Tags: patriarchal structures

4 Jan 2007, Comments Off on Hausseggerism Rampant

Hausseggerism Rampant

Author: Helen

Stretch… Stre -e – e – etch…


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.