Tags: leslie cannold

6 Jul 2009, Comments (14)

What, no baby?

Author: Helen

Continuing the unrelenting pressure on women who might be having a few happy moments surfing the news and forgetting about their manifold duties to society, the AGE had a link yesterday to yet another “Panic! Ladies women still oblivious to the biological clock!!1!” article in the sidebar. This stuff is becoming manic. The article title is Are you Leaving it too Late?, but the text appearing in the tab when you click on it is “Don’t Delay Motherhood Experts Warn”, and the link text on the main page is “Ladies, are you leaving it too late?” OK, we get it, we get it! We’re all totally irresponsible – that can be the only explanation!

Does anyone else find the continued use of the word “Ladies” incredibly irritating and insulting? Please, Fairfax, cut it out already.

The gist of the article is that women are, of course, stchoopid. And uneducated about reproduction. Yes, that can be the only explanation for the failure of Australia’s women to produce more white, blue eyed babies like the one in the illustration!

That, and of course, their schtoopid insistence that they can “have it all”: AKA, actually use the education that they excel in to take on a job, earn money, gain independence and earn some super for their old age. Silly “ladies”! Everyone knows that we pay lip service to how women can do anything, but if you try to, you know, apply your qualifications, you’re trying to have it all and you shouldn’t be allowed to have a family. After all, how many men who work at jobs have families? Don’t answer that!

If you’d like an intelligent analysis of why most women don’t consider themselves ready for childbirth until their late thirties or later, try Leslie Cannold’s What, no Baby?, which focuses on the structural social barriers to childbearing.

while the percentage of women choosing childlessness or suffering infertility has remained relatively steady over the past few decades, the number of women who are circumstantially childless is rising at an astronomical rate. It is the phenomenal rise in circumstantial childlessness, not the childlessness that women choose, that explains a good chunk of the downward spiral of fertility rates across the developed world.
There is no question that women should be in charge of decisions about their bodies and their lives. Choices about motherhood – the whether and the when – are unquestionably theirs, and theirs alone, to make. But in order to be free, really free, to make a choice, people need a range of external supports.

And instead of putting the microscope again and again on these irresponsible having-it-all “Ladies”, perhaps these Essential Baby writers could find time to examine the currently fashionable figure of the cute, lovable eternal man-child, to whom the responsibility of family life are anathema and whose extended adolescence continues into his late thirties, if not forties. I don’t see any “Silly dudez refusing to breed” articles, do you?

After sitting on the decriminalisation-of-abortion report for some months, the Victorian Parliament has reported that it’s set to vote sometime soon on decriminalisation.

There are three options. The AGE report on Friday, annoyingly, didn’t put the details on the web, just the news report, so I’ll transcribe them here:

Option A: A doctor would have to assess whether continuation of the pregnancy posed a risk of harm to the woman. A doctor who performed an abortion when not satisfied of risk of harm would be guilty of professional misconduct.

Option B: A woman’s consent provides lawful authority for an abortion up to 24 weeks’ gestation. After that point, an abortion would only be lawful when either one or two doctors deemed continuing the pregnancy would pose a risk of harm to the woman. Doctors who performed an abortion unlawfully would be guilty of professional misconduct.

Option C (Based on the model used in the ACT and Canada): A woman is the final decision-maker throughout her pregnancy. No abortion “on demand” as a doctor must still agree that an abortion is ethically and clinically appropriate. Unlawful abortions include those conducted without the woman’s consent and performed by unqualified people.

Like Leslie Cannold at ProChoice Victoria, it’s my opinion that only option C is the one that trusts women to make the right decision for their bodies, themselves and their families. Option A is similar to the existing Menhennit Ruling coded into law, and would possibly make things worse. Option B is slightly better, but still operates on the principle that if we don’t forcibly prevent women from having abortions after 24 weeks, they’ll all be doing it. (And do you notice they find it necessary to write “still no abortion on demand! “Because we enjoy it so much, we’ll be rocking up and demanding them for no reason. It’s a myth that just never dies.)

It’s important that we all write to our local MP and/or the ministers for Health and Womens’ affairs, because the “pro-life” lobby is always many times more vocal and organised than most of us. The commission reported that roughly 90% of the community is pro-choice, while about 80% of the submissions they received were from the forced-birthers.

Elsewhere, they’re trying to wind back the gains women have made in the last thirty years. The push for an abortion ban is on again in South Dakota. In Britain, the conservative MP Nadine Dorries recently caused the parliament vote on reducing the abortion limit from 24 to 20 weeks (the “20 reasons for 20 weeks” campaign.) That was defeated last week, 393 to 71. And crowds of assorted loonies still turn up to make life hard (and dangerous) at fertility clinics – Hey, props to you, Anonymous Lefty.

Click here to send an email to all Victorian MPs to support option C.

4 Jan 2007, Comments Off on Hausseggerism Rampant

Hausseggerism Rampant

Author: Helen

Stretch… Stre -e – e – etch…

OW!

Blogmuscles are still cramped from the holidays. Spent a week with no. computer. at. all. It was weird, but quite good. Then I come home and read this shit. Obviously, the place has gone to Helena Handbasket while I’ve been looking the other way.

Anna Winter had already had a go at it. Ms Cat sums it up pretty well:


Oh, the little
weasel. The cunning, cynical little [insert opprobrious epithet of choice here].

I really thought I’d mellowed out, these last few years. I really thought I’d never get seriously angry again about anything any politician ever said or did.

I see I was wrong. It’s quite energising.

Howard, Abbott and the rest of them are such cunning little weasels, we need the very best patriarchy blamers to come out swinging in favour of a less gendered, more balanced work-and-family life. Instead, what do we get in the dead-tree media? We get this.

Shorter Salamon: “Now I’ve had a baby, I am really feeling the effect of the patriarchal structures that still exist and the shortfall between the ideal of equality and the fact that mothers are, for most families, expected to bear the burden, and it’s really hard. OMG WHO KNEW???!! I am the first person ever to have discovered this! WHY DIDN’T TEH FEMINISTS TELL ME??! (Does this sound familiar?)

When the title of the article is The motherhood statements of feminism ring a bit hollow, you know you’re in for one of those “feminism has failed!” Fairfax fluff pieces. Hausseggerism, you might say.


Maybe we’ve got it so good that having children is simply too inconvenient. Or could the real problem [with fertility] be that feminism has failed? When it comes to being a mother, does feminism even exist?

Aaaargh! Well, darlin’, you could have listened to what feminists like Leslie Cannold, and Anne Summers, and Belinda Probert (just to mention three off the cuff) have been researching and writing about for decades. Not to mention the rest of us unpaid foot soldiers who wrestle the neoliberal zeitgeist in the internet forums and blogs.

I was tempted to cut this writer some slack, being as how she might be suffering from postnatal lack of sleep fuzz-brain (I see some hands going up there), but no. Scrub that: She’s a lecturer in Media and Communications at the University of Melbourne (where Probert also works), specialising in, among other things, “Gender”. No, she should have done a hell of a lot better than that. One example: even though the twin topics of the article are the decline of fertility and the difficulty of life balance once you’re a mother, she completely ignores the interesting evidence of a correlation between women- (or parent-) friendly policy, and family size, opting instead for some vague pronouncement about Ancient Rome.

For a really intelligent analysis of why women aren’t having babies, or why women aren’t having as many babies, what happens when they do, and what the obstacles and possible solutions are, I’d recommend “What, No Baby?” by Leslie Cannold. It’s the best book I’ve read on the sexual politics of motherhood, and guaranteed free of hausseggerism.