October 20th 2001

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: Issues for the forthcoming election

TESTIMONIAL: Digger James: Why I support 'News Weekly'

CANBERRA OBSERVED: The 'other' election on November 10

ECONOMICS: Who's looking after world trade

BIOETHICS: Cloning: a mixed bag

Straws in the Wind: Come in, Spinner

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Parents call for increased penalties for drug trafficking

TERRORISM: Why the Muslim world hates America

AFGHANISTAN: Australia must protect the innocent victims of war

Letter: Refugee analysis wrong

Letter: Free trade challenge

Letter: Marriage costs

PACIFIC: After the civil war: Bougainville looks ahead

MEDIA: Mutual admiration / "Beazley-class" subs

COMMENT: Baddies are not always cowards

DOCUMENTATION: Latest data show mothers' preference for home

COMMENT: Don't hurt us, we're men

Books: 'THE LITTLE ICE AGE: How Climate Made History 1300-1850', by Brian Fagan

Books: 'One in Thirteen: The Silent Epidemic of Teen Suicide', by Jessica Portner

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Don't hurt us, we're men

by Michael Scammell

News Weekly, October 20, 2001

So, the feminist lobby has been having yet more fun at men's expense. How could it?

Each year it runs the "Ernie Awards" where 400 very angry women list and vote on all the stupid anti-women stuff men say and do. The list has just been released, and yet again men were exposed as being chauvinist misogynist pigs.

But does the feminist lobby know what harm it's causing? Being the sensitive souls we men are, this latest attack will no doubt drive all sorts of men to eating disorders and bizarre dieting regimes because, as you well know, men have absolutely no control over their decision-making processes, and when we see something in the media such as sexist advertising or hurtful anti-male-awards nights, we just all go to water.

Old hat

Not that these anti-male attacks are anything new. Recently The Age ran an opinion piece by the Deputy Editor of The Big Issue, Meg Mundell, on why sexist advertising bugs women.

In the first line she vilified all of us blokes by mentioning our "glee" over the debate as coming from "testosterone's old guard". Talk about your stereotyping. Glee, maybe, but old?

Of course this was written in response to a column written the day before by another woman commentator, Dr Fiona Stewart, explaining why sexist advertisements don't bug women at all.

So some women are for such advertising and some are against? No wonder men are confused, because basically most of us, being the dupes we are, read these columns to learn exactly what we really should think on women issues - so from the sisterhood, please, a bit more clarity.

But back to Mundell. Part of her point is that images are incredibly powerful and, as she puts it, what women see "both reflects and shapes what we become". But if only it were so easy.


I remember a number of years ago when a sports company displayed a large billboard in Punt Road, Melbourne, featuring its shoes being worn by a naked male athlete in starter sprint pose.

I used to travel past this poster on quite a regular basis and women I know would positively drool over the image, but to this day I am unable to get obsessed over this body image - or even get close to achieving obsession. Other than some residual envy, I have proved quite capable of getting on with my life.

When it comes to the equivalent female body images, why can't the sisterhood do the same?

The claims of feminist writers such as Ms Mundell are self-contradictory. On the one hand we are told that the young, modern woman is an independent, intelligent individual who can make her own decisions.

In the next breath, Mundell says the young, modern woman is so easily influenced by advertising and other media that, as Mundell herself puts it, the sight of a "perfect" woman's body in an advertisement puts her off eating her breakfast as she attempts to achieve a model's figure.

Does Ms Mundell really think women are that thick? And for that matter, if men are so dopey - how come we aren't sucked in by it at all?

For that matter, if the feminist lobby really thinks such stereotyping is so damaging, it should really scrap events like the Ernie Awards - imagine the damage it's doing to the delicate male psyche.


With that and other injustices in mind, men everywhere should call for legislation, or at least yet another government committee comprised totally of female bureaucrats, to ban the following.

  • Advertisements that imply that men do not know how to cook dinner, or are easily duped by bank managers unless their wives are there to assist them.
  • Advertisements that imply that women are attracted to well-oiled hunks with washboard stomachs. We want advertising that shows women are attracted to ugly, stupid men. That way we will feel more secure in ourselves.
  • "Mere male" style lists such as the Ernies which hang out to dry all the stupid things men have said in the last year. I mean, you know we're stupid, so why do you have to rub our faces in it?
  • The Age Good Weekend special editions on "Men's issues", which are written and edited predominantly by women, and go on about how the key to male happiness is more sensitivity and getting checked for prostate cancer, plus maybe a token colour piece on how we love our cars, and finally a fashion spread with a good-looking male model, wearing a $3,000 Italian suit we could never hope to afford. Now that is depressing.

Finally, I have been racking my brains trying to work out what the Ernies actually stand for. Short for Earnest, I presume.

Maybe that's the problem.

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the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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