Red Alert

Women are not commodities

Posted by on February 10th, 2011

I was appalled to hear of a radio station competition to ‘win a wife’.  It is a reminder that there is still an attitude towards women in NZ  that is deeply troubling – that they are commodities to buy and to own.  The website includes a form to fill in and says “If you’re interested in holy matrimony with a potentially hot foreign chick, fill it out to the best of your abilities”

I, like many others I imagine, would have thought these sorts of competitions were from a bygone era.  The reality is that there is still a long way to go to achieving genuine equality for women in NZ.   There are still stereotypes, put downs and discrimination. 

In addition women, on average, earn less, own less and work longer hours (paid and unpaid work). Violent crimes against women – domestic and sexual violence - are still significant and persistent. We may have been the first country where women gained the right to vote, and we have seen women in the highest positions in the land, but there is still a lot to achieve.

I have recently become Labour’s Women’s Affairs Spokesperson and I will carry on the good job done by my colleague Sue Moroney in providing a strong voice for women.

Back to the beginning of this post - you may say that I don’t have a sense of humour. I can assure you I do but marriage is about an important relationship not a transaction.  Women are not commodities!


86 Responses to “Women are not commodities”

  1. Sophie says:

    Well if we are sticking to D words then learn this one – “decriminalisation”. Not legalisation!

    The fact that you don’t even realise that what we arguing is not something that is a “bit of fun”, you might as well not bother posting anymore, as you aren’t willing to engage in the issue that this post was supposed to be talking about.

  2. George says:

    Sopohie – I think you mean if I don’t consider rather than don’t realise. You views are just that. Views. And not the majority one…

  3. ScubaNurse says:

    Deleted. Off thread and a rant. Clare

  4. stef says:

    Sophie I think the word you are looking for is TROLL

  5. Sophie says:

    Thank you for that lesson. I have so much to learn. Just like I have to learn how to get paid the same as a man, and get elected into a public role, beto become a CEO of a company, to become a partner in a professional firm, whilst also being the bread winner despite my partner’s socially entrenched belief that he is supposed to fill that role, the primary childcare provider because women just do that better… I could go on, but I bet you are tired from just reading that.

  6. Spud says:

    “lots of happy success stories about people who have met, married people from sites such as this and are very happy” A nice idea, but I don’t think we’re allowed to hit on chicks here :-(

    @ScubaNurse – Yeah, it’s kinda like saying “win a car” but it’s a woman instead! 8O

    George, the ladies don’t like the idea of other ladies being objectified. :-(

  7. George says:

    Thank you for that lesson. I have so much to learn. Just like I have to learn how to get paid the same as a man, and get elected into a public role, beto become a CEO of a company, to become a partner in a professional firm, whilst also being the bread winner despite my partner’s socially entrenched belief that he is supposed to fill that role, the primary childcare provider because women just do that better… I could go on, but I bet you are tired from just reading that.

    Tired, but to be honest it’s from trying work out what your ramblings are supposed to mean.

  8. tracey says:

    Actually george not a single person here has said a single man hating thing, so not sure where you mysandristic polemics come from. Accusing people of hating men, who havent shown any hatred for men is hardly a cogent answer to our disquiet with the attitude catered to by this competition.

    Actually, you sir, have failed to address just about every point Sophie or Scuba Nurse raised.

    So far your “reasonable” argument in defence of the attitude played to by the radio station is that you found it funny and anyone who didnt hates men.

  9. Carmel Sepuloni says:

    Good on you Carol for blogging on this. I saw the article in the NZ Herald and was also disturbed by it.

  10. George says:

    George, the ladies don’t like the idea of other ladies being objectified

    Spud, I think I picked that up.

    I really just think they should lighten up. The same sort of passion for stereotyping that they appear to dispise seeps out from the postings they make.

    They have a view. I accept their right to hold it. But they need to get it into their heads that it isn’t by any means a majority view, and that people are getting sick and tired of it being stuck down their throats.

    The big question is whether Labour is a mass party trying to win over sufficient ordinary people to be considered a credible party of government, or is it a fringe of single or multi issue extremists who can think of nothing better than to explode into fits of righteous indignation every time someone says something with which they disagree.

    The big D is a serious problem for Labour and it will be even more so if it allows itself to go back to having its direction dictated by the Sophs and Stefs of this world. The nation rejected their modern day puritanism at the last election and my perception is that in the last two and a half years the country has become even less sympathetic towards their modus operandi.

  11. Spud says:

    I accept that this is the way you feel, George, but women are about 51% of the population (correct me if I’m wrong).

  12. George says:

    So, what if women are 51% of the population?

    Who’s to say that these few outraged people speak for any sizable proportion of those 51%?

    It’s the same with those who speak out about racist or sectarian jokes. I’ve had black friends who told hilarious racist jokes. I’ve also listened to the whinging of guilt-filled whites castigating people for laughing at them.

    Part of the problem with socialism is that the more extreme it becomes, the more it works against human nature.

    From her posting above Sopjie seems to have a problem with the fact that women, on the whole, make more natural child rearer than their male partners. Sorry, but three or four decades of feminism can’t change tens of thousands of years of evolution.

    What Labour needs to do is to judge where to draw the line. And it needs to listen to ordinary people rather than activists when trying to decide where their doctrine departs from unchangeable human nature. Because if they don’t their efforts at ‘correcting’ our errant behaviours will pay negative dividends.

  13. tracey says:

    Who is to say that YOU represent or even know what the “majority” thinks about anything George?

    I note that the most emotional rhetoric and hyperbole in this thread has been from you and those who think it is funny and the rest hate men.

    You have stridently avoided addressing the real issues raised by those with concerns here and seem content to believe that those appalling statistics around the committing and under punishing of crimes against women are somehow totally disconnected from attitudes within our society.

  14. Spud says:

    George, sometimes the man is the relationship is the better person to look after the kids! 8O There are quite a few happy house hubbies! 8O

  15. George says:

    I don’t claim to speak for the majority, Tracey, or even to know what they believe.

    But I must say that the evidence all around me – comments from colleagues when they read about the fuss in the tea room or on the internet and the huge imbalance in postings in response to the story on-line – does suggest that it’s the ‘is’nt this terrible, let’s ban it’ view that is in a small minority.

    I don’t think that blowing a blood vessel over trivia like this makes any difference when it comes down to addressing the sort of issues you mention.

    What it does do is cement certain stereotypes in peoples’ minds which then makes it less likely that they’ll rush back to Labour.

    And as I’ve been saying all afternoon, I find it a bit precious for some to get all hot and bothered over this sort of stuff whilst supporting a party that put brothels in the sort of locations where no one wants them.

  16. Matagari says:

    I think women who don’t like this see the objectification of women as a backwards step towards the days of women getting patted on the bum at work, not being taken seriously when they had something to say and having to listen to a whole host of sexual innuendos which made them feel uncomfortable.

    It’s not that long ago that women were regarded as being less intelligent than men and they often dependent on men for security. The only reason women have power today is because they have fought very long and very hard to get it.

  17. Matagari says:

    George, I can understand that it may be difficult for you to feel empathy for the people who are concerned by this because you have never been on the receiving end of sexism.

  18. George says:

    George, sometimes the man is the relationship is the better person to look after the kids! There are quite a few happy house hubbies!

    Absolutely agree, Spud.

    But think about most couples you know with children. I bet in almost all cases the females are most natural in the ‘mother’ role.

    All animals have instincts that govern the way they behave in the rearing of their young. Why is it so difficult for some to accept that humans are no different?

  19. George says:

    George, I can understand that it may be difficult for you to feel empathy for the people who are concerned by this because you have never been on the receiving end of sexism.

    Actually, Matagari, being a working class male from a very poor background who hit the workplace in a time of positive discriminaion I do feel that I’ve suffered from sexism. Probably far more so than some of the middle class women from cosy comfortable backgrounds that I’ve had to compete with over my career.

  20. Spud says:

    I agree with you that humans are animals, just look at parliament! ;-)

  21. Matagari says:

    If there was any positive discrimination it only existed to counter the inequality in society. It must have done some good as females have greater options now. I sympathise if this has made more difficulties for you.

  22. tracey says:

    See George, who has blown a blood vessel? Do you consider that anytime someone disagrees with you they are seething with anger?

    YOu did claim to speak for the majority, when you wrote

    “But they need to get it into their heads that it isn’t by any means a majority view, and that people are getting sick and tired of it being stuck down their throats.

    Words are power george, which is part of the point of this entire thread, choose and use them wisely.

    You keep bringing up the brothels and the decriminalisation George, but not once have you addressed anyone’s response to you over that.

  23. tracey says:

    I found the following, and I would think that some of this can be put down to choice (family priority having had children). It’s interesting to read, as someone who when I was practising saw a survey (1992) showing that a young male lawyer with my quals,same experience earned $10,000 more per annum than me after 3 years practice. That was alot of money in 1993.

    NZ: Women dominate recent admissions but lag in partnerships

    By Olivia Collings | Monday, 24 January 2011
    Back
    Font size:

    *The number of females practicing law in New Zealand* has increased by 10 percentage points in the past 10 years, according to the New Zealand Law society. In 2000 the percentage of lawyers who were female was 34%,up from 8% 20 years prior, and in 2010 it was 44%. Over 61% of lawyers
    in practice who were admitted to the bar in the past five years are women, and they now make up 59% of practicing lawyers admitted in the past 10 years.

    The “gender revolution” is most dramatically illustrated by statistics relating to lawyers who have been in practice for 40 years or more. Of these, 590 (99%) are men and just six are women. Only one woman had been in practice for 50 years or more, compared to 90 men. 52% of women holding a current practicing certificate entered legal practice within the past nine years

    However, the movement in partner numbers does not reflect the overall increase in female lawyers. The NZ law firm with the highest percentage of women partners is South Island-based Anderson Lloyd, which has 13 women partners or 43% of the total 30 partners. In percentage terms, the
    next largest was Brookfields with 35% (6) and DLA Phillips Fox tied with Meredith Connell at 25%

  24. Louis says:

    I knew this would be here. I think ultimately anything that upsets Sue Bradford is a good thing. The contest is in bad taste, but so long as all participants are acting of their own free will, there’s nothing wrong with it.

    I strongly doubt MediaWorks wouldn’t have done their research into the company providing the bride, so there’s little chance the company is owned by Russian gangsters, and again so long as the woman entered in of her own free will there is no problem. I know you lefties have a problem with free will, but it is an inherent good.

    Bad taste, yes. Is there a problem with our culture? No. After 9 years of being under a feminist stranglehold it’s good to see men able to act like men again.

  25. Louis says:

    And I do not mean that buying and selling women is how most men act, before some hysterical misandrist comes along.

    I just mean that it’s good to see (across our culture) things that don’t portray men as mindless dunces, and take pride in being different from women, which appear to be at the heart of Bradford’s issue.

  26. Monique Watson says:

    I’m not feeling particularly oppressed. Perhaps it’s because women make up 60% of admissions to university. Or perhaps it’s because I could have entered a ‘win a farmer’ contest a couple of years back. Either the lucky lass who won him or the lucky lad bait was from Milton I believe.I don’t currently don’t need a wife or a farmer so the competition holds no interest for me. Both competitions would probably be off the radar for most people apart from the genuine lonely, the desparate and the nutters. Now something I could really get my feminist claws into is the Ralph swimsuit competition being held at the Coyotes Bar, Wellington over the next few nights. Be nice to think human evolution had taken us past the ‘beer and boobs’ thing but methinks tis a rite of passage. The misogynists and woman beaters are found in the home.

  27. Louis says:

    Perhaps it’s because women make up 60% of admissions to university

    Y’see it’s comments like this that makes men hate you people (feminists). You can say that without anyone kicking up a fuss, but if I point out that 100% of NZs billionaires, 100% of the world’s moonwalkers (mankind’s greatest achievement), the vast majority of business and political leaders are men, your misandry comes out and I’m a sexist.

    Equal rights for women is a very recent development in Western culture (and by Western culture I’m talking starting with Greece and Rome, that’s where it began, not squabbling Bavarian states) and while I support the equal rights, I do not support the cultural maligning of men (the stuff that came out in the Clark years) or affirmative action putting less qualified women ahead of more qualified men (or affirmative action in any sense).

    Feminism is redundant in modern times, the only thing left that will create the level playing feild is time. Not protesting, or letter writing or blogging, not burning your bras or refusing to shave your legs. Besides, feminists can’t even make up their mind on porno, what make them think they are the ones to decide the best course for women right now? I’d rather listen to individual women who want to better their situation through hard work and their 60% university entrance rate than those who become part of a archaic movement.

    Give me the feminists of old who got themselves votes through hard work, not the ones of today who hate men-being-men and want to shove their female-supremacy beliefs down everyone’s throats. Perhaps I’ve misjudged you girls, but that’s what I see in modern feminism.

  28. muerk says:

    I think this contest is awful. It is NOT just a blokey jokey laugh, it is deeply disrespectful to women and marriage. I think the post title says it all – women are not commodities. They should not be objects that can be “won” and despite the fine print of the contest that is its theme, to win a wife.

    Human beings should never be bought or sold and given the horrible fact of sex trafficking the message that this contest sends sickens me. This competition sends a message that actively harms women by objectifying them and reducing them from people to a product to be sold to boost radio listeners.

    And please, this isn’t about joyless lefties, it’s about respect and dignity for all people.

  29. Red Devil says:

    I agree that women aren’t commodities. But I do recall Hugh Hefner saying something once, and it’s true.

    “If women weren’t sexually attractive, we wouldn’t survive.”

  30. Carol Beaumont says:

    Following this debate has been fascinating. @Sophie you said exactly what I would have said in relation to prostitution. I blogged about this pathetic advert to comment on the attitude to women it illustrates. These sorts of attitudes are part of the reason that women still face inequality and discrimination including worse economic outcomes and domestic and sexual violence. Women have made progress – no question – but there is still a long way to go. Outcomes for women are of course not the same – race and class also impact on outcomes. For those of us who believe in social justice this is not acceptable. Fullstop. It is also not acceptable because we are all collectively worse off if we limit the contributions and opportunities people can make to our society. For these reasons, and because women are men’s families, friends and partners, discrimination and inequality should be of concern to all of us. This is not about pulling men down to raise women up. Ironically this is what is currently happening – as men’s wages go down the gender pay gap is narrowing. This is not benefiting men or women!

  31. Sophie says:

    I still find it interesting that a male is trying to tell feminists and women how to “do feminism” and that it is “redundant”. That very statement tells me feminism isn’t redundant.

    Also last time I checked I didnt hate men, and all of the feminists I know don’t hate men. So stop playing the victim.

    And I think it might be a wise idea to actually learn a little about feminism before you start bagging it. If you base your opinion purely negative stereotypes of feminists who (apparently) hate men, then you are severely misinformed.

    If you are goinbg to make wide sweeping general statements about affirmative action please substantiate your arguments with examples and fact.

  32. Colonial Viper says:

    The contest is in bad taste, but so long as all participants are acting of their own free will, there’s nothing wrong with it.

    Interesting rationale.

    I suppose a trained professional who has to take an inappropriate low paid job in our current economy just to pay the bills is also “acting out of their own free will”.

    Righties forget that people can’t exercise “free will” when all the choices presented are rubbish ones.

  33. Tracey says:

    Interestingly that two different male posters used this term “misandrist”. Just saying.

    Also interesting that the people who seemed the most heated and upset by this discussion are the aforementioned two men.
    I am resisting the “I dont hate men” retort because it annoys me to feel I might need to say it because accusing me of hating men is not actually a cogent retort to the issues I and others have raised here.

  34. Tracey says:

    Here you go pdm.

    Between 1999 and 2008 the total number of prison sentences for men convicted of assualting women was 14% of total sentences.

    INterestign statistical breakdown is found here

    http://www.nzfvc.org.nz/PublicationDetails.aspx?publication=13530

    The McGregor study (2003) found that 94.9% of offenders were male. Over half of the total group of offenders (52.2%) were males related to the child and a further 42.7% were non-related males known to the survivor including, parents’ friends, neighbours, brothers’ friends, boarders, teachers and priests.

    Less than 40% of survivors of sexual abuse are likely to disclose the abuse

    ALL of the above is about attitude. THAT is the connection to this competition and those who see no harm in it.

    Child abuse costs new zealand around $2.5bn per YEAR. Jülich (2004)

    17 Dec 2010 Dominion Post stated results from a survey showed Sexual crimes were the least likely to be reported, often because the victim was ashamed or embarrassed.

  35. Gravey says:

    I find it so funny that we keep seeing men comment about man-hating. I am a man, and have never once encountered a woman who I felt hated me for being a man. Occasionally I am an idiot, so fair dues, but not for being a man.

    Perhaps the difference is that I give them (and all people by default) something called respect.

    Some have said that the small number of people complaining means that this is not a big deal. That is nothing short of absurd. I can equally claim that the even smaller number of people publicly supporting it means that everybody else is opposed to it.

    We also get the “if you don’t like it, don’t look at it” response. This is amazingly selfish. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean that incredible harm is not being done (apologies for overuse of negatives). Try not looking at a train coming towards you and see where it gets you.

    This is an extremely offensive campaign run by The Rock. If I was to be totally selfish, I would say “I hate it because is makes men look bad, and therefore makes my life more difficult”. Thing is, I’m not selfish. I realise that this competition does incredible harm. It continues the idea that women are commodities to be bought and sold.

    Louis – if men hate feminists, then I guess men (like me) hate me. How do you figure that one? Men do not hate feminists. Ignorant men might. The ones who can actually think generally don’t.

    And I really do wonder – where are all these men-haters?

    **Then** we have the people who bring up the “free speech” argument. I had a debate with someone the other day about another feminist issue where I was told “I have the right to say this … free speech .. so you go away and shut up”. Lesson for y’all – if you want the right to free speech, then you’d better damned well get used to ours.

  36. Spud says:

    @Viper – Good point! 8O