I was on Radio New Zealand Nights last night, talking about rape culture. I found it very, very challenging. It’s a topic that’s easy to talk about with my fabulous feminist friends, because we start from a base of knowledge and analysis about rape and rape culture. Bryan Crump, who hosts Radio NZ Nights, had done some background reading for the talk, but I was intensely aware that our audience had probably not heard much about rape culture at all, or preferred not to think about rape, or even found it offensive. And of course, some people would be have experienced rape or sexual assault themselves, so hearing a discussion about it could be difficult for them.
You can listen to the recording here: RNZ Nights – Discussion of rape culture – MP3 – 16’34″
If the link won’t work for you, you can download podcasts direct from the Radio NZ site: RNZ Nights – Audio from Monday 8 April.
I’m very grateful to the wonderful women who have discussed rape culture, particularly Melissa McEwan, TallulahSpankhead, Emma, Coley Tangerina, tigtog and the Hoydens, Luddite Journo, anjum rahman and of course, Julie Fairey. NB: all these links go to posts about rape and rape culture.
And off-line, my dear friends Jackie Clark, and Cat Pausé.
Apparently we are supposed to excuse Seth McFarlane’s misogyny and racism on the grounds that he was being funny, and sending up Hollywood stereotypes, and it was edgy and really we should admire him for being so transgressive.
I think MacFarlane wanted to shock. That’s why the built-in false-angry reactions by a few of the women mentioned in the song. We are supposed to admire his gall at shocking those famous actors and being naughty while doing so. Except that jokes about boobs or talking about boobs or pictures about boobs are not shocking. They are boringly universal and impossible to avoid on the Internet. There’s nothing subversive about such jokes. Indeed, they are as traditional as white sliced bread and Miracle Whip.
So what would something really subversive and transgressive look like at the Oscars? Something that really set out to subvert the dominant structures, and speak truth to power?
There is so much material. Here’s a suggestion. What about a song based on the Bechdel test? As it turns out, just three of the nine pictures nominated for best picture at the 2013 Oscars pass the Bechdel test, and even then, some of those three movies only scrape in by meeting the technical requirements of the test. And those standards aren’t even very high: all a movie needs to do to pass the test is to have two or more female characters, who have names, who have a conversation, that is not about a man.
I can imagine a great routine based on parodying movies that don’t pass the Bechdel test. And I can imagine senior movie makers squirming in their seats as they are called out for their on-going insistence that women don’t matter, or that they only matter as accessories to men. That would be speaking truth to power.
And you could run a similar routine with respect to people of colour in Hollywood movies. That would be very telling indeed. How many mainstream Hollywood films have characters played by people of colour, with names, who have a conversation, that is not about a white person. Even The Help struggles to pass this one.
Of course, you would have to do a bit of thinking, and a bit of research, to carry these routines off. And you would be in danger of offending people who have power in the industry you work in. But that would be truly subversive and edgy humour.
Also, before you say, “Can’t you take a joke?”, the answer is, as I said to my lovely friend Megan, “Yes. I can. But this wasn’t a joke.” There’s a reason why “Can’t you take a joke?” is the centre block in anti-feminist bingo.
A fascinating graph, and dicussion, about the pay gap between men and women.
It’s US data, so it won’t translate exactly to New Zealand, but I’m sure that the overall pattern is about right.
The jobs with the biggest pay gaps?
- Insurance sales agents
- Retail sales
- Sales and related workers
- Real estate brokers and agents
- Personal finance advisors
- Education administrators
- Physicians and surgeons
- General and operations managers
- Marketing and sales managers
- Stock brokers
- Inspectors etc. at production lines
And the jobs with the smallest pay gaps are:
- Security guards
- Warehouse stock clerks
- Paralegals and legal assistants
- Data entry
- Cafeteria workers, bussers, etc
- Social workers
- Office clerks
- Buyers for wholesale and retail
- Health technicians
Lam Thuy Vo, who compiled the graph, notes that:
The jobs where the gap is biggest pay more, on average, than the jobs where the gap is lowest.
I think that its interesting to think about which jobs are marked male, and which jobs are marked female. My estimate is that about 10 of the 11 jobs with the biggest pay gaps are marked male, and about 8 of the 11 jobs with the smallest pay gaps are marked female. YMMV on this, of course. I’ve said before, tongue in cheek, sort of, that one way to even up the gender pay gap is for more men to take on “women’s” jobs. The converse of that is that more women can attempt to enter “men’s” jobs. But what this graph shows is that even when women move into those higher paid roles, they still can’t get rid of the gap between their pay, and men’s pay.
And no, it’s not just because women take time out for child bearing and rearing. As the original article says:
Part of the gap in pay is driven by choices, even within single job categories. Among physicians, for example, women are more likely than men to choose lower-paid specialties (though this does not explain all of the pay gap among doctors).
And among all workers, women are more likely than men to take a significant time off from work to raise children, and they tend to be re-hired at lower wages than their counterparts who remained in the workforce.
But not all of the difference be explained by choices such as these.
I was on Radio NZ Nights tonight, talking about why we still need feminism.
I’ll be on again a few more times this year, talking feminism, under the umbrella topic of “why we still need feminism.” The individual topics are up to me, so, dear family and friends and readers, please suggest suitable topics. Or unsuitable topics.
A warm welcome to people who have been listening to the Pundit series on Radio New Zealand Nights, and have heard my first discussion about feminism with Bryan Crump.
You’ll find a fair amount of feminist writing on this blog, mixed in with recipes, and gardening stories and a bit of political commentary, and thinking about parenting, and book reviews and anything and everything. It’s reflects the way that feminism is woven through my life.
Feel free to leave a comment, especially if there is a topic you think would be suitable for a conversation on the radio one night.