Social Media is So Anti-Social

I’m 30 years old and I have been using computers since I was a toddler. I’ve been using the internet since elementary school. I designed my first website when I was about 13 or 14. I also ran an online zine on AOL at that same time. I’ve had my own domain where I host my personal blog for 13 years now. You could call me a geek or a nerd and I would be totally okay with that. What you should never call me is a whore or a slut. You shouldn’t threaten me with rape or murder. You shouldn’t say that I deserve a lobotomy or I look like a man or that I’m fat or ugly. You shouldn’t say this sort of stuff to anyone, anywhere. Ever.

Shortly before I turned thirty, I made the mistake of responding to a snarky comment from a Twitter user. This user had responded with “BWAHAHA A Woman made the hashtag” over my friend calling out people who were making rude remarks on the hashtag #FlukeForCongressCampaignSlogans. I asked him, “Is that supposed to make the hashtag any less offensive?” He responded with, “Haha! I bet you’ve never needed BC. #HumanManatee” I’ve been made fun of for years over my weight. It’s a sore subject for me, but I didn’t want this stranger to know that. I didn’t want him to know that I cared what he or anyone else thought about how I looked, so I fired back, “You think you’re original, but you really aren’t. And I have been on birth control off and on since middle school.” I probably should have either ignored the first remark or left out the part about taking birth control in middle school, but I didn’t. I never stood up for myself as a kid when people would say cruel things about me due to my weight, so I felt good about standing up for myself with this internet bully. And I’ve never been ashamed of the fact that I had to take birth control pills when I was in middle school (or high school or college) because there’s nothing shameful about them. A little packet of pills had never defined me before, but when I used them to respond to this guy, they did.  Read More »

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Brisbane Tattoo artist calls on followers to ”Bash Women” & “Fuck Women’s Rights”

TRIGGER WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT AND IMAGERY DISCUSSING SEXUAL ABUSE

Yesterday morning I was at the gym when I heard the news headlines for the day. They included the regular stories – the increased cost of living, the budget, the economy, cute little ‘fluff stories’, and of course, the news that another woman had been murdered.

The news report told of a Chinese woman’s body being found naked and injured in Melbourne city, assaulted by a man who had been ‘living rough’  on the streets. She was simply walking to work when she was sexually assaulted and murdered.

Before I even had time to adjust to this news, I was bombarded with more stories of violence against women.  Following this report came news updates that Gerard Baden-Clay was still pleading ‘Not Guilty’ to murdering his wife Alison, whom he was cheating on, along with reports that Oscar Pistorius  was pleading mental insanity to shooting dead his girlfriend.

And despite the overwhelming daily news reports that violence against women is impacting on millions of women every day worldwide (such as the 200+ Nigerian school girls who are still missing), still it seems that many are too desensitised by a culture of violence, misogyny and sexism, to see that violence against women is a serious issue. If you need more proof, just look at the Elliot Rodger fan pages for evidence.

Perhaps one of the worst displays of hatred toward women that I saw yesterday however, was that of a local Brisbane tattoo artist named Ryan Parsons who thought it would be funny to upload one of his designs to Instagram. The image, which featured a naked woman head first in a dumpster, with her hands bound, her shoes strewn on the ground, and a bird feasting on her genitals, was hash-tagged ‘fuck women’s rights’ and ‘bash women’.  Read More »

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Today’s Modern Harems

Jillian Lauren was raised in a typical middle class New Jersey family. But as a teenager, she went down an unexpected road, dropping out of college, becoming an escort and spending a year and a half living in the harem of Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei.

Now a New York Times bestselling author, she is taking a stand against culture-based abuse and the oppression of women.

Jillian published a memoir of her experience, Some Girls: My Life in a Harem. She describes the hedonistic lifestyle of the Brunei royal family, Prince Jefri’s harem filled with 30 to 40 women, many younger than 16, and a drunken evening she spent at the Kuala Lampur Hilton with the Sultan of Brunei himself.  Read More »

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Not Another Pretty Face: A Film about Gender Inequality in Film

Today I launched my Kickstarter campaign for Not Another Pretty Face, a film about gender inequality in Hollywood. Various producers are currently tip-toeing around the idea of donating money to the campaign but I know I need the support of blogs like this to get my movie made.
I don’t want to sit back and just have an opinion. As a man I don’t want to just mind my words and conduct. I want to help bring the incredible talented women I know into the positions they are qualified for. I want to inspire women and men as well as shame and embarrass misogynists by making them look in the mirror.
I made the decision to crowd fund this movie just after the Oscar’s when I heard Kate Blanchett’s speech after winning best actress for her role in Blue Jasmine. After that I knew I wanted to be part of the solution, to support women in my industry, and make some kind of stride towards change.  Read More »
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From tomboy to tiptoeing

I’ve been thinking about gender issues for a long time. Maybe my whole life. I’ve never been one to stay within the boundaries of what society has told me a girl should be. I guess I was a little bit of a tomboy. I had short hair most of my life, preferred sweatpants to dresses, had a Ninja Turtles birthday party in 3rd grade, and when I was able to pick an instrument to play, I went for the drums. In 5th grade when we were required to audition for the school musical, I said I wanted to be Christopher Columbus. Not because I wanted to sing the most songs (in fact, I have major stage fright) but because inside I thought, “It’s the best part. Why should it have to be a guy?” (I didn’t get to play Columbus, but instead was cast as Queen Isabella – the one and only female soloist.) I was freshman class VP, captain of my sports teams, and I loved rallying people together. In group activities I wanted to lead – not follow. I had strong opinions and I voiced them.

But something has happened to me as I’ve grown into an adult. Something I have only been able to grasp recently: I’ve changed.

I am not strong. I am not smart. I do not deserve success.

These are not things I say to myself in these exact words — but I tell myself them in other ways:

Don’t disagree with that — you might upset someone. Don’t say that — you might be wrong. You shouldn’t ask for that — you don’t deserve it. Don’t take credit for that — you’ll look arrogant.  Read More »

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