Monday, 9 March 2015

What can be shown?

Tonight I watched the ABC programme QandA, which dealt with feminism. It left me somewhat bemused. The mix of panelists seemed designed to provoke, and to enable the discussion to lurch all over the place. Lots of good things were said, But with such a format, it simply is not possible to discuss most issues in any depth.

Julie Bishop, Foreign Minister and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, was very good. Germaine Greer was herself, playing to the audience, and to her own self image. She still makes a lot of sense, despite a tendency to try to be a bit outrageous. The other panelists were varied and interesting, and the audience, both physically present and off line, rampaged through most of the possible permutations, some good, some bad and others fair to middling. Which is what you might expect really.

The audience was interesting. It was predominantly female. As the camera panned around, I looked at them. Hairstyles varied, some quite tizzied up. Makeup, lipstick, some plunging necklines. Quite different from a male audience, with suits and ties, etc. The females conformed to many of the stereotypes, and to the expectation to present themselves predominantly as sexual objects.

The preceding programme was about a doctor, a good man, a Muslim. He wore ordinary western clothes. But the females in his family, wife and daughter, wore head scarves. I find head scarves and veils very confronting and objectionable. It seems to me that it is truly inconsistent with equality of women and men, to insist on covering female parts - such as hair, head and most of the body, while the men can get about showing their fine hairy chests, and their faces and heads, without being covered. It makes me very upset to see such evidence of inequality.

Suddenly I recall scenes from my youth, being at a ball, wearing a scooped, (but not low) neckline and being chided not to lean forward, in case my breasts became visible to other people. The male in my life said that those breasts were his, and should not be glimpsed by other males. I was too silly to tell him that the breasts were not his, but mine.

1 comment:

Elephant's Child said...

I missed that program.
Does Julie Bishop still say she is not a feminist?
And shudder to think of the male of your youth. So very familiar. On all counts.