web analytics
The Standard

The policing of women’s bodies

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, June 6th, 2013 - 116 comments
Categories: act, activism, capitalism, child abuse, class war, democratic participation, education, feminism, greens, internet, john banks, Metiria Turei, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

John Key’s government hasn’t been kind to large numbers of women, especially those on benefits, and those working in relatively powerless  low paid jobs. For them the top jobs mostly go to men, with women largely fronting on lower status and less powerful portfolios/positions.  Jan Logie’s speech yesterday in response to the government’s budget, laid out many of the inequalities gender inequalities that the government has failed to address, include the gender pay gap and paid parental leave. A couple of days ago in the NZ House, members of the “old boys’ club” provide a demonstration of one of the ways threats to masculine crony capitalist are countered by policing of women’s bodies. Given similar situations in many countries, it’s not surprising that feminism seems to be on the rise internationally.

In the final reading of the Charter School’s legislation this week, Metiria Turei drew parallel’s between the enabling of unscrutinised private enterprise to profiteer from Charter Schools, and John Banks attempts to hide his (allegedly) dodgy funding from SkyCity and Kim Dotcom.

John Banks, supported by another member of the “old boys’ club” Speaker Eric Roy, immediate response was to attempt to undermine Turei by policing her body.  With Turei in his sights, Banks said that critics of his Charter schools legislation:

… get dressed up with their lipstick and make-up on t.v. ..

In response to points of order, Speaker Eric Roy allowed Banks’ sexist comment, claiming it was on the “same plane” as Turei’s attack on Banks.  Towards the end of Banks speech, he repeats his offensive sexist comment.  In the mode of making-it-up-as-they-go-along, and in contradiction of his earlier ruling, Roy ordered Banks to withdraw the statement. Banks’ withdrawal of the statement was halfhearted and insincere. The repetition of the offensive line came when Banks was attacking opponents of the Charter Schools legislation. He said,

They can wear the lipstick and look good on TV and make a big impression and don’t like it.

Implicit is the suggestion that Turei usually looks unattractive without make-up, presenting a false image on TV. This strategy of countering threats to masculine power and status through the policing of their bodies within “late capitalism”, is explained extremely well by some recent feminist writings.

A recent Guardian article argues that feminism is a rising and significant presence in the digital age, which includes a reference to “socialist” Laura Penny. The introduction to her 2011 book, Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism, promises a new socialist direction for feminism in the 21st century.

During the late 20th century there was a strong backlash against the significant gains made by the largely left wing second wave women’s movement. Socialist feminism had extended a materialist class analysis to incorporate the role of women as a reserve army of labour, and unpaid domestic workers, necessary to the maintenance of capitalism.   The rise of technologies of reproduction in the last few decades has resulted in a society saturated with images: images that had a profound impact on our society and politics. The sexualised commercialisation of (potentially) powerful women serves to limit the extent of that power.

“Neoliberal” propaganda fractured socialist feminism, narrowing feminism’s range, commodifying it and reducing it to the (often dismissive) label of “identity politics”.   Laura Penny provides a new direction whereby the legacy of a materialist Marxist analysis is re-connected with feminist analysis of cultural activities in the digital age. The introduction of Penny’s book contemplates the way, since the 70s, feminists critiques of body policing have been undermined, resulting in an intensification of that policing through all the realms of women’s lives.  Penny characterises our society as one where now:

Whatever our age, race, physiotype and social status, women’s bodies are punished and policed.

She then goes on to provide an argument as to why this is happening:

Modern economics rely for their very survival on women’s paid and unpaid labour, purchasing power and reproductive capacity. That women should have this much power cannot be borne; the treat of revolt is too great.

In contrast with the late 70s, more women are engaged in or looking for paid work, while many also making significant contributions to society through unpaid work. In NZ, a collaborator presented as an archetypal “Westie” leads the attack on beneficiaries, with single mothers being a major target.

A review in the Independent, outlines the significance of Penny’s book, and the range of its analysis of the ways female potential is denied:

Penny discusses women’s sexualisation, eating disorders, gender stereotyping and the labour market, covering prostitution, housework, the marketisation of domesticity as a kitsch hobby, the prevalence of class delineation as a form of control and the positioning of the Playboy Bunny as an emblem of manufactured desirability. …

Penny’s critique helps explain Banks’ response to Turei’s critique of him and his dodgy crony capitalism: an attempt to undermine her threat by an attempt to police her body.While some may see Banks and Roy as fading relics of a bygone era, Penny shows that the underlying strategy is still strong, although it may have become more subtle and slickly marketed.

A revived socialist feminism can also be applied to the way Sue Bradford critiques the failure of Owen Glenn’s inquiry into domestic violence and child abuse in her post yesterday, ‘Glenn Inquiry Implodes: highlights deepening colonisation and corporatisation of community sector’.  Bradford speculates that the failure probably is a consequence of,

…  the fundamental contradiction between people who are used to working in a highly values-driven part of the community sector and a corporate power holder used to operating bluntly and decisively in the business world.

Bradford further surmises that Sir Owen is not approaching his inquiry from a feminist perspective, but is more like a traditional Patriarchal capitalist in contemporary corporate clothing: one focused on

…   ‘helping those poor deserving victims’ rather than being driven by a community development approach of involving, empowering and conscientising those most affected.

I welcome the apparent revival of socialist feminism that also incorporates an increasing feminist presence online, of which NZ websites like the HandMirror are part.  A recent post there by LudditeJourno, reports on a recent and significant  feminist event in Wellington .    It provides an insight into the range of issues that are the focus of investigation and activism within NZ.

116 comments on “The policing of women’s bodies”

  1. Ennui 1

    Saw the Owen Glenn “task force” headlines in the paper, appear to be loosing “top end” women…hand over mitten.

    I don’t have a feminist perspective on this, or even a socialist one. My problem is who the hell Glenn thinks he is to put his cash up to drive social policy? Citizen Kane, too bloody self important. Democracy Glenn…whats that?

    • farmboy 1.1

      Just throwing it out there, metiria turei looks unattractive with makeup on as well, just to clear that up.That julie ann genter could go along way though.

      • karol 1.1.1

        Ah. I see the body police have arrived already.

        • farmboy 1.1.1.1

          Dont be so precious that is the reallity of being a human.We all get judged on appearance,just like you wouldnt role up to the black power at 12 at night to have a chat would you.Do you disagree about julie.Are you saying we dont pick our partners on appearance when your a guy you always go for 1 of the hottest woman in the bar,thats the way it has always been and always will be.

          • karol 1.1.1.1.1

            We are not in the business of auditioning MPs as potential partners.A person should be judged in their jobs on performance. Did you read the post? If you did, did you understand it? Do you not see why your body-policing approach is part of a wider practice of keeping women in line?

            The black power reference is obtuse.

            • farmboy 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Put it this way if you had Julie ann genter out front with norman that would do wonders for there image,that is the power of attractive people,and she could say the excact same thing as turei.Do you agree

              • karol

                Turei is excellent as a leader. She is sharp smart and draws on her Parliamentary experience to have Key and co squirming. She articulates well on TV, and is always well-presented. A high performer.

                Julie Ann Genter is also a very able politician. She’s made an excellent entry into politics in her spokesperson area. I have not evidence as yet as to whether she is leadership material.

                • tracey

                  please don’t buy into his comparrison argument.

                • Jimmie

                  Tony Ryall wasn’t exactly squirming when she was questioning him with all the fury of a wet paper bag about nurses in schools

                  • karol

                    Tuei does often have government MPs squirming.

                    But Green MPs tend not to use the aggressive posturing style of NAct and some opposition MPs. As mentioned in the video fatty links to below, many women (and quite a few men) are put off by the macho, competitive culture of western politics.

                    The Green MPs oppose the government through reason- & evidence based questions. Turei is especially sharp in the way she does it. If you’re looking for obvious macho point scoring, you’ll have missed how she puts government MPs on the spot.

              • fender

                May be a strategy to attract shallow voters like you but these positions are best awarded on merit (not looks).

                Besides, then you will be saying the party is lead by an Australian and a Canadian blah blah blah.

          • just saying 1.1.1.1.2

            So you’re picking a partner from the pool of current woman parliamentarians?

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.1.1.1.3

            Farmboy’s success rate with drunk women is no doubt a source of considerable pride, and after all, if John Banks can lift his behaviour to the level of a pissed agricultural worker that will be some improvement.

            • farmboy 1.1.1.1.3.1

              It is I was above par and it was alot of fun what the fuck is wrong with that , we didnt all spend our youth havn a cry about everything with the curtains closed on friday night at home.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                Oops I think I may have touched a nerve :)

                Friday night? You must be pissed, mate, it’s Thursday afternoon.

          • lprent 1.1.1.1.4

            …your a guy you always go for 1 of the hottest woman in the bar…

            Well I guess if you are damn shallow and have nothing much to offer in the conversational line and are trying to find a like minded person then going into a noisy bar, sucking down some drugs to lessen your sense of discrimination, and targeting some makeup would be your best approach.

            Most of us other males aren’t archaic grunts with social habits that sound like a bad scene from a 1970’s porn flick. Please don’t try to associate me with that kind of antique crap.

            • farmboy 1.1.1.1.4.1

              Oh so your a pussie is that what your saying, cause thats what it sounds like.Lessen my sense of discrimination hahaha yea thats the one.

          • tracey 1.1.1.1.5

            Actually we might not all be judged (or judge) on appaearance but the judging is harsher for some than others.

            That you don’t see that speaks volumes about you, not Karol.

          • fatty 1.1.1.1.6

            when your a guy you always go for 1 of the hottest woman in the bar,thats the way it has always been and always will be.

            That’s the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard. Maybe its the people I spend time with, but we don’t go to a bar and ‘go for the hottest girl’.
            Why would I want to spend time with someone based on whether or not their bodyparts/features correspond with the latest hollywood ideal?
            I hate it when rednecks try to speak on behalf of me.
            Fuck you’re a moron farmboy

          • Murray Olsen 1.1.1.1.7

            “when your a guy you always go for 1 of the hottest woman in the bar”

            What about the times when you’re not a guy?
            We do not all get judged on appearance, or else Brownlee (for example) would not be a minister. I don’t even know when to start – equating your chances of finding someone drunk enough to sleep with you to the selection and appraisal of politicians? Wow. Some of us have come a long way, some still shouldn’t be allowed out of the top paddock until they find the missing sheep.

          • Frank Macskasy 1.1.1.1.8

            “We all get judged on appearance,just like you wouldnt role up to the black power at 12 at night to have a chat would you.”

            Neither would I roll up to a Mafioso meeting, at noon for lunch, even if they were dressed in shirt, tie, and tux.

            So your point doesn’t really stack up, Farmboy.

            Appearances count for only a small part of our perception of people. Spend longer than 5 minutes with someone, and their appearance becomes immaterial to their personality; intelligence; behaviour; charm (or lack of); etc.

            One of our best prime ministers was Norman Kirk – because of who he was, not what he looked like.

        • prism 1.1.1.2

          Just give him some hay and say see’d you later.

      • Ennui 1.1.2

        WTF Farm Boy? I could define “unattractive” as your comment about Metira. Get a brain cell.

      • fender 1.1.3

        Stick to your farm animals dropkick.

        Metiria Turei is gorgeous.

        • Ennui 1.1.3.1

          The sheep find him too ugly. And the cows would kick him into touch.

          • fender 1.1.3.1.1

            I could be tempted to partake in the kicking of farmboy cowpat eater too!

            • farmboy 1.1.3.1.1.1

              You couldnt kick shit ,you limp wristed little bitch I live in otorohanga you want to come find me tell me the day I am more than happy to met.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                This is a bit sad, really. I mean, I know Farmboy probably finds the subject matter a bit threatening, but to this extent? Backed into a corner all duked up mouthing threats? He won’t get near the bar at this rate.

        • farmboy 1.1.3.2

          holy shit dude, holy shit your fucked

          • fender 1.1.3.2.1

            What you write on TS is fucked, am pleased you are hopefully miles from a major centre, you belong in a backwater away from humans.

            • farmboy 1.1.3.2.1.1

              Comn to a town near you

              • fender

                Oh good I’ll keep an eye out for you, don’t bother carrying a farmboy sign, the Neanderthal appearance will give you away.

                • farmboy

                  And then what

                  • fender

                    First off give you a water-blasting to remove the animal excrement you swim around in. Then I’d have to battle my testosterone fuelled desire to make you a necklace out of Millsys’ piano wire with the greater need for you to receive some education on how to view and treat woman.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.1.3.2.2

            Scratch the surface, and what do you find? A jumped up little dictator trying to tell people how to look and what to find attractive. He’ll give us all a lecture about freedom and responsibility any time now.

            The image that springs to mind is the bleating, thrashing, humiliated Farmboy being dragged outside by the bouncer for a lie down. 😆

            • NZ Femme 1.1.3.2.2.1

              Really? I thought he was telling us he would only vote for a woman who gave him a hard on.

              While he certainly has the freedom to do so, it really isn’t very responsible.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                cf his 1.1.3.2

                Freedom and responsibility being the ideals the Right pretends to, while failing to live up to either.

                • NZ Femme

                  Yup. And FB’s contributions here in Black and White make him such a great living example of that. :)

              • farmboy

                your name just gave me a hard on

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  Come back Derek and Clive. All is forgiven.

                • NZ Femme

                  Waste of a hard on FB. You’ve got the wrong gear in your undies, and a remarkably deficient space between your ears for any reciprocation on my part.

              • farmboy

                I gave you the town mate tell me the day and I will come meet you,my family dont need to see.

                • vto

                  ha ha i had a goose like you raging on at me recenty in some demented drunkeness like you here. Like you he was a piece of shit – when he finally backed himself to back his shrill calls and ran at me he fell over spread-eagled at my feet. Didn’t even have to lift a finger. Ha ha ha – you dopey drunken rural hicks are all the same. Pathetic. Why don’t you just fuck off. Nobody needs you. Or wants you when you behave like you do. Cock sucker.

                  • farmboy

                    Real convincing story,so you do leave your computer.Nobody needs or wants me on here, yet hear I am hahahahaha

                    • vto

                      yeah, so you are. Got anything decent to say?

                      What about how this government gives handouts to bludging farmers who are unable to get funding for their own private business? Or who are unable to get what they want using normal processes so they get this government to sack democracy and simply thieve it?

                      Bludging thieves on both counts. In Canterbury at least.

                      Or, why do farmers think they should be able to dump the shit from their business in the public estate when nobody else can?

                      Or the sheer gall of claiming that they are the backbone of NZ when it is quite clear that farmers do not pay their share of tax (instead hiding their wealth in tac-free capital gain) and instead rely on city wage and salary earners to pay for their roads, their kids education, healthcare.

                      Useless thieving bludgers you lot.

                    • ghostrider888

                      an aside vto; recent commentary on the opening presentations from the New Zealnd Climate Change Conference being held; “New Zealand economy rests strongly on agriculture, forestry and tourism, all of which are dependent on the climate” (and it’s effects on the environment). Still, dairy-farmers will continue intensifying until the mud slips in their own back door.

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  Base, filled with hate, soiling yourself as you no doubt soil the rivers, and not even the smallest sign of understanding the topic, you nonetheless provide a remarkable example of its subject.

            • farmboy 1.1.3.2.2.2

              I dont tell people how to look some look ugly others look hot,do you deny this.
              You people have no trouble comenting on the look of John Key, do you.

              • vto

                some say beauty is skin deep and that upon further time spent listening to and being with someone a true measure of their beauty emerges

                and you are doing a wonderful job on that part farmboy.

                hands up who finds farmboy a beauty?

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  I find him the embodiment of everything the National Party represents: ill-mannered, brutish, unoriginal and imbecilic.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, making pejorative judgement calls on the subject both vacuous and ill-mannered in equal measure. Do you deny this?

                I can’t recall a single remark I’ve made about John Key’s appearance. Feel free to show otherwise.

              • NZ Femme

                Can say that I’ve never commented on John Key’s appearance. Because, unlike someone I may be interested in snogging, his appearance is entirely irrelevant to his role. Just as female MP’s appearance is irrelevant to theirs.

              • Is there a reason why Farmtroll’s welcome was outlived after 2.44pm?

                Mods?

                [lprent: I was busy chasing a sporadic SIGSEGV from about 1500 and not really able to moderate much. But when I last looked he was on pretty thin ice. ]

                [karol: I was watching fb yesterday closely before I went out for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I was close to issuing a warning. fb was very close to crossing the line between addressing the topic of the post and trolling/derailing.]

          • prism 1.1.3.2.3

            What say we give farmboy the freeze? Not the creamfreeze either. The words he strings together don’t advance the blog in any way. He is just playing around, filling in time with us, would be better if we left him to play on his own. He just infuriates us into taking notice of him – pathetic interaction results.

  2. just saying 2

    The rise of feminist socialism has been one of the few bright lights in current left-wing politics. A cause for some optimism.
    A real momentum seems to have grown through the alternative media including the blogosphere (and tautoko Karol and QoT), and now the discourse has even started to be heard, if tentatively, in the msm again after being shut out for so long.

    • tracey 2.1

      yes, it won’t be long until the word feminisim is associated with lesbian again to try and deflect from its point of view. For the ignorant, men can be feminists too.

      • QoT 2.1.1

        You say “again” like feminists aren’t already constantly getting homophobic shit thrown at them (because of course being a lesbian is the worst thing ever.

        I’ve had some fucking doozies on those lines right here at The Standard.

        • Populuxe1 2.1.1.1

          When I wake up in the morning, I frequently don’t know whether to wear my patriarchal white privilege hat or my economically and homophobically oppressed low earning gay hat. So confusing.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.2

      +1 @JS

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    One of the best things to ever happen to capitalists was the flood of female workers who appeared and wanted full time jobs, skilled and unskilled, and would accept lower rates to get those jobs. This massively increased the labour pool, eliminated the very tight labour supply of the 1950s and 1960s, and once unions were destroyed a decade later was another factor that helped capped labour’s ability to demand decent wage increases in both skilled and unskilled roles.

    “Neoliberal” propaganda fractured socialist feminism, narrowing feminism’s range, commodifying it and reducing it to the (often dismissive) label of “identity politics”.

    The powers that be are always happy to give you a few gender politics and social liberalism wins as long as they still achieve their profit and capitalist objectives. For a while plenty of feminists seemed satisfied with that.

    • just saying 3.1

      One of the best things to ever happen to capitalists was the flood of female workers who appeared and wanted full time jobs, skilled and unskilled, and would accept lower rates to get those jobs. This massively increased the labour pool, eliminated the very tight labour supply of the 1950s and 1960s, and once unions were destroyed helped capped labour’s ability to demand decent wage increases.

      Apart from the basic human right to be in the paid workforce, for the vast majority, the money earned was essential for supporting themselves and their families. Most also continued to do the lion’s share of housework and childcare.

      Women have been particularly hard-hit by neoliberalism and are overrepresented in poverty stats. Gender politics are socialist politics

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Of course. As individuals people can do anything that they want. But when they do the same thing together in the millions, the whole political economy of a society is changed, and there are plenty of unintended consequences.

      • prism 3.1.2

        JS
        It seems to me that Colonial V wasn’t making comments that disagreed with anything you said. It is important to understand the background and effects of feminist changes to understand how women have got to present conditions.

        The wealthy men and women, are beginning to think of the underclass as being servants as they did in earlier times. This actually can be a good job, but so often not, with poor wages and little time off. The Filipino women who do so much of this work know what it is like to be at the whim of employers.

        So feminism here has to think about women who are in the strugglers group and will not be able to lift themselves with education as a rule. (Poorer Benefit is an exception that proves the rule.) That women have been able to break through to top jobs with lots of money in greater numbers is good. But with high-flyers the place of feminism in their rise will probably be denied. The self-made woman is as smug as the self-made man.

        Getting conditions and support for all women, but particularly for the low income group, to a vastly improved state to assist with their gender-specific role of child bearing and usually, rearing and that remains unfinished business in NZ. And encouraging employers to make some jobs part-time so parents can work in the morning till say 1.30pm and then go off and have their lunch and be ready for their children homecoming from school for instance. Perhaps offering such women a grant that is a subsidy to go to the part-time employer would be a practical help. It is important that women are able to earn and not just have to stay a dependent on a partner. Also there is respect for people who have a job and skills and just looking after one’s children at home is a hidden job, and without social interaction in the wider community which is important for a healthy life experience.

    • karol 3.2

      So women should just have kept to their place, doing unpaid labour inside and outside the home, servicing the workers that capitalism required?

      And you ignore the changing social, technological and consumer context, with increased labour-saving electronic equipment in the home, and the increasing pressures to consume.

      You make it sound like it was women’s fault for daring to aspire to financial independence?

      Socialist/left wing feminists as a whole were not happy with the changes brought about by the “neoliberal” revolution. Large numbers were out on the streets, and in the unions, etc protesting, and debating the problems associated with the rise in the such things as the “double shift”, the casualisation of the workforce, the attacks on social security and the welfare state. They were no more happy such crumbs and limitations than left wing men.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        Greatly increasing the size of the labour pool at the same time technology, automation and global outsourcing reduced available jobs was a very profitable circumstance for big business and greatly reduced labour leverage.

        I’m not saying “what women should have done” I am saying that is what actually happened.

        • rosy 3.2.1.1

          Greatly increasing the size of the labour pool

          The story doesn’t start in the ’50s & ’60s though. The labour pool was always there – it was just utilised as the Capitalists saw fit i.e. hiring women when the men were off to war in the previous decade. The difference was that this time, for a variety of reasons, women who found they wanted or needed to work in paid employment refused to put back in the home.

          • Colonial Viper 3.2.1.1.1

            The labour pool was always there – it was just utilised as the Capitalists saw fit i.e. hiring women when the men were off to war in the previous decade. The difference was that this time

            The difference this time? Well, the capitalists are still utilising the labour pool as they see fit.

            • rosy 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Well, the capitalists are still utilising the labour pool as they see fit.

              That they are.

              But for a while there we gave them a run for their money 😉 … an still do, in some places, clearly NZ is not one of them anymore.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.2

        You make it sound like it was women’s fault for daring to aspire to financial independence?

        You spoke of the effectiveness of “neo liberal propaganda” before. The cult of individualism and self actualisation through career and money were central tenets of that propaganda. So no, I don’t “blame” women, the aspiration was very loudly and widely promulgated at the time through society.

        • just saying 3.2.2.1

          How was it “communal” having men predominate the paid workforce? Or is it just women who should be less selfish?

          • Colonial Viper 3.2.2.1.1

            Do you know what happened to US families when both subrban parents went out to work? American families bought two gasguzzlers not just one. No problem if that just happens once or twice. But it happened tens of millions of times across the nation.

            Massive unintended consequences for oil demand, greenhouse gases, pollution, mining, etc.

            You speak of what would be more selfish etc, I’m just telling you what happened as a natural result of these societal changes.

            • karol 3.2.2.1.1.1

              That is part of what happened. It also increased the burden of the double shift for many women: working outside the home as either a main breadwinner or to supplement the main wage, while still taking the leading role in domestic duties. Meanwhile, large numbers of women and their families have been increasingly subsisting on low incomes in part time or low paid jobs, with increasing pressures on beneficiaries.

              Women continued also to be employed in large numbers in the public sector, and to be engaged in community work.

              Of course, if the most powerful capitalists hadn’t moved to reassert their dominance in the way they did, we could have taken a different route: technological changes and efficiency gains could have led to less hours in paid work, with a more egalitarian distribution of incomes, and less focus on competitive, status-driven consumerism.

              The solution then, is not for more of the same, but a shift away from consumerist lifestyles, and more focus on collective, in-equality reducing, sustainable values.

              • Colonial Viper

                How can you ask people to have less individualistic/ consumerist and more collective lifestyles while still extolling the virtues of having your own decently paid job (which you need your own car to get to) so you can have the good things in life and be financially and materially independent?

                That doesn’t sound like less consumption to me.

                Also, women got conned into believing that going out into the workforce was going to be good for them. And for some it was. But as you point out, many just ended up wage serfs like everyone else. More of the propaganda in action.

                • karol

                  How can you ask people to have less individualistic/ consumerist and more collective lifestyles while still extolling the virtues of having your own decently paid job (which you need your own car to get to) so you can have the good things in life and be financially and materially independent?

                  This is not what I was saying, especially not the bits I’ve put in bold.

                  For some women, being financially independent meant being able to escape for domestic violence and/or servitude as was in the current context.

                  Everyone should have access to a living wage. I’m not extolling the values of individualism but looking towards more collective solutions.

            • just saying 3.2.2.1.1.2

              Two gas guzzlers meant both adults had freedom of transport.
              You do seem to me to have made a value judgment, CV. If women having what men had led to a more selfish society, how was it better that just men were able to enjoy the money, freedom and independence of paid work, and the power that gave them? There does seem to be a assumption that things were better when women sacrificed themselves in various unpaid capacities for the benefit of their husbands, their kids and their communities. Better for who?

              • Colonial Viper

                Of course in the US having your own car means “freedom”, and of course so does having a gun. But liberals over there want gender equality in the workforce, don’t want guns and want to stop greenhouse gas emissions but you still need the freedom of your own petrol consuming car to get to work. Good luck with that melange.

                • Populuxe1

                  Having a car also means being able to leave an abusive relationship and move to where there is work. I don’t see why you think that’s not important.

                  • karol

                    Also, for many women, it feels safer to travel by car at night than walking to and from public transport. For some women it’s the difference between going out at night and staying home.

      • Ennui 3.2.3

        Karol,

        I think that is to oversimplify the issue. I will try and paraphrase what CV alludes to….women came into the workforce, which enabled capital to squeeze wages. “Traditional female” roles were not back filled by “liberated” males. Families then had to pay for these household domestic “services”. Capital sold a lot of “whiteware” etc, childcare centres flourished…..the laws of unexpected consequences kicked in.

        To be contentious, I don’t think males have bought into the concept of being able to fulfill what were “traditional female” roles. And whilst males have to a high degree accepted the idea of women in the workforce, my personal perception is that the converse of accepting the concept of men in the home is problematic. Capital meanwhile does not give a flying fuck so long as they can keep up consumerism and low wages.

        The whole thing may have been a huge improvement for women ( as it should be, no problem there), it has also been retrograde for all the domestic activities and linkages that construct a cogent society. So how do we (as in males and females together) clean up the mess?

        • just saying 3.2.3.1

          ..it has also been retrograde for all the domestic activities and linkages that construct a cogent society. So how do we (as in males and females together) clean up the mess?

          Well said, but not what I heard CV as saying.

          • Colonial Viper 3.2.3.1.1

            Well, I was being a tad more provocative to get the ideas flowing :-)

          • just saying 3.2.3.1.2

            In my opinion is the precariat – sometimes paid a pittance, often unpaid, is increasingly being conscripted into trying to plug the gaps. Meagre scraps of funds are backed-up for workers with inadequate benefits. NGOs are becoming corporatised, social services, privatised and exploitation increasingly abounds.

            • Ennui 3.2.3.1.2.1

              All you describe is true: we all drift toward becoming precariat, even those of us who have our own businesses. The concentration of wealth and power toward the corporates is killing us all. We can no longer afford social services because the buggers dont even pay their share of tax.

  4. Sosoo 4

    A recent Guardian article argues that feminism is a rising and significant presence in the digital age, which includes a reference to “socialist” Laura Penny.

    In their dreams. Feminism in the sense used in this article is a marginal ideology, which most of today’s university students not only do not support, but do not even understand. I’ve lost count of the number of papers I have read where women claim (quite sincerely) that they don’t really know anything about it. And these are people who you would expect to be exposed to such ideas on a regular basis.

    I don’t personally think that this is good at all, but it’s nevertheless true.

    • karol 4.1

      Maybe the university is the wrong place to look for those currently actively involved in feminism?

      Being on the rise, doesn’t mean it includes the majority of young women.

      • Sosoo 4.1.1

        The answer is that it isn’t really on the rise. It seems to have been in a steep decline for years. I’d wager that more young people are involved in playing Magic: The Gathering than in feminist activism.

        Feminism is now about as popular as communism in New Zealand, which is to say that a very small number of active people care, but the impact on society at large is virtually nil.

        The concerns of feminism appear to have either been absorbed into the mainstream or jettisoned from popular consciousness in people under 30. It’s not that they are actively hostile. It’s just that they see a bunch of greying people going on about some old folks’ stuff that they don’t really care about (just like Dylan or the Beatles).

        • karol 4.1.1.1

          There has been a noticeable rise in feminist websites internationally. Check some out. Feminists these days includes people of diverse ages. And some of them are students (albeit the minority amongst students.

          The internet provides a connection and sense of engagement with a community. Also, as with post at the Handmirror that I linked to, it helps with the promotion of offline events.

          You are representing another stereotype of feminists as being increasingly aging and irrelevant.

  5. tracey 5

    If you want to train as a police officer, you do 3 months (paid). If you want to train as a teacher or a nurse you do 3 years (unpaid and with a debt). Which of these is dominated by women.

    It’s about the value society, through our politicans places on these roles. As much as things have changed int he last 30 years, much has stayed the same.

    • Saccharomyces 5.1

      If you want to train as a doctor you do 6 years of training (unpaid). If you want to train as a primary teacher you do 3 years training (unpaid). Which of these is dominated by men?

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Med and law school close to 50/50 these days. Some intakes there are even more women than men because women are outpacing men academically.

        • fatty 5.1.1.1

          women are outpacing men academically

          True, however this is just one part of addressing the pay gap.
          The problem is that once women move into a traditionally male dominated profession, the relative wages of that profession drops in comparison to other male dominated industries. I don’t think its just coincidence that since females have moved into academically trained industries (such as law and medicine), then other male dominated industries (such as engineering and construction) have moved up the pay scale at a fast pace.

          I remember reading something from Michael Kimmel a couple of years back about how money follows male dominated jobs. He gave the example of dentistry in USA compared to Europe. In Europe where female dentists are more common, their wages are not that high compared to other medical professions. Whereas in the USA, where male dentists still dominate, their wages are much further up the medical pay scale. (That’s off the top of my head, I’m having trouble finding the text as he’s written so much)

          So, although women becoming more educated and moving into high paying jobs is balancing things out, capitalism has a natural tendency to move higher wages away from women. There needs to be more equality across all industries if equal pay is going to be a reality. Men have to move into women dominated industries – to help push the wages up. And women have to move into male dominated work. (Of course women will still get paid less, but that’s capitalism for you)

          • prism 5.1.1.1.1

            fatty
            good points. What I’ve read too.

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.2

            So, although women becoming more educated and moving into high paying jobs is balancing things out, capitalism has a natural tendency to move higher wages away from women.

            the presence of women is a risk factor for the undermining of pay structures and prestige of established professions?

            Incomes in an industry fall for many reasons, but one will be because there are far more workers than before when women join the labour pool for an industry. Another is that women aren’t as good at demanding more pay from employers to match what they are worth.

            • karol 5.1.1.1.2.1

              CV, while your are on he money in some ways that capitalism under-utilises women, @8.20pm you seem to be implying that women should stay away from high paying male-dominated jobs because they will only cause them to be devalued. ie you put the emphasis on the negative impact of women’s behaivour rather than on the way well-paid males and/or capitalists behave.

              • Colonial Viper

                Yes, I think we know exactly how “the bosses/capitalist owners” behave. And when the women become “the bosses/capitalist owners” we know exactly how they behave, too – the same way. Our fabulous mining billionaire from across the Tassie comes to mind. So does Brooks, formerly of the Murdoch empire.

                We also know from over a century of collective labour experience how you get workers to be valued the way they should be valued by the bosses and capitalist owners: worker power in the form of strong unions able to limit the labour pool, able to threaten effective strikes, able to threaten serious business disruption, able to remove politicians, and able to take other industrial action.

                In my recollection, using harsh language, finger pointing and indignant stares against the bosses and capitalist owners was never very powerful.

                @8.20pm you seem to be implying that women should stay away from high paying male-dominated jobs because they will only cause them to be devalued.

                I make no judgement on what women should or should not do (they can suit themselves) but the second half of your statement saying that male dominated professions get devalued (is from the standpoint of remuneration), a proven matter of record and a well known pattern.

                • karol

                  Well, they end of your last comment points to, or opens the door to a better way – and end of this system that bases status on money and level in an individualistic and competitive hierarchy, and more focus on collective action, and doing jobs or activities that make a contribution to society.

                  Collective power by unions or other organisations is a way to work towards that. Although, Unions tend to strategise around working for the best outcome within the present capitalist system.

  6. Winston Smith 6

    “… get dressed up with their lipstick and make-up on t.v. ..”

    – I don’t think he was making the point about her being attractive or not but rather trying to “dress up” the message they’re saying instead just in his usual ham-fisted way

  7. fatty 7

    Just last week on 10 O’Clock live Laurie Penny was in a debate about gender equality in the workplace. The other two debaters really struggled to understand how class intersects with gender (in)equality)
    The debate can be viewed here.

    Although the debate was interesting, its worth viewing the next segment where Jimmy Carr shows no shame. He has no problem spewing out his predictable sexist jokes. I don’t think Charlie Brooker is too impressed at the end

    • karol 7.1

      Thanks for the link. Gee that red haired woman is a bit unbelievable – let’s hate on woman seems to be her line.

      Laurie Penny looks suitably unimpressed, and says her piece when she can get a word in edgewise.

      And the other two women are pretty middle-class and, maybe not an excuse, but they seem comfortable not empathising with women on lower incomes.

  8. ghostrider888 8

    Embodied cognition
    and the Embodiment of gender ; people ‘police’ their ‘good ol’ selves’ just fine without any help from chauvanists of any gender.

    • Ennui 8.1

      Truly spiritual Spooky. Be good (metaphorically of course).

      • ghostrider888 8.1.1

        it’s a dilemma; what next? not more of the same. sigh, what’s a poor boy to do.

      • ghostrider888 8.1.2

        some ars from the old man’s vinyl collection;
        Spooky
        (sad really, that ‘old man’ was such a chauvanist bastard too, “Polly want her housekeeping?”)

  9. joe90 9

    Just mooching around the webs. This:

    “Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions.. for safety on the streets… for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law.”

    If someone says ‘Oh, I’m not a feminist,’ I ask ‘Why? What’s your problem?”

    Dale Spender.

  10. millsy 10

    Farmboy probably looks like one of the characters from the 1972 movie Deliverance.

    Not talking about Burt Reynold’s character.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    2 days ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    2 days ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    2 days ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    3 days ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    3 days ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    3 days ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    3 days ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    3 days ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    3 days ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    3 days ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    3 days ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    3 days ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    3 days ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    4 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    4 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    4 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    5 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    6 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    6 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    6 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    6 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    6 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    6 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    7 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    7 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    7 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    7 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    7 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere