Sunday, May 17

I hope I'm right, but . . .

Sometimes I read back a post and worry that I've got it wrong. Re-reading my previous post, “Damned whores and football wives”, I do feel I should modify and clarify some of my thoughts.

At the same time, perhaps, I can add a few insights which have come into my mind since that post.

First,I may have been too optimistic when I wrote that despite the sordidness of the footballers' gang-bang scandal, one could see positive outcomes. I wrote:

The public response to the scandal suggests most Australians have at last moved away from the misogyny underlying a “saints and sluts” view of women (although emerging doubts about "Clare's” veracity may be a problem).
Hopefully, in her next edition of Damned Whores and God's Police, Anne Summers will be able to pronounce that apart from a few troglodyte remnants, her dichotomy is no longer part of Australian

Perhaps I'm right. I'd like to think I am. But really, I haven't got the ability to say with any certainty. I certainly can be wrong.

Just over a decade ago, I was confident our country was tolerant, rich in its cultural diversity, secular and free of the hatreds of the old world. The land of the fair go.

If you had told me an inarticulate woman preaching xenophobia, racism and dingbat economics was winning the hearts and minds of middle Australia, I would have jeered at you. But not long after, her political party won almost a quarter of the votes in a Queensland state election.


After I put up the last post, I realised I had failed to say just what the footballers' group sex scandal was. So if you'd just arrived from another planet and wondered what I was talking about, I apologise.

Seriously, though, a number of overseas sites now offer a link to Grumpy Old Journo, and their readers may be puzzled by references well-understood by Australians. I promise to keep them in mind.

Also, I wonder whether I should explain why putting women into boxes labelled “saint” or “slut” is misogyny. But really, if you don't get it now, you never will.


Understandably, discussion has widened to arguments about permissiveness. Others are discussing the place of "recreational sex", in which love and friendship play little part. It's no bad thing to debate our differing views, but that debate may cloud our analysis of some of the issues exposed by the footballers' gang-bang.

The libertarian position must be that any sexual activity is acceptable if nobody gets hurt, all parties understand what they're getting into, there's no coercion, and consent is clearly given to every separate person and every activity involved. That's informed consent. It should be clear a drunken person cannot give informed consent, and nor can a child.

Informed consent is one clear issue in the footballers' gang-bang debate.

But this blog post and the next are also concerned about whether these gang-bangs reveal misogynistic attitudes to women.

Would footballers who have group sex with women then decide they are sluts who could never be considered as wives or mothers of their children?


For its last point, Grumpy Old Journo is indebted to a group of guys eating their lunch beside the railway tracks in the Hunter Valley. One of my sons, now working on a civil engineering contract, tells me the Matthew Johns affair dominated discussion for days.

The guys agreed the footballers' group activity had homosexual overtones.

That's perceptive, although it's not new to claim that Australia's mateship tradition embodies homo-erotic bonding resulting from the lack of women in early colonial days.

When the footballers lined up to have sex with the woman, the only emotional bonding taking place was between the men. The woman wasn't included.


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