Let me confess that there are days when I wish I walked in a blind, comfortably numb stupor, blissfully ignorant of the flagrant injustices men and boys encounter every day. I never really took a red pill, I was born with my eyes wide open to the reality of gender bigotry from a very early age.
I still remember a very trivial incident which occurred in the hallway of my family home when I was about five years old. My mum and two female neighbors were having a chat and I was standing just behind them. I can still see them now. They were discussing toilet seats and laughing about how often they find them wet because of their sons. I am paraphrasing after these many decades but jokes about poor aim and lifting toilet seats were made. They were all laughing. I felt humiliated and angry.
Now that conversation did not have malicious undertones, the mums were just having a laugh at our expense and it was probably true. That is not the point. My strongest memory of that moment was the burning indignation I felt as a little boy and the overwhelming desire I felt to scream out:
“Don’t make fun of boys!”
It seems simplistic and childish yet I knew that the little five-year-old me felt an instinctive revulsion when women and girls gathered to giggle about and mock men or boys.
Twenty-five years ago I began expressing my indignation about the treatment of men in our society in a small exercise book which I still have. I must say, at that time when the internet was years from becoming a part of our daily life, I am happy to say I nailed most of the issues which caused me so much angst and the things I wrote then are echoed in everything I write now. The only difference now is that I can connect with likeminded people and have a wider audience for the views I express. I can also verify with evidence what I once only felt in my gut.
So, to Sunday mornings. Maggie and I like to sit in bed and read the papers over a cuppa and some toast or chocolate. What was once a soothing, enjoyable weekly ritual for both of us has become the equivalent of treading through a minefield. I can state without exaggeration that as each page turns I wait for the headline or article which is going to twist my gut into knots or get my heart pounding way above a healthy rate. Sadly, Maggie and I are rarely spared this now familiar response to what we read.
So stop reading the papers I hear you suggest. If I were to shut myself off from every source of information about gender issues I would have to become a recluse who has no television, radio, computer or newspaper. I am not willing to do this. Another reason is the fact that you must know your enemy if you are going to fight your enemy.
So I accept the inevitable tummy knots and heart palpitations and I turn the pages.
What delights have I uncovered these past couple of weekends? Let me share some.
Our Sunday Herald Sun has a lift out magazine which caters to women, naturally.
There was an in-depth interview with Lynda Carter, the women who played the iconic Wonder Woman in the TV series of the same name back in the eighties.
Carter said that she was amazed by the fact that she is still recognized and stopped by people at airports or even a hospital when she visited a family member.
She said: “It is really touching (Wonder Woman) represents some enduring place where fans feel connected and safe-and wanting to hug me. How cool is that?”
The 65 year old is also regularly stopped by people just wanting to tell her how the character’s strength made them feel. Women tell her that Wonder Women, with her bullet proof power bracelets and golden lasso of truth, did them a world of good at a time when they were struggling in their youth.
Men tell her how they fantasized about her or had her picture on the wall of their room or “their bathroom” …..but she’s not quite as keen to hear about that.
Carter’s image is still fetishized by some, something she has not always been comfortable with:
“I never thought a picture of my body would be tacked up in men’s bathrooms. I hate men looking at me and thinking what they think. I know what they think; they write and tell me.”
So, Lynda Carter dressed up in a costume which deliberately highlighted her breasts and a tiny tight fitting pair of pants which were more like underwear than outerwear and yet she expresses dismay and barely concealed disgust at the thought of teenage boys and men finding her image sexually stimulating.
What a hypocrite.
There has been an incredible double standard surrounding the sexualizing of rock/pop stars, actors and men in general throughout the many decades they have appeared on stage and screen.
The healthy, natural sexual attraction boys and men feel about an attractive woman is condemned as dirty, toxic and somehow deviant. The far more violent and hysterical sexual attraction young women and girls feel for male entertainers is cute and worthy of a good chuckle.
There are countless examples of male pop stars being clawed, scratched and having their clothes torn from their bodies. We have all seen the frenzied screaming and frightening mob mania when the Beatles were at their peak.
Tom Jones used to have women’s underwear hurled at him as he performed on stage. Chuckle, chuckle.
Female groupies are notorious in the entertainment and sporting world yet rarely (if ever) have I heard such behavior condemned as disgusting, contemptible or even something we would rather not think about.
Male popstars have often felt genuinely fearful about their physical well-being when confronted by their female fans. That is why they have resorted to wearing disguises and sneaking out of back doors at hotels and restaurants. I know of few female entertainers who have been physically mauled by male fans. Yet it is once again males who are the subject of disdainful dismissal by the disgusted Carter.
Does anyone doubt the sexual attraction girls feel for the objects of their affection? Were the images in those posters of a half-naked David Cassidy, Brad Pitt or more recently Justin Bieber which adorned thousands of girls’ bedrooms never incorporated into a female’s fantasies as she lay her head upon her pillow?
Imagine the outright mockery Pitt would receive were he to express his discomfort or disgust at the thought a young woman might be using him as a lead player in her sexual fantasy. It is preposterous given the smoldering gaze and exposed six pack in so many of his photos almost imploring the viewer to drag him into their bed! Thankfully, male entertainers are not quite so hypocritical as some of the females.
Of course, Lynda Carter goes on to talk of her feminist activism and close friendship with and support of Hillary Clinton. Enough about this woman. I was already finding my toast a little harder to digest when I came across an article about a man I have derided for his sickening feminism.
Karl Stefanovic, a very popular morning breakfast tv show host has been in the news recently after ending his marriage of 21 years. The headline of the article should serve as a warning for those who have queasy stomachs.
(the online link differs slightly from the newspaper article I am quoting.)
The opening lines state:
His Mercedes and his freedom.
That’s what Karl Stefanovic has retained as a result of his divorce from his ex-wife, Cassandra Thorburn, with the Today Show host walking away virtually empty handed as part of a whopping settlement.
Heart rate rising…tea cooling as I brace myself to read on.
The couple have finally ended what the couple’s friends describe as a “tough settlement” process which saw Stefanovic emerge with about $500 thousand worth of cash and assets.
That figure is dwarfed by Thorburn’s share of the fortune, with the 44 year old stay- at- home mum awarded about $6 million in cash and assets as well as child support and hefty alimony payments.
The couple will share custody of their three children Jackson, 17, Ava, 12 , and River, 10.
Thorburn also now resides in the former couple’s new home-an $8 million waterfront mansion in Cremorne- which Thorburn was also awarded in the settlement.
A friend claimed:
“Shared custody was Stefanovic’s priority….he was quite prepared to walk away with nothing…hand over everything with the one condition that he be able to see his children whenever he wanted. And I think they have managed to agree on that.”
I cannot begin to describe how sick this quote makes me feel. Mr Stefanovic had to throw millions of dollars and a luxury mansion into his ex wifes’ lap in order to have the privilege of seeing his own children when he wants to rather than the accepted norm, where fathers have their own flesh and blood taken from them and denied them because our disgraceful laws punish men for simply being males and providers.
It astonishes me when people refer to men involved in custody disputes as “angry” as though that description is a slam dunk shutdown of any possible discussion on this issue of the gendered bigotry in our court system. Who in the name of Jesus would not be enraged if strangers told you that you can no longer see your own children unless supervised or only on the day or hour that suits your ex?
What kind of sick world insists that if you are a man and want even a chance of seeing your kids on a regular basis you have to bleed yourself dry financially, physically and emotionally?
Bill Burr makes some excellent comments on this disgusting, legalized extortion.
And feminists have the twisted gall to talk about the patriarchy subjugating women.
In the same paper only a few pages away was yet another article which made my pulse flutter. The headline read:
‘You Are The Queen of Nasty’
This story involves another high-profile relationship which has come to a bitter end. The coverage has been decidedly one sided (who’d have guessed) and his wife’s accusations of domestic violence have been given extensive coverage. The one piece of photographic evidence was a couple of tiny bruises on her forearm which could easily be the result of someone grabbing her arms in a defensive action.
The article in today’s Sunday paper focused on a secret audio recording of Miss Landry’s husband which is meant to paint him in a poor light. The article calls the tape ‘disturbing’ but I found it to be a rather damning testimony against his wife.
Here is some of what he screamed at her during this “disturbing” tirade:
Look me clean in the eye, Kel, and say “ I’ve never cheated on you. Go on. Look me clean in the eye.”
His wife denied the allegation.
In the expletive loaded exchange Mr Bell accuses his wife of five years of living the “life of Riley” while he works his fingers to the bone under fucking financial duress.. And what do you do with that life of riley? You stick it in my face,’ he says.
Mr Bell accuses his wife of having affairs, stealing from him, of lying, of memorizing his credit card number and “riding on my fucking coat tails.”
As far as I’m concerned, a person who does not believe they are being recorded would not make these serious allegations if they did not believe they were true. This does not mean they are, but it does point to the fact that Mr. Bell believes it.
Why would a man make such specific accusations when he thinks the only person who is hearing them is his wife? If there was no context to his allegations she would dismiss them as the rantings of an unhinged fool.
The only disturbing feature of this taped conversation is the fact that the accusations might be true.
Of course, Miss Landry has applied for an AVO which will have a court ruling in two weeks’ time.
There were many other moments throughout the weekend which caused me to furrow my brow. We had the annual Pink Ladies AFL game which saw the players representing the Melbourne Football Club wearing pink and blue jumpers in place of the usual red and blue with several images of pink ladies in skirts placed on their guernsey. This was all done in the name of raising more funds and more awareness for the most highly funded and most talked about cancer on the planet! Patriarchy.
During another game, a large banner was raised for players of both teams to run through as they entered the arena. It demanded that we all play our role in putting an end to men’s violence against women and the commentators spoke in suitably serious tones about this terrible scourge.
Gynocentrism is rampant in our society. It is unavoidable. It is inescapable if your eyes have been opened by swallowing that red pill. Is it a curse or a blessing?
I still haven’t decided.