For the past few weeks I’ve been addressing female and male students around the country on the issue of the representation of women and girls in media and popular culture. I’ve been urging the boys to reject cultural messaging that socialises them into a calloused and brutalised version of masculinity. Yesterday I received a Facebook message from Ethan, in Year 8 at a Sydney school. I was so encouraged.
Hi Melinda my name is Ethan, I was at your seminar. I was in the year 8 talk and what you were saying really moved me. It made me realise that even when I make joke how much it can affect girls. Im really going to watch what I say from now on. I would just like to say thank you, I learnt a lot (: Ethan
It has been heartening to see so many boys joining Collective Shout because they want to fight sexploitation and make a difference. To see them getting angry, to hear them asking from the audience: “What? How can that be allowed”? To listen to their concerns for their sisters and even for their future daughters.
I was reflecting on this as I finally got around to watching this Ted talk by Jackson Katz. So many people had mentioned it to me on my travels. It is such a timely message. As Katz says, violence against women isn’t a women’s issue – “This issue is primarily about us.”
Readers wanting something of substance from Dolly’s June issue would do best to skip the first half and go straight to the second. Articles on self-harm, hate pages and unhealthy attitudes toward food redeem the insubstantial nature of the pages that go before.
‘Would you “like” a hate page?’ explores the phenomenon of online hate pages. A hate page is explained as any page set up on social media to incite hatred, violence or racism towards a group or individuals. Susan McLean of Cyber Safety Solutions explains there are more hate pages around now. “Many people who participate in hate pages wouldn’t behave this way in the real world. There’s a lack of accountability online, so people think they can get away with it,” McLean says. A pack mentality can also be at work, where the more ‘likes’ a page gets the more others join in. Readers are reminded that under state cyber bullying laws, people posting comments or threats on hate pages can be charged. Psychologist Meredith Fuller explains that ‘liking’ the page is the cyber equivalent of looking on while someone gets bullied. Readers are encouraged to report hate pages. A related piece is ‘How I fight bullying’, with three girls telling their stories of addressing bullying in groups including The Hope Project, Angels Goal and Student Harassment Investigation Team (S.H.I.T).
The feature on self-harm is very welcome. Exploring the distressing phenomenon of ‘cutting’, Dolly tells the story of Emily, 15, who started cutting when she was 12. “I do it in secret and hide it as best I can. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that the only relief I can get is to hurt myself,” she says. An estimated 10 percent of teen girls self-harm. It should not be put in the category of attention-seeking (most girls try to hide the habit) – it is a response to intense emotional pain. Those who engage in the behaviour get a temporary sense of relief, with emotional pain transferred to physical pain. Jasmine, 16, shares her journey of recovery, replacing the act of cutting with positive activities until the urge to cut has passed and talking to trusted people about it. Jasmine has a blog called Perks of Recovery. Read more
An unexpected response, perhaps, from an (allegedly) grown woman. But a story in the latest issue did me in.
‘Real Life Stories’ – which I have always appreciated for giving space to the raw realities of so many girls lives – opens with a first person account of Carrieanne who took on the care of her younger brothers and sisters when her mother died suddenly at only 42, for reasons unknown. Carrieanne was 18. A moving photo shows her with her three younger siblings, one only a baby. Carrieanne has applied for legal guardianship and is continuing to study while caring for the children with the help of two older siblings and neighbours. Speaking of her mum she says “I think she would be so proud of what I’m doing now.” I think she would be too Carrieanne. (Now where are the tissues?).
In other ‘Real Stories’, Mariah, 16, is working to end poverty with World Vision. She began by getting an after school job so she could sponsor a child. By 13 she was fundraising for World Vision’s Haiti earthquake appeal and is now collating a book Reaching Out: Messages of Hope, a collaboration between 30 authors, illustrators and advocates from around the world to be published by HarperCollins, with profits going to UNIFEC for which she is now a youth ambassador. “Teens might not realise it, but we have so much power. We can be the generation that changes history. We don’t need to fix world poverty tomorrow, but we can help one child at a time.” Well said Mariah! Read more
Abused, threatened, but Talitha Stone won’t be stopped
One of the great rewards of this work is seeing a growing wave of young women go into battle against violence against women in all its brutal manifestations, calling out and naming this violence as unacceptable. One such woman is 24-year-old Talitha Stone. Talitha decided she had to speak out and has been involved with the work of Collective Shout for a couple of years. Talitha’s passion and gutsy activism gives me hope that things can change. I first introduced you to her when she infiltrated try-outs for the Lingerie Football League last year. You can read about what she experienced here.
Talitha copped a raft of violent threats, including death and rape, when she participated in Collective Shout’s social media campaign against US rapper Tyler the Creator, who we believed was in breach of his visa conditions for vilifying women and celebrating violence as entertainment. She didn’t think his behaviour should be supported and naturalised and threw herself into the fray. The level of venom and abuse she received provided further evidence for our arguments. You can read about the online harassment here. (There have been even more threatening tweets since then, forwarded to police).
On Thursday Talitha attended the rapper’s gig in Sydney, to gather more evidence in our quest to have Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor withdraw his visa. She captured video of Tyler engaging in sexually degrading insults of her, which has since gone around the world and had more than 13,000 views at time of writing. View here. Note the crowd’s response to the tirade, pumping their fists, jeering and cheering, in a ritual celebration of abuse.
I have found out what happens you decide to take on one of the biggest rap artists in the world.
The Australian grassroots movement of which I am a part of, Collective Shout, is currently in a dispute with music artist Tyler the Creator. We believe his lyrics – which often mention raping women – are inciting hatred, and we have been calling on immigration minister Brendan O’Connor to revoke his visa.
This Wednesday, I tweeted both Tyler the Creator and the clothing store Culture Kings. I wanted to inform Culture Kings that the artist they were hosting for a signing event regularly promotes violence against women through his lyrics – some of which promote the rape of dead or pregnant women, and also refer to locking women in car boots and basements. Read more.
A woman who claims she was verbally abused on stage by an American rapper in Sydney on Thursday evening has reported the incident to police.
Talitha Stone, a 24-year-old blogger and campaigner, says she felt “petrified” following “terrifying and disturbing” abuse which she says was levelled at her by US rapper Tyler, the Creator.
Stone, who is a member of the online feminist activist group Collective Shout, had previously been part of a social media campaign to have the rapper banned from Australia. She had received a slew of abuse including rape threats on Twitter after the rapper, who has 1.7 million followers on the microblogging site, retweeted one of her posts, which said: “have to visit @Culturekings tomoz to protest against @fucktyler he will be there at midday. I think they need educating on #misogyny.” Read more
Stone and anti-misogyny organization Collective Shout had been trying to get the Odd Future leader’s Australian visa revoked, citing rules against visitors who “vilify or incite discord” and “songs advocating rape and extreme violence against women.” (Sample lyrics: “Rape a pregnant bitch and tell my friends I had a threesome,” “Keep that bitch locked up in my storage, rape her and record it.”) When Stone tweeted about protesting a concert in Sydney, Tyler retweeted her, prompting cyber harassment from his fans and Stone filing a police report. Read more
The rapper certainly isn’t a stranger to controversy or being totes offensive, and now he’s set off some serious dramz in Australia.
It started when the group Collective Shout and female protestor Talitha Stone petitioned to have his Australian visa revoked because his performance would go against Australia’s rules against visitors who “vilify or incite discord” and “songs advocating rape and extreme violence against women.” A number of rappers, including 2 Chainz, haven’t been able to obtain visas to perform in the country in the past.
NSW Police have confirmed they are investigating a sexual assault at a gig where US rapper Tyler, the Creator was performing.
A NSW Police spokesman confirmed it was investigating a sexual assault report made by a woman during a concert at the Enmore Theatre on Thursday night. He said no formal statement had been taken yet.
Police are also investigating a tirade against blogger and campaigner Talitha Stone at the Sydney concert and a Twitter campaign against Ms Stone through Tyler’s 1.7 million followers.
Ms Stone, 24, of Sydney, told Fairfax Media that when she made her complaint to Newtown police on Friday, she was told police were already investigating a ‘‘sexual assault’’ of a woman at the same concert. Read more
See this ABC News video shown Saturday just prior to Tyler’s final Australian gig at Brisbane Eatons Hill Hotel (nice try hotel management saying you didn’t know who the artist who was coming was). Management had earlier received a visit from two of our Brisbane supporters, bearing a 14,000 plus signature petition calling on them to pull the event (the signature list rose another nine thousand a mere 48 hours after that).
Despite the tsunami of hostility against her, unlike many attacking her Talitha chose not to hide behind the anonymity of the internet. She could have used a false name, or requested that her image not be used. But her intimidation is what Tyler and his fans wanted, it’s what misogyny always wants of women. Talitha refused to fear them or to be silenced. If they were going to attempt to abuse a woman, it was going to occur in the light of public scrutiny.
I really like the way ‘Hecuba’ expressed it in a blog comment.
Tyler obviously didn’t like that brave woman who held him to account for his women-hating insults, because Tyler reacted by directing sexually degrading insults at her. Typical male behaviour whenever a male is challenged on his women-hating views, he reacts by uttering male threats and sexualised insults.
Unfortunately all but one of our elected officials gave a damn. The Immigration Minister didn’t reply, and not one female MP had even a word to say about it.
But we press on. Women like Talitha Stone give us the inspiration to do so.
Collective Shout has uploaded a YouTube video of US rap artist Tyler the Creator engaging in a vicious tirade against a young female activist during a Sydney all ages gig last night. The footage was recorded by a Collective Shout supporter in the audience.
The 24-year-old anti-violence against women activist has been engaged in the campaign of grassroots movement Collective Shout against the Australian tour of Tyler Gregory Okonma aka Tyler, the Creator. Collective Shout has called on Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor to revoke his visa.
The woman had expressed her dismay on twitter at the controversial rapper being given a platform in Australia to spread hate speech, with rape and extreme violence against women common themes.
Tyler shared one of her tweets with his 1.7 million followers, many of whom took it as an invitation to prove their devotion to him by bombarding the woman with abuse and threats to rape her. These threats have since been reported to police.
Tyler launched a vicious tirade against her at the Enmore Theatre ‘all ages’ gig as the crowd cheered and punched the air.
“F*cking bitch, I wish she could hear me call her a bitch, too, f*cking whore.
Yeah, I got a sold-out show right now bitch.
Hey this f*cking song is dedicated to you, you f*cking c*nt.”
A rapper on stage with Tyler said to him: “You really didn’t like her did you Tyler??”
He replied: “No the fuckin whore. This is the second time they’ve tried to get me kicked out of Australia. I’m still in Australia you f*ckin whore”
Tyler dedicated two songs to her: ‘Domo23’ replete with homophobic abuse about “f*gs”, and ‘Bitch Suck Dick’ which contains the lyrics “You dead bitch, I’m hot as f*ck…Punch a bitch in her mouth just for talkin’ shit”.
One rapper asked concert goers, “How many people are going to kill and rape people after the show?” The audience erupted in applause.
We understand a young woman was sexually assaulted at the concert.
Collective Shout believes Tyler’s behavior last night is more evidence that he is in breach of his visa conditions. He is creating a hostile environment for women and girls by engaging in vilification.
Collective Shout W.A State Coordinator Caitlin Roper contacted Minister O’Connor yesterday to draw his attention to rape threats made by online fans. Read full letter here.
We have had no response to this or earlier correspondence.
Has Tyler the Creator breached his Visa conditions?
Collective Shout has drawn the attention of Immigration Minister the Hon. Brendan O’Connor to a series of rape and other threats from fans of US rap artist Tyler the Creator. We believe these threats have been fuelled by the artist’s abuse of our actions online. We are asking the Minister to examine whether Tyler the Creator has violated the terms of his visa conditions. Our letter, written by Caitlin Roper our W.A coordinator, appears below:
Last night, a young Australian woman [Name with held] sent a tweet to a Sydney venue, criticizing them for hosting Tyler the Creator and promoting misogyny. Tyler the Creator actually re-tweeted her tweet, meaning he shared Ms Stone’s tweet with his 1.7 million followers. Unsurprisingly, many of his fans jumped at the opportunity to prove their loyalty by attacking her online.
The woman was called a bitch, whore, slut, dyke, worthless. Tyler’s fans commented on how rape-able she was, making reference to her being anally raped by Tyler. Others taunted her by quoting Tyler’s lyrics about rape- “Rape a pregnant bitch and tell my friends I had a threesome”. The examples here are a very small selection of the ongoing abuse she experienced over a period of hours.
I began to defend the woman speaking out about violence against women. She too received a barrage of harassment and rape threats from Tyler’s fans. Once again this is only a small sample of the harassment I was subjected to.
Tyler the Creator shared the woman’s tweet knowing exactly what lay in store for her- an onslaught of abuse from his devoted fans. Many of his fans would be more than willing to harass one of his opponents online if they thought they would gain favour with him. Without police resources, we cannot know how many of the abusive tweets were from Australian fans or fans from overseas.
A tweet from one of his fans (Julian Dom Taylor, below) indicates Tyler’s fans understood his intentions for the woman when sharing her tweet.
As the woman and I were receiving harassing tweets from his fans, Tyler the Creator tweeted about another instance where his fans rallied to attack someone online. He said “HAHAHAHAHAHA OMG THAT’S FUNNY”.
Australian Immigration Fact Sheet 78 on Controversial Visa Applicants refers to “people whose presence in Australia may, because of their activities, reputation, known record or the cause they represent and propagate, vilify or incite discord in the Australian community or a segment of that community, or represent a danger to the Australian community or a segment of that community.”
Tyler’s lyrics encourage extreme forms of violence against women, holding them hostage before raping and murdering them, stalking them and chopping them up and raping their corpses. Now his fans are threatening Australian women with violence in his name while he tweets as to how humorous it is. Surely this is vilifying and inciting discord in our community, as well as representing a danger to women who speak out about violence against women. Why are women not deserving of protection from the Australian government?
I urge you to take swift action to revoke Tyler the Creator’s visa.
We have received such a huge response to our call to action yesterday. Many of our supporters have been contacting the Minister for Immigration and the venues hosting rapper “Tyler the creator.”
One of our Melbourne supporters emailed the Palace Theatre in Melbourne with her concerns yesterday.
Here is the response she received:
On 03/06/2013, at 9:11 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Ha this one looks cut and pasted, I reckon this s the same person
using different addresses. Happened last time we had a Woo Tang
Sent via BlackBerry® from Vodafone
Clearly this email was intended for someone else, but it serves to show the attitude the Palace Theatre has towards the community. Protests about violence against women are just a bit of a joke! The Palace are more concerned about the fact that our supporter “copied and pasted” Tyler’s lyrics, than the safety of women in Melbourne.
In another email, the Palace defended its decision to host the event by saying it wasn’t the Palace Theatre who brought Tyler to the country, it was a “well regarded touring promoter”:
Date: 4 June 2013 3:29:25 PM AEST
Subject: Re: Tyler the creator
we did not bring this act to the country a well regarded touring promoter did. We’ve received 4 or 5 of these and all are virtually identical and look copied. You are within your rights to disapprove by not attending the show.
We can say for certain that the Palace Theatre has received many more than “4 or 5″ complaints about Tyler the Creator.
Let the Palace know that there is no excuse for offering a platform to someone glorifying violence against women.
Contact the Palace Theatre here: email@example.com
Some have reported that they are now receiving annual leave notices from this email address. If this happens, email:
Greg Young – venue bookings firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks so much for your action on this. You are making a difference!
Melinda Tankard Reist wrote about Tyler the Creator for the Herald Sun. You can view the article on her website here.
Hip Hop Singer who raps about rape and murdering women granted visa by Federal Government
Dubbed Tyler, the Creator, he was due to hold his first show last night in Perth before performing at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney tomorrow, the Palace Theatre in Melbourne on Friday and in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Earlwolf event, which also includes Earl Sweatshirt is for adults only in Perth and Melbourne, but the Eatons Hill venue north Brisbane allows children.
He was granted a visa for performers, drawing calls from an Opposition MP for Prime Minister Julia Gillard to cancel his right to work in Australia. Read more
Sign Change petition calling on Eatons Hill Hotel to cancel ‘all age’ gig
US RAP artist Tyler the Creator sings songs advocating rape and extreme violence against women. His lyrics include themes of murder, genital mutilation, stuffing women into car boots, trapping them in his basement, raping their corpses and burying their bodies. In Tyler’s world, women are sluts, bitches and ‘‘hos’’ who invite criminal acts. They have it coming. It’s what they deserve. And we just welcomed him to Australia. Many are calling on Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor to explain why he has given a platform to an artist who raps about rape as fun. The rapper’s concerts begin in Perth today. He’ll be in Melbourne on Friday. His Brisbane gig at Eatons Hill Hotel is listed as for ‘‘all ages’’. Tyler the Creator gets a free pass to promote male entitlement to do anything to women. Some of his lyrics include:
‘‘ You call this sh– rape but I think that rape’s fun, I just got one request, stop breathin’’
‘‘ F– Mary . . . keep that bitch locked up in my storage, rape her and record it’’ ‘‘ Chop her up in the back of a Wrangler’’ ‘‘ I wanna tie her body up and throw her in my basement, keep her there, so nobody can wonder where her face went’’
There’s lots more, but it’s unpublishable.
In Australia, violence against women costs the taxpayer an estimated $13.6 billion. The Australian Government says it is strongly committed to reducing domestic violence and sexual assault, and has provided funding of $75.7 million over four years via the Women’s Safety Agenda.
The Victorian Government’s action plan to address violence against women allocates $90m to the cause this year.
To violence against women Australia says . . . it’s just entertainment?
If we are serious about addressing violence against women, should a visa be granted to a man who makes a living treating it as entertainment? What’s the point of programs if we tolerate those who fuel it?
In a plea to Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor and Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr, Perth woman Caitlin Roper wrote: ‘‘As a survivor of sexual violence, I can honestly say the impact is devastating, not only for the woman, but our families and those who love us. I believe we need to have zero tolerance for those that encourage violent and dehumanising acts on women.
‘‘I realise of course that asking you to revoke Tyler the Creator’s visa is a huge ask. However, I would ask you to consider the message you could send to Australians about the serious nature of violence against women and the Government’s lack of tolerance for hate speech against our female citizens.’’
The rapper’s hate speech include gays. Tyler the Creator’s rap group, Odd Future, was banned from the NZ Big Day Out line-up after complaints about his lyrics; in that case, homophobic slurs. Tyler responds to women (including this writer) who criticise his misogynistic lyrics, with sexually intimidating comments on social media.
Australian Immigration Fact Sheet 78 on Controversial Visa Applicants refers to ‘‘people whose presence in Australia may, because of their activities, reputation, known record or the cause they represent and propagate, vilify or incite discord in the Australian community or a segment of that community, or represent a danger to the Australian community or a segment of that community’’.
Shouldn’t vilifying women and contributing to an environment that puts them in danger qualify for a reconsideration of his visa? Many of those attending his concerts will be boys forming their opinions about women. They will get a message that abusing women is cool. Inciting criminal acts does not deserve the protection of free speech.
When musicians Tegan & Sara criticised his lyrics he offered them his erect penis. They had written:
‘‘When will misogynistic and homophobic ranting and raving result in meaningful repercussions in the entertainment industry? When will they be treated with the same seriousness as racist and anti-Semitic offences?’’
Is there one political leader in this country who will declare Tyler the Creator’s brand of hatred unwelcome?
When a society doesn’t take violence against women seriously, and even considers it a form of entertainment, it has devastating results for women and girls.
The human rights violations Tyler raps about happen to real women. He is contributing to a culture that enables and excuses it. In a country that claims to care about the treatment of women, why would we give him a platform?
Antoinette Jones – Principal – Mitcham Girls High School
“Intelligent, passionate, brilliant, fearless… I could not recommend her more highly”
Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
“You continue to reset my shock meter…”
“As a teacher and parent I recommend all parents, in fact all people, to attend a talk by Melinda- it will open your eyes and awaken your subconscious.”
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“Melinda’s presentations to our parents, staff and full day workshops to students was inspirational, transforming the attitudes and thinking of all involved”
Paul Teys – Principal – Hunter Valley Grammar
“Melinda Tankard Reist’s presentation to Middle and Upper School students at Pymble Ladies’ College was absolutely brilliant!”
Justine Hodgson – English Faculty, Pymble Ladies’ College
“Melinda Tankard Reist has had a transformational affect on our school.”
Ms Stephanie McConnell, Principal – Turramurra High School
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