Tag Archives: Chrissie Swan

This is not about Chrissie Swan it is about Lauren Rosewarne’s use of language as a weapon of division

7 Feb

In her piece on ABC’s The Drum this morning, academic Lauren Rosewarne takes to task a group of women who apparently have done their best to metaphorically lynch TV personality Chrissie Swan for smoking while pregnant.

I am not interested in having a smoking while pregnant debate, and Ms Swan’s perceived moral failings. Neither am I a fan of vicious pile-ons. What does interest me is the language Rosewarne uses to describe those criticising Swan, whilst simultaneously calling for us to cease “scrutinising and loathing” other women.

Swan’s critics are, according to Rosewarne, members of the “militant mummy mafia” and “holier than thou über mums.” Rosewarne claims she feels it is “…verboten to question the lactaters, or the baby-carriers, or the gluten-free vegan wholefood earthmothers.”

She continues, in an outstandingly anti feminist and alarmingly patriarchal-like complaint:  “As a feminist, apparently, I should know better than to ever dare take on any woman who has ever Created Life” (note Dr Rosewarne’s use of capitals here).

Well, I’m a woman who has Created Life, lactated and been a baby-carrier and I have no objection at all to being questioned (“taken on?”) about that or anything else. I do, however, wish to note my objection to being cast into the inexplicable abyss of Rosewarne’s only too-evident prejudices against women, all women, who give birth.

I have no idea of Dr Rosewarne’s personal circumstances, and I support the right of any woman to choose to remain child free. Indeed, there have been occasions on which I have cursed myself for refusing that option, and instead, sticking with dogs.

Be that as it may, I do not expect a public feminist to speak of me and women like me with such contempt and disdain, simply because we’ve given birth to future generations. It’s a dark and lonely job, but someone has to do it.

Mothers, like any other human category, do good things and not so good things to ourselves, our offspring and other women. We are not always nice to one anther, and neither should anyone expect us to be. However, for a feminist with a public platform to publish a wholesale denigration of women who are mothers is absolutely unacceptable, particularly when it’s done under the guise of appealing for women to stop judging and criticising one another.

This false division between mothers and women who are not mothers, for whatever reason, is sickening to me. I believe it is destructive to us as individuals, and as a species. There is no great kudos in either state: they are, in the best of circumstances, choices and should be respected as such.

If Dr Rosewarne really feels she cannot “take on any woman who has Created Life” she  is seriously restricting her life experience, and that, I respectfully suggest, is a problem for her rather than the rest of us.

Daily Life bitch slaps yummy mummies.

11 Dec

Up front, I’m not a fan of “most influential” anything lists, however I do like/admire several of the women on the latest such list doing the rounds at the moment, and I do think they have done more than their bit to challenge the stranglehold destructive orthodox attitudes still retain on our society.

But. When I read the blurb accompanying nominee Chrissie Swan, I felt like poking out somebody’s eyes. I don’t know who wrote it, but in one sentence they undermine the stated ethos of the entire “most influential” thing, and reveal what really occupies the minds of organisers of contests such as this one, which is the value or lack thereof, of a particular type of woman. 

Swan is described thus: “An earthy antidote to the proliferation of bourgeois, pearl-clutching yummy mummies, Swan’s influence lies in simply being herself.”

Where do I begin. I am so offended by this statement I can’t think quite straight, and I don’t even wear pearls. I did once own a very nice strand of quite good pearls with a garnet clasp, but I lost them because I am careless and do not understand the value of such things. I also like to think I was in my bourgeois youth a yummy mummy. I just dug out photos of me giving birth to my second child in a bean bag in our lounge room and my fingernails, as I thought, were manicured and painted bright red which in itself ought to be testament to my yumminess.

I was during this period entirely myself, despite my middle class circumstances, my yumminess and my pearls. Who else could I have possibly been? Can a woman only be herself if she owns no pearls, and works very hard not to be yummy? If the only real woman is the “earthy” non bourgeois variety that likely disqualifies most of the other nominees, none of whom look particularly “earthy” and all of whom look middle class, although Germaine Greer is if not earthy, at least a little bit scruffy.

Anyone with a skerrick of talent ought to be able to describe Chrissie Swan without resorting to pejorative remarks about women who are not Chrissie Swan in order to establish Ms Swan’s credentials. That the organisers of a most influential women contest have failed at this elementary task is discouraging for feminism and makes something of a mockery of the whole venture, despite their intentions to the contrary.

 

Pearl clutching.

Pearl clutching.

 

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