Letters //

Forking out for sexism

A letter from Lachlan Ellison.

Dear Honi,

It sucks that as a young male on a night out with fellow uni friends, I have to feel like I’m condoning wet T-shirt competitions and near-naked salsa wrestling. I’m not. And yet simply by entering Scary Canary, I fund sexist practices like these. Practices like when their male MC announces that, unbeknownst to participators, the provided shirts should be removed for the final round of salsa wrestling. (The thinly veiled premise of a game here makes this option more like a paid command.) Bras remained, but these were lost in the fight. Presumably, this was anticipated.

What I find disturbing, though, is the double standard generally that girls on a night out should be drunk, sexy and yet with their capacity to consent totally intact. Worse is the attitude which holds that this one-off consenting signature represents that this sort of thing is universally okay, particularly when that initial participation means a potential boost in disposable income. Let’s not lie – there aren’t many things a student or backpacker could conscionably refuse to do when $200 is involved.

The saddest part about Friday night was the knowledge that the club would recover their cash loss many times over, because apparently this is what people pay to see. I guess Scary Canary can›t be blamed for giving the market what it wants. And that’s the problem: the culture that condones the humiliation of young women as a legitimate form of entertainment, and the culture that equates the term ‘feminism’ with a brand of anti-male extremism that people seem to think exists everywhere, despite being able to point to few actual subscribers. (Please don’t say ‘Germaine Greer’.)

I think it’s up to us, as students, to select products and services on the basis of a social conscience, because dollars we spend at Scary Canary endorse the demeaning of our sisters, our friends and of young women generally.

 Maybe, then, an enjoyable night out wouldn’t mean having to turn a blind eye to the blatant symbolism of giant inflatable penises being chucked around the crowd.


Lachlan Ellison

Arts (Languages)