I wasn’t gonna write anything about the Key and Veitch misogynists’ club because hating on John Key is just, like, so clichéd and there are so many more original people to hate on, but then John Key said this, and I just couldn’t help myself.
This whole saga has been pretty telling. As in, it tells us a lot about how acceptable sexism is in New Zealand, starting with how much the capitalist media just doesn’t get what it is that’s making all us feminists so mad.
Now, I don’t have a problem with people having celebrity crushes. In fact I’m still working out my Joss Whedon top five. Of course unlike John Key I’m not kidding myself that Eliza Dushku and Enver Gjokaj would give a shit that they’ve made my list. Also unlike John Key, I don’t feel the need to talk about my celebrity crushes on national media because (a) I don’t assume people care and (b) I have way more urgent important issues I’d like to engage with people on. But then again I am not a politician.
No offence to Hurley, Alba and Jolie, but John Key’s top three list does seem pretty banal. This is telling. It tells us that John Key (and Phil Goff too) are banal people. More importantly it tells us that Key’s comment had less to do with expressing his sexual desires and more to do with proving how manly he is, because he too can treat women as if they’re put on this earth to be objects of his fantasy. I guess it’s his way of connecting with the Average Voter, meaning the voter who’s male and sexist and also obsessed with proving his manliness. I guess that’s what’s making us feminists so mad.
That and, this show of manliness took place on Tony Veitch’s radio show. Remember Tony Veitch? That famous guy who kicked his ex-partner while she was lying on the ground and broke her spine multiple times?
John Key thinks that Veitch ‘clearly made a mistake’. That’s surprisingly enlightened and forgiving from a dude whose political party is all about hardline law and order policies and building more prisons.
I’d like to be enlightened and forgiving too, and I agree that Veitch made a mistake. If Veitch had addressed his mistake by publicly acknowledging his abuse, and publicly apologizing to Kristine Dunne-Powell, her family, friends and support network, and than started anti violence counseling of his own accord, and committed himself to prioritizing Dunne-Powell’s needs over his own, and made it clear that he understood that this might never be resolved, because actually breaking someone’s back like that is a vicious and horrific thing to do and it’s likely she’ll never be able to forgive him for it, if he’d done all that, then I would be able to say, ‘Tony Veitch clearly made a mistake, and he’s working really hard to make it right.’
But that hasn’t happened. Veitch got his job back, and he gets to play best buds with the prime minister. This is also telling. It tells us that nobody cares much that Veitch is responsible for a horrific act of violence against a woman. Probably because no one thinks that horrific acts of violence against women are all that horrific. At least not if said woman is your lover or used to be your lover. It tells us that deep down many people in this society, especially male ones, still think that women become men’s property when they have sex with them.
John Key’s decision to use Tony Veitch’s radio show as a forum to exhibit his manliness is telling. It tells us that Key sees Veitch as a man whose views on masculinity and women’s roles is compatible with his own. I guess that’s another thing that’s making all us feminists mad.
To top it all off, Dean Lonergan thinks that, ‘those women who might be upset at his comments are obviously just disappointed they never made John Key’s list and never will’. Again, this is telling. It tells us that Dean Lonergan thinks that the only reason women might mind being treated as though their most important role in life is to fulfill men’s desires, is if they aren’t ‘hot’ enough to fulfill those desires. This tells us that Dean Lonergan thinks that the idea that women’s most important role in life is to fulfill men’s desire, only hurts those women who aren’t ‘hot’ enough to fulfill those desires. This really isn’t true. The idea that women are on this earth to be fucked by men hurts all women, regardless of whether or not Dean Lonergan, John Key or any other man thinks we are hot enough to be fucked by them.
That’s what’s making all us feminists mad.