Looking for inspiration in the news leaves me feeling a bit listless. But speaking of lists (and maybe why we need less of them) here are the top ten news stories in my feed at the moment:
Allegation of historical sexual assault by a senior politician
Allegations of historical acts of sexualised inappropriateness by a senior political staffer
Allegations of sexual assault by a football player
Allegations by senior women of ongoing sexism and gender inequality in the workplace
Argumentative drug-cheat complaining how unfair it is that she got caught
School runaway and teenage mum eventually does good and is now a role-model
Andrew Cuomo is a bad man, a very, very bad man
Meghan Markle wants us to stop being mean to her
You might be fooled into thinking that it’s International Women’s Day or something, but it’s actually International Women’s Week, because one day is just not enough. You’d have to live in a cave (ahh the bliss) to fail to notice how rape-y and grope-y us Australian blokes have been in the past.
Emboldened by the Brittany Higgins rape case (itself two years old), the allegations against Attorney-General Christian Porter are 33 years old. None of the complaints against member of parliamant Craig Kelly’s staffer are fresh, either. The Higgins case itself is now crusted with #MeToo barnacles, with three more women saying the staffer who did Brittany tried to do them too.
I wait with bated breath to see where this goes. Will it all dissolve into a small mound of brown paper bags filled with satisfying bundles of cash (me being cynical) or will this end in a criminal court (me being idealistic). Because the latter is where it MUST go, otherwise the so-called ‘toxic male culture’ only learns that enough $$$ can make anything go away. Even rape. And we already know that.
Lazy people will call it ‘victim blaming’ that I’d even suggest most complainants would take the money and run. Even more of an affront to ponder what the going rate is to hush various degrees of male sexual perfidy. A sliding scale, I suppose, with sexual assault at one end and indiscrete workplace banter at the other?
Under current law, police in Australia can fine you on the spot for a number of criminal offences, including assault. Criminal Infringement Notices can be served for punching some deserving fucktard in the head. Take your pill, avoid court, shell-out a couple-hundred bucks. For punching someone in the face. Surely a bawdy joke in the mealroom isn’t worth more?
But fines go to State revenue, not the pockets of the ‘victims’, hence the popularity of civil actions where the whole point is money. So maybe my contribution to International Women’s Week can be this: a schedule of pecuniary fines for misconduct which falls below those already provided for in legislation:
Wolf-whistle (1968) — $2
Overheard bawdy joke (1973) — $5
Someone glanced at your cleavage (1981) — $5
Someone stared at your cleavage (1988) — $10
Witnessed a lewd gesture (1990) — $10
Was the target of a lewd gesture (1991) — $50
Someone accidentally touched your thigh (1992) — $50
Someone purposefully rubbed your thigh (1994) — $100
Subject of an innocent but overly-enthusiastic hug (1995) — $50
Victim of a sleazy overly-enthusiastic hug (1998) — $100
Subject of incidental frottage in tight workspace (1998) — $100
Victim of intentional dry-humping in the workplace (2000) — $500
————————————————————– PLUS faux-outrage penalty (any date) — $50,000
If you believe the statistics, most women in Australia will at least qualify for a free lunch. And who doesn’t like a free lunch?
Speaking of which. For men: there’s a WikiHow on how not to stare at those lovely boobs. Now the next question must be asked — how long must we suffer the creepy gaze of women admiring out physiques and or trouser-bulges? Isn’t it time we challenged their increasing temerity? Why be victims of their insouciance? I (for one) am ready to cast off the yoke of the female gaze!
After all, what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander.