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Fear of a female planet

Move along now.

Move along now.

I'm not saying it's true, it's obvious scuttlebutt, just grubby rumours you hear and cannot possibly take seriously .... buuuuuuut .... for years I heard about a Prime Minister who had a mistress in Canberra while his wife kept the Lodge warm.

Oooh ahhh.

Before that, of course, were those other disgusting, groundless whispers that a former Labor PM was gay! His marriage a sham!

There was, of course, not a journalist or broadcaster in the country (in either eras) who would have dared put those questions to their Prime Minister.

Maybe protesters screamed such in the years' past, but the media wasn't in the business of recording and disseminating baboon talk from the football or toilet stall. Quote a funny placard, a picture of pithy graffiti maybe - not obvious, nasty vitriol.

Social media somehow gave baboon talk credence - or least you could cut and paste it easily into news stories and call it a quote. So we've reached a point where some desperate, bored, sad or teenage mope can spend time speculating about who his PM, best mate, or Seal have sex with.

This can then be shared, disseminated, joked about, ignored in inboxes or used to wound. The amount of baboon talk about a subject can now actually mean the press feels obliged to publish and tacitly endorse it because there's so much damn monkey screeching at the waterhole.

In this way, baboon talk may come to dominate breakfast TV and talkback radio for a day, sometimes days. Politicians and journalistic veterans are forced to repeat word for word, the baboon talk of a drunken athlete player taking a poop, coked up celeb in a cab, racist, moron, sociopath or political plant.

This undeniably gives the baboon talk another layer of affirmation and I'm not sure whether it is this willing public ratification of baboon talk or its nature that disturbs and surprises me most.

Be clear, however, baboon talk has been our hallmark for 200,000 years and is rampant to this day because most people are still baboons; scratching, eating and sleeping their way through what they perceive as life. 

I know hundreds of men who would have laughed at both the Gillard menu or Sattler questions. Honest injun, they're good people who just don't understand how much life has changed in 20 years.

Older men revert to juvenility with admirable spontaneity and, unfortunately, the sort of humour and innuendo used by that menu and Sattler was bedrock acceptable in my youth. It still is in a lot of male groups.

Call it misogyny, sexism, whatever you want, but the sexual nature of recent attacks against Gillard strike me as driven by something more primal than even hatred, and that's plain old fear of women.

In an essay published in 1977, pyschoanalyst Carl Jung wrote an interesting but somewhat dated piece titled American men as sons of their wives.

"When men are in the barbaric state they make women their slaves. If, while they are still barbaric by nature, some influence makes them see they do not dare treat women as slaves, then what do you do?

"They do not know how to love something that is equal to themselves. They do not know what real independence is, so they must kneel down before this slave and change her into the one thing that they instinctively (even when they are barbarians) respect: they change the slave idea into the mother idea. And they marry the mother-woman."

A lot of women lose sight of the fact that men are intimidated by them, simply because they're female. It's often a schoolyard thing that never really gets redressed because the fearful man doesn't partner, or chooses ones who tolerates his immaturity.

Derogatory and degrading humour is really just an admission of powerlessness and fear on the part of a man; that they wish they were more successful with women, that they've been humiliated by one or many, and this "diss" is a tiny chance to control what they cannot.  

I'm not sure whether the latest vomit of this hatred/fear is the death throe of dinosaurs, or a change of gears in the sexual power dynamic.

Where I think many academics, activists and writers err, is to consider this interaction a "war" because it's actually not fought but felt by each and every one of us, each and every day.

And until you change how people feel, you won't change what comes out of their mouth.

You can follow Sam on Twitter here. His email address is here.

Please don't take it personally if I do not reply to your email as they come in thick and fast depending on the topic. Please know, I appreciate you taking the time to write and comment and would offer mummy hugs to all.

143 comments

  • I have watched this past week of news with mixed feelings of horror and fascination. I am appalled and fascinated by some of the responses I have seen on newsites and forums.

    I must be naive because I really thought the world had grown up a little. Sniggering and sneering about the PM's private parts, relationship/partner, not to mention the rest of her body (how DARE she show a little cleavage or display her female body!!), just fills me with disgust. And the comparisons with Maggie Thatcher for goodness sake, stop it! Different time, different era and there is nothing wrong with calling people out on their bad behaviour.

    We have a society where female ADF staff are still being sexually assaulted and videotaped and people think this is ok or normal and 'just part of politics?'. Because it's NOT normal or ok. It's also not ok to photograph someone assaulting his high profile wife in a cafe and then blame HER for not 'standing up to him'. I can only imagine what Saatchi does in private, seeing as that's how he treats his wife in public.

    In short - I'm disappointed. No one deserves this treatment and to me it reeks of fear of the female. Yeah, we're like, soooo scary!!

    Commenter
    She-Raz
    Date and time
    June 17, 2013, 5:44PM
    • I'm disappointed too - and tired of the headlines - tired of reading the array of vitriolic comment - and depressed by the division that has opened like a chasm between people who can't just let the PM get on with the job without pecking her to bits in the chicken coop.
      I think Jung's work contributed a lot to understanding the weirdness of male/female relationships within societal constraints of the time. I still believe we are evolving - but this week's conduct and commentary by politicians and media has been two steps backwards again.

      Commenter
      megs
      Date and time
      June 17, 2013, 11:07PM
    • I don't think that it is woman as such that are scary, but the feminine in general. To return to Jung; he claimed that ever woman has a masculine component, the animus, and every man has a feminine component, the anima. Our society seems determined to raise men who, rather than see the anima as a grounding and essential balance to masculinity, instead regard it as a terrible threat that needs to be overcome. I think that this is one of the main reasons why our current society is so spiritually and imaginatively impoverished.

      Commenter
      Vincent
      Date and time
      June 18, 2013, 7:20AM
    • @She-Raz I suspect we'll be less scary when the male ego standing on his pedestal gets off. There'll be no more terror of being found out as being a fraud. And we can all stop playing this game where women pansy about making things seem like his idea. Men need to come to terms with the scope of their strengths and that of the women beside them. So do women.

      Commenter
      Rachael
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 18, 2013, 7:40AM
    • @She-Raz - Many of the comments on these forums -- such as mine -- many women think are in opposition to their view; they think I'm sprouting sexist crap. In fact, what I've been repeating (ad nauseum) is that sexism occurs in both directions.
      We men have a lot of crap thrown in our direction, however it never seems to register in the media, or with government. Men's health is in a worse state than women's and yet receives a fraction of the funding, consequently men live fewer years than women. Violence against men is commonplace on television, and in real life many (many!) more men than women are murdered, stabbed or bashed each week. More men die at work. And the average male works more hours than the average female. There are more males in prison. (Is it because our testicles make us violent? Should that be a mitigating factor?)
      Do women suffer sexism? Shit yeah. All that I -- and, it seems, a rapidly growing chorus of males -- are declaring is "what about us?".
      I suspect the recent 7% plunge in male support of Gillard was the latest manifestation of discontent and frustration amongst males. And I'm glad more blokes are starting to wake up and be heard.

      Commenter
      Trevor
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 18, 2013, 8:02AM
    • Ok so Maggie Thatcher was a different era, I’ll give you that benefit of the doubt, so how about comparing Julia Gillard to Angela Merkel?
      You see, the one is a woman of true strength and leadership, the other on a downward spiral of self destruction, I’ll allow you to guess which one is which.
      We(most) men have no fear of the female, but we do fear incompetence by either/both genders of those who are our leaders.

      Also watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxckvNkpUA4

      Commenter
      Victorious Painter
      Date and time
      June 18, 2013, 8:16AM
    • This is a great comment and you should feel great about it.

      Commenter
      Jim Moriarty
      Date and time
      June 18, 2013, 8:17AM
    • "Derogatory and degrading humour is really just an admission of powerlessness and fear on the part of a man;"

      Sometimes its just funny.

      Commenter
      Malik the magic sheep
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      June 18, 2013, 8:28AM
    • @Trevor

      The problem seems to be that we men aren't actually doing anything, just complaining about it online.

      Women formed lobby groups and fund raising for issues that affected them; they were proactive and didn't wait for someone to do it for them. And us? Well, we just complained that women's issues were being highlighted, and gave rise to horrible men that fester at vile places like a A Voice for Men. A voice for men? They certainly don't speak for me.

      Commenter
      Jim Moriarty
      Date and time
      June 18, 2013, 9:02AM
    • It's really depressed the hell out of me, this past week of misogyny. Its awful and its truly repulsive. And no man who thinks like those men think will ever get my respect or my attention or the time of day from me. its a two way street fellas. When will you ever understand.

      Commenter
      Crusher
      Date and time
      June 18, 2013, 9:03AM

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