Media & Society

Here are all the terrible things New Zealanders did on International Women’s Day

From an all-male radio station panel to a bad Paul Henry poll, Jessica McAllen digs through the shittiest New Zealand contributions to International Women’s Day.

In case you missed the Beyoncé memes and “go girl” quotes clogging up social media, yesterday was International Women’s Day. In accordance with age-old tradition, many men and corporations marked the day with ill-advised social media posts, uncalled-for opinions, and old-fashioned screw-ups, where they would have been better to follow Paula Bennett’s famed advice to Jacinda Ardern and “zip it, sweetie”. Here, in no particular order, are the six worst New Zealand contributions to International Women’s Day.

THE MANEL

Radio New Zealand marked International Women’s Day by devoting an hour of prime-time programming exclusively to men. Thanks to a calendaring accident, The Panel was man-only for March 8. Mark Inglis and Tainui Stephens talked to Jim Mora about how, in their opinions, we still have a long way to go in regards to gender equality. Their views included: “it staggers me that women are still underpaid for the same jobs men do” and “affirmative action is great but it has to be based on skill and confidence”.

THE DUDEFEST AT THE NZ BOOK AWARDS

The Ockham NZ Book Awards got in early with its middle-finger to International Women’s Day, announcing a male-dominated shortlist of finalists on the stroke of midnight. Its poetry and fiction category finalists include one woman (Patricia Grace) and seven men. There’s no mention of author Anna Smaill, who last year was nominated for the prestigious Man Booker prize with her book The Chimes.

Poet Paula Green blogged on the lack of diversity: “This is simply a matter of choice on the part of the judges and I do not wish to undermine the quality of books they have selected. However, in my view, it casts a disconcerting light upon what women have been producing in the past year or so”.

THIS CHOICE

Bad poll, Paul Henry.

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THIS MALE FEMINIST

‘Twas the night before International Women’s Day and male allies were rallying to plan their declarations of social media support for women. Some readied posts celebrating “the strong women I know”, while others loudly explained how they would “be quiet” for the day because it wasn’t their place to talk.

Then, at 9.11pm, Kim Kardashian posted a naked selfie on Twitter. Feminist/boxer/radio DJ Richie Hardcore – who helped front the #mybodymyterms sexual violence campaign – responded the next day by agreeing with an Instagrammer who said Kim was flaunting some terrible values. “Good words brother, Tautoko,” he wrote in a now-deleted ode to wokeness. “We need to teach healthy ways of validation”

We’ve been here before. A woman takes a picture of her body because she’s feeling like she looks great that night, or is simply comfortable with her genetics, and people respond like they’ve just seen a racy picture of Marilyn Monroe fluttering down the lane on their way to buy Brylcreem from the tobacconist. Kim became famous after her sex tape was leaked without her consent, yet when she willingly owns her sexuality, we’re suddenly awash in people trying to tell her what she can and can’t do.

To add insult to injury, Hardcore had posed – topless! – in singer Lizzie Marvelly’s #mybodymyterms campaign.

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Later, Hardcore defended his comment by saying My Body My Terms is against rape culture, victim blaming and slut shaming, “none of which saying Kim Kardashian encouraging superficial validation falls under”. He then referenced Ariel Levy’s book The Female Chauvinist Pig, which is essentially about young women buying into the “raunch culture” and how that is a bad, bad thing for feminism. 

Still, you’d think a man who posted a photo of his half-naked body emblazoned with the words ‘my body, my terms’ would be okay with a woman posting a picture of her own body on her terms. It seems you’re an angel if you do that with a feel-good campaign slogan written on you, and the devil if not.

THESE DICKS

Fashion brand Stolen Girlfriends Club’s Instagram account posted a celebratory photo of a naked man with his dick tucked between his legs saying: “Happy International Women’s Day! Don’t worry, this is just a dude (paying tribute to women). We <3 you!” and a hashtag saying “#freethenipple?”  

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A preferable alternative: not celebrating International Women’s Day with a picture of a man with his dick tucked between his legs.

THIS YOGURT

New Zealand yogurt brand EasiYo had a stylish offering – giving away a free pink yoghurt container.

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But on the plus side, Wellington’s worst shop is closing down:

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