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‘I’m a feminist and…’

Jane Caro doesn’t hate Alan Jones. He’s the gift that just keeps on giving.

Jones’ misogynistic remarks gave life to the Destroy the Joint Twitter hashtag and it was his comments a week later that bolstered #destroythejoint, and stopped its initial viral run from dying out.

What Caro had started one night after a couple of glasses of wine has been picked up by Jenna Price and others and has morphed into a movement.

The group’s lobbying cost 2UE over $3 million in advertising pulled from Jones’ show and saw Mercedes reclaim Jones’ personal Mercedes Benz.

“Now that is real clout. That represents real world consequences for sexism and for continuing to bank roll sexism,” said Caro.

Destroy the Joint was the rebrand that feminism needed, said Catherine Deveny.

“There are so many men, but mostly women, who have been listening to the radio, making phone calls, tweeting and having an impact” said Deveny. “It’s enabled women whose personal circumstances might prevent them being involved in more hands on campaigning to be involved.”

Although she confesses to usually hating hashtag activism, Jennifer Mills said she thinks that in this case it provided the moment of catharsis that feminism needed.

“Sometimes, it can feel a bit like we’re just attacking whoever is baiting us this week without actually achieving anything. I was really glad to see it develop into a full on movement,” said Mills.

The versatility of the words ‘destroy the joint’ make it the perfect rallying cry. Women can imbue them with their own meanings, which is demonstrated in the variety of stories shared in the book Destroying the Joint.

Melissa Lucashenko’s initial reaction was one of celebration but, close on the heels of that, she said was an Aboriginal reaction.

“Whose joint are we talking about? Which joint? Haven’t white fellas been destroying the joint for the last 200 years?” Lucashenko said, “I’m all for creative destruction, but destruction for destruction’s sake, no.

“Indigenous people have, especially indigenous women, have been the brunt of that kind of destruction for too long.”

How can we structure our destruction to make it productive? The panellists spoke about using your spending power to vote out sexism, free and safe abortion on demand, and women’s and workers’ collectives.

“It’s simple though,” said Caro, with her characteristic dry humour. “Practise saying, ‘I’m a feminist and…’ And if anyone says ‘I’m not a feminist but…’ Shoot them.”

Emily Handley is a Southern Cross University Arts student.

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