Young women wanting healthy relationships are not 'uncaring bitches'

Young women wanting healthy relationships are not ‘uncaring, demanding bitches’

healthy relationships
Perhaps Bettina Arndt is determined to have her Australia Day Honours stripped?

How else to explain her published response to respectful dating guidelines from Griffith University?

Labelling young women ‘uncaring, demanding bitches’ is a questionable response in itself but it’s even more inexplicable given the healthy relationship guidelines are quite clearly designed for men and women.

The guidelines, published as part of a handbook about Sex, Love & Dating, cannot reasonably be described as inflammatory or self-indulgent. Interpreting them in that way, as proof of a feminist conspiracy in which women dare to have agency, is alarmingly telling.

If saying men and women have the right to be heard, have boundaries, choose when and how they engage in sex is uncaring, demanding and selfish, what dynamic is preferable?

What sort of behaviour would be ideal if concepts like maintaining the right to decline a date, to be yourself, to express a voice, to have friends and to respect your own desires are considered radical and selfish?

Consider the message, being sent to men and women, if even just a few of the guidelines were flipped.

I DO NOT have the right to be heard.

I DO NOT have the right to have friends.

I DO NOT have the right to refuse a date.

I DO NOT have the right to have my own feelings.

I DO NOT have the right to refuse to be sexually intimate.

I DO NOT have the right to change my mind.

I DO NOT have the right to set boundaries.

Can you imagine relationships being formed upon those foundations?

At the risk of sounding alarmist, it’s terrifying to consider.

When it comes from an Australian recognised for services for gender equity? There are no words.

From someone who hopes to influence gender equity in Australia, I can say with my hand on heart if there’s nothing else students – male and female – take from university except these messages – the healthy version – they will be set to contribute positively to society.  If they learn the reverse I fear for their futures.

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