glitzfrau: (jesusgun)
How to win friends and influence people:

On 19 Jun 2012, at 09:56, A Man wrote:

My good lady works at the City Centre and has just been sent this by their security so thought I should pass it on:
“It has been brought to my attention that there were two attempted rape incidents this weekend along the canal in the city centre. In both cases the victims were female joggers. One of these attacks was at 4.00 pm on Sunday afternoon in broad daylight. The culprit/s have not been caught.

It would therefore be advisable until further notice to not go running in those areas and not to run alone at all.

Please let as many runners as you know as possible (please forward on!!!) including guys, as they can pass the message on to more people too.”

Dear A Man,

Thank you for your mail. It might be more advisable for you to pass on the following advice to men at the university:

* Do not rape female joggers
* If you see a female jogger, do not act threateningly towards her
* If a female jogger appears alarmed at your presence, leave the canal area
* If one of your friends says he has raped a female jogger, report him to the police

I fail to see why we women are being called upon to change our behaviour when it is men who are committing this crime.

Best wishes,

Angry Glitz
glitzfrau: (jesusgun)
Please stop posting that wanky macro about how Assange is a HERO and yet treated like a VILLAIN, whereas Zuckerberg is the real CROOK HERE.oh, this macro is so CLEVER and LIBERTARIAN )

Then, when I point out that there are outstanding rape allegations against Assange, and that he has wantonly endangered the lives of human rights defenders by leaking their details, do not respond by saying 'we are all entitled to a fair trial'. We are all indeed entitled to due process, indeed, but skulking abroad evading trial, complaining that we are 'emasculated' by having to wear an ankle tag and playing the martyr does not add to our heroism. Instead, it makes us look like a rapey wanker.

Also, no-one is forcing us to sign up to Facebook. By doing so, we enter into a contract with Zuckerberg willingly - unlike the women who may not have been allowed to consent to sex with Assange, or the defenders who did not consent to the endangerment of their lives.

Seriously, so-called 'friends'. THREE TIMES? Could somebody kill this rapey macro now, please?
glitzfrau: (linke emanze)
On my holidays, I finished Eichmann in Jerusalem and moved on to How to Be a Woman. Oh, it's so tempting to say, from the sublime to the ridiculous, but unfair too. While I was reading Arendt, a sense of awe built up in me at her absolutely perfect prose, the flawless construction of her sentences and paragraphs and arguments; how every sentence answered the one before and raised a question for the next one to answer; how subtle themes ran through and were never dropped; how the level of argument was intellectually rigorous and yet completely transparent; how her incandescent anger was at no time in doubt but at no time overcame her prose. And that in her second language!

It is a perfect book, if you ask me. She considers and deals with difficulties for just the right length of time for the reader to understand and follow them, such as her elegant dismissal of the 'anyone else would have done the same' defence - you are not put on trial for hypothetical crimes that others may or may not have committed, you are being put on trial for these specific crimes to which you have confessed (so there, Bernhard Schlink). Others have been furious with the book, and I can see why: she's unstinting on the sarcasm, and considerably more scathing about the State of Israel than I expected, though she most definitely supports the legal basis of Eichmann's trial and execution. And her savage indictment of the Jewish councils of Nazi-occuppied countries makes difficult reading, and I don't know enough history to know whether she is right to accuse elders such as the esteemed Leo Baeck of complicity in genocide. But oh, so beautifully written, and a wonderfully clear introduction into the world of 1960s Holocaust philosophy that I need to dive into. Harrowing, obviously, but (and this is in no way a noble thing to be saying) I've read worse.

And so to Caitlin Moran's pop-feminist bible for our generation. Moran is funny, and smart, and bang-on my age, and is defending feminism in an accessible and lovable fashion, so it is mean to criticise too much. But oh, from the poised and pointed perfection of Arendt's prose to the jolly wobbly waffle of Moran's is a bit of a lurch. And, well. As I've said before, I'm becoming less interested in the cultural aspects of white Western feminism that she takes on, depilation and It bags and Jordan. It all seems a bit teenage, and it seems a bit too easy to bracket out, as Moran does, issues of violence and equal pay and serious discrimination from the start of her book.

It's not that I disagree with what she says, nor that I suspect she would take much umbrage were I to say (for instance) that actually, I don't think strippers are betraying the sisterhood, nor that fashion is a sinister sniper lurking ready to shoot feminism down. Moreover, she makes some very good points - she makes my point about Women's Work is Worthless, for one, namely that non-parenting work done by women might actually have some inherent value for the world at large, something I very rarely hear said elsewhere. I also liked her robust defence of paying cleaners against the anti-feminist sneerers (because why should a woman feel guilty that she is paying a woman to do her cleaning? why is it her responsibility to feel the guilt rather than a man's?) Her tales of motherhood and abortion are direct and more honest and moving than almost anything I've read.

But it's still chewing-gummish prose, ephemeral meanderings pumped out to pad a few simple arguments which are a bit difficult to pick out of the fluff. Moran rather artlessly dismisses all academic feminists as more or less irrelevant, and then goes on to hero-worship Germaine Greer and Zoe Williams, both of whom, besides being very funny journalists when they try, have a pretty damned good acquaintance with difficult but important French feminism and later gender theories. What's more, the book does read somewhat as a straight It Gets Better video. Oppressed by the Beauty Myth as a teenager? Sexually harassed at the office? Treated like rubbish by self-obsessed men in your early twenties? Don't worry! Get married to a lovely man and you'll be grand! Her husband really does sound lovely, and Moran is very talented, not at all privileged and has made her own happiness - but still, her story is hardly representative. There's absolutely nothing there about lesbian life, apart from a fig-leaf 'I'm not cool enough to be a lesbian, honestly' throwaway statement. I don't mean to sound like an earnest 1930s sociologist demanding a treatise on The Lesbian Problem, but an acknowledgment that we're feminists battling our own battles too might be nice. Equally, nothing on women of colour, nothing on women who stay desperately poor. And while I've come to most of Moran's own conclusions about high heels, shaving, porn and the rest, not all women and not all feminists will, but we all need to fight the real battles together, including, f'rinstance, this terrifying new abortion bill in the UK.

In short: Caitlin, I'll get drunk with you and Lady Gaga in a Berlin sex club any time, but I'll turn to Arendt for my hero worship, if that's OK.
glitzfrau: (executive lesbian from sinsense)
A propos of this excellent post on the Anti-Room about motherhood and careers, but also in response to many, many debates in the media about the choice between motherhood and careers. You know the way these debates play out: some point out, rightly, that it is never a choice between fatherhood and careers, now is it? some that most women cannot financially afford the choice not to work, some that the idea of a choice is laughable, because a working mother is still a mother, she doesn't choose not to be one. Some argue that motherhood often involves a profound shift in priorities, and that women often gladly embrace a meaningful existence with their children that they felt was denied them in the cold world of paid work, some that small children are best taken care of by their mothers, some that women are stealing jobs that rightfully belong to male breadwinners, some that money isn't everything.

What infuriates me about all of these motherhood v. career debates is that no-one ever, ever suggests that women’s paid work has some inherent actual value. No, it’s always the woman’s selfish, or rightful, desire to have an activity outside the home, or her desperate need to earn money, that motivates her. No-one ever suggests that a woman’s journalism might have value to society, that being a cleaner, an engineer, an administrator, a politician, an entrepreneur, a nanny is actually contributing to society and the economy in a profoundly important way. A woman with a career is either a juggling marvel or a hard-hearted harridan; in either case, her work affects only herself, her children and her husband. (In these debates, it seems that the mother is almost inevitably allied to a man, though I'd be delighted to be pointed in the direction of lesbian-themed counter-examples.) At the very best, she is a wonderful role model for us all.

But she is never someone who does something that is essential to our lives, such as providing us with higher education, writing novels that entrance us, providing us with efficient service at supermarkets, driving us home at night safely, writing software to help us maximise our profit margins, fighting for our rights in an NGO. No. And because a woman's work is essentially valueless in monetary terms, except to herself, there's another good reason to pay women less and dismiss their work.

addendum )

(Women's Work is Worthless, part I)
glitzfrau: (kill your gender)
(Note: I know that Sunday evening is a dead time to post, but I won't have a chance again before Tuesday. And my rage will not wait that long.)

Yesterday's Guardian carried a piece with the arresting title, £26,000: the salary you need just to cover childcare. The article continued, The British pay more for childcare than anywhere else in the world – and planned cuts in tax credits will discourage women from returning to work. It had me in rage all afternoon. Rage, firstly, because childcare in Britain is so damned expensive, and the Tories have let slip that they have no interest whatever in making it easier for mothers to return to work, for after all would they not be better off at home minding the kids in classic 1950s fashion. Rage that the government are once again cutting tax credits in a way that hurts the poorest most. It is not an appealing choice that the Guardian outlines for a single mother on the minimum wage, that of either being trapped at home on benefits or working to sink further into debt; if this government is working on the nudge principle rather than the choice principle, it's clear which way the poor are being nudged, no matter what rhetoric they may have about making work pay.

And then there's the question of how hard it is for a woman to earn £26k and above, even in London, which is where that cost is calculated. I earn well over that, but I have a background of rock-solid middle class privilege, three degrees and - crucially - I am in my mid-thirties. Most heterosexual women have children far before they reach my age. Their chances of earning over £26k are eroded by education, expectations (do what you love, not what's mercenary! do caring feminine work, not mathsy managerial manly work!), and missing out on the crucial career- and income- building years between 25 and 35 if they have children in that window. Median earnings for women aged 30-39, according to the UK National Statistics Agency, are £25896 - almost exactly the cost of childcare for two children in London. Median earnings for women outside of this golden age group are £22152, far below this cost.

But it's not even this that enrages me. I come from Ireland, where child care is just as prohibitively expensive. We know that neither Ireland nor the UK has been prepared to fund childcare via the State in any meaningful way. And we know that the Tories hate women and want them to stay barefoot and pregnant, or possibly pregnant and fragrant. That's not news. What's horrifying, in an insidious, creeping way, is the tone the Guardian takes on the story: if women don't earn above the magic £26k, they might as well give up their jobs. Depressingly, their reasoning for doing so is clear: 'While childcare should be seen as the responsibility of both parents in a double-income household, in reality, the mother's wage is often weighed against the costs.' The article continues, and here is where the real poison lies:
Of course, there are long-term career, monetary and psychological benefits. These include payments into pension plans; the security of a job that will be worth more once the preschool stage is over, and which can hopefully be retained in a recession; and a sense of identity beyond motherhood [...] But when totting up childcare costs [...] these may not come into play.

Avoiding the depressingly frequent trap of female poverty in old age? Building financial security and a meaningful career? Having a strong sense of self beyond the biological function of motherhood? I always thought these were among the core goals of feminism, but no, they don't really count. Women's paid work isn't really meaningful, in the way that men's paid work is; women's work is only ever set against that of a nursery nurse, and no matter what the skills a woman might learn in the workplace while her children are in childcare, what good she might achieve at work, what pension contributions she might make for an independent old age, what promotions she might attain, what a social network she might build up, these are all irrelevant if her salary is less than the cost of childcare. The government says so, the heterosexual couples interviewed appear to say so, and most depressingly, the bastion of left-wing journalism, the Guardian says so. Women don't have careers, they just have jobs for pin-money, and mothering is always the most suitable career for them really.

I think this is massively dangerous. Dropping out of the workforce puts women at risk of poverty in old age, of unemployability if they return to work after a long career gap, makes them dependent on a male partner who may very well become ill, lose his job or leave her, and tells her that a sense of identity outside the home is a frivolous luxury. Why are feminists not screaming about these very real risks, and the dangerous media culture that is promoting them - as well as the government who is exacerbating them? It's this silence that causes me to lose patience with young feminists on the The F Word, who frequently put issues of body image and sex work above those of female poverty, and above all with Laurie Penny, with her talk about how her generation of young women has been uniquely abandoned and isolated by older feminists, whose work is irrelevant to their realities. Younger sisters, wake up! These risks - of poverty, unemployment and erasure of identity - are yours as much as they are ours. Rape culture and poverty in old age, misogynist advertising and the glass ceiling, sexual liberation and economic agencies - these aren't issues that exist in isolation from each other, they are part of a whole patriarchal matrix. A little intergenerational solidarity is required, if we are ever to fight back.

And finally, the obvious disclaimer: I know that women choose to work as mothers for lots of very good reasons. This rant is not intended to attack those choices; it is to point out that it is a choice, and a choice made in a patriarchal context, a choice that has consequences like any other, rather than the natural destiny of women in the Big Society.
glitzfrau: (kill your gender)
(Note: I know that Sunday evening is a dead time to post, but I won't have a chance again before Tuesday. And my rage will not wait that long.)

Yesterday's Guardian carried a piece with the arresting title, £26,000: the salary you need just to cover childcare. The article continued, The British pay more for childcare than anywhere else in the world – and planned cuts in tax credits will discourage women from returning to work. It had me in rage all afternoon. Rage, firstly, because childcare in Britain is so damned expensive, and the Tories have let slip that they have no interest whatever in making it easier for mothers to return to work, for after all would they not be better off at home minding the kids in classic 1950s fashion. Rage that the government are once again cutting tax credits in a way that hurts the poorest most. It is not an appealing choice that the Guardian outlines for a single mother on the minimum wage, that of either being trapped at home on benefits or working to sink further into debt; if this government is working on the nudge principle rather than the choice principle, it's clear which way the poor are being nudged, no matter what rhetoric they may have about making work pay.

And then there's the question of how hard it is for a woman to earn £26k and above, even in London, which is where that cost is calculated. I earn well over that, but I have a background of rock-solid middle class privilege, three degrees and - crucially - I am in my mid-thirties. Most heterosexual women have children far before they reach my age. Their chances of earning over £26k are eroded by education, expectations (do what you love, not what's mercenary! do caring feminine work, not mathsy managerial manly work!), and missing out on the crucial career- and income- building years between 25 and 35 if they have children in that window. Median earnings for women aged 30-39, according to the UK National Statistics Agency, are £25896 - almost exactly the cost of childcare for two children in London. Median earnings for women outside of this golden age group are £22152, far below this cost.

But it's not even this that enrages me. I come from Ireland, where child care is just as prohibitively expensive. We know that neither Ireland nor the UK has been prepared to fund childcare via the State in any meaningful way. And we know that the Tories hate women and want them to stay barefoot and pregnant, or possibly pregnant and fragrant. That's not news. What's horrifying, in an insidious, creeping way, is the tone the Guardian takes on the story: if women don't earn above the magic £26k, they might as well give up their jobs. Depressingly, their reasoning for doing so is clear: 'While childcare should be seen as the responsibility of both parents in a double-income household, in reality, the mother's wage is often weighed against the costs.' The article continues, and here is where the real poison lies:
Of course, there are long-term career, monetary and psychological benefits. These include payments into pension plans; the security of a job that will be worth more once the preschool stage is over, and which can hopefully be retained in a recession; and a sense of identity beyond motherhood [...] But when totting up childcare costs [...] these may not come into play.

Avoiding the depressingly frequent trap of female poverty in old age? Building financial security and a meaningful career? Having a strong sense of self beyond the biological function of motherhood? I always thought these were among the core goals of feminism, but no, they don't really count. Women's paid work isn't really meaningful, in the way that men's paid work is; women's work is only ever set against that of a nursery nurse, and no matter what the skills a woman might learn in the workplace while her children are in childcare, what good she might achieve at work, what pension contributions she might make for an independent old age, what promotions she might attain, what a social network she might build up, these are all irrelevant if her salary is less than the cost of childcare. The government says so, the heterosexual couples interviewed appear to say so, and most depressingly, the bastion of left-wing journalism, the Guardian says so. Women don't have careers, they just have jobs for pin-money, and mothering is always the most suitable career for them really.

I think this is massively dangerous. Dropping out of the workforce puts women at risk of poverty in old age, of unemployability if they return to work after a long career gap, makes them dependent on a male partner who may very well become ill, lose his job or leave her, and tells her that a sense of identity outside the home is a frivolous luxury. Why are feminists not screaming about these very real risks, and the dangerous media culture that is promoting them - as well as the government who is exacerbating them? It's this silence that causes me to lose patience with young feminists on the The F Word, who frequently put issues of body image and sex work above those of female poverty, and above all with Laurie Penny, with her talk about how her generation of young women has been uniquely abandoned and isolated by older feminists, whose work is irrelevant to their realities. Younger sisters, wake up! These risks - of poverty, unemployment and erasure of identity - are yours as much as they are ours. Rape culture and poverty in old age, misogynist advertising and the glass ceiling, sexual liberation and economic agencies - these aren't issues that exist in isolation from each other, they are part of a whole patriarchal matrix. A little intergenerational solidarity is required, if we are ever to fight back.

And finally, the obvious disclaimer: I know that women choose to work as mothers for lots of very good reasons. This rant is not intended to attack those choices; it is to point out that it is a choice, and a choice made in a patriarchal context, a choice that has consequences like any other, rather than the natural destiny of women in the Big Society.

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