30 May 2010, Comments (16)

It’s time to tell Electronic Frontiers Australia to stick it

Author: Helen

Oh excellent! Electronic Frontiers Australia is targeting youngsters for its campaign against Stephen Conroy’s net filter with that old classic that never loses its appeal: Mothers are brainless twits!

OK, uninformed, ignorant, whatever. But certainly clueless. (And any web page concerning us should be wall-to-wall pink.)
As activists with children who have campaigned side by side (or so they thought) with EFA to educate others about why Conroy’s net filter won’t work, the writers at Hoyden are obviously pissed off. As an IT worker, net obsessive and opponent of the “clean feed” with two children, I’m also pissed off, insulted, and hurt. I’m also deeply disappointed with Akmal Saleh, who I dearly love. No, make that loved.


This week’s “let’s explain technology in little words to our mothers award, boys” goes to Electronic Frontiers Australia’s It’s Time to Tell Mum campaign against the ALP’s filtering proposal.
Seriously, is there some kind of bingo card for “getting mothers involved” yet? Here some squares to get you started, thanks to “It’s Time to Tell Mum”: mothers are late technology adopters, mothers are uninterested in technology and toys for their own sake, mothers are solely responsible for the moral welfare of children, (which is lucky because) mothers are pretty much only interested in the moral welfare of children, (which is also lucky because) fathers and co-parents might as well not exist. Any more?


Hello, EFA, we’re RIGHT HERE. Tigtog and I, and other Hoydens and Hoydenizens have been blogging about this proposed filter for over a year now, again and again. Somehow our current events awareness and capacity for political thought didn’t fall out of our vaginas with the baby(ies).
There’s a really strong side serve of “teh wimminz are the ones looking after children” infusing this also, which makes me wince every time.
Try genderflipping the campaign. Would the EFA have released the same campaign as “It’s Time To Tell Dad“? With cracks about dads doing nothing but watch Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Days of Our Lives? “Dads love gossip”?
“Even dads want an internet connection that’s faster, cheaper and more secure”?

See also.

Yeah, you can get on with saving Australia from the Clean Feed without me, young geeky hipsters at EFA. Since I only want to watch Good Morning Australia and gossip with the hairdresser, obviously I can no longer pretend to give a shit about your campaign, as I don’t need the internetz for those activities. I’ll be over here, crocheting a cucumber or something.

Advertising agency Fnuky‘s online pitch says: “looking for an advertising agency? We’re not one.” Fair call. Advertising agencies are supposed to be about making people like their clients. Geordie Guy of EFA tries to salvage the trainwreck by defending the video with arguments which are ineffectual and wrong, but that’s beside the point – if we’re talking about marketing, once you’re using arguments (however specious) to argue your case against angry customers/supporters/target consumers, your marketing campaign has failed.

It would have been so easy, as others have pointed out, to make the campaign “tell your folks”, or “tell your olds”. At least that would have patronised older people equally.

Comments (16) »

  • thewetmale says:

    Wow, that’s some classic epic fail from Geordie Guy there

    “None of the lack of understanding in the community has anything to do with gender”

    So we’ll fix the lack of understanding with a gendered campaign. Well done!

  • Kate says:

    I consider myself tech savvy, informed about the issue, but the reason why Stephen Conroy is still pressing ahead with the filter, is because of people like you.

    You say you’re tech savvy and informed, you blog about the issue along with other middle aged informed mothers, but Conroy is still standing up saying ‘I’m implementing the filters to protect kids and this is what mothers want’.

    Why don’t you instead of lashing out the EFA, who are from what I can see, are on the same side as you on this issue, and work towards the bigger issue and use your obvious built-up negative energy trying to fight the government, rather than slamming the people who are on the same side of the debate.

    I always wonder what if bloggers actually used all that hate and anger they have towards doing something useful, maybe as a nation we work together we could actually put an end to this filter.

    I for one, was encouraged to sit down with my parents who are both labour voters, over 60 years old and talk to them about the proposed filter policy and the danger it could have for Australia and my kids. I educated two people who knew nothing about it to the point they will likely change their vote at the next election. Perhaps if the few insecure feminists looked beyond their petty issues and looked at this campaign for what it really was they could make a difference.

  • Helen says:

    I see you sat down with BOTH parents. Why is it acceptable for EFA to frame their campaign the way they did?
    Being on the same side of an issue doesn’t give you a free pass for being a dick.

    Have you clicked through to Hoyden about Town and seen the many many articles they’ve written about this topic? Have you done as much work? Have you spent as many hours as Lauredhel and Tigtog researching, writing and editing articles opposing the filter? Then EFA throws them under the bus. Don’t make assertions about “insecure feminists” not doing the work opposing the net filter unless you’ve done your homework, because you’re on shaky ground there.

    Your assertion that “people like me” are “responsible” for Conroy’s latest latest announcement is, frankly, stupid and abusive. For one thing, my post went up last night. Do you really think Conroy obsessively reads my blog and thought “Yup, mothers pissed off at EFA, the net filter is go”. I don’t think so. Also, I stated quite clearly that I can’t change my opposition to this policy on the basis of my disapproval of this silly campaign. In the vanishingly unlikely event that any of this argument did affect Conroy’s intransiegence, I’d put my money on the EFA alienating a good chunk of its supporters, rather than the opinion of one person. But it’s kind of fun to imagine myself an influential mastermind, however unlikely it is – Thanks! 😉

  • Mindy says:

    The only person responsible for Stephen Conroy’s latest announcement is Stephen Conroy. He is not listening. Feminists are not to blame for Stephen Conroy. EFA would have a lot more cut-through if they didn’t piss off half their audience. If they think that mothers need to know this stuff, how about addressing them directly instead of acting as if all mothers are idiots? Massive fail EFA. If the net filter goes ahead, don’t bother blaming feminists, blame a bad campaign by the very people who should have done it properly in the first place.

  • Ann O'Dyne says:

    I wish I could comment in support of your excellent post Helen, but when I read the comment –
    ‘I always wonder what if bloggers actually used all that hate and anger they have towards doing something useful’
    – my mind went blank.
    I’d hate to say anything angry. None of the bloggers in my circle, milieu, karass, are hateful or angry. poor ‘Kate’

  • Kate says:

    I will also add to my last point, the technically informed community love to tell each other about how much they hate the filter. Time to Tell Mum is clearly a metaphore for technically informed people to go tell a friend or a family member who isn’t technically informed about the policy.

    For the most part, I imagine a lot of people have started constructively discussing this policy with the family and loved ones as a result of this campaign, hence seeing the discussion get out of the technical arena where it’s going around in circles and allowing the discussion to perhaps reach people that otherwise would not have been informed about it previously.

    What this campaign has highlighted, feminsts look for reasons to get upset and find inequalities where they don’t exist, sad really.

  • Helen says:

    [Moderated comments gargle gargle blargh!]
    You really have quite a temper, don’t you Kate?! Tsk! I’m sure your mum would have something to say about that!

  • […] great discussion over at Hoyden About Town. * Further commentary and discussion by Helen over at Cast Iron Balcony. If nothing else, at least I found some great new bloggers. And, OMG! some of them are even women, […]

  • M-H says:

    Onya Helen. The EFA campaign is just plain stupid. I’m sure you are joking about knitting a cucumber, but lo and behold, there is a pattern for a knitted cucumber in this book Ah, the wonders of the internet.

  • Ann O'Dyne says:

    oh dear. Thanks to M-H above, we now see that the EFT people are aiming at the people who knit cucumbers (and other vegetables) and the people who compose patterns for them.
    Despite having worked for a software developer, and knowing that writing it is harder than writing a knit pattern, I think
    we may have to concede the point.

  • Helen says:

    I’ve seen all kinds of wonderful knitted things on the internet, including internal organs, teratomas(!), motorbikes etc etc.

  • […] this pops up all over the place, including in the comments on my previous thread. Over at Cast Iron Balcony Kate, writes in the comments: "Why don’t you instead of lashing out the EFA, who are from what I […]

  • David Irving (no relation) says:

    There’s also a knitting pattern for a Klein bottle on the intertubes somewhere, Helen. (Composed, of course, by a female mathematician with an interest in knot theory.) I think you can even buy a knitted Klein bottle stocking cap from her.

    None of which is to the point, but it’s kind of interesting.

  • Helen says:


  • Rebekka says:

    And have you seen the hyperbolic crochet reef?

    And a more on the point remark, I for one am getting pretty bloody sick of any advertising campaign ever aimed at “mums”. See also, Woolworth’s “fresh food mums” ads, and those utterly fail Telstra “teach your mum how to video phone” ads.

  • Cristy says:

    You know I’m really not keen on this net filter, I think that it is deeply concerning and totally wrong. But, honestly, I am far more concerned about the impact of sexism on women.

    I view sexism as the bigger issue. That’s why I completely agree with you Helen. I’m not interested in putting aside this ‘minor detail’ to fight along side a sexist ally for something that I view as being far less dangerous than sexism.

    (I think you know the context of this argument).

Leave a comment

XHTML– Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>