What Women Want

March 14, 2010

Is this so reactionary? A very interesting article by Minette Marin of the Sunday Times. As the Times loses its articles after a couple of days, I’ll copy it here and risk the lawyers.From

The Sunday Times
March 14, 2010
What women want is an end to hectoring by feminists
Minette Marrin
6 Comments
Recommend? (6)

Women beware wimmin. International Women’s Day rolled around once again for the 99th time last week and many of the usual alpha females came out to celebrate.

Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama had an awkward little womanly moment together in the White House, although most Americans ignore the day. Harriet Harman took the opportunity to remind us how few women there are in British boardrooms. Her intrusive Equality Bill, which encourages discrimination against men in the workplace, was going through its final stages in the Commons last week.

It is true, of course, that there has been a lot for women to celebrate in the past century and we have the courage and persistence of earlier generations of feminist women to thank for that. But somewhere along the way feminism in this country has turned into something many women cannot identify with. I can’t. Harman, along with other prominent alpha females, expresses a kind of feminism that is so far divorced from what most women think and want that she might as well belong to another sex. Alpha females seem closer to the alpha male than to the ordinary woman in gender.

Harman’s thinking, like the feminist orthodoxy in the government, is based on the following assumptions, which have always seemed quite wrong to me.

First, that all women want to work (for money, outside the home). Second, that all women, including mothers, ought to work. Third, that all women want to do and are equally suited to doing the same work as men. Fourth, that if the number of women working in an organisation is less than 50% of the total, that is in itself evidence that women are being unjustly discriminated against. Fifth, that motherhood is a problem that makes it difficult for women to work. Sixth, that the problem of motherhood can easily be fixed by paid childcare, subsidised if necessary by the state. Seventh, that what all mothers want above all is “affordable childcare” to enable them to work: children don’t need much of their attention. And finally, that it is for the state to sort out all such family matters.

This is the 1970s mindset of Harman and of many alpha females in high places; this is how women like them feel and talk.

That’s how alpha females behave. They push out babies along with policy papers and tour the interview circuit proudly bearing breast pumps. One prominent headmistress went back to work only a few hours after giving birth to her third child last month, commenting that this would show her schoolgirls what woman is capable of.

It struck me as irresponsible; pregnancy and childbirth usually involve extreme hormonal upheavals and physical demands, even when all is well. It’s not for nothing that for the first few weeks after childbirth women have not been held responsible for their actions in law because they are often not themselves, so to speak.

That’s to say nothing of the psychological needs of mother, baby and other children or of the developmental and emotional needs of children after the first few months. Are these needs really best left to childminders and crèches? Most women don’t think so.

The latest alpha female planning to combine full-time work — very long hours and a constituency — with producing a baby is Joanne Cash, the prospective Tory parliamentary candidate for Westminster.

If she gets into parliament, her first baby will be born only weeks after she takes her seat this summer.

I suspect that most mothers, remembering the arrival of their own babies, will regard this as daft. Even if things go smoothly, the demands of motherhood are such that Cash will be forced either to neglect the baby or to neglect the job. Cash is taking the approved Tory line — it’s not restricted to the left.

There is nothing new about alpha females giving their babies over to other people to look after; that has always been the price of great success, and successful women have taken it for granted. With the best of expensive childcare, it seems to work well.

However, I have come to feel strongly that it isn’t what most women want. I did hand my own first baby over to a full-time nanny so I could go back to a job in television with foreign travel. But before long I realised, like countless women, that what I most wanted was to be with my baby and work part-time from home, which I’ve done ever since.

We all tend to generalise from our own experiences: if Harman has, so have I (but then, I’m not in a position to impose mine by statute). At last there is some good evidence about what women really do feel about all this. Professor Geoff Dench of the Young Foundation has just finished a series of presentations for the Centre for Policy Studies and the Hera Trust based on evidence from the British Social Attitudes surveys since 1983, to be published tomorrow as What Women Want. In his survey of women’s attitudes, one of his conclusions is that the sisterhood is failing mothers.

Apart from married middle-class women in full-time work, most women would prefer to look after their children and work only part-time if possible. Most women value home and family life above a career — hardly surprisingly, since few women are offered careers and most must content themselves with jobs — and, he argues, women with these domestic priorities feel increasingly that the femocracy of career women in power doesn’t speak for them.

This is a bold inference. It’s drawn from the withdrawal of women from political parties, as expressed in the BSA surveys. Men have been increasingly losing interest in political parties over the past 20 years, but the process has been much faster among women and above all among mothers.

It is the Labour party that appears to have lost most support from mothers; support for Labour among working-age, working-class housewives went down from 52% in 1986 to 27% in 2008.

That doesn’t mean they’ve deserted to the Conservatives; the trend is towards “no party” disaffection. It is surely time, now, that women in politics started thinking about what women want, which is what is best for their babies and children.

I suspect it would actually be cheaper and better for government to enable women to look after their own children and families, if they want to, rather than nudging and driving them back into work. But it’s difficult for alpha females to understand such an unliberated desire. Women beware wimmin.

minette.marrin@sunday-times.co.uk


An interesting analysis

February 12, 2010

Reading Leon Wieseltier who uses this phrase when talking of Charles Krauthammer and Andrew Sullivan, “Unlike Sullivan, he does not present feelings as ideas.”

This is a really interesting turn of phrase that I believe accurately analyses the two different styles of argument – those who argue from reason and those who argue from feeling.
If one argues from a reasoned position, then one, is of necessity, arguing through factual evidence and logical deduction. An argument from feeling, however, is conducted through the irrational, meaning that the language used is directed towards the evocation of emotive response through feelings of guilt, shame and the fear of arguing against the group.

Andew Sullivan has long argued from a position that is fundamentally driven by which ever emotions are dominant in his mind at the time of writing. I cannot say that I am suprised by his “descent into the swamps”. He has long been occupying the banks.


And again…

May 7, 2009

Someone else has this right too. The Republicans have lost their focus and must think about what is important.
An excellent article sums this up.


Bruce Bawer says it right

May 7, 2009

Link via Little Green Footballs. But he is right; people I had previously respected have gone nuts. This is not good but the best we can do is to maintain our unwavering gaze on the preservation of Western values.


Germany has gone mad…

July 16, 2008

The German political nation has finally detached itself from bourgeois reality and declared that even newly born infants should have the vote
I’m sorry to see the land that produced Beethoven, Schubert, Frederick the Great and Neitzsche be reduced to such intellectual penuary but the politicians proposing this are obviously not fit to run a chicken coop, let alone manage the affairs of a country. This seems to me that this is the result of post-modernist discourse running towards its logical (p-m? logical?) self-destructive outcome.
The group’s draft petition which was presented on Thursday calls for the possibility for parents to vote in the name of their children until they reach the age of 18 and that parents should talk to their children about election decisions as soon as they reach an appropriate age.From here. Ok – vote rigging in favour of large families?
I think that the Germans have just made themselves the laughing stock of Europe.


Proof that Postmodernism makes you paranoid

June 12, 2008

The very strange case of Priya Venkatesan, former lecturer at Dartmouth College in the USA. Go look it up and have a laugh at this very strange woman.


Loonyism on the far left

March 18, 2008

I’ve finally visited the blog of one of my few commenters, who goes by the moniker of “Attending the World”. It was worse than I thought; this guy is a nutcase from the far left…
I cannot tell where he drew those photographs, but I remain highly suspicious. He’s a worshipper at the shrine of Saint Rachael Corrie, the young idiot who got herself killed, perhaps deliberately. He seems to think that the US is some sort of vile empire, seeking world domination.
All a bit strange when one considers that the US would be a pretty pathetic empire, especially if controlled by Jews (sorry, Na-zionists). If this were the case, why did the US not invade Iran in 1979? Or kill Hugo Chavez? Or allow that thug Ahmadinejad to vist the US?
The US does not behave like an empire; if it did has aspirations in this area then it would look fairly pathetic. I do not understand the far left – but then as Marx put it, “the real enemies of liberty are the far-left and the far-right” and “the far-left and the far-right unite over Jews”.
Bear that in mind.


Chavez and yet another act of loonyism!

February 27, 2008

Does Chavez remind you of someone? How about Hitler? He’s just declared the English language to be an imperialist weapon for the cultural domination of the Spanish speaking nations. Only one thing to say…
Phew, what a loony!