Tag Archives: Equality

Trust, and the Ashley Madison hack

25 Aug



Look. Call me unsophisticated, but I would not describe myself as “happily married” if I, or my spouse, were having a secret affair.

For me, the value of a so-called “committed” relationship is to be found in the trust between parties. If that’s not there everyone might muddle along reasonably well to all appearances. However, there is a depth of intimacy that is inaccessible in such a situation, because it only blossoms in trust. Trust is inherent in the concept of monogamy, and once it’s broken, the entire concept is under challenge.

The possibility of experiencing those intimate depths with another is the only reason I can see for committing to the monogamous state. Without that experience it seems a tiresome, repressive and unfulfilling arrangement.

I also find it difficult to imagine much equality in a relationship where trust is absent, and where one party is necessarily surveilling the other.

I admire those who manage to negotiate the complexities of trust in polyamorous relationships: humans being as possessive, jealous and psychologically perverse as we are, the challenges in those situations must be enormous.

When my husband had an affair I asked him (after we’d cleaned up the broken dinner plates) do you want a monogamous relationship with me or not? Realising such an arrangement would work both ways he decided in the affirmative, and we carried on in that understanding. Neither of us considered ourselves suitable candidates for polyamory.

(There are limits to the number of times this understanding can be reached: serial betrayers make a mockery of it.)

However, if my partner or I were secretly active on an infidelity website, the deliberate intention to deceive and betray implied by that choice would crash through our trust like a wrecking ball. So it is with some disbelief that I’m reading comments by the hacked that they don’t want their spouses knowing because they’re so happily married.

It makes me wonder, what constitutes a happy marriage, then? Apparently not trust and equality.

I don’t think any of those people deserved, in some wowserish moral sense, to be outed as they have been. It’s more a case of actions and consequences than it is of morality, as in, if you do a, b is likely to result. It’s a bit rich, though, for individuals engaged in betraying the trust of their nearest and dearest to make a song and dance when someone else invades their privacy. The same can be said for the Ashley Madison website: if you’re dedicated to deception, why complain when someone betrays you? There’s a kind of inevitability about it, really.

For mine, I’d much rather my partner told me if he or she felt desire for someone other than me, desire that he or she wished to act upon. While I don’t know what I’d do in reaction to such information, at least telling me would allow us to maintain our trust. Feeling desire for another isn’t the deal breaker: deception and betrayal are. You can’t swear you’ll never want anyone else: you can promise to put trust and equality first, and be honest about your desires.

Unless of course you’re dedicated to the illicit, and then you’ve no business doing monogamy in the first place. The two are entirely incompatible, aren’t they?




Julie Bishop and the prism of gender

30 Oct

Gender Inequality

Look. Julie Bishop doesn’t have to call herself a feminist if she doesn’t want to. Her public disavowal of the very political movement that made her success possible says far more about her than it does about feminism. But her refusal to “look at the world through the prism of gender” is insane.

There is nothing in this capitalist world that should not be viewed through the prism of gender, especially if you are  a member of the bloody government. Bishop is one woman who has achieved success at the highest level because of a constellation of fortunate circumstances, including, I’m sure, hard slog. However, there are millions of women who slog just as hard in circumstances far less conducive than those experienced by Ms Bishop. “I’ve had a very privileged upbringing as many women in Australia have,” she says. “We don’t fear violence, we don’t fear hunger. We don’t have the degraded life that many women around the world suffer.”

Um, what? There are millions of women and girls in Australia who fear violence. There are thousands of women and girls  in Australia who go hungry, and are dependent on charity for food and somewhere for themselves and their children to sleep. They don’t count as women? The “we” Bishop speaks of excludes anyone whose life experience does not coincide with her own, a lack of imagination that is a given in conservatives circles.

I don’t give a toss if Bishop doesn’t call herself a feminist. I’m a bit challenged by that myself these days, when feminism seems to have become about the right to sculpt our labia, and binge drink till we vomit in the gutter just like the blokes do. But the ignorant refusal to consider the world through the prism of gender is a symptom of a self-absorbed, smug woman entirely out of touch with reality.

Apart from that, I’m wracking my brains to think of one thing, one single thing Bishop has ever said publicly that is interesting, original or enlightening. She’s like a bloody Stepford wife in the Abbott government.


The unbearable ignorance of Tim Wilson, Human Rights Commissioner for *Freedom*

30 Mar
Freedom Boy

Freedom Boy


Tim Wilson, recently appointed Human Rights Commissioner for Freedom, declared today that race hate laws are bizarre and unequal because while members of a community are permitted to use “racially loaded language” among themselves, outsiders are not permitted to do the same.

Mr Wilson clearly does not understand that *racially loaded language* used by outsiders is always, without exception, deliberately employed as a racial slur intended to insult, hurt, demoralise, ridicule and devalue the human beings  hate speech targets. When such language is used amongst members of a community it is used ironically, defiantly, and as a method of defusing and ridiculing the racist intentions of outsiders.

Everyone, Mr Wilson asserts ought to be allowed to use the term “nigger,” for example, because it is widely used in black communities. Wilson reveals his monumental ignorance and gobsmacking stupidity, through either his incompetent or  deliberate misunderstanding of the difference in the meaning of that term, when used within communities or by outsiders.

This dangerous call for absolute free speech favours only white people, and only certain highly privileged white men are demanding it. Wilson’s call for “personal responsibility” in this matter is ridiculous. There are matters society cannot afford to leave to an individual’s sense of “personal responsibility” and as has been proven over and over and over again, hate speech is one of them.

Like many others, I am enraged and heartbroken to see the gains that have been made in my lifetime crushed by the severely limited intelligence and utter lack of imagination of privileged white men such as Brandis, Wilson, Abbott et al. That a Commissioner for Human Rights (Freedom) is now campaigning for everyone to be free to use loaded terms such as “nigger” against our fellow human beings  because “equality,” signifies a journey through the looking-glass that leads to nothing less than insanity.

There can be no “equality” in the use of racially loaded language when the intentions behind the speech are utterly opposed.

This is a bald act of white supremacy, a brutal attempt to claw back what is perceived as a loss to the power of privileged white men.

PS: On a personal note, Tim Wilson recently blocked me on Twitter when I asked him a valid question about competing human rights.



More Abbott on women: equality is “folly” ‘cos biology.

11 Aug

It would be folly to expect that women would ever approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, their abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.  Tony Abbott

As recently as 2010, Tony Abbott was given the opportunity to elaborate on the above statement and to withdraw it, if it no longer represents his views on women. He did neither, so I can only conclude he continues to hold these biologistic views about women’s potential.

I wonder if Abbott extends his beliefs on biological determinism and inequality to any group other than women?  It seems unlikely that someone holding to that ideology would only apply its doctrines to sexual difference.

What are these “large number of areas” in which women can never have equal representation, cos vagina? The only one I can think of is being a sexist dick.

Abbott reveals in this statement his belief that difference is a barrier to equality. Women can never be equal to him because we are biologically different from him. Only those who are biologically the same as him are his equals. Ergo, all others are in some way lesser beings.

Does he apply this theory to skin colour as well as genitals?

The prospect of a leader of this country who holds views that are the basis for the theory of eugenics, ought to give us all pause for thought.

Not only are women lesser beings and therefore un-entitled to desire equality, it is , according to Abbot, folly to believe that we can ever be otherwise. Foolishness. Silliness. Nonsense. Madness, even, to think that women, hampered by our biology, potential destroyed by our vaginas, can aspire to even approach equal representation in large, but unspecified numbers of areas. Areas like medicine? The law? Politics? Academia? The finance sector?

In which areas of life does having a vagina determine your ability or otherwise to think?

I don’t think Abbott is unequal to me because he’s got a penis. He’s unequal to me because he thinks owning a penis makes him superior, and that makes him a fool.

What is this “IT” that women should want all of?

8 Jul

The other day I tweeted that if I heard one more discussion about women having it all, there would be blood spatter. I take that back because I want to say a thing or two.

There are two quite separate issues here that are being misleadingly conflated. One is the real need for adequate affordable child care for all women, and a non-discriminatory workplace in which we are treated with respect and equality, properly paid and not penalised for creating the next generation who will keep the country going. I wholeheartedly support those aspirations.

But while some of us weren’t looking it seems that a particular strand of feminism has declared that Woman’s highest and most noble aspiration is To Have IT all. This has recently drowned out the real struggle for equality for all women, and focused the debate on a privileged few.

As far as I can ascertain, the IT holy grail involves building and maintaining a highly successful career while shaping your body to fit into designer suits and stilettos that create a complex ambience of sexy yet capable. When you’ve got a sure foothold in your profession you then take time to partner up, get pregnant, gestate, and give birth. Then you get back to work looking as untouched by these experiences as possible.

You then have it all. Career, partner, family, money. You will need the support of other women to enable your lifestyle. Child care workers, nannies, cleaners, the majority of whom are female, are paid far less than you, but that’s all right, you are creating jobs in your efforts to succeed at everything except the boring, unglamorous stuff other women will do for you.

Sustaining and promoting the patriarchal paradigm, the “be born, get everything until you die because you are entitled” ethic so beloved by hegemonic masculinity, is apparently the only way a woman can achieve real power in the Western world. While there may be the occasional inroad into better conditions for women who are caught up in the various levels on which this paradigm operates,  the paradigm itself is not subject to real interrogation and real change. This is still a world that in the West at least, is founded on the principle of entitlement to everything, just because.  That is not feminism as I understand it:

I would like to blame the patriarchy for  the IT women should suddenly want all of. It looks to me like an attempt at counter insurgency operational propaganda, using collaborating women they’ve turned as agents. If ever you wanted to set up a disruptive enemy for a catastrophic fall, this is the way to go about it. Use the media to build unrealistic expectations in the female population and persuade the target audience to introject them. Bombard with images of glamorous women who have brilliant jobs, dishy supportive husbands often with their own high-powered professional lives, and adorable children and pets. Make the audience crave this, for because who wouldn’t want a life like that? If you aren’t having it, there’s something wrong with you. If you don’t want it, there’s something even more wrong with you.


The propaganda won’t work on everybody because not all women are susceptible, but it will probably work on enough of us to redirect anger away from the system where it belongs, and onto the self where it doesn’t. Mission accomplished. Feminism co-opted in the service of capitalism. System safe. Oh yeah.

What surprises me about high achieving women who are given as examples of having IT all, is that despite all their obvious intelligence and talent, they seem universally disinclined to question the IT. This is disappointing. Imagine if they  got in there and started up a ruckus.IT? What is this IT of which you speak? Happiness? Contentment? A lifestyle, as opposed to a life? DEFINE THE IT!

Of course, that would be biting the hand that feeds them, and women who want it all know before they know anything else that if you can’t fight them you join them and once you’ve joined them, that’s IT.

In a bizarre sense, these women do achieve a kind of equality but I have to ask the question, who wants to be equal to that? I mean can’t we aspire to something better than “I want it all?”

There was a time when thinking you could have everything was a sign of immaturity. Adults accepted that choices had to be made. Only the greedy narcissist, frozen in the mindset of a two-year-old, thought they were entitled to everything and everyone else had to help them get it.

What seems important to me is that we keep the complaints of privileged women quite separate from the real issues facing the majority of us. They are not the same thing, they do not have anything like the same urgency, and besides, the “I want it all” creed is not going to work for the planet. I don’t believe feminism was ever about having it all. It was, and remains about equality, not matching excessive male privilege. Privilege, I might add, that the majority of males don’t enjoy either.

Feminism isn’t about “wanting it all.” Nobody has that right. The ideology is about creating a world in which everyone has a better chance at decent survival, not just a greedy few of either sex whose sense of entitlement is in danger of raging out of control, to everybody’s cost.

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