If not love then, at least, respect

Here’s my latest piece for the King’s Tribune… There’s an old fashioned quality that might be creeping back into Australian federal politics. I say old fashioned because you don’t hear it mentioned much these days. But I think it may well be the deciding factor in next year’s federal election. I’m referring to respect. You know, that thing we used […]

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At what cost do we defend free speech?

An image from Ivonne Thein's Thirty-two kilos, a collection of digitally altered photographs satirizing thinspiration.

On two recent occasions I’ve actively supported the limitation of someone’s freedom of speech. I joined the campaign to shame advertisers on Alan Jones’ radio program to withdraw their support. And I rallied people on Twitter to lodge complaints against a pro-ana Facebook page. Initially, neither action sat particularly comfortably with me. While I’m not libertarian, I’m not a fan […]

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#Slutwalk will not show our daughters how to get respect

Women around the world are participating in #slutwalk to reclaim the “derogatory” word and the right to dress however they wish, whenever they wish. These women are incensed by a Canadian policeman who candidly opined that women should not to dress like sluts if they want to avoid being the victims of sexual assault. These women have accused the policeman of being a misogynist and a proponent of the victim-as-perpetrator excuse for rape. Perhaps they are right on both counts. But in fabricating a mildly controversial PR stunt that advocates the celebration of being a “slut”, these women are grievously wrong in encouraging others to dress in a sexually provocative manner whenever they want. To do so is a grave disservice to all women, particularly young women, who are striving to be seen and treated as equal and capable in relationships, social settings, learning places and the workforce. Before I am misunderstood, let me say up front that there is no excuse for rape. Not ever. No woman or man, regardless of their dress, demeanour or behaviour, should be subjected to sexual activity against their will and there is no justification for doing so. The rightful denial of “sluttishness” as an excuse for sexual assault (which more often than not is an act of dominance rather than sexuality) does not however shield a provocatively dressed woman from a litany of other negative responses from those who observe her. Some will […]

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