Art of Woman

By Any Means

The other evening (7 January 2014) I snuggled up with my husband and watched TV. We watched a BBC crime show, By Any Means. You can follow it on ABC iview here. The show follows a crime fighting team who chase ‘the bad guys’ and use techniques that are not strictly ‘proper procedure’ rather in the style of Hustle. So the team members are not strictly police, although, several are ex police — “it is a grey area” the team leader, Jack says (Jack Quinn played by Warren Brown).

By Any Means is a light crime show suitable for families. The dialog is full of banter and there is little violence, just a few punches. It is easy to follow and fun. It doesn’t become bogged down with the horror of crime, stays focused on catching the bad guys, a bit reminiscent of Charlie’s Angels.

There are plenty of Blogs on the web talking about the strategy, plot and believability of the show. I will not add to that noise. Instead, in theme with this site, I will discuss an incident during the first episode where women’s periods are mentioned.

Jack assumes that because he is team leader, he has the most sensible suggestions. While discussing the case, Jess (Jessica Jones played by Shelly Conn) expresses a desire to kill the criminal, Mason. It would be quick and simple, but killing is not an option. When she repeats her desire to kill the criminal, Jack questions Jess’s judgement by taking a cheep shot at her womanhood, by saying “time of the month?”

Alpha males have been known to try to dominate women by reminding women that they will never be men. The implication is that men are the rightful leaders — you are not a man, so stop trying to be my equal. For many men, being a woman is an insult. The comment “time of the month?” highlights Jess’s womanhood inappropriately. It is designed to be an insult by implying that women are unreliable because of their periods. The implication is that women are ruled by their hormones and become irritable or moody and lack rational thinking as a result. This is an easy way for men to disregard and trivialise what a woman says without actually dealing with the issues she raises.

In this case, all of the team want to get rid of the criminal Mason. Why was Jess’s desire to kill Mason singled out and treated as inappropriate? Tom Tom (Thomas Hawkins played by Andrew-Lee Potts) cringes. He doesn’t want to get involved in this conversation, which is a typical bystander response — or lack of response. Tom Tom could have said that the comment was sexist and irrelevant to Jess’s capacity to work, but he stayed silent.

Jess defended herself by rejecting Jack’s sexist assumption as an unsubstantiated myth. He throws pseudo science back at her. Then Jess does an amazing thing. She boldly expresses her joy, power and deep spirituality in being a woman stating clearly that Jack wouldn’t ‘get it’ because he is a man. This is the first time I have seen such a bold retort to this common sexist stereotype. She takes back her power by embracing womanhood and celebrating her vibrant experience in being a woman. It is a really good comeback, even though it came across as a bit corny. I praise By Any Means because it gives women some powerful words to defend themselves in this common sexist situation.

I am proud to be a woman too.

View a preview clip.

View By Any Means - Episode 1

Julia Gillard states Tony Abbott's behaviour is misogynistic

Thousands of people around the world have seen the YouTube clip of Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard’s speech when she called the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott a misogynist.

This was an amazing speech full of passion. It was the culmination of months of harassment by Tony Abbott. Misogyny is defined in the dictionary as someone who hates women. Tony Abbott has tried to defend himself by saying that he loves women. He gives examples of the women he loves, his wife, his daughters and his sisters. These are all family relationships and have an element of power involved. Of course Tony Abbott loves his wife when she is supportive of him. Of course Tony Abbott loves his daughters while he can be the authoritative father. Often brother and sister relationships are not equal in power.

What I am saying here is that filial or sexual love is not what Julia Gillard was talking about. Julia Gillard certainly does not want to become Tony Abbott’s wife or be treated like his daughter! Tony Abbott is happy to love women who are not his equal in power but he is outraged by Julia Gillard because she has more power than him. What Julia Gillard deserves is respect.

Throughout all of Julia Gillard’s Prime Ministership, Tony Abbott has show immense disrespect and has relentlessly tried to undermine everything she has done rather than respect her as the elected Prime Minister and leader of the country. He has not considered the needs of the Australian people, constantly thwarting the process of government. This is why Julia Gillard called Tony Abbott a misogynist - because he shown immense lack of respect.

I congratulate Julia Gillard for naming sexism and harassment for what it is - misogyny - that is, seeing women as less deserving and less important than men. I congratulate Julia Gillard for making a stand. The world now knows that she is a powerful woman deserving of respect.

I believe that history will be more considerate of Julia Gillard than parliament has been during her term. It would be wonderful if our politicians could get on with the business of governing the country and stop the insults and personality clashes.

I would like to see a parliament that is not misogynist, that takes women’s concerns seriously and gives women respect.