Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Dear Dudebros

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  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Gregor Ronald,

    Right on, Emma - great points, well made. You're the first I've heard discussing the "Why insist on bad sex?" angle, that should make people stop and think.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Because the two incidents that sparked it, the Chiefs' debacle and the Kuggeleijn trial, were men attacking women, and people were all 'boys will be boys' and 'what was she expecting'.

    Turns out there's a term for my aforementioned theories, and it's called pinkwashing.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Gregor Ronald,

    “Why insist on bad sex?”

    One answer is that it usually takes people a while to discover "good sex". By that I mean even if folks read everything on the internet - and their brains don't melt out their ears - they still won't know what they like and it's unlikely they will have met a partner willing to explore until they can figure it out.

    So for someone who has no idea what good sex is then any sex becomes the goal - in a sense it's a race to the bottom.

    That's why really good sex education would/should include practical courses.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Fiona Mckenzie,

    yes - thank you Emma - now more of us need to be as clear.

    Christchurch • Since Jun 2015 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Because, in this case, I am addressing a gendered problem: the different social expectations of male and female behaviour. Because the two incidents that sparked it, the Chiefs’ debacle and the Kuggeleijn trial, were men attacking women, and people were all ‘boys will be boys’ and ‘what was she expecting’.

    You are addressing a social problem, that’s sparked by sportsmen to be specific. I know that’s like saying “not all men” but frankly, making something as cliche as that into a hash tag isn’t helpful ether.

    So are men empowered to behave violently towards women becouse social norms go unchecked? There is a bit of research which I don’t have at hand which studyed the formation of traditional patched gangs in New Zealand. The research says in simple, that they where a product of the borstal system. I don’t doubt you already know this, but I’m going to say it anyway, men are expected to defend themself, it’s not socially acceptable to be a victim, some people don’t understand how it’s even possible. Joining a gang and asserting dominance over weaker people is obviously a sencable way to shore up your sence of social acceptability if you live in a prison environment.

    I’m saying that the male demographic that’s attracted to joining contact sport teams such as rugby league in particular, might feel a strong sence of social responcability to be top dog. Not unlike the patched gangs. I suggest some of the violence directed at women by sportsmen is connected to a fear of being seen to be an underdog in the eyes of the pack, (celebrity society) due to unsubstantiated fear of becomeing outcast, vulnerable and at risk of being victimised, both physically and phycologicaly by what every corner of society they perceive themselves to be fighting to survive.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Jeffrey Dahmer’s physiatrist said Jeffrey like men with big biceps and he was looking for a partner would snuggle up to him. But he didn’t have the Internet and couldn’t hook up correctly, so he did really bad sex.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/kiwi-traveller/81602442/opinion-young-female-travel-is-not-the-problem

    I spent two weeks travelling around Cambodia and Malaysia recently - guarding my belongings and dressing as conservatively as I could muster, as advised - yet it was the day I returned to New Zealand that I felt unsafe.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to steven crawford,

    they perceive themselves

    Self perception is a funny, as in peculiar, thing. Its too often totally unreliable, especially if you do something dumb but cant admit it to yourself. One doesnt have to look to hard to see that in action.
    Self inquiry, with a good dose of honesty, and someone else around who will point out your BS is probably more fruitful. Real introspection is hard thats why most people dont want to do it. Shame, cause we need it now more than ever.

    Dont take it personally, but in my experience, the male of the species is crap at that. Thats not a rule, just an observation.

    One thing that baffles me why are rugby players prone to being complete shit gibbons? Play your game, go home. Whats difficult about that.

    Great observations Emma.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to andin,

    Don’t take it personally, but in my experience, the male of the species is crap at that. Thats not a rule, just an observation.

    You know something I don’t understand, where did John Kerwin’s anxiety and depression come from? That campaign was good for helping men get a bit real, which helps with better sexing behaviour, but it’s done nothing to explain why such a large number of New Zealand men are so fucked up.

    So back on topic. I once saved a women from being raped, after she was dragged into a yard not far from Courtenay place on a Friday night, by a man known to the women, during the mid 1990s. I recruited some young blades that happened to be nearby. I didn’t have the guts to go running into the dark yard where the commotion was going on, all by myself.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    A friend who is a former sex-worker has given me permission to quote her on the issue of assault.

    “I was a sex worker who had full sex with my clients & I still got to set my boundaries. 99% of my clients were cool with that.
    99% of my clients were really respectful about touching me even though they had permission to. Because 99% of my clients weren’t abusive dickheads.
    It’s upsetting to hear ppl say I should’ve expected to be assaulted because of my work. Awful to me & to my clients who were largely good people.”

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to andin,

    One thing that baffles me why are rugby players prone to being complete shit gibbons? Play your game, go home. Whats difficult about that.

    It's the pack mentality, not limited to sportsball fanatics, but certainly exemplified by them. "If everyone else is doing it I can't be wrong to do it too ". Any group of males is self-reinforcing in behaviour. If its a group of good blokes, the reinforced behaviour is good. But it only takes one real shit-gibbon to turn a bunch of insecure blokes into howling monkeys themselves. It does take, as stephen alludes to, real balls to stand up to a group of shit-gibbons in full roar.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to steven crawford,

    You know something I don’t understand, where did John Kerwin’s anxiety and depression come from?

    It's a medical condition, an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. It isn't about "what did he fear?" because what he feared was being found out a fraud, no matter how authentic his achievements actually were. It's not insanity, it's illness. Sometimes it's brought on by stress, sometimes by illness, sometimes genetic disposition. Mine was stress-originated, but removing the stress hasn't removed the illness, nor will it ever. I take tablets every day because the alternative is too terrible to go through again.

    I belong to a men's group the Whirlwind Trust which is basically for broken blokes like me, getting together and supporting each other. The common story that comes across is "I failed".

    To me, that's what JK was anxious about - failing, or not being the best. For all his hard work, even while he was the best wing in rugby, he was still anxious about failing, letting the pack (literal and figurative) down. And, over time, his anxiety became self-fueling, because that's what the fucking thing does. It's addictive. Runners get addicted that dopamine high. Anxious people get just as addicted to whatever neurotransmitter is out of balance (it's not the same for everyone) only it's more destructive. Worst case is fugue state where you just can't bloody move.

    I used to get into work and have a game of Freecell before I got started. Then another, then "I'll do that after I finish this game", until it was all I could do to move the mouse. Outside work, you wouldn't know there was anything wrong, but in the office I became incapable of making a decision or getting anything done. It wasn't until it became an employment issue that I was able to get help.

    When we talk about changing the culture, it's not just about rape (because not all men are rapists), it's about changing the mentality that "boys will be boys" is an okay philosophy, that women are objects, and thus property and can be disposed of at the whim of a man, that "boys don't cry" is the way to raise a man. We're really talking about respect, for ourselves and each other. Unfortunately, the lack of respect leaves women unsafe (not feeling unsafe, but actually at risk).

    Here endeth the lesson ;-)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Via a mate on facebook – Boys don’t cry? who commented that boys tend not to get sympathy when they show weakness and this can lead to emotional ‘hardness’ and lack of reciprocal empathy.
    (Which is just to say, ‘man up’ isn’t a great message – no intention to excuse vile behaviour.)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to nzlemming,

    because not all men are rapists

    Women have to assume every man is a potential rapist, unless we have reason to believe otherwise.

    A friend of mine tonight gave me the name of her date, in case something happened to her. That’s a hell of a fear to have to carry.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to steven crawford,

    You know something I don’t understand, where did John Kerwin’s anxiety and depression come from? That campaign was good for helping men get a bit real, which helps with better sexing behaviour, but it’s done nothing to explain why such a large number of New Zealand men are so fucked up.

    I'd say another aggravating factor is de-industrialisation, which affects mostly men without university degrees. It's sadly no coincidence that Donald Trump has actively pitched to America's Rust Belt working class that he can somehow reopen the steel mills and car factories. In Britain it was a similar thing with the Brexit vote.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Lilith __,

    Women have to assume every man is a potential rapist, unless we have reason to believe otherwise.

    Yes, that's the concomitant reality, which is why I said "Unfortunately, the lack of respect leaves women unsafe (not feeling unsafe, but actually at risk)."

    A friend of mine tonight gave me the name of her date, in case something happened to her. That’s a hell of a fear to have to carry.

    I hear you.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    I'd say another aggravating factor is de-industrialisation, which affects mostly men without university degrees.

    Nuh, I don't agree. NZ maleness has been fucked up since forever. Partly, it's the hangover from the colonial inheritance of the stiff upper lip. Just because we rejected the British class system in favour of "Jack's as good as his master" crowdocracy, doesn't mean we didn't retain a lot of those imperial prejudices such as racism (or "white exceptionalism") and the stoic image of "what makes a man a man". Even in full employment days, we still had people with depression who were told to just get on with it and "man up", and to be ashamed if it ever got out.

    De-industrialisation as a consequence of globalism or neo-liberalism doesn't help matters, and may aggravate them, but the rot is at the root of our self-perception and has been for decades.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R,

    There was a line going round university when I was there "maybe all mean aren't rapists, but all men profit from rape".

    My now-wife suggested when we got together that I read a book called "Reflecting men at twice their natural size" by Sally Cline and Dale Spender, where they started by pointing out the things that many women do that salve men's egos and emotionally manage them, with examples like how a woman who claims 50% of the conversational space will be seen as grabbing more than her share by both the man in the conversation and the woman. That men interrupt women in conversation at a rate much higher than women interrupt men, and that seems fair to all the people involved.

    Why do (many) women act this way?

    Conditioning. Being told that's what they should do, by other women, men, society; and the conscious or unconscious fear of rape, abuse and sexual harassment.

    It doesn't require that most men be shitgibbons, just that there are enough shitgibbons for women to (subconsciously?) change their behaviour around men to be more accommodating.

    One reviewer said the authors verged on misandry; but I found it quite compelling, and even now, 25 years later, I find their arguments (what I remember of them) in the back of my mind when I find myself bridling at being interrupted by a woman, or tempted to interrupt them in turn. I am still a work in progress, but my wife thinks I'm still worth keeping around... (at least, that's what she tells me).

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Stephen R,

    “Reflecting men at twice their natural size”

    No Tall Men?

    “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions.”

    “The difference between genius and stupidity is: genius has its limits.”
    ― Alexandre Dumas-fils


    But seriously, I think part of the big pattern of violence against women is that it is often perpetrated by men who are, given the chance, violent to everyone...
    and that there is a big difference between self respect, self esteem and self absorption
    Plus a culture (mass media driven) that glorifies rage and violence and offers little on how to divert anger and play well with others.

    Old arguments I know...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to nzlemming,

    I belong to a men’s group the Whirlwind Trust which is basically for broken blokes like me, getting together and supporting each other. The common story that comes across is “I failed”.

    I’m doing one of them. Our one meets at Victoria university on Wednesdays to work out how to best deal with our feelings of disconnect. There’s only been two of us showing up but I’m expecting the numbers to grow over time. Our pair support group is particular for male survivors of sexual abuse and violence. The university is a good environment to deal with our dilemma. It’s an uplifting place to be working on self awareness/ Interpersonal awareness.

    I’ve found a place in the University library that has a catalog of all the moon rocks that the Apollo mission collected.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Always appreciate your blogs Emma. I'm having conversational flashbacks on this albeit none with the éclat of 'feckless shitgibbons' - my WOTY sorted.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    That’s why really good sex education would/should include practical courses.

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

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    You read my mind. Which is why you're now consuming bleach...

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    (Which is just to say, ‘man up’ isn’t a great message – no intention to excuse vile behaviour.)

    I've used 'have some common fucking decency' on a couple of occasions. Stops it becoming a gender role thing. And besides, its really what is at the heart of the issue.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

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