[Content note: pregnancy, nonconsensual medical treatment]
Recap: an Italian woman in Britain had a mental health issue. She was pregnant. The state, for reasons so far unknown, performed a C-section on her without her consent and put her child in care. This is approximately every level of fucked up.
But now, because more details have become clear, it sounds like a lot of progressive people think it’s not as big a deal, because it was doctors who made the decision to perform the C-section which has now led to this woman’s child potentially being permanently adopted without her consent.
I have a question.
What the fuck are you even doing?
Even the most able-bodied in-full-health no-medical-issues-ever progressive should be able to comprehend that doctors are not gods, and are not infallible, and are certainly capable of making fucked up decisions for fucked up reasons.
Like Dr Joseph Lee who refused to prescribe contraception to a young woman because “his conscience” told him to lecture her about The Duties Of Women instead.
Like the numerous doctors who refuse to perform basic diagnosis on patients who are fat. (Degenerative spine condition?
Like the doctors who performed the Unfortunate Experiment on New Zealand women.
[EXTREME TRIGGER WARNING for abusive medical practice, genital mutilation] Or Dr Graeme Reeves who deliberately mutilated women’s genitals while performing surgery on them.
How about the amount of research which shows doctors are more likely to label people of colour as “non-compliant”? Or prison medical staff coercing incarcerated women to be sterilised?
This isn’t an argument that all doctors are evil and none are to be trusted. Just as pointing out the utterly shitty culture the NZ Police have towards victims of sexual violence, especially sexual violence committed by members of the NZ Police, isn’t an argument that all police officers are rapists.
But frankly, enough of them are that you should not feel comfortable just assuming that doctors – or police officers – are acting with integrity. Especially when the person on the receiving end of their treatment has the black marks of mental illness, migrant status, and gender against her.
Is Doctor Who a lefty? at New Statesman.
A new Kiwi blog to add to your reading list: Two Arab Girls.
Laura Bates on how online abuse and trolling targeted at women keeps them out of political discussion [WARNING: discussion of rape and death threats]:
of course it is right and proper that the freedom of speech and freedom of the press should be protected within a democratic society. But it is also right that women should be allowed the same platforms and opportunities as men to contribute to that democratic society, and that is not the case when their voices are being silenced—their freedom of speech affected—by online abuse and an enormously unequal media portrayal. Somehow the freedom of their speech is something we rarely hear spoken about.
annalee on conscientious objection.
As a Quaker, I believe in Conscience Protection. I believe people should have the right to refuse work that violates their principles. If a draft were called tomorrow, I would wholeheartedly support people’s right not to serve.
But if someone serving in the military came to me and said they wanted me to defend their right to refuse military service, but that they also wanted to keep their job and be paid as if they were actually serving in combat, I would laugh in their face.
A great Storify from Trudy of Gradient Lair recapping the #FastTailedGirls hashtag.
Cameron Slater’s blog Whale Oil has been found to not meet the Evidence Act’s definition of “news medium” – meaning he doesn’t get to claim the right to protect his sources’ identities.
The Evidence Act defines “news medium” as
a medium for the dissemination to the public or a section of the public of news and observations on news
From the Herald report:
Wellington media lawyer Steven Price said the thrust of the Law Commission’s report was that bloggers who were serving the functions of free speech and a free press should be treated as media and be entitled to media privileges.
“Still, it is concerned that the reporting be dispassionate and reliable. It can be argued that Whale Oil doesn’t measure up on that criterion.”
This point really interests me, because I think there’s a big grey area if you look at the whole range of blogs and bloggers in New Zealand. And what about looking at group blogs as a whole vs. at the work of individual posts or posters? At any one time on the front page The Standard you could have a serious, info-dumping post from lprent on climate change, full of citations and graphs. Sure, he’s obviously pushing a certain agenda, but is that enough to rule the post out as “news”? On the other hand, it could be sitting next to a post from me or Zetetic which is a big opiniony rant. But if opiniony rants mean The Standard as a whole isn’t media, what about the Herald, which publishes Bob Jones on a regular basis, and daily anonymous editorials?
Do Public Address and Pundit count more as “news media” because their authors are (I believe) all writing under their legal names, and because many of them are often quoted or relied on for comment by traditional media?
If we treat the media-blog divide as a spectrum, where’s the line in the era of Stuff Nation?
Do I think Whale Oil should count as news media? Probably not. Neither should Ideologically Impure, for that matter. Highly partisan and personally abusive? Fuck yes. But when Keith Ng breaks a national news story at PA? I think that’s news.
The irony is that one of the reasons the line is blurred, and one reason Slater may sincerely believe he qualifies as a “journalist” for the purposes of the Evidence Act, is that our undeniably-mainstream media keep using him as a source. When the Len Brown affair broke on Whale Oil, Stephen Cook was frequently referred to as a “journalist” (which is again confounded by the fact that he has worked as a “proper” journalist) in the media.
I don’t have any answers. But I think this judgement is going to be an interesting, early data point in what has to be an ongoing discussion about where blogs and media sit in relation to each other.
So this happened. The Victoria University debating society hosted an event at which one of the moots was:
“This House, as a parent, would tell their daughter to drink responsibly to avoid sexual assault”.
How breathtakingly daring of them.
As people have pointed out on Twitter, it’s not fair to say “all debaters are dudebro neckbeards”. So I won’t.
What I will point out is that this whole structured debating thing seriously reinforces a lot of patriarchal, privileged bullshit.
1. Because it treats serious social topics as completely morally relative
This is how you’re meant to argue when you’re eventually in charge. You’re trained for it, and part of that training is regularly being presented with morally indefensible positions to defend anyway or risk losing whatever competition you’re engaged with. I have seen perfectly decent young men get carried away defending genocide and torture because that’s the only way to win. Those who are unable to do so are taught that they have no business having political opinions. The people assumed to be the future elite are not rewarded for getting the answer which is most correct, most compassionate or humane or even sensible – they’re rewarded for smashing the opposition. And that’s how you get politicians who will argue anything they’re told to, enact any policy they’re told to no matter how many how many people will get hurt, just so that their team can win.
Chief adjudicator Stephen Wittington justified the moot by saying:
“As part of that discussion we discussed what the purpose of debating was, and as part of that discussion we talked about the fact that debating often requires people to defend ideas or arguments that they don’t personally agree with, even in circumstances where people do in fact have very strong views about those issues.”
As though the problem is that some people (in this case, women) just need to be challenged with different opinions. As if “I was raped and society said it was my fault so the rapist was never prosecuted” is just a strong view on the topic. Shocking news: it’s really shitty to use people’s real lived experiences of traumatic events as a thought experiment.
2. Because it holds “rationality” or “reason” or “logic” as supreme
Especially in comparison to emotion. Which is one of the reasons that moot above is supremely shitty. Hey, women, so 1 in 4 of you have experienced sexual assault, and probably been victim-blamed to hell and back, but now we’re going to grade you on how calm and reasonable you can be while arguing in favour of victim-blaming. Win!
Patriarchy privileges intellect and demonizes emotion. Totally coincidentally, men are held to be sensible rational creatures, and women in New Zealand have to convince two doctors that they’re so mentally fragile they deserve an abortion.
3. Because its judging criteria are privileged to hell
Guess what kind of people are most likely to be really good at the kind of speaking and preparation rewarded by formal debating? People from upper-class highly-educated families, that’s who. People who are able-bodied and neurotypical.
Please note that this doesn’t mean only rich white boys debate. Plenty of people from oppressed groups will be fantastic at debating in this format. But they will sure as hell have to conform to the expectations of privileged groups to do it. (cf Namond Brice)
4. Because it mistakes reinforcing oppression with challenging norms
There are a million ways to challenge people to think outside the box, or to explore current social issues, without going for the bog-standard Bob Jones line of debate.
The fact is, this was a completely unfair debate. Not because people were upset by it, not because it breaches the all-powerful Feminist Code, but because our society has already well-equipped the affirming team with arguments. Nobody arguing in favour of this moot had to think very hard about how they were going to make their case, because their case is made every single day to the point that many people consider it “common sense”. The negating team, on the other hand, had to fight not just their opponents, but centuries of social conventions and assumptions. And some of them will have been struggling with being triggered in the process.
So why do it? Because not all debaters are dudebro Grammar old boys, but plenty of them are, especially the ones at the top. And why would they do anything but reinforce the power structures which keep them there?
Sex toy safety is important, from Bitch.
Speaking of this fortnight, Giovanni completely nails the bullshit around people’s cries of “freedom of speech”.
Morgan Godfery on racism without racists at TVNZ.
And I just want to clear a few things up, if only to establish with some finality that Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury shouldn’t be trusted as far as you can piss facing into an emerald Wellington gale. Martyn’s post is here, or will be until he deletes it and pretends it never happened.
QoT left the blog with Nicole Skews
is a lie, and one which I have previously corrected him on . Coley (which is what people call her when they’re not trying to silence her with the threat of workplace-related drama*) left The Daily Blog on 12 September. Her side of the tale is here.
I, on the other hand, had stepped down from blogging there on 24 July, with the following email:
Hey man, my post for the week is now with you.Unfortunately I’m going to have to step back from TDB. As you’ve probably gathered, things in the meat-world have been pretty rocky for me this year and the past month has just taken all my spoons.It’s been great though, I really like what you’re achieving and the line-up is awesome – so I know I won’t necessarily be missed *too* badly.
You’ll want to keep this in mind for a bit further down. When in later email conversation I corrected him for claiming that my stepping down was due to Coley’s, he stated in an email of 20 September:
My mistake – I thought the 2 events were connected.
Next up. Martyn’s statement:
QoT’s latest attack is to claim that our desire on TDB to have more female voices is somehow a conspiracy to hide my true intentions of allowing the patriarchy to rule while paying lip service to diversity. She claims the lack of posts by the female bloggers in October is proof of this while I think that is a terrible slap in the face to the women bloggers on this site.
is easily compared with my actual post here - which Martyn does not link to. Please note: the statistics are not for October. They are for the entire running history of The Daily Blog, from February to October 2013, as noted on the post. I do not accuse Martyn of “allowing the patriarchy to rule”; I say:
With those kind of numbers, you’ve got to ask exactly what is being served by getting more women’s names onto the TDB roster. Is it women, or is it one guy’s liberal cred?
But Martyn claims that he’s actually the real feminist here:
QoT knows first hand from times she couldn’t get her blog through to us that there are many extra time issues for female bloggers to contend with. Family, work and study all impact on the time commitments people can commit to blogging, every blogger on this site has the ability to post whenever they want above the minimum commitments they agree to.
It’s a nice point, and a very valid one, and yeah, I’m not a perfect
employee contributor. But it struck me as odd that Martyn was suddenly so understanding of the pressures on women and how this might affect their ability to commit regular blog posts, because after I sent that email, back on 24 July, his response was far less accepting.
Martyn, 24 July:
WHOA – Hold up sister – QoT – mate, comrade – hold up.
I was out tonight at backbenchers and I had a couple of guys from out of town who had made the trip in special to watch it and they were raving about you and the impact you have made on their girlfriends in helping them find their voice.
QoT I do not want to lose you – how about this – how about we cut you down from weekly to fortnightly – would that help?
A day later, after I hadn’t responded – remembering that I’d explained life was a bit difficult at the moment.
So would fortnightly take the pressure off you?
Please note that is the entire text of the email. I explained – very nicely** – that it wasn’t a goer. He responded:
Doh – those personal things – bloody nuisance those.
I’ll back off for a month and then start gently prodding – you are simply too important a voice to allow quieting my dear QoT – there is genuinely a new generation of women reading your blogs and feeling real power from seeing a woman as staunch and powerful as you front footing it with anyone.
I know how passionate you are so know your personal trauma must be great to pause from blogging. Take time to heal comrade, I’ll hold your line in the fight.
And then a month later, with no further contact from me – and sure, I could have been more forthcoming, but Martyn could also have taking a fucking hint** – the boilerplate reminder emails began again. And I didn’t want to pick a fight, because I feared that Martyn would be nasty in retaliation. I think subsequent events bear this out.
But it does seem to suggest that he is not as open-minded about the pressures on women bloggers as he claims, and quite happy to apply it himself.
And finally, Martyn says:
The insinuation that Amanda Kennedy, Christine Rose, Dianne Khan, Jenny Michie, Julie Anne Genter, Julie Fairey, LadyMac, Laila Harre, Latifa Daud, Louisa Wall, Marama Davidson, Moana Mackey, Penny Hulse, Phoebe Fletcher, Professor Jane Kelsey, Rachael Goldsmith, Sue Bradford, Susan St John, Tali Williams and Melissa Ansell-Bridges are somehow puppets being played for deceptive means by myself, Chris Trotter, Selwyn Manning, Frank Macskasy and Wayne Hope is as ludicrous as it is offensive to those women.
It’s very nice to know that he can name all his remaining women bloggers. But again, it begs a question: if all of these women find my statements offensive and ludicrous, why isn’t Martyn giving them a platform to say so?
The rest of Martyn’s post is a masterclass in sexist double standards and tone argument. It shouldn’t need saying that the man who refers to me as “Queen of Scorns”, who coined the phrase “Emerald Stormtroopers”, and who categorised what is basically an argument over one comment on a blog as “completely fracturing the Auckland and Wellington left” is probably not the person who should be lamenting the horrors of blog-war.
Martyn is a liar. If you are dealing with him, screencap everything. This correspondence is now very much closed.
*In an earlier post, Martyn referred to her as “Nicole Skews of [her workplace]“. This has, like so many things, been silently retconned.
**And let’s all think for a moment about how women are programmed to be nice in order to not antagonise men because they fear being attacked by them. I don’t think it’s a stretch given the exact post I’m commenting on now.
A couple of months ago I was asked to write a post for the Ruminator and, rather optimistically, I agreed.The original brief was to respond to a post by Judith Collins. My post was going to be about snapper, not trout. But considering that issue, along with Judith’s leadership aspirations, has floundered, I’ll try another hook.
Idiot/Savant pretty nicely captures the self-satisfied Dad Joke tone of it all.
Judith Collins is a vile fucking human being. There are just so many things we can pick on her for. Using a tired old slur about her age, gender and appearance? Just fucking stop it.
Spot the interesting trend in the names of the bloggers cited (in order of citation) in Bryce Edwards’ latest article about the “blog wars” taking place around rape culture:*
- Giovanni Tiso
- Graeme Edgeler
- “Prof Andrew Geddis”
- Chris Trotter
- Danyl Mclauchlan
- Scott Yorke
- Martyn Bradbury
- “Another identity activist”**
- Alan Alach [sic]
It just makes it all the more tragi-hilarious that Bryce, in the third paragraph of his article, says
Identity politics is, of course, the prioritisation of a person’s identity – ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc – over issues of ideology, and especially economics and class.
The phrasing’s very interesting. It might almost seem to suggest that a mere identity is unworthy of “prioritising” over important things like ideology. It absolutely suggests that silly identity politics doesn’t ever involve discussing important things like economics and class.
It kinda also seems to imply that things like ethnicity, gender and sexuality aren’t as important as the real issues. Do you think that might be an easy conclusion to come to when your own personal ethnic, gender and sexual identities don’t come giftwrapped in centuries of economic and social oppression?
And do you ever notice how the real issues which identity politics are apparently distracting us from are always the issues which the person complaining about identity politics wants to talk about?
And seriously. Why is it always the men who talk about “prioritisation” like they’re not capable of thinking about more than one thing at a time?
*I have not included Donna Awatere Huata nor Annette Sykes as they’re mentioned in an earlier section of the column – but let’s note the only brown faces to appear on this topic are both supporting Tamihere and Jackson.
**Hi there! I have a name!
Doing it right: the Dominion Post (i.e. Stuff) with a surprisingly useful, interesting interactive map which allows you to switch between 2007 and 2013 boundaries.
Doin it rong: 3 News, with a “full list of changes” which is really only helpful if you know every suburb involved, and if every suburb has clear universal delineations. As someone who lived at a flat which was situated in three different suburbs depending on whether you were asking NZ Post, the council, or the Electoral Commission … nope.