Tuesday, 25 November 2008

White ribbon day

Another day another bloody lapel ribbon.

The ribbon de jour today is white, I think.  Wearing one today tells everyone how 'right-on' you are. How much you care.  Or at least, how much you want everyone to know that you care.

What you're caring about today is Violence Against Women, okay?

Violence Against Women is Bad.  It's Not Okay.  Let's All Just Get Along.  If you and your friends can just wish hard enough and recite those mantras to each other long enough and loud enough (loud enough to drown out the voice of reason that tells you mantras alone won't fix anything) then bad men will become good, bad relationships will heal themselves, and everyone everywhere will get their pony.

What a load of self-deluded bollocks.  It's a white ribbon, arseholes, not a bloody tool of self-defence -- or a means of self-reflection for the self-deluded.

But wearing your ribbon isn't really about fixing anything, is it -- it's just about showing your friends how worthy you are.  That you care.  That you're one of them.  One of us!  You'll sit around today in your little coffee groups and luncheon circles with your little white ribbons on -- or whatever the colour of today's 'I-Care-a-thon' is -- and agree with each other that hitting women is a bad thing, that 'we' shouldn't do it, that violence doesn't solve anything, that men have a lot to answer for blah, blah, blah ...

And you know what: you won't make a blind bit of difference.  Men will go on hitting women.  Women will carry on staying with men who hit them.  And you and your friends wringing your hands about it?  Not going to change a thing.

But you'll feel better for your worthiness, won't you, as you sip your trim latte and nibble on your biscotti -- and that's all the white ribbon's about, isn't it.  Saying, "I care."

So bloody what.    It's appropriate that white is the colour of surrender, don't you think?


  1. I agree with your sentiments. It's all about conformity really. And I assume that you feel exactly the same about ANZAC poppies too? To be consistent you should.

    There's a great episode of Seinfeld where Kramer is too much of a free-thinker to wear the Aids ribbon and gets constantly hassled.

    It wouldn't be so bad if people wore lots of political badges, but the conformity of the current ribbon obsession is rather sad and politically narrowing.


  2. I wonder what colour ribbon the "I Should Stop Nagging"-a-thon would be?

  3. There are cops on street corners in Wellington handing the bloody things out.

    I would have thought that investigating crime would be more useful than handing out badges saying, "I wish there was less crime".

  4. Geez Peter.... another spot-on post!

    These fucking feel-good wastes-of-time make my blood boil, frankly.

    Its mind control at its worst and most futile. A "lets join in and make a difference" crowd pleaser which achieves absolutely nothing at all.

  5. I've been reading a bit of a new book called Ribbon Culture which is quite insightful and critical towards the whole phenomenon.

    You can read a review of the book on the excellent leftwing-libertarian Spiked-online website:

    Untying the ‘ribbon culture’:
    A brilliant new book explores what the relentless rise of awareness-raising ribbons – kitsch fashion items that express the wearer’s fear of disease or empathy with victims – reveals about our morbid, narcissistic society.
    by Jennie Bristow


  6. The White Ribbon Campaign draws attention to male violence against women as a serious issue that affects too many Australian women. The rationale for this focus is supported by nationally representative statistics. However, this is not to say that we are blind to other types of violence,
    buzz marketing

  7. Look up dark, biting, on-the-money humor in the dictionary and you may not see PC, but if he's not in the section on etymology an injustice has been done!

    Great stuff (he writes, tears of laughter obscuring his vision...)

  8. Is Smithsan claiming (a very sexist view) that Females are delicate, pathetic creatures who need 'protecting' in a 19th century way?

    Some of us take the view that Women do not need 'protecting'; are capable of making their own decisions and certainly do not need 'wet', wimpy, limp dick men to tell them what is right and wrong and engage in group hugs as to what 'victims' they are.

    (But what do I know?)

  9. I am a proponent that while women still actually pay any attention and love to men who are violent towards women and children, the violence shall remain.

    Excuses are abound as to why women stay with these men or get into relationships in the first place with them.

    Time to exercise personal responsibility, get up, call the Cops and leave.

  10. I once suggested - on a feminist blog - that if women want to do something about stranger rape the best thing they could do would be to carry handguns.

    Funnily enough that suggestion went down very badly. Apparently suggesting that the victims of violence could arm themselves against it is blaming the victims, or something like that.

    So guess what? I don't wear ribbons like that either.

  11. Women marry men expecting their men will change.
    Men marry women hoping their women won't.
    And naturally, both are disappointed.

  12. Smithsan, I think what PC is trying to say is that drawing attention to it isn't the same as actually doing anything about the problem. It just makes people feel good that they have done something, without them actually having to lift a finger. Not that there's anything most people can do, unless they are wife beaters already.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. For godsakes! Ignore smithsan. Can't you guys recognise an advertising troll when you see one? PC, I would advise deleting that comment.

    See here:


  15. Tagged


  16. PC wrote, "If you and your friends can just wish hard enough and recite those mantras to each other long enough and loud enough (loud enough to drown out the voice of reason that tells you mantras alone won't fix anything) then bad men will become good, bad relationships will heal themselves, and everyone everywhere will get their pony".


    That's all that is.

    May as well wish on Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy to solve the problems of the naughty.

    Interesting how these collectivist initiatives are nothing more than variants of religious practice at base.


  17. Well said PC, you're dead right. Few people have the guts to say it though. Having said that though, if the money is actually used for something useful, then it could be a good form of charity.

    "I agree with your sentiments. It's all about conformity really. And I assume that you feel exactly the same about ANZAC poppies too? To be consistent you should."

    ANZAC poppies are sold to raise money for the RSA, to care for veterans welfare. According to their website, this makes the Poppy Day Appeal "one of the oldest nationwide appeals conducted by a voluntary welfare organisation in New Zealand". Voluntary welfare is a very good thing that I would expect most of us commenting here would support.

    Wearing a poppy or anything else can mean you are boasting a little ("I donated, aren't I good"), but it is also very good advertising for the organisation ("Everyone's wearing poppies today, that reminds me, the RSA is doing a fundraiser").

    So although like PC I don't like the whole "I'm wearing a ribbon so I care" (or "I'm a Greenpeace member so I'm caring for the environment"!) thing, or the idea that wearing a ribbon will actually do any good at all, if the money is actually being used well we should support fundraisers like this.

    CanTeen would be another example of a group with a bragging-rights clothing item (a bandanna), that actually uses the money for good.

  18. Bryce, I agree with Mr D re the wearing of poppies on ANZAC Day -- for the reasons he provides, as well as the commemorative aspect, ie it's remembering a past event.

    As opposed to this ribbon nonsense which is little more than a cross-your-fingers-and-hope-whatever-it-is-we're-protesting-today-will-stop gesture.

    Not to mention the authorities also looking like they're doing something ...

  19. Yup. The "authorities" have gotta do something.


  20. Yes it's almost as pointless a gesture as... well, voting Libertarianz really...

  21. Who gets the money? I saw some badges but I never saw one person giving them out - I think I've become immune to those people.

    I once tried to donate some stuff to the women's refuge but they wouldn't let me drop it off there because I was (and still am) a man. They asked if I could get a woman to do it so I told them to "fuck off!". The women who need women's refuge need to meet men like me, rather than hang around with women who hate men.


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