(First published September 1, 20:54:46)
On Friday August 31 shock-jock radio presenter Alan Jones of 2GB declared "women are destroying the joint". Apparently Alan Jones feels that committing $320 million dollars to improve opportunities for the political, economic and social advancement of women in the Pacific constitutes an attempt to destroy the joint. He said: “She (the Prime Minister) said that we know societies only reach their full potential if women are politically participating. Women are destroying the joint – Christine Nixon in Melbourne, Clover Moore here. Honestly.”
It was a ludicrous statement. It might be more ludicrous than the claim that women can’t get pregnant after a legitimate rape, which was recently made by US Missouri GOP candidate Todd Akin. As Todd explained it, doctors had told him that a woman’s body has ways of shutting that sort of thing down. As a surgeon I find it easier to make excuses for Todd, who I assume has no scientific background and who would presumably accept the reproductive myth as a very convenient way to maintain a strongly anti-abortion stance for rape victims. But either way, they're both ludicrous and inexplicable statements.
The last week has seen quite a few examples of gender inequality in the Australian media. There was Liberal strategist and former Howard adviser Grahame Morris calling ABC 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales a cow for her interview style. My favourite Twitter response to that incident was from @firstdogonmoon, who said “Today we are all cows”. Yes, if Leigh is a cow I’d be happy to claim the label of “cow” if someone felt fit to toss it my way. There was the Anglican marriage vow that women "submit" to their husbands…. and then there was the awful Twitter ugliness on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning around Charlotte Dawson. I felt disappointed. It’s not the internet that causes this sort of behavior, it’s people. Disturbed and ugly people who likely do not think, realise or care about the damage that they do.
So on Friday night when @JaneCaro posted this tweet I saw an opportunity to get involved in a positive way.
I added the hashtag #destroythejoint and the ball started rolling. I tweeted:
I started brainstorming and suggested that women do or could #destroythejoint by:
• Proclaiming that they're a feminist
• Raising their sons and daughters as feminists
• Wearing flat shoes because they’re comfortable
• Reducing levels of corruption in Parliament (see infographic on right, via @AusAID)
• Comprising 80% of the worlds refugees (women and girls, UNHCR 2002)
• An increasing gender pay gap that sees women have to work an extra 64 days a year to achieve equal pay
• Performing 66% of the world’s work, but receiving 11% of the world’s income and owning 1% of the world’s land
• Heading 83% of single-parent families
• Being 75% of the refugees and internally displaced individuals in the world who have lost their families and homes
• Being the subject of domestic violence abuse which costs Australia $13 billion a year
• Leaving the paid workforce to care for children, parents and grandchildren
• Paid maternity leave
• Comprising 14.5% of women on the boards of ASX200 companies, although that hasn’t destroyed the joint yet
• Asking difficult questions during interviews, like Leigh Sales
• Getting the ADF to address issues of leadership, workplace flexibility, recruitment & retention, harassment & violence
• Breastfeeding in public or even parliament
• Breaking the entrenched model of the male primary breadwinner and providing families with options
• The actions of the Gippland Women’s Action Collective in releasing 64 red balloons to support equal pay (Equal Pay Day is Sunday Sep 2)
• Supporting individuals and organisations that support gender equality
It was great fun. Needless to say I was not the only one trying to point out how ludicrous Alan’s comments were through a blend of satire, irony and silliness. The other individuals Tweeting had many much more amusing suggestions that had me laughing out loud - visit Twitter and search the #destroythejoint stream, there are many gems.
Some Tweeps expressed concern that the attention was feeding Alan Jones’ desire for publicity. I understand their concerns, but #destroythejoint was about laughing at Alan’s misogyny, showing solidarity through ridiculing the suggestion that women were out to #destroythejoint. It was an opportunity to respond for every woman who has received a put down comment that irrelevantly cites her gender. Every woman who has been accused of trying to #destroythejoint could own the crazy accusation, responding that they were indeed out to #destroythejoint by not hanging out the laundry, not cleaning the house, not doing the ironing, having takeaway two nights in a row or putting their feet up on the coffee table.
A male surgeon from Brazil joined in the fun, proclaiming Dilma Rousseff one of Brazil’s best politicians ever, saying that his female president will #destroythejoint. It was the first international tweet I saw in #destroythejoint, but it certainly wouldn't be the last. @BernardKeane raised a glass “to all the laydees out there tonight, whatever joint you may be destroying”. A female neurosurgeon in Halifax joined in too, soon after I explained/apologised to my regular Twitter followers for my stream of #destroythejoint consciousness. I don't usually tweet in such volumes and it was a departure from my usual topics - usually I tweet items that are related to women's leadership and health through a different Twitter account. To my surprise and delight when I tweeted about Kirstie Marshall’s 2003 ejection from Parliament for breastfeeding (another way to #destroythejoint) Melbourne GP @ChazzaiA sent me a link letting me know that female MPs were allowed to breastfeed in Westminster in the 1970s.
Katy Gallagher satirically tweeted:
A favourite Harry Enfield YouTube video was linked to by @PublicSerpentOz. I remember dissolving in giggles when a female mentor showed this to me a few years ago. I still adore it. @externallylaws linked to a Helen Reddy YouTube video. We had an anthem. I saw males asking if they were allowed to #destroythejoint. I engaged with those that I saw, encouraging them to do so. Gender equality is not about excluding males – quite the opposite. Many men helped to #destroythejoint, either through Tweets or by helping their partners with dinner, cups of tea or childcare. A #destroythejoint series of T-shirts was quickly designed and available online for purchase, with the proceeds going to charity. #destroythejoint was trending nationally.
On Saturday September 1 @SummersAnne’s article on the political persecution of Australia’s first female prime minister was posted. I found it intriguing and retweeted it; the excerpt of the 2012 Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture that she delivered at the University of Newcastle on August 30 can be read here (Update: see media links below for full text and video of this important speech). MP @JaalaPulford posted a link to the world’s most powerful women (destroyers) for inspiration. @mamabook posted on her blog, saying exactly what I’d felt about the clarion call to action and the keyboard warriors. There was bipartisan participation from politicians and political organisations. After prompting @JulieBishopMP tweeted that she was “doing her best” to #destroythejoint.
I'm pleased and proud that #destroythejoint hasn't been about attacking Alan Jones personally. I have seen some tweets that have been personal, off-colour, offensive or rude. They take some of the fun out of this game of empowerment. A list of 2GB advertisers has been circulated and some are calling for Alan Jones to be sacked. Thanks to #destroythejoint I feel satisfied that there are many individuals who have a great sense of humour and share my views that Alan's words were misogynistic and have no place in intelligent debate. That's enough "action" for me, because I want to keep the gender debate inclusive and focused on the issue, not the person.
So folks, thanks for the fun of #destroythejoint over the last day. Thanks to all the new tweeps who I've met on social media - thank you for being polite and funny and just downright awesome. Please keep it up and encourage others to do so. You make the world a better place, and I need to tell you:
Destroyer Update: Sunday September 2
Click here to read Wendy Tuohy's article in the Herald Sun blog: Witty Twitter women destroy the joint
Click here to read Jane Caro's article in the Sydney Morning Herald: Still, it wasn't such a great week for women.
2GB's list of advertisers here - please be polite :)
Image credit: "Keep Calm" by @theaviator1992:
I want *this* on a teatowel - image credit Chris Johnson
Want fresh breath while you #destroythejoint? Order Empowermints from the Emily's List Australia shop
Official #destroythejoint Logo T-shirts and merchandise including the DtJ Montage Images through CafePress: http://www.cafepress.com/sk/officialdestroythejoint
Official #destroythejoint Logo T-shirts through Wordans (an Australian site): http://destroythejoint.wordans.com.au/my/boutique
Profits from the sale of merchandise from the two sites listed above go toward the upkeep of the DestroyTheJoint.org website and to charities determined by the Destroy The Joint community (through polling on the DtJ Facebook Page).
Other merchandise options include:
T-shirts: Destroying The Joint and related
#destroythejoint mouse pads, T-shirts, bibs, baby clothing and an apron: http://www.cafepress.co.uk/destroythejoint
Visit and Like the Facebook Page
Original images sourced from smashingmagazine.com, deepglamour.net and sarahsundin.blogspot.com
Destroyer Update: Destroy The Joint Media
MUST READ: Her Rights At Work (R-rated version) The Political Persecution of Australia’s First Female Prime Minister by Anne Summers: 2012 Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture
MUST WATCH: YouTube video of Anne Summers presenting the 2012 Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture at the University of Newcastle on Friday 31 August.
Why I encourage my daughter to destroy the joint Collette at TheFamilyFactor.com (01/09/2012)
Jane Caro interviewed on BBC radio interview starts at 36:20 (02/09/12)
Let's Destroy the Joint by Kim Powell at newswithnipples.com (03/09/12)
Cry Havoc And Let Loose The Bitches Of War by Jane Caro at NewMatilda.com (04/09/12)
#DestroytheJoint by Chris Johnson @Dream_Brother_ at scatteredroundtheworld.wordpress.com (02/09/12)
Destroying the joint on the way to the post-patriarchy by Jenna Price at Canberra Times (04/09/12)
The Reverse Troll by Julia May at Daily Life (04/09/12)
It's not destroying the joint, but this double standard is a cow by Gerard Henderson at Sydney Morning Herald (04/09/12)
Nancy and the Cow – Gerard Henderson the Cherry Picker by @prestontowers at (04/09/12)
All about Destroying The Joint by @TwitchyCorner at TwitchyCorner.com (04/09/12)
The Adventures of Feminist Dad by Kim Powell at newswithnipples.com (04/09/12)
Leadership, gender and discrimination. Audio of @SummersAnne talking to Tim Brunero on Radio Adelaide Breakfast
Belgium film on street harassment strikes a chord across Europe: video & article from the Guardian (related, 03/08/12)
Australian radio host says female leaders are 'destroying the joint' by Paolo Totaro in The Guardian (05/09/12)
Australia: sexual equality debate rages after DJ Alan Jones's outburst Alison Rourke, The Guardian (09/09/12)
Sweetening the fibre of feminism by Elisabeth Morgan and Tanya Rao in the VWT's Sheilas (13/09/12)
Sign the Petition at Change.org
@alsboy "Meanwhile, at a women's equality demonstration, possibly the best protest sign ever." (below)
From @danibevans (below)
And for more related images visit the Destroy The Joint Facebook Page
Thanks also to @AndrewCatsaras for these two awesome links:
Vintage Ad Sexism (ROTFL)
Suffragette Surveillance, 1913: women who totally destroyed the joint
AND LAST BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST
The #destroythejoint Cartoon
A breathtakingly awesome #destroythejoint cartoon from @firstdogonmoon appeared on 05/09/12.
I am eagerly waiting to order the T-shirt. As suggested by @firstdogonmoon, I won't wear it on planes. Language NSFW. Or when you're talking to humans.