📑 Blokes Will Be Blokes

Bookmarked Blokes Will Be Blokes (Meanjin)

The suggestion seems to be that at some level, Grimshaw—and all Australian women—should apologise for their experiences because it puts them at an advantage. How, these men might ask, are they meant to know this has been happening if they are not themselves subject to repeated acts of assault from the time they are children? Very unfair.

This is the evolution of ‘boys will be boys’. Society broadly excuses aggressive behaviour by young men as though it is biological impulse. Cisnormative gender stereotypes reinforce the notion that boys are only hitting girls because they like them. The same little boys who whack a girl with a toy truck become the young men who cat-call women on trams become the parliamentarians who smirk in the face of sexual assault allegations.

How dare women expect better from men? When were they supposed to learn how to treat us, between being on the rugby firsts and drinking middle-shelf whisky with their uni mates? It’s not their fault. They didn’t have time before now. This is the absolute first opportunity they have had in their whole lives to try to learn the absurd language women are speaking. It’s not their fault no-one has ever taught them otherwise. They’re just blokes doing bloke stuff!

Anna Spargo-Ryan discusses the current crisis unfolding in Federal politics. Some of the issues include Queensland MP Andrew Laming online harrassment,
Attorney-General Christian Porter’s historical rape allegation and
Brittany Higgins’ rape in Parliament House. In response, Scott Morrison has provided a swath of mixed messages, on the one hand recognising the place of women in his life and the fear and inequity lived out every day, while also suggesting that sometimes “blokes don’t get it right all the time” and that maybe women protesting need to be grateful that they are not “met with bullets” like other places in the world. Spargo-Ryan suggests that in the end, Morrison’s actions have been akin to “bringing home a bunch of flowers because you worked late again.” Ryan elaborates further, raising particular problems with parliament house being a “training group to learn about women”.

In neglecting to protect the women in his workplace, Morrison acts as though he has forgotten to take out the bins or pick up the kids from sport. The Prime Ministership cannot be a training ground to learn about women. Federal Government is not a postgraduate program for private school boys who never learned to take care of themselves. The men defending these allegations cannot be allowed to hold up their hands and say, ‘It’s my first day!’

Annabel Crabb explains how this current situation represents a change in power:

In this instance, there is opportunity for women to seek justice, to speak out, to demand restitution in this new environment which suddenly gives a damn about what’s happened to them. But there’s opportunity for strategically-minded blokes, too. For some, the emergence of a cool new way to bring down their enemies is exciting, a brand-new update to the first-person shooter game called Political Ratf**kery.

While on The Minefield podcast, Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens explore the difficulties of justice and change. Aly even wonders if Morrison’s failure to adequately respond to the situation is actually what is needed to achieve the change required?

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