Categories
Gender/ sexuality LGBTQ rights

Katherine Deves proves that anti – trans activist have no legitimate argument

Image: iStock

Last week, Warringah Liberal candidate, Katherine Deves caused outrage over past anti – trans comments.

In tweets that are now deleted, Deves compared trans activists to Nazis and the opponents of ‘trans ideology’ as being opponents of the Holocaust.

She also spread fears of parents of transgender children being at risk of creating a ‘Stolen Generation’. I think she might’ve been alluding to Vancouver father, Rob Hoogland.

And then there was allegedly this tweet:

…half of all males with trans identities are sex offenders

From an allegedly deleted tweet from Katherine Deves

Since these revelations, Deves apologised and claimed she received death and rape threats. This is reprehensible and shame on anyone who takes part in that behaviour.

Was the tweet about prisoners? Liberal senator, Matt Kean argued with 2GB’s Ben Fordham on whether or not Deves specifically was alluding to prisoners or transwomen in general. I think Kean took a step too far accusing Deves of comparing transgender children to sex offenders.

Despite pressure, Prime Minister, Scott Morrison refused to ban Deves and has defended her right to free speech. However, Mr Morrison has also backpedaled any plans to ban transwomen competing against cis – gender women.

Deves’ comments not a surprise

It was only a matter of time that someone made comments like Deves.

Since same – sex marriage was acheived in 2017, trans and non – binary people have been the new bogey people.

All of a sudden, trans and gender non – binary people are predators, brainwashing children, etc.

Trans debate: just history repeating itself

Does this sound familiar? It should to LGBTQ+ Australians. During the same – sex marriage debate, LGB+ people were frequently accused of brainwashing children.

The Safe Schools curriculum was falsely portrayed as teaching young children about sex toys and masturbation.

Same – sex parents were often seen as detrimental to children’s welfare, despite the lack of peer reviewed studies that supported the claim.

I believe that this debate is largely another attempt to demonise a minority. And, just with the same – sex marriage debate, opponents of trans and non – binary acceptance prove that they lack a strong argument. This is proven by Deves’ hyperbole.

The language in the debate

From WordPress Free Images

Is it just me? Has anyone else noticed the language used in the gender debate? Notice that the term ‘transwomen’ is rarely used by critics? It’s always ‘biological men’ or that someone was ‘born male’.

No discussion about transition. I wrote about Royal Children’s Hospital’s stance on children and transitioning and steps often taken in my last post.

There has been a lack of discussion on the effect of hormone therapy on trans people. Why have these factors been largely ignored in the debate?

Look, I could meet Deves half way if she said that transwomen athletes should have a certain amount of transition before competing against cis – gender women. I also think everyone should be protected from predators, regardless of the gender identities of perpetrators or victims.

However, I don’t think this is what this debate is about. This is about looking for another pariah. Another minority group to spread fear and lies about.

The cat’s out of the bag now. It just took Deves to go one step too far to expose it.

What do you think about Katherine Deves’ comments? What do you think about transwomen sport? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Magazine ‘Cosmopolitan Australia’ is stopping production at the end of year

Collage of fou4 issues of Cosmopolitan Australia
Four issues of a revolution in women’s media about to come to an end

After forty – five years, Cosmopolitan Australia is set to close it’s doors. CEO of  Bauer Media, Paul Dykzeul released a statement confirming the closure, stating “commercial viability is no longer stable for magazines”.

This is the third magazine that Bauer Media has stopped producing, with Dolly having stopped the production of it’s paper magazine in 2016 and Cleo also ended print editions the same year.

What’s going on?

I’ve written before how I find it disheartening that women’s media is slowly collapsing. Not only have I felt it as a consumer on and off for fiften years, but it has also made me wonder about the future as a female content creator.

Frankly, I find the reasoning questionable. Newscorp, Fairfax and other media outlets around the world have been able to transfer their content online and create a paid subscription service. I’ve also seen a number of Cosmopolitan companies producing apps for women with a small subscription fee (you can also buy single editions of different magazines from around the world).

So, why couldn’t Cosmopolitan Australia, Cleo and Dolly just go digital and have subscribers pay a fee per month?

Now I get it. I think paid subscription services, especially for independent, little  – known media companies is risky and, frankly, I don’t think it’s always viable. But, for newspapers and magazines like Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph and Cosmopolitan, Dolly and Cleo; products that have been consumed and trusted for decades, why can’t they transfer to digital and remain in business?

Is women’s media just not profitable?

When Cosmopolitan started by author of Sex and the Single Girl, Helen Gurley Brown, it was revolutionary. The idea that women didn’t have to be married to own their sexuality. However, Gurley Brown was accused of spreading the message that women needed a man and playing down sexual harassment.

Yet, her product worked. For generations, women were informed and entertained by articles that thousands, if not millions of women could relate to. Also, Cosmopolitan evolved, and they were instrumental in campaigning for same – sex marriage last year.

They have explored same – sex relationships and fluid sexuality.  However, I have asked whether they’re approach helped or hindered campaign towards LGBTQ+ rights.

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Has women’s media hit a dead – end?

Is it possible that women’s media is just not needed anymore? Are women just sick of reading the same relationship advice, same old sex advice, etc? Over the years, I know I have been. While I do appreciate some of what magazines like Cosmopolitan Australia, Cleo and Dolly have done for me and countless other women, it got to the point, where, frankly, they were monotonous. It was the same old, same old: same relationship advice, same fashion advice, same… advertisements. Like Cleo before it, Cosmopolitan Australia ended up lacking on high – quality articles that made me a fan of them in the first place.

 

So, where does it leave women’s media, regardless of it’s format? Personally, I want high – quality articles and commentary. I want to read about people’s first – hand experiences and things they’ve overcome. I want commentary that is well written and offers a strong argument for or against an issue (or a fair, well – written piece featuring both sides of an argument).

I want media that doesn’t make women feel like they need more to be enough, (which, ironically, was the business model that made Cosmopolitan a successful brand for nearly fifty years).

I want health to be promoted, rather than the debate on size, not the dangerous extremes. I want articles that focus on exercises that most people can do without too much trouble. And recipes that are easy and stuff that most people would actually eat. I also want LGBTQ+ and people of colour represented without being a gimmick.

 

The end of an era in women’s media is coming. But surely women’s media itself doesn’t have to. Maybe the format… and content of women’s media in the future will just have to evolve.

Have you been reading Cosmopolitan (Australian or otherwise)? What did you get out of it? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Categories
Events

The beauty and heartache of Mother’s Day

Bunch of glowers in glass vase with ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ in heart - shaped card. Flowers surfound base
Image: iStock

Mother’s Day is this Sunday in Australia (I’m not sure whether the US has the same day or not. Father’s Day is different… I think). Looking at shopping centres during this week, I’m amazed at the beauty of the advertising and products. Sure, Mother’s Day is  great for advertisers to pull at the heart strings of consumers. I think they’ve succeeded this year, at least in Lavington! But, to me, it also shows the beauty that mothers bring (or are supposed to bring) to children and adults.

Women, around the country and around the world, do everything they possibly can for their children. There are also foster carers, stepmothers and aunts as well as others, who would give their lives if it meant seeing the children they love so dearly, live happily.

There are also mothers who have lost babies, either through miscarriage or stillbirth. That heartbreaking moment when they are told that their little bundle doesn’t have a heartbeat. The pain must be unbearable. The little child that they never heard cry, talk or see walk will always be in their hearts as long as they live.

There are women who are either childless by choice or by circumstances (prolonged singleness, infertility, etc), who make it an imperative to be a part of the lives of their nieces and nephews. They love them as they would love their own.

Unfortunately, Mother’s Day is hard for some children and adults who have recently lost a mother. It may be their first Mother’s Day without their mother, due to death. For those who are in this situation, maybe for the first Mother’s Day, my heart goes out to you.

Despite the $2 billion industry Mother’s Day has become, I believe it’s a day of reflection and showing love and appreciation to the women that have made such an impact throughout our lives.

 

If you’re a mother, stepmother, foster carer, ‘cool Aunt”, I hope you have an awesome day on Sunday. For those who will struggle this weekend, I hope you will find comfort.

 

Categories
Gender/ sexuality

Ravishly wrong about #MeToo and demonising men

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In the wake of the #MeToo, feminist site Ravishly speculates how relations between men and womwn, including in romantic relationships, have been affected

 

I usually like the American feminist site, Ravishly. I like how they allow various voices to be heard. I like their advocacy and inclusion, especially of the LGBTQ+ community.I love the way they have written about asexuality.

 

This, though, goes too far. The title itself is provocative enough: “Can Straight Couples Survive #MeToo”.The columnist, Myisha Battle starts off alright; how the #MeToo movement emboldened and terrified women about the extent of sexual assault and harassment. Women seek solace forming communities where women can support other survivors of such trauma. Great. But, after that, the article goes downhill.

Take these quotes:

How do women still go out with guys when you consider that there is no greater threat to women than men?

(said by CK himself before the accusations against him became public)

…where does that leave us with our relationships with men?

Fair or not, the biggest question that women who are partnered with men is “has he always been a good man and can I continue to trust that he will be good to me and all the other women in his life?

I imagine that people would be offended by the last quote in particular. And if it was said about any other group: LGBTQ+ people, people of colour, etc, it wouldn’t be tolerated.

Men as a whole should not be condemned for the actions of a few. Women shouldn’t feel like they tiptoe around partners, husbands, brothers, uncles, fathers, etc unnecessarily (unless there is reason to; violence, etc).

 

Another thing I don’t like about this is women perpetrators and male victims of abuse and harassment get ignored. At least one male survivors of sexual assault have  made that accusation against the movement as a whole.

The author of the Stuff article I posted above isn’t the only male that has broken his silence of abuse and harassment. Infamously, Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of assaulting him when he was only fourteen. George of the Jungle and The Mummy star, Brendan Fraser, used #MeToo to allege that he was sexually assaulted by a former Hollywood Press Association president (which the accused denied at the time the article was written).

 

It’s true that the vast majority of victims of sexual violence are women, according the the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and over 90% of perpetrators are male, according to Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA). I think we have to remember when the roles are reversed (male victim/ female perpetrator) or when men have been assaulted by other men either as children or adults.

Final thing. As a non – straight person, I want to defend straight couples. They are not all toxic. The revelations brought about by the #MeToo movement should not be treated as an indictment against heterosexuality. This is ridiculous. There are good men who love women, both their partners, other family members and friends. There are fathers of girls who adore them and would hate for any harm to come to them – especially something as abhorrent as sexual assault.

The #MeToo movement should— and I think has done so somewhat successfully— exposed men, in particular, that have been abusive. They should be held to account. Using the movement to scaremonger and demonise men unjustly won’t do anyone any good.

If you’re Australian and this has brought up any issues for you, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or 1800 – RESPECT (1800 737 732)

If you aren’t from Australia and know any helpline numbers or other contact details of organisations that help sexual assault sufferers in your country, please post them in the comments below. 

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

Women can drive in Saudi Arabia. But if attitudes don’t change about women, nothing will

Saudi woman driving with niqab on
Women can now drive in Saudi Arabia, although it’s very restricted and guardianship laws still apply (Image: iStock)

Laws have been passed to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia. They will come into affect from June next year.

Saudi Arabia, a Wahhabism state, has implemented a strict form of Islamic law, based on a fundamentalist interpretation of the Qu’ran. According to FutureScopes, Saudi Arabia has been only one of two countries in the world that have had a ban on women driving (the other being Afghanistan when the Taliban ruled in 1996). This ban has given Saudi Arabia a bad reputation around the world, including by their ally, the United States.

 

The excuses given to prohibit women from driving are nothing short of ludicrous. An article from The Atlantic in 2013 reported that  Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al – Lohaidan, a judicial adviser of an association for Gulf psychologists, claimed that women shouldn’t be able to drive because it pushes the pelvis up and affects the ovaries. This is not backed up by any science.

Saudi women who have dared to drive or protest the ban have also been likened to terrorists. According to India Today, two Saudi women were arrested for ‘terrorism’ offences when they defied the driving ban in 2014.

 

Earlier this year, Asma Alsharif wrote in Reuters that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz permitted women to be able to vote. Also, this year, Saudi women have been granted the right to take up tertiary studies, access some medical care and work without the permission of a male guardian.

As I pointed out above, while much progress has been made, there seems to be ingrained beliefs that will keep women oppressed. To be frank, I doubt that the most recent change has anything to do with rights of women itself.

The reasons why this ban has been so – called ‘lifted’ is to allow women to drive to work, to help the Saudi economy. From what I can gather, the change hasn’t come about because attitudes about men and women have changed. This explains why male “guardianship” is still enforced in the strict Islamic Kingdom.

 

Saudi Arabia is also infamous for accusing and executing people, predominately women for ‘sorcery’. Sounds quite 17th century, doesn’t it? (Note: for those who are confused why I picked that century and not the first millennia, I had the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller in mind. Same diff. Outdated and barbaric beliefs).

That is why these ‘advances’ that Saudi Arabia has made has been taken with a grain of salt. The reason why Saudi Arabia has had such a bad reputation globally when it comes to women’s rights is the fundamental beliefs about them. Without changes to those beliefs and attitudes across the country, what’s to stop women’s rights to study, access medical care and drive being stripped away again? Nothing, really.

 

From the outside looking in, Saudi Arabia is an epitome of how far the rights of women has to globally. It’s not just laws that need to be changed in such countries to make long – term impact. It’s beliefs, attitudes and distribution of power, particularly between men and women. Then, maybe the world will applaud Saudi Arabia for real progress.

Have you been to Saudi Arabia? Do you live there? What was/ is it like? Feel free to tell me your experiences.