Heather du Plessis-Allan is a columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Ladies - quit the reverse sexism

We shouldn't make excuses for rugby players or men in general. Photo / Photosport
We shouldn't make excuses for rugby players or men in general. Photo / Photosport

The surprising part of the Chiefs stripper saga is how the women of New Zealand became the most vocal critics of Scarlette.

We threw her under a fast-moving vehicle as soon as we could cover the ground from the bus shelter to the edge of the curb.

Right at the outset, Margaret Comer - chief executive of Chief's sponsor Gallagher - essentially said Scarlette couldn't complain because she'd taken off her clothes and walked around in a group of men. Comer later apologised.

This week, Western Bay of Plenty Councillor Margaret Murray-Benge wrote on Facebook that she feels "very sorry for the [Chiefs] players".

And, female talkback callers either have an innate sense of exactly when I'm choosing to tune in, or they are the bulk of the callers saying Scarlette should've expected what she got.

The biggest disappointment has been the Minister for Women. Louise Upston would be neither a good rugby player nor a good stripper.

She ducked and dived to avoid the subject, but ultimately planted the ball right between her own goalposts.

And, unlike a stripper's performance, no one enjoyed watching Upston's contortions.

So, ladies, here's a simple analogy to help navigate the gaping chasm between victim-blaming and putting responsibility exactly where it belongs.

Right up top, we'll acknowledge that Scarlette could've done things a lot better.

She shouldn't have danced for the Chiefs without security. She shouldn't have allegedly brokered extra payment for extra jobs. She shouldn't have taken a single step closer to them when she realised these boys were as drunk as she claims they were.

If Scarlette was the owner of a house, she hasn't been responsible. She's left all the doors and windows open and then gone out for half the day.

When she's come home to find her place burgled, few of us are all that sorry for her because few of us would be that careless.

All the female neighbours have shuffled out in their dressing gowns and slippers to tell Scarlette it's her own fault.

But, hang on a minute. What about the burglar in this analogy? Are we saying the burglar was well within his rights to try the door handle, let himself in and help himself to the TV, laptop and a quick bath?

As careless as we think the homeowner is, none of us would make excuses for the criminal. You wouldn't have talkback callers phoning in to say, "Oh well, burglars will be burglars". Or, "if you leave your doors wide open, what did you expect from red-blooded burglars?"

This isn't a country where people tolerate burglars as a bit of a hassle when they're drunk, but otherwise really good at what they do and pretty nice guys. By the same token, it shouldn't be one where people make excuses for rugby players or men in general.

In fact, if I was a bloke I'd be pretty angry at women who have the audacity to call talkback and suggest that men go from human beings to aggressively aroused male ostriches at the mere sight of a wiggling bum.

That's some reverse sexism from you ladies right there. Somehow women have the ability to exercise self discipline but that Y chromosome reduces men to something close to drunk, sex-crazed toddlers who must touch what they see.

This is on Louise Upston. As the Minister for Women she needs to man up. It's not about telling dudes what women expect. It's become clear it's about telling women what they should expect.

Instead of saying it's "not appropriate" for the Women's Minister to comment, Upston should take a lesson from her Beehive senior Judith Collins.

When asked who was to blame for high burglary rates, the Police Minister responded, "The main contributors to the burglary rates are criminals".

The same thing goes for men who want to grab when they're not invited to.

- Herald on Sunday

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Heather du Plessis-Allan is a columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a thirty-something trying very hard to avoid growing up. So far it’s working, except for the husband, the mortgage and the proper job. She lives between Auckland and Wellington. When she’s not writing for the Herald on Sunday, she co-hosts TV3’s 7pm current affairs programme Story.

Read more by Heather du Plessis-Allan

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