All about women

9 Apr

“All About Women” was the title given to a day of feminist conversation and debate between women about women, at the Sydney Opera House on April 7.

Aside: I understand Bob Ellis inveigled his way onto some panel or other, on the topic of whether or not men can be feminists. He took the opportunity to reveal that he has not had sex with his wife since 1966. (CORRECTION. APPARENTLY ELLIS SAID HE HAS NOT SLEPT WITH HIS WIFE SINCE 1966) In either case, whether he believes this makes him a feminist or not I don’t care to contemplate.

I’m all for women gathering to discuss ideas and exchange views, however I did get more than a little infuriated by the title of this event.

For as long as I’ve been a feminist (or an anti-feminist as some would have it) I’ve complained, and the women I associate with have complained, about what I will term “the patriarchy” and its offensive tendency to refer to us as “women” much as one refers to “cows” or “chickens” or “fish.” That is, as if we are an homogenous group with no individual characteristics, who all think the same, desire the same, and act the same because we have breasts and vaginas.

Take, for example, Freud’s infamous question “What do women want?” asked as if we are not individual women but Woman, the planet’s largest hive mind, and there really is one thing, if only Dr Freud could have found it, that would solve Man’s problems with us.

My feminist friends and I have expended much energy over the years in an effort to educate the patriarchy in the unacceptability of dehumanising half the human race by referring to us as one being.

So understandably, I was enraged when I learned that a feminist wordfest had been given the title “All About Women.”

There must be an inherent and entirely unexamined sense of privilege and entitlement  at work, to allow any woman to consider that anything she has to say can be extrapolated to all women.

What the title does is refer us yet again to an elite feminism that claims these days to be feminism. And it seems to me this kind of feminism has taken an unfortunate turn in its abandonment of first principles. We are not a hive mind. We are not “women” or “Woman.” We are complex and individualised human beings with an infinite number of concerns,ambitions, desires, sorrows and griefs. If leading feminists have become so damn lazy they’ve forgotten that, then we need new leaders.

“All about some women” is admittedly not quite as catchy as is the universal, but it is a good deal more honest.

woman

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85 Responses to “All about women”

  1. gerard oosterman April 9, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    Perhaps the term ‘feminist’ is getting a bit old hat and jaded. We, together, perhaps ought to see ourselves for being equal and uniquely united in our differences with valueing ourselves individually and collectively as human beings. Perhaps we are more at ease with being called ‘human’. I mean, of course you will be seen as having a beehive mentality with calling yourself ‘feminist’ exluding half the population.
    I hate to go on the ‘Anglo’ mission again, but it does seem to be more the domain of those countries.

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  2. Elisabeth April 9, 2013 at 8:07 am #

    And maybe the title could be further amended from ‘All about some women’, into ‘Somethings about some women’. I agree with you, Jennifer, on the dangers of the absolutes, but so many of us crave them.

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    • helvityni April 9, 2013 at 8:19 am #

      Elisabeth, it’s just a catchy title to draw visitors to this conference, I don’t think anyone thought it was going to be ALL about anything.

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      • samjandwich April 9, 2013 at 11:01 am #

        Alternatively Helvi if it was “all about women” then perhaps we should take it to mean that there will be “nothing about anything else”… though that seems equally unlikely.

        Perhaps it should have been called “Something About Mary*”? That might have been more representative.

        *that is, the same Mary who had a little lamb, fries and a Coke™.

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        • helvityni April 9, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

          It reminded me of the excellent movie All About Eve, catchy tile…

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  3. Trinh April 9, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    “There must be an inherent and entirely unexamined sense of privilege and entitlement at work, to allow any woman to consider that anything she has to say can be extrapolated to all women”

    So your argument is:
    1. The title of the event is not appropriate for all women; and
    2. It’s not possible to make a title which would be appropriate for all women.

    Jesus – they had to call it something! This circular negativity achieves nothing.

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    • zerograv1 April 9, 2013 at 8:50 am #

      Dare I suggest – “Feminism – What’s it got against women anyway?”

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    • Jennifer Wilson April 9, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      I’m sure it is possible to come up with a title that accurately describes the event

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  4. Hypocritophobe April 9, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    “He took the opportunity to reveal that he has not had sex with his wife since 1966. Whether he believes this makes him a feminist or not I don’t care to contemplate.”

    A rich source of comedy material, for quite some time, going forward.
    Thanks.

    PS;
    Perhaps he had a bet,whereby the stakes were ‘no more sex,if this pig headed government goes through with their fascist plan to introduce decimal currency’.

    PPS;
    Perhaps next time,such an event could be called,
    Vaginactivism or Vaginaction

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    • helvityni April 9, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

      Isn’t a bit parochial to be interested in someone else’s sleeping arrangements, how many beds there are in the place, who has sex with whom.
      We had a single mum as a two-term president in Finland, I never bothered to find out if she had her child out of wedlock or had she been married…

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      • Hypocritophobe April 9, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

        “Isn’t a bit parochial ”
        Possibly.

        Perhaps you can pass the message to gerard.He has issues with Abbott’s ancient sex life.
        And I may be mistaken, but I think Ashby and Slipper got a few kms out of the topic.

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  5. helvityni April 9, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    I promised not to watch Q&A anymore, but as it was going be an all girl guest list, I relented…

    It was a bit flimsy, but Brooke Maganti saved it, she was the one who had something interesting to say. Also good old Germaine has softened as she has aged, she has actually developed a sense humour,( of course it has been there always, hidden….)

    The other three really did not have much to say; Mamamia was rude to tell Brooke she did not want her daughter to become a sex worker (why say it) and Albrechtsen…well the Darling of the Liberals…did the Coalition blokes ever asked if Janet needed those glasses 🙂

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    • helvityni April 9, 2013 at 9:27 am #

      ask not asked.

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    • helvityni April 9, 2013 at 10:47 am #

      …also what I found amusing that someone like Germaine, who dresses like any suburban mum (and that’s fine by me) should judge Gillard’s way of dressing.

      Anyhow, I’m sure Julia gets good fashion advise; she looks pretty presentable wherever she goes. I think Tony Jones has milked that unfortunate jackets all there is to squeeze out of it.

      Why would any feminist talk about someone’s clothes?

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      • zerograv1 April 9, 2013 at 11:06 am #

        Like a lot of people here (apparently) Im a bit “over” Q&A. I did watch it though last night. The most interesting comment I heard was Greer railing against the PM for using the misogyny tactic. Other women from all sides of the spectrum rightly supported Greer in this…ie “Keep your powder dry Julia and please use discussions on misogyny where its really needed, serious cases!” That was my take on it at the time when Julia first flung that mud…a hissy fit that didnt impress me at all – especially as it wasnt backed up with any evidence or argument. And some people mistakenly think that is an example of a “strong” woman – Not in my book – to me it looks like a long overdue call to Supernanny to sort out an over entitled defensive and strategy poor PM. So glad I was somewhat vindicated by quite a selection of the women on the panel on that one. “Not getting your way” isnt misogyny so please don’t cheapen such a valuable term Julia. I love intelligent debate, sloganism doesnt qualify.

        And to Helvi – Yeah! What is the Greer’s problem with Julia’s dress code anyway? Bit strange I think

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        • Hypocritophobe April 9, 2013 at 11:22 am #

          I agree with Greer and your subsequent take on the abuse of the term misogynist.
          Whilst Gillard may have for once actually said something from her own heart,instead of the pre written dribble she does not have any conviction to,that does not validate her claim, and the continuing campaign.I also believe this dilutes the impact and therefore struggle to overthrow patriarchal power abuse.
          Wong is also a front runner in the scam.Whilst she does nothing to further gay marriage,she occupies a lofty and privileged position in government, claiming to support it.
          She is ,like Garrett a waste of space in government and has achieved nothing meaningful in her career.
          And seriously, if we need to whinge about dress codes and feel the need to protect Gillards position, why all the fuss over Abbotts friggin’ budgie smugglers.
          I say bag both if they earn it.WTF happened to the building blocks of our Aussie humour.Why is it suddenly out of bounds to piss take?
          Why is any comment now an assault or bullying?
          Gillard has a fat arse and waddles like a duck.
          Abbott swaggers like a fecking gorilla with a bucket of bricks in each paw, and a cactus in his undies.
          Get over it, everyone..
          Whilst we may not like what makes others laugh,inflicting censorship under the guise of misogyny,in order to protect a failed politician is bullshit.
          Abbott is a chauvinist amongst chauvinist in a house run by and for chauvinists.
          On both sides.If Labor ‘really’ has a problem with misogyny lets see them employ a few faceless women to throw Gillard out and put a competent ‘person’ in charge.
          This is all politics folks, and you are wrapping up rattlesnakes in cotton wool.They do not deserve your sympathy, let alone your fan clubs.

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        • helvityni April 9, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

          I care about jackets, but I’m not a feminist, Greer is.

          So you don’t believe Abbott, Alan Jones and the rest of the shock jocks are not chauvinist, misogynist…I’m not used to men treating women as they do, it’s not one bit funny, and it’s not up to me (or Julia or any other woman) to toughen up ,it’s them who have to learn that their behaviour is not acceptable, you are free to differ…
          No wonder Julia’s misogyny speech was applauded overseas, but not in Oz.

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          • zerograv1 April 9, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

            I fully agree with you that the loathsome Jones, shock jocks etc are mysogynist. What was wrong with what Julia did in my opinion was react to a barb Abbott made abut her father with a raw attack (from no doubt a very sensitive and painful spot) but tended to fire “Mysogyny bullets” into the dark rather than a targetted and thoughtful rebuttal. I have about as much time for flinging labels on people to win an argument as I do any other kind of unsubstantiated abuse – which mud slinging is. It was beneath her and although I felt she was very shabbily treated by Abbott who was completely out of order, she would have done a lot better by humiliating him over his insensitivity. The reports of overseas media coverage I read were shallow and left out of a lot of the background so I didnt put much store on them – They were simply easy banner headlines used to sell papers IMO. Much like “Man U wins the Cup!” Sensationalist, but no substance in the artcles.

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          • Hypocritophobe April 9, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

            IMO the terms chauvinism and misogyny are totally not interchangeable.
            Both attitudes should be behind us,but they are not.
            As for Gillard hardening up.She should.While she has not given up being a woman,by entering the main game of politics, she is now in a hotbed of opportunistic ideological entities.On both sides.
            Being the PM is not just automatic respect.The respect must be earned,whether you have balls or not.
            She has every right to call out sexism where it exists.This does not give her ownership of its parameters.Let alone give such power to the union MALES who tell her what to do on their behalf.
            It would validate the pro Gillard panic merchants claims if they spent as much time attacking the wankers who use Gillards sex to further their own narcissistic causes, as they do defending her -no matter what she says and does.

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            • helvityni April 9, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

              Hypo, I believe chauvinism and misogyny is embedded in our society, I’m not only talking about our political scene, I witness it everywhere, in shearing sheds, on sports fields, in MSM, on council meetings, it’s rampant in the blogging world….it’s all about bullying, keeping someone in their place….it’s expressed in childish putdowns, name calling.. sons learn it from their fathers…

              It’s never funny.

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              • Hypocritophobe April 9, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

                Helvi,
                Try not to blur what my opinion is on humour, and what your definition of misogyny and chauvinism are.As I said in my post,it is everywhere and should be chased off.
                I don’t think bullying is humour.I bagged out Howard as much as if not more than Gillard.Same thing.
                Unfit to lead.Profit by division etc.
                Gillard waddling like a duck,is not bullying.Little Johhny,desicated coconut etc.It’s all fair game to me.If that is what you’re getting at.
                It’s my observation.Not much about her makes me laugh,I can tell you.

                If it ‘is’ bullying according to you, then I am afraid that’s you’re problem.
                Because under the same guidelines every time time we call Pyne a mincing poodle or Abbott a gorilla you claim that is bullying.And if then you go further and say it’s OK because he is a man or a Liberal, well you know what that means.

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                • samjandwich April 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

                  Point of order No 1: i don’t believe Helvi’s accusing you of trying to be funny.

                  More important point of order No 1: Anyone can be a chauvinist and it isn’t uniquely applicable to men. The term chauvinism denotes a preference being given to one class of person or thing over others. Vegans know meat-eaters as “human chauvinists”, sexist men are known as “male chauvinists”, and the people who wrote the song whose lyrics extend to “don’t want no short-dicked men” are known as long dick chauvinists.

                  The only thing that can ever be right in this world is grammar!

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                  • zerograv1 April 9, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

                    Does this mean you’re a grammar chauvinist?

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                    • samjandwich April 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

                      er….Yes!

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            • Marilyn April 9, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

              A woman who walked all over 4 male leaders leaving carnage of a political party in her wake has zero right to scream sexism.

              It works both ways after all and she is as sexist as anyone in parliament today.

              And I won’t defend Gillard, she is a racist, bigoted fucking freak show.

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          • Marilyn April 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

            Did you actually ever read the speech though Helvi? It was just a poor me whinge.

            She said nothing of substance at all about anything but a couple of examples being rude to women by Abbott over their many years of friendship. Don’t forget they have always been twins in thought and actions.

            And Helvi, whinging about sexism while cutting income to tens of thousands of mostly women and their kids is as sexist and misogynist as anyone can get.

            And this bitch is jailing babies for fucking life.

            You partisan Gillard fawners need to get your heads out of the grass, she is as vile as Maggie.

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    • hudsongodfrey April 9, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      I did note that Brooke was overly tetchy with Jones over using the word prostitute, whereas Germaine almost made a point of using it soon after, perhaps because she knew she’d get away with it. She’s not that old and flagging when it comes to bagging Maggie Thatcher either.

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      • Hypocritophobe April 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

        Thatcher was a heartless wrecking ball.
        She unleashed economic rationalism on a society who could not afford it, and who did not deserve it.
        Only her fellow nutjobs and inhumane automatons would ever praise her.
        A vile and toxic bullying female ‘patriarch’.Good riddance.

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        • hudsongodfrey April 9, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

          I gather Frankie Boyle agrees with you. He thought that there should be a state funeral because people would want to make sure she was finally gone, and that it’d be the first time the 21 gun salute hit the coffin.

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          • Hypocritophobe April 9, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

            The bullets would need to be silver.To be sure,to be sure.

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        • Toni Blackmore April 9, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

          But everybody’s lauding her achievements! Sure, if you think it’s churlish to speak truth of the dead, keep quiet. What’s doing my head in is how many Thatcher lovers have been masquerading as balanced social commentators all these years.

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          • Hypocritophobe April 9, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

            Worry not.Speak the truth.
            Thatcher was an empty shell.A walking talking class hate machine.If she could have gotten away with war against workers using the British Army she would have done just that.

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            • Mannie De Saxe April 10, 2013 at 12:09 am #

              She used the British Army in the Falklands/Malvinas war to win an election and continue her fight against the workers. Just another disgraceful episode in the political life of this loathsome woman – sorry – there am I using the term woman again!

              Mannie De Saxe

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            • paul walter April 10, 2013 at 12:47 am #

              The coppers did enough damage with their truncheons at the pits any way, protecting the scabs.

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  6. Hypocritophobe April 9, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    Glad I missed Q&A.
    The bleeding holes where my toenails were, are a suitable replacement.
    When a show needs to force and feign balance, it simply can’t.

    It started out as a great concept.
    They should consider having all the guest names on a chocolate wheel and get the audience to spin up the panel for the following week.
    Let fate throw the combatants together.If the same name pops up twice,on a spin, you get a frozen chook etc.
    I think they have overcooked Q&A.

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    • paul walter April 9, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

      I knew straight way it was to be avoided.
      Albrechtsen was seated on the wrong side of Greer and Freedman and the younger women were of course marginalised- the dynamic was ruined.
      I caught a moment of it on ABC24 earlier, where brutish vulgarian Albrechtsen was greedily pouncing on an unfair Dorothy Dixer concerning Gillard from some pig in the audience. Mia Friedman tried quietly and a bit feebly to restore proportion and context, but it was all about Janet, so I went on line.
      I don’t have to take that sort of crap from the ABC anymore, they can get screwed..

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      • Hypocritophobe April 9, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

        Sometimes it might be a worthwhile experiment to have like minded visionaries across the panel instead of just adversary and contrast just to keep the black and white ideologue viewers placated.
        Some of the big ideas chats are far more enlightening and enriching than a whole series of Q&A.
        It almost like the Q&A positive and negatives cancel each other out,leaving the audience neutralised.
        Many times the politics completely engulfs the non-politico types.They look like fish out of water.
        Perhaps the should rename it Ready,Steady Crock?

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        • doug quixote April 10, 2013 at 8:17 am #

          So very true HG : it pervades our media, the adversarial set-up where if you have two “experts” they have to be ones likely to have opposing views.

          I have watched interviews on US PBS Newshour where two expert commenters were often in close agreement, and thus the finer points of the issue could be explored without rancour and the “he said/she said” approach so common here.

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          • helvityni April 10, 2013 at 9:07 am #

            DQ, I have noticed the same watching The Newshour, also the interviewers are civil, and doing a good job at the same time, not in an aggressive style of Sales/Uhlmann….
            Here everything is adversarial…why?

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            • hudsongodfrey April 10, 2013 at 9:56 am #

              Yes but then you’d probably do better to compare Newshour panels with The Drum TV panels rather than Leigh Sales’ interviews with Abbott or Gillard.

              Newshour is noticeably restrained, most of the time. As I touched on in my post to Hypo, Crossfire was at the total opposite end of the behavioural spectrum. But when you’re talking about a moderator wrangling pundits who themselves know how the game is played and tend to put on whatever kind of “show” their audience expects then either extreme of good or bad behaviour is possible. You can virtually order it up like fast food.

              I think a journalist one on one with a politician can have all the elements of the above at times, but it also has to be said that the careers of both of them rise and fall on the outcome so it’s hardly too surprising that you’re not always going to get a love in.

              As for Q&A I think Jones has made mistakes with the show in the past but when he does remember to have the politicians on the panels conduct a discussion with the audience as opposed to a partisan debate with one another then the show suffers less from having them incessantly trying to use it to score political points.

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              • Hypocritophobe April 10, 2013 at 10:14 am #

                Sales is doing a great job.
                If she is hard (adversarial) on both sides she should be applauded.
                I see no reason why people would expect a gentle polite exchange when interviewing either leader in this time in our history.Both are sleazy shape shifters and need to be cornered before they reach for the truth.
                Uhlmann is either deliberately brusque, carrying baggage or both.
                I have condemned him in the past,that’s for sure, but I think even he is evolving for the better.(Slowly) I saw him in a different environment(Big Ideas) and whilst talking politics, he was definitely different to 7:30 style.Quite interesting and astute in fact.Go figure.
                Maybe we forget that exec directors sometimes demand a certain ‘style’.
                Politics is the one place where I think journalism needs to be hard hitting.
                In a parliament based on accountability,instead of theatre we could get to the bottom of things.As it is it is a time wasting circus.It would have been interesting if Slipper had lasted longer and got some serious reforms through.Which is what I also thought the independents wanted.
                If Sales and Uhlmann can make our elected reps squirm during inquisition, their job is done.
                When our actual parliament is reformed enough so that accountability comes before adversarial behaviour, then we can expect a different slant from journos.
                It won’t happen in our life times.

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                • hudsongodfrey April 10, 2013 at 11:06 am #

                  There’s a time and a setting wherein people are naturally placed in adversarial roles and journalists need to play devil’s advocate I agree. If anything I think we ask for consistency of interviewers and accountability of our leaders.Batting away Dorothy Dixers in question time or purely partisan politics don’t provide that, so I guess we do have to say how disappointed we’d be if Sales wanted to a Crabb and talk to the pollies about cricket scores over dessert. Perhaps there’s a time for each but there’s a need for strong interviewers on the 7:30 program.

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          • doug quixote April 10, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

            I am only talking about experts being interviewed. The pollies are fair game.

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        • doug quixote April 10, 2013 at 8:18 am #

          Sorry, Hypo! Must be my eyes . . .

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        • hudsongodfrey April 10, 2013 at 9:42 am #

          I could cite the case of Jon Stewart and Crossfire in support of that theory. Do you know of it, because if you don’t it might be better to post a clip of Stewart going on Crossfire to make a critique of that program not dissimilar to your own. That resulted shortly after in the program being axed.

          I think when the panel of Q&A aren’t politicians it is often better than when they are. When Jones manages to restrict them to the minimum of partisan bickering then the substance of the arguments is also less diluted.

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  7. jo wiseman April 9, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    You can over think feminism even when your heart is in the right place. I’m quite fond of the everyday feminism you wrote about a little while ago and less fond of analyzing phrases of other feminists.
    Before anyone gets too carried away about Ellis, I believe he said he hadn’t slept with his wife since 1966. It’s a standard joke. Probably they sleep in separate beds, which doesn’t mean they never have sex.

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  8. wooster87 April 9, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Reblogged this on woosterlang87 and commented:
    Well said…

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  9. paul walter April 9, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    I don’t agree that the trait is confined to men, or that it signifies anything much significant; Its an anthropological, sociological and psychological thing, pertinent to individuals, groups and outsiders.
    The resurrected Larvatus Prodeo blog gives an insight into a process, that also occurs here also, from time to time.
    Some threads there, usually on politics, are commented upon almost exclusively by men.
    Others, coded “feminist”, are commented on almost exclusively and en-masse by women, one just up had a phenomenal six hundred postings, generally vitriolic and excluding group-bonding comments by women to each directed over the heads of “others”, toward the absent common enemy, and augmented by ferocious mobbing of any male contributors who dared disagreed with the generally hostile sentiments directed against the objectified other, “men”.
    Men and women in a group in turn will comment on the habit of another outsider category, say cats, to jump up on the computer desk and attempt to draw attention away from the screen.
    Humbugs they are, a woman (say) will say in a social group and a man, perhaps, will generally second the motion with “jolly nuisances” and perhaps add an anecdote to reinforce the conclusion.
    No big deal Jennifer, not personal, just group and situational dynamics and letting off of steam in the comfort of friendly company.
    If woman gripe about toilet seats to each other, or women wearing high heeled shoes on paved surfaces are remarked upon by men, it doesn’t necessary extend from that that individuals involved are thus possessed of any deep and abiding hatred bound to unleash a Texas Chainsaw Massacre (although, on seconds thoughts, some feminist sites…)

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  10. Nick April 9, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    But, Jennifer, the word “women” in the title doesn’t imply “all women”. It just implies “women”.

    You used it in exactly the same sense in your third para: “I’m all for women gathering to discuss ideas and exchange views”.

    This festival you’re going to is “all about women”. ie. not about anything else.

    Not “everything about all of them”.

    Congratulation on your new grandson, btw! 🙂

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    • Jennifer Wilson April 9, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

      “Women” implies an undifferentiated mass. Like “Muslims” or “Christians”

      Thank you 🙂

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  11. doug quixote April 9, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    Jennifer, you misread his comment : Better expressed, he meant that they had not slept in the same bed since 1966.

    He said shortly after : “our sex life in our seventies continues.”

    The quote :

    “I have not slept with my wife since 1966 and though we work in the same house through most of the day, we rarely fight, except about money, and our sex life in our seventies continues. “

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    • Jennifer Wilson April 9, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

      Ahah that’s better. I only knew from what Gretel Killeen said. The point is, I don’t know what that has to do with whether or not a man can be a feminist and why are we having such a stupid feckin argument anyway?

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    • Toni Blackmore April 9, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

      Can we leave this alone please? Don’t think I’m alone in going fetal here from unwelcome and involuntary images 🙂

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  12. hudsongodfrey April 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    It might be interesting to see what would happen if you had a feminist conference with the more provocative title “All about men”.

    If your key aim is to promote gender equality, that is to say a relative social ideal involving all of us, then my title makes at least as much sense as “All about women”, which is to say no sense at all.

    You could probably say “All about Feminism” and be understood, even though we have in that word a gendered title for a movement that has often been about gender neutrality. Yet I think feminism being a specifically coined term can take on the meaning and associations people have with the movement. Unlike the word “women” which as a label for something we want to talk about becomes as vague and meaningless as the general category of roughly half of humanity to which it refers.

    The immediate question becomes, which women do you want to talk about today, privileged Western Women, underprivileged Western Women, Women who are pro-choice, Women who are against abortion, Women as victims of crime or Women as victims of religious persecution in the third world, Women who wait while their husbands seeking asylum cross the sea in boats? Who are these women? How are they alike? Are their fortunes reducible to a set of interests that are universally aligned with their gender?

    The general assumption would be that promoting their rights and gender equality through ending patriarchal social constraints would always be a good thing so as to say that feminism is absolutely good for everyone. I think that’s where the subject gets interesting.

    I noted that Deborah Cheetham claimed last night on Q&A that certain indigenous societies were Matriarchal, something which she painted in a positive light despite some obvious reservations we might have about the relative standards of living Aboriginal people overall. More detail is obviously required to reconcile those things, but there might be room to ask whether one possible version of matriarchal society isn’t just patriarchal society with the gender roles reversed and the abuses of power carrying on regardless.

    The same thing can be said of disparity between haves and have nots. It’s all very well for women to want what men had and which they didn’t prior to the advent of feminism, but once they have power, money, and the power that money brings are they doing better things with it?

    The real test of whether something is for the greater good may well be something like the willingness of one group to show altruism by sharing things with oothers. Whether it is sex, money, respect or any of the realms in which we aspire to be more equal, if the only point is in having it for ourselves we’ve probably missed the point of equality altogether.

    And that I think is what some groups do in my view. They simply hijack a movement (in this case feminsism, but we could think of others), and abuse the political power of an established membership by duping them into supporting narrow and often selfish goals that may even contradict the thrust of what was good about their cause to begin with.

    Women were never going to be at unity to begin with that much is obvious from the different circumstances in which they find themselves, but the degree to which anyone these days seems to help themselves to brand feminsim and run with some counter productive and often divisive agenda means that women as a whole seem to have so much of their work cut out for them dealing with the infighting that it would be a wonder indeed if anything ever got achieved.

    Like

    • Marilyn April 9, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

      Deborah Cheetham reduced me to a blubbering wreck when she sang “The water is wide”, I love those celtic songs with a passion.

      Like

      • hudsongodfrey April 9, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

        Yes she has a bit of a vocal range doesn’t she, absolutely stunning finale 🙂

        Like

        • Marilyn April 9, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

          The progam showed the ignorance of the juveniles who have not had to fight for anything at all because they think feminism means being female.

          Like

          • hudsongodfrey April 9, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

            It’s hard to tell people how hard you had to fight for something they’ve never had to miss. Our generation, well mine at least, struggled to appreciate two wars and life before television in our parents and grandparents generation.

            Shall I now just go ahead a post the link to Monty Python’s Four Yorkshiremen Sketch 🙂

            Like

            • Hypocritophobe April 9, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

              Aye.
              All 26 oov uzs, livin init middle oovit roard.

              Like

              • doug quixote April 9, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

                What, a whole road? We had pothole, and happy to have it, by gum.

                Like

                • Hypocritophobe April 10, 2013 at 9:23 am #

                  You wert looky.
                  We had to hiret pothole from tyrant nairbore,who’d whip us withint inch of are lives as pairmunt.

                  Like

                  • doug quixote April 10, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

                    Ah, but when’t rained, we got charged extra fer water frontage, and had to sell granma t’ glue works to pay it.

                    Like

                    • Hypocritophobe April 10, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

                      Loog j’oury,pure loog j’oury.

                      Like

          • zerograv1 April 9, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

            I have to agree with you on that Marilyn, a lot of women nowadays ascribe to being feminists and wouldnt have a clue how to define it (dare I say even what it meant)….”being female” is about the limit of their understanding of it…mind you its an amorphous mass of opinions nowdays, not easily defined any longer

            Like

            • paul walter April 9, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

              Yes, I agree intensely with Marilyn on this also.

              Like

              • samjandwich April 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

                Me three. Just look at the reaction to Femen and their “Topless Jihad Day”: http://jezebel.com/does-femen-believe-muslim-feminists-are-a-thing-471804633

                But it makes me wonder whether it’s not just that the younger generation of feminists is doing it wrong… but that the whole situation could be described as a realisation that actually, things really aren’t as fantastic as we thought they were.

                Though not that long ago it almost seemed a foregone conclusion that gender equality was only just around the corner, I think more recently people have come to the perception that progress has stalled, and that it’s not sufficient just to cultivate values of gender equality and then stand back and watch everything fall into place – but that it requires constant effort to maintain it.

                And so in a sense the younger generations are having to start all over again from scratch, because while they might have grown up enjoying some certainty around gender equality, they were perhaps not taught why that was, or how to ensure we don’t go backwards.

                Like

                • samjandwich April 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

                  or put it another way, I will appeal to the tried-and-tested strategy of citing song lyrics to illustrate a point, with apologies to Love and Rockets:

                  “Bollock infusion, bollock infusion
                  That’s what the world is today
                  Hey hey.

                  And the band plays on!”

                  Like

    • Hypocritophobe April 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

      “Broad-ning Our Horizons”

      Like

    • Jennifer Wilson April 9, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

      EVERYTHING HG SAID

      Like

      • hudsongodfrey April 9, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

        I had to laugh at your new addition in red capitals no less!

        Like

        • Jennifer Wilson April 10, 2013 at 6:31 am #

          I don’t want to get sued!

          Like

          • hudsongodfrey April 10, 2013 at 9:06 am #

            True. Not that I think he would, but then again if truth is the only defence…. Nah you’re right it’s such an awkward mental image we’re all best to avoid it 😉

            Like

          • Hypocritophobe April 10, 2013 at 9:21 am #

            Is ‘Sue’ the name of Mrs Ellis?

            Like

          • paul walter April 10, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

            Why?
            You handled the MTR thing well enough.

            Like

  13. Hypocritophobe April 10, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    And now some ‘women’ think dragging children into their own madness is good parenting.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-10/angry-scenes-as-children-protest-against-abortion/4621042?section=justin

    The same arseholes who claim they don’t want to see ‘children’ harmed are using them for psychological cannon fodder.
    This is worse than the southern Baptists cult.

    Like

    • Marilyn April 10, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

      The same morons are happily jailing babies for life.

      Like

    • hudsongodfrey April 11, 2013 at 10:31 am #

      It’s f**king abhorrent is what it is, using kids to make a political point that they cannot possibly understand at that age….. If it’s good enough for Lawrence Krauss to make the case that teaching creationism in science classes is child abuse, then I’m calling it early and saying this is also child abuse!

      Like

      • Hypocritophobe April 11, 2013 at 10:45 am #

        And don’t tell me if this issue translated to votes,federally, the usual suspects wouldn’t cash in on it.

        Like

        • hudsongodfrey April 11, 2013 at 10:48 am #

          Usual Suspects Hypo? Really, I would have thought even the dumbest of politicians would know better than to touch this pile of fertiliser with a barge pole!

          What you want to be looking for instead is who FAILS to condemn it! The usual suspects?

          Like

  14. paul walter April 10, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    Tea party rubbish of the worst sort. I shared at fb under the caption, “Kansas- meet Tasmania”. Will stop now before an evacuation of 4 letter nastiness explodes over your reading material- that’s that f—g offensive and stupid…

    Like

  15. samjandwich April 12, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    I must ask though, if there is no such thing as a generalised “women”, does this mean that there can’t be any such thing as “patriarchy” either – given that the one seems to be a necessary condition of the other.

    It’s time I came out as a classic car enthusiast. Infantile maybe, but there you have it.

    And so you can imagine my dismay when my partner announced that she wanted rid of “her” beautiful 1976 Mercedes, and instead had set her eye on one of those modern VW beetles.

    Our subsequent discussions on this topic have highlighted to me just how patriarchal the world of all things automotive really is.

    I just happen to think that modern VW beetles aren’t particularly appealing, and represent very poor value for money in comparison to their alternatives – however my suggestions of said alternatives were met with responses that I found to be nothing less than gob-smackingly novel and unexpected: Alfa 147? “it looks like it has a big vagina on the front of it”, Citroen C3: “those sharp things on the front make it look really aggressive, like a crocodile”. Ford Fiesta? “it’s too masculine and angular”. Who knew??

    Nope, what struck me was that the only cars she is interested in, are those that have no grille aperture on the front, and no hard chines – as otherwise they look too aggressive and masculine, or in rare cases too sexually explicit. So it’s gotta be a beetle, a Citroen Pluriel, a Nissan Micra, or a Fiat 500..

    And looking around, it seems to me that my example is not unique, and that there is something of an empirical relationship between women and the types of cars they like.

    Does that mean it’s a “real” phenomenon?

    Like

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