How to get men to care about the environment

I do not know if the average Australian understands just how hard it is, in 2016, to be an environmentally conscious man who is also committed to maintaining a strong and unshakeable sense of masculinity.

Do you understand what it is like to desperately want to join the fight against the degradation of our natural world, but to be hamstrung by the need to minimise the ever-present risk that I could slip into unmanliness?

A new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research — Is Eco-Friendly Unmanly? The Green-Feminine Stereotype and Its Effect on Sustainable Consumption — has found that men shy away from environmentally responsible activity due to fear of its effect on their gender identity.

Men see the purchasing of green products and the performance of green practices as feminine, and are hence less likely to engage in them, for fear of having their masculinity diminished.

I wish I could make people understand. I wish I could make people see that, when I litter, I am not doing it out of reckless disregard for the future of the human race.

I am not hurling my burger wrappers and Coke bottles into the street with any kind of gay abandon.

Indeed, I do it with a heavy heart, because I know only too well of the waterways that will be choked, the wildernesses that will be despoiled, the animals that may be exterminated, by my destructive-yet-attractively-decisive abuse of nature.

Recycling does not a manly man make

But what choice do I have, when I know that if I am seen not littering, onlookers might question my manhood?

What would you do, if confronted with that awful choice — to toss your waste into a designated receptacle, or dispatch it to the four winds with a throaty chuckle — while feeling the eyes of the public upon you?

All those silently judgmental watchers ready, as soon as you put your rubbish in the bin, to text all their friends and loved ones, “OMG you won’t believe what a gigantic girlie-man I just saw!”

That tension, multiplied by about a hundred, is what I feel every single day.

Because of course I want to recycle, of course I want to reduce my carbon footprint, of course I want to donate large portions of my income to environmental activist organisations.

But the minute I do any of these things, I will be labelled, by both my personal circle of acquaintances and society at large, a sissy. And that is something I simply cannot countenance.

It is a problem that we need to acknowledge in our community.

Everyone knows environmentalism is for girls

The movement does not even try to hide this: think of all the times that Greens MPs have publicly demanded action on climate change, always emphasising the soft, effeminate nature of emissions trading schemes.

Remember the notorious Greenpeace slogan, still in use today: “Be A Woman: Save The Planet.”

Presidential Debate Moderators

One more question about the upcoming presidential and vice-presidential debates has been solved: The identity of the moderators. The presidential debates are to be moderated by NBC’s Lester Holt, ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper (doubling up for the town hall-style debate), and Fox News’s Chris Wallace. The vice-presidential debate, meanwhile, is to be moderated by CBS’s Elaine Quijano.

It’s a slate that’s diverse both in ways that reflect America—including two women, two nonwhite journalists, and an openly gay man—as well as the news business. The slate ranges from a host on an identifiably conservative news outlet to an old-school nightly news anchor to a fresh, less-recognizable face. While the grousing over debate moderation and timing from Republican nominee Donald Trump throughout this election cycle had given rise to much speculation over what moderators his campaign might agree to, this list is about the most auspicious anyone interested in TV fireworks could hope for. (The moderators were, as always, chosen by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, which governs the timing and moderation of the quadrennial events.)

Part of what makes the group so exciting is a sense of turnover. None of these moderators are exactly millennials—and nor should they be, given the level of public trust and sheer broadcasting experience it takes to credibly pull a gig like this off. But they’re all new to the general-election debate game, except for Raddatz, who stood out as a breakout star moderating the Joe Biden-Paul Ryan vice presidential debate with sharp knowledge and attention to detail in 2012.

Raddatz stood out all the more against last cycle’s presidential debates, moderated in large part by a prior generation of broadcasters taking their last lap. The first of 2012’s presidential debates was moderated by PBS’s Jim Lehrer, who, in his twelfth go-round, saw his generally too-gentle-by-half, dispassionate style give way to something like indifference as the candidates went after one another more relentlessly than was easy to follow. Fellow veteran debate moderator Bob Schieffer, of CBS, did a little better, and CNN’s Candy Crowley’s willingness to correct the recordonstage sparked conservatives criticism but was utterly compelling as pure TV and revealing as to how candidate Mitt Romney reacted under unexpected pressure. Crowley’s perceived pro-Obama advocacy in that debate, along with the fact of her, like Lehrer and Schieffer, now having retired, probably made her a non-starter when it came to choosing this cycle’s debates.

We’re the better for it. The difference in rhetorical style between candidate Trump in particular from past nominees demands a set of moderators who have not dug in deep grooves on their particular modes of questioning. I can imagine nothing less informative than Lehrer’s hands-off mode of allowing the candidates relatively free rein, honed over cycle after cycle of familiar styles of candidate rhetoric. By contrast, Chris Wallace—one of Fox News’s nonpartisan news anchors rather than an opinion broadcaster, so much so that he’s done great work interviewing Hillary Clinton during the campaign—was refreshingly blunt with his lines of questioning during the Republican debates, as when he challenged Trump on his deficit calculations. He seemed to appreciate that the challenge in keeping the debates on-topic and actually informative, this time, was different.

Wallace was one of the sharpest of the moderators in the lengthy cycle of primary debates, a cycle that had an almost bizarre-seeming level of vigor and excitement (not all of it due to candidate Trump, who seemed to lose interest in the process as the field winnowed). If he and his counterparts can transfer the energy that Americans experienced throughout the primary debate process, meaningful light might actually be shed both on Trump and on Clinton, a candidate who, as has been widely noted by a press that wants her to host a press conference, avoids press conferences. A Raddatz or a Cooper or a Wallace, all of whom have shown willingness to press their points and ask aggressive follow-ups, could go some way towards closing the gap between the willingness to answer tough questions Clinton owes the public and what she’s so far been willing to do.

While it’s a truism that televised debates won the election for John F. Kennedy in 1960, it certainly seems in recent cycles as though the candidate who was going to win the election won the election with little thanks to the debates. (If ever a debate was going to change an election outcome, it was in 2012, when Romney took advantage of the slack Lehrer provided to talk circles around the incumbent president. Romney still lost.) None of these moderators are likely to change the outcome given the dug-in nature of the viewership at home, both to the left and to the right.

And yet the mere fact of their freshness—that, while they’re certainly part of the journalism establishment, they don’t yet seem like old hands at the moderating-presidential-debates thing—is cause enough for hope, that the broadcast will be entertaining and enlightening both in a way it too rarely has lately been.

Beyonce Cheer Serena Williams on at the U S

Talk about game recognizing game. Beyoncé and Jay Z attended the U.S. Open on Thursday night to watch Bey’s friend SerenaWilliams beat Vania King, and in so doing tie Martina Navratilova’s record with her 306th Grand Slam win, in New York City. The pair was sitting just one row behind Williams’ family. This isn’t the first time that Queen Bey and Hov have come to watch Williams compete — they also made an appearance at her sets during Wimbledon.

Williams, for her part, also supports her friends; she notably appeared in Beyoncé’s video for “Sorry” and took time during this U.S. Open to hang out with fellow Rio Olympic pals, Simone Manuel and Ibtihaj Muhammad.

Williams told ESPN on Friday that having celebrity friends like Bey and Jay in the crowd doesn’t leave her star-struck, but actually improves her game.

“Usually when people are there, I try to play better, especially if they’re famous and they’re doing so great at their job,” she said, post-match. “It’s like I want to show them that I’m good at my job, too.”

Born in Hong Kong in 1954 and trained as a martial artist from childhood, Chan’s first major film breakthrough in 1978 gave rise to the new genre of comic kung fu. Lauded by martial arts fans as the new Bruce Lee, he quickly became the highest paid Asian star in the American film industry, pocketing $1 million for Warner Bros’ The Big Brawl.

The Rush Hour star was the second highest paid actorthis year, according to Forbes, cashing in $61 million thanks to his still-soaring popularity in China’s movie markets. The former wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was the highest paid, taking home a full $64.5 million.

Brisbane exhibition showcases

Sha Sarwari fled Afghanistan as a teenager and journeyed to Australia by boat in 2000.

He settled in Brisbane, started a family, and became an Australian citizen in 2006, but said he still felt out of place.

“Even for me, living in Australia for the past 15 years, I haven’t found my foothold in my life here,” he said.

“When I see my fellow refugees … it renews my memory that I don’t belong here, I have to go back one day, so it doesn’t let me settle.”

His black and white video, called Suspended, is part of an exhibition of artworks by refugees opening in Brisbane on Saturday night.

It shows an origami boat made of newspaper drifting on the ocean, going forwards and backwards in an infinite loop.

“Suspended in a wave, going backwards and forwards and backwards and there’s no ending is to do with my own memory,” he said.

“Also to do with the people that are living in detention centres for the past few years now in Manus Island and Nauru, places like that, it’s been mentioned to them time and time again that you have to go back, you have to go back.

“In the media, they say that if you come by boat you won’t be settled here, you will never end up in Australia, so this narrative has made me and my fellow refugees like they don’t feel settled.”

He used a newspaper boat to also critique media coverage on asylum seekers.

“Going with the policy of the government most of the time, not resisting, not telling the truth, not putting a light on the issue from both sides, and dehumanising the refugees,” he said.

The exhibition also features prints of works by award-winning Manus Island cartoonist Mr Eaten Fish, and Brisbane-based Syrian refugee Murhaf Obeid, who created a gold-leafed oil painting of Christ’s Last Supper while he was in Lebanon for five years waiting to come to Australia.

Mr Obeid arrived in Brisbane just three weeks ago.

Curator Moozhan Kheiri said he hoped the exhibition would help keep up public discussion about refugees.

“I think it’s important to talk about the issues, not just refugees in the detention centres but also here in Australia, their life, their everyday life, their religion, the suffering they go through even here now,” she said.

Mr Sarwari said refugees who had come to Australia by sea were stamped as “boat people”, and became the victims of negative headlines and discrimination, even by other migrants who had come by plane.

PHOTO: Prints of works by Iranian cartoonist Mr Eaten Fish. (ABC News: Sharnie Kim)

“It’s a kind of stigma attached to being boat people,” Mr Sarwari said.

“I don’t care, I tell whoever I meet that I came by boat, but there are people who want to hide that.

“It’s refugees that say no to war, no to violence, no to killing … they run away towards peace, so the countries that are on the side of peace, they should welcome [refugees] and make a peaceful force out of them.”

Hot of Heartwarming Friends Superfan

Two Friends superfans took things to the next level when theyadorably got engaged at Monica and Chandler’s apartment during FriendsFest.

Krunal Desai proposed to his girlfriend Radha Patel during FriendsFest in London, where the pair had made a trek to the apartment set of the beloved sitcom that was recreated as a part of Comedy Central’s six-week tour for FriendsFest.

Patel is an avid Friends viewer who watches the show every night before she goes to bed, so Desai re-enacting Monica and Chandler’s proposal for their own engagement was the perfect idea. Desai told the UK’s Metro that he got in touch with Comedy Central ahead of time so he could propose in the apartment.

However, the proposal wasn’t the only thing that drew a similarity between this couple and the show. Apparently Desai and Patel’s journey to getting engaged also mirrors another couple on the show: Ross and Rachel.

“We even had a short break in our relationship, leading people to call us the real life Ross and Rachel,” Desai said. “When I saw FriendsFest was returning I knew this would be the perfect setting to ask her to marry me.”

Patel, for her part, couldn’t be happier.

Nothing could top this proposal, it was awesome,” she said. “As Phoebe would say, he’s my lobster!”

Celebrate Hogwarts Day by Harry Potter Fans

For Harry Potter fans, September 1st marks a very special occasion: the first day of school at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, alsoknown as “Hogwarts Day.” The first step in getting to the elite academy of magic, however, is boarding the crimson steam train, the Hogwarts Express, which departs from London’s King’s Cross Station at Platform 9 3/4, taking students directly to Hogsmeade Station. You can only board if you’re a witch or wizard, and you can melt through a solid brick wall that’s been “magicked” as a portal. That means Muggles can’t make the trip, but they still posed as if they were going to on Thursday morning in London.

To celebrate this year’s Hogwarts Day, the train station also got in on the action, posting an unusual departure on the schedule.

Author J.K. Rowling herself also gave a shout-out to the day, although there was a bit of confusion over whether or not this year would be the first year of school for Harry Potter’s son Albus Severus Potter… or not. “If you’re at King’s Cross, the Potter, Granger-Weasley and Malfoy families are there too. Albus Severus starts school today. #19YearsLater,” she wrote in anow-deleted tweet; in the Harry Potter universe, the epic Battle of Hogwarts occurred in 1998.

Acoustic Cover Performed by Justin

In a 2015 interview with France’s Clique TV, Justin Bieber revealed that his top five rappers are Tupac, Mase, Nas, Biggie and Eminem. And during his Thursday appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, he turned to one of those favorites for inspiration, breaking out an acoustic cover of Pac’s “Thugz Mansion.”

Biebs performed the stripped-down version of the hip-hop classic with the help of a single guitar player, much to the surprise of the show’s host. “Something I thought I’d never say on national radio — Justin Bieber covering Tupac’s ‘Thugz Mansion’ in the Live Lounge,” she said.

The session’s only hiccup occurred when the Purpose artist sang “Cold Water” — his recent collaboration with Major Lazer — and seemed to forget a few of the song’s lyrics. “I don’t usually get nervous but tonight I was thrown off and I was. Sorry about that. Really wanted to be my best. Hope u all had fun,” he tweeted afterward.

WA farm skills competition at Royal Show

A group of young women in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt are determined to show that girls can hold their own at competitive shearing, tractor driving and fencing.

The Farm Skills competition has been a highlight of the Perth Royal Show for regional schools for 32 years and for the first time, an all-female team is hoping to win the title.

The team members, all from Cunderdin Agricultural College, are hoping to pursue careers in agriculture and change perceptions that women are not as capable in the field.

Year 11 student Chloe King is no stranger to shearing.

Every holiday she works on her family farm running 6,500 acres of livestock near Mukinbudin.

“As a kid I’ve always loved being in the shearing shed so it’s continued from then,” Ms King said.

“You’ve got to have the strength that’s for sure, it’s hard to hold them, but I guess with practice and a bit of help you get there.”

The Farm Skills Competition involves 18 different tasks including shearing, fencing, wool handling, tractor driving and first aid.

Team captain Inaya Stone’s family manages 15,000 acres of cropping in Scadden near Esperance.

She is achieving excellent grades in year 12 and plans to study agribusiness at university.

She said agriculture is still a male-dominated industry.

PHOTO: Chloe King is a standout shearing student at the College of Agriculture in Cunderdin. (ABC News: Laura Gartry)

“Although women are slowly pushing through … it’s still not seen as equal for women and men to be working on a farm,” she said.

“I think that women should push to be more seen in agriculture, I think that there is nothing wrong with women running a farm or owning a farm,” she said.

The girls have a simple message for the boys, “bring it on”.

“Hopefully they are feeling a bit of pressure to beat us girls,” Ms Stone said.

“I think they are scared. Watch out us girls, are coming,” Ms King laughed.

Many of the students hope they can use the skills to help take on the family farm.

“I’d love to be able to run my own farm, that’s my ultimate goal to have my own farm or station to myself,” Ms Stone said.

Ms King is planning to study agronomy and become a stock agent to build her experience first.

“I’d love to definitely take on the family farm, I’ve always dreamed of doing that since I was a kid, so hopefully that dream can come true,” she said.

Grace Davy wants to pursue a career in the wool and sheep industry before returning to the family property in Konnongorring.

“Hopefully when I’m older and more experienced in the agriculture industry, I’ll go back to the family farm and be the fifth generation farmer and continue it on,” she said.

With the competition just four weeks away, women from all over regional WA will increase their training to four nights a week.

The team’s attention to detail with the fencing section is proving hard to beat.

Street art program thrives tips

Hobart’s laneways are getting a makeover with a series of new murals being revealed to brighten the city and deter graffiti.

In Kemp Street in the heart of the city, a couple of quirky characters sitting on antique chairs are now keeping watch.

The mural is the latest is a series of urban art walls commissioned by the Hobart City Council and West Australian artist Jae Criddle has spent the past week transforming the blank wall.

The street used to be home to antique shop Purdy’s Mart, which provided the inspiration for Criddle’s design.

“I sort of tied that in. I’m doing a series of characters sitting on chairs. They’re about 3.5 metres high,” she said.

“For some reason, I’m usually drawn to character-based stuff, usually people.”

Bringing the work to life was a painstaking and time-consuming task.

All of the painting was done by hand and was not without its risks.

“I’ve worked on render before and it cuts up your hand a bit,” Ms Criddle said.

This is the second year of Hobart City Council’s Urban Art Walls project.

Lord Mayor Sue Hickey said it costs the council more than $300,000 each year to remove graffiti but commissioned street art was proving a hit.

“This is a really good way to deter it, but not only that, to cheer up the whole city,” she said.

“It’s such a successful program, I can’t see it coming off the council’s books for a long time.”

The council’s community participation coordinator Rebecca Taylor said the program required artists to mentor a young Tasmanian.

“They learn about the application process, about the design process,” she said.

“The young person gets to come on site and put paint on the wall with the artist.

“Life is really hard, and it’s especially hard for young people, and so these projects give them a sense of achievement and a sense of being part of the community.”

How to show women some about respect

I have been a comedian for 30 years. Any woman who has taken the stage knows that “Show us your tits!” is a standard heckle.

While culture has changed, the heckle hasn’t; the telephone might have evolved from the tin can and string to a smartphone, but sexism remains crudely the same.

During one of my gigs as an 18-year-old, some dude yelled those famous four words at me. Three decades later, 35-year-old comedian Amy Schumer threw a heckler out of her Stockholm show last week for yelling out the exact same thing.

Not only was the man not shown Ms Schumer’s tits, he found himself evicted from the venue and publicly humiliated.

And yet Schumer was the one attacked on social media, with many tweeting remarks such as: “It’s heckling. It’s part and parcel of stand-up. Stop the victimhood.”

Or: “Handled it? She didn’t handle it. She had him thrown out. She’s a comedian allegedly. Why not destroy him with wit?” and “He’s just a troll. No-one wants to see your tits.”

(In fact, Twitter is a perfect example of what happens when heckling meets cyberspace — the only difference is you can be much meaner and no-one throws you out.)

Yes, heckling is part of stand up.

But heckling never makes a show better. Audiences don’t enjoy hecklers. Comedians don’t enjoy hecklers. If they’re drunk and persistent enough, they can wreck a show.

Watch Amy Schumer Destroy A Heckler Who Asked Her To ‘Show Her Tits

“If you yell out again, you’re going to be yelling ‘show your tits’ in the parking lot.”

The idea that a comedian should be able to “handle” a heckler is part of the mythology that, as a stand-up, you must constantly prove your worth.

Amy Schumer is an international superstar with her own TV show on a world tour: her credibility is a given.

And yet one of the most common social media responses to the heckler being evicted from Schumer’s gig was that no one wanted to see her tits anyway.

What better way to insult a woman than to objectify and humiliate her in her workplace and top it off by saying she’s unattractive.

But if Schumer’s response was deemed by many as “over the top”, how should we respond to hecklers? Is it even possible to deflate them with wit alone?

How should we respond to sexist hecklers?

Author, comedian and broadcaster Wendy Harmer has my all-time favourite response to the “Show us your tits” line. She takes a breath, shakes her head and smiles: “You can always tell the bottle-fed boys.”

Heckler ego instantly smashed.

I’ve used a range of retorts, including: “You first” to “No” to “Meet me at the car” and “Won’t your girlfriend show you hers?” and “Ask your Mum.”

In the end, it doesn’t really matter what you come back with. Why would someone even yell that in the first place? “Get off!” or “You’re not funny!” make sense, because that’s critical feedback.

But why would anyone suddenly want to see boobs at a stand-up comedy gig? Women have other jobs — like bank tellers and doctors. You wouldn’t walk into Westpac and scream “Show us your tits!” there.

The fact that women have breasts doesn’t give you license to ask to see them whenever you like.

In 30 years of attending comedy clubs I have never witnessed a male comedian being shot down with a similar inappropriate, gender-specific request.

I have never heard a drunk woman yell out, “Show us your cock!” They may have thought it, but they’ve certainly never said it.

“Show us your tits” is code for; “Hey bitch, you think you have a lot of power up there — well don’t forget you’re just a stupid woman. And I’m still deciding whether or not I’d f*** you. In the meantime, why don’t you help me out and show us your tits so I can decide.”

Schumer was not ‘asking for it’

Sure, Amy Schumer talks about sex. She talks dirty. She talks about her body. Some may argue that when it comes to sexualized comments from the audience, it’s game on, and open slather.

But that line of reasoning has parallels with victim blaming — when a woman is raped we say, “She wore a short skirt, she was out late, she was in a bad neighbourhood — she was asking for it.”

A man is always responsible for how he treats a woman.

Indeed, women comedians who talk about sexuality are generally sharing untold experiences about stepping out of the murky shadows of objectification into the blazing spotlight of truth. Our truth.

Perhaps seeing women in their power is still threatening to the sexist status quo, and what better way to pull potty-mouthed girls back into line than by reminding them that, even though they’re centre stage, they can still be objectified?

It would be nice to be able to just shrug off comments like “Show us your tits” as many have suggested Schumer should do. But I can’t – no woman should.

It’s not funny. It’s rapey. And it’s humiliating. It makes us feel angry and powerless. But then that is the intention, right?

Once, as I walked past a building site, one of the workers shouted, “Bend over and I’ll drive you home!”

I don’t even know what he meant, or what kind of response he was hoping to elicit from me. Did he seriously think I was going to drop to my knees on the pavement and wait for him to put me in gear?

That 100-metre stretch was one of the longest walks of my life — all his mates were laughing, while I fantasised about yelling back, “You wouldn’t even be able to start me, dickhead”, but instead I cried quietly as I hurried away.

In the end, besides being offensive and demeaning, yelling “Show us your tits” makes you look like an idiot.

So here’s my next heckle comeback. How about I don’t show you my tits, and you start showing women some respect.