Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bonding: just some slurry in bunny ears

Mere days after the volcanic explosion of a giant and pulsating boil on the muscular Aussie arse (otherwise Sarah Ferguson's 'Code of Silence' on Four Corners on May 11, including an interview with the girl who was pack-raped by involved in so-called "group sex" with a number of players and staff from the Cronulla Sharks in Christchurch seven years ago) and the resulting dismissal by Channel Nine of former player and 'personality' Matthew Johns in a breathtaking display of hypocrisy by a TV station that has done more to promote and legitimise misogyny and sexism than any other single entity in the country (I originally mistyped 'Bonding' as 'Boning' in the title field up there)... Mere days after said explosion, as I say, with blood and pus still dripping from the walls of TV studios and football clubrooms everywhere, a Melbourne non-league Australian Rules football team has been fined $5,000 for hiring a stripper to perform before a game, as -- and this was how I heard it described by a club official on the radio -- 'a team bonding exercise'.

A team bonding exercise?

Some of us think it's more just a variation on the theme of bukkake. Or possibly not even a variation. And they'd probably think that was a team bonding exercise as well.

I mean, 'bonding'? How does that work in this case, exactly? You get together to degrade a woman; that much is clear. From the Four Corners transcript (this is a different woman, talking about another different woman):

SARAH FERGUSON: There is an even more sinister side to this technology, Charmyne claims to have been shown a video recently, by a young player on his mobile phone.

CHARMYNE PALAVI: He goes we picked up this one girl and there was like seven of us on her and everything and he goes to me, and we um, but I said you're going to get in trouble for that type of thing, like you can't do that. And he goes, please, he goes we just filmed her to say that she consented to it.

And that freaked me out. This girl was actually in her 20's and told me what they did to her. He said they made her put bunny ears on cause Easter's coming up and made her give head to all of the players one after the other. Made, like I don't understand the term, like we "made her do it."

SARAH FERGUSON: Yeah, and do you know who she is?

CHARMYNE PALAVI: No, I asked him who she was, not knowing that I would even know her, and he goes oh just some slurry from around Cronulla.

So, you get together to degrade a woman ... and that gets you together? Que? How does that work? Apparently the idea of the stripper was to 'gee them up', or, as some commentator unselfconsciously but hilariously put it on the radio last night, 'pump them up', which would seem to support what some of us have suspected all along: that sport is really only a slightly more organised substitute for the raping and pillaging that all manly-men would want to do all the time if only there weren't a lot of silly laws against it.

I was offered a unique insight into the way a certain kind of male mind works when some slurry from around North Adelaide (and a total stranger to boot) came up to me in the pub one night many years ago and said, and I quote, 'Do you f*ck?'

Not 'Where have you been all my life?', 'Hello', 'What's your name?', 'Nice haircut' or even 'Nice tits', but 'Do you fuck?' The correct reply to this, which I gave, is 'Not with the likes of you, shithead,' but I later gave this question and its wording a great deal of thought. To a certain kind of man, there are only two kinds of women. A woman either 'f*cks' or she doesn't. And if she does, she f*cks everybody. Which is, like, consent, right?

And in the meantime, given the height, weight, strength, fitness, world view and subcultural norms of most rugby players, and Charmyne Palavi's own, erm, unique take on these matters, there's one thing of which I am very sure: it's only a matter of time before she finds out what "made" means.

There must be some kind of psychoanalytic logic to this 'team bonding around the degradation of one woman' business, but I'm too tired and too revolted to work it out, so I offer Prahran and Cronulla this truly charming, subtle and hilarious little video instead. I'm sure they'll just love it, and it'll give them some great new ideas.


sigmund marx said...

Did you hear Germaine Greer on Fran this morning? She was saying exactly the same thing about men bonding through degrading women.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

No, I missed it. This is all my own work. But hey, great minds, etc. Germs and me, we're like that.

Sarah said...

The truly appalling thing to my mind was that Charmyne had already found out what 'made' meant - she had described her experience of waking up to find some footballer she didn't know 'inside her', but she had managed to 'put it behind her' and still continued to act as a pander for other footballers.
That's the thing that boggles my mind - is she seeking to normalise her experience by having other women go through it too?

Jonathan Shaw said...

I had to look up bukkake. I'm sorry I did

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Sorry. Extreme appallingness calls for extreme references. I didn't know what it was either until I took up blogging. Obviously there are echoes of it in the stripper pig commercial, too.

Sarah, that's very clever. I missed that connection altogether. I don't know about the idea of normalising her own experience though -- I think she thinks it's already normal, and I think a lot of other people do too. Those footy sub- and sub-sub-cultures are extremely extreme.

WV, incredibly, is 'acculpe'. It speaks Latin!

Helen said...

I don't know about the idea of normalising her own experience though -- I think she thinks it's already normal, and I think a lot of other people do too. Those footy sub- and sub-sub-cultures are extremely extreme.
Yes, she's got the concept that she's allowed to have sex when and with whom she pleases, but she hasn't got the idea that that doesn't mean that she's unrapeable - i.e. the idea of the unrapeable slut or prostitute, who's ipso facto in a permanent state of consent by virtue of their identity or occupation. she seemed to have some vague idea that her own rape was wrong, but rightly knew that in that ideological framework she wouldn't have been listened to if she had reported it. Hope I'm making some sense here.

Unknown said...

"that sport is really only a slightly more organised substitute for the raping and pillaging that all manly-men would want to do all the time if only there weren't a lot of silly laws against it."

Oh, is this why women's sport doesn't receive the same attention? Women aren't believable as mock rapists and pillagers?

I hope you were being sarcastic with that line (I genuinely can't tell). Because men and women play sport for a whole range of reasons that have nothing to do with simulated raping and pillaging, thank you very much. Please don't tar everyone who plays sport with this brush.

The idea that sport is a substitute for war, or whatever is just wrong. The two have nothing to do with each other.

Neither sport nor bonding should ever be used as an excuse to denigrate women, condone violence or bad behaviour.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Daniel, that was a slip and thanks for picking it up -- I meant to type the sport.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the comments criticising 'Charmayne' are very helpful to the debate about the way many men in rugby treat women. What she does is her business and power to her - she sounded like she was in control of the situation and enjoyed it. I think putting the blame on her for encouraging assault by rugby players on women is missing the point.

The reason she would not be taken seriously if she had reported her own rape is that society still regards women who pursue their own sexual agenda as sluts, especially if that agenda involves activities outside the realm of 'heterosexual normality'. The problem does not lie with her, but with society's mainstream views on women's sexuality. It seems that women's sexuality is still regarded as something to be controlled and limited.

lucy tartan said...

I think she became part of the problem when she branched out into providing other women for football players.