4 Sep 2012

Cry Havoc And Let Loose The Bitches Of War

By Jane Caro
Fed up with an outburst of intense media misogyny over the last week, Jane Caro started inciting women to destroy the joint. The call to arms has spread like wildfire
In the last 48 hours I have been called a slut by Tilda Swinton (pretty sure she meant it as a compliment) and a lefty feminist by Gerard Henderson (pretty sure he didn't). It has been among the most thrilling couple of days of my life. Let me tell you how it all began.

Friday night I was sitting over my iPad, glass of wine in hand — dangerous combo, I know — musing over Alan Jones' latest misogynistic tirade. In case you've been living under a rock and haven't heard about it he ranted about Gillard's aid package aimed at raising the status of women in the Pacific. Far from supporting more women in power, he said "women were destroying the joint" and cited Christine Nixon and Clover Moore as two examples.

On a whim I tweeted:

"Got time on my hands tonight so thought I'd spend it coming up with new ways of "destroying the joint" being a woman & all. Ideas welcome."

I had no idea whether I'd get any takers, but it took off like wildfire. Surgeon Jill Tomlinson added the hashtag #destroyingthejoint and a twitter phenomenon was created.

The tweets from both men and women were mostly hilarious, some borderline obscene — unleashed vaginas featured prominently (I was guilty of a couple of those myself) and some made powerful points. Jill Tomlinson tweeted about the way Liberian President and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was #destroyingthejoint. I cried over that one. Over others I laughed so hard I snorted some of my rather fine French rose up my nose! Not at all a pretty sight. Few bothered to be nasty about Jones. The tweets were about us, not about him.

The next day, the Sun Herald asked me to write a piece about the wave of misogynistic remarks recently — Todd Akin on "legitimate" rape & pregnancy, the Sydney Anglicans upgrading their wedding vows so now women can "submit" rather than "obey", the Grahame Morris/Leigh Sales bovine row, Jones of course, and more. The BBC World Service read the piece and interviewed me about it that night (I think that's what got up Henderson's nose, I doubt it was rose).

We now have #destroyingthejoint T shirts — raising money for refugees — a Facebook page, a campaign to pressure advertisers who sponsor Jones and a theme song! None of which I can claim credit for, by the way. I just started a joke.

But, actually, the hilarity and humour of #destroyingthejoint is precisely the point. In the past, we often — quite understandably — reacted to comments like the above with outrage, but outrage is defensive. It is the response of the powerless. Social media has given the powerless, many of whom are women, a voice and a platform.

As one commentator put it, #destroyingthejoint is reverse trolling. That's why I think so many people, particularly women, have taken to the thread so wholeheartedly. Instead of feeling hurt and angry about the way women are routinely dismissed and put down by many of the powerful, they have felt gleeful, naughty — and yes, powerful.

They are not on the defensive this time, they are on the offensive. Maybe it is my advertising background but I have long argued that satire, humour and wit are much more powerful weapons than indignation. This weekend, twitter proved it.

I thought the whole thing might be petering out a bit this morning and then dear Gerard wrote his column in the SMH and it's fired up again. But I am under no illusions, social media is like a grass fire, it burns hot, bright and hard and then it dies down. But I think the feminists of Australia (and the world if Tilda Swinton is any guide) have put it on notice. Women can be very, very funny and when they are, they are absolutely #destroyingthejoint.

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Bazzio101
Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 15:10

Jones ignores the damage done by the male dominated body politic, yet rages against the all-too-few women who make a difference in our modern world. He is clearly a ranting misogynist enveloped in his own small-minded insular world.

Question Authority

meski1
Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 16:33

Indignation is a response to trolling. And it means the troller won. Mind you, there's good quality trolling, and stuff you'd be ashamed to read, let alone write. But Jane, I think you're on the quality side of trolling. And any response from AJ is a win for you, as a troll.

martyns
Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 16:36

Nice one Jane! Even as a "mere male" I get infuriated by the remarks of types like A. Jones who I consider to be A. Idiot! Good luck with your campaign of 'destruction'.

jellybeans
Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 17:57

jellybeans

Jane this is so good! I've been shaking my '70s feminist head in gobsmacked disbelief at recent utterances by a range of survivors from the Dark Ages, in and via the media. What to do indeed but destroy the bloody joint!

This user is a New Matilda supporter. paul walter
Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 19:36

As jellybeans says, it is becoming medieval.
Like Martyns I recognise that the war on women, which is a war on humanity and consciousness, reflects badly on all men and I don't want to be associated with it.
It's actually sinister; the speculative world of Handmaid's Tale is way too close for comfort, and if they "get" women, they've "got" us, too.
I don't want to be a Stepforded zombie, either.

tan ramone
Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 20:22

I read Gerard's article today and have been meaning to see why he had his panties in a knot about Jane. I'm so glad I read this article and headed to Twitter to have a look at #destroyingthejoint. Brilliant! I haven't laughed so much in ages. Good on you Jane!

Lifesabeach
Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 20:51

Good on you Jane. Maybe we need a Council of Women Elders - Wise Women- those who have been #destroyingthejoint for years, but have remained intellect intact eg Hillary, Mary Robinson, Quentin Bryce, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf et al. (not Germaine!) Imagine poor old Alan's total freakout of confronted with any one of those eminent people.

metro70
Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 01:14

You don't need to start the destroying .

As Lifesabeach said, you've 'been destroying the joint for years'.

The sisterhood has already done it and it's the children who are paying the price.

Vicky Fysh
Posted Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 21:29

I just followed up this Tilda Swinton women...Her Twitter is absolutely littered with foul things. Is this really the rather famous actress Tilda Swinton? If so, she cares absolutely not for her social media profile.

m_fleming
Posted Saturday, August 17, 2013 - 13:43

Social medias are good communication tools, however, one must be very careful in using them. In just a blink of an eye, one reputation can be damaged. - Mallory Fleming