Matthew Reddin

Wall street avoids women at all cost, weaponises our war on common sense

In this week alone, we’ve banned a Christmas song, the use of meat-based puns, The Little Mermaid and conversing with women. I fear whatever sense that was left is now gone.

 

 

A missile has been fired in the war on common sense recently where the geniuses behind the 2008 global financial crisis have gone into hyper defence mode against the perils of the #MeToo movement. How they’ve done it is a pearler.

As reported in the Fairfax papers, the approach from here on in is avoid women at all costs. Because apparently, even the most harmless form of sexual harassment and/or assault can land an “innocent” man in a world of problems. So, to irradiate the problem of “innocent” men being held to account for not keeping their hands to themselves, or their junk in their pants, the call is to avoid women. Because nothing removes you from the occasion of desire than having your object of desire taken away from your sweaty grasp. It’s women’s fault for being too danged alluring. How very dare they. They should have thought about their careers before they decided to bring their bosoms to the trading floor.

Good lord. This is an actual thing. Rather than modify one’s shitty behaviour, extract yourself from the recipients of said shitty behaviour. Makes about as much sense as changing the odd euphemism involving animals on the off chance that PETA gets upset (euphemisms can really get their goat…erm, sorry, get their boat).

The current Vice President of the United States has been reported to be someone who a) refers to his own wife as “Mother”, and b) won’t ever be alone in the same room as a woman, unless Mother is there with him. Why this is, one can only speculate. You’d have to think it was because of the naughty thoughts woman-people stir inside his laser-cut head. But rather than be an adult and not act on his base urges, he removes himself from the presence of women altogether, unless he has his chaperone. And this is a man who currently is one laboured, cholesterol-ridden heartbeat away from the nuclear codes.

I’m not speaking in isolation here when I say that it’s kinda rubbish that we have people of note who cannot be controlled around the fairer sex. It may come as a surprise to you, but if you’re in a workplace, it may make some modicum of sense to keep your hands to yourself, perhaps not tell dirty jokes between 9 and 5, and if you have the hots for a colleague, know that it’s 90% likely it’s a proximity infatuation and you’re just as likely to meet someone in line buying donuts. There’s plenty of fish in the sea. (Sorry, PETA – there’s plenty of…dish-es in…the pan-try?)

Idiots. Please just treat women as humans, that way there’s little to no chance you’re going to be accused of sexually predatory behaviour. Informed consent is something that’s pretty easy to come by. Maybe read about it. Speak to someone. Be adult.


Also on The Big Smoke


Or, if you want to do things completely wrong, maybe assume that your entire understanding about what informed consent is has come from a single viewing of a 1989 Disney cartoon. There’s a call for the banning (removal, censoring, something stupid) of the Oscar-nominated song Kiss the Girl. Why? Because the mermaid isn’t openly consenting to being kissed. Sends a bad message, apparently.

Now, let’s take a breather and a few steps back. Context here is everything. You know why the girl isn’t giving express verbal consent? She’s a mute. The Sea Witch took her tongue in exchange for her swapping her tail for a pair of legs (#science), so in order that she can get her voice back, she needs that magical first kiss and love and stuff. So, she wants to be kissed. The handsome prince doesn’t know this, but he’s just doing what he can to read the signs. The girl’s best friend, a talking, singing crab (#science), knows that she wants to be kissed, so it’s him doing the singing. He’s her wingman, and it’s a well-staged number which is encouraging a romance to blossom, with her informed consent being delivered via a third party – aforementioned singing crustacean. Sure, she can’t say it herself, but she wants it, the crab knows this, so it doing all he can to let the prince know. Via song.

That’s about 10 minutes of my life I won’t get back. If there’s a point to be made here, it’s that censoring something that doesn’t fit a current narrative is a nonsense, and doesn’t help anyone or anything. You don’t ban things because they offend you. If the piece was in fact sending the wrong message (it isn’t), then it can be used as a yardstick, an example of what not to do. But it’s isn’t that. You’d not make Birth of a Nation today, but it stands as a vitally important document about the ugly side of American history. Kiss the Girl isn’t about the blurred lines of sexual consent, but saying it is allows the selective outrage machine to pettifog and fill column inches. And the world gets progressively dumber.

I’d beg those making such idiotic notions and floating them in the public sphere to stop. There are more important fights to fight. And let’s assume we’re all wise enough to learn about consent from more than a single source.

Also, Wall Street? Stop being such reductive, chauvinistic simpletons.

 

Matthew Reddin

Matt Reddin has been writing nonsense about film, TV, books, music and live theatre for a touch over 20 years. He’s gone from the halcyon days of street press in Perth, to regional dailies, national magazines and major metropolitan newspapers. Now, in between bouts of sporadically yelling at clouds, he vents his creative spleen at www.lessercolumn.com.au

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