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Cheers - AE

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Bikini babe sailors and feminist outrage

Newsflash - humourless feminists go nuts over Navy officer's interview (also reported in the UK media here and here and probably a few others I couldn't be arsed to google for). The Age:
Feminists are calling for action to be taken after an Australian Navy submarine commander suggested that women sailors in bikinis would help boost recruitment.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Commander Tom Phillips from the HMAS Farncomb was asked by a men's magazine if "female sailors all had to be hot and had to wear bikinis, would that help recruitment?".
Commander Phillips is quoted as replying: "It would certainly get the right demographic of young men in. I'm not sure how feasible it is."
Defence Minister Warren Snowden said the comments were "utterly unacceptable".
Chair of the Women's Lobby Australia, Eva Cox, said the comments reflected the "Navy's limited view of women as bodies rather than brains", the Telegraph reported.
Eva, the guy was interviewed by a lad's mag, who asked him a typical albeit inane and laddish question. It was also a fairly leading question and the response shouldn't be too surprising. Actually I felt it was a fairly balanced answer. He did not say that he thought it was a good idea to have female sailors in bikinis, just that it would appeal to a certain demographic, presumably testosterone laden men in their late teens and early twenties, who are also desired by the RAN for other reasons. Oh, and how did the second bit go again?
I'm not sure how feasible it is.
Sounds like he has some reservations about actually putting into practice. Eva, fuck off eh?

The Telegraph (UK rather than Sydney):
"If these comments are to be attributed to this newly appointed commander, I think it will go down as one of the shortest careers in naval history," MP Bob Baldwin said. Australia's Minister for Defence Personnel Warren Snowden told the Sydney Daily Telegraph that the remarks were "utterly unacceptable".
Bob, Warren, see above. And then fuck off.

I think the UK's Grauniad actually has the most balanced take on this:
Now then, the original Reuters story says he suggested female sailors "should" wear bikinis, which isn't quite true. If we scroll down the story we find that, in fact, he was asked by Ralph Magazine: "If female sailors all had to be hot and had to wear bikinis, would that help recruitment?"
Nice to see that someone spotted that it was Raplh's question that sparked the answer. On top of which I can't imagine that Commander Phillips was behind the interview or did it off his own back without clearing it through the appropriate Naval Headquarters and/or DoD in Canberra. I haven't bothered to check but I wouldn't be shocked if it turned out that it was an NHQ/DoD idea to get a senior officer to do a lad mag interview to help recruitment in the first place. At the least they could have easily put the kybosh on the idea if Commander Phillips was in fact the one who thought of it. So why is Phillips getting all the flak from the feminists and politicians? Why not throw some at the magazine for asking a puerile question? Why not chuck some in the direction of those who either approved or were behind it as well? Why not, getting down to the nitty gritty, give it some fucking thought instead of going after the easiest and most obvious target? I can see why feminists and politicians would be offended by a serious suggestion from a Navy officer that female sailors should all look like they're Baywatch extras, and rightly so because it would be ridiculous from pretty much any perspective, but that's not what happened. I feel that the feminist cause isn't being helped much here by the feminists themselves.
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