Dipper’s joke was ‘part of rape culture’
I'm a Celeb contestant Abbie Chatfield has explained why she was so offended by a comment from camp mate Robert "Dipper" DiPierdomenico that she was reduced to tears.
In a scene that aired on the show last week, Dipper spotted Abbie wearing a bikini and commented, "You're not going out like that".
Abbie immediately asked the former AFL legend to explain his comment, with Dipper saying it was a joke that was meant in a fatherly way, like a man protecting his daughter.
Dipper added that by wearing such a skimpy bikini, "it's like you're seeking attention".
The comment struck a nerve with Abbie who later burst into tears over the incident while chatting to her fellow female cast mates.
Viewers were divided after the scene aired, with some congratulating Abbie for standing up for herself and women in general, whereas some viewers criticised her for humiliating Dipper and said he was simply from a different generation.
In an episode of her podcast It's A Lot which was released today, Abbie spoke about the incident and said, "I know he didn't mean anything by it and that's actually the whole issue".
"The whole issue is that it's so ingrained into our society and the psyche of men, particularly an older man, that it's okay to say these things," she said. "He thinks it's a joke but for me it's a part of rape culture and for women it's part of rape culture and it's part of the sexualisation that we've endured since you were a kid.
"This is not about Dipper," she continued. "It's about the culture in which he's existed his entire career and a lot of men exist.
"He said he was being protective and that men and father figures are protective of women, which made me quite upset … It upset me because the assumption here and the implication in that I'm being protected is that men are dangerous and therefore we should change our behaviour. It's that men can't resist me wearing a socially acceptable bikini so I need to cover up and I can't leave the house looking like that.
"The comment made no f***ing sense because I was on a closed set with 10 people, like, what are you protecting me from, Dipper? I get that that's the saying and it's a joke, but protecting me from what?
"It makes me think that it's more of a desire to restrict women from wearing what they want to wear, not that you're actually protecting them, because who is there that can hurt me? "Everyone there is an amazing, lovely person, so who is hurting me? … No one there is a threat so it actually isn't about protection when you think about it, it's about controlling women's clothing and our choices.
"Again, I don't think Dipper thought this deep into it, obviously, but it's just the whole notion of it perpetuates this," Abbie said.
The former Bachelor contestant also dismissed the excuse that Dipper was from a different generation, therefore his comment was acceptable.
"Do we say if you're 50-plus you're allowed to say these things and we can just say it's a generation gap?" she wondered. "Where do we give them the pass to just say these things, because there has to be a limit right?
"I don't understand where the gap is and how I have to work in understanding the person who is making the comment, not the other way around. I have to work at accepting that this is a generation gap, I have to work on understanding Dipper, (but) Dipper doesn't have to work to understand me?
"I have to go transport myself back to 1981 to a footy locker room, (but) he doesn't have to transport himself to right here, right now, on national television.
"That's the implication," Abbie said.
The reality star said she wished she spoke up more on the show about being criticised for wearing her bikini.
"Unless we question the low-level jokes, we don't get to go up to the next part of the pyramid where we actually get to combat rape culture," she said.
"Saying someone is asking for it because they're wearing a bikini is the basis of rape culture - it is the absolute foundations in which further thought is able to fester and be perpetuated throughout society and that women who are sexually assaulted are asking for it.
"Now that isn't what Dipper was saying, I want to clarify that Dipper was not saying you deserve to get assaulted," she said in defence of her co-star. "But it is something that needs to be spoken about.
"I'm glad the conversation has been had on national TV because a lot of people DM'ed me saying they had conversations with their brothers or sons or boyfriends or husbands … and they didn't understand why that was a bad thing to say and you've explained it to them," she said.
After the scene aired on TV, Dipper posted on Twitter, writing: "Abbie is an absolute force of nature. I shouldn't have said what I said in camp. I am glad we had the chance to discuss it. "It was a learning moment and I am glad we could 'TWERK it all out in the end'."
Abbie went on to describe Dipper as "a f***ing hoot" and said that "everything is all good" between them.
I'm a Celeb continues tonight on Channel 10 at 7.30pm
Originally published as Dipper's joke was 'part of rape culture'