Monday, September 18, 2006

In which I write about something else

The leaders of the opposition in both New Zealand and Australia have both been sounding exactly like racist troglodytes. Do you think it's some kind of plague? Or possibly a plot?

John Howard had suggested that all citizens had sign a pledge to uphold 'Aussie values'. This isvery similar to Don Brash's* suggestion earlier in the year. Kim Beazeley had to try with both hands to come across as more of a racist troglodyte than John Howard, but he succeeded. Responding with a presisng question - why stop with citizens? The leader of the Labour party suggested that people must agree to uphold Aussie values to even enter the country. What did he see as the core Aussie values?

Mr Beazley said among Australian values to which new arrivals should commit would be respect for people's different views in religious and political terms, as well as respect for women.

Mateship, a "gender-free" concept, should also be included, he said.
I suspect that he didn't have a hint of irony in claiming that 'respect for women' and 'mateship' were both core Aussie values. It makes me furious that these men can claim that respect for women, or equality with women are core values of either Australia or New Zealand.

In New Zealand women earn 84% of what men earn, we do the vast majority of the unpaid work, we have to pretend we're insane to get an abortion, women around the country get harrassed in their work and beaten in their homes, and those with power can rape women with impunity.

Don Brash, Kim Beazley and John Howard - they don't care - in fact they actively promote policies that would make things worse for women. But they're perfectly happy to use our lives, use our pain, as long as it's that days dog whistle.

* Don't you miss the days when most discussions about Don Brash had nothing to do with his sex life?

10 comments:

  1. It's the same problem everywhere. Women are oppressed but they are told that they're not oppressed and everyone believes it. It's so frustrating when you point it out and they still dont' believe you.

    Keep it up, Maia.

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  2. Psycho Milt7:48 am

    In this context, "respect for women" is acceptable code for "we will cut down on Muslim immigration and ensure the ones we already have enjoy as little cultural influence as possible."

    Which is ironic, given that Muslim men also class the particular variety of second-class citizenship their women endure as "respect for women" and consider the West as lacking it.

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  3. Gerrit8:44 am

    A sad post Maia, when considering that after seven years of a mainly women led government the feminist movement has not seen a major improvement on the status of women.

    Seems like nothing has changed.

    Personally think that the reason of this is society standards have changed for the worse over a longer number of years. The level of bad behaviour tolerated in our society is so high that respect for anyone else is virtually zero.

    How to change this. I really dont know.

    Sad isn't.

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  4. It's misleading Gerrit to say that nothing has changed and thus draw the bow that nothing will change, no matter what we do. Change does happen - when I was at school I wanted to play rugby but no one else did and the school didn't see it as an option. Now many schools have female rugby teams. Just for one very small scale example.

    How to change things? Quite simply by working collectively and being true to that collective spirit in your individual actiosn too. Eg work with others to raise awareness of domestic abuse and lobby for changes, but also don't abuse the women (and men for that matter) in your own whanau either.

    What Maia is writing about is an important part of this process. She is often shining a light on issues that without her torch would go unseen by those of us who read her blog. That is a vital role in making change too.

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  5. I see Gerrit's point. People have very little respect for each other and seem to be out for themselves. I think we can change this by being respectful ourselves and encouraging others to do so. It starts by realizing there's a problem and deciding not to be a part of it. Of course there's lots more to it than that, but you have to start at the beginning.

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  6. I think that the whole pay disparity thing is a little disengenuous.

    While being an easy statistic to measure, I don't think 'average salary' or equivalent measures are a good measure of equality.

    I think that a man and a woman doing the same job should get the same pay.

    But if a man (or a woman) take 6 years off their 'working' career, It has to hurt their salary prospects.

    Geneder/Salary Equality will be when both sexes get penalised equally by this, right?

    Because women will still be overwhelmingly the primary caregivers, and will always be penalised in salary for this, even when 'equality' is reached.

    Am I missing something?

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  7. magic - why should women always predominately be the caregivers? (And it's not just about caring for children either, but also other family members eg elderly parents, sometimes the male partner's parents!)

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  8. span, I don't have all the answers.

    But I do think that while men and women are equal, they have different predispositions, that very broadly correspond to the stereotypes that there is in society of men and women.

    Speaking broadly I think that within their 'tribe', men's instinct is to 'protect' and women's instinct is to 'nurture'.

    Of course, that's not true in all cases. My brother is a home-husband, and I'd quite like to do it too (although my work because my earning capacity is greater than my wifes).

    I'm just talking about generalisations.

    Reading between the lines of your response, I do agree with you that these tendencies shouldn't be used to 'pidgeonhole' people, and force them into roles that they don't have the temperament for.

    But I do think that in the majority of cases, the woman is better suited to being the primary caregiver than the man is.

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  9. Anonymous1:37 pm

    How many men, on average, get the golden opportunity to enjoy raising their kids full-time while their wife works at the office?

    Why aren't you alarmed at that statistic?

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  10. Anonymous2:20 pm

    Maia

    Untill women have true democracy eg 50% mandatory representation in parliament we are forever in opposition and can never truely influence our own lives. Capitalism has a vested interest in getting women with 1-2 children to do approx average 52 hours housework per week + 24 hour care plus elder and sick care for nothing. Half a house may well be a thing of the past and is only aquired after many years so if in the interim your husband cheats on you or mistreats you, then you will never get anything out of him if you leave. A MAJOR REASON WOMEN ENDURE ABUSE to avoid poverty.

    Then because its impossible to have a real career in these circumstances they are able to offer us low paid work on top of it. Until we claim our only possible avenue of reform ( equal representation in parliament )it will never happen.
    Untill we have a place where women can meet and discuss this without the constant barrage from the antifeminists we will be continually hearing what men want not having a proper discussion on how we are going to get some of what we want.

    There are more antifeminist sites in this country than feminist ones and believe me they wan't to silence women. One of there main aims is to get rid of any support for women with children outside marriage. That is a very effective silencer.

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