Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Win a wife? WTF?

Recently the NZ radio station "the rock fm" started their "win a wife" competition.
The whole thing has horrified me on so many levels I have chosen to write the letter below to the station and also letters to their key advertisers.

Dear promotions and marketing team at the Rock FM.

I am writing with my concerns about your Promo - Win a wife.

I realize that you are expecting me to get my “Panties in a bunch” as quoted on your promo page, and regret having to fulfill your expectations.

I am going to assume that you are so ignorant to women’s safety and health issues internationally that Im going to have to start with the basics.

Your competitions should be targeting your ideal audience.
You have removed all straight women, all married men, all engaged men, most men in a long term relationship, all men with a sense of honor with regards to women’s rights.
What’s left?
What a wonderful target audience you have there!

Did you do your research on companies or is this paid for by the company you are pimping out on the front page of the promo?I’d love to know how you chose the company, by all means do enlighten us...

It is all well and good to send kiwi men over there to pick out a wife and in the scenario you are most likely to try and put forward, the women are all brilliant, happy, yet lonely ladies, who just want a man. Not so desperate for escape from a destitute life that they would marry a stranger.
And even if that IS the case I would like to know what information about the Man you are sending is given to the woman he is matched with?
Criminal history? Spousal abuse history? Possible STDs or major transmittable health issues such as hepatitis?

Historically, IMBs have declined to provide any information about their male clients to the women with whom they seek to match them; and, in fact, this one-sidedness has been a selling point.
A New York based advocacy group called Equality Now demonstrated it in stark terms in 1999, when they sent a blanket email inquiry to dozens of IMBs, claiming to be from a physician who had assaulted two ex-wives; his email asked whether this history would be an problem.
Out of sixty-six responses, only three IMBs turned him down, and only two others expressed serious reservations about taking him on as a client; a few actually praised him and commiserated regarding the occasional need for violence when it comes to keeping women in line.
Among the responses:

“Having also been accused of assault by western women, who are usually the instigators of domestic violence I can tell you: A) don't let it bother you and B) most Thais avoid confrontation, Buddhist philosophy, so they are not likely to start something that may end in violence.” (

“Thank you for your open and honest letter. I believe we all have skeletons in the closet and do not let them fall out when we meet someone. When I look into my past it also does not look too rosy. In heated arguments we all say and do things we did not mean, it does not make us a bad person. What I am trying to say is, let the ladies get to know the real you.” (

“We are an agency and our purpose is to try to help people meet each other. We never refuse any clients that come to us with the exception of incarcerated people. So the answer is yes we will do our very best to help you, as we do for everybody else, but you should try to work on these problem you have for your own benefit and the benefit of your future wife.” (

Do you have any idea of the negative history of ‘Mail order Brides’?
In 2000, the killing of a twenty-year-old woman from Kyrgyzstan named Anastasia King, whose husband turned out not only to have had a restraining order against him from a previous mail-order bride but to be seeking a new, third wife through an IMB.

In 1995, of a Filipina named Susana Blackwell, eight months pregnant, whose husband gunned her down outside a Seattle courtroom on the last day of divorce proceedings.

In 2003, of a twenty-six-year-old Ukrainian named Alla Barney, whose husband stabbed her to death in front of their young son's day-care facility

I realise that if I was to be callous that in the scope of abuses against women these cases are a drop in the can.
Nothing really if you are just looking at the statistics.

Domestic violence and abuse is never ok.
To profit, knowing full well that you are doing nothing to prevent possible future cases is downright reprehensible.

Shame on you.

If you would also like to submit your concerns the contact details are below.
Advertisers will be added to as time goes on. – promo and sponsorship - marketing – sales


Unitec -
Best foods, I wrote a note on their website
Living Social website -
Trademe jobs -
Eye lasik -
Issacs cider -
Ashley and martin hair centre -
Caltex – still seeking contact details.
Air New Zealand American Express Platinum card - still seeking contact details.

Audi New Zealand - Has written in to say they are not involved in the promo but continue to have ads on the same page as the Win A Wife page

Grab One, Harvey Norman and Go rentals have distanced themselves, but are continuing to advertise either on their website or radio station.

To support go to:


  1. Gaddangit Scuba. While I'm raging and seething, you're out there doing something. Good job.

  2. Hi there,

    GrabOne has absolutely no association with this promotion.



  3. This fully disgusts me, my marriage means EVERYTHING to me and my husband and I take our vows completely seriously. With competitions like this though it makes marriage seem inconsequential, it's not wonder so many don't respect it or see the need for serious commitment when it's reduced to winning a competition or some throw-away fun. Yes my panties are also VERY firmly bunched!

  4. Thanks for looking Jen, and distancing the company from this promotion.
    The reason grab one is mentioned and emailed is because there were GrabOne advertisments on the station at time of the promo being discussed.
    I will remove them from the list.

  5. OMG that is awful. I went to the site, and had a look at their questionaire: "All women are nuts, but what can you tell us about your craziest Ex that sets her apart from the other nut-jobs? (20 Words or less"
    3 questions on 'the crap things you've sat through just to score'
    What the hell?
    Also had a look at the conditions: "...finalist will be subject to character assessment from friends and family and psychometric testing and suitability for marriage testing by a psychologist appointed by MediaWorks. " No where does it mention police checks?

    Could they possibly isolate their audience any more?

  6. Hi,

    ASB has absolutely no association with the above mentioned promotion, nor is our media targeted to support the promotion.

    James Townend

  7. Thank you very much James, we appreciate you stepping up and stating your distance from this promotion.
    While you have obvious banner ads on the rock website, it will give the wrong impression unfortunately.
    Kind regards,

  8. @Tegal - a very good point. Those questions just clarify how little of a shit they give about these women (or any woman?).
    Even basic health screening would be respectable, psychometric testing wont help screen anything.

  9. I'm absolutely disgusted with this misogynistic load of creepy shite competition and have just been arguing with hubby about it for the last half hour. Thanks for the good write up.

  10. I got a bounce on email address

    : host[] said: 550
    5.1.1 : Recipient address rejected: User unknown in
    relay recipient table (in reply to RCPT TO command)

  11. Thanks for that, and thanks for getting involved.
    The website for media works is where we need to go to make formal complaints officially-

  12. update:
    I have submitted a complaint to mediaworks.
    I believe they have breached three standards.

    STANDARD 1 – Good Taste and Decency
    STANDARD 7 – Discrimination and Denigration
    STANDARD 8 – Responsible Programming

    Go nuts -

  13. Hi, I just wanted to say I love your letter. You maintain your decorum and humour in a way I wouldn't be able to.

    Thanks for representing!

    *bookmarking your blog now*

  14. People are not commodities and marriages are not services.

    I can't help but think that no challenge to things like this would be effective without also a humorous component to the attack. The rampant "oh it's just a bit of fun" excuse for all manner of disgraces is I think best countered by cutting humour.

    A David Mitchell style rant perhaps. Or something like Stewart Lee's take on Top Gear. It's a shame I don't have an sharp enough sense of humour to pull it off. But I hope someone* does (hopefully many someones) because without it, the disinterested observer on the sideline will happily believe the line that complainers just have no sense of humour and should just lighten up. And it is the disinterested observer who needs to be won over - not really Rock FM or Paul Henry or any of their ilk.

    *Preferably a male someone. You might not like that, but I think in this case one battle at a time would be prudent. For better or worse, Bill Bailey wearing a 'This is what a feminist looks like' T-shirt carries more weight than Sue Perkins wearing one.

  15. As much as I appreciate the advertisers saying they have no connection to the promotion, it is a bit of hand-wavey distancing. They may not be attached to it, but their money is still supporting the station.

    T, I'd heartily disagree that it should be a man doing a take down on this. Really, women need men to speak for them, fight our battles? That completely buys into the patriarchal narrative that women's words don't have weight because we're too "emotional" or "attached" to a problem, therefore we can't be "rational" about it. Utter codswallop. If you care so much about an issue, surely speaking rationally COMES from the emotion that drives you.

  16. Thanks for all the helpful info.

    I notice in the Terms & Conditions that the winner will fly Lufthansa. They might be worth an email, too. You have to click through 'Help & Contact" on their home page

    Definitely planning to fire off some letters. What about this rather creepy looking Endless Love Agency? Does anyone know anything about them? (Weirdly, our household has recently been getting lots of ads on our Hotmail webmail pages for Ukraining women.) --
    Signed: Treeclimber

  17. As much as I appreciate you coming here in support of this position I am taking, I have had 4 hours sleep in the last 24 and had to deal with people I love and care about saying “lighten up Scube’ it’s just a joke”.
    It’s not a joke.
    Can I say it again? IT’S NOT A JOKE.
    In the same way that a free trip to Africa to view female circumcision is not a fucking joke.
    No, you are not participating in the circumcision.
    In one step up from the Win a Wife competition you are not even paying the people doing the procedure.
    Yes, in many areas the young women WANT the procedure done to help them catch a good man.
    But you are enabling what is essentially a hideous act to take place and saying internationally that “it’s ok – because we are being funny, and it’s really just a trip to Africa.”
    I will probably be writing a blog post along those lines later, in the same way when the Show us your Tits BS came out I wrote two posts. One a statement of complaint and one taking the piss. Unfortunately, taking the piss made a bunch of people who have been through cancer cry.

    On your second point.
    You are soooo right.
    I’m going to go and find me a man, to change all those men’s minds, because their opinions are way more important than our feeble lady ones. And everyone knows women can’t actually be funny.
    Thanks so much for the tip.
    Gonna go ask my man to write something up for me.
    In fact what was I thinking writing without his help in the first place?

    Again, in a disclaimer, sorry to rip someone’s head off who is here in support. But I’m here fighting ignorance and bigotry, and it doesn’t stop in the comments section.

  18. Amanda - thank you, said much more nicely than I did. I appreciate your clear head.

    Annon - The flights are a very good point I will add them to the list, and they are pivotal, without a sponsoring airline this cannot take place.

  19. thanks for the awesomeness that is this post. You rock!

  20. Great work Scuba! Keep at it and we will get there. I think we should make a Twitter list as well so we can get to advertisers that way. As a bogan who actually listens to The Rock this has upset me. They've always shown their disregard for women but I have been able to see past it for the music - but this is too much. It's gone from merely disliking women and having women as the punchline to every joke on The Rock to actually putting the life of a woman at risk. And having a woman as a 'prize'. It's pretty fucking horrendous. It just makes me really, really sad.

  21. Hey Scuba Nurse, thank you so much for writing this post. I am going to get my letter writing skates on in a big way. Have promoted it on the Wellington Young Feminists' Collective Facebook page as wel.

  22. I noticed this article: (from two days ago) said that the Broadcasting Standards Authority hadn't yet received any complaints. Should they be added to your list, perhaps?

    (Apologies if you've mentioned this elsewhere and I've missed it.)


  23. Thanks Camilla,
    Dont ever worry about repeating info.
    This is a very good point.
    I went through the process of complaining to media-works formally but not the BSA.
    I will add it to the page.
    Much love,

  24. ok info on the BSA
    They stated that no complaints had been made yet.
    This is because You can refer your complaint to the BSA if:

    •You made a formal complaint to the broadcaster, and you have received a decision from the broadcaster; or
    •It has been more than 20 working days since you lodged your complaint, and you have not received a decision from the broadcaster.

    It hasnt been 20 days yet and we havent heard from the broadcaster yet.
    So them not having any complaints means stuff all.

    I have put the link up on the info page here, and will follow up with them as soon as I can

  25. Fantastic!Thanks so much for this, will share far and wide. Interestingly enough the furore in feminist circles has neglected North and South Political economy, so thanks for not forgetting. Will share far and wide and write!

  26. Hi,

    Audi of New Zealand has absolutely no association with the above mentioned promotion.

    Gemma Ross

  27. Thank you Gemma.
    Unfortunately the prominent Audi Ads on the page give a really bad impression.
    I would suggest that if you cannot pull these ads altogether that you release a statement officially standing against this promotion.
    Kind regards,

  28. Neither here nor thereFebruary 11, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    I work for the opposition network and I must say, this is exactly the response The Rock was after.

    The money that will eventually be made from all this free advertising will be well and truly worth the piddly fine they get IF found in breach of the broadcasting standards.

    Also, why are you not posting comments made by people who don't have a problem with the promotion? Seems a little biased to me...

  29. Im posting all comments except spam links to other sites irrelevent to the topic, and harrasment in the form of threats.
    You are quite right that they ARE after a response which is why we are not anti the rock clearly, because we are playing their game.
    We are against this promotion.
    further questions?

  30. Hey TRN person, when was the last time you saw silence ever making a change in this world?

    The people that confuse dissent with free advertising really bug me with their lack of critical thought.

  31. Scube - just wanted to repeat my absolute thanks for what you and the other mods are doing.

    I just wish there was something I could do to lighten your load. I am going to continue to do what I can to investigate the connection between the various agencies here, and also dig into the history of the ELA (which of course also operates a Phillipines branch).

  32. Thanks, Scuba Nurse!

    Your post has made me feel both incredibly angry (at this misogynist BS from The Rock) and incredibly happy that NZ has amazing people like you.

    Thank you.


  33. Amanda - if no one talked about it, it wouldn't happen.

    You are right though, people should shout out for what they believe in. It's just a shame that the good will of Scuba & Co is playing right into their hands. Catch 22 really...

  34. Sorry about my lack of responses over the last few days. The FB site has been rather consuming.(understatement of the year).
    @Gravey - thanks for all your support. Just when I feel like throwing up my hands and quitting, or loosing my temper over some ignorant fool... you pop up with words of encouragement or an insight I hadnt thought of.

    Thanks Jar Jar. - lovely to have you pop in, and hear your words of support.

    @TRN person - If no one talked about it, it would still happen, but the people who wouldnt think twice about it, well, wouldnt think twice about it.
    Now they are.
    And as long as people are standing up and questioning the morality of crap like this, then I am happy.

  35. Hello. I am from Ukraine. This may be interesting for you guys. Google Translate is recommended for you who doesnt speak Russian.


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