In the interests of full disclosure, there isn’t much that you say that I ever agree with. However, you have been on one of my favourite shows The Project for a long time and as a result I respect you. I definitely respect your right to express your opinions.
Again, in the interests of full disclosure, I also don’t necessarily agree with everything that Van Badham says, or the way that she says it; however, I also respect her right to say it.
I am also a feminist. I am not anti-male and I don’t hate men. I believe that historically there have been significant inequalities in opportunity for and treatment of women. I believe that some of these conditions still exist today. And not just for women, but for minority groups too.
As an intelligent person, I have tried to educate myself. One of the areas that I have educated myself in is the history of the treatment of women with regards to mental health and autonomy.
To call a woman hysterical, as Waleed pointed out to you, is historically loaded and associated with the dumbing down and silencing of women; taking away a person’s right to autonomy and self-expression. Historically, women were burned at the stake, beaten, raped, publicly shamed, shocked, drugged, im prisoner, stoned, and killed for fighting against the labels of woman and hysterical.
Van was not hysterical. I thought she was well reasoned and calm. I think that you were concerned that she had grouped you in a behaviour that you would not partake in; this is not how what she said came across to the audience.
Unfortunately, your response was a response typical of many people when their ego is feeling attacked. You came out swinging. And your blows supported the argument she was making and worked against what you were trying to convey.
You attempted to silence Van, consciously or subconsciously, by talking over the top of her, not letting her finish what she was saying, and ultimately, by calling her hysterical. You attempted to dominate and let your ego do the thinking.
Van did not say that men couldn’t feel as deeply as women about issues around Donestic Violence. She wasn’t attacking you personally. She did attack your friends. And as you acknowledge, their behaviour was highly inappropriate. And she did refer to those men as your friends as you had.
Please, rewatch the footage in full. With a clear head. Research hysteria in the context of women. Understand that your response towards Van, a response that was demeaning in context, is not right and was your responsibility.
Please don’t continue to blame Van for your response. Own your own behaviour and choices; convey your own evolution.
Using the description of a woman as hysterical or aggressive does nothing to support decreasing the rates of DV in Australia. Instead it fuels mysogynistic attitudes towards women and fuels the cyber bullying strong women are subjected to hourly in this country. And that just isn’t right. Nor is it something I think you would like to be known for.
PS. If you want to see the incident my letter refers to watch Q&A from Monday 11.7.16 on the ABC and then The Project’s interview with Steve Price tonight (12.7.16). Form your own opinion.