Monday, April 18, 2011

Duntroon: Setting the pace in gender issues?

The Blowfly has been considering the issue of the Duntroon sex 'scandal'.

Can I encourage you to play a little mind game with me? Imagine that you are a young woman who has always wanted to be a member of the Australian Defence Forces.

Your mother was a proud feminist who threw away her bra before you were born. Instead of reading Enid Blyton stories at bedtime she read you passages from Germaine Greer’s “The Female Eunuch”.

You always slept well! You grew up playing soccer and cricket and believing that anything a man can do you can do better. Except for Don Bradman, of course!

You can think of nothing more exhilarating than attending the Royal Military College Duntroon and serving your country by being shot at, yelled at by drill sergeants, marching in endless parades, receiving degrading remarks from men and being targeted whenever you have a few too many drinks.

You apply for, and are accepted into, Duntroon. You get into the swing of things. You have a healthy, normal interest in young men and you have several ‘friends with benefits’ relationships.

One night while you are availing yourself of these benefits, unbeknown to you, your ‘friend’ has other ideas. He has taken it upon himself to educate his friends about the nature of your relationship. Without telling you he beams your ‘benefits session’ into their rooms using Skype.

It takes a few days for his breach of trust to filter back to you.

Your world is turned upside down.

You ask yourself a number of deep and meaningful questions: “How could he do this to me? What is this world coming too? Are all men the same? Will I be able to trust any man again? I wonder if the microphone was working properly? What will I tell mum and dad? What will he tell his mum and dad? What did his mates think? Will I be seen as cheap? Did I give a good performance? Have I become a sexual object? Did I find it degrading or did I enjoy it? Will this affect his future sex-life more than mine? Will this ruin my chances of promotion or help it? Will I be banished to driving trucks forever?”

Then a funny thing happens! A number of new enquiries are announced. One of these is to review the role of women in the ADF with a view to moving them more into combat positions.

This will provide you with an even greater chance of achieving your aspirations of being in the frontline and being shot at, marching in endless parades and being subjected to degrading remarks from your male colleagues. You wonder if you are onto something! Something Germaine Greer had not considered. Nor Andrew Wilkie for that matter!

There is another obvious way to serve your country. Sleeping with more cadets and beaming your activities into more rooms by Skype might stimulate the ADF to move even more quickly to promote gender equality in the armed forces!

There should be plenty of bandwidth due to the NBN. And what better time to do it than when Australia has a liberated, female Prime Minister?

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