The Standard is Naming and Shaming

Whale Oil got named & shamedEvery once in a while, those of us concerned with feminism (or just women in politics in general) have to stand up for what we believe in, and call attention to shameful comments about women. The guys over at The Standard have done some excellent naming and shaming, causing the offender, a long-time blogger, to completely pull the story from his site. The URL of the story tells us enough, I think.

Interestingly, David Farrar has his own story that linked to the blog in question, on a post related to the shameful comments. Farrar follows the excuse that a link to a site is neither approval or disapproval of all of its content- I think we can all understand that fine. I’d like to express my sincerest hope, however, that he will at least call out his fellow blogger on his unacceptable comments, to clear the air- I know I would in his shoes.

If you’d like to weigh in, here’s the original story.

9 Responses

  1. Well I read the original at WOBH, DPF’s post, IrishBill’s, and the one above. At the end of the day I can’t see what the big deal is. The Standard seem to have overreacted. So Steady Eddy published an email that made Kate Sutton look bad. The email is accurate, no? I wonder how this compares to Nicky Hager’s stolen emails referred to in his book…?

    And as for Kate’s actual views that were exposed for all to see….so what? Maybe Helen is not too pleased, but a little internal criticism never hurt anyone. She was the President of the Auckland University’s Student’s Union, of course she has to represent them, it’s not the first time someone’s been in a position of political conflict. This one being pretty mild really. Tane and Co need to just chill out a bit.

  2. “and call attention to shameful comments about women.” …ahhh, shouldn’t that read “and call attention to shameful comments about Kate Sutton (or rather ‘a woman’)”??

    Your wording seems to presume the comments were an attack on women in general, but in fact it could be called an attack on Kate Sutton, who is an individual. I trust you will treat her as such. You wouldn’t want to be accused of using Kate for the sake of promoting a feminist agenda now would you?

  3. Fortunately, I did not get to see much of Whaleoil’s initial story, I just have the image- hence why this one is a brief post about naming and shaming and a basically a collection of links. The part of my post that you refer to- “and call attention to shameful comments about women” is referring to the general practice of naming and shaming- that is, making the wider community aware of people who disrespect women, sexuality, gender equality, rape, etc…

    I’m certainly don’t see controversies like this one as some sort of opportunity to mobilise support. I see them as people (possibly) saying disgusting things about each other. The important thing is that we don’t tolerate people disrespecting each other- I truly believe that it damages our political discourse.

    Calling someone a sexual deviant is categorically inappropriate- end of story. The only time sexual behaviour is “bad” is when it’s non-consensual or it involves physically hurting someone, and there doesn’t seem to be any good evidence that she was involved in any sort of hypocrisy. Purely on the basis of sexual allegations- the story becomes inappropriate. I know this isn’t the line you’ll see in the newspapers, but you can bet I’ll be calling them on any similar behaviour they indulge in, too. Private lives should normally be private business.

    I have no problem with Kate’s views on the state of the government at the time being made public. I certainly wouldn’t want that story covered up, and I’d actually like to see some of the left-leaning blogs cover it, too- I think it actually reflects quite well on Labour that they recruit their critics, and it’s quite possible that Kate has some slightly different views on the feasibility of helping students now that she gets to see the other end of the picture, especially given that student loans are now interest-free. I’ll be interested to hear more on that. 🙂

  4. Hmmm, maybe I am looking at the wrong WOBH post. The one linked to from Kiwiblog is this one. Can’t see anything to do with calling Kate Sutton a sexual deviant there.

    3rd and 4th paragraphs okay but I still can’t see why an attack on Kate is to be seen as an attack on women? If a similar comment was made about a specific man, I don’t think anyone would see it as an attack on all men.

  5. Appears the link tag didn’t works so well. Try:

  6. Yeah, that’s the “related” comment that DPF linked to. It’s not the actual comment that the controversy was about- with Whaleoil claiming that she was a sexual deviant. =/ The related comment’s broad thrust is fine- but note the language there:
    big-mouthed, stupid fat white woman Kate “pakeha vote for white candidates with names they can pronounce” Sutton

    Even the “tame” post is pretty hateful. Why is it in New Zealand that a woman in politics can’t be seen as wrong without also being seen as nagging, or fat? When men in politics do something we disagree with, we usually just question their leadership ability or their character.

  7. Okay well I take back the overreaction comment about The Standard as I haven’t seen the post they referred to. My bad.

    Since Farrar referred to a different post by Steady Eddy (albeit same subject matter) I think its stretching it to implicate him in the original controversy though.

    “Hateful” is also stretching re the the quote used in the “tame” post (in my view). I would call it silly and immature and pretty typical of what is bandied about in blogosphere. Kate is a politician…I am sure she would brush those words off without a second thought. If she can’t, she sure is going to have a hard time dealing with criticism in the future.

    While “nagging” is a term often linked to women, there are also terms linked to men (‘stupid’ for one). They’re just stereotypes, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. As for ‘fat’, well I’m sure Gerry B and Parekura H have been called this on multiple occasions in such forums.

  8. I’ll get back to this in the morning, Sean. Thanks for your comments. 🙂

  9. No worries on the mistake- it’s easy enough to make, it’s a complex situation.

    I’m not personally stretching Farrar in- you’ll actually see that I accept his excuse on this matter, while the Standard doesn’t. I do however think he would do well to clarify what he thinks about that kind of personal attack, (preferably distancing himself from it) given that he’s a prominent figure in the blogging community, and the integrity of the content he links to is quite important to his blog.

    I think we’ll have to differ on what we consider hateful. I certainly agree it’s also immature behaviour.

    As for Kate brushing them off: Sure, as a politician you need a thick skin right now because of the poisonous environment where people think it’s appropriate to attack people because of their ideology, or for politicians to attack each other that way. But that doesn’t excuse the comments and their damaging effect on the political discourse nor on our attitudes of women in our society. They may not be dismissed as stereotypes, because stereotypes can still be rather damaging.

    As for male MPs being “fat”- certainly, I object just as much to any MP being judged by their weight. It’s completely irrelevant to their leadership ability or policies in most cases.

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