Someday, I will figure out a way to blog fast enough to respond to things in real time instead of commenting on news from a month ago. Until then, this is what you get. Content note: sexual assault, misogyny, racism, slut-shaming.
Back at the beginning of August, the Waikato provincial rugby team, the Chiefs, hired a stripper for a social event in a place called Matamata. They sexually assaulted her and blocked her way when she tried to leave the venue. She has since lost her job, apparently for agreeing to let them touch her for an extra $50 under some duress, by the sound of it, and she didnt get the $50. There followed the predictable faux-scandalized response in the media and the usual nonsense about rugby-players being role models. I mean, theyre role models in the de facto sense that New Zealand males do, in fact, follow their example. Its nonsense to recommend that anyone should follow their example.
Yes. Yes, it is absolutely a rugby problem. That is exactly what Im saying. (OK, one qualification: it is a mens rugby problem. Id bet good money no womens rugby team would ever do this.) I would expand on this, but while I was busy on the previous post two other bloggers did it for me:
Which is why the Come on guys, were better than this tone of much of the mainstream media response to the Chiefs sexual assault scandal rings so hollow. Rugby is not better than this. Rugby is this. Rugby is where boys will be boys, and gay people will be abused, and women will be assaulted. And if you dont like it, that is because you and your PC mates are destroying Our Country, where whacking your kids and then leaving them in your car while you get pissed with The Boys is the only way to stop us turning into a society of Male Mothers...
Because on a very basic level we all know... that This Is What They Are Like, the ruggers. We all walked the school hall in fear of their approach, or sided with them so as not to fear... We all worked that hospitality job where The Boys descending on your bar / hotel / restaurant was the occasion for the spilling of blood and beer and piss and puke and the boss said to grin and bear it because its The Boys, and Boys Will Be Boys.
The incidents arising out of the Chiefs rugby teams Mad Monday celebrations in the Waikato town of Matamata have been presented to the public as the deeply regretted failure of a number of young sportsmen to live up to the ideals of their code.
Alternatively, the behaviour in question, far from being aberrant, could be seen as entirely consistent with the values of twenty-first century professional sport. These young men are paid to live in a hard culture where the slightest indication of softness will be taken as proof of either femininity, or queerness, or both... It wasnt an aberration it was the norm.