Misogyny, privilege on show in diatribe
Truly the most glorious byproduct of the weekend's debate about ring girls at a Bendigo boxing match was the response from outraged community members who, in declaring there was nothing wrong with ring girls, managed only to add weight to the arguments posed by women's rights advocates and concerned local councillors.
In the entrails of their efforts to tear apart the Bendigo Advertiser's coverage was the sort of misogyny and male privilege that this paper and supporting voices took issue with in the first place.
For example, according to the mob's online diatribe, the women calling for ring girls to be sidelined were just jealous they were "not attractive enough" to be considered for the role themselves.
"The girls are wearing more modest outfits than the female boxers," the overwhelmingly male critics cried as they attempted to compare the "ring girl" phenomenon - cooked up in the middle of the last century to add a side of sex to the sport of boxing - with women's sporting endeavours.
Later, when spectators triumphantly posted videos of the women appearing inside the ring, the soundtrack was one of men wolf-whistling - the international calling card of men's sexual objectification of women.
How distressing that, in between boxers' displays of physical aggression, it was possible to hoot and holler in heat at a parade of young women who, yes, might not have been bikini-clad, but whose role on the night was to follow in the grand tradition of acting only as eye candy for a hungry crowd.
Nowhere in their vitriolic smackdowns did the ring girls' supporters give heed to the conflation of sex and aggression that Saturday's bout represented.
And we wonder why men think it's okay to harass, maim and murder women.
The irony is that at the same time these girls were holding aloft their placards between punches, police were almost certainly attending one or more of the several domestic violence call-outs they receive every single night.
Also astounding is the number of men arguing online that ring girls are an innocent bit of fun, while simultaneously sporting profile pictures of them cradling daughters and wives - pictures that would be heartwarming, if not viewed in the context of their troubling social commentary.
So what prompts these online warriors to transform from wholesome family men into baying hounds, slobbering for the chance to rip pieces off anyone who dares question their way of thinking?
Well, when you attack an artefact of the patriarchy like "ring girls", you personally insult those who've directly benefited from the patriarchal pillars propping up our community.
The real power of the Addy's coverage at the weekend was not getting the ring girls momentarily canned.
It was revealing to this frenzied mob their own diminishing relevance in a world that will no longer accept inequality and misogyny.
Long may they continue to do so. Long may those pillars crash and burn.
Mark Kearney is a former Bendigo Advertiser journalist
Opposition to "ring girls" applauded
I congratulate those councillors and others who called out the misogynist use of so-called 'ring girls' at the weekend's boxing event in Bendigo. The objectification of women to promote any sporting event is to be deplored.
The decision of the Victorian government and the City of Greater Bendigo to promote and partly fund the event should be condemned.
The council, in particular, should have insisted on much more stringent guidelines in the conducting of the event.
Comments by the Minister for Women that the use of 'ring girls' was a matter for the promoters shows just how out of touch she is.
I would have expected a much more mature response from the minister, given the promotion of gender equality is a stated aim of the government.
The Australian Medical Association has long argued for a ban on boxing because of the inherent danger in the sport, which by its very nature, is designed to injure an opponent, often resulting in brain damage or even death.
Ian Tulloch, Mandurang South
Simply doing the right thing
Congratulations and thanks to councillors Jennifer Alden and Yvonne Wrigglesworth for their courageous leadership in calling out the obvious inappropriateness of the use of "ring girls" in 2019, against a societal backdrop of rampant violence against women.
Clearly simply doing the right thing as a female community leader is often neither easy nor popular, and, judging by the threateningly abusive and gendered public backlash, neither is it safe.
Thanks also to the Bendigo Advertiser for Saturday's front page featuring players from the opposing Central Victorian Football League Women premiership teams, showcasing genuine female sporting prowess and participation.
To those who assert that using women as adornment to aggressive and violent male sport is empowering rather than sexist and derogatory I ask: why is it that organisers chose to employ "fight progress managers" rather than "ring boys" when they decided to briefly suspend the use of "ring girls"?
Michelle Goldsmith, Eaglehawk
Reconsider the removal of the Sri Lankan family
This is an Australian family if ever I saw one, loved contributors to, and respected members of their community.
This smells awfully like the start of White Australia Policy 2.0. Awful.
Patrick Lukins, Marrickville
Clean it up, federal ICAC
That old saying of "it could only happen in America" - well, NSW could also be included in that category. I do a lot of shopping at Aldi. Nobody has handed me $100,000 in one of their bags. Better change states.
But seriously, the previous ICAC hearing into NSW politics resulted in some 15 people from memory being disqualified and one being jailed. Is there anybody who believes this does not go on with both sides of politics? Does this make it ok? No, it does not.
A federal ICAC is required more than ever, and if any wrongdoing is found, individuals and their party should face the full consequences of the law. Some politicians treat taxpayers' money as their own piggy bank. And what happens - absolutely nothing.