Sunday, May 07, 2006

My favourite 10 posts of the first six months

I promise this is the end of my orgy of self-indulgance and congratulation to celebrate that I had a 6 month anniversary three months ago.

Margaret Thatcher: Feminist of the Day?

Conclusion: Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher, probably did more to harm women in Britain in the 1980s than anyone else – she ain’t no feminist. Try these women, or these women instead.
This was my first post ever and I started as I meant to go on. If it comes as any surprise that the answer was 'No' you haven't been paying attention.

Misogyny as Culture
At the CTU conference there were three delegates from the Australian CFMEU (Construction, something, mining and something union). They're a left union, more militant than any we've got in New Zealand. But I couldn't go near one of the younger guys without him starting having a conversation, not with me, but with any other man who happened to be around me, about how women liked to be called 'love' and 'sheila', and because they have two XX chromosomes they were OK with being defined by him as the sexual other.

I'm not going to write about how fucking depressing the sexism from men on the left is, nor am I going to focus on how there's no way the workers can unite when some men refuse to believe that women are people.
Fighting the misogyny and sexism on the left are really important to me. Part of that is not letting people get away with bullshit.

600 jobs? I'm so glad we have a worker friend government
I was struck by the ludicrousness by the phrase '600 jobs lost'. People write in the passive sense when they want to hide who is actually taking action. In this case it should be 600 jobs lost by Rob Fyfe (or 600 jobs lost by capitalism working in the way capitalism works). But that reveals the ridiculousness of the verb, I lose my keys, I lose my wallet, I lose my cell phone, I lose my jacket, I lose vital bits of paper, sometimes (due to everything else) I come close to losing my mind. You can't lose a job, you're not going to find it under that pile of work you haven't finished yet, or down the side in the car. Again it disguises the activity going on, the active choice that has to be made before anyone can be declared redundant to requirements.
Unfortunately I've had many reasons to think of this post over the last few months.

16 Reasongs Green Party Food Policy Sucks
I'm a firm believer in attacking the Green Party, it's not as important as attacking the Labour party, but it needs to be done (I also made some important points, just if you were wondering).

People racism, media racism and political racism
I guess everyone has read the stories. The guys chanting 'We grew here, you flew here'. The woman's whose head scarf was pulled of and used as a trophy. What I hadn't realised until I started paying attention was how organised and planned it was. People sent around text messages calling for Leb and Wog bashing day, which was why there were 5,000 young men on a beach getting drunk and being a mob.

Some of them were neo-nazis, but many were not, at least in the organised sense. That young working-class white men blame their problems on non-white people, is a sign of how much the left has failed. But it didn't happen in a vacuum.
I really hated the mainstream media coverage of the riots in Australia last year. This is the most current events focused of my favourite posts, and I think it's strength comes from the fact that I'm talking about something really specific.

In which I descend to previously unseen levels of geekiness
What I adore about Kaylee, as a character, is that she completely ignores any sort of gender stereotypes, she's a mechanic, she's girly, she really into sex, she's innocent, and when she wants a pretty dress it is quite possibly the ugliest pretty dress you've ever seen - but you love her for it. I don't actually think that an individual character in a story can be feminist (except in the sense the character might identify as a feminist), but if they could it would be Kaylee.
This was my first post that was linked to widely, so I loved the upsurge of traffic I saw. But mostly I just really like writing about politics and the television shows I love.

Being Purple and Personal and Political
I don't think the experience of being fat is worse for women; I think the experience of being fat is qualitatively different for women.

Maybe that's not even what I mean - maybe I mean: the experience of being fat is part of being a woman in the society I live in - whatever size you are.
These were the first posts that I felt brave enough to put some of my analysis about bodies and feminism in the context of my own life. I also explain why I think it's improtant to discuss it in that context. Oh and also:
Before I go any further, I have to interrupt our regular programming with some words from the rant department. The phrase is "The Personal is Political" not "The Political is Personal." There's a really important difference there, and it gets lost (although to be fair less lost in the feminist blogsphere than it does among hippy types).

The feminist revelation wasn't supposed to be that by buying fair-trade coffee, not shaving your legs, going braless, having lots of sex, charting your fertility, boycotting tobacco companies, dumpster diving, dressing butch, dressing femme, not doing the dishes, vacuuming the floor, boycotting Domino's, working as a lawyer, raising children, or whatever other individual decision you made, could change the world. These decisions are all fine decisions but they're not political actions and they're not going to change anything.

What women's liberation was saying was that things we experience as individual problems: sexual harrassment, unwanted pregnancy, body hatred, unconcensual sex, domestic violence, depression, housework and so many other parts of being a woman, were actually political problems. They weren't just things individuals were experiencing and they weren't things individuals could fight - they had to be fought collectively. Almost the exact opposite of what the phrase is so often reduced to now.
10 Worst New Zealanders
Peter Fraser Labour Prime Minister 1940-1949: I think he'd earn this just by being jailed for sedition for criticising conscription during World War One, and then jailing conscientious objectors in World War One, who went on to jail conscientious objectors in World War Two. "That war was a nasty imperialist war, but this war is hugs and puppies."

But he was also New Zealand's representative to the United Nations, where we advocated putting a man's right to a family wage into the declaration of human rights. He thought paying women less than men was a human right.
It was a fun list to write - hating on people is very satisfying. I should have included Massey though.

Today's blog post is brought to you by the letter E
So here are the reasons I hate the word 'empowerment'.

1. It sounds, really, really smurfy, even if I was OK with the concept I'd want a word that sounded less like a bunch of hippies sitting round a meadows humming to express it.
I like writing about language, and the importance of precise language. Plus I find the term 'empower' unempowering.

I believe Louise Nicholas - it won't make any sense to anyone who hasn't read read the earlier version. But a little more explanation is available here: I believe that Clint Rickards, Bob Schollum and Brad Shipton are rapists

There are lots of posts I missed out (confession I wanted to include I'm Maintaing mostly because its title is absolutely hilarious when you know it's a reference to one of the greatest movies of all time). I probably would have included a very different set of 10 posts another day. But that'll do for now.


  1. Who committed violence? And since when has it been unfeminist to refrain from questioning political policy?

  2. Jodi you can see what I mean by attacking by looking what I wrote and what I define as attacking.

    In this case it appears to mean criticising, mocking, getting angry and exasperated.

    In other words what Sofiya says.

    I have no plans to do violence to any of the MPs of the green party.

  3. Is anyone else picturing this guy as a spotty sixteen-year-old who spends hours of his life on a railway platform in a yellow plastic raincoat, notebook and pencil at the ready?

  4. Mr Pirate, every blogger is absolute dictator and utterly tyrannical ruler of their own blog - duh-uh. If you can't see a difference between that and Stalinism, perhaps you should go away and do a bit of reading up on the subject.

  5. Jodi I think that using attack to describe verbal attacks is common enough not to need further explanation.

    It's not at all like using obesity and not being clear about what that means, because the 'obesity' discourse is damaging women.

  6. Jodi I'm trying to listen to you. I addressed your point, I gave you more explanation. But I honestly have no idea what this: "I think using the word attack is also damaging to women, those it is used against (and the credibility of the writer)." means. You don't explain why you believe the word attack is damagin to women, what it has to do with the credibility of the writer, and who are 'those it is used against'.

  7. "Just trying to raise discussion but I see that you have trouble looking at things from other people's perspectives, unless you already agree with them!"

    That is so patronizing.

  8. Yay! Post that makes being a new reader easier! ;)