Posts by Deborah

  • Hard News: Fix up, young men,

    I'm finding the "it wasn't like that in my day" theme a bit hard. I can't comment on gigs and the like, because I'm not a big gig goer.

    But when some men are more or less saying that they never really saw harassment, I'm guessing that at least in part, that's because women usually don't get harassed in front of their male friend / boy friends / partners etc. There's a great comic that explains this here: What men need to understand about sexual harassment.

    Worth reading in full, but if you don't want to click through right now, here's the words from the frame that's most relevant to this discussion (bolding is mine):

    So, why does this matter?
    Remembering that the basis for harassment of women in public spaces is around the ownership of space by men, and consequently control of the women in those spaces...
    If you're a guy and you're with a woman, as a partner, lover, friend, coworker, or acquaintance, you are less likely to witness casual harassment towards that woman.
    To the person who feels like he needs to control women by harassing them, that woman with you is already controlled. She is yours. They generally wouldn't challenge you as a man by harassing her. An unaccompanied woman is an uncontrolled woman, and is as such, a target.

    Maybe the reason that you think that sexual harassment wasn't so much of a problem previously was that it just didn't happen in front of you.

    Having said that, the very public harassment that is discussed in Russell's post... well, that does feel different to me. Something about the display of it, and thinking that it's clever to display yourself as a harassing fool so prominently. But as I said, I've never been much into the music scene, so I really can't comment on that.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1395 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fix up, young men, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Defining the behaviour is good. I try to focus on the behaviour, not the person, as a defusing tactic. "You're really upsetting her." And I've done the thing of just standing with the person who is being targetted, and offering her or him support. "Would you like me to stand with you?" By no means foolproof, but better than nothing. 'Though again, in this sort of situation, just being female rather than male helps, because I don't look threatening. I also think that being older really, really helps.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1395 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fix up, young men, in reply to Joanna,

    Notice how quickly this thread became men talking to other men

    Sure did. Put me right off commenting again, to the point of typing up and deleting comments. Hovering over the delete button right now, actually... what the hell.

    Here's the thing. From talking about what could be done, it very quickly became a conversation about how hard it can be to stand up and call out behaviour. I take Mark's point about size etc, and damn me, it is hard. I find it hard, and I top out at 165cm on a good day, but I do it. I do have the inbuilt cultural advantage that even most dickheads think it's wrong to hit women, and these days I have the advantage of age, but it's still a scary situation.

    So if it's going to be hard, think of some tactics. Approach another man in the nearby crowd, and ask for his support. Call out to the surrounding crowd and ask for support. Whatever you do, don't leave a woman (or a gay man, or a disabled person, or whoever it is) to wear it all on their own.

    If you do just leave it quiet? Decide it's better not to intervene? Well, that just reinforces to the perpetrators that their behaviour is perfectly acceptable. After all, no one is objecting, are they?

    I agree: just one man, up against a posse of dickheads - that's a dangerous situation. But could the ordinary decent men talking to each other on this thread perhaps talk about tactics for dealing with exactly that situation, and perhaps rehearse in their heads what they might do?

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1395 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fix up, young men, in reply to Marcelo Rodriguez Ferrere,

    But what is the solution here?

    Step up. Call out the behaviour whenever you see it. Yes, young men need to sort their behaviour out, but we also need other men to actively object to the behaviour. I know some men who do already, but it needs to be many men. It's not enough to be the ordinary decent kind of chap who wouldn't behave like that himself. There needs to be a much more proactive effort to object to the behaviour.

    Also, believe women when they say that low level sexual harassment is constant. Seriously, it is. Even for older women.

    Great post, thank you, Russell.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1395 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Spirit Level,

    Yes. Not in my own lived experience, but I know there were times when things were very tight indeed for my parents, and they went without so they could feed us.

    But we shouldn't have to experience hardship ourselves in order to try to make the world, or maybe just our own country (because the world is a huge task), or even just our own immediate community a better place. Imagination is such an important moral capacity. We should be able to imagine what it might be like to face this kind of hardship, and then respond with empathy. Because that's what decent people do.

    And not just empathy. A bit of cash wouldn't go astray either.

    Thanks for writing this, Che.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1395 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Judith Collins and the…, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    No problem spending over $100,000 per year per prisoner. I guess a disabled person would have to pose a threat to the community to warrant such an investment.

    If this line of argument is pushed hard enough, we end up with hard labour and bread and water diets for prisoners, who we keep in the most inhumane conditions possible.

    I agree - we need to do much better with respect to how we support disabled people.

    But we also need to be very careful about how we treat people whom we have used the power of the state to incarcerate. The state has extraordinary power over prisoners, and we need to be very sure that power is exercised responsibly. Otherwise we become complicit in brutalising prisoners.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1395 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: A hazy, intriguing crystal ball,

    I'm finding it rather difficult reading all this speculation about when a particular named person might die. It feels wrong to me.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1395 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: A hazy, intriguing crystal ball, in reply to David Hood,

    I seem to recall iPredict having unexplained money movements used to generate cheap publicity articles closer to elections.

    I umm... lost money betting on myself on iPredict last year. But I couldn't very well back the candidate from the other side. I was just making sure that any newspaper snippets based on iPredict didn't write me off as hopeless.

    My guess is that the "backing yourself or your friend or colleague" effect is swamped by genuine predictions from political junkies who are not personally involved in particular races. And in any case, the overall party percentage is likely to have too many stocks for it to be affected by any individual investor / gambler / "advertiser".

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1395 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: How I Learned to Stop Worrying…, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Congratulations! I enjoyed reading that. You've creating an oddly compelling set of images for me - making pictures in my mind - which is a little unusual for me, as I tend not to do that movie-in-my-mind thing when I'm reading.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1395 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: How I Learned to Stop Worrying…,

    I wrote about quotas myself a few years ago, when various people were having attacks of the vapours over the thought that a little gender equality might be in order. I reached the same conclusion as Emma, via a slightly different route.

    Here's the somewhat tame version I wrote for publication: Quotas may be needed to boost female MPs

    And here's the version I blogged, where I was a little more direct.

    On quotas

    There’s a very straightforward reason for using quotas. They work.

    The meritocracy arguments, even offered as provocation, bore me to tears. Our methods of measuring "merit" are hopelessly compromised by sexism.

    But that just raises the question of how merit is measured. And as it turns out, the characteristics that we tend to think of as being merit-worthy in political leaders turn out to be the characteristics that we tend to associate with men (one, two, three, four, type “stereotypes men women leaders” into google and browse through the results).

    We see a man, and we think leader, and we see a woman, and we think, not-leader. It’s nothing to do with merit, and everything to do with our pre-conceptions about who is fit to be a leader.

    As for "provocation", just... don't.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1395 posts Report Reply

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