Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Media Take: Heavy topics

15 Responses

  • llew40,

    RB, I wonder, if done well, with veitch owning it properly and playing the same role that Jeremy did a few days later, it might have been easier to stomach, and achieved NZME aim of rehab a little more effectively. But no.

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Sounds like brand managers rather than news ones green-lit the story, then. Great PR.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    If Fairfax and NZME merge I understand they will be paywalling Te Herald, so we would have to pay to read Tony Veitch's opinion. That doesn't seem like a very good idea. Online MSM in New Zealand is really going to have to lift its game to be worth buying. We can feel shortchanged by the current content even when it's free.

    Since Mar 2010 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I've deleted two unfunny and inappropriate comments.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Good show, Russell.

    For me, the Herald's entire week focusing on domestic violence was soured by two articles that opened the series: Tony Veitch's piece, and Kerry McIvor's piece where she more-or-less said, "Why don't they just leave?" There was some really good work later in the week, but I found it hard to give it much weight, given those opening pieces.

    The other thing that I thought could have been very useful was some serious statistical work, to examine the truth of the "she does it too" claim. It would take someone sitting down with the various articles and research reports on domestic violence, and analysing them, in a metastudy, and then reporting on it for a general readership, not just academics and people working in the area. But perhaps the Herald doesn't have the resources to do this. Even so, as one of the guests on your show said, it's a line that's trotted out again and again, to excuse domestic violence, and it would be very helpful to have some testing of that claim.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Shane Le Brun, in reply to Deborah,

    Maybe Tony Veitch's column was always inteded to be reverse psychology from the editorial team? So bad its good in starting the conversation, just like Gareth Morgans offer on the beach a few months back, get peoples tongues wagging.

    Since Mar 2015 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Shane Le Brun,

    Maybe Tony Veitch's column was always inteded to be reverse psychology from the editorial team?

    That would require them to be a bit clever, not something that recent history would indicate is one of their strengths.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2937 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Deborah,

    The other thing that I thought could have been very useful was some serious statistical work, to examine the truth of the “she does it too” claim.

    I felt Kyle clarified the situation well on the show:

    "There's a lot of research being put into the idea that women are abusing at the same level as men and it's factually incorrect, when you look at the research what's actually happening is that's there's a lot of community surveys, ringing people up and asking about violence in relationships, and when you look at those results it's about 50/50, men and women reporting being victims of violence. That's quite a different thing from what people describe as battering or long term power and control oriented violence, and what we're seeing is that that's not shifting with the way that we're currently treating the problem"

    Further reading here.

    Having said that I find framing your query in this way to be somewhat problematic Deborah. While I can understand how #Notallmen can be construed as an "excuse" it's also - when taken at face value a factual rebuttal of generalisation, and in certain circumstances it may also be the response of an actual victim, and is symptomatic of a key problem associated family violence - discrediting the victims.
    Sloganeering; it begets sloganeering just as violence begets violence.

    In the Christchurch Health and Development Study, researchers found that at least 90% of those respondents who reported partner violence said that they both perpetrated violence and were victims of violence

    I'd wearily prefer to ask whether focusing on the underlying causes for this perpetuation of violence rather than making perceived gender based assumptions might not be the quickest tack to the heart of the issue.
    A statement such as this:

    Domestic violence is a male problem, and women are the victims.

    This is troublesome stereotyping, when taken to it's natural logical conclusion: "crime is a male problem" - a finding which can be statistically backed up by comparing the number of male (8,091) and female (527) prison inmates - however as a rational approach, beyond presenting an opportunity to point fingers across the gender divide, it's an indictment of the manner in which society raises its offspring, especially our males.

    More importantly, the quote in itself falls short of examining the reasons for violence in a manner that is holistically applicable. It could be well utlised by policy makers but offers very little in the way of reasonably tangible solutions to victims, aggressors or bystanders in these situations - this in a society where for the most part our socialised expressions of justice still largely conform to a primitive pseudo-christian ideology based around forgiveness, repentance and the like.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to mark taslov,

    the most rational choice is for women to treat all men as dangerous.To treat all men as a threat, and all men as abusers.

    Again, while this might sound reasonable when taken as the musing of a caucasian man informing women how to feel and behave, when one considers it in the context of the publication and audience:

    The world's most glamorous showgirls just happen to be men.

    It's confounding, because it is apparent that this is a context still steeped in fundamentalist binarism, redolent of the gender essentialist environment that the New Zealand media by and large refuses to budge from.

    Tune in to Seven Sharp and you'll witness the stereotypes and snipes of this incessant gender war. Tune into Story and you'll witness exactly the same clichés playing out night after night. However if you tune into Shortland Street you'll see a teenager who fails to convincingly occupy the position of either male or female: an anomalous transgender person cast against the back drop of a user paid health system.

    We have X chromosomes, some of us have Ys, some of us have many Xs, some have other gender-binary confounding 'defects' or 'mutations', and these all occur quite naturally in the human race. Other gender anomalies may not be so obvious under a microscope, but what is clear is that there's a lot more going on here than male≠female.

    We have Xs on our passports but there's neary a transgender to be seen anywhere outside the main centres, which is odd considering that one effort to quantify the US population gave a "rough estimate" that 0.3 percent of American adults (1-in-300) are transgender. These dualistic stereotypes are a perpetuation of a patriachal design whereby men are the species, and women the subordinate, and that's all; a design where the battle lines were drawn for us at birth - where for all intents and purposes there can be no in-betweens, and we best conform. This conformity is especially apparent in the male kiwi who may become men - real men; who love their footy, don't wear gay pink shirts, and are hard as nails.

    Where Kyle assumes the lack of victimisation he has experienced is due to him being a Pakeha middle aged professional man who lives in a nice part of town. Others might point out that it could just as likely be due to the fact that he's a well built skin head who looks like he could handle himself, or perhaps as a psychologist he's better equipped than most to defuse situations.

    The fact remains that as with heterosexual relationships, approximately 1/3 of same sex relationships also devolve into violent relationships.

    Domestic violence is a male problem, and women are the victims.

    This is simply no longer applicable to society as a whole, it is selectively tailored to a segment of society, albeit the majority, but it others many people - furthermore it others/ deprioritises the issues they face.

    A clue as to possible alternative approaches to this issue is in the Headline for the series:


    Because families are seldom about men and women as much as they're defined by the children. If children are a foremost concern, which they should be, then what tangible benefit do our young boys derive from these kinds of generalisations beyond establishing and reinforcing stereotypes which would in part appear to be fueling the issue:

    "I am violent because I'm male therefore I'm violent."

    This stereotyping appears to ignore the basic conflict resolution principle whereby finding common ground will generally trump pointing out assumed differences, and I don't use the word 'assumed' lightly, given the invisibility of intersex et al. members of society and given the length of time it may takes some members in the transgender et al. community to identify/ transition.
    It also largely ignores gender related family violence issues - the girl who is abused for being too manly, the boy who is abused for not being manly enough - it perpetuates a cycle of ignorance.

    Should we be saying to our children:

    the most rational choice is for children to treat all adults as dangerous.To treat all adults as a threat, and all adults as abusers.

    Following this logic what is the most rational choice?

    A New Zealand review of all child homicides between 1991 and 2000 found that in cases where a child was killed by their parent - 54% of perpetrators were fathers, 40% were mothers, and 6% of cases involved both parents

    That's an alarmingly balanced spread, and yet our response to these types of issues is still one of barbarism, and binary fundamentalism: a response that introduces the death penalty by stealth is still advocating violence, I'm unclear how this applies to those in same-sex relationships or similarly overlooked circumstances.

    Our pronounced habit of legislating to undertake cultural attitude shifts appears to be based on a short-sighted overestimation of the reach of legislation administered by what global history has shown will ultimately be relatively fleeting regimes. I assume that this issue seems to be particularly evident in New Zealand given our propensity for the comparitively myopic historical perspectives that dominate our national discourse.

    The irony for me with regards to tolerance is that it is our children who are leading the way in accepting the unquantifiable X. In contrast we as adults have had discussions on these very boards whereby parents, good parents, educated parents, still labour under the assumption that their children are naturally CISgendered, deciding that they will therefore treat them accordingly in terms of singling out their male progeny to inform them that they might be potential rapists. [Thread is now closed].One hopes this prophecy is not self-fulfilling.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to mark taslov,

    How does this all tie together? Well, as I see it, the wider LBGTQAI community (having long been challenged by stereotypes) have helped society successfully challenge stereotypes, and our acceptance of this community has reduced violence and bigotry in our society. With regards to this sloganeering and stereotyping, it is most specifically the Q (Gender Queer/ Gender Fluid) and T (Transgender) and most naturally the I (intersex) who confound these gender stereotypes, and yet they are exactly who is most othered as we continue to frame societal woes as a binary battle of the sexes. We are your largely invisible brothers and sisters and things, you may call us “sir” or “dude” or “miss” based on superficialities, and it’s highly likely we may not even correct you given we have spent entire lives feeling and being mislabelled. Regardless, for the most part many will remain invisible – given that the SHCTP funds 3 MtF GRS’s every 2 years meaning that most of New Zealand’s transgender citizenry don’t have a shit show of ever qualifying for gender reassignment surgery unless they can conjure up a spare $7-24,000 – we are your neighbours, your workmates, your closeted and uncloseted spouses and that person you pass on the street. In saying that I don’t wish to perpetuate any misconception that being a transgender person is contingent on either having undergone invasive surgery or having been prescribed HRT – this is about identity first and foremost.

    Possessing, it would seem, the power to dilute this apparently insoluble gender binary solution, by virtue of being more visible, these otherwise unseen members of our community may very well assist in further dissolving the battle lines; a truer equality for all may become that wee bit more realisable. If nothing else our greater visibility may help curb our suicide rate.

    Obviously none of what I’m saying is much use to a those currently trapped in violent and intimidating relationships, it’s not going to provide equal pay or encourage basic humane respect, neither misogeny nor misandry will be stamped out in the forseeable future, but for accuracy’s sake we need to look deeper as a society and reflect on both what we can and what we perhaps might not yet be able to see and in turn adjust ourselves to act accordingly. Kyle is spot on when he says:

    As men, when we behave like this – or stand by while our friends, workmates, teammates behave like that – we are the problem.

    We all need to work to stamp out misogeny and misandry, but we also need to recognise that while these are related to and incorporated in family violence, misogney and misandry are not themelves indicitive of family violence, I have family members whose misogeny and misandry infuriates me but this is not necessarily a symptom of violence or vice versa, these are largely symptoms of ignorance to be challenged (which is often easier said that done), distinct from family violence – itself generally symptomatic of weak self-control and addiction (25% of the most severe intimate partner aggression incidents in New Zealand involved alcohol).

    As The Dunedin study has found, self-control is the greatest indicator of ‘success’ in life, and furthermore that self-control is something that can be both taught and developed. With an eye on the legislative environment few could argue that many of New Zealand’s most pressing social issues appear to be related to a self-control shortage. In addition, more focus on techniques that meaningfully empower us to defuse conflict successfully could also be incredibly useful – as a pragmatic backup.
    Looking forward, a considered reassessment of this gender stereotyping and conditioning so prevalent in our society must happen sooner or later in order for societies to find and enjoy greater peace; for society’s agressors to find peace and most importantly for society’s victims to find peace: peace being the purest antidote to violence.

    ETA – Kyle, I should add that I have always enjoyed your contributions here and both the wisdom and expertise you have conferred over a range of related issues, if you feel that my use of your piece as a springboard has resulted in an unfair portrayal of what you wrote; I apologise for singling you out, and I am aware that the argument you presented is quite widely held amongst the liberal class at this juncture.

    Obviously I can appreciate that a lot of people may not wish to read something like this, that it confronts what appears to be widely accepted norms and may contain numerous errors or miscategorisations. For my part it’s not something I myself am particularly enthused about writing either – invisibility becomes quite comfortable after a time. I’m at pains to admit that I’m not well versed in much of the jargon, but this is an alternative perspective that for whatever reason I’ve felt increasingly compelled to offer in response to the men vs women arguments that have occurred here in recent years which I’ve always missed my chance to contribute to due to those threads repeatedly being closed before I can get my head together.

    I’d like to add that I would never have had the confidence to write a comment like this had it not been for Russell’s wisdom, acceptance and patience with me over the years and Emma’s absolute frankness with regards to issues of a personal nature which has been of immeasurable inspiration in helping me reach a point of self-acceptance. So thank you so much to both of you, you’ve made an incredible difference in my life. I hope I’ve not overstepped my mark.


    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Rob S, in reply to mark taslov,

    You've given me a lot of food for thought.
    Thank you.
    Well said.

    Since Apr 2010 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Thanks, Mark.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Thank you for taking the time to read Rob S and Sacha. My apologies for the vagueness of ‘Yoruba’ above, it was an afterthought that I hoped any one interested may follow up on but in the interests of clarity I feel it’s only right that the point I was attempting to make is expounded upon:

    The Yoruba case is a clear depiction of a society where power relations were traced through their age-grading culture. The Yoruba people are located mainly in southern Nigeria. Until missionaries and colonialism influenced the area, most of the Yoruba were genderless beings. Instead of having a culture that was divided through gender expectations and hierarchies, the Yoruba people used seniority as an organizing system. This system separated power relations by age and lineage, not gender (Oyěwùmí 1997). The only real gendered aspect of the Yoruba society concerned the different roles in pregnancy and arguably the beginning of marriage (“The Yoruba Family” 2013).

    When people married in Yoruba society, typically a female-sexed person would marry into a male-sexed person’s family. The newcomer, as the person would be referred to, would be ranked below all the members of the family she married in to. Although it seems like this person is now stuck on the bottom of an immovable power hierarchy, this was not the case. The newcomer has the ability to move throughout the power system by having children. By adding to the family lineage one would move up in seniority (Oyěwùmí 1997). This system not only allowed for people to fill many different roles (compared to western society in which people may only fill the roles allowed to their gender) but it also allows for all people to have access to power in all spheres.

    Further reading here.

    The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses

    With regards to the link “comparitively” in my initial post:

    Same-gender love can sometimes be difficult to differentiate in Classical Chinese because the pronouns he and she were written with the same character, like tā (他)

    To that I should add that this tā (他) was split into three tā: 他(he), 她(she), 它(it) in the early 20th century following the fall of the Qing Dynasty, however this distinction does not exist in the spoken language to this day.

    I might also add that my hand was pushed to post my initial 3 posts above due to an experience last week. As we attempted to separate the ram, the ewes stuck close, intent on protecting him within the flock. Apparently amused by this, the person helping me jokingly muttered “chicks”. Based ona couple of previous comments, I did not construe it to be a comparison to fowl but rather anthropomorphism: a derivation of his perception that women habitually and foolishly follow men around(?). Most importantly, what struck me is that a 60 y/o South African émigré who moved here as a youth and who has spent most of his life trotting the globe working as a professional mathematician – has been back in the country with his new wife less than a year and has found this kind of aside to still be acceptable social currency in 2016. I was too taken aback to challenge it.

    And finally, speaking of Social currency

    Jeremy Corbett: The following show is for adults only and contains bad language that may offend some people and there have been a lot of moves this week to ban all smoking on TV because when people see it on TV, it glamorises it making it cool and sexy, well we at 7Days have a plan to make sure that doesn’t happen [cut to shot of Paul Ego wearing a red bikini top]

    Paul Ego: [husky voice] What are you looking at? pervert. [flicks ash under bra, seductively pokes out tongue]


    Jeremy Corbett: That should do it.

    Because naturally, Paul Ego playing a transgender character, mocking those who may be attracted to the transgender character, is far more repugnant and therefore humorous to the NZ public than Paul Ego playing himself in that vein, nipples out.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to mark taslov,

    Thanks for your erudite and measured posts.

    And thanks for your follow-up explaining Yoruba. I did a cursory search and only encountered a "Language of South-West Nigeria" which I mistakenly thought was well off ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 620 posts Report Reply

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