Bleats

When Will Gross Dudes Get Maggie Rogers’ Message And Stop Objectifying Her?

Female artists are not your toys.

Maggie Rogers can barely go a few months without having to call out male fans, who come to her gigs wolf-whistling and yelling sexually explicit things at her. Not one to take that nonsense lying down, she vented on social media – and this is far from her first rodeo.

When a fan whistled during her performance at the Sydney Opera House this year, Rogers immediately called him out. After calling it “rude”, she said “They consider it sexual harassment, in some countries.” Thanks by the way, Aussie men, for confirming your status as some of the worst harassers in the world.

What is it about a powerful, emotional solo moment that inspires men to be their absolute worst? Maggie Rogers stops the show to speak about something meaningful, and what does she get in return? A guy requesting a strip show. Unbelievable. But also, somehow, very believable.

In the comments section, other women shared their own experiences of being harassed and catcalled onstage. Singer Ashe wrote, “i got “show me your tits” from a group of both women and men at a show in sf once. inexcusable.” Maren Morris applauded Maggie Rogers’ statement, writing “thanks for posting this. I don’t think people realize artists hear and see that shit and we aren’t made of stone.”

It is so ridiculously common (and exhausting) that when it happens, most female artists just ignore it and move on. It shouldn’t be a woman’s responsibility to correct the bad behaviour, but sometimes it’s necessary.

Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES hit the nail on the head when she rebuked a man who yelled “Marry me” during a show in 2015. Addressing the crowd, she said, “Sorry for shaming that one person, but if nobody tells you, then you’re never going to know. Luckily for me right now I have a microphone, and you don’t, so it works in my favor at this particular juncture.”

Have we not been clear enough, guys? Well, here’s the TL;DR – women in entertainment are not your objects, and them being on stage is not an invitation.

Harassment and objectification are everyday realities for women, whether they’re in the limelight or just going about their daily business. If you’re a woman, you can be 40 000 ft in the air and still be perved on. So guys, if there’s still even a shred of doubt in your mind that this isn’t a real issue, you really need to start listening to women.

Stay fierce and true to yourself, Maggie. Next time a gross dude does this (and let’s be honest, there will definitely be a ‘next time’), we need your sassy comebacks to shame them into sitting TF down. Fuel that fire!

Smartphones Are Letting Domestic Violence Perpetrators Back Into Their Victims' Lives

And we're not doing nearly enough about it.

The only people who should be getting a new iPhone every few months are hardcore Apple fans, and they also really shouldn’t. But sadly it’s a necessary evil that women who are stalked by abusive partners face.

Natasha Malmstrom told the ABC that her ex had managed to track down five phones since she left him in 2012. Shared passwords, cloud access, pre-installed GPS tracking apps, and social media posts are all commonly exploited by perpetrators to keep tabs on their victims. Even Natasha’s dog’s collar was a vulnerability – her ex used it to get hold of her new phone number.

‘Digital coercive control’ – when domestic violence is facilitated by smartphones and other technologies – can be just as emotionally and socially damaging for women as physical assault. Abusers use tech to control women’s finances, and influence their relationships with friends and family. Receiving constant threats via phone makes victims feel isolated.

And it is seriously common. All 30 women interviewed for a DV study by researcher Dr Bridget Harris said they “experienced abuse through technology”.

“The Brisbane Domestic Violence Centre hands out 50 mobile phones a month to women trying to flee a tech-savvy abusive ex.”

Lexy Hamilton-Smith, ABC

DCC keeps women who have escaped violent relationships trapped in the nightmare, and it can be a huge red flag for future abuse. In half of all intimate partner homicide convictions, there were no previous reports of violence.

Ladies, it is not normal or okay for your BF to be texting you 50 times a day, demanding to know where you are or who you’re talking to.

When it comes to technology-based abuse, a lot of the advice women receive is decidedly victim blamey. Changing your passwords and Facebook security settings are good first steps, but asking women to ‘reduce their social media activity’ or ‘get new phone numbers’ does little in the long term, except distance them from their support networks.

Tech companies have a huge responsibility to make the Internet a safer place for women, but don’t hold your breath waiting for serious policy changes. In her most recent submission to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Dr Bridget Harris’ recommendations included:

  • Eliminate charges for changing and unlisting numbers
  • Release survivors from charges for phones that abusers have taken or destroyed
  • Offer financial hardship plans for domestic violence survivors unable to pay for phone contracts and plans
  • Improve consumer safeguards to protect privacy and facilitate release from contracts and family plans when domestic violence is an issue

So while the rest of us are freaking out about real-life Black Mirror, domestic violence victims are facing far more pressing smartphone horrors. And they probably always will, even if tech companies and telcos step up.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

Simone Biles Just Cracked Another Record, As If She Wasn’t Enough Of A Badass

Can she even wear all those medals without breaking her neck?

The results are in, and Simone Biles is officially the most decorated athlete in gymnastics history. Taking her medal tally to 25 – 19 of which are gold – at the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, Biles has proven yet again that she’s the indisputable queen of the balance beam.

Biles’ success at Stuttgart has seen her thrash her predecessor, Vitaly Scherbo, who holds 12 gold medals and 23 in total. That makes Simone Biles the best gymnast of any gender – hasn’t it been a great year for fempowerment in sport?!

This isn’t even the first time this year that Biles has absolutely floored us with her skills. Who could forget the moment that she pulled off the first ever ‘double double dismount’, now one of two moves that are officially named after her?

‘The Biles’ in action.

Simone Biles’ guts and glory have earned her a legion of fans from around the globe, even ones who couldn’t give a toss about the sport. Because who could fail to love a lady who constantly takes out titles with a smile? Oh, that’s right, the usual lot of insecure men who reckon she’s too ‘cocky’. Who cares what they think anyway, when most of the world is absolutely frothing for you.

One of the reasons she’s so beloved is her quintessential black girl magic. She won the all-around title early in her career, and was the first African-American women to do so – ‘inspirational’ is an understatement. In a 2018 interview with Ebony, she said:

“You see all the African-Americans looking up to you. It really does change their life to see someone in their sport excelling as well as they do, so it really means a lot.”

Despite accruing a frankly ridiculous number of accolades, Simone Biles is not slowing down. There’s more than enough time for her to add a few more golds to the collection at the Tokyo Olympics next year, and let’s be honest, she’ll probably come up with a ‘Biles III’ by then too. Get hyped, y’all.

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