Thursday, February 18, 2016

New Zealander of the Year and Other Issues of Sexism and Privilege

This morning had me waking up on the wrong side of the bed. I rolled over, opened up my laptop to see what was going on on social media and immediately erupted in a fury of "What the fuck is going on?!?".

Richie McCaw was named New Zealander of the Year.

If you're not sure who Richie McCaw is, it's not entirely surprising. Richie McCaw is a rugby player. He also does some charitable works, but if you Google his name, you'll see only references to rugby.

Not sure what rubgy is? That's not entirely surprising either. Rugby is a game whose importance is over inflated in only very few countries. New Zealand would be the largest country whereby Rugby is THE primary major sport. So it's little wonder then that New Zealand have also always excelled at the sport. What is a mystery though is why the "All Blacks" have failed to win so many World Cups.

Anyway. So Richie McCaw is it. He's what we should all aspire to. That's one hell of a value statement that is amazingly dismissive of just about EVERYTHING else. The two other finalists, an environmentalist and a victim's rights advocate... Yep, Richie McCaw's ability to play a game is somehow more important.

The Victim's Rights Advocate - Louise Nicholas - primarily works within the field of rape victims. So we're saying that Richie McCaw's ability to play a game and some charitable works is somehow of more value than someone who works hard, not at being good at a game, but rather, giving people a voice within a part of society that we are still, excuse the language, shit at. i.e. rape culture.

This reeks of white male privilege to me. My saying so ended up with one guy unfriending me on Facebook, and my arguing with another about whether it was "just" privilege or white male privilege.

I maintain that it can be called white male privilege (I tend to replace the word "male" with "penis" - mainly to be offensive and because it points out the ridiculousness of arguments of gender) because it would take someone of that much privilege to make such a value statement. i.e. that someone who "works" full time at a game and does a bit of charity on the side is of more value than people who dedicate their lives to helping people.

As well as Louise Nicholas as a potential winner, there's Helen Kelly. Helen Kelly is currently dying of cancer (there's a whole other story in there about medical marijuana) and dedicated her life to improving the working conditions of others. In my personal life I know some extraordinary people. People who have dedicated their lives to education, whether facilitating it or pushing it. And in all seriousness, I would've liked a winner who's positive contributions to society were from a place of intelligence. The war being waged on intelligence is terrible!.

My mood didn't improve as the next thing that I read is that TVNZ (a local TV broadcaster) are starting another channel! Aimed at males, with sports and shows like Two and a Half Men. The channel is being called "Duke". As far as I'm concerned, they might as well have just called it "White Penis".

Equity and intelligence took a hit today as value statements were made dismissing those things. We should be striving to make things better. Instead, it feels like we're moving toward a future of casual misogamy as if Mad Men is an inspiration rather than a look into a flawed past.