Why the Left still needs feminism

Written By: - Date published: 7:25 am, September 29th, 2012 - 280 comments
Categories: feminism, identity, labour, Left - Tags:

I originally wrote about this way back in February 2011, and though the political landscape has changed since then, the point still needs to be made:  the Left, specifically Labour, cannot focus on a narrow pure economic set of arguments and expect to get majority support.

It’s the 21st century, people.  The “identities” which have been traditionally used to demean, oppress, and sometimes enslave or kill people are real, because those people – women, people of colour, people with disabilities, the whole wide world of QUILTBAG – have been given no choice but to say “Yep, that’s what I am, now you have to deal with me.”

Old white dudes like John Ansell complain about how we should live in a “colour-blind” society, but that’s because for once, for the smallest period of time, and in a time when old white dudes still pretty much rule the roost, people whose colour and origins have been used to keep them down aren’t staying down any more.

They – and many other historically shat-on groups – are demanding that we acknowledge the reality:  some people have faced systematic, institutional oppression which has at the very least disadvantaged them and stopped them achieving their potential the way they could’ve if they’d been born … well, as old white dudes.

This has economic factors to it, sure – strangely enough, capitalist societies are really, really good at using economic pressure against people – but it’s not a pure old-school Labour ideal of The Workers vs. The Owners.

For Labour to survive, it has to embrace fairness.  It’s certainly claiming to, at the moment, but it’s a narrow, nasty kind of fairness, a very John Ansell definition of fairness:  fairness defined by old white dudes who don’t realise – who choose not to see – that comparatively they have it pretty damn good in life.

It’s the kind of fairness that gets twisted very easily into ignoring all that uncomfortable historic systematic oppression.  Just like this:  Why should a person who can paint his roof on a specific day get a handout from the government, just because our entire economy is based on people working flat-tack 40 hours a week if you’re lucky, just because employers aren’t willing to put up with the unpredictability and extra effort needed to hire someone with a chronic illness?

If you agree with this for no other reason, please consider this:  as soon as you start using the principle of “fairness” to mean fairness for one group of people and not another, you’re being a dick and opening yourself up to attack from the Right – a group who have been far more successful at this game throughout history.

The Left needs to include feminism – and all the other movements for people’s basic human rights – because it should be about “fairness”.  It should be about the many and varied ways in which capitalism controls us and screws us, not just our meal breaks.

Labour, specifically, needs a vision.  A vision of all people being treated with dignity, all people’s situations being considered in compassionate and non-judgey ways, all people being supported and looked after by our society as a whole.  A vision of a society whose members understand that we are all pulling together and we are all more successful when we help each other, even if sometimes this means that on the surface one person is “getting more” than another.  To each according to their need, innit?

Remember, visions are like Excalibur.  If you use them right, they pretty muchmake you the king.

280 comments on “Why the Left still needs feminism ”

  1. IrishBill 1

    Welcome aboard QOT. I hope being an official Standard author doesn’t take too much time from your own superb blog.

  2. karol 2

    The Left needs to include feminism – and all the other movements for people’s basic human rights – because it should be about “fairness”. It should be about the many and varied ways in which capitalism controls us and screws us, not just our meal breaks.

    Labour, specifically, needs a vision. A vision of all people being treated with dignity, all people’s situations being considered in compassionate and non-judgey ways, all people being supported and looked after by our society as a whole.

    Agreed. We need to get back to a left vision/analysis that incorporates class (socio-economic) struggles and so-called “identities”*, which was happening before the “neoliberal” shift cleverly split them off.

    And I expect to see some “vigorous debate” on this post by the time I get home from work.

    QOT: going fearlessly where may more timid Kiwis fear to tread.

    *Can we come up with a better, more left-wing inclusive term/s than “identities” or “identity politics”?

    • just saying 2.1

      I find ‘identity politics’ kind of offensive and have cringed when I’ve written the term in past comments.

      • karol 2.1.1

        Back in the 90s, I preferred the term “politics of difference”. This was more the preferred term in academic circles because it focuses on the power-plays used to dump on some people by the dominant groups in society. And it shifts away from labeling people in essentialist terms.

        But “politics of difference” is a bit unwieldy. Ditto “intersectionality”. “Difference” is OK I guess. But still such terms could do with being revised and applied to contemporary contexts.

    • weka 2.2

      “Can we come up with a better, more left-wing inclusive term/s than “identities” or “identity politics””

      Diversity politics (from something just saying says below). It even includes old white blokes.

    • QoT 2.3

      Personally, I still like “identity politics” and think it doesn’t have to be used in an excluding-the-left way. It grew out of “identity” groups feeling excluded from the left, and people on the left have definitely used it to reinforce that exclusion, but I would feel comfortable using it myself to refer to the “identities” which rightwing rhetoric pushes on workers.

      One example I’d consider would be how teachers get the “unionist” label slapped on them to make it sound like they’re being motivated by a different set of values to “normal” NZers. It wouldn’t even be that jarring to hear rightwingers talking about teachers wanting “special” rights when it comes to holidays, objections to national standards, etc.

      • Kotahi Tāne Huna 2.3.1

        Surely the answer to an attack based on “difference” is to reclaim the language. Word, my unionist.

      • BloodyOrphan 2.3.2

        The spin, twisting reality based on their own agendas
        I think the Myth buster guy had a one liner for it ….

      • marty mars 2.3.3

        Yes I lke “identity politics” too. It says it all for me and is inclusive not exclusive.

      • Populuxe1 2.3.4

        Identity politics are vital in making Left policy relevant in the 21st century. Pure Marxists are dinosaurs. Identity politics are totally relevant to the Right as well. The only danger is when identity groups are used as a justification for attacking the net overall public good – then I cringe.

    • I’ve always thought there’s a paradox with a focus on ‘identities’.

      Notice that the famous ‘old white guys’ don’t experience their state as an ‘identity’. They’re just (normal) individuals. Everyone else has ‘identities’. 

      The experience of an identity – in the political sense – comes out of being dominated, largely. Or, it’s something we only notice when it’s made a problem for us.

      Colonised people didn’t explicitly used to think of themselves as ‘indigenous’, for example, until they had to. Working class people didn’t think of themselves as ‘working class’ until they had to. (We become conscious of something when it interrupts the flow of our activity – that’s a basic perceptual process but it works at all levels of ‘consciousness’, including the political.)

      The aim, surely, is not to experience an identity but to have the experience of being fully alive as the person you are, uniquely located in a social and physical world in which you’re enmeshed and accepted as a matter of course.

      Having said all of that I completely agree with the thrust of the post. The left is – in my mind at least – simply organised resistance to all processes of domination, oppression and manipulation.

      It’s the fundamental conflict over interests, and those who call themselves ‘left’ must, by definition, side with the interests of the dominated, oppressed and manipulated.

      It’s called solidarity and it’s the only viable response those who lack individual power have to the process of oppression.

      • QoT 2.4.1

        The aim, surely, is not to experience an identity but to have the experience of being fully alive as the person you are

        Not really, Puddleglum. See, the problem is that yes, in a perfect world we’d all just be ~people~ who happened to have different skin colour or genitals or behavioural preferences or whatever.

        But we cannot have that, because this isn’t a perfect world and our identities – constructed as they are – are the basis of different treatment, are the basis of historic oppression, and thus are the cause of current disadvantage.

        That’s precisely the problem with John Ansell et al complaining about wanting to have a “colourblind” state – yes, in Utopia we wouldn’t make judgements or preferences on the basis of skin colour. But that’s not the world we live in, and asking people to reject their “identities” is asking them to pretend that centuries of oppression and discrimination (even ignoring the current reality where that oppression is still going on).

        Which is fuckin’ great, if you’re the white dudes whose history of violence gets wiped off the slate, but pretty shit for everyone else, because it means we end up in a country where (say Ansell gets his ay) we ~mysteriously~ have more people of colour in poverty, and in prison, and we just ~have no idea why~ because ~we don’t look at race any more~.

        • Puddleglum

          Hi QoT,

          Completely agree.

          When I said the bit you quoted, I was talking about an ‘aim’ that involves resistance and political action towards an ideal (even if unattainable in any real world). 
          I wasn’t advocating individuals ‘give up their identities’ through some sort of personal choice or magical thinking/denial. Quite the opposite. And I definitely wasn’t advocating ‘identity-blindness’ at the political level. I’ll advocate that when ‘the system’ is truly identity-blind – and I don’t see that happening in my lifetime.

          The aim I mentioned is an ‘horizon concept’ (like truth). We never get to the horizon but the aim guides us in the direction to go (like a navigational instrument or the distant bull’s eye). If someone’s life is being stamped down upon by a boot (because they’re gay, a woman, transexual, etc.) – i.e., when the situation falls short of the aim – we do something about it. We are guided by the aim to act against oppression in the here and now.

          There’s no way that anyone should pretend that none of these identities matter because, as you say, those identities are the result of “centuries of oppression and discrimination“. They’ve been hewn out of so much historical and current suffering. They matter greatly, therefore, not only at the personal level (to understand what’s happening to ourselves) but also politically, to serve as a clear indicator for resistance and action.

          The paradox, though, is that the aim is to have a society in which large (and many) groups of people are not dominated and oppressed. That means that the aim involves making identities matter less, doesn’t it?

          It is to aim for a world where someone doesn’t get attacked or mocked or discriminated against because they are a woman or gay. It is to aim for a world where those (and many other) characteristics can simply be characteristics and not ‘identities’ – doesn’t it?
          I’m pretty sure I agree with you, but I can see that what I said might seem like I disagreed.

          I thought talking about this paradox might be interesting. I didn’t realise that it might be misleading and so misrepresent what I think.

          Sorry. This is your post and I’ve side-tracked it unnecessarily with a confusing comment.

          And it’s great you’re an author here. Intelligent straight-talking is what this world lacks and you provide it in spades.

  3. Kotahi Tāne Huna 3

    It’s a shame this even needs to be said. Thank you for saying it.

    • Dr Terry 3.1

      Agreed, KTH. The only thing that concerns me as an “older dude” is the manner in which the word “old” is employed. Why not just “white dudes” in general? That would be accurate enough!

      • weka 3.1.1

        Because traditionally in the patriarchy, the older you get the more power you are granted/entitled to. 

        • Draco T Bastard

          And the more fearful of losing it once you do get it.

        • karol

          weka, I don’t think that always holds in the contemporary western world. Certainly, the people is the most powerful roles in society are older.

          But, not all older people achieve that status. And our society idealises youth, so that getting old is often seen as a negative – especially if you’re a woman (all those creams and strategies recommended for keeping a woman younger-looking).

          This is also a problem for many older workers, with younger ones (people in 30s-40s) being more valued. So if someone in the 50s or 60s, in a low or middle-ranking position loses their job, they may find younger people are more preferred by employers. There’s quite a few negative stereotypes around about older people and older workers.

          • weka

            Completely agree Karol. I was meaning older in the context of old white dudes, and rich ones at that. The patriarchy doesn’t tend to confer as much privilege on working class older men, let alone on non-white elders or older women.

          • Vicky32

            . So if someone in the 50s or 60s, in a low or middle-ranking position loses their job, they may find younger people are more preferred by employers.

            That’s putting it mildly, and it’s worse for women.

      • Kotahi Tāne Huna 3.1.2

        My thinking on this matter is embodied by the phrase, “if you don’t know what the dominant culture is you’re a member of it”. If that means having to put up with “old white dude” as a pejorative term, I can think of worse fates. Like not being a member of the dominant culture, for example…

        • NickS

          +1, though per NZ’s abysmal male* depression and suicide statistics, even being a member of the dominant culture carries it’s own high cost if you don’t fit into the dominant narrative about what a NZ “bloke” should be.

          *Yeap, and ironically feminist deconstruction of the reasons behind this are actually useful, even if you don’t subscribe to feminism per say.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            Actually, I think a large part of the problems with male depression and suicide in New Zealand has precisely to do with not learning enough lessons from feminist philosophy. 😛

            • Vicky32

              Actually, I think a large part of the problems with male depression and suicide in New Zealand has precisely to do with not learning enough lessons from feminist philosophy.

              Then in that case, you don’t have a frakkin’ clue! Hint, wait until an older male in your family succumbs to depression and suicide. Then, and only then, mouth your horrid patronising trendy cliches…

              • NickS


                Could you for once try thinking before posting? Because if you had you might have worked out that feminism has useful tools available for allowing people to realise they don’t have to conform to a particular cultural stereotype vis gender. And while yes, such things are not always a cause, let alone the major cause of a depressive, never the less for many individuals such tools may prove very fucking useful. So thus your attitude is frankly stupid.

                • Yes, I thought Matthew Whitehead’s comment had merit and I think yours, NickS does too.

                  Additionally there might be an encouragement of a balancing of female:male qualities provided by some streams of feminism, which would likely be useful in getting through the experience of depression positively.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    NZ men need to learn about masculine archetypes early on. To have the confidence, inner strength, creativity and self belief to lead themselves, their families and their communities through the tough times ahead.

                    • weka

                      healthy and useful archetypes. What did you have in mind cv?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Leader, explorer, commander, protector, sage, father, son, warrior, provider, ascetic, magician, alchemist, lover, inventor, artist, musician, husband, builder, adventurer, general, priest.

                    • Jokerman

                      Lord you are good!

                    • NickS

                      Except those same archetypes are gender neutral if you bother critically deconstructing them 😛

                      What it should be is about teaching people the full richness of the human condition, in all it’s warty glory.

                    • weka

                      True, mostly, but what I wanted to ask cv next was how you would teach boys/men those archetypes in a useful way. Because most of them are mirrored in unhealthy ways too so the existence of them is not enough on its own.

                      Am particularly curious how we could do that in a NZ context without relying so heavily on imported culture (although there is much richness in what we have brought in too).

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Gender neutral achetypes? Only in the abstract. Because in the concrete, the human who learns and embodies them is not gender neutral.

                    • NickS


                      Use teh grey matter in your head please, even half awake it’s easy for me to see why claiming such archetypes aren’t gender neutral effectively ignores why a particular gender became associated with them per cultural traditions. Rather than any innate biological reasons (bar child birth and breast feeding, though breast feeding is just a matter of hormones ;)…). And for which there art myriad counter examples that have become more prevalent as feminism and other critical systems wear away the dominant gender narratives.

                    • If a child is encouraged to express itself fully and positively then if it is a male child it will be a well balanced man and if it is a girl child then it will be a well balanced woman.

                      I think New Zealanders are altogether too precious about gender. Especially the male gender. I believe there needs to be more emphasis/acceptance on “fuller expression” (more of a focus on “meaning” or spirituality would help too) and then the gender takes care of itself.

                    • Colonial Viper


                      You are free to choose your own way mate. But I don’t think that many men are going to find the answers they are desperately looking for in feminism.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      BL – I’m a bit over women being approved to talk as much as they like about the many unique strengths and characteristics they bring to the table (which are certainly valuable) as well as their gender and identity political aspirations. I believe men should be permitted to do just the same.

                    • @ CV
                      Unclear of the relevance of your comment to what I wrote; basically saying that gender isn’t as fragile a thing as we appear to treat it in NZ.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Ah sorry for the confusion. Discussion of gender and gender differences (and gender similarities) should be robust. And not avoided. Because as you say its not fragile and delicate, to be hidden from.

      • QoT 3.1.3

        It’s an interesting point, Dr T, but I think weka has covered it – plus the fact that older people, particularly men, are often granted extra authority or respect on the basis of older = wiser, when this is quite often evidently stupid, John Ansell being a great example.

        Age also plays a role in the way a lot of old white dudes hark back to “better times” – usually imaginary versions of the 50s – which in NZ politics (and US, which is extra bad for this) usually translates as “better times for old white dudes”.

        • BloodyOrphan

          Just for a “not the norm” for yas …. I was spouting civilised words at my parents at the age of 1.
          By the age of 3, I was the “Directional Parent” of the family.
          How I got there was truly evil, but a civilised understanding of still being alive was all it was.
          Kids will emulate their parents, virtualy all the time at young ages, If the parent leads with a truly open and civilised example, they’ll all end up leaders, just like mum and dad.

  4. just saying 4

    Am super-busy…. but Yay QoT on the team!
    Another step closer to the feminist cabal’s ultimate goal of complete global domination 😀

    Seriously though – diversity is good people!

    Homogeneity is only really a good thing in milk products.

    • Jokerman 4.1

      just saying…
      NT Female disciples;
      Mary Magdalene
      Mary, Jesus’ Mother
      Mary Salome
      Mary and Martha of Bethany

      and then..
      Athalia-Queen of Judah
      Deborah-Prophetess and only female Judge

      *Virginia Ramey Mollenkott* ; Leitha Dawson Scanzoni; Anne Egglebroten

      -KoT 😉

  5. r0b 5

    Welcome aboard QoT. Keep us honest eh?

  6. marsman 6

    Right on QoT!

    • Jokerman 6.1

      I am not I
      I am this one
      Walking beside me whom I do not see,
      Whom at times I manage to visit,
      And at other times I forget.
      The one who remains silent when I talk,
      The one who forgives, sweet, when I hate,
      The one who takes a walk when I am indoors,
      The one who will remain standing when I die.

      -Juan Ramon Jimenez

  7. BM 7

    Are you worried that Labour is trying to become more about the majority and less about the minority?
    I’m sure Labour will always be favourable to the minority groups, but to win elections you have to appeal to the majority, which is the reason labour chose David Shearer.

    • Meg 7.1

      BM…women are the majority. So yeah…

      • BM 7.1.1

        But only a small portion would consider themselves feminists.

        • Kotahi Tāne Huna

          I lay awake at night worrying what right wing nut jobs think of the left. Your opinion is so relevant and truly insightful. No, really, I’m being serious, why don’t you believe me?

        • mike e

          Yes but insensitive men the old boys network are not willing to let go of old habits ie the business world is an example where women work harder and smarter are rarely rewarded and when they go off work to have children they are pushed back down the ladder those skills of rearing children are completely written off by employers largely men!
          Those skills are valuable skills that men are writing off completely so they can justify keeping women out of the board room!

        • mike e

          Feminists are activists firebrands for change and the rights attack on women is insidious !
          ie solo mums where they always make out that its the women fault for being on the DPB!
          Where are the fathers down in the pub the gang the board room not taking responsibility!
          The advertising Industry ie the tui adds where drinking alcohol is sold by objectified women,
          $6 billion dollars worth of damage is done every year by alcohol women beaten up raped and abused along with their children!
          Madmen we still have that attitude its just been glamorised by slick advertising while the damage it does gets worse not better !The right wing don’t want change so they lambaste feminism!

        • NickS

          And yet ironically many of them agree with some of the basic ideals of feminism, like reproductive rights, equal wages, etc. And of course there’s the core concept of feminism, namely that females are human too and do not exist solely as baby factories, sex toys or punching bags, and other minutia.

          They might not like the term, due to it’s baggage, or due to being brought up in strongly patriarchal systems and may have had the fun of dealing with a very vocal, abusive anti-porn/sex-worker feminist + ye olde anti-transexual feminists. Or maybe they’re just a “chill girl” who doesn’t like the impact feminist issues have on their male friends (namely the frothing-at-the-mouth-douche response) etc to the point they claim to be a Mens-Rights-Activist (yes, they do exist). But oft the above is appealing irrespective of their background.

          (Bar the authoritarian twits who think their religious beliefs should apply to those who don’t share their beliefs, in relation to negative impacts on others human rights, as they’re unsalvageable unless they pick up basic socialisation and humanism101.)

        • Lou

          “But only a small portion would consider themselves feminists”


    • QoT 7.2

      Not at all, BM. I think a Labour Party which became more about the majority would find it very easy to appeal to people’s sense of justice and fairness.

      The problem is people like you who think focusing on the priorities of white, middle-class, heterosexual men who like John Key somehow translates to “being more about the majority”.

      You’re like the kids at kindy who are told to share a ball with four other children, and yet demand that you get the ball every five seconds because it’s not fair for you to have to wait while the other four kids get a turn.

      (The wider applicability of this to Labour at the moment, of course, is that there isn’t just one ball, and its advisors seriously need to grasp that the NZ media can report on more than one story at a time.)

  8. muzza 8

    Shouting at thunder would stand a greater chance of being effective, than waiting for Labour to sort themselves out!

    Embracing of all peoples in a holistic sense should be a given, the fact, not only is that not the situation, but groups/factions are “cunningly” played off against eachother, and will continue to be so.

    As long as old white men rule the world….

    • Dr Terry 8.1

      Yes, I am with you muzza. All I plead for is that we take care not to substitute for one form of discrimination, another one (the old).

      • muzza 8.1.1

        Dr Terry, I should have used the ” ” around the Old white Men statement.

        The key issue anytime factions are “attemping” to gain a foothold, or some hightened perception of balance, is that it comes with the inevitable stink of bias.

        Only when groups see themselves not as their “faction” seeking approval etc, but as part of the whole (yes I know they are, and are seeking the recognition…), will there be a chance for healing, and for unity.

        As long as any group/faction seeks balance in their “silo”, nothing can change!

      • weka 8.1.2

        I don’t see it as discriminatory Terry, and it sits alongside the descriptors of race and gender. It probably should be rich, old, white dudes, then we’d have class as well. All those things, combined, confer privilege that is denied others. We need the descriptors to point that out.

        Discriminatory is when people started denigrating Don Brash based on his age (seen that done here on TS). He deserves to be denigrated for his politics, but his age, in the sense of implied decrepitude, has nothing to do with it. 

        Likewise, when people talk about Gerry Brownlee’s weight and size in a derogatory way. Has nothing to do with anything, esp his politics or ineptitude, but people take something that is a bigotry in our culture (fatphobia) and use it for their own political gain.

        • Rosie

          + 1. Exactly Weka. To discriminate against someone due to their age, size (Gerry Brownlee, Paula Bennett) etc serves no purpose but to expose their own prejudices and detract from the facts about those particular qualities or traits the target of the discrimination posesses.

  9. red blooded 9

    Feminism needs to be vigorously rebranded, so that people (especially young people) can see that it’s about fairness for everybody; allowing boys as well as girls to have a full range of choices open to them and to be all that they can be. Having said that, it’s too easy for feminism to just get swallowed up into a vaguely defined, personally focused kind of liberalism, and for nothing to change on a societal level because there’s a general belief that people’s lives are simply the sum of their personal choices and that we all get to make pretty much the same choices; that somehow it’s just a coincidence that men occupy most of the positions of power in our society and that women make the school lunches and take sick days when they need to look after sick kids, while some need safe houses to hide from family violence. Feminism is actually a challenge to a whole lot of societal structures and assumptions.

    Teenagers generally believe that they are growing up in a post-feminist society – that feminism has done the job and there are no real gender-based barriers left. We can see this as optimism or ignorance (maybe a combination of the two). Either way, feminism needs to reach out to a new generation.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Teenagers generally believe that they are growing up in a post-feminist society

      What kind of teenagers do you hang out with? Because the teenagers I know understand that they’ve been handed a rotten deal by society (even if they can’t quite verbalise the political economic detail). They can see themselves and their mates being consigned to the scrap heap on struggle street. But I’ve never heard them verbalise any ideas which might suggest they think that “feminism” or “post-feminism” has anything to do with the shitty inability to get ahead in this society.

      They do know that a few people have it pretty good and that many don’t however. It’s political economic class analysis which is going to point out the way to them, not feminist/post-feminist analysis, although there should be contributions from there.

      Teenagers generally believe that they are growing up in a post-feminist society – that feminism has done the job and there are no real gender-based barriers left.

      Access to and control of capital forms, by far, the dominant barrier in our capitalist society today.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1

        Access to and control of capital forms, by far, the dominant barrier in our capitalist society today.

        And that was true 5000 years ago as well when privatisation of the commons began.

      • NickS 9.1.2


        Even uni students who aren’t doing stuff focusing on feminist issues or have been drawn into feminism (like me, thanks to my ex-flatmate Tui) don’t have much a grasp on feminism. Sure, they’ll tell the anti-abortion crowd to go fuck themselves, but few of them will know a thing about the issues with NZ’s abortion laws, let alone harassment issues unless they’ve had first hand experience (or a close friend has…). And even then they’re usually not vocal about it.

        As for “post-feminism”, lolwut? Most kids don’t even the background to know what that means, let alone the cognitive filters to notice sexism issues in high detail, if anything they’ll stick to standard behaviour, which includes “lad culture” and other sexist stuff picked up from parents, peers and media. And once it’s internalised and there’s social links involved, it’s kind of difficult to break out of, even for females.

        • Vicky32

          don’t have much a grasp on feminism. Sure, they’ll tell the anti-abortion crowd to go fuck themselves,

          Exactly! The younger people seem to believe (as do many older women in their 40s) that feminism is all about and only about sex – gay rights and abortion for all, at all times!
          They have no idea.

    • QoT 9.2

      Feminism needs to be vigorously rebranded

      I disagree. The problem of people believing there aren’t gender barriers any more is not a problem with feminism, it’s all part of the backlash against feminism, and feminism (well, individual feminists, since we’re not a hivemind) can do that by continuing to highlight the obvious discrimination that exists in our society.

      A lot of people also believe we live in a post-racial society, that the class you’re born into doesn’t matter, and that all people have to do is pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. By this logic, anti-racism and Labour movements need to “vigorously rebrand” themselves as well.

  10. Wairua 10

    Welcome to The Standard, QoT.

    What is your take on Assange ?


    • weka 10.1

      Leaving aside Assange (hopefully, and particularly because that article isn’t about Assange), Slutwalk London (or at least the person who made the statement) are political fools who have just done serious damage to Slutwalk internationally and the little headway women have gained in challenging rape culture. They should immediately make another statement clarifying that they have no position on Assange, and express support for women who report rape.

      Harking back to our earlier conversations on TS, there’s a great comment in that Guardian article

      There is a sharp and deepening fault line on what can be loosely termed “the left” at the moment. It’s been visible in Occupy camps/movements, it stalks the atheist/skeptic community and it’s an endemic problem within many (if not most) liberal fandoms. The problem seems to be that the sexual autonomy of women – and the right of women to sexual autonomy – has come as a vast and unpleasant surprise to a lot of men who had always thought they supported it. In principle.

      It’s very easy to condemn rape in the abstract. Everyone does it, even George Galloway. But to actually get down to brass tacks and say: this man who I admire may have done something terrible, and my commitment to women’s sexual autonomy means I must condemn him? That’s hard work.

      We’ve been lauding and admiring prominent men for literally all of recorded history. We’ve been lauding and admiring sexually autonomous women for exactly never. So for many people the choice between Assange and his accusers comes down to instinct. It’s the cognitive dissonance between their stated beliefs about rape and their actual beliefs about this or that particular rapist that makes them so vicious though. Or in Slutwalk London’s case, simply incoherent and a tiny bit pitiful.


      • weka 10.1.1

        Here’s Slutwalk London’s statement (in case it disappears)

        We support Women Against Rape. We think Assange should be prosecuted, just that he should not be extradited to Sweden because it is likely he will then be extradited to the US and treated the same as Bradley Manning. We are not saying the women lied or that they should not get justice. But we think he should stand trial here. It is pretty clear the authorities are not pursuing Assange because of the rape allegations. Look at how the authorities treat rape victims – they don’t give a damn. 93 out of every 100 reported rapists go free. Also, look at how the UK acted when Spain requested that Pinochet be extradited. Pinochet (a Chilean dictator) was responsible for the death, rape and torture of thousands of people, crimes far greater than Assange’s. But the UK government denied Spain’s extradition request and let Pinochet go free – because they didn’t care about the people who died because of Pinochet just as they do not care about these women. The pursuit of Assange is not about protecting rape victims or anyone else. They want him to be extradited to the US to face trial and be imprisoned there so he can’t expose what the US government does anymore. We can’t let this happen because the things Wikileaks exposed will help stop wars and the rape and murder they bring happen in future. Let him stand trial here.


      • Bill 10.1.2

        I can’t see the damage. They support him being tried on the allegations made against him.

        But they don’t support his extradition.

        Fair enough, no?

        • weka

          Did you have a look at the Guardian article? There’s a pretty good explanation there. Also, have a close look at the differences between the statement put out by the Swedish group Women Against Rape (who challenged the political manipulation of rape) and Slutwalk London (who mangled the issues in order to support Assange). Big difference. 

          Slutwalk London shouldn’t be taking a side on the Assange issue, because the  discussions about Assange internationally have overwhelmingly supported rape culture. There is a direct conflict between challenging rape culture and supporting Assange (if you are an anti-rape group). If I’d been on the walk and they’d issued that statement I’d be spitting tacks. 

    • QoT 10.2

      I pretty much don’t want to go there, Wairua … because that’s not what the post is about but as soon as the topic gets raised around The Standard we end up with gigantic rape-apologising comment threads.

      The short answer is, I think the description of his actions, as reported by his own lawyers, constitutes rape; and I usually assume, in any conversation, that anyone who starts talking about “women just changing their minds” and “they’d already had sex with him so it can’t be rape” and “honeypots” is probably not someone I want to be alone in a room with.

      On SlutWalk? I’ve been on two, in Wellington, but the “movement” itself is rife with issues, which is always going to happen with any organic/decentralised group.

      • Kotahi Tāne Huna 10.2.1

        Just a minor point that hasn’t seemed to register: his lawyer was summarising the allegations against him, not verifying them. I have pointed this out to you before.

        Beyond that I think he should go and face the allegations, even if that means being kidnapped and taken to the USA.

        PS: my last word on the subject in this thread.

        • Colonial Viper

          Swedish authorities should question him and proceed with charges if appropriate. Also the US should come forward and declare whether or not they have already secretly charged him with any extraditable crimes (e.g. via a so-called sealed indictment).

          • BloodyOrphan

            It’s an odd case really, his celebrity status is his only real evasive defense.
            I think as a person he’s a shallow flippant denialist with an inferiority complex,
            Trying to emulate a mythical creature that changed the world.
            Without Media coverage it’d be dealt with by now, there’s no denying his blatant dis regard for human lives, those soldiers job does not make them targets of shots from the people they defend.

            They put their lives on the lines for his sake as much as anyone else, and true justice would be him understanding what he did too those those good soldiers hearts, by releasing that information.

            Justice for other things he’s done, will probably remain unanswered, but they could throw him in prison for it, that’d be a good start.

            • Draco T Bastard

              They put their lives on the lines for his sake as much as anyone else, and true justice would be him understanding what he did too those those good soldiers hearts, by releasing that information.

              Wikileaks has not released any information which would endanger the lives of soldiers – only information that embarrassed governments.

              As this is O/T I’ll leave it there.

            • Colonial Viper

              there’s no denying his blatant dis regard for human lives, those soldiers job does not make them targets of shots from the people they defend.

              They put their lives on the lines for his sake as much as anyone else, and true justice would be him understanding what he did too those those good soldiers hearts, by releasing that information.

              Oh fuck off, what you have written here is total nonsense. The military powers that be didn’t invade Iraq and Afghanistan, or bomb Libya, for us, or for Assange.

              Don’t try and make out that we’re somehow better off after America etc decided to spend hundreds of billions on these wars and on war materiels, instead of their own citizens.

              • So you support the Fuckwit Julian Assange do ya.
                Fair enough, bud.
                It was the UN who asked for the coalition, and the UN could order them out at any point.
                I can gaurantee ya anonymous hates the cat by now.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Support Assange? Actually I was just pointing out how bullshit your comment was. Now you’re trying to blame the UN for Cheney and Rumsfeld’s war? And that the UN could have ordered the end of the US occupation at any time?


              • Vicky32

                Don’t try and make out that we’re somehow better off after America etc decided to spend hundreds of billions on these wars and on war materiels, instead of their own citizens.


        • QoT

          This is true, KTH, but nevertheless those are his lawyers’ words, and any statements by his lawyers, who also came up with the “honeypot” defence, are hardly going to be the most alleger-friendly or critical summaries of the case.

          • BloodyOrphan

            Ultimately he’s a drug rapist, and because of prohibition the case is having trouble.
            Those girls should just fess up to the drug culture he used to entrap them.
            He may not be provably guilty of rape, but banned narcotics would be just as pertinent in the long run.

          • Kotahi Tāne Huna

            QoT agreed.

  11. Big huggs Welcome QoT! 🙂

  12. Colonial Viper 12

    I agree that Labour must push beyond strictly financial arguments into the realm of political-economics. That is after all, the realm which gives the “old white dudes” their wealth and power, and keeps them there. If you want to change that in a serious way then the political-economics of this country must be changed in a serious way.

    In 2008 New Zealanders voted overwhelmingly for a National line up with only 2 women in their top 14. The highest ranked of which (Collins) was a miserable 7th.

    Labour in comparison had women in positions 2, 5, 6, and 9.

    And in 2008 (and 2011) National is the way that an awful lot of women voted, too.

    Of course feminism is not a facile kind of numbers game. But it demonstrates that the electorate was (and still is) looking for much much more from Labour. What pray tell? IMO it is the total set of values and VISION that voters are looking for. The big picture and the leadership to get there. Smile and wave only works in the absence of gutsy solid alternative visions. Yes, the concepts of feminism defnitely need to contribute. But for Labour the big picture must absolutely be about changing the socio-economic and political-economic future of the country, especially for the bottom 80% of New Zealanders. And I do not see that big picture yet, and certainly not much of any kind of political-economic “left wing” one.

    • karol 12.1

      ,i>But for Labour the big picture must absolutely be about changing the socio-economic and political-economic future of the country,

      I certainly agree that we need to change the political-economic and socio-economic system.

      But if you’re saying that this is more important than “feminist” issues, or issues of gender and sexuality?….. well isn’t this just repeating the existing gender hierarchy of interests, where the economy is guy’s stuff, an the most important stuff we deal with….. and the stuff of feminist identity politics is secondary?

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        well isn’t this just repeating the existing gender hierarchy of interests, where the economy is guy’s stuff, an the most important stuff we deal with

        I imagine in my mind that you are a capable and experienced individual. Qualified? A parent perhaps? With a professional background? So you know that it is possible to work on several different goals in a given week. And that if you do it the right way, they will all serve to reinforce each other.

        where the economy is guy’s stuff

        IMO it has to be regarded as the political economy. And if women are fully involved in politics and in business, the political economy can never be regarded as just “guy’s stuff”. (Unless you have a cadre of women who despite external appearances essentially think and act like ‘Old White Dudes’ in reinforcing the ‘Old White Dudes’ system of course).

        Secondly, achieving an equitable distribution of income, capital and influence across society (including women) is more important to the progress of feminist identity politics (again, IMO) than just about anything else. What we definitely don’t want to occur in the coming energy/resource descent is a reversion to feudal tendencies. Which we can see shadows of now, around the world. That’s clearly not going to be great for feminist identity politics.

        Finally, as I am sure it is clear, my interest is primarily in the political economic direction of the Labour Party.

  13. weka 13

    Great to see you on the team QoT, and looking forward to you posts and the discussions they engender.

  14. captain hook 14

    this morning in the Dompost:
    “any woman who competes against men is lacking ambition”
    Timothy Leary.
    anyway the importance of fmeinism is that their postions come complete with hidden or overt logic and it is the logic that is important.

    • Jokerman 14.1

      I lost my identity card.
      I have to write out my curriculum vitae
      all over again for many offices, one copy to God
      and one to the devil. I remember
      the photo taken thirty-three years ago
      at a wind-scorched junction in the Negev.

      My eyes were prophets then, but my body has no idea
      what was happening to it or where it belonged.

      You often say, this is the place,
      This happened right here, but it’s not the place,
      you just think so and live in error,
      an error whose eternity is greater
      than the eternity of truth.

      As the years go by, my life keeps filling up with names
      like abandoned cemeteries
      or like an absurd history class
      or a telephone book in a foreign city.

      And death is when someone keeps calling you
      and calling you
      and you no longer turn around to see who it is.

      -Yehuda Amichai

  15. kiwi_prometheus 15

    More fantasy fiction from Queen Of Man Haters.

    Feminism is not about fairness and equal treatment for all. Its just another ideology pushing the barrow of a certain interest group namely females [ that buy into it ], presumably that’s why it is called Feminism not something else, and that is the opposite of fairness and equality.

    Feminism as an ideology is a shambolic mess. What have we got? – Liberal Feminism, Radical Feminism, Marxist Feminist, Cultural Feminism, Deconstructionist Feminism.

    One feminist shrieks hysterically about porno as objectification of women, the next one squeals that the sex industry be completely deregulated as it is the embodiment of female power and liberation. 🙄

    They are as flaky as any born again Jesus freak I’ve bumped into. I’ve posted quotes from the founding mothers of the ideology before – those women are certifiable – do I need to post them again?

    The Left does not need the Man Haters.

    Its ironic but not surprising all the soothing cooing noises QoT gets from her groupies on here.
    Yet else where on this site there is constant hand wringing about why oh why can’t Labour engage that disaffected 30%ish who are switched off .

    When the options are A) Rich Smug Jerk or B) Team Power Girls!, who can blame them.

    If QofT can have a racist ageist rave on here about old white guys being to blame for everything wrong in the world then I can have ago at the flaky ideology of man hating, bull dykes with an axe to grind, right?

    Funny how QofT dishes it out but can’t take it. Some tough girl. 🙄

    [lprent: She already has allowed it. Authors can moderate their own posts if they wish to. Most just let the usual mods do it. But the ability is there. And I have never noticed QoT to lack an ability to defend her views. She also isn’t as formulaic as you always appear to be.

    You do rather sound like a drone ignited only when someone pushes a red chilli up your arse. I guess that explains your handle. I am sure QoT will assist. ]

    • What are you trying to say with all this bud?
      Why the recurring nightmare?
      People are different, is all I can say to that stuff.
      Not much hand wringing here bud, maybe transference is an issue?
      Apparently Labour is rockin the polls, not surprising, they think it through.
      Ya should go down to a feminist rally and ask them for a slogan too shout along with them, let it all out bud, scream it.
      Don’t take it the wrong way bud, but big huggs is better than anything when it comes to friendship.

      • kiwi_prometheus 15.1.1

        “People are different”

        Wow, thats really insightful, hope you got lots more of those!

        Do you provide similar dumbed down aphorisms when the issue of failed neo liberal economics and Globalistation pop up, for example?

        • BloodyOrphan

          Na I shoot from the hip buddy, what’s ur excuse?
          (PS Please don’t research this answer)
          ru trying to connect with someone or express yourself at the cost of others.
          Because I hear both.
          It aint dumbing down if it’s concise, all I’m doing is summarising u.
          Ur actually yelling at a minority group, not every woman on the planet etc ….
          No different from the maori plight.

      • kiwi_prometheus 15.1.2

        “Don’t take it the wrong way bud, but big huggs is better than anything when it comes to friendship.”

        Thanks for the advice, Dr Phil.

    • blue leopard 15.2


      It pays to understand a subject prior to condemning it.
      All you are doing here is expressing an emotive reaction to something you clearly have no understanding of.
      I suggest that you do some research.

      Try and think of “white male paradigm” as describing a mentality and not making a criticism of all men. If you don’t adhere to this paradigm you are less of a person; Older, white men included.

      Most men are as oppressed by this paradigm as female, brown, red, yellow people are.

      Our culture is not appreciating the diversity we contain.
      This is a great loss to all.

      Thats my understanding of the subject anyway.

      • kiwi_prometheus 15.2.1

        “Our culture is not appreciating the diversity we contain.”

        Whats that got to do with Feminism? As I have pointed out Feminism is only about one thing, the narrow interests of a specific group.

        Like most ideologies the rhetoric does not match the behaviour , or the outcomes if that ideology achieves hegemony.

        • blue leopard

          “Whats that got to do with Feminism?
          I posted my thoughts already as to what I think it has to do with feminism.

          This included my thoughts on how a philosophy such as feminism can include benefit all other than those who adhere to the very limiting belief system of our current orthodoxy.

      • kiwi_prometheus 15.2.2

        “I suggest that you do some research.

        Try and think of “white male paradigm” as describing a mentality and not making a criticism of all men. ”

        I suggest that you do some research.

        Try to think of “ideological driven females with a big chip on their shoulder ” as describing a mentality and not making a criticism of all women.

        • blue leopard


          “Try to think of “ideological driven females with a big chip on their shoulder ” as describing a mentality and not making a criticism of all women.”

          I didn’t think you were making a criticism of all women
          I thought you were making an uninformed emotive response to something which I think has advantages for more than solely women.

          I suggest that you read my response to Weka too

      • weka 15.2.3

        “I suggest that you do some research.”

        Nah, k_p has been doing more than enough research. He understands the issues well enough. He just resents any serious attempt at challenging the white boy hegemony. Hence all his well-researched arguments are intentionally designed to undermine feminism and feminists (and women) rather than addressing the actual issues in an open, intelligent way. He is full of hate. There is no point in talking to that.

        • blue leopard

          I don’t think k_p’s arguments are well researched at all and cannot see how you could say that. He shows very little comprehension as to the aims of feminism and prefers to quote a poor expression of it, probably out of some bad personal experiences of it.

          “He is full of hate”
          Yes sounds like it.

          And this is why I suggest k_p do some research. I acknowledge that any ideology which is expressed by someone with seriously unresolved rage is hard to swallow and extremely off putting, if he did some research he might stop doing the self same activity himself.

    • NickS 15.3


      There’s only one thing worth saying to you, given your “rich” history of bullshit, lies and outright stupidity:

      [Deleted; not needed.. RL]

      • weka 15.3.1

        Damn, I was about to +1 that sentiment. 

        Instead, let’s all watch k_p derail the thread with another series of misogynistic rants.  

      • kiwi_prometheus 15.3.2

        ^ Just goes to show how entrenched Feminist ideology has infiltrated the Left, any one who speaks up gets mobbed.

        The Left needs to rediscover its Humanist philosphy, not take on board Feminist ideology.

        • weka

          There’s only one person in this thread doing any mobbing.

        • BloodyOrphan

          u should replace “The Left” with people, always pigeonholing people.
          In the sights after that ….. bang bang ….. “see I understand and disagree loudly”
          Reply if u dare, to the mighty mythical god Prometheus
          (For everyone else that reads this, this is sarcasm)
          I defend those people for a reason KP.
          They have as much right to exist as u, find something else that’s dysfunctional would ya, we all know abuot this one, and we call them our firends for a reason, we want to help.

          • kiwi_prometheus

            “we want to help.”

            The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

            Which could be a fitting epigraph for the tombstones of all political ideologies after they have past.

          • OneTrack

            But it is quite ok to pigeonhole people on the right as “the Right” or “the Tories” or “the RWNJs” or “the evil ones”, etc. But thats different of course.

            • Colonial Viper

              Sure its OK. What’s the problem with calling a Tory a Tory? In the UK they even call themselves that!

              • OneTrack

                Yeah but they don’t call themselves Tories here. And whenever the word Tory is used by someone on the “left” in NZ, it isn’t generally being used as a simple noun. And colourful adjectives also aren’t left out.

              • McFlock

                onetrack doesn’t get that saying “the left think X” lumps in a large mix of people who think X to greater or lesser degrees, or even disagree with X but have a lot of other beliefs in common. Whereas tories all have a basic belief in common – get what you can, and screw the other guy. Otherwise they wouldn’t be “tories”.
                I’d be intrigued to see if OT could name a similar common “left” motive that necessarily leads to specific policies on e.g. tax and social services.

                • OneTrack

                  Here’s just two:

                  “Big” government that leads to higher taxes.
                  More government ownership that leads to much less responsiveness to market forces which itself leads to high levels of inefficiency and/or, worse still, ineffectiveness.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    1) Higher taxes of the right kind allow money to be recycled back into communities, instead of being hoarded by the wealthy.

                    2) Private enterprise is just as ineffective and inefficient; indeed harmful private enterprises known as banks have needed trillions in bail out funds from…you guessed it, governments.

                    • Point 2 would scream the need for more government “Oversight” of the “Free Market”.

                      The exact thing they don’t want us to do, think about SCF and those people in christchurch.

                      Why would any civilised government in the world do that to themselves?

                      Literally robbing their country of it Tax dollars, purely because they can’t do simple accounting when it counted the most and those debts have bleed everyones bank accounts dry.

                  • McFlock

                    Anarchists would disagree with both. Others would also believe that in the case of near-monopoly conditions (such as energy and water supply) “responsiveness to market forces ” is a myth you tell yourself to justify making them inaccessible for the poor.
                    So fail on both counts. 

                    • OneTrack

                      I gave you examples of what you asked for. At least CV argues why he thinks they are the right thing to do. Except, CV, a problem I have is that high taxes can be/have been used to basically bribe the electorate in order to keep a party in power. And there is apparently no consequences to them of doing that. Except the country falls further behind.

                      Anarchists? Who can take them seriously? All closet communists in hip clothing playing politics. And then they grow up.

                    • McFlock

                      I asked for motives/beliefs for “the left” that were held in as near universal regard by people in “the left” as self-interest at the expense of others in for tories.
                      Both examples you came up with lead to great debate here – some go for big government and large-scale public ownership, others more community-oriented approaches to the public good.  
                      So neither are examples universal among, or defining of, “the left”.  

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Except, CV, a problem I have is that high taxes can be/have been used to basically bribe the electorate in order to keep a party in power.

                      Sure, if you count building a strong robust egalitarian society and looking after the wellbeing of your citizens properly as “bribery”. You know, instead of leaving people and their families to be crushed by a free market who doesn’t give a fuck about them.

                  • mike e

                    Old Timer The US is classic example states that have high Taxes have lower unemployment and growth!
                    States that have low taxes and low minimum wages have high unemployment and decline!
                    So that evidence blows your lies out of the water!
                    Austerity and low tax for the well off the rights medicine for all economic woes doesn’t work One track Find some examples and tell us no other right wing nut job has found a country or state yet that meet your fairy story theory!
                    Estonia doesn’t count race to the bottom 3rd world wages!

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    1.) Higher taxes on high income groups are essential so as to keep the economy moving without massive private debt ballooning into unsustainability as we’ve just seen
                    2.) The people are the government. Democratic control of the commons will bring about better efficiency than any amount of privatisation. In fact, privatisation brings about the dead weight loss of profit (see 1).

                    BTW, The market is a social construct – not a natural phenomena like gravity.

                • OneTrack

                  I still think its great that you complain about what the right say about lefties but you are happy to put all the righties in a single pigeonhole – right of who? Attila the Hun, Maggie Thatcher, Rodney Hide, Helen Clark, John Key, David Shearer, You. A wide range of viewpoints and you would just describe them as “the right” aka the enemy. Yeah, real impressive.

                  • McFlock

                     Wow – talk about having a conversation with yourself.
                    Would you like an answer, or have you climaxed already? 

                    • Oops I thought that was for me …. sorry Mistress 🙁
                      I need restraints Mistriss 🙁
                      Thankyou Mistress, I feel better now 😛

                    • McFlock

                      lol – all blog conversations have an open membership 🙂

                    • She said Ok, but be home by midnight!, and clean urself up first.
                      Then she told me too take the handcuffs back 😛
                      (*sigh*) I’m dizzy.

                      And yes I did Mistress 😛 ^
                      Can I put my cards on the table Mistress?
                      (*pout*) , “I’m Luva Boy” and I’m 43.

                    • I mean it McFlock, I’m wonewy ,
                      but I torture easy, not a good combo sometimes.
                      Qot can’t even talk to me (*sigh*)
                      I don’t mean too upset yas.

        • blue leopard

          Hey k_p,

          You can call it mobbed, or you can call it trying to debate the points.

          …or is it that you wish to express your opinion and not have others’ express theirs?

        • Bill

          Humanist. That’s a good start kp. But maybe we should narrow that down a bit, eh? I mean, surely not all of humanity should be counted as ‘in’. So okay, let’s get rid of feminists and feminism. So now we might be getting somewhere. That’s good. But what about those pesky ethnic/cultural peeps who keep banging on about rascism? Meh – not allowed. Gone!

          Hmm. Getting comfortable in here. What we got? We got ‘white’ and we got ‘male’. Done!

          But what about those white’ and ‘male’ values that underpin and reinforce rightful dominance? They ought to be ‘in’, dont you think?

          Oh look, we’re arriving.

          Proper humanity is white and male and values ‘stuff’ and power and prestige. So maybe we need to elevate beancounters and beancounterism to keep those values front and center stage. White and male beancounters – obviously! And now we truly have it. The highest and only worthwhile expression of humanity – homo economicus – firmly embedded in a wonderful patriarchy promoting and protecting white male values.

          Life’s good!

        • NickS


          The Left needs to rediscover its Humanist philosphy, not take on board Feminist ideology.


          Humanism includes feminism, heck, you can’t have humanism without considering feminist issues and still call it humanism, as feminism is one of the many focused areas of human rights that humanism should and generally does deal with. Unless you’re incapable of critical thinking, and somehow can’t notice the rather large contradiction in trying to remove feminism from humanism. Like certain old (and not so old) white dudes in the sceptic community…

          And cupcake, humanism is also an ideology and a philosophy and feminism is as well, sop trying to make humanism look more legitimate via disingenuous framing once more shows once more how full of bullshit you are.

          Also, frankly if anything you’re an anti-humanist given your constant attempts to shit on the human rights of groups and identities you consider illegitimate, such as homosexuals or teh poor etc. Thus, a “what the fuck?” is fully in order.

          • QoT

            To be honest, Nick, I think the vast majority of anti-feminists who whine “but why can’t we call it HUMANISM???” are actually unaware that there’s already an existing philosophy with that name.

        • Lou

          “I can have ago at the flaky ideology of man hating, bull dykes with an axe to grind”

          thats not really ‘speaking up’, thats just being an ass

      • NickS 15.3.3

        [Deleted; not needed.. RL]


        Awwww, but as I’m a mod elsewhere, oh well /shrug

        [As you well know pointless abuse merely derails a thread and is an automatic lose in the debate. Is that what you want? ..RL]

        • NickS

          [As you well know pointless abuse merely derails a thread and is an automatic lose in the debate. Is that what you want? ..RL]

          and hasn’t picked up a damn thing, well, negative social reinforcement becomes more viable than spending time to educate them.

          Although my lurking on Free Thought Blogs and the recent issues with the misogynistic douchebags over Atheism+ and other issues has probably lowered my tolerance for k_p’s particular brand of bullshit /coughcough

          • NickS

            Crap, something went wrong there.

            It should start off with “If a douchebag poster has a) large number of posts and b) been given constructive criticism with varying levels of snark…”

            • Vicky32

              “If a douchebag

              I love the way this particular asinine Americanism has taken over here, especially coming from a (supposedly) feminist man…
              The phenomenon of the feminist (mostly teenage) man amuses me. By and large, men are focused more on sex than women are. Feminist men fixate on the sexual aspects of feminism (lesbianism, abortion for all, all the time) because, well, it’s all very stimulating, hey?
              Linguistic aspects, equal rights to work and leisure, etc, not so much.

              • Draco T Bastard

                By and large, women are focused more on sex than men are.


              • NickS


                A douche is a douche is a douche.

                If you can’t get your mind out of the gutter, that’s firmly your problem cupcake, and frankly, I find the word far nicer to use and far shorter than “disingenuous misogynistic fuckwit”.

                And this:

                Feminist men fixate on the sexual aspects of feminism (lesbianism, abortion for all, all the time) because, well, it’s all very stimulating, hey?


                Try thinking about context please, like say the topicality of things vis what’s occurring in the news/politics. Instead of a rather fucking sad gender stereotype.

                • Vicky32

                  A douche is a douche is a douche.

                  First, don’t call me cup-cake. (Sexist jerk!) 😀
                  Second, do you have any idea what a douche is, half-wit? Why use American lexis anyway, are you an American, or a half-educated New Zealander? Either way, it hampers communication when you use a jarring stupid Americanism, and I have to try to get past the sexist use of it, and accept you as a feminist! (But it seems that you think feminism is only about abortion, so you don’t care about the educational or language aspects of it – natural if you’re an American, but hey, do get educated about these things!)
                  I know QoT has banned me from her post, but she’s not the boss as far as I know – yet!

                  • QoT

                    Vicky, I am the author of this post. I have mod powers now. But believe me, I am more than happy to let you continue to embarrass yourself (you trying to laugh at me for having “ownership issues” about my own thread is still funny, by the way).

                    A douche is something people insert, usually into their vaginas, to clean them. They are basically worthless, unscientific tools of the patriarchy designed to send women the message that they are worthless unless they’re damaging themselves to please men.

                    Sounds like a perfect description of you, frankly.

                    Since you came back, I’m pretty sure that means you owe me $5, given you still can’t actually prove there are any “young feminists” who think feminism is “only about abortion”.

                    • Alice

                      Kicking back, maybe do some art, maybe go to the gym.

                    • Jokerman


                    • QoT

                      Apologies all, I am but a new mod and stuffed up trying to edit one of Vicky’s hilarious responses!

                      Here it is:

                      A douche is something people insert, usually into their vaginas, to clean them

                      I know that, you know that, but does little Nicky know that? You totally missed my point. It’s a teenage insult, one he probably (unless he is an American) learned from American TV. Why do all New Zealanders use American lexis? Have they no pride in their own country?
                      I owe you nothing. I gave you a for instance, and if you don’t like it, tough.
                      Try banning me. Replying on your post isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a banning offence, diddums.

                      My apologies once more. But Vicky, do try to read the Policy some time, because “attacking post authors” and “arguing that we have no right to ban you” are in fact listed as bannable offences.

                      So, in light of my boo-boo, consider this an actual warning and go back to Open Mike where you may continue to beg for my attention as much as you like.

                    • Populuxe1

                      I must have missed the bit in feminist theory that says it’s ok to use hierarchy and other patriarchal tactics to bully other women into silence, even if they are annoying.

                    • QoT

                      I must have missed the bit where responding in kind to abuse from Vicky constitutes “bullying”. To be blunt, Pop, it’s not my fault she’s stupid enough to keep attacking a post author despite previous warnings – not even from me, mind you – not to do so.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I have mod powers now.

                      Oh Grod. 😎

                      [lprent: Authors have mod rights on their own posts. Usually they learn fairly rapidly to use them with extreme care because the resulting dozens or even hundreds of comments discussing the use of those rights frequently detracts from the whole point of their post.. 😈 I tend to view this as being a rapidly self-balancing system…

                      Of course going overboard on it often results in whole threads going to openmike and/or holiday time being created. ]

                    • weka

                      I didn’t realise feminists have to be nice to people all the time, even when someone is giving them shit. Sounds familiar though.

                    • NickS


                      Oh Grod. 😎

                      It could be worse, I could have mod powers.

                      Seriously, there’d be metaphorical body parts aplenty and butt hurt whinging in the Open Mike as I cackle maliciously sitting on a throne made of troll skeletons.

                      Hmmmn, should recover my author login actually /muwahahahaha

                  • What is about those people that make you talk to them and not me 🙁 ?
                    Is it my Alias?
                    Maybe I need to be more ?”Fucking Right Wing”?
                    U people think I’m nuts dont ya,
                    Only the other oldeeeze’ like me talk to me.
                    I sit in silense on a Blogg site (*sigh*)
                    🙂 Bless yas!

                  • NickS


                    First, don’t call me cup-cake. (Sexist jerk!)


                    Act like a cupcake, get called a cupcake and if you don’t like, get back to your hugbox or, you know, actually be self-aware enough to critically examine your own preconceptions* and work out why what you’re saying is so damn wrong.

                    And yeah, if you’d taken my previous advice about “thinking before posting” you might have been able to use ye olde “theory of mind” to intuit that I may very well be fully aware of what a douche is. Per prior examples of me being somewhat rather aware of feminism and stuff within the feminist community**.

                    So yeah, think moar please, or be mocked/cluebatted.

                    Yours, Nickykins

                    * I haz depressive episodes for that, not recommended.
                    ** Including the ever depressing transphobia present /sigh

                    • weka

                      Interesting link. Do you know where that usage originates?

                    • NickS

                      The Pharyngula blog comment threads 😉

                      Might be older, given the rich histories of snarky feminist groups on live-journal and some of the older feminist blogs, but pharyngula is where it seems to have been deployed rather visibly 😛

                    • Vicky32

                      Act like a cupcake

                      Oh a Pharyngula fan, I ought to have known! But not being in the habit of frequenting his masturbatory blog, I was not familiar with this particular piece of idiocy..
                      First, baby boy, I was doing feminism when you were not even a thought in your father’s mind let alone a twinkle etc. I am not anti-feminist. I am anti-faux-feminist, and  almost all ‘feminist’ men are faux-feminists (almost by definition).
                      Your wounded ego shows all over your sad little post. Your stupid remark about “theory of mind” leads me to say ‘pot, kettle, black’. 
                      You’ve spent too much time at University, and not enough time thinking. Bet you vote Green! 🙂
                      Oh, and BTW, not a troll, babykins. Your mentor QoT has declared me one, and any day now, she’ll perma-ban me, and guess how much I’ll care? Ironically, in light of how much I despise Americans, I am getting some sympathy for their whole “free speech” thing, and in view of the general adoration of all things American shown by Standardistas in general and you in particular, I consider it very ironic that Standard authors and moderators generally don’t go in much for the whole freedom of speech idea.
                      PS – could you remind your mentor that I’d like a link to her blog? I want to see how badly she has mis-quoted me…

                      [lprent: Common misinterpretation. The freedom of speech thing in the US does not mean that you can speak anywhere you damn well please. That is a common and rather strange myth. What it covers is that you can’t be prevented by the governments or states from using a existing forum (ie if you follow their rules) or to create a forum to speak in. There is no requirement for a newspaper or radio station, or TV station to give you space. It just means that the state is restricted from restricting you if the operators of those resources are willing to let you have access. As it happens, we follow that precept pretty closely http://thestandard.org.nz/about/#you_must

                      Have you read this page? We must do nothing. The posters post on the topics they want to (with a few limitations from the sysop). If you really absolutely want your ideas to be heard, then start a blog and start learning to write. You can probably find a more compatible blog on our blogroll. Or you can comment on the posts that our posters write and follow our rather lenient rules.

                      We consider that the freedom of our authors to speak on their own blog without having their message drowned out to be more important than everything apart from the freedom of sysops (ie the prospect of being tied up in court without a bloody good reason doesn’t fill me with joy). That has been the stated policy of this site since just after it started.

                      In practice we don’t constrain much in OpenMike. We do in posts by authors about specific topics and the authors generally set those constraints (with some limits from me and the other authors because we want discussion on the topic of the post).

                      But we set the rules. As you are aware, trying to make up your own rules about how we should run this site tends to get sharp response about who runs the site. ]
                      [QoT: And Vicky? Besides that little lesson from lprent, you are not getting any more comments published on my posts. Just like you wanted.]

    • fatty 15.4

      “Feminism as an ideology is a shambolic mess. What have we got? – Liberal Feminism, Radical Feminism, Marxist Feminist, Cultural Feminism, Deconstructionist Feminism.”

      Yeah, duh. Like all ideologies, it is plural. The capitalist ideology is plural too.
      It doesn’t make it flaky, or the people that subscribe to it flaky. It just means there are differing opinions and focuses, but they all fit under an umbrella label.

      “When the options are A) Rich Smug Jerk or B) Team Power Girls!, who can blame them.”

      Only a smug jerk would reduce the options to those. I fit in another one.

      • kiwi_prometheus 15.4.1

        “Like all ideologies, it is plural.”

        No they aren’t. Conservatism is Conservatism, Liberalism is Liberalism.

        In fact maybe there really is no such thing as Feminist ideology?

        Maybe its a minor element, an appendage -> “feminist Radicalism”, “feminist Liberalism”, “feminist Deconstructionism” even “feminist Conservatism” re Ma Thatcher?

        How ironic that “feminism” should be built on the ideas and vision of men.

        • fatty

          Religious conservatism, right wing conservatism, social conservatism, economic conservatism.
          How ironic that all of these should be built on the notion of being conservative.

          Neo-liberalism, classical liberalism, social liberalism, etc
          How ironic that these should be built on the concept of liberal.

          They are labels, stretch your mind beyond your limits of fixity, its not that hard.
          I don’t get your point.

    • QoT 15.5

      If QofT can have a racist ageist rave on here about old white guys being to blame for everything wrong in the world then I can have ago at the flaky ideology of man hating, bull dykes with an axe to grind, right?

      You’d really have to take that up with lprent, k_p.

      Oh wait, but that would mean putting yourself up for even more of the rejection and scorn that you get every time you comment here.

      And it would mean getting a harsh lesson in the fact that your “freedom of speech” sadly does not extend to freedom of criticism, nor freedom to occupy other people’s spaces and yell at them.

      You can tell I can “take it”, because … well, you’re still here, aren’t you?

      Yours sincerely,

      Team Power Girl

    • QoT 15.6

      Also, please do post your hilarious “quotes from the founding mothers of the ideology”. I’ll happily respond with yet another link to a post destroying their credibility. Yours, alas, is probably done for already.

      • NickS 15.6.1


        I <3 manboobz.

        Most of the time.

        Sometimes it's just to damn depressing 🙁

        • QoT

          Oh yes. And sometimes he brings a bit of fail, so I go on and off reading it, but when it comes to doing the hard yards on tr**l sp*m like this he’s fantastic.

  16. ianmac 16

    I asked my very elderly mother what she thought Feminism was. She said that it meant equality of opportunity regardless of gender.
    OK I said. In that case I am a Feminist. Some feminists have told me that as a male, I can’t be a Feminist. Only women can be. I wonder if that is a sexist response?

    • Yeah it is, it reflects a decision made subliminaly that feminine=woman.

    • NickS 16.2

      It is, but it’s one born of of reaction to direct and/or indirect oppression and constant pressure, plus regular issues with dudebros labelling themselves feminist, but not acting like a feminist. So it’s somewhat understandable, but frankly not really acceptable.

      And in general, however using this as as a legitimate reason to troll certain feminists would be rather fucking douchy, if you have an issue with it, you can probably have a conversation about it. Albeit reading up on feminism101 will save time and frustration.

      And I’ll stop now before I start getting grumpy about transexual issues in feminism + ye olde science vs woo /shudder

    • QoT 16.3

      I wonder if that is a sexist response?

      Well, it depends, ian.

      Some feminists would argue that sexism, like racism, requires a power dyanmic, so no, it’s not sexist because women don’t have the power to control language or labels that way.

      Some feminists would argue that a member of the oppressing class can’t really be part of the movement. Some feminists would argue that a man shouldn’t try to take ownership of the movement by claiming to be part of it.

      Some feminists would insist on the term “ally”, and others would argue that we should spend less time on rubber-stamping other people’s “ally-hood” and more on the actual things those allies can do.

      Some feminists think all men should be hunted down and kept in camps. I don’t know any like this myself, but any movement is going to have its extremists who 99% of the rest of the movement reject.

      The long and short of it is that feminism isn’t a hivemind, so there’s no One True answer to your question. Except the one I’m sure k_p will be along to provide any second now.

      • ianmac 16.3.1

        Thanks QoT. I guess I see it in very simple terms. I, like most people just think that we all deserve equal opportunity regardless of gender. (My wife has become a better more sure driver than I, so she usually drives especially in foreign left hand drive countries.)

        • QoT

          Ian, I’m not entirely sure what your partner’s driving has to do with anything.

          The problem with “just thinking we all deserve equal opportunity” is that it simply isn’t that simple. It’s not enough to “just” be in favour of basic human rights. We need to understand there’s a big historic context to the current situation, that there’s a big and often coordinated backlash against our attempts to balance things, that there’s still a lot of unquestioned assumptions in our society which mean you can provide as much “opportunity” as you like, but some groups will still not have equal outcomes.

          And unless you subscribe to the idea that it’s just because [insert group] is lazy or unmotivated, that should be a concern for you.

    • Vicky32 16.4

      OK I said. In that case I am a Feminist

      That’s what feminism is supposed to be about ianmac! Your mother had it right, and the people who think it’s only about abortion are so wrong that it really hurts.

      • QoT 16.4.1

        Vicky, given this is my post, you are kindly invited to provide evidence of these mythical “younger” feminists who think feminism is “only about sex” or fuck off out of my comment thread.

        Bet you $5 you can’t.

        • Vicky32

          Bet you $5 you can’t.

          Oh dear, I should have known you’d have ownership issues with this thread! Poor diddums…
          F-ing off now. (Hint, take a look at your own fan club, Nick S for one, for an answer to your bet question.)

          • QoT

            Yes Vicky, I do have “ownership issues” with this thread, I wrote the bloody post, you complete spoon.

            And I’ll take your future absence from it as proof that you can’t actually cite any “young feminists” who “think it’s all about sex”, your pissy little jibe at NickS not exactly constituting much of an argument.

          • NickS


            (Nick makes-successful-saving-throw

            Avoids doing fifty:roll: post)

  17. ochocinco 17

    Surely what matters from a real socialist perspective is maximising utility generated, balancing that with equity (the standard deviation of utility would be a simple analogy), and voila: society solved.

    I also think a lot of these “niche groups” fail to understand that a socialist perspective is all about maximising benefit to the country. It’s not about individual rights (bentham would call them nonsense on stilits).

    When you start talking about “fundamental rights” and “fairness to all” you are verging uncomfortably close to a Libertarian/Objectivist view of the individual, rather than a socialist view that sees individuals as valuable only in their contribution to society.

    A convoy moves only as fast as its slowest ship.

    I believe we should treat women equally (I oppose “women drink free”, “door girls”, and believe that when a powerful man sleeps with a woman of lower structural power we actually have “structural rape” – same with money), but feminism and all “isms” can rapidly distract us from our central core of creating a more just socialist society.

    It’s like gay marriage, paid parental leave, and adoptions for gay parents. All of them are *right* in a moral sense but they are also distractions from our Schwerpunkt. And every good commander knows dispersal of effort leads to defeat

    • I inderstand where u r coming from but I’m gonna summarize ….

      “maximising” ….. “individuals” ….. “contribution to society”

      Enforced? or Educated?
      (Right/Lib) or (Left/Civilised)

    • Colonial Viper 17.2

      Thanks for this.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.3

      When you start talking about “fundamental rights” and “fairness to all” you are verging uncomfortably close to a Libertarian/Objectivist view of the individual, rather than a socialist view that sees individuals as valuable only in their contribution to society.

      Well, actually, no.

      Libertarians/Objectivists tend more to property rights rather than human rights. In fact they seem to get rather upset when it’s pointed out that human rights are more important than property rights. Don’t know about other socialists but I think individuals are valuable in and of themselves but I also think that they can’t exist without society. This means that individuals need to work to ensure that society survives the society then ensures that the individual survives.

      but feminism and all “isms” can rapidly distract us from our central core of creating a more just socialist society.

      Nope. Doing what you want (treat people as unimportant) would lead to an unjust society.

      BTW, Utilitarianism is a load of bollocks. It sounds good initially but it falls down once you think about it. In fact, modern neo-liberal economics is grounded in utilitarianism and you can see just how well that’s going.

      • Jokerman 17.3.1

        ” equity” is in there

      • ochocinco 17.3.2

        Wow, really?

        You DO know that utilitarianism is the foundation of socialist thought? Or were Hegel and Marx just names you once read about?

        • McFlock

          the reason it’s a “foundation” and not the totality is because it tends to fall down when you look at hypotheticals like the Sheriff vs Lynch Mob.

          • Jokerman

            now thats funny; you reap what you sow. (revenge is temporary, forgiveness and forgetting, PERMANENT)

        • Jokerman

          do not look back: stretch forward.
          Hegel; not so much

          Taoist thought yes. Angst? enjoy (not)

    • QoT 17.4

      but feminism and all “isms” can rapidly distract us from our central core of creating a more just socialist society

      Someone’s going to need to explain to me how this isn’t just a fancied-up version of Stuart Nash’s “focusing on the things that matter [to me]” doctrine.

      If you think acknowledging that some groups have been shat on in extra / different / intersecting ways by capitalism than others is a distraction, I personally feel you’re doing socialism wrong.

      • ochocinco 17.4.1

        I think a lot of socialists forget that socialism is willing to sacrifice 10,000 people so 10,001 can live.

        We are about building a better society, the greatest good for the greatest people. That means at time we will willingly accept a “tyranny of the majority.”

        Your view is what I would call individualist. You believe individuals have rights ; I disagree. I believe it is the collective identity (the nation since the Comintern was proven so wrong) that matters: New Zealand.

        I would love to see an entirely equal world with zero gender wage gap, legal gay marriage, and all that. Not because I’m passionate about it, but because it just seems to me to make sense (like straightening a crooked picture).

        But now? Do you REALLY think these are the burning issues of our times? Will legalising gay marriage reduce unemployment? Put food on table? Nobody is disputing these are rights but the world is four dimensional and the fourth dimension is time.

        The time for worrying about this is when capitalism has been destroyed. You focus on your enemy’s centre of gravity, not the sideshows. You focus your efforts and reinforce success, not failure.

        And yes, Nash was right. Smacking children lost us 2008. Legacies of nanny-statism lost us 2011. All of these shiny objects keep distracting us from our central goal

        • QoT

          Well then I guess I’m not a socialist, because fuck any ideology that treats people as mere numbers. Seeing as how that’s always kinda been my chief issue with, oh, capitalism.

          And by the way, ochocinco, the thinking demonstrated in your comment is the reason identity politic movements exist, because women and people of colour and every other group got fucking fed up with being told to wait at the back of the queue and keep making the coffee until the white boys had defeated their oppressor.

          • weka

            It’s kind of quaint seeing those ‘socialist’ ideas in 2012. They’re the reason that women left the socialist movements in droves in the late 60s and 70s. 

            • Colonial Viper

              And on the socio-economic side, with ever freer choice to choose any career path wanted, a massive excess labour situation developed in tandem with tens of thousands of jobs offshored or destroyed, depressing working wages. To now, where the reality for many women of the under class and working class, a full time job (or many part time jobs) is not a free choice but a desperately unavoidable necessity, and the chances are that in this system it’s shite jobs under shite managers for shite pay.

              And now you have very senior women in NZ like Rebstock, Bennett and Tolley smashing up other women, children and the under-class.


              The lesson is that it doesn’t matter whether or not women hold positions of power. Because the system demands that the needs and desire of financial capital and profits be served beyond all else.

              They’re the reason that women left the socialist movements in droves in the late 60s and 70s.

              Massively increased “work force flexibility”, to the applause of both big business and the newly minted neoliberal school of economic thought.

              • weka

                “And now you have very senior women in NZ like Rebstock, Bennett and Tolley smashing up other women, children and the under-class.

                You can’t hold feminism responsible for the old boys allowing women who will work to their agenda into the club. 

                Likewise, feminism isn’t responsible for the lack of economic freedom that so many women have. Would that feminism ever had that much power. 

                What you are talking about is the co-opting of women, again, for the capitalist agenda. 

                What feminism is talking about is not merely equality with men (in terms of pay or position), but radical rearrangement of society. This is not detrimental to socialism, but socialism’s antipathy towards diversity politics is a losing game.

                They’re the reason that women left the socialist movements in droves in the late 60s and 70s.

                Massively increased “work force flexibility”, to the applause of both big business and the newly minted neoliberal school of economic thought. 


                • Colonial Viper

                  Neoliberals loved the fact that women left the socialist movement in droves. And they also loved the fact that women entering the work force led to massive increases in excess available labour.

                  What feminism is talking about is not merely equality with men (in terms of pay or position), but radical rearrangement of society. This is not detrimental to socialism, but socialism’s antipathy towards diversity politics is a losing game

                  It’s easy to understand the antipathy, surely? Because socialists like myself recognise that you can keep making diversity politics wins, passing diversity politics legislation, gaining diversity politics rights and protections, and all the while the country slides ever more punitively to the Right, inequality grows and the poor get poorer and more downtrodden. Which is in fact what has been happening in NZ over the last 20 years.

                  Democratic socialism has very strong suggestions for the “radical rearrangement of society” and particularly for the reformation of the capitalist political economy we all live in. What are the main suggestions that feminism has for doing similar? I’m not aware of any such suggestions unique to feminism.

                  • karol

                    Democratic socialism has very strong suggestions for the “radical rearrangement of society” and particularly for the reformation of the capitalist political economy we all live in. What are the main suggestions that feminism has for doing similar? I’m not aware of any such suggestions unique to feminism.

                    Well, as most strains of feminism are positioned on the left, they don’t necessarily have suggestions that are totally separate from other left wing policies for reforming society – therefore not totally unique.

                    But radical feminism has called for the radically rearranging society:


                    Just off the top of my head, some feminists have called for a total revaluing of social structure around work and domestic relations eg so that child rearing is valued and the work system is focused on competitive careerism,. The patriarchal work/domestic split makes it hard for the majority of women to participate on equal terms with men – they have to balance the double shift of paid work and domestic responsibilities.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The idea of unpaid work whose value is not sufficiently recognised by capitalist systems is widely accepted throughout modern democratic socialist approaches.

                      In fact, social democracies of today even tend to have recognised that our natural environment provides capitalist systems and businesses with significant value which is not recognised and therefore taken for granted in current financial reporting (so called eco-systems services).

                      And at a guess, 10%-20% of stay at home parents are either men these days, or are working men with comparable domestic duties with their working partners.

                      My conclusion remains – the “radical rearrangement of society” of society that democratic socialist change calls for in government, in business and in communities would greatly advance feminist identity politics; somewhat less so the other way around.

                    • karol

                      [email protected]

                      The fact that things like unpaid work, male parenting etc, are on the social democratic agenda these days, owe a lot to (so-called) first second and third wave feminism.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Oh, no doubt. I don’t disagree. Just as social democracies have learnt and implemented a lot from the environmental/conservation movement.

    • Jokerman 17.5

      ochocinco- i like your style

      -Kind Regards (was worth persevering down the thread) 🙂

  18. OneTrack 18

    Except whenever what you are really talking about is tried in practice, it seems to turn out badly. Very badly, for all except a few.

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      What delicious irony. You’re describing the current debt based system of crony capitalism.

      • ochocinco 18.1.1

        And you don’t destroy that system through hippy love-ins, you destroy it through control of the corridors of power and the instituting of random terror against high-ranking capitalists.

        • Colonial Viper

          Non-violent civil disobedience/passive resistance only, and only if and when necessary dude.

          • Jokerman

            dear oh dear V. What can be done with “them” ? Off to the Gulag we guess.
            (fools rush in…)

            O, maybe RWNJ in drag.

            • Colonial Viper

              What can be done with them? Seeds need to be sown, crops harvested, cows milked. Plenty of work to go around.

    • QoT 18.2

      … explain how. Unless you’ve hit the wrong “reply” button, I’m struggling to think of any situation where “what I am really talking about” has actually been tried in practice.

  19. lprent 19

    QoT: It is great to see you with a login. I was almost excited when I was told. But as you are probably aware, old white dudes like myself are notoriously hard to get excited…

    But then I remembered the moderation duties like the young drone with a hot chilli fetish above. There is always a bright side though. I haven’t had much opportunity to exercise my nasty moderator skills recently. I was even moaning about it in the emails between editors.

    But I can now open the package of anti-misogynist satire and sarcasm. While I am sure that you and karol are perfectly capable of defending themselves, I suspect that you’d probably appreciate the deliberate lack of finesse I can bring to the subject of misogyny as part of my usual defense of authors.. 😈

  20. karol 20

    Excellent discussion (with one ore two inevitable bits of reactionary trawling) – just read it all.

    Refocuses me on some important issues. At an abstract level, I’m still trying to integrate my class politics with those of so-called “identity” politics, feminism LGBT issues etc. – though I’m not sure they need to be integrated.

    But, it is easier to do when dealing with specific issues.

    For instance, the current NZ government is very patriarchal, with a bunch of bully-boys in charge (especially the guy stuff of economy, finance, foreign affairs etc), and women pushed to the forefront to take the flak on “soft”, feminine” social issues.

    But Bennett’s social welfare reforms are strongly targeting women (especially single mothers), and unemployment is currently impact on more women than men etc. – of course many men are suffering here too, but the gender differences are evident at a statistical level.

    Then there’s sexuality issues, which go from the individual level (rape, domestic violence etc), to the gendering of politicians – women with power tread a fine line between not looking too sexualised and feminine, and not looking too masculine…. etc, etc. (Interesting that this is defined in my mind by what women politicians seem to try NOT to be.

    Welcome addition to TS discussions, QOT.

    • karol 20.1

      Then there’s sexuality issues

      Ack. I don’t think sexuality is the right word there.. was going to talk about sexuality solely, then I wandered off ….been a stressful day at work… headache.

      • weka 20.1.1

        Why are class politics not seen as identity politics?

        • karol

          Heh – good question, weka. Identity usually relates to demographic characteristics, social relations etc. In the UK there is an “identity” angle to class war, with different classes being traditionally seen as behaving in certain ways, and more cultural capital attached to the upper classes.

          The political economy analysis usually focuses on the social and political structure – basic Marxism, the economic base generally determines the nature of the cultural and institutional arrangements… behaviour, social relations etc.


          But, in fact, if one accepts the notion of patriarchy…. well that’s a social structure. And this is a much broader conception than “identity” which tends to focus on how individuals see themselves and which demographic or social groups they identify with.

          So really, I guess, if you think about it this way, “identity politics” is more of an individualistic neoliberal construct – or alternatively, post structuralist, which wouldn’t fit with a Marxist analysis.

          • Colonial Viper


          • Draco T Bastard

            But, in fact, if one accepts the notion of patriarchy…. well that’s a social structure.

            And is the exact same structure found in capitalism – top down dictatorial. It’s why I refer to capitalism as a socio-economic system and not just economic.

            • Colonial Viper

              neoliberalism = political-socio-economic

              • karol

                Yes, but it seems to me within neoliberal discourse, anyone can get to the “top” – it’s about individuals competing within a meritocracy.

                Agree with what you say @9.09pm too DTB. But “identity” seems to me to be a narrow definition of how gender is constructed and operates within that system.

                I’m just trying to (re)think my way through this, but may be too tired for it right now.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Yes, but it seems to me within neoliberal discourse, anyone can get to the “top” – it’s about individuals competing within a meritocracy.

                  Yep this is the propaganda cover story for what is essentially crony capitalism.

                  Remember, the easiest prison to run is the one where the MSM fattened prisoners believe themselves free.

                  • So true, They can’t have them peasants realising an educated perspective …
                    “They’re thugs M8!”
                    “We aren’t smart enough to restrain them all M8!.”

                    All us peasants really need is a civilised ethic to defeat them, how’d the Gnats’ strip that from our society again ?
                    They should teach it a schools, it’d be a one hour lecture for crying out load.
                    “”Evil” people and why you don’t give them the time of day” kind of thing.

                • QoT

                  Yes, but it seems to me within neoliberal discourse, anyone can get to the “top” – it’s about individuals competing within a meritocracy.

                  Sure, if we let them completely ignore the fact that modern capitalism has been built on the backs of colonialism, patriarchy, and letting people outside the privileged default starve to death.

                  • karol

                    Sure, if we let them completely ignore the fact that modern capitalism has been built on the backs of colonialism, patriarchy, and letting people outside the privileged default starve to death.


                    And I would think that the fact that capitalism in the west rose in conjunction with imperialism and patriarchy is indicative of the way the have long been intertwined, and continue to be so.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      patriachy has been around a long time. And it controls the dominant structures of power as its tools, during whatever age. Feudalism, imperialism, mercantalism, free market capitalism, etc.

                    • karol

                      Yes (to CV @8.08pm). I agree. Patriarchy pre-existed capitalism. As it was already deeply embedded in society, it was an integral part of the rise of capitalism, along with the spread of European imperialism.

                      Patriarchy has undergone some changes since then. Capitalism will appropriate anything if it can use it to its benefit. So it has commodified certain aspects of feminism, masking some of the ways the elite operate.

                      Though, I should say, I did know some socialist feminist historians in London, back in the early 80s, who reckoned prior to industrial capitalism, gender relations were more equal.

                    • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                      One reason why left wing philosophy is (can be) so challenging to power structures is that it seeks to enable the other voices, to make it easier for them to establish their own power(s). Without permission.

            • QoT

              Another handy word is “kyriarchy”. It’s capitalist, patriarchal, racist and all the other things intertwined in the power dynamics of our society (although I do sympathize with the argument that that’s all a bit too gigantic to really analyse as a whole system.)

          • Jokerman

            i see your smile and raise you one Viper 🙂 😉

  21. Bored 21

    A question from a “old white dude”.

    My father, an aged white dude, working class, voted Labour his whole life. Did the convoys in Hitlers war, fought apartheid, worked for a fair deal. Never got it, but never stopped anybody from having their fair deal. Always wanted it for all, but hey he was what you above all refer to as a “white dude”.

    Me too, my fathers son, got on better because of his devotion and my mothers devotion, done the same for my daughter. Don’t let anybody tell me she is not entitled to the same as any other human of either sex. Hard line feminist, Support her all the way. Like a good “old white dude”.

    So as a white dude (an “identity”) to quote QOT lets have a look at a statement The “identities” which have been traditionally used to demean, oppress, and sometimes enslave or kill people are real, because those people – women, people of colour, people with disabilities, the whole wide world of QUILTBAG – have been given no choice but to say “Yep, that’s what I am, now you have to deal with me.”……given now I too am an “identity” are you going to deal with me? An old white dude.

    Or as an “old white dude” do you think Labour should do without us (or perhaps are better off without us)? Go on, Be honest.

    I ask the question because like my father I as an “old white dude” can honestly say I have fought for equality in all things my whole life. It appears to me that it is implied that as an “old white dude” I bear responsibility (encapsulated in QOTs statement some people have faced systematic, institutional oppression which has at the very least disadvantaged them and stopped them achieving their potential the way they could’ve if they’d been born … well, as old white dudes) for whatever systemic damage has been done to people who are not “old white dudes”. So “leftists” are we “old white dudes” on the team, or condemned because we just happened to be born to other white dudes?

    • Civilised means everyone bud, of course ur welcome M8!
      We are standing on the same ground.
      And we are not alone.

    • Jokerman 21.2

      personally, you do not bore me B; I love your work!

    • QoT 21.3

      Bored … I’m a bit bored myself, so the blunt answer is: you don’t get cookies for doing the right thing in life, and it’s just annoying to me when conversations about oppressed groups get derailed by white dudes wanting to make it all about white dudes. What can white dudes do? What about white dudes’ feelings? What role do white dudes get to play?

      It’s not about white dudes. That was kind of the point.

      • Redlogix 21.3.1

        Yah… one legged Maori lesbian ditch diggers score maximum points!!

        More seriously, when it’s played a zero-sum game then of course some people don’t want to play. The less inclusive we are, the fewer people on our side.

        • weka

          No-one is saying that older white men are to be excluded. We’re just saying they have to be fair and share power. If some men take that as exclusion, they might want to ask themselves why.

          I think the real difficulty here is that rich white men in particular are so used to being at the top of the pile they lack the skills of humility necessary to put their own insecurities aside and pay attention to people that are manifestly worse off. Understanding power requires that one understands one’s privilege and one’s oppression, and puts those in context of the rest of the world. But rich white dudes need first to understand that challenge to their power isn’t a form of oppression, even if it feels like it.

          • blue leopard

            ++1 @Weka

          • Colonial Viper

            We’re just saying they have to be fair and share power.

            Sure, but my suspicion is: no they don’t and no they won’t.

            And the ones who are particularly stubborn in this regard won’t care if you alienate them because they already alienated and marginalised you first.

            Pissing off middle aged and “old white dudes” who are more or less on the side of the Left is a bad way to ‘win friends and influence people’. But maybe that’s not what the Left is interested in.

            But rich white dudes need first to understand that challenge to their power isn’t a form of oppression, even if it feels like it.

            Like I said, the people in that category you are going to have the most difficulty with aren’t going to care because about any “challenge” from you because they have the means and the influence to counter it while they simply get along with business. IMO you’ll just end up pissing off the people who do care and who do empathise with what needs to be changed.

            • weka

              Not sure what your point is cv. Do you mean that feminists shouldn’t name the power structures involved because they will alienate potential allies? How do you propose feminists discuss power within society if they don’t name the structures?

              • Colonial Viper

                Certainly I’m interested in how the Left addresses and describes the issue of power structures. And it does not do anywhere near enough of it.

                Can power structures be described without alienating allies, creating scapegoats and indeed to convince more people to come onboard? I think it can be done but it requires additional effort and subtlety.

                For instance I’ve been known to suggest that the comfortable, well off, middle class/upper middle class (particularly those over 50 years of age) are complicit in the impoverishment of younger generations of struggling NZers, and in over demanding resource consumption.

                But as much as this may be true in a very general, broad sense, this same group (which probably comprises 400,000 – 500,000 high voter turnout NZers) must also be an understanding and participative part of the solution.

            • QoT

              CV, if I’m reading your comment right, you’re arguing that there’s a group of white dudes who although well-meaning are going to get pissed off at the women and brown people getting some screentime.

              That’s probably true. That’s because they have privilege, and are unwilling to recognise it, and I’m sorry that our society is (incredibly slowly and incrementally) starting to not be all about them.

              But more to the point, they’re the group who’ve probably already stopped voting Labour because they think it’s been … what’s the line … “dominated by unionists and a gaggle of gays.”

              Oh, except Damien O’Connor, of course, he’ll put up with the stupid minorities if it gets him a parliamentary pension.

              If dudes – or any people in relatively privileged positions – really do “empathise with what needs to be changed” then I simply trust they’ll be able to do the right thing even though they don’t get to be the centre of attention. Here’s a good example.

              • Jokerman

                all that spoke to me was the “ME” part
                (gotta call it how I see it; it is highly probable people do the same internally about my comments, aye k_p? )

              • Colonial Viper

                One of the points you’ve put down (“they’re the group who’ve probably already stopped voting Labour “) and which I certainly agree with, but will take the liberty of rephrasing slightly:

                Labour deliberately left them, they didn’t leave Labour.

                And the ‘neat’ thing: those ex-Labour voters and ex-Labour members suspect that the modern day Labour Party is quite happy to be rid of them. And they would be right.

                btw I’m referencing this primarily from the perspective of socioeconomic privilege, not from the primary stand point of identity/race politics that you mention in your comment.

                • Jokerman

                  🙂 Brother 😉

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yep. And this is one reason why Labour, a political party which claims to represent the interests of a vast majority of New Zealanders, can only hit 28%-33% in polling.

                    It seems that most people don’t believe the PR.

    • karol 21.4

      Bored, there’s a place for discussing the positive contributions of leftie old white dudes. My father (an ardent Muldoonist) also encouraged me to be successful in education, work etc and was supportive of such. But he also had some very patriarchal attitudes. Ditto for my grandfather who was more liberal, and leftwing in many ideas (don’t know how he voted) – he made a positive and lasting contribution to one aspect of the public sector in NZ based on egalitarian ideas.

      But in the social and occupational contexts in which both my father and grandfather operated, it definitely was easier for white men to succeed. And men still ruled the roost inside and outside the home – and they benefited from them.

      And both those once old (now dead) white dudes, reinforced rape culture in various ways, even though I never saw either of them be violent or sexually harass women.

      kyriarchy – very useful concept, thanks , QOT.


      • Vicky32 21.4.1

        And both those once old (now dead) white dudes, reinforced rape culture in various ways, even though I never saw either of them be violent or sexually harass women.

        Really? In  what ways?
        You really don’t go in for family loyalty much, do you?

        • Draco T Bastard

          You really don’t go in for family loyalty much, do you?

          So, pointing out that someone in the family was wrong is disloyal and thus shouldn’t be done?

        • karol

          Really? In what ways?
          You really don’t go in for family loyalty much, do you,

          Eh? I said some quite positive things about these two men.

          I often disagreed with both my parents about politics, feminism, etc. Like, my views were out in the open. Both these men had good qualities as I indicated. They always treated women very respectfully.

          But they both were typical of their generations in being pretty patriarchal. They supported rape culture the way most men of their generations did, in jokes, the language they used, etc.

          I can’t think of any specific egs right now. They’ve both been long gone.

    • blue leopard 21.5

      @ Bored

      Isn’t the “trick” to realise that “old white dude” isn’t referring to a person; its referring to a mentality?

      Old white dudes (people) may be more susceptible to have the mentality being referred to as “Old”, “White” and “Male” due to being the most likely to have been rewarded in this system of thinking. I know old white dudes (people) who have seen through the game (devoid of “old white dude” mentality) and I see plenty of women who are serious cases of having “old white dude” mentality. I would consider Hekia Parata as a good example of this*. (*I don’t know her personal philosophy or how she relates, so this comment is solely based on how she is coming across to me via the News, Parliament Channel and website articles etc.)

      I personally am fed up with persons of this narrow mentality being the ones running the show, they fill councils and government. This mentality is completely incapable of viewing the merits of any other way, quality, philosophy, culture or gender (apart from objectification). It makes no sense to me that those holding such a narrow, exclusive paradigm are considered worthy to run things requiring values of greater import than narrow self interest. The results of this arrangement are becoming plain to see.

      We need more diversity in our approaches and this needs to be reflected in the minds of people who are in positions of power.

      Bring on diversity!

      • Bored 21.5.1

        Thanks Blue, you summed up a position I can accept rather succinctly. I am please I teased out the comments as I was beginning to feel distinctly uneasy with where the positioning of my age / gender was going with my fellow “lefties”. Remember I did not coin the term OWD or the traits ascribed, merely responded. And I am very unhappy being lumped in with the “patriarchy”. They have been my opponents for as long as I can remember.

      • ochocinco 21.5.2

        Here are some old white dudes:

        Karl Marx

        What a bunch of reactionary fuckers.

        • Jokerman

          …gettin betta all the time (Hegel, not so much; off the top of my head, Schopenhauer and Heidegger)

          SCHOPENHAUER ROCKS , imo,….

    • weka 21.6

      Bored, QoT used John Ansell as the epitome of old white dudery. Do you really want to identify yourself with that?

  22. captain hook 22

    I dont know about the left in toto but I wouldnt mind a sheila every now and again myself!

  23. Grumpy 23

    Well, the “left” had better make a choice, either the Islamics (like Jenny, Muzza etc.) or feminism. You sure as hell can’t have both.

    • Everyones welcome here though aye buddy.
      Who’s the Left again?
      Muslim women and men are as welcome as u bud.

    • Jokerman 23.2

      now that is a foolish statement if i ever read one, imo.
      The majority of Muslim women love their lives. I have seen this for an OBSERVABLE fact
      (where do we get these commenters from? primary school? E.C.E?)
      no wonder the education of our minorities is slippin. freakin small-mindedness!)

    • Daveosaurus 23.3

      If, as you claim, there is no such thing as a Muslim woman, then where do you think that little Muslims come from?

      • grumpy 23.3.1

        Good luck feminising muslim women, let’s start with Afghanistan?

        If you succeed there, you’ll have achieved more than the world’s strongest military powers……

        • BloodyOrphan

          Sheez bud, have you ever met a muslim women?, they’re gorgeous.

          And as for the strongest military powers, I guess you need to Add Christianity,Neo-Liberalism, Conservativist and crazy scientists.

          But hey good point bud, sounds powerfull dunnit.

  24. Vicky32 24

    So, in light of my boo-boo, consider this an actual warning and go back to Open Mike where you may continue to beg for my attention as much as you like.

    Oh dear… yes, Mistress, whatever pleases You!
    So, offending You is a capital offence? I had thought better of The Standard, but the fates of some people ought to have warned me.
    There are none so intolerant as those who claim to hate intolerance.
    You will be delighted to know that Your ukases have been immortalised on Facebook… 🙂
    [lprent: Authors can moderate their own posts. This because of the habits of some commentators doing deliberate or even unintended diversions from the intended topic of the post. The usual mods quite often don’t pick it up because we’re as guilty of shallow scanning a post or comment as anyone else.

    You’d have seen this happening with quite few authors over the years – notably from Eddie and rocky. This usually isn’t too much of a issue because if people do get insistent about it I tend to ban them. Arguing with an author on their own post about personal grievances or what they really said does tend to be something of a self-martyrdom offence in my opinion. ]

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