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Archive for the ‘feminism’ Category

making us look bad

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I have disliked The [not-so] Hon Julie Bishop for quite some time. Firstly, the wall outside her Subiaco office makes me want to gag every time I drive up Rokeby Rd. Then there’s the whole Liberal Woman oxymoron thing where she, like Gov Sarah Palin, takes the cause of women 50-bajillion steps back every time she steps out in her Linney’s.

As if her policies and incompetence weren’t bad horrible atrocious enough, she goes and does THIS during question time:

OH. MY. EFFING. GOODNESS.

And then —– and then her “justification” for this lameness (which will surely give me nightmares tonight; sorry for posting it, actually)???

“When people are carrying on in question time and getting really personal and vicious, it’s just a little thing that I do,” she said.

“It’s sort of suggesting that the girls should put the claws away.” [News]

It’s “A LITTLE THING” you do for “THE GIRLS”????????????

GREAT WORK, you pretentious brat, now everyone’s just going to say that female politicians can never rise above the petty squabbles they have across the leafy courtyards in their obnoxious private schools!!!!!  (The day I vowed never, ever, to enter politics was the day we had a fake election in Year 10 Social Studies. Oh, the humanity.)

There was a comment on the news article going “oh, right, so can guys punch each other in Parliament now”? And seriously, that’s what this takes us to. Redicularity.

I am so embarrassed I share the same two types of chromosomes with this person. SO EFFING ASHAMED.

Can anyone confirm that she’s actually a she? I still have hope. No honest woman would use that much hairspray and fanny about like THAT much of a queen, right??? Please? I’m begging.

Written by Sunili

2 December 2008 at 6:45 pm

Pat Giles is one amazing lady

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So, desipite my laryingitis, I drove out to Guilford yesterday to attend a lunch put on by Perth Labor Women & EMILY’s List to celebrate the 80th birthday of former-Senator Pat Giles.

Now, I was totally sick, but I’d RSVPed for this months ago, and even though I knew little about Pat Giles before I went, I knew the person organising it, and I had totally pomised myself that I would to go to more of these events. Plus it was a good excuse not to sit around being miserable.

Well, the birthday girl was this little old lady (well, duh, it was her 80th) with bright white hair and the sweetest smile, but on hearing her biography I came to realise that this woman had broken some balls in her time.

After working as a nurse, she did a BA as a mature age student (as much as I complained about them when I was in 1st year, they totally have guts; I came to realise that not all of them are wankers).  She then went on to work with the Hospital Employees Industrial Union — which later became part of the Missos, a union I care a lot about through my time as a LMWEP kid — and was one of the first women working in an industrial position in the trade union movement in WA.

Her résumé (here taken from a handout based on notes by Lekkie Hopkins at Edith Cowan Uni) pretty much uses the phrase “first woman to” as dot points:

  • first woman elected to the WA Trades & Labour Council executive (1975);
  • member of the first ACTU Women’s Council (1977); later chair (1978);
  • first woman advocate before State Industrial Commission (on the introduction of maternity leave in to WA awards)

Pat was elected as a Senator for Western Australia in 1981 and chaired the Senete Select Commitee on Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes. She was a Senator for 12 years and during that time she was also a big part of the international women’s movement:

  • Member, Australian Government Delegation to Tribune, Mexico, International Women’s Year 1975;
  • Leader, Australian Government Delegation to World Conference for the End of the Decade for Women, Nairobi, July 1985;
  • Leader, Australian Delegation to Meeting of Commonwealth Ministers for Women’s Affairs, Nairobi, 1985; Harare, Zimbabwe, 1987; Ottawa, Canada, 1990;
  • Parliamentary Adviser, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), New York, September-December 1992.

She then served three terms as President of the International Alliance of Women.

Oh, and she also has 5 kids (and now lots of grandkids).

Some little old lady, huh?

Now, we’re definitely talking about a graduate from the Old School of 70s and 80s feminism, but I am personally of the opinion that us young’ns can still learn a shitload from feminist pioneers like Pat Giles.  And what’s more, we need to be genuinely grateful for, as Sharryn Jackson described it, the path through the jungle that these women have hacked through ahead of us.

One thing that struck me from the masses of adulation about Pat was an ex-diplomat who spoke of how highly world leaders regarded Pat for her work and her approach — a key approach being, saying anything that might be a little harsh with a smile backed up by genuine kindheartedness.  Now that’s a good approach to diplomacy.

It got me thinking back to an article I’d read the night before.  It was from US magazine the Atlantic (picked it up from Borders on Friday, at those dumb air freight rates; I’m subscribing this week) and is entitled ‘Should Women Rule?

The book review goes through several publications that essentially lead to the conclusion that, because of biological and historical givens, women aren’t very good at leading the world. The reviewer then asks this question:

so what if women are power-wielding-impaired? Is ruling the world the only way to change the world?

After going through one final book about the one ‘mom’ who lead a million others to fight the gun lobby, the conclusion is this:

Today, the Barnes & Noble “Women’s Studies” shelves are thick with books on women’s self-esteem, on women’s bodies, on women and money. But to exert more true power in the world, we need to pay less attention to our feelings, our clitorises, and even our 401(k)s. Why in five decades of modern feminist writing have we never seen any serious consideration of, for instance, the PTA, a hugely powerful, 100-plus-year-old, women-founded and women-dominated organization, whose well-funded and effective lobbying arm can actually help push through legislation? The women’s movement has ignored millions of PTA women—women busy baking brownies and zooming about in their Kohl’s wear, who can’t rule the world but who can change it. My fellow PTA mothers—“change agents” all—we need more books that teach us to build and direct our networks to do the work we value.

That’s fair enough; I am all for change agents (I think my dad pioneered some “change agent” program when he was at CARE?). But I think while international diplomacy may not be for everyone woman, there are skills in which women can be a lot better at than men that can be used for ruling as well as changing.

As shown by Pat Giles — she was a P&C mum before she was a Senator.

Now, I’m done blogging for the day; I’m going to bake a cake so that I can eat it (I need to practice that stuff to prepare myself for when I rule the world).

Written by Sunili

24 November 2008 at 4:53 pm

women in “power”

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Following up from my anti-affirmative action rambles, just a quick thought about how the glass ceiling is so totally *not* broken…

There was an interesting op-ed from Michelle Gratton in the Sydney Morning Herald over the weekend which pointed out that, like Palin, both Julia Gillard and Julie Bishop are the Deputies in their respective parties.

I wish to comment on just this little bit for now:

While Julia Gillard apparently made a no-comment on her personal opinions on Sarah Palin, Julie Bishop said she watched the debate and was rather impressed:

“She’s [Palin] succeeded in life with strength while retaining her femininity. But she doesn’t trade on her challenges in life or on her femininity,” Bishop said.

I am not surprised Bishop reckons Palin’s femininity makes up for the fact the Alaskan Governor comes across as a complete airhead.

But let me try to figure out what the Shadow Treasurer meant… she likes that Palin succeeded through bullying, while staying “hot”?

And, even though she didn’t trade her lipstick and pitbull behaviour, she did trade, judging by her performances over the last, “what, like, five weeks?” *wink”, all reason, rationality, intelligence, logic, and other such qualities we no longer need in our leaders?

Psh.

(See this excellent Newsweek story: “Yes, she won the debate by not imploding. But governing requires knowledge, and mindless populism is just that—mindless.“)

While I don’t have a problem with femininity, I seriously have a problem with “women in power” who use that trait, instead of brains and good ideas and reasoned arguments, in order to get where they are.

But, on the other hand, Gratten included an observation that “Gillard can mix it with the boys. Bishop can’t. Gillard can cope in a man’s world. Bishop is operating in a man’s world”.

Most will probably know about the brouhaha over Gillard’s boring suits/haircut and lack of children/flowers on her kitchen table.  Does that make her more suited to cut it in a “man’s word”?

I long for the day when women can succeed in a “man’s world” without having to either be:

  1. an air-head pretty-girl/hockey-mom;
  2. knocked for not having flowers on one’s kitchen table; or
  3. the daughter/wife of an assassinated sub-continental leader.

Because until then, it’s still a man’s world, and until it stops being a man’s world, we’re still suffocating in the glass house.

But at least there’re pretty flowers in here, right? Right? We need those for the kitchen table…

Written by Sunili

6 October 2008 at 6:46 pm

when affirmative is a negative

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I alluded to Sarah Palin the other day, and despite the fact I’d kinda made a promise to myself to not *actually* blog about her, I don’t think I can contain it any more.

Sometimes she’ll make me laugh, which is nice, but then I’ll realise the possibility of her being the next Dick Cheney, heck, the next Dubya, and I get freaked out.

Gah.  Do people not remember that Geena Davis show where the VP, who just so happens to be female, has to be the President because the actual president carked it?

You guys, that show GOT CANCELLED!!!!

And that was EVEN WHEN the VP/Prez was Geena Davis. WHO IS AWESOME.  But now, it could all happen IN REAL LIFE, but not with someone cool like Geena Davis, who was even in the Olympics, but with THIS PERSON:

ZOMFG!!!

We can’t just expect the programming executives to JUST CANCEL REALITY IF IT SUCKS and replace it with a better show!! If that was possible, it would have already happened, like 7.6 years ago!!!!

[break for Sunili to go and get a drink and maybe slam the door to the cabinet where all the tea is.]

Ok you guys.

I am going to try to not get angry.  This post is gonna be hard, but I just HAVE to say some stuff about affirmative action, and I know I could wait ’til I can blog about it without reference to her, but this is the perfect effing example of What Not To Do when you’re trying to do affirmative action.

“Affirmative action” is generally about positive steps taken to increase the representation of women or minorities to increase that particular group’s opportunities in employment, education, business or politics — you know, areas from which they have been historically excluded.

Stanford Uni’s Encyclopedia of Philosphy says, however, that:

When those steps involve preferential selection—selection on the basis of race, gender, or ethnicity—affirmative action generates intense controversy. …

The affirmative action debate throws up many ironies but one in particular should be noted. From the time in 1973 when Judith Jarvis Thomson conjectured that it was “not entirely inappropriate” that white males bear the costs of the community’s “making amends” to blacks and women through preferential affirmative action, the affirmative action debate has been distracted by intense quarrels over who deserves what. Do the beneficiaries of affirmative action deserve their benefits. Do the losers deserve their loss?

I want to leave those debates out of this for now.  I want to talk about just one practical thing that has been bugging me.

First of all, in case you don’t know me, let me say this: I am a brown woman.  Theoretically, I should join the Affirmative Action Fan Club. Because — again, theoretically — it should help me cruise through life.  If I (heaven forbid) one day end up in a wheelchair, I would be a DIVERSITY GOLD MINE.

But I just do not like the idea of getting picked for something simply because I am a women, or because I am an immigrant.

I would MUCH RATHER get the position because I was the best PERSON to fill that role. I would not want to be chosen to work as a Whatever Officer for Whatever Corp Pty Ltd simply because I was a brown woman, when there was a white guy, or a white woman who would be a much better Whatever Officer.

Similarly, if I was applying for a job where like, because of some special, inherent genetic trait, the person had to be a brown woman, I would apply knowing that in the selection process, they were looking for the best brown woman, who had the best genetic qualities and skills required to operate the XX-Melanin Machine owhatever.  If I didn’t have those skills or capabilities, but I got selected because I have the longest eyelashes, and that was important to diversity or some shit, I would totally be putting myself in a bad position.  What if I blew the XX-Melanin Machine??

Anyway. That was probably a shit analogy, but I hope you still get my point.

So let’s talk about Sarah Effing Palin, shall we?

We ALL KNOW she was only picked because she was a woman. There must be THOUSANDS of people better qualified to be the Vice President of the United States than she is.  The only thing she has going for her? She’s a woman.

Now, I know people will say that oh, if McCain wanted a women, there are heaps of other women he could have picked, so clearly she had something else going for her.

To those people I ask, honestly, truly, because I want to know: Like WHAT?

What, other than the twinkle in her eye and tattooed lipliner and that folksy accent, does she have that qualifies her for that job? “Executive experience”? Give me an effing break.

Someone in the Grand Old Party (thanks Loobie!) had the BRILLIANT idea that if they picked a woman, the could get all the Hillaryites to vote for a woman.

Do you know what Sarah Palin represents? She epitomizes everything that goes wrong when you pick someone for a role because you need to tick a box. For whatever reason, be it for legal requirements, to feel self-indulgently good about supporting minorities, or for a callous marketing decision, when you just pick a person because they are the Right Type of Person, but not the Right Person For The Role, you totally fuck it up.

You get someone totally effing horrible for the role.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do think there is a place for affirmative action.  You simply cannot deny the sociological truth that there are groups of peoples in communities and countries all over the world who have historically been marginalised, and that there needs to be measures put in place to redress that marginalisation.

But it does NOT improve the status of women to put a completely unqualified person in a position like candidate for Vice President of the United States of America.  For heavens.  If she gets it, they’re not going to let a woman run for an office like that FOR YEARS.  It’s going to take us like 50 years BACKWARDS!!

Or, for a more serious explanation than a LOLcat photo, from The Guardian:

At least three times last night, Sarah Palin, the adorable, preposterous vice-presidential candidate, winked at the audience. Had a male candidate with a similar reputation for attractive vapidity made such a brazen attempt to flirt his way into the good graces of the voting public, it would have universally noted, discussed and mocked. Palin, however, has single-handedly so lowered the standards both for female candidates and American political discourse that, with her newfound ability to speak in more-or-less full sentences, she is now deemed to have performed acceptably last night. (via karion)

Sure, get girls or and Indigenous kids or heck, little white boys who grew up in a trailer park into targeted educational programs and whatnot to give them the OPPORTUNITY TO GOOD ENOUGH TO BE PRESIDENT.  That, my friends, is what affirmative action is SUPPOSED TO DO.

But no sane person would just stick some random African American there to prove that the country isn’t racist anymore.

Obama? Yeah, he’s black. But did he just get the Democratic Party’s nomination for Presidential candidate because he’s black? NO. He proved, through that gruelling and heart-wrenching primary process, that he was the BEST PERSON TO GO FOR THE JOB out of everyone that was running.

I supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries.  At that time, I thought that she was the best person running.  I totes respected Obama and thought he was great, but I was of the opinion that Hillary could continue the work she started while First Lady.  She didn’t get it and that’s fine.  I was disappointed but that’s the way it works.  Now I think Barack Obama is the best person to be President of the United States. Because, John McCain?

Do people in America want this guy to be around the Big Red Button for the next four years?

Really?

Oh gods.  Should I just start learning Chinese and Russian now?

a night at the theatre

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I have decided that once I am all grown-up and fabulous, I am going to be a fabulous patron of the thee-ette-ture. You have to pretend that you’re hearing me say that in a fabulous posh accent.

Plays are simply fabulous and I really do believe they are unbelievably under-rated.

I went to a play last night with my lovely friend C (who I have just decided I am going to call C in true Gossip Girl style because she is just too fabulous to be referred to by a whole name, just as Madonna, Prince and Beyoncé are too fabulous to be referred to by a first name and a last name) and we had a marvelous time.

The production was The Female of the Species by Joanna Murray-Smith and it was put on by the Black Swan Theatre Company at the Playhouse.

I absolutely love the Playhouse — our high school musicals were put on there and I have spent many a night backstage rigging up microphones and running around with props and stage-managing schtuff.  (I consider myself to be an ugly duckling and I stand by that, rather the fact that I am not talented on the stage, as my excuse for never actually performing.)  So in addition to the intimacy of the place as a small-er venue, there’s lots of nostalgia there for me, too.

While I did drama at school all the way from 8 to 12, I don’t recall ever seeing a decent theatre production while I was at uni. That is a horrible realisation for me. I suppose part of it was due to the fact I was broke, broke, flat-broke though most all of uni, but it’s horrible because I just LOVE plays, and how every facet of them just adds to their aforesaid fabulousness.

I have said fabulous a lot in this post, haven’t I? Too bad if it’s ticking you off; it’s my word of the day.

As a super geek, I did super well in my TEE Drama Studies exam because there was more marks involved in the theory side than the performance side.

The theory aspect of plays — text and context and all that palaver — is possibly just as meaty as it is for book-form literature, but I just adore the way all the non-verbal, visual, aural and production aspects of theatre can tie in to create just this amazing diorama of cultural-studies goodness.

Take Oh! What a Lovely War for instance, which is quite possibly my favourite production — ouuuuf, it makes me shudder to think about the way it portrays the absurdities and waste and horridness of war. The irony is just emphasized on so many levels — the script, the songs, the visual projections, the pierott costumes!! Fabulous!!!

The Female of the Species was just as clever. No songs or slide-shows, mind you, but oh — the wit! And what fabulous performances! We were cheap lucky enough to to to a preview, so there was just so much energy with the freshness, which I reckon really added to it.

Opening night is tonight, it runs til 6 July, and I reckon all and sundry should go! (Tickets through BOCS — look how easy I’ve made it for you!)

I suppose one of the reasons I loved it so much is because it was about the whole debate about womens’ purpose in life and the development of the entire concept of feminism as it has evolved and affected society over the decades. Highly near and dear to my and C’s hearts. Fabulous.

That was my second visit to the theatre in as many months and I have officially decided that theatre is going to be my Thing. Everyone needs a Thing — some people might have a sport or drinking a bottle-cap collection or a cult or a crafty-type hobby… I’m going to go to lots of plays!

Fabulous 😉

Written by Sunili

24 June 2008 at 6:19 pm

Women @ Work

with 2 comments

So the glass-ceiling thing comes up again. Another study, another article, another blog post asking the same old questions:

WHY are there so few women at senior levels in Australian corporate life? How is it that women, who are at least as well educated as men these days, represent only 12 per cent of ASX 200 executive managers? Why have women been appointed as CEOs of just five ASX 200 companies since 2004?

The Leadership Challenge: Women in Management study by Hannah Piterman presents some interesting observations, and I look forward to reading Aunty Jan‘s response to this in the coming days, but I figured I’d have my say first so that I don’t spend a whole entry being angry at her, rather than the topic.

One participant in the study, a female senior manager, commented that

A lot of women don’t want to be senior women in corporations because they want to have more flexibility and more choice and dedicate more time and focus to other elements of their life”.

The author of the article I read, Jennifer Hewitt, responds:

Fair enough. It’s certainly a sensible alternative to the competitive fixation with titles and offices and status shown by so many men. But, particularly given the growing shortage of skilled employees facing Australian businesses, it’s worth figuring out if such choices have to be so rigid for so many women.

While I totally agree with that, I don’t think it’s fair enough that giving up a career because it’s incompatible with kids is the only ‘sensible option’. Surely there’s a sensible option to deal with this work/life problem if it means sorting the skills shortage?

I’ve been watching Cashmere Mafia recently (I know, I know, in the last post I referred to City Homicide, but bear with me here) and while it is mostly SATC: Married With Higher Paying Jobs, I think there’s at least one storyline that touches on a real issue highlighted by this study — nothing has changed in the corporate world which makes it easy to be a woman in management.

Frances O’Connor’s character is middle-management in a finance firm who also happens to be a mother. Every aspect of her arc is basically about her family v work dilemma. In two episodes, colleagues trying to out-do her for promotion fix meetings and projects with the hope she won’t be able to make it due to family commitments. According to Dr Piterman:

Working mothers are excluded from key roles, projects and opportunities due to a work structure and a culture that does not accommodate their needs

and the author of the article I read points out that

A number of the most successful women in the study either don’t have children or have a very supportive partner or engage in complex juggling acts that are not sustainable.

I’ve been naughtily watching eps before they’re on TV here, so I won’t say any more on the CM stuff, just that it got me thinking about the glass ceiling over the weekend when, lo and behold, here is this interesting study which notes

Female talent is ultimately lost as working mothers fail to achieve effective flexible work arrangements and abandon demanding corporate careers.

I’ve spoken to a men running large corporate business who agree that this is a massive problem that needs a creative solution.

Determining what that solution is, or even where the impetus for finding this solution will come from, is not so easy as identifying the problem. I mean, if it’s on a Manhattan-based dramedy, surely it’s old news.

So, who’s it going to be, kids?

Who’s going to just throw their hands up and admit that there’s a serious problem, and that working on the dooms-day skills shortage we currently have may just have to include getting rid of that gosh-darn glass ceiling as well as more TAFEs and 457s?

Because unless someone gives everyone a good kick up the backside, I have a feeling we’ll just sit around twiddling our thumbs and whinging.

I’m not going to say it’ll be easily. It’s not just more childcare centres or paid maternity leave that’s going to fix this problem. The attitude of people in business and the corporate world has to change, because no amount of CBD creches will change stuff like this:

It’s not just because most women tend not to be around as much for the networking ppportunities like the drinks at the pub or the games of golf.

It’s also a more subtle shading that means male executives feel more comfortable with men like them while women who try to emulate that masculine model encourage suspicion, derision and cultural isolation.

“The communication and decision-making styles attributed to women, such as being inclusive and collegial, are seen as incompatible with desired leadership traits of decisiveness and expediency,” the study summarises. “Women’s reluctance (and/or inability) to enter into a game of strategic survival and aggressive personal politics is perceived as weakness and lack of ambition.”

So I’m not just looking at you, Tanya, but also at the guys running all the businesses out there (because, yes, they are guys).

We’ve got the research, we know what’s wrong, we’ve got the impetus… so how about we try and change that whole ‘corporate culture’ thing, shall we?

Written by Sunili

18 March 2008 at 9:13 am

“Citizen Jane” Responds

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From my inbox re my vile raving rant from yesterday:

Well, here I was carelessly surfing the internet and thinking to myself… geez there’s a lot of conservative crap being printed on the internet. With a slight sigh of relief I stumbled across your ‘blog.’ At the very first glance of your page I was quickly reassured with the state of the media. The media isn’t biased at all. There’s just as much conservative crap out there as there is ‘liberal’ bulldust such as yours (and for those wondering I use the term liberal very loosely).

To start off with I have to say that it is no real surprise that you got so worked up on the issue. Well, think about. If someone says something stupid your shrug your shoulders and think, if not say, what a “poor stupid bastard.” But in this case you had a person making logical, valid points and all you could respond with was a whole heap of swearing and false bravado. And to make things worse for you the person making these points was actually one of your own-kind (someone else who writes what they believe is right in an attempt to save the world.)

Oh… you thought I was referring to author’s gender. Opps, I guess you forgot the first rule of feminism: equality. Yes, that’s right – gender is irrelevant. WHEN WILL YOU PEOPLE FINALLY UNDERSTAND THIS. The fact that it was a female writing the article is completely. Utterly. Undeniably. IMMATERIAL. But I suppose I should forgive you, when you can’t attack the content of an article you have to fill your page moaning about something.

The problem with old-feminists is that they completely lost sight of what they were fighting for. Originally, they weren’t simply about women’s rights, they were about equality. It just so happens that, at the time, women were getting a bloody raw deal. So, that’s what they fought for. Tooth and nail. They fought for a system where women could be educated, given the same opportunities and be just as, if not, more successful than their muscularly enhanced counterparts.

Conveniently (but predictably) you forgot to mention the fact that women do have a chance. And not just a 30% chance either. Confused? Oh, let me remind you of someone who actually has some facts.

Women in the present day are:

* Four times LESS likely than young men to kill themselves
* 22 times LESS likely to be imprisoned.
* And MORE likely than boys to leave school with no qualifications.

Oh, but didn’t you say:

“It’s only when women are educated, supported and given the chance to excel do we have a $%&* choice.”

What’s worse is that you then go on to lament about the demise of the Office of Status of Women. Well don’t men have issues too? Isn’t this what we are fighting for here – Equality.

Agreed?

Anyone?

Oh… that’s right… now I remember why men don’t have an Office of Status. Because if they haven’t killed themselves then they are in prison or too uneducated to do anything about.

How convenient.

The thing that is admirable about Janet Albrechtsen is that she isn’t afraid to fight for equality. She isn’t the ego-thirsty, power-hungry person that you are. She can accept that 30% ain’t bad for women. Now, all your readers out there, bear with me here.

Let’s face facts. Men have penises and women have vaginas. Women give birth (using their vaginas). Men are strong and are more suited to the blue-collar jobs (not that anyone cares about those jobs anyway). But nevertheless, a bit like YOU said. You want to stay home and look after the kids. Well what happens if 70% of women agree with you. Do we then launch into a cry about the High Court?

No. We look at it objectively. Women have great opportunities. In fact, in some cases, they are better off than men. Most women are educated, out-of-prison and alive. And if a woman wants to gets on the High Court, SHE HAS THE OPPURTUNITY. So now that women have opportunities you can get off your high horse. Old feminism can slowly fade away. And a new, truer form of feminism can be bred where equality is fought for, regardless of the gender.

Citizen Jane

This, folks, is even more gold when one knows who wrote it, and I now feel 100% justified in certain possibly-irrational choices I may have made recently 😀

But, to the issue at hand.

Dear Jane

I agree with you, Jane, about equality. In fact, I was discussing this issue with a Friend From Up The Road yesterday and he takes exactly the same position as you with regards to what modern feminism is about. The term feminism should apparently be scrapped (in the same way one might say the ALP should get as far away from ‘Labor’ as possible which some creative corporate re-branding, but I’ll save that one for a rainy day… it’s too lovely a day today to be angry…) in favour of ‘equalism’ or, in the alternative, we should just forget about the whole damn thing all together and just get on with our lives.

However, there’s something about forgetting the past which I just cannot deal with. What happens when you forget the past is that you make the same mistakes over and over again. This is the same issue I have with indigenous issues and economic policy… everyone gets lulled into a false sense of security when things are ‘fine’ and all of a sudden, you’re back 70 years. As long as you, Jane, promise me that on the road to equalism we don’t forget that women have suffered with the raw deal for a very long time, I agree that we need to support everyone with warm-fuzzies.

But, here’s my reply speech (especially since you don’t like them…) on the other issues you raised, in chronological order.

Firstly, I’m not the media. I’m an over-excited twenty-something nerd who hates to piss off the few real-world friends she has and has thus taken to venting in kilobytes. Furthermore, I believe there has been some good research done on the fact blogging doesn’t affect the mainstream media enough to have real impact on the information war, and with 8 hits a day I’m not part of the tiny number who may in fact do so.

Secondly, I feel that my harping on Janet Albrechtson’s gender was justified. Someone said to me yesterday that if a man had written what she had written, it would have never been published. Why would anyone say that if what she wrote wasn’t ridiculously offensive to women and the hard fight fought by crazed feminazis everywhere? Plus, she wrote it as a woman, she should be able to justify it as a woman, and so I am going to write about what she wrote as a woman.

Thirdly, would you like to re-read my post and tell me exactly how many times I moaned without discussing ‘content’? I may get emotional sometimes, but I generally try to stick to the issues at hand when I criticise something, without resorting to blatantly making stuff up.

Fourthly, I’m glad you accept that there needed to be a cat-fight for women to “given the same opportunities and be just as, if not, more successful than their muscularly enhanced counterparts” and that “as a result of the pressure from such people that many women’s lives have improved“:

This is great. Women have achieved so much. But the brutal facts remain. The vast majority of the world’s women still have very little power, at work, in their relationships at home, or in the wider world. As British social commentator Polly Toynbee noted, even in the Britain of 2004: ‘the battle is only half won.’

Worldwide, 70 per cent of those living in poverty are women, as are two-thirds of illiterate adults. One in four women is beaten by her husband or partner. Every day, 1,300 still die unnecessarily in childbirth or during pregnancy.

I do not believe feminists have “lost sight of what they were fighting for”. It is only when we accept sub-par results do we lose sight of the fight.

Fifthly, if you’re up for some websurfing: here are some more facts about women and our (cough) place in the world.

Sixthly, when I was talking about [deleted] choices, it was in the context of responding to Auntie Jan saying feminazis do not offer women ‘real choices’. I was saying we have choices. Because of feminazis and what they fought for. Yes, hurrah, something to celebrate! Auntie Jan goes on and on about how Old Femmos whine despite the progress we’ve made and yet what does she do? Whine about something we could celebrate. Way to go!

Seventhly, I understand the point you are making about the status of men. I’m sure you feel very strongly about it. All I have to say to that is, then let’s stop arguing about women and men and fix the education system which currently favours the rich over the poor and is on a steady march to increasing that divide.

Oops, did I suddenly switch from whinging about gender to whinging about class? Here’s the thing with equality in this country right now: Everything and everyone is divided into competing factions because it appears that the elites seem to like it that way. They’re happy propping up their friends to high places and ignoring those who can’t increase their status. My apologies for the digression, but there is a link…

The thing is, exactly the same issue exists with women. Women have always have and, if we ignore it, always will face an uphill battle for equality. Probably because we have different bits down there to men. (I am going to ignore the thing you said about Auntie Jan’s ego: la la la la la la imnotlisteningoriwillswearagain la la la la.) My Friend From Up The Road pointed out that the number is 30% because 20% of women are having children at all times. (Like how 69% of statistics are made up on the spot.) Well, if that is the case, I give up. I concede. Capitulate, even. Ok, we have the chance and opportunity to be on the High Court now, let’s get the hell over it.

But 30% isn’t equality yet. We need to support everyone, men, women, children, elderly, indigenous people, migrants, students, workers, heck, even wild tree frogs, but we still have to fight for equality, as the best way to provide that support. We still have to fight because the current status quo doesn’t give a shit. That’s all I was saying. That and Janet Albrechtsen is evil.

Thanks for taking the time to send me a response, and I hope to talk to you soon
Sunili

P.S. I know I’m not one to talk about spelling, but I’ve recently found that Copy-Paste to Word only takes a few seconds 😉

Written by Sunili

11 December 2004 at 9:06 am