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‘Legal rape’ advocate targets Canberra

By Jill Thomsen 4 February 2016 10

daryush-roosh-valizadeh

Pick-up artist and misogynist Daryush Valizadeh, founder of the organisation/publication Return of Kings has announced a trip to Australia to stage ‘tribal meetings’ in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane, with Canberra his first stop.

Top ten most insane quotes from Validadeh

These tribal meetings are for ‘neomasculinist’ men to ‘come out’ with their misogynist, homophobic and sexist values. Until now, it had appeared that Canberra had avoided holding a public congregation of men who advocate that rape should be legal on private property, that women are genetically submissive to men and that a men who date fat women are contributing to obesity rates. Their claims are as absurd as they are offensive.

It was disappointing, then to see that Valizadeh has made Canberra the first stop on his Australian grand tour, saying that Canberra is an ‘unmet need’ when it comes to conducting meet-ups. In other words, he is confident enough that Aussie misogynists in Sydney and Melbourne can look after themselves, but Canberra needs a nudge in the right direction.

Whilst Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s office have indicated that it is likely Mr Valizadeh’s visa application will be denied, it is disturbing that Valizadeh was able to locate enough misogynist men in Canberra to justify the expense and travel time to come to Australia. Canberra is apparently so ripe for the picking that Valizadeh is willing to make us his first stop. Mr Valizadeh is attempting to swoop in and rescue poor Canberrans from our fringe ideas of equality and tolerance. I’m sure he will have a lovely time in Canberra. After all, we have strong, educated and articulate women in our workforce (a nightmare for the likes of Valizadeh), we have a thriving LGBTIQ community and I’m sure feminists of Canberra will throw him a welcome party similar to those planned in other cities.

It is also disappointing that Peter Dutton has come out publicly abhorring the views of Return of Kings and Valizadeh’s colleague Julien Blanc, and yet is still refusing to meet with women and accept a change.org petition in regards to this event that received over 60,000 signatures in its first 24 hours.

The timing of Valizadeh’s attempt to reach Canberra is also the subject of much speculation, with him scheduled to arrive just 2 hours before the scheduled start of a rally being held by far-right group Reclaim Australia at Parliament House this Saturday at 1pm. As usual, there will be a strong and vocal counter-rally. Could Mr Valizadeh be attempting to make a special guest appearance at the Reclaim Australia rally?

The ideas held by Valizadeh, and his Aussie counterparts across Australia are not welcome here. If he does come, we can have faith that Canberra will show our true colours. If all else fails, we can show him the video of our new Australian of the Year/ACT Australian of the Year showing him what it really means to be a top Aussie bloke.

Jill Thomsen works in the women’s sector in Canberra, specifically in homelessness, and is a Greens candidate for the seat of Kurrajong in the 2016 ACT election.

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‘Legal rape’ advocate targets Canberra
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Masquara 5:58 pm 04 Feb 16

See? Look what a Paleo diet does, folks!

Masquara 5:57 pm 04 Feb 16

That “top Aussie bloke” may or may not really believe what he says. After all, he will be charging up to $15,000 an appearance during his AOTY 12 months! Who wouldn’t be a privileged white male promoting Equality! Puts a whole ‘nother angle to the runner-up, too. Cate only gets up to $5,000 an appearance, according to News today …

Masquara 5:54 pm 04 Feb 16

Jill Thomsen said :

LATEST UPDATE: Return of Kings has now cancelled all official events, however members are still free to meet casually if they wish. Mr Valizadeh has said that he has cancelled official events because can no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men attending these events. There is some irony in cancelling an event that promotes harassment and assault out of fear of harassment and assault.

Its important to note, though, that just because the Return of Kings branded events have been cancelled, doesn’t mean these events won’t go ahead unofficially, and certainly doesn’t remove misogyny from our society. The conversation about misogyny and violence against women does not, and should not, end with the cancellation of these events.

Dutton has said he won’t get a visa …

justin heywood 5:25 pm 04 Feb 16

Charlotte Harper said :

I was conflicted as to whether we should publish an article on this issue… However, I also felt Jill’s article made some important points and combined with the strong Canberra angle on the story, decided the positives of publishing outweighed the negatives.

And what points would they be? I can’t see any ‘important’ points; a complaint that the minister didn’t sign a petition and a totally speculative (and highly unlikely) link to a far right group.

This cretin’s entire career depends upon publicity, without it he would be nothing.
In my view the media do a disservice to society in giving him oxygen. Likewise for aspiring politicians who use his name as a prop to smear their political and cultural enemies.

Jill Thomsen 2:24 pm 04 Feb 16

LATEST UPDATE: Return of Kings has now cancelled all official events, however members are still free to meet casually if they wish. Mr Valizadeh has said that he has cancelled official events because can no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men attending these events. There is some irony in cancelling an event that promotes harassment and assault out of fear of harassment and assault.

Its important to note, though, that just because the Return of Kings branded events have been cancelled, doesn’t mean these events won’t go ahead unofficially, and certainly doesn’t remove misogyny from our society. The conversation about misogyny and violence against women does not, and should not, end with the cancellation of these events.

KHorvath 1:41 pm 04 Feb 16

I agree with henryans.

I’m familiar with Daryush (aka ‘Roosh’) and Co. from Dave Futrelle’s blog We Hunted the Mammoth. Futrelle regularly criticises these ‘neomasculinists’ and has made it clear that stirring up media outrage is Roosh’s MO. The Project’s Waleed Aly made a great argument for a social media blackout on Roosh and his followers, as featured in this Guardian article: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/feb/02/waleed-aly-social-media-bait-misogynist-provocations

I’m a woman and consider myself to be a feminist, and I don’t think Roosh’s proposed visit to Australia is a good topic to start a productive discussion about misogyny. Roosh is as backwards as they come with respect to gender equality, but the sexism that myself and other women I know have experienced doesn’t come from people who share Roosh’s beliefs. Most of the sexism I’ve experienced personally has been much more insidious and easier to overlook than one man loudly proclaiming over the Internet that he doesn’t think I should have the right to vote.

It’s abundantly clear that going around and declaring that you think rape should be legal is not something Australia is okay with. It’s actually been really great to see the number of men who’ve come out and disagreed very strongly with the things Roosh says. But I think a real, productive conversation about sexism in Australia should involve both everyone affected by sexism and make it clear that Australia is not okay with the insidious stuff as well – for example, working parents and how to give them more support as well as tackling the stigma around mental health that means men are less likely to seek help. Making the discussion about hardline misogynists has a big risk of overshadowing the issues that many Australians – both male and female – face due to sexism every day.

I’m sure everyone passing on this story has good intentions, but this is how Roosh works – he stirs up outrage, uses it to fuel his followers’ opinion that they’re an oppressed minority who can’t express their masculinity, and basically enjoys free publicity.

In any case, Roosh has been bragging on Twitter about taking capsicum spray into the airport to protect himself (unlikely to be popular with border security), and according to Dutton has not applied for a visa (and is facing rejection if he does on the same grounds as Julien Blanc). So I very much doubt he will make it into Australia, let alone the ACT.

chewy14 1:32 pm 04 Feb 16

Jill Thomsen said :

henryans said :

Why do the media persist in giving this dude any air time?
Whats to gain? cause more divisiveness between men and women?
If fairfax didnt start airing this guy, no one would have known he existed let alone was coming here, and he and his dero mates could have met at maccas themselves, all 5 of them!
you guys should know better and not give this any airtime

Hi Henryans, I take your point. However, those who are interested in those events knew it was coming up (The ReturnofKings blog has been active for a long time, and I’ve been an occasional follower their attrocious blog since 2013 – know thy enemy). I’m not sure they are getting any MORE supporters because of the media coverage. What it has done, however, is provide an opportunity for politicians, police etc to publicly condemn misogyny and violence against women in all forms and provide opportunity for proactive leadership. We can’t shy away from this opportunity for debate and discussion because we are concerned about the click-through rate for these events.

A petition by a Canberra-based young woman on Change.org received over 100,000 signatures, and this prompted a response from Peter Dutton’s office after he demanded a briefing on these meetings and Mr Valizadeh’s travel plans. If this was not brought to Dutton’s attention, it may well be that Mr Valizadeh would have applied for a visa and entered the country, starting a group in Canberra.

I, for one, feel Canberra women are safer without Mr Valizadeh walking around it, with or without his friends.

So you’re using extremist groups like these with extremely miniscule online followings as “clickbait” for your cause(s)? Utilising the worst extremists to conflate smaller as part of the same (much bigger) problems?

You could get a job on the government’s terrorist taskforces, they’re right into that sort of stuff.

    Charlotte Harper 4:33 pm 04 Feb 16

    I was conflicted as to whether we should publish an article on this issue for the very reasons henryans mentions. This man probably celebrates every media mention. Another possibility is that his whole persona and supposed philosophy is a hoax, some kind of cruel joke designed to bait women. However, I also felt Jill’s article made some important points and combined with the strong Canberra angle on the story, decided the positives of publishing outweighed the negatives.

    I feel similarly about publishing stories about the threatening calls to schools this week. Those behind the calls are hoping to get media attention and cause disruption, and they’ve been successful on both counts. This note from NSW police on the issue struck a chord with me:

    Statement from the NSW Police Force regarding bomb hoaxes
    Tuesday, 02 February 2016 12:18:18 PM

    There is clearly a pattern of hoax calls designed to cause disruption and attract media attention.

    The NSW Police Force request all media outlets consider long standing conventions regarding the reportage of hoaxes.

    Student and teacher safety will always come first and every step to ensure public safety will always be taken.

    There is no evidence these are anything other than hoaxes designed to causing unnecessary disruption and inconvenience.

    The threats appear to come from overseas with no credible evidence they could be carried out here.

    Police investigations are continuing into the hoax calls and their source.

    The purpose and exact source of the threats remains unknown but to date all have been hoaxes under investigation by the State Crime Command’s Fraud and Cybercrime Unit.

    NSW Police are working with the Department of Education to ensure school communities are informed of all necessary information for parents of affected schools.

    NSW Police would like to thank all media outlets for the restraint they have shown in the current reportage to date in not propagating the messages of those responsible for the hoaxes.

Jill Thomsen 12:31 pm 04 Feb 16

henryans said :

Why do the media persist in giving this dude any air time?
Whats to gain? cause more divisiveness between men and women?
If fairfax didnt start airing this guy, no one would have known he existed let alone was coming here, and he and his dero mates could have met at maccas themselves, all 5 of them!
you guys should know better and not give this any airtime

Hi Henryans, I take your point. However, those who are interested in those events knew it was coming up (The ReturnofKings blog has been active for a long time, and I’ve been an occasional follower their attrocious blog since 2013 – know thy enemy). I’m not sure they are getting any MORE supporters because of the media coverage. What it has done, however, is provide an opportunity for politicians, police etc to publicly condemn misogyny and violence against women in all forms and provide opportunity for proactive leadership. We can’t shy away from this opportunity for debate and discussion because we are concerned about the click-through rate for these events.

A petition by a Canberra-based young woman on Change.org received over 100,000 signatures, and this prompted a response from Peter Dutton’s office after he demanded a briefing on these meetings and Mr Valizadeh’s travel plans. If this was not brought to Dutton’s attention, it may well be that Mr Valizadeh would have applied for a visa and entered the country, starting a group in Canberra.

I, for one, feel Canberra women are safer without Mr Valizadeh walking around it, with or without his friends.

henryans 11:39 am 04 Feb 16

Why do the media persist in giving this dude any air time?
Whats to gain? cause more divisiveness between men and women?
If fairfax didnt start airing this guy, no one would have known he existed let alone was coming here, and he and his dero mates could have met at maccas themselves, all 5 of them!
you guys should know better and not give this any airtime

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