Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fix up, young men

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  • Ali Gill,

    Emma replied to comment of mine a page back, linking back to a post of hers a while back. I just wanna repost it again, make sure the men in particular following this thread read it again. It answers so many of the questions I have, questions many of the other men on here have been asking. I hope this starts a shift in my own thinking and behaviour:

    http://publicaddress.net/up-front/lighting-the-dark/

    Dated May 2014. FFS guys....dunno about you but I'm shocked at my inability to ever actually listen

    Since Feb 2016 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Russell Brown,

    particularly dudey haggling

    By coincidence, that's the name of my next single.

    is the problem with ‘this thread’ then that men aren’t listening?

    Uh, kind of? Like, it seems that the thread is filled with women saying "twas ever thus" and guys saying "but I've noticed it now so it must be different" and explaining how very very different it is, and women being SIGH. (There is a sub-conversation going on on Twitter because that's where women talk more. Which should give us pause in itself.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale, in reply to Danielle,

    “but I’ve noticed it now so it must be different”

    And also there's this weird way in which many of the "it wasn't like this in the past" stories actually describe phenomena that are consistent with women feeling unsafe. If not many women are at an event, or women are only present in protective groupings, that is not a sign that all is well.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to nzlemming,

    That’s why returning to the cultural event stuff at this stage of the conversation seems like privileged nonsense to me, because you’re not going to solve the problem by tighter enforcement of events, or writing an app or whatever – you’re just going to put it out of your sight when you go to such things. The underlying condition is still there.

    Well yes, it is, so now can we start somewhere? Can we start with the fact that Russell has taken the time to write this up, has questioned how in our small way, we could make it safer for everyone, how amongst it all ,we have got men on here appalled by this behaviour and how any suggestions to try help this situation immediately could be a start. The underlying condition is still there centuries on but to dismiss any suggestion as futile will hinder us for another Century. Can we at least try some baby steps even? If enough awareness is raised, we may have a chance.
    And while we are at it, can we get rid of the mysogynist PM who is a bad influence?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That’s why I was surprised when you were so scornful of the idea of more music people taking that kind of stand. Isn’t that how things change?

    No, that's actually not what I'm saying. I'm talking about you, me and the people on this thread, this conversation. And I'm saying that we, as a group, are not addressing the problem, which is not about music events - it's about our society regarding women as viable targets wherever they are.

    Isn't it significant to you that all the women have dropped out of the conversation bar raena?

    [edit] and then I scroll down and they're back ;-)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    This, from someone you could dislike for quite a few reasons...

    After my column, various low-level political operatives asked me who it was. It was tittle-tattle for them, I thought, but then I realised they were checking whether the predator was on their team. They expressed no concern for the victim and no outrage.

    Through the week, our "prominent" New Zealander's media mates rang journalists to minimise his offending. The spin was that the judge didn't believe the woman and, sure, their mate had made a forceful pass, as he does, but not an assault. Yeah, right.

    These are the enablers. They defend, minimise and excuse sex crimes. And no doubt Harris had a legion of them. They disgust me every bit as much as the predator. Those in power, those in the media and other "prominent" New Zealanders all know who the offender is. They know to be wary. Just like those who knew Harris as the "octopus".

    The nature of this "prominent" New Zealander's attack, and his reputation, suggests to me that he is a serial offender. Our system leaves his other possible victims suffering in silence. It also fails to warn his future victims. That's how Harris was able to get away with it. His fans didn't know what he was like; those on the inside did.

    And there's our rape culture. Our system protects the offender and puts women at risk.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Ali Gill,

    I hope this starts a shift in my own thinking and behaviour:

    http://publicaddress.net/up-front/lighting-the-dark/

    Dated May 2014. FFS guys….dunno about you but I’m shocked at my inability to ever actually listen

    Thank you, Ali. This is why I keep doing this stuff, and trying to do it in a fairly temperate fashion no matter how frustrated and sweary I might get, because no matter how many times I say it, someone is actually hearing it for the first time. And I'm just speaking for myself, not 'women', but if a man has to say it for a particular guy to hear it, if that man has reach that I don't, then okay. I do not give a fuck about the means, just the result.

    I've been writing here for eight years now. In that time, I've seen some really significant changes. I used to get a lot of shit from women, about how my dress and behaviour was Bad for Women and giving men the wrong message. Slutwalk. Boobquake. My impression is that, over those years, there's been a real shift in the dominant voice in feminism, and that policing of female behaviour is something I just don't hear any more. It's well possible that's just me, they've given up on me.

    But the stuff with men? That post from nearly two years ago is nearly entirely made up of links to stuff I said even earlier than that, and we're still having this conversation from first principles. I know there were a bunch of us who felt like the whole 'Auckland serial rapists' thing was going to be a turning point, and then it wasn't, and here we are, and it's fucking frustrating.

    These men, they're usually abusive in private. When they're abusive in a public venue like this, it's because they feel SAFE doing so. And they'll keep doing it, at concerts and sports stadiums and bars, until the backlash around them is such that they don't feel safe.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to nzlemming,

    which is not about music events – it’s about our society regarding women as viable targets wherever they are.

    This was about music events. Russell wrote about that. The conversation may have broadened but now it feels like bullying the one person who has raised our awareness of Jeans abuse. I fail to see the point of making him leave by suggesting all the women have left. I'm interested how men are working through this and I'm glad to know I may just get some help at a concert rather than having to defend myself or that a friend may get some help. You can dismiss all you like the validity of the music event scenario but I firmly believe by starting to explore ideas, we get to a bigger understanding of it all. Hells, Jean thanked Russell (and here I think) , and that makes it worthwhile to me. She will return to her concerts, and may need to fight another day. She has the moral high ground. She is the winner. Now, too and maybe, because of Russell airing his abhorrence, someone will be there for her. It's a start and that alone is worth something.I don't know the age or sex of anyone who reads here (bar a few) but all contributions are worthy if it helps, surely?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Emma Hart,

    It's a mistake to think that someone talking is a sign that they're not listening. Listening is an interactive process, not a one-way thing. I frequently paraphrase and/or summarize what people are saying, just so that I can get feedback about whether I even understood them at all. It can be quite annoying to be told that I'm not listening, after doing that. I've just gone to all the trouble of reading, re-reading, considering, drafting, redrafting and then committing something based entirely on what I've seen someone else write, and then their comeback is that I'm not listening, as if somehow magically the information/idea that is in their head should have transferred in its entirety into mine. Also anyone else that is reading who may have similar misconceptions or misreadings to me. Or, for that matter correct conceptions and readings of something that was poorly written or expressed in the first place.

    I don't come away from an inactive thread with no commentary thinking "wow, that was so awesome that it just blew everyone's minds so much that nothing needed to be said". It just doesn't work that way. Effective communication involves so much more work than just reciting the information.

    It’s well possible that’s just me, they’ve given up on me.

    That's always going to be a suspicion, isn't it. Notice I wrote nothing on that thread. That was a conscious choice, a deliberate decision to make good on letting threads on that kind of topic not have my shot of testosterone in them.

    Here's my question: Does that absence make you think that you got through to me? Or does it make you think I wasn't listening? How could you even know? I'm interested in your answer, but I'm also going to guess it (that's ALSO something people who are listening can do. It means I've thought about you a lot and am trying to model your answers - if I can do that, then clearly I'm getting you. If not, you can tell me so, and I can fix the model). I guess that you don't find a lack of male engagement indicative of having communicated to men well.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    This, from someone you could dislike for quite a few reasons...

    Well, he can't be wrong all the time ;-)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to mpledger,

    and more of a culture of white male entittlement than NZ did i.e. that being rich makes people have greater social value - this is about he opposite of the old NZ values

    Laurie Penny in the New Statesman called out those who deny rape culture unless it's "people of colour" perpetrating it. Not surprisingly, the comments section (the link seems to have been removed due to abuse) was flooded full of "cultural Marxist misandrist white genocide SJW" epithets from the usual suspects. And this was before one of the German rape cases turned out to have been concocted by Kremlin elements.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to BenWilson,

    Here’s my question: Does that absence make you think that you got through to me? Or does it make you think I wasn’t listening? How could you even know? I’m interested in your answer, but I’m also going to guess it (that’s ALSO something people who are listening can do. It means I’ve thought about you a lot and am trying to model your answers – if I can do that, then clearly I’m getting you. If not, you can tell me so, and I can fix the model). I guess that you don’t find a lack of male engagement indicative of having communicated to men well.

    Silence is, without a doubt, the hardest thing to parse on the internet. Did the person you were arguing with go away because you made a really good point they couldn't refute, or because they decided you weren't worth wasting their time on? Even harder to interpret the silence of people who've never entered the conversation at all. TBH, I don't really keep track of individuals. I don't think you could, and stay sane.

    And I'm going to say this, and try to ignore how dirty it sounds*: I've never had a problem with a lack of male engagement. There are loads of men here who've constructively engaged on threads of mine, and threads of Russell's on the same kinds of topics. A good sign of someone who is listening and engaging is that they will ask questions. I've also had 'conversations' with men here where I'm clearly not being listened to, but lectured at. Because this is the internet, I've seen conversations I was clearly never supposed to, where guys who comment here occasionally have said things about me that... well, they wouldn't say in front of me. The people I've seen defend me in those circumstances are also disproportionately men. They're disproportionately Russell, to be fair.

    I've known a lot of you guys for a really long time. I've met a lot of you in person. That helps me interpret both your speech and your silence.


    *by 'ignore', I clearly mean, 'point out'.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    This was about music events. Russell wrote about that. The conversation may have broadened but now it feels like bullying the one person who has raised our awareness of Jeans abuse. I fail to see the point of making him leave by suggesting all the women have left.

    You know how we talked upthread (contender for WOTY) about intervention, about speaking up when we saw something wrong happening. That's what I was doing. I made Russell do nothing - he makes his own decisions. And I made the comment about women leaving after he made that decision.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    It’s pretty clear there is a difference of experience being talked about here. As you say part of it is because victims (women) know they are being abused and bystanders (men) don’t necessarily know.

    But part of it could actually be that some people lived in an environment that really was different to what is going on now and ignoring that possibility is ignoring the opportunity to identify causes.

    This! That's the reason I walked away from this thread on Wednesday night. When an otherwise intelligent discussion begins to degenerate into all men are bastards, then I'm sorry if I lose interest.

    And if you had a violent father or men of my age chat you up at bus stops -- they're both bad things. But to suggest or imply that somehow invalidates my experience is insulting. As Russell says, we're all on the same side FFS.

    There have always been creepy guys -- they exist in every society. But my own experience of gigs and festivals in the 1970s and 80s is that the prevalence of the misogynistic behaviour exhibited at Laneway was limited to non-existent.

    Keep in mind that we were coming off the back of the hippy era and it was an altogether more sharing and caring age. The drug of choice was dope which engendered a chilled out, non-violent atmosphere. And as someone posted above, if anyone had a go at one of the girls in our group, the guys would be there to stand up for them. It wasn't a chest-puffing alpha male thing, just 'normal', civilised behaviour.

    So what's changed? Well quite a lot really. The availability of cheap alcohol, pre-loading, easy access to hard core porn for any kid with a cellphone, misogynistic lyrics becoming mainstream, the widespread use of edgy drugs... but mainly alcohol.

    As much as anything it's a societal shift which has resulted in a general loss of respect for other people. My solution would be to reduce access to alcohol or at least for us to get over our binge-drinking culture.

    But then I'm just an old guy, so what would I know.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    about speaking up when we saw something wrong happening. That’s what I was doing.

    What was wrong with people having a conversation that should have included those who want to be there in their own capacity? Is their opinion not valid? I can't believe you thought someone was wrong on the internet!! ; /
    I do think we here at PAS are pretty good at pushing people away .The "SHOUTING" upsets me but I accept it's just my opinion so it is so. It also wont make me leave. I think some here can feel intimidated or bullied in other ways, I think no matter gender, anyone can feel not listened to as well. Anyhow, I suspect RB can do as he likes and so can you and so can I . I don't need to Judge.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Alfie,

    So what's changed? Well quite a lot really. The availability of cheap alcohol, pre-loading, easy access to hard core porn for any kid with a cellphone, misogynistic lyrics becoming mainstream, the widespread use of edgy drugs... but mainly alcohol.

    You can also add a culture of materialistic crassness. Though I suspect hardcore porn is a symptom of misogyny rather than a cause of it - it's completely outlawed in places like Saudi Arabia and violence against women is still prevalent over there.

    And if being fully clothed from head to toe - as Saudi law requires - doesn't lead to reduced rates of misogynistic violence, the whole 'uncovered meat' thing is complete bollocks.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • keeaa, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Revolting phrase in last line.

    Since Nov 2014 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    This, from someone you could dislike for quite a few reasons…

    I’m not saying there could be an unterior motive but to be fair, the author of that piece has a mate who has an ongoing and long-standing dispute with the abuser in that case.

    Damn… name suppression for prominent NZers really gets in the way of intelligent discussion.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Alfie,

    But then I’m just an old guy, so what would I know.

    An aside if I may...
    I found myself shouting "Get off my lawn" the other day, admittedly to the neighbour's dog but...

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Alfie,

    Damn… name supression of prominent NZers really gets in the way of intelligent discussion.

    Yes, 'tis a thorn in our side.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Careful! ;-)

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Amy Gale,

    this weird way in which many of the “it wasn’t like this in the past” stories actually describe phenomena that are consistent with women feeling unsafe

    Yes, yes! Sticking with a bunch of female friends, or making sure you attend something with a large defending dude by your side - that's not actually feeling safe, at all. But we're so conditioned to feel unsafe in all public space that that's what passes for it.

    begins to degenerate into all men are bastards

    Well, at least it took eleven pages for someone to play this tired old card. Which is progress of a kind.

    the back of the hippy era and it was an altogether more sharing and caring age

    I... suggest that for women and young girls it may have been somewhat less so.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Emma Hart,

    And I’m going to say this, and try to ignore how dirty it sounds*: I’ve never had a problem with a lack of male engagement.

    I guess that's going to come down to how that engagement is defined, and I can't see how that could ever be rigorous, given the problem of, as you so eloquently put it, parsing silence.

    I do get your point that not all conversations involve one of the parties listening - and even more conversations involve people only partially listening, not engaging with all the point's you'd like them to. Alfie's one right here is a good example to talk to. He has responded to points made by Raena about past and current misogyny, but then he seems (to me) to simply reiterate his perception that things are different now, without really taking into account the point that in not being one of the targets his own personal experience of the amount of abuse going on is not perhaps that reliable. Indeed, he complains of not being listened to on that point. Since he was alive and involved in the music scene in the 70s and 80s, and people that were not even born then couldn't possibly compare personally, there's some experience worth hearing in there. But unless he acknowledges the paucity of his ability to genuinely judge abuse, by virtue of not being a target of it himself, he's talking past many of the women speaking here.

    Not all of them, though, I must note. Heather Gaye at least kicked off with perceptions of there being a real difference, and that was right at the start of the thread. In listening to her, I'm listening to a woman. In saying that "the women here are all saying it's same old same old", ironically, we have a situation of women not listening to women. Robyn Gallagher also kicked off with statements of a change of culture, comparing to the BDO. It wasn't until page 4 where Joanna really kicked off the meta debate. After that Robyn came back and clarified (I'm not going to say altered) her position, saying that this sort of thing had indeed always been a problem. Which indicates simultaneous agreement and disagreement with Russell - something that's not inconsistent. Underlying abuse may well have always been there, but be in a different form now.

    Since then, James Littlewood, Stephen Judd, Max Rose, Simon Chamberlain, nzlemming (particularly strongly), Nat Curnow, Manukura and mpledger have all made statements supporting Joanna's objection. Several other men have made the point that they feel like it's changed, but admit their perceptions are only theirs and that they could be wrong.

    Russell has mostly stuck to his guns, since he made the thread with the initial point, and has been backed up by both men and women on it.

    I'm just trying to make sense of it, which means reading and re-reading.

    TBH, I don't feel like the listening fail is that serious of a problem here. It's a robust debate. Sure, it's unfortunately got a lot of first principles in it, but ... well ... I just deleted a humungous mansplain about how incredibly optimistic it is to expect anything else on this topic. Short summary - first principles often ARE the most advanced topic, and in something highly controversial like this, it's almost guaranteed that discussion of them will never end.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to keeaa,

    Revolting phrase in last line.

    "Uncovered meat" or "bollocks"? If you mean the former, I was quoting the brain-fart of a religious fundy in Australia who blamed the victims of a gang rape in Sydney for their dress sense.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    Interesting conversation going on here...no real blood let, yet....but this middle age woman will add her voice to the "this shit has been going on forever" team...and proffer my own tip for women going outside, and hence risking unwelcome sexual attention.

    Always wear shoes you can run in.

    The "fix" in the title of this thread, for some reason, makes me think of cats....especially toms.

    So....http://gangstersout.blogspot.co.nz/2011/11/fixing-rcmp.html

    and bugger me if it wasn't yet another story about rape.

    Carry on....

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

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