Alastair Thompson: supply and demand

I do not know if Alastair Thompson is sexist and/or an idiot. The things he said yesterday however definitely were both sexist and idiotic. What I am not so convinced about though are the calls for his resignation. Most calls for him to resign draw from on the argument that he does not represent the views of women. I reckon that is not his job though. As the chief executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association his job is to represent the views of those employers who choose to belong to his association. Continue reading

The reason we don’t have “Progressive” Greens

Over at Shakesville they have an article on the increasing trend of objectification of women for “green” causes1. Thanks to the work of some of our very talented and practically inexhaustible Green women, I find it really hard to imagine the idea of a green movement that isn’t something of a safe space, and that’s something all of us (men and women) should be thankful for.

However, the USA is showing us how we very easily could have gone down an “enviropop” path had we been willing to strip out the truly progressive part of our message- that the limited availability of resources dictates immediate progress towards social equality. In the USA, however, that philosophy doesn’t appear to have caught on, and instead the Green movement has widened faster but is making slower progress- encapsulating more reluctant greens on their own terms has opened up the floodgates not only to misogyny, but also a weakening of the environmental message in the name of “prosperity”- or rather, not-quite-as unsustainable growth.

While I’m all for a broad tent, and I don’t think you have to be progressive or leftist to be an environmentalist or a supporter of aggressive action on climate change, I think that this sort of behaviour within Green movements actively damages them by compromising the integrity of the whole. Not being a progressive or a leftist is not the same thing as being a misogynist, and letting new people into our tent shouldn’t mean objectifying some of the people who are already behind us.
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Running and sexism

I’ve been following the world athletics championships in Berlin a bit. The highlight for me so far was Kenesisa Bekele’s final lap of the men’s 10,000 metres.  But the saddest moment so far I think has been the reaction to Caster Semenya’s scintillating victory in the women’s 800 metres. Rather than viewers celebrating the rise of a young talent, there have just been countless calls for her gender to be tested before she is awarded the title.  As far as I have read this is based on nothing more than a bunch of leery men having passed their eyes over her and decided that she does not meet their standard for how a woman athlete should look. I’m astonished that the world athletic governing body the IAAF has responded to this pressure.

The BBC’s Tom Fordyce has noted:

That any woman would be confronted with such serious accusation in front of a worldwide audience of millions struck many as callous. That it was an 18-year-old from Limpopo province at her first major senior championships seemed cruel in the extreme.

Really, my thought at this point is that men should not be allowed to watch sport until they can do so in a respectful and mature manner. Sexism would end pretty quickly if it were inversely linked to the right to watch sport.

Own goals

Family First and the Vote no campaign seem to be getting rather good at scoring own goals. The “Vote no” campaign kicked off a couple of days ago featuring this sexist and racist cartoon on the front page of its website:

Then Honest Bob McCoskrie found a new poster boy yesterday in Glenn Groves:

Glenn Groves, 44, of Wellington, pleaded guilty to assault in Lower Hutt District Court yesterday but will undergo an anger management course in a bid to get discharged without conviction.

In May he and his young son were at a rugby game at Lower Hutt’s Fraser Park, but when the boy refused to play because he was missing part of his uniform, Groves became “extremely agitated” at his attitude, court documents show.

Groves laid a hand on his back to redirect him, but as the boy resisted he fell. He stood up three times and was pushed by his father, falling to the ground each time. After a bystander complained to police, Groves admitted pushing his son.

He told police he was “tired and determined that his son would not let the team down”.

Mr McCoskrie said the charges laid against Groves and several other parents for lightly smacking their children proved police were taking far too heavy an approach.

Now this isn’t even smacking. This is a man pushing his son so hard that he fell over – three times!

It is actually indicative of why the previous law didn’t work. If “reasonable force for the purpose of correction” were still a defence, Groves may have been able to successfully defend the charge.

Wonder if Family First and the no-voters will be adopting Christopher William Hunt as their next poster boy? I wouldn’t put it past them.