie into kitchen cabinets, choking her, using his body to box her up in a corner and they even feature the couples 2 year old child stamping her feet when she sees what is going on.

When these photos were published by Time they left some details out so people looking for someone to blame had an easy copout- Sara the photographer. And did they blame Sarah? You bet they did.

They say that she did nothing, she preferred to get some great shots instead of helping Maggie, not knowing the fact she rang 911 after having to retrieve her phone from Shane during the height of the violence. They say that she should have put the camera down and tried to help not knowing that during the argument Shane gave Maggie the option of continuing in front of the camera or leaving the room to ‘discuss’ the matter privately. Maggie didn’t hesitate and chose to stay in front of the camera as it provided some level of safety knowing that he would hold back a bit if there were witnesses. They said that Sara was despicable for taking photos of the 2 year old girl watching her mother get beaten by her father and that Sara shouldn’t have continued taking photos and got the child out of the room. How were they to know that as soon as Sara and the other 2 adults witnessing the violence saw she was there the child she was removed the photo was taken as the person closest to her was reaching to pick her up.

But of course it wasn’t just the photographer’s fault! Maggie had her part to play as well. The asshats who felt the need to comment said Maggie should have seen it coming, she stays because she likes it and of course she is not the victim but in fact the perpetrator.

So if these people are to be believed the only person in that house at that time who is blameless for the despicable show of violence was Shane.

Aw fuck off.

The more that I look into this story the more angry I get, with Time, with internet wankers, with people who can’t simply understand that the whole reason that this photo essay was done was to show how horrible domestic violence is, to make you feel uncomfortable thinking that this still occurs to millions of women around the world- but also that it is still happening right here. But also to make you want to do something about it so it never happens again.

I am also getting angry at myself because I have just gone on a 500 word rant about the photography and some moronic responses to it- which is not what Sara wanted her work to be an argument about her. She wanted  to show Maggie’s story and to get people talking about domestic violence and to raise the profile of the issue. She also wants people to acknowledge Maggie left, and the strength that takes.

‘But why confront our discomfort about images when we can instead confront the photographer? Why challenge the perpetrators who commit, and the structures that underpin, this violence when we can blame its victims – and, when the evidence of violence is still too powerful, its witnesses?’

You can find more out about the photo essay here

You can find the photo essay here

You can find out more on dealing with domestic violence here

You can find national domestic violence hotline services  here

You can take the white ribbon pledge here

Mikaela Wangmann

National Women’s Officer 2013

Piss Weak- Vile Kyle wins derogatory argument, can continue to make statements about ‘Fat Slags’ he wants to ‘hunt down’.

I wrote a blog when the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) handed down a decision to place strict licensing restriction on Austero (Vile Kyle’s license holder) which would have imposed significant fines in the event that any of the shows on 2day FM broadcast material that was offensive or demeaning to women or girls.  In the blog I called it, “A surprisingly gutsy decision” (read it here), it would appear that I was right, and I spoke too soon. They have reversed their decision.

Now ACMA argues that they haven’t actually backed down at all saying that the new code was not a back down, rather a slight alteration. The decision says that, “‘program content must not offend generally accepted standards of decency…having regard to the demographic characteristics of the audience of the relevant program’.” I’m not a lawyer or anything, but it seems to me that that isn’t really the same.

As I pointed out in the April blog, majority of the listeners to the Kyle and Jackie O show are women. So that’s the audience. Content can’t offend generally accepted standards of decency, with a largely female audience.

What I liked so much about the original licensing restrictions was that they were a message about what we can reasonably object to on our airwaves and within our public discourse. For some reason overt sexism and statements trivializing violence against women are still allowed to be a part of the language used in the mainstream media.  Outrage is never in short supply, consequences are rare in this world where it seems like feminists are the only people that still care.

Words, and the meaning of words, are intensely powerful. While the outcome of the licensing may well be the same whatever the words the statement has changed. Where ACMA once responded saying that the sort of language Kyle used was no longer appropriate in this day and age that was a message. Now it’s blunted by the retraction.

ACMA had an opportunity to send a message to women and men that said that sexism has no place in mainstream media, violence against women has no place in our culture and that there would be consequences for those who continue to flaunt the decency standards we expect for those who are given a giant microphone. They turned their back on that message with this decision.

I don’t know about you all, but I’m really disappointed by this turn around. To think that there might have been a real consequence, a real message sent and then for the patriarchy to win out yet again is piss weak.

What do you all think?

URM… I’m like, totally a feminist man. Let me in to your friggin’ women’s room

By Kate James

At my campus – and many others – we have a space designated specifically for women. This space, sensibly enough, is known as the women’s room.

Apparently this is the worst thing that ever happened to equality.

This sentiment is incredibly frustrating to me. Most of the time I think it’s borne out of ignorance of just how much discrimination and oppression women still face. We exist in a social climate that promotes the idea that sexism is over, that men and women are on an equal footing (or even that women have gotten greedy and now men are the ones in trouble). This is, frankly, a load of shit.

I’ve heard the argument that men are being pushed out of the jobs they deserve to make way for women, however:

  • Women chair only two per cent of ASX200 companies (four boards), hold only 8.3% of Board Directorships, hold only four CEO positions and make up only 10.7% of executive management positions.
  • In 2008, women held 5.9% of line executive management positions in ASX 200 companies; a decrease from 7.5% in 2006. Line executive management experience is considered essential for progressing to top corporate positions.
  • Women make up a third of members on Australian Government Boards and Committees.
  • Despite comprising more than half of all Commonwealth public servants, women make up only 37% of the Senior Executive Service.

I’ve heard that violence against women is a thing of the past, a rare occurrence that is blown way out of proportion. Unfortunately:

  • One in three Australian women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15.
  • Nearly one in five Australian women has experienced sexual assault since the age of 15.
  • Reporting and conviction rates for violence against women in Australia remain low. Only one in three women who experienced physical assault by a male perpetrator in the last 12 months reported the assault to the police, while just one in five who experienced sexual assault by a male perpetrator reported the assault

I’m no mathematician, but I think it’s safe to say that these statistics don’t paint the picture of a fair and balanced society, let alone some sort of conspiratorial matriarchy.

A woman recently told me that it was unfair that men aligned to feminism, men who actually believe in and fight for the end of gendered oppression, could not enter the women’s room. Shouldn’t it be a space where everyone committed to equality could congregate? Well, the thing is, I don’t think that being a man and believing in feminism makes you special or awesome. It makes you a decent person. It also doesn’t mean you forgo your privilege. And if a hypothetical man is actually pro-feminist, then I’m not sure why he would deny any of that.

There is so, so much in our society that does constitute discrimination. There are so many important issues to address. I don’t want to stifle discussion; when I’m challenged on the women’s room issue I genuinely try to be informative rather than defensive or dismissive. I’ll be honest, though: I find the rationale behind the women’s room fairly self-evident, and I think that if you’re going to be passionate about something to do with gendered oppression there are more pressing topics – topics that actually do constitute oppression, for a start.

All statistics taken from the Australian Human Rights Commission Gender Equality Blueprint 2010, available at

Kate James is the Women’s Officer at the Monash Student Association. You can see their website here or join the women’s Facebook page here


Wait, What? Women have rights now?

Post by Freya Logan 

I’m sure that the advisors to GOP presidential candidates and other conservative politicians will have to break the news sometime soon as US elections are coming up in November. The news will probably seem quite shocking and they will have to review a lot of policies and things that they have said. They’ll probably be pretty surprised and they’ll probably feel a bit sheepish. But soon the day will come when they will be told this shocking news and I am pretty sure it will go something like this:

Advisor: So I need to tell you something pretty shocking.

Conservative politician: Mmm?

A: So I was reading the constitution…and under the 19th amendment it says that apparently women in the US can vote too and have been able to vote since 1920.

CP: WHAT? I only read up to the 2nd amendment you know the “right to bare arms”.

A: Yeah, so apparently women make up over 50% of the electorate too.

CP: Oh. Oh crap.
A: Yeah. Damn.

Currently in the USA there is in my opinion a definite a war on women and their rights. I have been watching the level of policy promoting women disintegrate to where our sisters in the USA are slowly having their rights stripped away.

Late last year when I heard of some of the submitted acts and laws I thought “surely, this has to stop, I mean this legislation being debated is ultra-conservative extremist views, they won’t get passed.”

But no, I was wrong. I seems that every week I read something going from bad to worse. From women in Virginia being forced to have an ultrasound before an abortion, to Arizona where women have been literally legislated into a permanent state of pregnancy and Wisconsin’s repeal of the Equal Pay Rights act justified for the reason that money more important to men and therefore are more deserving of it.

And all of this in 2012.

What is worrying about this huge backlash against women occurring overseas, especially in a country such as the US that has such a cultural influence on Australia – in which the media it produces saturates our market, there has got to be political consequences that flow on.

This horrifies me. With the entire east coast of Australia governed by the Coalition party and with the chance that Tony Abbott could be the next Prime Minister I am very concerned over the position this would leave my rights and all women’s rights in Australia.

Since the Baillieu government was elected, Victoria has already seen the backtracking of equal opportunity laws and a continued struggle for better working conditions and pay by public sector workers who fill occupations that are predominantly taken on by women, such as nurses and teachers.

I am angry that I have to be worried about my rights as a woman in society today and I really should not have to be.

The situation in the US has gone far from being one-off extremist attack on the rights of minorities to a point of traditional mainstream conservatism which only views women as baby carrying receptacles. Before this goes any further backwards than it already has it needs to stop. Right now.

Women in the US have not been silent on the issue and there is a growing campaign calling for all women to use their vote wisely and to call out their local representative to remind them of that pesky little 19th amendment thing. Check out this video about equal pay in the US:

and the “Unite Against the War on Women” campaign.

And they really need reminding that we, both here and worldwide,  have a right to be treated equally and not as lesser citizens unable to make our own decisions, so they do not continue to make them for us.

This entire situation over the Atlantic reminds me why I am a feminist and why feminism is still so, so important in this day and age.

I am angry and concerned about what might happen to my rights, and I really shouldn’t have to be and that is why I am a feminist and you should be too.

In sisterhood,

This post was written by Freya Logan, Secretary of the Monash Student Association. To get in touch or involved with the MSA please head over to their website or ‘like’ them on Facebook

Stop Being Dicks: A public service announcement

Recently there was significant attention given in the Western Australian press to the actions of a group of UWA students who thought it was appropriate to create an event, vaguely associated with a university club, that advertised women’s tickets to ‘sluts’ but not ‘crying sluts’.

Profound men that these were they also included a survey for prospective attendees which questioned the women’s bra size and their capability in the field of fellatio. Because, these women having achieved the goal of attending one of the most prestigious universities in the country, should count themselves lucky to be in the company of the kinds of men which sign on to these events.

To those involved I can only say, most emphatically, STOP BEING DICKS.

No, really, just stop being such unimaginative, misogynistic fucking pricks.

To them, and those that think of engaging in similar hilarity, I inform you of a fact which it would appear has escaped you. Women are people too!

They appear women in shape and size and not simply as walking orifices to be penetrated. They have faces, and eyes and noses and mouths and they all have brains too. Brains that have thoughts, thoughts that you are all just massive dicks.

I don’t even want to accuse these sorts of events of backlash, they’re not that profound or well thought out. These events are not about backlash against the theories and ideas which demand equality, they are just massive, underdeveloped dicks.

Stop being this way, no one really thinks it’s funny and I like to believe that we now live in a world where this sort of behaviour is no longer accepted by mainstream society. A society which has realised what these people have not. That women are not things but people, not orifices but individuals, not sluts but women.

There is, as with most things, a significant downside and danger to these sorts of events. Which is, that these sorts of ideas feed into a concept which says that women are worth less than men. These ideas and events translate into an acceptance and condoning of a society which allows violence against women to continue.

In the Talk About It survey of 2010/2011 86% of women reported being sexually harassed on campus. 67% reported having an unwanted sexual experience. The acceptance of these statistics is an acceptance of these sort of attitudes. To continue this behaviour is to state that women are some how worth less than men. That they  have some less intrinsic value. This is an attitude which must be rejected.

We as a society, as a community, need to stand up and say emphatically Women are people too- stop being such massive dicks.

I don’t think it’s funny, I think it’s harmful. And so does nearly everyone else.

As a group we need to stand up to these people. Until we do more than half of the women you go to uni with will experience unwanted sexual experiences. More than three quarters will be harassed on campus. They will be heckled, they will be abused and they will be raped.

Enough is e-fucking-nough .

Stop being dicks.

The backlash isn’t over yet. It’s only the beginning.

I spend a significant amount of my time, both professional and personal, talking about female leadership. Why it’s important, why we need more female leaders and why, despite the fact we have a woman in the highest elected office in the country, women continue to have their leadership and authority undermined in society.

This is a problem that exists within almost every political situation and organisation. I speak to women who are presidents, convenors, elected returning officers and prominent within their workplaces and they tell me the same stories. They are being undermined by virtue of their gender.

Men continue to assume their supremecy in leadership, negotiation and relationship building. Worryingly, there are many women who also seem to believe this. They will undermine, undervalue and speak with disrespect about the abilities of female leaders in a way that they never do of men.

Julia Gillard was last week attacked by Germaine Greer on national television. Told she had a ‘big arse’ and that she needed to accept that. Sorry, what? That’s the level of the debate that we can now expect from one of the most celebrated feminists in Australia. Of our first female PM, you’ve got a big arse, accept it. A generation of women who may have looked at the Prime Minister and felt that the sky was the limit of their capacity can rest assured that the glass ceiling will remain, in the form of a feminist critique of your ‘big arse’.

Backlash against the gains made by women exists across the political spectrum, from the far left to the far right. A culture that celebrates and promotes women is a grand conspiracy against men. Affirmative Action targets endanger the assumed place of men within political organisations. Infuriating as it is, what we as women wear and who we sleep with continue to be used against us by both women and men.

We’re told to be quiet, sit silently and wait for the problem to be solved. Rowdy women seldom are promoted in the real world. This seems to go against how the fight has been won in the past. We need to speak up and stop being afraid of the consequences. If the worst thing someone thinks to say about me is I have a big arse and should deal with it, or that i’m a man hater, lesbian, slut then I’m cool with those consequences. Lord knows, I’d be in some quality company.

There exists an upside to this though, a community of female leaders that grows stronger with every part of this backlash. The women that tell me these stories and the women that support them. Because we have to fight to be recognised behind every strong and powerful female leader there exists a community of mentors, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and allies who got her there. Strengthen this community, join it, our backlash isn’t over yet.

‘He really is a lovely guy’ selling women ‘Vile Kyle’

In a surprisingly gutsy decision the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has actually taken note of the complaints about ‘Vile Kyle’ and his attitudes toward women. The body, which is responsible for the moderation of the radio industry, has handed down a decision which places restrictions on what can be broadcast by both 2Day FM and its owner, Southern Cross Austereo. From now on if they are responsible for broadcasting material which is demeaning to women they run the risk of fines or the loss of their license.

Unsurprisingly, Southern Cross Austereo has come out against the decision saying that, since the majority of their listeners are women, they will struggle to fulfill the requirement of treating women as human beings worthy of respect. These terms, which they said in a statement were ‘broad and ambiguous and mean different things to different people’, would limit their ability to create programming which would appeal to their audience (of women, just so we’re clear).

The Kyle and Jackie O show nets some 15 million dollars in advertising revenue every year. The show is no stranger to controversy, notable examples include when Kyle and Jackie O hooked a 14 year old girl up to a lie detector to ask her about her ‘sexual experiences’ (putting aside the fact that at fourteen she’s unable to legally consent to much in most states). Predictably, the stunt went wrong when the child angrily responded to questioning with the statement that she had been raped at 12, and that this fact was known to her mother. Kyle, sensitive soul that he really is, paused a moment and said ‘and that’s your only sexual experience’. Comedy. Gold. I can see why so many people listen to this trash.

Most recently brought to the attention of the public was Kyle’s rant about a bad review written about a television show by a television reporter. Kyle, whose colleagues attest he really does respect women a lot, called her a ‘fat slag’ a ‘bitch’ and then topped the whole thing off with the charming statement ‘Watch your mouth or I will hunt you down’. Because violence against women isn’t an issue in our society (actually…hang on…)

I’ve been surprised that people keep tuning in and was even more surprised today when I discovered that the majority of their listeners were women. The advertisers made more sense then, given that women do hold the majority of the purchasing power. However, this begged a bigger question of why, oh why, are women listening to a team which seems to have very little respect for women and goes so far as to say that they can’t even promise that they won’t broadcast material which is degrading to women.

This is an issue which continues to plague mainstream entertainment in Australia and around the world. Women will continue to tune in, pay to see and watch things which insult and degrade them. The same is allegedly not true of men, who are unwilling to do the same to see films which are about women, let alone which are degrading to men.

I certainly don’t understand, but it would be interesting to get other people’s opinion on this. What will come next, will ‘Vile Kyle’ and 2Day FM stick to these new licensing regulations? And for how long?

Do any of you listen to this radio show? What’s it’s appeal? Comment below.