Now everyone is offended
In response to the letter regarding The Women’s College Formal (‘Women’s College: Last Night of the Propagated Stereotype’ by Georgia Kriz), I would like to clear up some facts as I actually attended the event and oversaw the organisers of the event.
The theme was Moulin Rouge and the organisers did book cabaret dancers as it goes with the theme perfectly. The dancers impressed both genders putting on a spectacular dance routine which showcased female sexuality in an empowering way. At the Women’s College we hold an annual cabaret performance with 90% of our audience being female. It is narrow minded to think that this genre of dance is only for one gender.
The venue was the “Fairground Follies” it is an Antique Mechanical Music Museum. The organisers did not book any mannequins; they booked a venue which happened to be filled with very large antique music sets.
Chloe Wighton, Wiradjuri Women and Vice Chair of the Women’s College Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Alliance made the following remark to the letter. “To make such negativ[e] comments [about] our National Reconciliation Week is not only disrespectful but also inconsiderate of the fact that we as a Nation are celebrating our wonderfully rich and unique Indigenous culture… Although you may have had good intentions in writing your letter to the editor, ironically you have ended up offending many Indigenous students”.
Senior Student, The Women’s College
Advanced Science/ II
Maintaining the anti-college rage rage
I am responding to Georgia Kriz’s letter published in the week 12 Honi regarding the Women’s College Formal. Themed events generally work by evoking an atmosphere that is reminiscent of a certain time and place. In the same way that dressing as a gangster for a 1920s themed party would not be advocating for organised crime, it is ridiculous to suggest that the inclusion of historical characteristics for the purpose of appreciation and celebration renders the organisers immoral.
Georgia’s implication that the employment of burlesque dancers reduced them to objects of decoration with the purpose of gratifying men, not only disparages the art of burlesque dancing, but is incredibly offensive towards the performers. Even more ridiculous, is her criticism of the decorations for propogating racist attitudes. The piece in question had not been specifically chosen by the organisers, but belongs to a museum of antique mechanical musical instruments (the venue for the formal). Like any piece of historical art, it was intended to be viewed with consideration of the context in which it was created.
That is not to say that any theme or behaviour is appropriate under the guise of historical appreciation and celebration. On the evening it was not the presence of dancers or historically accurate decorations that was inappropriate, but the reactions of a few idiots who compared the former using derogatory language, or who posed obnoxiously for photographs with the later.
Georgia has completely failed to notice these problems because she is too caught up with trying to construct an image of colleges as hubs of intolerance and pretentiousness – pretty hypocritical for someone who previously wrote an article titled ‘The right reason to hate college’. Her letter completely epitomises the media’s tendency to forego journalistic integrity in order to deliver sensationalised stories that reinforce false stereotypes. Not only does this kind of reporting portray colleges inaccurately and unfairly, but it also means that some of the genuine problems that exist within these communities are overlooked or poorly articulated because they are drowning in bullshit.
I am not demanding that people leave the colleges alone, but rather that people actually think about what they’re writing- not just for the sake of saving both parties a lot of unnecessary embarrassment, but for the sake of good journalism and genuine social progress.
Red, white, and blue (i.e. upset)
Whilst poring over a horrendously boring and patently inapplicable-to-the-real-world arts assignment last week, a good friend messaged me about an article in the Honi that frustrated her to no end. As a serving member of the RAAF, I can see why. Joyner’s piece is, in my opinion, dangerous to Australian traditions. He does understand the significance of the ANZAC Legend, nor is he cognisant of what he should be grateful for.
I will state here unequivocally that Australian Diggers are at the fore front of defending our nation from terror attacks from both without and within. 99% of you will scoff at this, but that is only because you are blissfully unaware of the shadow war that is being fought, with Australian Diggers and Special Operations Forces being vitally important. I will not get into the nitty gritty of this, it is not within the scope of an opinion piece to do so. Suffice it to say, over the last decade, dozens of mass casualty attacks on Australian soil have been thwarted by the combined efforts of Allied, Australian SOF and Intelligence Agencies. Our Diggers fight on foreign land so that you will not have to face the fear in your own backyard. For that alone they deserve our thanks, and for putting their life on the line so that you may live peacefully and be spared the horror, they deserve to be called heroes.
The significance of the ANZAC Legend cannot be understated, it is inextricably linked to what it means to be “Australian”. The Australian traditions we hold dear are the fruits of the ANZAC labour. As a nation we were not cognisant of our identity till our brave men gave it a fair go at Gallipoli and beyond. Simpson and his donkey exemplified mateship and compassion. Our Diggers shared tea, biscuits and rations with Turkish soldiers at every opportunity, a precursor to our lauded tolerance and multiculturalism. Billy Sing, the great Australian sniper (of whom I am sure the vast majority of you have not heard of) exemplifies innovation and hardiness. The 4th Light Horse exemplified mental fortitude, and the willingness to face impossible odds and succeed. Even after ANZAC was disbanded, their legacy carried on. The Rats of Tobruk exemplified extreme courage under great adversity and steely determination, so much so that Rommel regarded us as men who “without question represented an elite formation of the British Empire”. Our Diggers fought with such courage and honour in the Pacific Theatre that the United States Marine Corps’ 1st Division to this day march to the Waltzing Matilda as their Battle Hymn, paying homage to their Australian allies; and Marines of the 1st took to calling their friends “cobber”. 3RAR at Kapyong exemplified all of the above. Surrounded, outnumbered over ten to one, low on ammunition and supplies they held out when allied forces retreated. 3RAR was awarded the United States Distinguished Unit Citation for their actions. The Legend continues to this day.
So you see, the ANZAC Legend and the successors to those legendary figures is not about glorifying war; rather they represent the very fibres of “Australian-ism”. To be Australian, you must necessarily understand the significance of the ANZAC Legend and the heroes who forged it. Our national identity, our standing in international politics and our cultural values were all forged in the crucible of war. The rest of the world see us as great athletes and sportsmen, as hardy folk who give everything a fair go; and who will fight tooth and nail for a mate. They see us as tolerant blokes who will build bridges wherever possible, and as reckless larrikins. They see us as innovators and of great intellect. This is not a reputation forged by politicians or intellectuals. This is a reputation forged by our fighting men, who to this day carry the ANZAC spirit with them wherever they may be.
And so should you.
I hope I have made the deadline for submission, I feel that Joyner’s opinion piece needs a rebuttal, as outlined above.
I hope to read this in the next available issue of the Honi, and that the Honi publishes this in the spirit of equal representation of opinion and discourse.