Or… pure gold?
You be the judge.
And why do I keep thinking of Borat?
Via Making Light, with cultural annotation.
Or… pure gold?
You be the judge.
And why do I keep thinking of Borat?
Via Making Light, with cultural annotation.
Oz Conservative Mark Richardson plays the old favourite, “Has feminism failed women?” To which, of course, the answer is always yes, yes, yes. Richardson proves this irrefutably by pointing to a study with a sample of … one, in that respected peer reviewed journal, Marie Claire.
The sample of one in the article is Danielle, whose life has undeniably been sad. From the get-go we know that feminism is to blame for all of it, because first off, she didn’t meet a man she wanted to start a family with until she was 35, and if it wasn’t for feminism she would have gritted her teeth and married that guy who bounced little flecks of saliva off her when he got excited, voted DLP and laughed like “ahurrrrr, ahurrrr, ahurrrrr”. (Hopefully, the resulting children wouldn’t have resembled their Dad too much.) Or her parents would have chosen him for her.
No, the opportunity was lost, because as we know, no woman missed out on marriage and children in Victorian or Edwardian times, only since the sisterhood was in flower.
Then Danielle did have a child and he/she was Downs Syndrome, and as you all know feminism is responsible for Downs. She was shocked, “being unaware of the difficulties of pregnancy in later life.” Which is not sheer common or garden ignorance, as you might think, but that damned feminism again. Because feminists, and only feminists, have the responsibility to warn women of the increasing rates of DS as we age.
Danielle descended into depression and sadness, describing herself as a “weeping, empty vessel”. We also learn that partner “Rob” was “understandably reluctant to keep pursuing fertility treatment”, which is definitely feminism at work somehow (I haven’t worked it out yet, but I’ll keep digging).
Amazingly enough, while this was going on, the wonderful “Rob” (who she describes as the love of her life) was cheating on her with a “happy, slim, successful, creative woman”. Of course, as many cheatees are encouraged to do, she blamed herself. “Although Rob’s behaviour was never anything other than selfless and loyal, I felt that I had ‘denatured’ our relationship.” Although the article as quoted by Richardson made it seem as though Rob was cheating on her, apparently the “happy, slim, successful, creative woman™” was a description of her as she was, so he wasn’t two-timing her as far as we know. He merely walked out of the marriage because he received a faulty bill of goods, not as advertised. Colour me still unimpressed.
If your world view doesn’t allow for a husband who
is cheating on you walks out of the marriage when you become depressed and gain weight to be described as “never anything other than selfless and loyal”, then you are a berloody feminist for sure. At least you’re in the reality-based community, which is just as bad. Unless Richardson thinks that shaky or shallow relationships were invented by feminism, or feminists think such relationships are a good thing. Or something.
So what went wrong? Why did Danielle end up in such unhappy circumstances? The men of my generation won’t be surprised by her answer:
The trouble was, throughout my 20s and early 30s, my relationships with men were short-lived and problematic. I was always attracted to exciting, but emotionally unavailable men, who were anything but suitable husband – let alone father – material.
Because feminists have been pointing out for so long that exciting but emotionally unavailable men are the way to go. What bollocks – these men have been beloved by many deluded women in the last century, notably the ones of more “traditional” bent, whose idea is that they’ll “tame” or “retrain” them somehow. About such men, feminism has had little to say, as the focus is more on men who’ll share the unpaid work and parenthood.
Ungrateful Danielle still didn’t really wake up to the noxious effect feminism had had on her life, though. Her solution-in-hindsight looks suspiciously, to Richardson, like a rejection of patriarchal values.
I still bitterly regret not having had children much sooner. I wasted precious time in my 20s and 30s waiting for the love of my life, when I should have just got on with it – whether or not the right man was by my side. He could have come later.
Her “solution”, if generally adopted, would only drive the wedge between men and women more deeply, making things even more difficult for future generations.
You couldn’t drive a wedge between me and the likes of “Rob” deeply enough for my liking.
Asshat! I love it. As an epithet, it’s mocking without being as abusive as, for instance, “asshole”. To my mind, an asshat is surely someone whose head is just far enough up their own arse* to be wearing it like a hat – that is, only about halfway up. So an asshat isn’t the kind of person who has his head so far up his own arse he’s looking at what he had for breakfast. Asshat is really quite a mild piece of invective, and I love it and plan to use it extensively (lexical difficulties notwithstanding*). Unfortunately, I’m probably going to need it often.
My only quibble is that I’m sure refugee Iraqis, Darfuris on the run and kidnap victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army would be enormously sympathetic of the plight of fully-employed bourgeois Australians, if only they knew.
The reason why they aren’t is because said FEBAs are so stoical in their suffering that no media outlets have access to the abyss of their collective angst.
The suffering of FEBAs is one of the dirty secrets of the world.
Commenter A subsequently flew the “it was only a joke” flag, but Commenter B took up the baton and ran with it like a true asshat:
Most women in the world are legitimate victims of oppression, but are white, middle-class Australian women? Even without comparing them to other men and women in the world, but simply by comparing them to their most obvious binary counterpart, white middle-class men, they hardly come off as significantly worse. I’d say that at least in the elite arena of first-world, middle-class life, we’ve reached a position of rough-and-ready equality between the sexes. If middle-class women earn less than their male counterparts, and they do, there is surely at least some element of choice in the matter, given the level of education and opportunity for the white, middle-class female population (not to mention the fact that in a marriage, a woman has a legitimate, legal right over some of her husband’s earnings, if he’s earning significantly more).
There’s so much wrong with this world view; Besides the fact that it’s flat-out wrong- Australian women clearly do earn less than their male counterparts, and their “choice” to do so is made over the proverbial barrel, due to an unequal division of unpaid labour and discrimination– it’s clearly an empty rhetorical device to shut people up rather than to advance the debate.
This holier-than-thou outlook (Not until poverty and suffering is eliminated in every corner of the globe shall we turn our attention to these overprivileged honky chicks!) if adopted, would mean that women would stay out of the corridors of power forever, barring an actual armed uprising. Would that automatically benefit developing countries or women of colour or women in poverty or (you get the idea)? Why, because the current male-dominated political pool has been so successful?
I wonder if Commenter B is male or female? Let me guess. Isn’t it hypocritical to tell a certain social grouping they should forget about the glass ceiling, if you’re a member of the other social group? I suppose everyone wants to keep hold of their own privilege, but really, does it have to be that blatant?
Commenter B- or dear reader, if you’re nodding your head with approval, instead of trying not to barf- I’ve got some homework for you: Search Pandagon archives, the Feministe archives and the Alas archives by category (navigation will be a bit different for each). Note there are categories for race, class, poverty, disability and other subjects which you claim bourgeois and fully-employed women don’t bother about. Read about income inequality and how much “choice” there is in the matter. If that’s not enough for you, there are plenty of other feminist blogs (some by women of colour, or men) on those peoples’ blogrolls, which can continue your education. I think you’ll find that a lot of “middle-class” women put a lot more effort in trying to redress all kinds of inequalities, world wide, than you do yourself, and many of them are struggling economically.
If you like things as they are, or you are antifeminist, come out and say it rather than trying to appeal to some faux anti-elitism. That’s asshattery.
*Lexical note: I have a problem with mixing US with Australian english. As you will have noticed, Asshattery uses the US “ass”, while the proper Australian spelling is “arse”. I usually adopt Australian spelling, but in this instance Arsehat and Arsehattery just doesn’t look right. And it is an indigenous, so to speak, US term, god love it. So if this blog sometimes spells arse the proper way and sometimes the other way, it’ s probably to do with the context in which I’m writing. It’s weird, but I haven’t come up with any better solution.
When I saw a glimpse of you the other day, just passing through, I don’t know which I felt the most– joy, guilt or sadness. I’ll just say it: I didn’t appreciate you as I should have. Neither did most of the people around me.
Everyone in this town just treated you as a nuisance and rejoiced when you weren’t around. You were just a bore, a downer, a pooper of parties. If you weren’t there for a day or more, well, we all rejoiced.
I said rude things about you all the time. When I went on a bike ride, for instance, and you showed up, I wouldn’t hide my irritation. OK, you did interfere sometimes, for instance when I was trying to get housework done. But I should have known I couldn’t do without you. We couldn’t do without you.
When I think of how we used to complain and moan about you, make disparaging comments when you appeared, and the childish rhymes we used to sing to you in the playground in the hope you’d go away, I cringe. I really do. And I wish I’d known what it would really be like without you. Because now that you’re rarely seen, I miss you. We all do.
Well, there are a few people that still grimace when you make one of your fleeting appearances. They’re either especially stupid, or unusually resolute in not facing up to reality. I thought I did appreciate the many things you do, but I guess in the end I really had to be shown, because I really do know how important to us you are. Now that you’re not here, we’re beginning to understand how we took you for granted.
I miss the sight, the touch, the smell of you.
Please come back.
Well, that was close!
Thank Prue they didn’t replace Julie Bishop as the Minister for education when they did the recent Cabinet Shoe Shuffle. She really put that silly Kevin Rudd in his place when he came out with that so-called education policy.
I mean, education as some kind of… right is so last century. Thank Trude we have Julie to put us straight – it’s a positional good, sillies, whereby we can show that little Tarquin is from a better sort of family and sends a signal to his future employers that he can join the Management or Executive track. One of us, one of us!
Can you guess what this is?
A relative of mine, for whom no urban myth is too crazy to forward an email on, sent me a beautiful photo essay. I was sceptical, but this story turns out to be true according to Snopes.com.
The photo essay is from the blog Fredrik and Crew on Maiken (Maiken is an oceangoing yacht). The “beach” is a floating layer or raft of pumice, rained down on the ocean by an active volcano nearby.
Lying on it with an umbrella drink might be a tiny bit uncomfortable this century, though.
I came late to Kill Bill. I missed it, and the sequel Kill Bill 2, when they came out, because I don’t generally do action flicks and fight scenes usually bore me into catatonia. When I got around to watching it, I was entranced. WHY HAD NO-ONE TOLD ME? Both movies are side-splittingly, sublimely silly (even if you have to watch some bits through your fingers) and the soundtrack is fabulous.
I’m sure Julia Gillard has seen both, and I feel she’s taken the message in Kill Bill 2 a little too much to heart. I mean the bit where Bea Kiddo / The Bride discovers she’s pregnant, and the thought-balloon voiceover muses (I’m paraphrasing this from memory) “As soon as I saw that blue line, I realised my career as a cold-blooded and ruthless chopper-offer of various peoples’ body parts would have to end”.
Quite right too. I don’t think “assassin” is an appropriate job description for a parent of either gender. If nothing else, think of the grief you’d get once the kinder and school committees found out. But Julia Gillard has been reported as saying that any woman who sees that blue line on her pregnancy test kit should also relinquish any thought of gaining the PM-ship. The field should be left clear for people able to give the job the proper attention, that is, people like (ahem) herself.
Beatrix realised too late that if she hadn’t been full of maternal guilt, she would never have bought young GoGo that customised meteor hammer with retractable blades.
This statement only stands up if you agree with the proposition that a woman’s partner will never be willing or able to be the primary parent (and I’m only dealing with women partnered by men, which I realise is only part of the story). This flows from an essentialist view of parents which says that only the woman can be the primary parent, because only women have that special child-rearing mojo. Which is demonstrably false. Although they’re still in a minority, the number of men who are primary parents is increasing all the time.
Not to mention the elements of social and governmental support that could be available if the political will was there.
Not to mention, also, the fact that we are living longer than ever before, and having fewer kids. Even if you did want to be the primary parent, why should someone be denied the top job for ever because of a single phase in what is, these days, a very long life? Please note, I’m not saying every woman has the responsibility to strive to get to the top for the sisterhood. Some people, like me, are quite happy pottering around the foothills of achievement so that they can do interesting things on the side, like blogging. But it’s not good enough to claim that it’s OK for a family man to be in politics but not a family woman. Even some male Liberal party apparatchiks recognise that, even if they generally assign a low priority to changing the social fabric.
I suppose it’s an advance of sorts that we’re no longer thinking “Pregnant, must give up paid work forever”, but if we just swap that for “Pregnant, must give up all ideas of going for anything super-challenging or to do with the blokey world of power and stick to the female-dominated jobs”, then we’re not quite there, I think.
All these arguments aside, I’m not in the least sure that Julia really said what the tabloids so gleefully reported and which numerous mouth breathers, as usual, jumped in to endorse (I’m looking at you, Benjamin of Newcastle). If you read what was reported here and here, it does appear that the news media played a bit fast and loose quoting her and she was, in fact, pointing out that it would be impossible for John Howard or Peter Costello to have succeeded as women (horrible thought), given that things are as they are. It is not an apologia for keeping things as they are.
At least, I hope that’s what she meant. The alternative is that she’s one of these people who genuinely believe that women who want careers shouldn’t have children, so that they can pass for a kind of honorary bloke in corporate- or political-land. That is not a twenty first century solution. It’s a nineteenth century one.
As my own personal contribution to that, I’d like to investigate the factoid that Australia enjoys 100,000 elective abortions a year.
This comfortably round statistic (and its very neatness, and the fact it never changes from one year to the next, should make you suspicious at once), is employed constantly by anti-abortionists in the mainstream media. It depends on a disingenuous (or ignorant) interpretation of the word “abortion”.
First up, the statistics on abortion are problematic. But what statistics there are have come from Medicare items which are assigned numbers and basic descriptions.
In medical language, “abortion” simply means a pregnancy not carried to term. As anyone who has lost a pregnancy will know, women who miscarry usually undergo various procedures that overlap with, or are identical to, the procedures used in elective abortion. This is because infection may occur if the uterus isn’t emptied of its contents.
Therefore, the “100,000 abortions a year” figure is based on the medical definition of abortion – that is, spontaneous abortions of wanted pregnancies, as well as elective abortions. But the people who use this statistic don’t tell you that. They let you think that these “abortions” are all elective. Some of them probably aren’t even aware of the problem.
CARLTON: Right. So let me just sum that up if I can, and put it into, I hope, simple language. Correct me if I’m wrong. Under this Medicare treatment, as a specific number for a specific procedure, some of those would be abortions, but a great many of them, and perhaps the majority, would be to deal with simple miscarriages–
PESCE: Yes, I believe–
CARLTON: –and the like.
PESCE: Yes, I believe that the majority are for what you would consider a miscarriage, yes.
CARLTON: What sort of majority do you think?
PESCE: Look, I would only be speculating, all right? All I can say is in my personal practice over 90 per cent would be for non-viable pregnancies.
CARLTON: So the number of abortions might be only 10 per cent, and the number of non-viable pregnancies and miscarriages and so on could be 90 per cent?
PESCE: It’s possible, yes.
CARLTON: Right. So this figure being thrown around of 100,000 abortions in Australia each year, is simply not – in no way accurate?
PESCE: Well, it might be accurate, but it’s not accurate if you’re basing it on the Medicare statistics.
Yes, it’s over two years old, but the anti-abortionists have been peddling the same figure for much longer than that.
The Marie Stopes website quotes a WEL estimate of 25,000.
I’ve written to the AGE twice recently to point out that the 100,000 abortions a year thing is a factoid and they should stop publishing it so uncritically – it’s one thing to have it embedded in a quote by Abbott and Co, and quite another to have it in an opinion article by one of their staff writers, or in the Letters page, with no disclaimer. Is Fairfax quietly pushing the anti-choice agenda? Doesn’t anyone there notice that they’re printing a false statistic almost daily?
Dear reader, do you know of any statistics or sources on the actual number of elective abortions in Australia? If so, could you kindly furnish them forthwith in a comment in time for Blog for Choice day? Thanks!