Archives: March 2009

12 Mar 2009, Comments (19)

Mr Bucket goes off

Author: Helen

Mr Bucket the microbusiness went orf over the Christmas period and still seems to be chugging along quite happily despite the dreaded GFC.

He sells a lot of t shirts to tourists and asks them to send photos of themselves wearing them in furrin places. My favourite: Transylvania.

Mr Bucket goes to Transylvania

AND! Bucket movie.

This was a real family effort with Mr Bucket’s film student niece behind the camera and Mrs Bucket on drums, soon-to-be-brother in law on guitar and recording console. (Please don’t judge me too harshly for that high hat, it was on a borrowed electronic drum kit, which is a sullen and uncooperative creature).

Melbourne L’Oreal Fashion Week is coming to the Rose Street Market to set up a runway to model the stallholders’ fashions. With real emaciated models and everything. If you think the bucket look is not going to catch on, well, just look at this then! (H/T: Blurb from the Burbs.) That’s happening on March 21 (Saturday).

I was downing a few with a friend in Lane’s Edge cafe in Bourke street, the one which has hosted a few grogblogs, and across the laneway I spotted a trendy young thing wearing a Vote Bucket T shirt.

Surely world domination can’t be far away.

There wasn’t any buzz about IWD last week among friends, family or workmates. I didn’t even get an oversized email from the Dogs Homes Association inviting me to a chirpy womens’ cocktail hour with finger food and Kirstie Marshall or similar doing a motivational speech. Humph! so here I am, in the suburbs in my trackie dacks, writing a post about what it’s like to be a self-identifying feminist and blogger. First, let me introduce you to the Groke.

The Groke from Tove Jansson's Moomin series

The Groke is a character in Tove Jansson’s Moomin stories, a classic and wonderful series which is shamefully understocked in Australian bookshops. The Groke is a creature who, long ago, had a magic hat stolen from her by two mysterious characters called Thingummy and Bob, and as a result has become bitter and cynical – and not a little sinister. The Groke is so cold that she freezes the ground where she passes. The Groke is like a scary ghost who glides out from the bushes and causes a lull in the conversations while everyone wonders what is wrong.

I’m pretty much a coward in real life. I know that if I speak up as a self-identified feminist I’m the Groke, freezing the ground as I approach with the chilly, joy-killing narrative. Of course it’s not so much my feminism that would be doing that, but the perception built on whole shedloads of strawfeminists over the decades. No sense of humour! Purse-lipped! Hates men! (OMG that means she hates me!). That’s not to say I don’t, to use the Americanspeak, call people on their bullshit, if I think it’s likely to be listened to. But I very rarely – that is to say, never – have the larger conversation about feminism and what is it and why do we need it.

I wrote a while back about sitting around on a summer holiday with family-and-friends, having a catch-up with everybody on what everyone’s doing, and how I deliberated with myself whether I’d take the conversational risk of dropping in the fact that I felt excited and chuffed about being asked to help adjudicate the inaugural Femostroppo blog awards. How, when I did that, the conversation kind of … froze over. Then it got going again on another tangent. So it wasn’t completely frozen – just where the Groke had passed.

In January I started posting at a larger group blog. In my first post, I introduced myself, and included a warning that I would sometimes be the Groke. Since then, I’ve only posted one item with a specifically feminist theme. Even in the more lefty-leaning sections of the Ozblogosphere, one can feel the earth chill as one glides out from the shrubbery to say that feminism isn’t over, everything is not fixed already. I’m not so much talking about the hateful pile-ons and other threats directed at women bloggers, but the constant trickle of let’s-be-reasonable, you’re looking to be offended, get a sense of humour, Dear God What about the Men? and all the other items on the antifeminist bingo square.

So, I admit, I need to show more courage. And I should also mention that being the Groke is the equivalent of being beaten over the head with a wet sock, compared to what feminist women in other countries put up with.

Update: IWD around the world.
Crossposted at Hoyden About Town

There has been an increase in attacks on Indian students and workers in Melbourne’s inner west. Clearly, it was time for the police and other community leaders to take notice and do something about these race-related crimes. Did they they put a spotlight on the people who were doing the robbing and bashing? Did they talk about their intention to bring the perps to justice and enhance the safety of public spaces generally, and work with the Vic government to help change the attitudes of Bogan Youth? Hardly. The response of the Victoria Police was to recommend that young indians should stop talking so loudly in their own language and should not be louchely and recklessly carrying things like iPods and laptops on their daily commute. In short, pull your head in and stop flaunting your great wealth before our simple peasant folk, in case you get yourself bashed. And robbed.

Inspector Scott Mahony complained that the police had been blamed unfairly in the story, because “members of the indian community” had complained at a public meeting that their countrymen were noisy and obnoxious. Right, that lets the Victoria Police off the hook completely, because if someone’s fellow-countryman says something denigratory towards them, of course you take the totally unbiased opinion of this codger and publicly run with it!

This reminded me of Lauredhel’s article about other victims of crime and how the use of the passive voice, and constant advice to the crime victims both actual and potential to take defensive action themselves to not get themselves raped, or get themselves robbed, makes the perpetrator invisible and takes all the light and heat off the people doing the crime.

It’s not the first time this has happened. A Sudanese boy, Liep Gony, was bashed to death by two white thugs in October 2007, and the police blamed the incident on the Sudanese community who, they thought, had failed to assimilate properly.

I use a train and a bus daily on the routes to, from and around inner Western Melbourne and I can tell you from long experience that a lot of students are deafening. Not Indian students – students. Anyone who says that’s an Indian thing really hasn’t been out lately. It’s a function of being young and silly. (Some) students travel in packs, yell to each other, and generally seek attention. They’re immature and sometimes quite irritating. Duh – they’re young! This in no way excuses crimes against them, I would have thought. The idea that Indian students are somehow “flaunting” their iPods and laptops, also, is simply racist. I see thousands of caucasians and others using their laptops and ipods, and schoolkids carrying valuable musical instruments, every day. It’s good defensive practice to keep smaller items packed away, but to say that one ethnic group may have their laptops on show and the others are “flaunting” them simply betrays an underlying idea that one group is entitled to have these things and the others are behaving in a manner not befitting their station.

The Victorian government should examine ways of improving community attitudes on the one hand (well, not making them worse’d be a start), and the appalling lack of any personal safety on the “public transport system” at night, instead of blaming the victims of the crimes. And they should start to get a bead on the invisible perpetrators.

Sushi Das has more well-crafted scorn.