In some much-needed good news for feminism in 2016, people power has today prevailed to put a stop to sexist ‘pick up artist’ seminars touring Australia.
The news broke this morning that seminar presenter, Jeff Allen, has left the country and had his visa revoked, after more than 60,000 people signed an online petition calling for the visa cancellation.
The seminars run by US company, Real Social Dynamics, are abhorrent. They encourage choking, threatening and abusing women, in a deranged attempt to ‘pick up’.
The organisation refers to women as ‘whores’ and Jeff Allen, who has been forced out of the country, drives what he calls a ‘rape van’.
There’s no place for this promotion of rape, violence and sexism in Australia, or anywhere, and I’m so proud that tens of thousands of Australian feminists, men and women alike, have stood up together for gender equality and succeeded.
Despite the community responding swiftly and providing Jeff Allen’s name to the government, the Immigration Minister acted too slowly to stop one of these sickening seminars from going ahead in Sydney before Jeff Allen left the country.
Thankfully, the community’s disgust was so strong that finally the government was forced to step in and stop more sexism festering at further seminars.
Real Social Dynamics had scheduled these seminars, which profit from promoting gender inequality and violence, through to November in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
It’s a relief that they’ve been stopped, at least for now, and it’s heartening to finally be able to celebrate some good news for feminism in 2016, after a shockingly sexist start to the year.
Both a federal Liberal Minister and the general-secretary of the NSW Labor Party have resigned over sexual harassment allegations. We’ve learnt ANZ celebrated a top appointment at a strip club. A sportsman belittled a female journalist on live TV by ignoring her questions, repeatedly asking her out and saying, “don’t blush, baby”.
While Minister Dutton did finally revoke Jeff Allen’s visa, as Immigration Minister he has presided over and utterly failed to address rampant sexual abuse against women and children in immigration detention.
He also recently sent a text to a female journalist calling her “mad f*@!king witch”, which he had intended to send to former Minister Jamie Briggs about the journalist’s coverage of Mr Briggs’ sexual harassment of a public servant.
There’s certainly still a long way to go to stamp out sexism and to achieve gender equality. But today’s win has shown it is possible if we stand together to call out sexism.
Let’s keep it up!
Qld Senator Larissa Waters is the Australian Greens Deputy Leader and spokesperson for women.
*Feature image via Instagram.