Media, Politics and Multiculturalism in Victoria

Far-right, anti-Muslim groups with a vision for “heroic and salvational masculine violence” a threat to social cohesion in Victoria.

On the back of the Coburg riots in 2016 and Pauline Hanson’s continual rise to prominence, the far-right in Australia have created a space for themselves.

The far-right, while not all one homogeneous group, are most commonly understood to hold anti-Muslim and pro-traditional forms of masculinity points of view.

Combined with a belief in an imagined Australia that is heroic, unified and virtuous, the far-right threaten the very existence of social cohesion in Victoria that has long held itself to be a multicultural society.

The Coburg riots were themselves, a very public display of two groups that have been at logger heads, the far-right or patriots as they call themselves who want a very particular white, conservative version of Australia and the anti-fascists or the left who want a diverse and more progressive Australia.

As a result, building stronger, more cohesive and resilient communities has become a more recent pressing concern for the Victorian State Government.

A report by RMIT’s Human Security and Disasters Research Program, explored the role of the media, the coverage given to far-right groups and the kinds of narratives that underpin calls to violence.

What they found was that gender and masculinity, in particular, intersect in the name of what are very traditional and increasingly out dated understandings of gender, race and community.

They identified the form of masculinity heralded by the far-right as the ideal to be, “Heroic and Salvational Masculine Violence”.

This is the kind of masculinity that seeks to save the world, culture, and society through acts of violence and exclusivity which were seen in action at the Coburg riots.

It positions women as needing to be saved and harks back to a kind femininity that many women in Australia have tried to shake off in the 21st Century.

In the same breath however, far-right advocates position Muslim women as victims of masculine violence over which they have no control, paying little attention to the violence against women so prevalent in Australian homes or the ways in which creating a man as the saviour and woman as the victim narrative is essential to their own belief systems.

The researchers suggest that the sort of heroic violence we so often see celebrated on our media screens needs to be interrogated in order to examine the broader issue of gender-based violence.

Read the full report HERE.

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