Mar 27, 2018

‘#DontBeACunt’: Tim Winton targets toxic masculinity

Tim Winton's latest promo tour comes with a sermon about Australian men. The novelist will definitely sell books, but will he have a role to play in cultural change, too?

Meg Watson — Associate editor

Meg Watson

Associate editor

Photo: Denise Winton

Tim Winton says he didn’t set out to write his latest book about masculinity. Whether you believe that or not -- aren’t all his books about masculinity? -- he certainly couldn’t have predicted his first novel in five years would arrive hot on the heels of the #metoo moment.

And yet, on Friday night he stood in front of a packed crowd at Melbourne Convention Centre -- part of a national promo tour, seats $50 a pop -- and delivered an hour-long sermon on Australian men. 

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16 thoughts on “‘#DontBeACunt’: Tim Winton targets toxic masculinity

  1. EG

    Good on you Tim Winton.
    The FJ Holden by Terry Larsen had a go at it it back in the ’70’s

  2. Dog's Breakfast

    Yep, there’s a good case to say masculinity is broken in Oz.

    But not all of us, and not even most of us. Most of us actually make it through and become rational, feeling human beings, and the vast majority of us would never hit a woman, or even think of it.

    So why do so many women die at the hands of their partners? Why are so many terrorised in their own homes?

    And why don’t Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten talk about this every day, and that great fearmonger of terrorism, Peter Dutton.

    Imagine if an Australian was being killed every week through their finely defined ‘terrorism’. We’d never hear the end of it. Dutton would be all over it, but no, these are white guys beating up on their wives and daughters, and sons, at home.

    Shorten and Turnbull, get serious about this. Now. You actually have the power to help women get out of these situations, and ultimately lead to a world where those who would hit women are alone, and ostracised by all around.

    1. mikeb

      “these are white guys beating up on their wives and daughters, and sons, at home.”?

      I suspect it would be men of every hue and colour.

  3. Mr B Barry

    Who the Fuc- is Tim Winton and why is anybody listening to what he is rabbiting on about. Most of his types are just hunting publicity for themselves. Piss them off and move on. There are more interesting subjects to write about.

  4. Joan MacDougal

    Am I the only person who sees the use of the word ‘Cunt” as derogatory to women!!!! I’m no prude and don’t have a problem with people swearing, but to use a term that is completely derogatory to women and only women, is wrong. If you want to prove a point about standing up for, or, supporting women, do use a term that is directly derogatory to them.

    The use of the term Cunt is an example of Toxic Masculinity.

    1. Bonita Mason

      Joan, you are not the only person. I can’t believe that Tim Winton used the word ‘cunt’ to describe a male someone who exhibits the worst behaviour against women. What was he thinking? Perhaps another word might have worked, like ‘prick’? But men tend to be understandably fond of their pricks, as I am fond of my cunt. Leave it alone. And find another, perhaps non-genital and more precise, word to label misogyny. Meg Watson, perhaps you can help him. Journalists are good at finding words.

  5. AR

    Yes, all his writing is about masculinity as she is bespoke.
    Women exist only in absentia, the dreadful Riders being the exemplar.

  6. Bobby

    Most of the violent toxic kids I knew growing up didn’t read.

  7. Blue B

    Really Meg, has it not struck you, no matter Tim, that this use of the word ‘cunt’ is misogynist? Oh OK, just ‘casual’ misogyny then, not ‘serious’ misogyny. It is not only a part of toxic masculinity to use this word so casually, it is part of a toxic faux rebellion. Let’s be clear what is meant by the use of this word here – the dirtiest, the lowest, the meanest! #CallOutToxicLanguage #CallOutFauxRebellion #casualMisogyny

  8. Steve

    “He compares the extensive coverage from the Bali bombings — 88 Australians dead — to the ongoing silence about intimate partner violence.”

    Nothing wrong with making such comparisons per se, but let’s at least be honest – even just in recent times, family violence (as an issue) has been featured on numerous tabloid front pages, been the subject of an extensive advertising campaign on TV and at bus stops, been the subject of press conferences by politicians right across the political spectrum, and barely a day goes by without a Fairfax op-ed on the issue. It’s absurd to refer to that as an “ongoing silence”.

  9. AR

    On the subject of gynophobic inappropriate nomenclature, surely we already have a perfect word for such blokes – dickhead.
    Especially apposite given that it controls more of their actions than the spongy grey mass between their ears.

  10. George

    The existence of a ‘toxic masculinity’ seems to be beyond question. The question I haven’t heard addressed other than in a superficial response along the lines of pointing to ‘testosterone’ as the ’cause’ is why does it exist. Some behavioural scientists suggest that if you want to improve behaviour focus on making it better not on what’s ‘bad’ about it. That might make you wonder whether decades of telling boys, and men, that they are ‘bad’, that they should be ‘good’ like women and girls etc . etc. etc. has simply produced a response, for some boys and men, along the lines of ‘well if I’m that bad well why not be a man and be ‘bad’?’ and that may contribute to what we now want to describe as ‘toxic masculinity’.

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