Monday, April 4, 2011

Dolly Putin, Bob Brown and politically correct double standards

There is no shortage of hypocrisy from the po-faced proponents of PC. They're forever accusing those who don't kowtow to their mind-stunting dogmas of sexism, racism and homophobia (even when they're not guilty of such things) but they invariably give all their fellow travellers a free pass (even when they are).

A recent example of this involves an adviser to Bob Brown called Naomi Edwards. She performs a comic character called Dolly Putin who has a pig called Amanda Vanstone.

There's that old double standard again. In Artsville, you can be as viciously misogynistic as you like (actually, you're encouraged to be) as long as you're mocking conservative women. There are heaps of examples of this, particularly in comedy.

I first really noticed it back in Melbourne in the early nineties. The lefty, feminist comedians -- you know, the kind of women who would whinge endlessly about male comics talking about their genitals, then get up on stage and do nothing but dick (and period) jokes -- would be livid whenever someone made fun of Joan Kirner's weight, or her polka dot dresses. But they loved it when the object of similarly sexist mockery was someone like Vanstone.

And I saw a more general manifestation of this double standard related to the phenomena of drag. I was often amused at how angry my lefty feminist friends would get about the boofheads from The Footy Show whenever they frocked up. But they themselves would happily go to a drag show at a gay pub and laugh along with the crowd and have a fine old time.

If you ever pointed the inconsistency out to them they would say that the blokey version was a mockery of femininity, while the gay drag show was far more stylish and a kind of celebration of it. But you could just as easily argue that there was more misogyny in the gay version. Gay men exaggerate aspects of femininity such as women's attire, hairstyles and makeup in a mocking way. And their characters always seem to be bitchy and nasty or just plain dumb as well. 

Gay men don't like women sexually, by definition. And from a drag act it would seem that they don't really like them in any other way. While any kind of performance is multifaceted and ambivalent, a very strong element in gay drag seems to be a revolted fascination with women and an attempt to diminish them through grotesque parody. 

There's misogyny in the boofhead version as well. But the joke is much more about incongruity. When towering lummoxes don little black dresses and blonde wigs they don't try to imitate women's mannerisms. If anything they exaggerate their masculine ones. They'll swagger around, scratch their balls, grab each other in affectionate headlocks -- all while grinning stupidly. They think they're utterly hilarious, and are desperate to crack up their mates with their shenanigans.

I think that sense of exclusion from the boys' club is what the feminists hated so much. Boofhead drag reminded them that they were not wanted. This blokey-bloke tribe possessed some sort of power and cachet that the feminists envied, yet its members were hostile to the idea of women entering it. But most men don't want to be part of boofhead culture either, so why would a woman want to be?

In any case I can understand women being offended by blokey-blokes in dresses. But then why not be offended by gay men's drag? Well, you might be accused of homophobia then. So you have to make a show of enjoying it and supporting it. It's the done thing

Ultimately this just shows how credulous and obedient lefty feminists actually are. They'll go along with anything as long as it's deemed right on by the powers that be. Hardly the definition of independent thinking. On the contrary, they're almost "participating in their own oppression", as they themselves might say.

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