The Vagenda

Is Melissa Bachman A Fugly Bitch For Killing A Lion?

For those of you who have had better things to do with your time than monitor Twitter obsessively over the last few days, please allow me to explain the shit that has been going down in SA. Melissa Bachman is an American TV presenter, well known for her love of hunting; a self-proclaimed ‘huntress’ since childhood. Last weekend, she posted online a picture of herself posing with an apparently dead lion that she shot during a canned hunt in South Africa.
Before I even begin to address this subject, I would like to point out that this is categorically not a defence of Melissa Bachman’s beliefs or actions. I disagree entirely with canned hunting, and looking through the photo gallery on Bachman’s website made me feel nauseous and deeply saddened. However, putting my personal convictions on animal conservation and cruelty aside, I think it’s important that we recognise that many of the responses within this public backlash seem to have little focus on the issue in hand – and much more on Bachman’s gender.
Countless extremely violent, sexist and misogynistic responses have sprung up all over the internet in the short amount of time since Bachman’s gruesome lion corpse photo made its way onto social media websites.There have been some strong opinions voiced online about how Melissa should be dealt with. Here are some ‘fun’ and ‘helpful’ suggestions put forward by Twitter and Facebook users in the first 24 hours in which the story broke:
Better still, why doesn’t everyone opposed to hunting wildlife form one huge lynch mob and track Bachman down? Once we find her, a gang rape and beheading should do the trick. Her decapitated head could then be displayed in a visible, public spot to serve as a warning to all those other EVIL WHORES who might be tempted to go legally shoot a lion in South Africa. Fortunately there are some more generous hearted souls out there who are willing to look past Bachman’s recent indiscretions:
I know we shouldn’t have to do this thought experiment, but let’s just consider for one moment that Melissa Bachman was in fact a man. Let’s call her male counterpart Michael. Michael posts a photo of himself grinning proudly next to a dead lion he has just stalked and slaughtered. How many of the outraged online responses would suggest that the best way to teach him a lesson is to rape him? Would there be many tweets lamenting that he may have no moral substance but ‘hey, I’d tap that’? How likely is it that he would be referred to as a ‘bitch, ‘whore’ or ‘slag’? WE ALL KNOW THE ANSWER, PEEPS. So why is this spew still going down?
It is probably worth mentioning at this point that canned hunting is actually legal in South Africa. That’s right folks, the stalking and slaughter of lions in South Africa is, like, totes legal and A-OK in the eyes of the law. Despite what the moral or ethical implications might be, Melissa Bachman hasn’t actually done anything wrong as far as the Republic of South Africa’s justice system is concerned. She legally entered the country, legally took part in a canned hunt, legally killed a lion and legally posted a photo of the dead lion on the internet. Perhaps that’s what everyone should be taking issue with.
If you are upset by canned hunting, as I am, then there are things you can do outside of social media misogyny. Join a movement, start a petition to ban hunting, write to government officials, campaign for animal rights. At the time of writing this article, over 97,000 people have currently signed a petitionto ban Bachman from entering South Africa ever again. But what exactly do those 97,000 people think that it will achieve to stop one specific person entering one specific country? Lion hunting and the hunting of many other wild animals will continue in South Africa and other countries regardless. Hunters, male and female, will continue to visit South Africa and hunt for fun. It wouldn’t hurt us all to be a teeny bit less myopic.
Collating lions with rape really shouldn’t be something we’re still doing with 2013 – and it sure as hell won’t save them. And as Tina Fey taught us, but we still apparently need to hear, calling someone a ‘fugly bitch’ can only get you so far.

5 thoughts on “Is Melissa Bachman A Fugly Bitch For Killing A Lion?

  1. “South Africa officially considers Bachman a welcome and valued visitor, and rightly so. Even if you disagree, and you arrogantly think you have the moral authority to judge her arrogance, the real story is this. Your smug superiority risks depriving South Africa of tourism revenue and employment. It risks depriving the country of much-needed funding for conservation. It risks reducing the value of our wildlife, which reduces the incentive for private farm owners to breed and protect game. Hypocritical anger is a greater threat to conservation than Bachman’s rifle will ever be”

    From a South African, supported by thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of fellow South Africans who actually know a bit more about what our country needs and how things work in reality. Totes.

  2. This is (a) missing the point of the article, which is to condemn the pathetic use of rape analogies and threats and comments about a woman’s desirability etc (though I have seen many men and women call equally offensive guys ‘pricks’ etc, I agree, in nowhere near such sexualised ways). As it says, this is equally disgusting as a response, whether the original activity is right or wrong — for lions or the Republic of South Africa.

    And (b) rather false logic ethically: if the only way a country can pull in the tourism or funding for sustainable agricutural or conservation projects is by selling an immoral or repulsive activity which panders to the haughtiness of the super-rich, that suggests a need to rethink on a number of levels, not to accept a status quo that glorifies the offence.
    (Please note, I am not saying that hunting is indeed so immoral; simply that the logic of funding doesn’t hold if it is, or for those who consider it to be — some would say that declaring the value of your wildlife to be as trapped targets rather reduces it — I would say that shooting canned game more than reduces the value of the hunter, but I am far from being an anti-hunting tree-hugger).

    I would also suggest that not only does the writer have the moral right to judge Bachmann, just as you have the right to judge the writer as you do, but it is the *duty* of all of us to make moral judgements, and to discuss and argue them out — what we don’t have the right to do is enforce those judgements (which I see no sign of the writer trying to do) — much as I would like to slap most of the above twitter-twats who almost make me ashamed to be a bloke!

  3. Background: Canned hunting is a hot topic in South Africa, and has been for a while, there are many groups lobbying for it to stop. Not hunting – where the animals can live as they would in the wild – but canned hunting where the animals are either kept in cages or drugged and don’t even get me started on the conditions of the female lions used for breeding. Unless I am very much mistaken, all canned hunting is illegal EXCEPT that of lions. Owed mostly to the very deep pockets of those in the canned hunting industry.

    I agree, as much as I am opposed to canned hunting on principal the backlash was completely unfounded and, strange. It’s not the first lion posing picture I’ve seen on Twitter by a long shot – although most if not all the others were men. Why all this hatred towards her specifically? If people are that opposed to it why aren’t they signing the actual STOP CANNED HUNTING petition? There are game farms that allow people to shoot animals with machine guns from helicopters, is that not MUCH worse?

    So lets leave her alone, I don’t care about her. If you want to support the fight against lion hunting why not visit/ donate to the Drakenstein Lion Park ( Paul Hart is very involved with the fight and all lions in that sanctuary were rescued from either canned hunting farms or circuses.

  4. I did not miss the point of the article – I agree with the general theme and I am pleased it has been picked up by Vagenda. Nor did I pass judgement… It bewilders me that there are some sections of society that place more value on the well being of animals than fellow humans. Specifically, worrying more about hunting in South Africa than the fact that there are millions of people living in shacks with no sanitation, electricity, money to feed children, money to send children to school etc. THAT should be the focus of people trying to raise awareness, start petitions etc, not a perfectly legal and justifiable “sport” (if you can class it as that).

    I don’t think the author of the Daily Maverick article implied that it was the “only way a country can pull in tourism”: he is making a very specific point regarding huge unemployment in South Africa, and how hunting funds supplement conservation. There is evidence that stopping this will lead to what happened in Kenya and other countries.

    It should remain controlled, legislated and monitored. When there is legitimate, unbiased and unemotional evidence to suggest that hunting is degrading conservation efforts, not helping, then I will be happy to read it.

  5. If this woman draws the attention of the masses to this disgusting sport more than men then good job. The more people that become aware of the wrongs on this earth the better. Fuggly or not, those previously unaware of canned hunting have had there attention drawn. Fuck her, she is a cunt as are all involved.