AGL creates gender-neutral coal.

Energy company AGL has been applauded for creating the world’s first gender-neutral coal as a source of energy for commercial and residential use throughout Australia.

“AGL is a leader in corporate diversity and inclusion, and gender-neutral coal is just another exciting initiative in our quest to embrace the LGBTQ+ community,” announced the company, on the same day thousands of school students across the country protested against AGL and other fossil fuel companies.

“Gender-neutral coal does not identify as male, female or any other gender. It was developed by our outstanding research and development team, in close consultation with our marketing department, and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Every Aussie should be enormously proud of this, and the fact that Australia has the largest per-capita carbon footprint of any country on earth.”

AGL then explained that gender-neutral coal damages the planet as much as gender-specific coal, and helps the company to debunk myths that the mining industry is male-dominated and not welcoming of other genders. It also looks like ‘normal’ coal

“…but we transport it in rainbow-coloured containers.”

It is not the first accolade AGL has received in this sphere. The company was recently awarded Gold Employer status for LGBTQ+ inclusion at the AWEI Awards while simultaneously earning the title of Australia’s biggest domestic contributor to climate change by Greenpeace. Greenpeace argues that AGL emitted 42.2 million tonnes of carbon emissions in 2019-2020. Greenpeace data confirms that the energy company creates,

“…24.6% of electricity sector emissions and 8% of Australia’s total emissions, which primarily comes from the coal burned at the energy giant’s three coal-burning power stations: Liddell, Bayswater, and Loy Yang A. AGL’s own data confirms that 85% of energy generated by the gentailer comes from burning coal.”

At the same time, AGL boasts publicly that:

“This is the third year we have been awarded Gold Employer status, and the fifth year that we have participated in the AWEI. Our employee-driven LGBTQ+ network, AGL Shine, was created in 2014. The network focuses on providing a safe and inclusive environment for all our employees – while also advocating internally and externally for gender inclusion beyond the heteronormative binary.”

The announcement provoked a mixed reaction.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Energy Minister Angus Taylor and Environment Minister Sussan Ley welcomed the news, despite being famously conservative and reluctant to embrace non-heteronormative agendas. The three leaders applauded AGL for using the LGBTQ+ community to distract Australians from their environmental destruction, and thanked the company for giving the Australian delegation something tangible to take to COP26 in Glasgow later this month.

Critics argue that gender-neutral coal is not real, and never will be. They claim that coal is an inanimate object with no gender, and thus cannot be declared gender-neutral. Many suspect the announcement is yet another attempt to win public favour while the rest of the world appears to be transitioning to renewable energy.

AGL rejected assertions that gender-neutral coal is not a real thing, stating;

“It’s as real as Clean Coal”

Are LGBTQIA+ people being exploited?

Embracing the LGBTQIA+ community is trending. Corporations, governments, organisations and high profile individuals in Australia are embracing or being seen to embrace people from this community. This is a sign of a fairer and more equitable world, but is it also an example of exploitation?

Are LGBTQIA+ people being used by organisations to improve their public image or to distract the public from the organisations failings in other areas?

Why would they do this?

Support for inclusion and diversity is trending. Organisations seen to support the cause can position themselves as responsible corporate or social citizens, especially if they can successfully publicise this support. The organisation is less likely to be labelled unethical, and can also use inclusion and diversity to distract the public from their unethical or questionable practices in other areas – unethical practices which are destructive to society, including the LGBTQIA+ community.

AGL

AGL is an Australian energy company with one claim to fame: it is Australia’s biggest polluter. Australia is one of the world’s biggest polluters. AGL epitomises the exploitation of the LGBTQIA+ community for Public Relations (PR) purposes and distraction.

The AGL website states that:

“In 2014, AGL implemented a LGBTQ+ Inclusion Strategy, and in 2015 we were rated as one of the best performing first-time entrants to the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI). Our employee-driven LGBTQ+ network, AGL Shine, was created in 2014.

In September 2015, AGL announced our support for marriage equality in Australia. Our position was strongly endorsed by the AGL Board, our senior management, and AGL Shine members.”

What exactly is involved in supporting marriage equality?

Posting a message on the company’s official platforms stating support of marriage equality. Not particularly difficult. AGL made the statement in 2015, when the movement had gained such strong momentum that same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia in 2016. Hardly groundbreaking or brave.

The statement continues:

“In 2020, we were proud to be awarded Gold Employer status for LGBTQ+ inclusion at the AWEI Awards. This is the third year we have been awarded Gold Employer status.”

How hard it is to promote inclusion and diversity?

Including people of diverse backgrounds essentially means treating people fairly.

How much does inclusion and diversity cost?

To have been continually awarded for inclusion, the company must have made some financial investment.

How much does transitioning to renewable energy cost?

In the short term, a lot. In the long term, AGL would apparently make a profit because the global economy is embracing renewable technology. Convincing shareholders to invest in diversity and inclusion seems much easier than convincing them to invest in renewable energy. AGL is a business and bases all of its decisions on profits. Transitioning to clean energy is undoubtedly more expensive in the short term than embracing the LGBTQIA+ community.

Interestingly, while AGL was publicly supporting marriage equality, it made a deliberate decision not to transition to renewable energy. The company had apparently appointed a new boss in 2015, who was tasked with overseeing a move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. However, pressure from the then Minister for the Environment, Josh Frydenberg, convinced the company to reject clean energy sources and continue burning fossil fuels.

AGL wins considerable social credibility and brand enhancement through its inclusion polices and support for marriage equality, at exactly the same time that it actively rejects a transition to renewable energy.

Coincidence?

AFL

The Australian Football League runs the premier Australian Rules football competition in the country and is well-known for its support of LGBTQIA+ people. It has held a ‘Pride’ round since 2016 to promote inclusion and diversity.

The AFL is more public in its support of this issue than other major sporting codes, and this could be motivated by honest intentions or by its commitment to its women’s competition, AFLW, in which many players are openly gay. Cynics might argue that the governing body is chasing the pink dollar, but that criticism is not constructive.

Interestingly, despite having held a Pride round since 2016, not one male AFL player has come out as gay. Are there any gay AFL players?

The AFL appears sincere in its acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community. However, is the organisation equally sincere in its attempts to tackle racism and misogyny? The AFL also holds an Indigenous round (since 2008) and claims to embrace women, not just those involved in the ALFW.

However, just days before this article was written, a popular AFL player, Taylor Walker, was outed for a racist comment during an Aussie Rules football game, and his public apology was widely criticised as inadequate. This followed revelations earlier in 2021 of widespread racism within the Collingwood Magpies club, one of the nation’s biggest, as well as the brutal racism directed at former player Adam Goodes. The racist attacks on Goodes were so vicious, incessant and damaging that they forced him to quit the sport, and they spurned two documentaries.

Treatment of women within the AFL is also far from ideal. Numerous players have been found guilty of misogyny, harrassment and even assault of women, and this history of toxic masculinity is documented in The Frownlow Medal and The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.

Thus, the AFL has failed to sufficiently address issues of toxic masculinity and racism, but derives positive publicity from its support of the LGBTQIA+ community.

IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was praised for its decision to allow an Australian female Rugby 7s player to wear headgear with a rainbow coloured design. The rainbow design promoted awareness and acceptance of issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community, and commentators explained that the Australian player was given ‘permission’ by the IOC to wear the protective equipment with that particular design.

According to media reports:

“Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team Ian Chesterman threw his support behind the celebration and Williams for lodging the request.

“It’s wonderful for our athletes to celebrate their identity as well as promote all of our Olympic sports as safe and inclusive,” Mr Chesterman said.

“I’d like to thank the IOC for their support in allowing Sharni to wear the headgear and thank Sharni for sharing her story with us during the games.”

The IOC has been the subject of countless articles and documentaries questioning its ethics and accusing it of bullying and rampant corruption. Furthermore, Olympic athletes are given strict and detailed instructions to refrain from any form of protest or activism on any issue at any time during the games. But, they let a rugby player wear rainbow headgear.

Tiwi Islands Mardi Gras

The Tiwi Islands lie to the north of Darwin and are home to Indigenous Australian communities. In 2017, 30 Tiwi Sistagirls, or transgender women, travelled to Sydney to take part in their first ever Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The inclusion was hailed as a victory for the Sistagirls and the LGBTQIA+ community in general. The inaugural journey received widespread media coverage and many organisations associated themselves publicly with this event. They could be accused of jumping on the bandwagon (or float).

Some of these organisations, including government departments, are responsible for solving many of the problems which plague remote communities such as those on the Tiwi Islands. These problems include societal decay, low life expectancy, loss of language and culture, drug and alcohol abuse, poor school attendance, violence, incarceration, unemployment, poor literacy and numeracy, and discrimination.

If the mainstream media and organisations celebrate the participation of Tiwi people in Mardi Gras, does it create the impression that life is improving on the Tiwi Islands and for Indigenous Australians in general? Does it distract Australians from the reality of life for Indigenous Australians and the need to do something about it?

Furthermore, how hard is it to get Tiwi Islanders to Mardi Gras? How hard is it to book a few flights and hotel rooms?

How hard is it to effect real change in Indigenous communities? Apparently very difficult. According to Pat Turner, Lead Convenor of the Coalition of Peaks and CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, only two of six Closing The Gap (CTG) targets were on track: early education and Year 12 attainment.

This means that after 12 years since the release of the first CTG report, little or no progress has been made in areas such as child mortality, employment, life expectancy and education.

Once again, it could be said that LGBTQI+ people are being used to distract the public from the failures of various organisations.

Supporting LGBTQIA+ rights is important. It is a question of equality and fairness. It should not be exploited for positive PR by organisations seeking to distract the public from their unethical or incompetent practices in other areas, or to shield the organisation from public criticism.

Image: Vector Stock

Women required to wear Hi Vis in Australia’s Parliament House.

Women must now wear Hi Vis at all times in Australia’s Parliament House in Canberra after the seat of government was declared a site of high risk women. The new law comes into effect immediately and means that female politicians, staffers, bureaucrats, security staff, media, ancillary staff and visitors will be denied entry if they are not wearing some form of Hi Vis clothing.

“Parliament House is not a safe place for women,” confirmed a government spokesman.

“All women who work in, or visit, the seat of government must wear at least one piece of Hi Vis clothing at all times while they are on the premises, for their own safety.”

The law was created in response to various highly-publicised example of mistreatment of women in Parliament House, including allegations of rape, masturbation on other people’s desks, distribution of sexually-explicit videos and visits by prostitutes, as well as an underlying culture of toxic masculinity.

Authorities stressed the law was not rushed through after Barnaby Joyce’s return.

“It’s just coincidence”

The rationale behind the law is simple, according to its creators.

“Forcing women to wear Hi Vis is much easier than creating institutional or cultural change which would keep them safe. Forcing these conditions on women also allows the men who perpetrate crimes and offences against women, and those who protect the men, to blame the woman if she does get attacked or harassed, or mistreated in any way. A woman will never be bothered if she is wearing Hi Vis. Thus, if she is not, she can be accused of failing to take necessary measures and of breaking the rules.”

Hi Vis clothing can take any form, and authorities believe women will be happy to wear them.

“Hi Vis apparel comes in pink these days, so women will love it. We believe they will enjoy matching their Hi Vis with their outfits and make-up every morning.”

Critics slammed the new law, and said that if women are forced to wear HI Vis, then men in parliament house should be forced to wear a bell around their neck, the same way that cats wear a bell to stop them from killing native wildlife. The government replied:

“What a ridiculous suggestion. It would make us a laughing stock around the world.”

Government insiders also pointed another benefit of Hi Vis clothing in the halls of power.

“Hi Vis is normally worn by Tradies and construction workers, and they are now the most sought-after constituents of both major parties, so women are likely to be well received. Hi Vis is also worn by workers at mining sites, and we know how much the LNP, and even large parts of the Labor Party, love the mining sector and do so much to protect them.”

Authorities see only one potential problem with the introduction of the new law.

“Now we have to get ScoMo and Matt Canavan to stop doing so many photo ops in Hi Vis.”

Image: Aditya Joshi

AGL awarded Gold Status for including LGBTQIA+ people.

AGL has been officially recognised for actively including the LGBTQ+ community in its destruction of the planet. The energy company was awarded Gold Employer status for LGBTQ+ inclusion at the AWEI Awards while simultaneously earning the title of Australia’s biggest domestic contributor to climate change by Greenpeace.

Greenpeace argues that AGL emitted 42.2 million tonnes of carbon emissions in 2019-2020. Greenpeace data confirms that the energy company creates,

“…24.6% of electricity sector emissions and 8% of Australia’s total emissions, which primarily comes from the coal burned at the energy giant’s three coal-burning power stations: Liddell, Bayswater, and Loy Yang A. AGL’s own data confirms that 85% of energy generated by the gentailer comes from burning coal.”

At the same time, AGL boasts publicly that:

“This is the third year we have been awarded Gold Employer status, and the fifth year that we have participated in the AWEI. Our employee-driven LGBTQ+ network, AGL Shine, was created in 2014. The network focuses on providing a safe and inclusive environment for all our employees – while also advocating internally and externally for gender inclusion beyond the heteronormative binary.”

Data from the environmental activist group indicates that:

AGL is accelerating the climate crisis for Lesbians

AGL is accelerating the climate crisis for Gay people

AGL is accelerating the climate crisis for Bisexual people

AGL is accelerating the climate crisis for Trans people

AGL is accelerating the climate crisis for Queer people

AGL is accelerating the climate crisis for Intersexed people

AGL is accelerating the climate crisis for Asexual people

AGL is also accelerating the climate crisis for hetero-normative people and for any other possible definition within the gender and sexuality spectrum that has not been acknowledged above.

The company reinforced its commitment to treating everyone on the planet equally.

“AGL understands that the natural environment in crucial to the survival, prosperity and wellbeing of every single person on the planet, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, religion, colour, age or nationality. This is why we have ensured that no one single group or sub group of Australian society or any other global society is discriminated against by our destruction of the natural environment.”

“We will all suffer together.”

AGL is the biggest polluter in a country with the highest per capita carbon footprint on the planet.

Critics of the energy giant highlighted the futility of supporting the rights of one particular group of society, when every group in society will suffer from the burning of fossil fuels, to which AGL replied:

“Even toxic rain makes rainbows.”

Image: Vector Stock

Underperforming team set to bring on reserves.

The starting team is failing. The run on team isn’t up to scratch. What do you do?

You give the reserves a chance.

You put on the replacement players, the ones who’ve been waiting for a chance to show what they can do. It might work, and the team might return to winning ways. It might not, but surely it’s worth a try.

It’s time to take the men off the field, and give women a chance. Men have ruled the world since time began, and the harsh reality is that the world is in a bad way. Man are dropping the ball, missing tackles, throwing forward passes, missing an open goal, and often show a complete lack of effort.

So why are they still on the field?

When sporting teams fail, starting players are replaced – some of them never return. The replacements are given a go, to see if they can fix the problems. Fans demand change. Managers and club bosses demand change. Sponsors demand change. Something always changes when a sporting team is performing poorly for an extended period of time.

If we demand such action for our favourite sporting teams, why are we not demanding the same of the leaders of our society? After all, sporting teams just play sport – it’s not that important. On the other hand, societal leaders, especially politicians, make laws and decisions which effect the daily lives of all of their constituents.

Having multiple women in genuine positions of power could solve some of the world’s biggest problems including overpopulation, environmental destruction, rising inequality, corporate greed, exploitation and human trafficking.

Overpopulation

Overpopulation is the biggest problem facing the world right now. Men cause population growth, and men have prevented it from being addressed. Men continue to stifle efforts to control population growth by standing in the way of methods such as the use of contraception, and the legalisation of abortion and assisted dying. Even suicide is illegal in many countries.

Acceptance and decriminalisation of same-sex relationships could limit population growth, because same-sex couples cannot naturally reproduce. Furthermore, it is known that fewer children are born into relationships with greater gender equality.

Interestingly, organised religions outlaw or criminalise many all of the actions which could limit population growth. Men control organised religions.

Human trafficking

Trafficked people can be male or female, adults or children. Many are forced into hard labour, many are forced into prostitution. Who runs the corporations which benefit from cheap labour? Usually men. Who uses the services of prostitutes? Usually men.

Environmental destruction

Corporate greed, as well as overpopulation, is driving environmental destruction. The climate crisis is causing extreme weather events, which can be disastrous or even deadly. The climate crisis has created environmental refugees and has reduced the amount of resources available to people, at the same time that the world is becoming more populated. Men run the corporations, and created the culture of greed which underpins the corporate world. Corporations and their leaders are obliged to return higher and higher margins of profit at every reporting period. Even business and finance experts agree that this can only be achieved either by acts of economic genius, or by the exploitation of the environment and/or people.

Business experts also argue that female directors can often adopt a different style of management.

It is well documented that during a recent economic downturn, major banks in Iceland suffered massive losses, and were threatened with closure. The economic meltdown was blamed on a banking and business culture that was labelled ‘buccaneering’ and ‘reckless’ – and was overwhelmingly male. The economy was rescued in large part by women.

Three women in particular were credited with boosting the economy. Halla Tómasdóttir and Kristin Petursdóttir are the founders of Audur Capital, and they teamed up with one of Iceland’s most famous names, the singer Bjork, to establish an investment fund that invested in green technology. They made a deliberate effort to incorporate female values into the world of private equity, wealth management and corporate advice. From all reports, it worked.

Iceland’s northern neighbour, Finland, is the origin of Women’s Bank, a fund that supports sustainable entrepreneurship and livelihood among women in developing countries.

According to the Women’s Bank;

“…gaining approval for women’s entrepreneurship is the most efficient way of decreasing poverty in the world, as women and girls often form a forgotten resource.”

Perhaps the best way to harness this resource is to place more women in charge.

Still in Finland, the country has recently earned the distinction of having the world’s youngest leader. Sanna Marin was 34 when elected as prime minister, and remains one of the few women to run a country. Many of her party colleagues are young and female. Is Finland prospering? It appears to be. A detailed analysis of the country’s performance is too lengthy for this article, but the country consistently performs highly in international standardised education tests.

Another young female national leader is Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand. New Zealand has almost returned to ‘normality’ after negotiating its way through the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s management of the pandemic is held up as world leading practice. Results that Scott Morrison, Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Jair Bolsonaro could only dream of.

Jacinda Ardern is a woman. Jacinda Ardern got results. In contrast, Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, responded to nationwide protests calling for an end to violence against woman by essentially telling protestors they should be grateful they didn’t get shot.

Is this goal realistic?

Mosuo and Scandinavian cultures prove that a society based on female empowerment can prosper.

Scandinavian societies traditionally enjoyed greater gender equality. Historical texts tell us that women carried out physical tasks alongside men, including hand to hand combat, and owned some of the land on which they worked. They ran a variety of independent businesses and were apparently able to keep the profits, and pass those profits onto their own children. Then this changed, and women were relegated to domestic roles and lost much of their independence. It is believed that this was largely due to the arrival of Christianity.

Mosuo women belong to a rare matriarchal society in Yunnan, south-west China. Apparently, Mosuo women are in charge, marriage does not exist and society follows a maternal bloodline. Men are called upon only for the act of reproduction and women own and inherit poperty.

Does it work?

Well, the system has been lived for thousands of years, and the Mosuo are surviving and prospering.

Great game in a losing team.

Of course. Not all men are performing poorly. Just like a sporting team, some men are doing a great job while those around them are failing. These starting players should be kept on the field when the reserves are brought on because they can be part of the change, part of the solution. Luckily, capable, qualified, skilled, dedicated, determined and proven reserves are ready to take their place of those who are not playing well.

Conversely, women need to be installed in positions of power in sufficient numbers. Individual women may be talented and capable, and some countries, states, provinces, organisations and corporations are led by women. But individual woman will struggle to make genuine change, and may only be able to, or interested in, perpetuating the cycle which caused so much damage to the world. Bringing on only one reserve when the team is being thrashed will not save the team – no matter how good that player is.

The ideal team is thus a combination of men and women who are capable and produce consistent results. A team selected by merit, not gender.

Men created and control the systems which have placed the world in such a precarious position. The systems need to change for a more optimistic future. Can those systems change while men are still in charge?

Image: http://www.sherrin.com.au

The true origin of Mick Fuller’s iConsent App.

EXCLUSIVE: NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has revealed that his controversial iConsent App was the cornerstone of his bid to land a role within the NRL and was designed to keep rugby league players out of prison. After failing to secure the NRL position, he proposed the App for the Australian public.

The proposed iConsent App was designed to record sexual consent and was expected to reduce the number of sexual assaults in the country. Reported sexual assault rose by 10 per cent in 2020, but only two percent of those cases led to guilty verdicts in court.

The commissioner was being considered for a role dedicated to improving the off-field behaviour of footballers, and he pitched the app to the NRL while three of its players were under investigation for sexual assault. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian blocked Fuller’s appointment, so the commissioner offered the App to the wider public.

“This App is perfect for the NRL, and ideal for the country in general,” Fuller announced.

“No woman in Australia will ever be raped again once this App is operational. If it can stop NRL players from raping women, it can stop anyone from raping women.”

Fuller then revealed secret features of the App which were to be included for NRL players, but will not be available to the general public.

“It would have been great, and it’s such a shame Gladys prevented me from working with the NRL,” he stated.

“Players could have customised the App according to the colours of their current team, and they could have downloaded the team’s mascot. There was a scoreboard for recording how many women they had ‘pulled’ on any given night, and a setting to rank the appearance of those women – just like the origins of Facebook. We were also designing a filter to make the women more attractive and allow players to boast to their teammates about their conquests.”

“What’s more, they could change the colour settings to blue or maroon during Origin season, and to their favoured national team during internationals. Of course, it also allowed women to consent to group sex, because no self-respecting rugby league player would ever have sex with a woman if he was not joined by one or more of his teammates.”

Fuller also explained that the App would have linked directly to sports betting Apps, and the various social media platforms which land professional footballers in trouble, and was equipped with video settings to allow players to make and distribute sex tapes. Designers of the App had been ordered to constantly upgrade its settings for footy players, to cater for anything from the mundane to the wildly kinky, including the ability to get consent from a dog.

Fuller himself told the media the iConsent App could be “the worst idea I have all year”, but it is still better than any suggestion from the prime minister. The Minister for Women has also been silent, as has the Attorney General, who can’t comment after taking sick leave since being accused of rape, infidelity, affairs with young staffers and general sleaziness.

Only time will tell if the App finds its way into the nation’s bedrooms. In the meantime, Fuller has devoted himself to his policing duties, and to completing his highly-anticipated eBook, Mick Fuller’s Complete Guide to Romance, Seduction and Foreplay.

Image: Ilan Dov

Dual currency system to operate in Australia.

Australia will become the first nation in the world to force employers to pay female staff in a new currency called Pink Dollars when the system is implemented in the next financial year. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the new scheme outside Parliament House in Canberra, just days after thousands of women protested against institutionalised gender inequality across the country.

“Australian women have spoken and we have listened,” boasted Frydenberg, who was flanked by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and federal Minister for Women, Marise Payne.

“Pink Dollars will be used to pay female employees in every job, in every sector, throughout our great nation. The notes themselves will be pink on both sides, with the numerical value printed in the corner. Notes will carry images associated with women, like flowers, domestic appliances, pretty clothes, makeup, childcare etc,” he explained.

“Pink Dollars are an entirely new currency, which will operate alongside existing Australian dollars. The primary difference is that Pink Dollars will be permanently pegged at a certain rate to the Aussie dollar – one Pink Dollar will be worth 68 Australian cents.”

This will not alter the value of the Australian dollar, nor the wages of Australian men, according to the treasurer.

“Don’t worry fellas, we’re not touching your wallet. Men should never suffer whenever society changes for the sake of women,” he chuckled.

The treasurer then explained that while Pink Dollars will be used to pay women, they cannot be spent anywhere within Australia or overseas. Instead, women will have to collect their cash payment in person every fortnight before converting Pink Dollars to Australian dollars through government approved exchange bureaus. Only then will they have currency to spend on everyday living expenses.

“As of July 1, 2021, all Australian-registered employers must pay their female employees in Pink Dollars. We are announcing this new system today to give employers sufficient time to adapt their payroll procedures. We have also established a hotline within the Department of Finance to assist employers.”

Frydenberg was asked how the system will classify employees who identify in any way as gender fluid.

“What’s gender fluid?” he replied.

Minister Payne was also asked for her reaction, as the new currency will be paid to all female government employees, including the Minister for Women herself.

“I believe Pink Dollars will…”she began, before the prime minister interjected.

“Marise is very supportive of the introduction of Pink Dollars, as I’m sure all Australian women will be,” he said, before adding:

“Jen and the girls can’t wait to get their hands on some fresh new pink bank notes. They say the money matches the dresses they wear to church,” he smirked.

Frydenberg then reinforced this sentiment.

“Marise sees the economic benefit of this policy, for women and for Australia as a whole, and she cites it as yet further evidence that the Coalition excels at economic management.”

A boastful Frydenberg also expected Pink Dollars to be introduced to other nations.

“Mathias Cormann was instrumental in formulating the details of the scheme in its infancy, and he promises to use his influence to impose the policy on every member nation of the OECD.”

Australian women, meanwhile, have not been given the opportunity to respond to the policy announcement, but have been directed to a page of the government’s website entitled:

“Pink Dollars: Mansplained”

On this page, they will learn that their employers will soon be able to replace portions of their wages with pink flowers.

“Enthusiastic Newstart recipients will be on hand at local train stations to present women with pink flowers after a hard day at work.”

Image: istockphoto.com

Peter Dutton declares themself gender neutral in time for Mardi Gras.

Peter Dutton has shocked voters and conservative colleagues with the news that they is gender neutral. Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs declared that their alter ego, Potato Head, has come out as gender neutral in the midst of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Mr Dutton will now be known as Dutton, or Potato Head, and has asked the media and party speechwriters to refer to them in gender neutral terms.

“I am declaring myself gender neutral,” announced Dutton at a press conference.

“Every year I feel like less of a man, especially after entering politics and overseeing the policies of Home Affairs. For that reason, myself and my alter ego, Potato Head, will now be known as gender neutral.”

“I have deliberated over this decision for a long time, but with Mardi Gras around the corner, and various political scandals involving my name, I decided it was a good idea to circulate this story in the media.”

It is not yet known whether Kirilly Dutton will retain her title of Mrs Potato Head, or also come out as gender neutral.

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has also shocked Australians with his public support for Potato Head. He was expected to denounce the move on religious grounds, but said he consulted his wife Jenny before embracing the change.

“Now that Peter is no longer a man, they is better able to empathise with women, especially the four who have accused one of our party members of sexual assault just 50 metres from my office.”

Mardi Gras organisers rushed to congratulate Dutton and to invite participants to create a new ‘Potato Head’ float for the famous parade.

“We are overjoyed at the news that one of our most senior politicians has found the confidence and courage to declare themselves gender neutral. Being true to oneself and being proud of one’s identity are central to the founding philosophy of Mardi Gras, and we welcome Peter into our family. It would be wonderful to see Peter dancing on top of a float, beside a life-size model of the newly-outed Potato Head”

Mardi Gras organisers have extended an invitation to the minister to attend part of the weeks-long festival, including the street parade on the evening of Saturday, March 6.

“Obviously Dutton is a very busy person, but hopefully they can find time to party among friends. Maybe they could fly to Sydney for a day or two – we know they can affords the flights.”

Many Australians wondered how gender neutrality could be claimed at all by a creature that is not human, while cynics have pointed out that the decision was simply an attempt to revive interest in an increasingly unpopular, irrelevant and outdated character.

Dutton rejected those claims.

“That is an outrageous and offensive slander,” they replied.

“Myself and my party have a proven record of progressive social policies, especially in regards to gender and sexuality. One only needs to examine our response to the same-sex marriage debate and the treatment of women in parliament and society in general, to see that the LNP is and always has been a proud supporter of gender equality and inclusion.”

They then added,

“The LNP does not do cheap publicity stunts.”

Image: http://www.smh.com.au

The problem with Harry Styles and the Vogue cover.

The Vogue magazine cover featuring Harry Styles is problematic. The decision to dress the famous singer in female attire has and saturated the mass media with supportive and critical gender-based commentary, and this is a problem.

Placing a man in a dress on the front cover of a mainstream fashion magazine is a distraction. It is a distraction from more important gender issues facing the modern world.

There are real discussions to be had, and real action to be taken, in the realm of gender inequality. A man wearing a dress is not one of those. If a man wants to wear a dress, let him wear a dress, it’s not a big deal.

Violence against women, workplace harassment, the gender pay gap, gender discrimination and domestic violence are all important issues.

Violence against women continues throughout the world. Women continue to be victims of violence at the hands of men, and this issue needs to be discussed and dealt with. The physical and emotional powerlessness of women in so many contexts needs to be discussed and acted upon so that women throughout the world can live without suffering violence.

If there is one advantage of the Vogue cover, it is the potential to challenge the toxic masculinity which fuels a lot of the violence against women.

The world should be discussing measures to end violence against women, not discussing Harry Styles in a dress.

Workplace harassment is a reality for many women throughout the world. In so many workplaces, women’s voices are not heard. They suffer power imbalances and the men who hold that power exploit it to harass women physically, mentally and emotionally. This continues to happen in every nation and can only be addressed when it is part of a daily discussion, and daily action.

Women are still excluded from more senior and more lucrative professional positions on the basis of gender. Women are still being excluded from the decision making cliques within workplaces, even though all of the decisions made impact upon them.

The world should be talking about ending workplace harassment, not Harry Styles in a dress.

Somehow, the gender pay gap still exists. In 2020, women are often paid less for doing exactly the same job as men, or earn less because the occupations in which they are more likely to work (health, education, community service…) earn far less than occupations dominated by men.

One of the most vulnerable groups in society is older women, who are not able to save as much money during their lowly-paid careers and find themselves in financial hardship later in life – but not many people talk about this.

It is said that pornography is the only occupation in which women earn more than men. Thus, the only occupation which collectively advantages women is an industry which objectifies women.

We should be discussing how it is possible to pay women less than men, and not the fact that Harry Styles wore a dress.

Underlying the gender pay gap, sexual and physical violence against women, and workplace harassment, is gender discrimination. Within society, within relationships and families, within the media and within other institutions such as religion and the legal system, women are still discriminated against.

Institutional and entrenched gender discrimination should be at the forefront of discussions in the media and society, not the fact that Harry Styles wore a dress.

Publicity…

It’s important to remember that the Vogue cover has generated an enormous amount of publicity. Whether opposing or supporting the cover photo, people are talking about Vogue (as is this article). Publicity was always going to accompany the first ever Vogue cover featuring a man, but the comments have all centred on his wardrobe choice.

Who decided to put the pop star in a dress? Did Styles decide? If so, good luck to him. Did Vogue decide? It is a fashion magazine compiled by fashion experts, so perhaps it was a stylistic decision. Perhaps a designer or fashionista decided that Styles looks good in a dress – don’t forget that fashion is entirely superficial and based on appearance, and aesthetics had to have been a major consideration when arranging the clothing for the photo shoot.

It’s all good publicity for Styles, for Vogue and the designer. In an era of global financial hardship and falling magazine sales, the publicity generated by this cover is extremely valuable. The internet is also flooded with merchandise featuring the famous image.

The end of masculinity.

Scores of men rushed to social media to decry the end of traditional masculinity, but did Styles ever conform to stereotypes of traditional masculinity?

Harry Styles put on a dress. Someone took his photo, and it appeared on the cover of a magazine. It’s not a big deal. Gender discrimination which underscores violence against women, workplace harassment and the gender pay gap are all big deals. This is what we should be talking about.

And don’t forget, this debate surrounds a magazine cover featuring…a man.

Image: Vogue, Tyler Mitchell

I Thought You Were A Woman.

Someone I have never met told me they thought I was a woman. I’m not. They made this assumption based on my Instagram account.

The person is a friend of a friend and stumbled upon my Instagram account, as people do within the world of social media. They requested to follow, I accepted, and they perused my photos.

The person then messaged me in surprise and told me that she thought I was female.

Why?

Because of the content of my Instagram posts.

Essentially, all of my posts depict nature or books. Once I’ve read a book that I like, I take a photo of the cover and maybe and excerpt from the book and I post it on my account. Actually, I haven’t done this for a while, I think I just forgot.

Otherwise, my Instagram account contains images of nature. When I go hiking, cycling, camping or into nature, I like to take photos of sunsets, beaches, plants, trees, skylines and animals. I’d like to have more photos of animals but they’re hard to capture with a basic smartphone lacking a decent zoom. If I do capture an animal it’s always a bonus.

Almost every one of my posts depicts lakes, rivers, mountains, trees, rocks, sand, sun and surf, because I love nature and try to spend as much time in it as possible. My account contains almost no images of myself.

I don’t like appearing on camera and I’m not vain or beautiful enough to be an Instagram model, so I don’t take many selfies. I do appear in other people’s photos or have friends take photos of me, but I just have no interest in posting them online.

I explained to the woman that I am in fact a man, and we had a good laugh about it. It did make me think, however.

Why would someone think that I was female after seeing photos of books and nature?

Have we been conditioned to think that an interest in or respect for nature is feminine? Can only women appreciate and express an appreciation for nature, and is this linked to a woman’s role as a nurturer and care giver?

If this is the case, does it explain the current state of the world’s climate and the natural environment?

Mother Earth, as we often call it, is in trouble after years and years of human abuse, and this abuse is continuing even though we now know better. We now know that previous practices are harming the planet upon which we rely for our survival but we continue with these practices.

Is this cycle of destruction perpetuated because men still rule the world? Certain organisations, businesses and countries have a woman in the top job, but the system which was created by men is still controlled by men. If a man is not expected to love nature, even via an Instagram account, protecting the environment into the future will be very difficult, because men are still making most of the decisions which determine the state of the planet.

Is it time to give women a turn? Really give them a turn. Not just appoint a few women to the position of national or corporate president, not just vote women onto boards or executive positions, but replace men in large numbers at every level of government, business and other sectors of society. Men had their turn running the world, the planet is in very bad shape, so maybe it’s time they were replaced.

If the men running the world were the starting players on a sporting team, their results suggest it’s time they were taken off and replaced by those who have been waiting their turn on the reserves bench.

Can you love nature and still be a man?

Do we have to change paradigms of masculinity to include respect for nature and pride in publicly expressing a love for the natural world?

Do we need to reach a point at which assumptions cannot be made about someone’s gender because they display images of nature on a social media account?