I have a sinking feeling about this press release printed in our school newsletter:
“Drink Think” a play performed by a group of young women will be held at The Substation, Newport on Thursday October 14th at 7.00pm. This FREE, not for profit event has been organised by students from Victoria University’s Sport and Recreation course as part of their Event Management class.
The play focuses on the dangers of teenage binge drinking and is an educational yet entertaining play that is followed up with question time after it. On the night there will also be a special A-list guest speaker and free meals and beverages for everyone who attends.
We strongly encourage our Year 9, 10 and 11 students to attend this performance and welcome all parents and teachers along as well. It has been recommended however, that children of a young age do not attend as there is strong language in the play.
Well, how could that possibly end up as “”Hey, “Girls”, think before you drink because you’re the one responsible for not being raped!” Yes, happy to be proved wrong.
We’ve all been talking quite a lot about victim-blaming and slut-shaming failure in the way we talk to our girls and boys about sex and safety. Just look at the comments thread on any article on the topic of s8xual assault and r8pe in bloke culture: if a woman is dressed counter to current standards of virginal modesty or present in a vulnerable situation after hours, they assume men have the right of access to her. The same people, on another thread somewhere, will be condemning immigrant societies for their medieval attitudes to womens’ dress and freedom of movement (you know, because of our superior Western Civ and all, in which women are completely equal). Excuse me while my head meets the desk.
I’m sure the subject of drinking and driving will be addressed as well, which is good, as long as the young ones listen.
I’m just wondering whether, as a study of binge drinking, this play is going to reflect the new call for male responsibility (and refusal to treat men/boys as animals who can’t control their primal urges), or whether it’ll be just more of the same exhortations to women not to get themselves raped.
Anyway, if any Melbourne femmobloggers and allies are reading this and are not too busy on Thursday night, I encourage you to get along to the Substation in Newport (if you like cool architecture, and Melbourne’s old substations are Victorian classics, that’s another reason to go), and participate in the Question time. I have a feeling that if it’s another “ThinkUknow”, this bunfight might be needing a feminist voice.
You never know – my low expectations might be totally unfounded. I’ll report back!
Update: OK… Debrief!
It was a student play. “Drink Think” was the name of the group. The play itself was called “West Side: My Story”. There were six or seven young women acting and only one man, who was played as a dead-set sweetie. It passed the Bechdel test. It did not slutshame. Because the only male role was kind-of modelling ideal behaviour, well, there’s that, but they bypassed the toxic dynamic we’ve been talking about by not addressing it at all. In a way, perhaps, that allowed them to present binge drinking as something that damages everyone (car accidents, death, losing sight of important life goals), and get the male actor to demonstrate being a good human being rather than the predator. I’m not sure how many hardcore entitled douchebags it would really convert, but they’re taking it around the secondary schools and apparently it’s shutting year 10s up stone cold on their lunchtimes, and that’s got to mean something.
It was supported by the Victorian Womens’ trust, which does some wonderful things. I didn’t offer any questions at question time because the slut-shaming and “personal responsibility! For girls only!” stuff really wasn’t apparent, and to introduce a big new (sub)topic didn’t seem appropriate.
Kudos to the Victoria University students who put the event on and gave us free sandwiches, choccies and coffee!