What is sexism… And can men experience it?

According to Wikipedia sexism is: 

Sexism or gender discrimination is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender. Sexism can affect either gender, but it is particularly documented as affecting women and girls. It has been linked to stereotypes and gender roles, and may include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior to another.

The first line of that definition, taken alone (as it often is) conflates “sexism” and “sex discrimination” as being one and the same thing, but they’re not quite.

In truth sex discrimination is only part of the puzzle required for something to be considered sexist.

Sex discrimination is the first line:

“prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender.”

So what is sexism?

From my understanding – sexism is the inclusion of the second & third lines:

“it can affect either gender, but it is particularly documented as affecting women and girls. It has been linked to stereotypes and gender roles, and may include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior to another.”

Of course, being from Wikipedia someone has thrown in a “may” before the very important words “include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior”…. Who want’s to bet that was done by a man?

The “may” should be removed from this definition, as it is the presence of that superiority/inferiority paradigm which defines whether or not something is sexist.

This is sleight of hand and is also commonly heard in discussions about ‘racism’ too. How many times have you heard someone say:

But isn’t that racist?

Continue reading What is sexism… And can men experience it?

Universal Basic Income – What to do about wealthy people?

The idea of a Universal Basic Income seems pretty straight forward. Everyone gets a minimum payment to cover life’s costs. Sounds good, all things being equal.

But all things are not equal.

Rich people do NOT need universal basic income and indeed should not get it. Or should they?

Maybe the answer isn’t means testing the payment of UBI, it’s means-testing the ability to access it. Controlling access is not a new idea.

Take superannuation – everyone gets paid a regulated minimum amount of Super – but can only access it under certain conditions such as retirement, dire medical issues or potentially losing home due to non-payments.

Your UBI could be paid into a government-held bank account, which can be accessed dependent upon a few very simple conditions. Those conditions would need some smarter people to work out properly…

But lets ‘spitball’ some ideas to start with:

  • Your yearly income is less than 200% of the ‘average’ (median) income, or $200,000 per year (adjusted for inflation)
  • Your total asset value does not exceed 1000% of the ‘average’ (median) asset value, or $5 million (adjusted for inflation)

Continue reading Universal Basic Income – What to do about wealthy people?

I Have – in solidarity with #MeToo

IF I said I have never treated women inappropriately, ignored sexual harassment and/or inappropriate behaviour in workplaces and society more broadly, or taken part in their objectification, I’d be lying.

Any honest man would have to say the same thing.

Unfortunately the society I grew up in raised me to believe that objectifying women was normal, and that cat-calling, butt-slapping and other forms of sexual harassment were acceptable behaviour.

They are not.

It’s really brave, inspiring, and horrifying, all of these women sharing their #MeToo stories about men’s behaviour. So in an act of solidarity, after speaking with friends, I am going to share some #IHave stories.

I hope this honesty is taken in the vein it is intended, as a condemnation of this pattern of behaviour, not a normalisation or acceptance of it:

I have… Continue reading I Have – in solidarity with #MeToo

Campaigning: Most of the time it’s an unpaid and thankless job.

I tell you what. I’ve been working on campaigns since 2003 and while it’s led me to being a much better person, given me a lot of skills and some AMAZING friends and contacts; it’s mostly a fucking thankless job.

Most of the time you are not winning.

Most of the time you are fighting like hell just to hold on to what we’ve got. Sometimes you are losing. Losing lives to suicide. Losing lives to deaths in custody. Losing land to clearing. Losing biodiversity. Losing community. Losing culture. Losing a chance at a safe future free of human-induced climate chaos.

Most of the time you are not getting the thanks you should get.

Most of the time you are getting called names. Most of the time you are getting harassed. Most of the time people just want to argue with you, so they take positions they don’t really hold just to test you. Most of the time you are left seething with rage. Most of the time you are upset. Most of the time others have no idea what is going on in your head.

I’ve been character assassinated.

I’ve had people say I’m a stooge for big business, that I’m only in it for ‘personal glory’, that I only do this work because they think I “want to be Prime Minister”. I’ve lost jobs over it. I’ve quit jobs over it. I’ve lost friends over it. I’ve dumped friends over it. I’ve fought with family. I’ve been ridiculed by friends and family.

I’ve been told I’ll never make a difference.

I’ve been repeatedly told my actions have no impact.

But then we’ve won. We’ve suddenly, out of nowhere had a win. A tactic has worked. A government has caved in. A government has been defeated. A company has given up. People have changed their minds.

After over a full solid year of committing THOUSANDS of hours to lead a solid team of volunteers organising an awesome campaign, I’m fucking exhausted.

I’m not financially better off. In fact I’m out of pocket – from supporting the team financially during emergencies, from working less to commit more volunteering time without losing my own sanity.

But I’ve also never been more proud of myself.

I’ve never done anything in my life that was more important than this.

And the only thanks I really care about, I get all the time – from Clinton himself.

It’s always worth it. But it ain’t ever easy.

No stuff-up to defend breaking ‘unjust’ laws. Had to be said.

A few people have said to me Sally McManus had ‘miscalculated’ or ‘stuffed up’ when she said sometimes it is necessary to break laws that are unjust.

Firstly – not one of the people who has said this to me so far is currently a union member themselves.

But more importantly – if people didn’t take so called ‘illegal’ action against unjust policies, projects and systems…. We would still be living as slaves, with no democratic rights, with a sole rich powerful family ruling the roost.

Or for a more current example – ‘illegal’ action was taken by the people who stopped James Price Point, Roe 8, Old Growth Forest Logging, the WA Shark Cull, and who are using their bodies stopping gas fracking and new coal mines.

I was recently arrested and charged while protecting the Beeliar Wetlands myself.

Laws do not define what is ‘right or wrong’.

Laws are just systems put in place to ensure the ‘status quot’ of how society currently operates. Some of those laws have a future in our society, some of those laws should have been left in the past.

Some laws we probably need haven’t even been thought of yet.

Most of our laws are compromise agreements reached between those seeking a better society, and those who were holding the reigns of power in the unfair and unequal societies of the past.

Modern laws are often compromise agreements balancing the influence of lobbying by vested interests – mostly the rich elite – with the influence of democratic power of citizens through elections, activism and non-violent action.

Laws are not infallible. Laws are not stagnant.

Laws are simply a social-contract currently agreed to in order to enable our society to function in an agreed-to manner.

Continue reading No stuff-up to defend breaking ‘unjust’ laws. Had to be said.