Tags: sense of humour

Janice Turner writes about everyday sexism – you know, the ordinary stuff which we soak in – and invites readers to submit their own stories. (H/T: The F Word.) Which is a great idea, no? Except:

When The Times published my article last month on how feminism’s silence over the past decade has ushered in a grim, sexualised culture, I was astonished by the response. Hundreds of women — and some men — commented on the website, many more e-mailed me directly. The message overwhelmingly was: thank God, someone is saying this — I thought I was alone.

Get that? Don’t Blame the Patriarchy; it’s feminism’s silence which is responsible for the grim, sexualised culture. Leave the patriarchy out of it; what did feminism expect, going out dressed like that? It didn’t scream or try to run away!

It’s just that I’ve had it up to here with the “feminists have been silent about…” trope that springs up everywhere in the media both on line and off.

As far as daily life goes, in her anecdote about the newspaper editor, she illustrates beautifully the “not ruining the entire afternoon” and “not wanting to be the strident joy-killer” pressures that weigh on women and girls who are already conditioned to be nice and nonconfrontational. As well as the forces of “get over it” and “sense of humour” and “overreacting”, there’s the Concern Troll which sometimes appears when we do bring the topic of everyday sexism: Why are you blogging/writing talking about this trivia which is only the concern of rich, western white women? Why are you Silent about [insert preferred topic here]. As many of us don’t want to be entitled whingers, that shuts us up, too. It would be nice if Turner could have paid some attention to the pressures that silence us.

Turning to the writing thing, for one, most of us – unlike Turner – don’t have a platform in the mainstream media. Indeed, you don’t go out and force yourself into the mainstream media as an opinion writer; you get invited in, so how she could judge us as silent or not in the days before blogging is a mystery. It’s also a mystery why she should blame feminist “silence” instead of the much more likely assumption that the mainstream doesn’t like us and that a male dominated media company and editorial staff are likely to reflect that dislike. Most importantly, she demonstrates a lack of knowledge or disregard of just what has been going on in the online world for the last decade.

Turner could educate herself a little as to just how silent feminists have been by going through the archives at Feministe, Shakesville and its predecessor Shakespeare’s Sister, Pandagon, Feministing, The F word, I Blame the Patriarchy, Hoyden about Town and of course I could go on (and on and on), but you get the idea.

Ad for Times on Line LUXX magazine featuring woman in crazee Couture with headgear like black bunny ears, described as Power Dressing.

This is described as Power Dressing.

I notice that Turner herself is silent about the fact that (1) the editors have relegated her article about a gender issue to the Life and Style section, again, and (2) her job of convincing any sceptical reader is massively reduced by having pictures like the one above on advertising links in the sidebar. (Power dressing? You have to be joking. Isn’t it hard enough for women to be taken seriously in positions of power without dressing up in ridiculous space outfits with little black bunny ears? Fuck off.)

But fear not, because, having discovered sexism in late 2009, she will now Save Feminism:

Feminism — or whatever you want to call it — is back, and we’re not going to take it any more.

Corr! Powerful stuff, Janice. Thing is, it hadn’t gone away. She just wasn’t paying attention. And that’s not a crime, but it makes her look silly when she plays the “Silence of the Feminists” card.

8 Dec 2005, Comments Off on Worthy but dull triumphs over wry and writerly

Worthy but dull triumphs over wry and writerly

Author: Helen

So, I got this invitation to nominate people for a blogging competition by someone I didn’t know from some obscure ISP or whatever which I’d never heard of. So I deleted it as possible spam. Perhaps I don’t get out enough, but the results are here. Sorry to all of those people I would have nominated, if I’d known I was meant to take it seriously.

It’s strange that there were only 530 entries, compounded by the fact that “blogs” included straight-up commercial blogs, like Trollhattan and Problogger. Well, OK, them’s their rules. But it seemed to make for a very wide and shallow flit over the surface of Australian blogging.

The winner, Singing Bridges, is not so much a blog as a nice, pretty web site with a rudimentary blog attached. It’s the prettiness of the design (I’m only talking aesthetics here, and white on black text is a bit last century) plus the usefulness of the site as a vehicle for Rose as an artist which makes Singing Bridges work as a website. But as a blog? Here’s an example of the prose. This is in answer to a jealous critic who was naff enough to send a horrible email to her, and you’d think the writerly juices would be flowing. Imagine what Ms Fits or Burnt Karma might make of it. But instead we get: (Ahem):

First, this is a sad reflection of the bias in Australian culture which tends to privilege success in sport or business over creative or intellectual activity, and of course is a classic example of the tall poppy syndrome. Second, you would be amazed to notice if you bothered to read or listen to any of my work, that I actually do have a sense of humour about it, and am not at all pompous. In fact I had a conversation only the other day wiith the residency chiefs where I am currently guarding a bridge, about various ways of coming to a grisly end to provide good stories for the local newspaper.

(sags to the side, wakes self up just in time to prevent falling out of chair, splutters, recovers…)

It’s also a bit strange, given the main subject of the blog (sound recordings of bridges), that there are no MP3 or other sound files. But that’s a quibble. Maybe there are and I didn’t dig far enough. And anything that gets an australian artist a bit more moolah has to be a good thing– the comment about “sport or business” is spot on, if blandly expressed. I know a lot of people reckon her work is a wank, but I reckon a lot of stuff the AIS do is a wank, and my taxes support that too.

But Australia’s best blog? See, that’s the sticking point.

As one of the competition judges said, they picked the winner out of a short list of eleven which were not sorted out by them. That was done by Smartyhost, presumably. If so, it’s definitely suss. Who were the other 519 entries, I wonder? Most of the finalists’ writing is definitely in the same worthy-but-dull category as the winner’s. I don’t want to know if your friend wants to sell his exercise weights, Mr Hearye, unless you can make it interesting.

Saint (via Trevor Cook), Tim of Road to Surfdom and others have more to say.

There were a few real blogs in the shortlist – Loobylu, Karen Cheng, Ausculture.

Still, it was entertaining to watch bloggers like Tim Blair and Bunyip get all steamed up about not being on the shortlist. (Me! MOI!! The blogger even people what don’t read blogs have heard of! Oh the shame!!!)

Update 9/12: Links updated to make this more comprehensible.