Deadly car culture

This little gem has annoyed me so much I’ve blogged about it twice now. Once on my cycling blog but now let’s get stuck into the misogyny inherent in the story.

A report this morning about a hit and run driving accident, in which a man hit a woman pushing a pram across a pedestrian crossing, appeared in the online paper. According to the article the man has been arrested and charged with “negligently causing serious injury”. Why not attempted murder? Did he think the pram was full of cans and therefore it was alright to drive right over the top of it and the woman pushing it? Did he not see the pedestrian crossing and think she was fair game?

Australia has been a very masculine oriented culture right from the beginning, when the white population was mostly male convicts. These days, as I blogged yesterday, there are more women than men, yet women still manage to be described in media and culture as somehow secondary to real humans, those being men. The male experience and perspective on life is still considered to be “normal” and of course much more important than “female” things like having babies, providing sex and looking like a blow up doll in order to appease the male populace.

For those men who think this is going too far in describing Aussie culture, consider the treatment of women who opt out. One of those idiot women’s magazines ran an article last year about gangs of men who rape lesbians to make them straight. Then there’s the cultural annihalation of females over 40, unless they reinvent themselves as desperate housewives.

In the case of car culture, things go even further. The car being naturally an extension of the male appendage, which is also used as a weapon to enforce masculine dominance, reporting of major accidents such as this one reveal a great deal about the attitudes inherent in Australian culture. First note the use of passive language.

Charlene Cavanagh, 31 was crossing a pedestrian crossing on the Princes Highway in Norlane with her two-year-old son when she was hit last Saturday.

Hit by what, I wonder? A gumnut? It’s almost as if she’s responsible for the accident by being on the pedestrian crossing, getting in the way of the driver.

While we’re on the subject of victim blaming, here’s some other stunning examples from recent reporting.

Assaulting a woman while she was breastfeeding her child in a shopping centre women’s lounge had this young man in court yesterday.

His lawyer, Zarah Garde-Wilson, said her client had suffered a traumatic episode as a result of his partner’s abortion.
He made apologies for his conduct and had spent 27 days in pre-sentence detention.
Ms Garde-Wilson said her client had suffered “ridicule” in custody and notoriety in the community following media reports about his arrest.

Somehow all of a sudden this has centred on how he feels, how he has suffered and the time he has done. Well, at least he’s active in something in this story.

Here’s how the same incident was reported by a woman in a tabloid…

A TEENAGER has pleaded guilty to groping a breastfeeding mother at a shopping centre.

Groping??!!! But wait, there’s more!

Prosector Sgt Kevin Ellis told the court Mr Chkhaidem had “invaded what was an intimate moment between mother and child”.
He said security footage showed Mr Chkhaidem loitering outside the changing room before the assault.
“She was fearful and felt she may have contributed to the incident,” Sgt Ellis said.

I’m still googling to find the reporting on the original incident, but the searchwords keep finding me millions of articles on women’s breasts before and after feeding, and some idiot groping ‘fakes’ at a fashion show.

The young man hung around the mothers’ lounge, approached this woman while she was feeding her child then after harrassing her for some time, he physically sexually assaulted her. This is, in the Australian press, reduced to groping.

Naturally, being a good little fem bot, the mother concerned has internalised responsibility for the assault. “She felt she may have contributed”. How exactly? By being there? By being female? And this said by a police officer involved in prosecuting the offence. What hope does this woman have? What hope do any of us have, if we are still, in the 21st century, considered responsible for men violating our bodies simply because we’re female? Talk about convict culture.

Another interesting point is the manner in which men are blogging about this story. Do a search in technorati and have a look at the way the man’s ethinicity come into play. How dare some non-white boy touch our women! All the possessiveness of your average, garden variety neanderthal.

In the original report in the tabloids the ethnicity of the perpetrator was the focus of the story, and the mother was quoted as saying

In a feeding room doing something natural, feeding your own child, you should be able to do (it) in privacy and peace

The mother goes from being shaken and embarrassed to feeling responsible. Possibly because a prolonged assault was considered nothing more than a groping in the press? A breast grab…?

This is a perfect example of the way crimes against women are reported in a passive voice, so that men are not seen as being responsible for their own actions, and also the tone of the language might well be a script for a p0rno!

Tigtog has blogged a timely piece about passive/aggressive use of language in rape reporting.

But this accused rapist pleads guilty would have to take the cake for the latest piece of turning the male rapist criminal into a victim of the crime.

If a woman expresses feelings of humiliation or depression after she is raped by a man, she’s accused of playing the victim or told to get over it. It seems that even as victims, men are more legitimate human beings than women.

Some months ago Germaine Greer appeared in a tv show interview in which she commented on the way most women don’t realise how much men hate them. Do they really hate you? The interviewer questioned. These articles would be a fairly good depiction of the fact that if you’re an honest woman, you only have to open your eyes to see that men really do hate you.

I am so angry right now!

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