Melbourneites may well recognise these images. Perhaps not from what they say, as I believe these messages are very new, but certainly from the buildings around the sign. It’s very obvious to anyone who’s spent much time on Richmond platforms 9 & 10 as the old Gentleman’s Club rotating sign. For years it had the same advert for the King St strip joint and then until recently had an advert for the Australian Sex Party. Obviously the owners of the sign have decided to use it for their personal propaganda purposes, however they’re becoming more and more coy about admitting their personal interests.
Not only does the new sign not have any identifying characteristics (except for the content) as to who has paid for the message, but the aim is very clear. Stop the government introducing legislation which impinges on a corporation or an entity from selling as much alcohol as they want, without thought to the social and public health consequences.
The first side of the sign, “alcohol does not cause violence” sort of seems like an argument along the lines of “pokies do not cause debt” or “smoking does not create orphans”. The concept is, in its purest form, correct, however, unless I’m very much mistaken, we don’t live in a simple 1+1=2 world. With the complexities of society, culture, psychology, philosophy and creativity we understand that life is intersectional and consequential and as such making statements like “alcohol does not cause violence” completely misses two points; a) we live in a society in which drinking alcohol is considered a social and communal event and b) the drinking of alcohol lowers inhibitions and impairs judgement . Sure, if we all drank alcohol in isolation of one another then there would probably be no alcohol fueled violence, but neither is that practical or desireable to either our society OR the people trying to sell us the alcohol (especially if they happen to be a club or bar that wants to encourage group or social drinking).
The second side says “blame and punish the individual” which also strikes me as corporately irresponsible and counter-productive as the individuals in question, are surely the people to whom the company/venue wishes to be unhindered in selling alcohol to. So essentially they are saying, please personally attack our customers for behaving in a way that is beneficial to our bottom line… I can only imagine that the company/venue in question is aiming to achieve three simultaneous outcomes.
a) foster some 60 minutes/Herald Sun style public vitriole about alcohol fueled violence.
b) encourage that vitriole to be directed towards individuals who perpetrate alcohol fueled violence.
c) hide the identity of the sign owners so as not to bring attention to the fact that they are the providers of the alcohol, the venue and the environment which encourages alcohol fueled violence and make a great deal of money doing so.
So how is this a feminaust issue? Quite frankly because it is both a public health/safety issue AND an question of accountability, both of which are concerns that many feminists tackle with everyday.
Your thoughts on the matter are encouraged and awaited…