“Mother privilege”

liberation is life

I am delighted to be able to post this examination by three radical feminists, Jai Kalidasi, Penelope Riley and Delilah Smith.  As the authors point out, most women in the world are mothers, and so feminists’ clarity on the conditions of motherhood could not be more vital. This analysis has been much needed, and hopefully will encourage further discussion on this prescribed state for women.

“Mother Privilege” is a theory formulated and defended with great energy by a few self-identified Radical Feminists.  In short, they claim that mothers are rewarded with social and economic benefits for obeying patriarchy’s motherhood mandate.  Mothers, in their view, are granted an unfair advantage in the competition for scarce resources—resources denied to non-mothers specifically because they are not mothers.

Because the notion of mother-privilege has engendered a virulent form of horizontal hostility within radical feminism, we address it here to lay this argument to rest.  The work of liberating…

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The worst thing about being a woman

This is so brilliantly put…thank you!

glosswatch

According to Shania Twain, the best thing about being a woman is “the prerogative to have a little fun.” Meanwhile, according to Caitlyn Jenner, the worst thing about being a woman is “figuring out what to wear” (hint: “men’s shirts, short skirts,” apparently).

Somewhere between these two extremes we find the entire range of female experience – or we would, were it not for the fact that female experience cannot be categorised in any way, shape or form. There are infinite variations thereof and to pin down anything at all is to exclude. Hence it turns out even Shania and Caitlyn are on dodgy ground. What about women who aren’t allowed to have fun? What about naturists? Not every woman wears clothes, Jenner, you bigot!

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Open letter to Jeremy Corbyn: Support the Nordic Model and real change for women

Dear Jeremy Corbyn,

You let women down yesterday.

Many of us backed you and your policies and were excited when you made a commitment to appoint women to 50% of cabinet roles.

As a Labour voter and an anti-racist, I stood a few metres from you at the solidarity march on Saturday, clapping. I lauded you on Facebook when you declared: “You don’t have to walk in fear of racists and the far right.” I stuck up for you and your decent, socialist policies against liberal, centre right and right wing friends.

Yesterday was disappointing. To be honest, I wasn’t that bothered about the precise mathematical split, but I did want to see a meaningful improvement in women’s representation at senior levels of parliament. I certainly didn’t expect there to be a massive loophole in your promise, allowing you to keep it on a technicality while allocating women the soft jobs so they could be sidelined by men; even less experienced men.

British people are used to be let down by Labour, like the time we all backed Tony Blair and he led us into what now looks like an illegal war.

And women are used to being let down by the left, as well as the right.

We are just over 50% of the population and we are tired of being written off as a fringe issue.

Left wing men who leave us out of their shiny vision are making women choose between socialism and feminism and this won’t help them for long.

Jeremy, please don’t join the catalogue of crusading left wing men who draw the line at women’s rights.

The best thing you can do now is show us you are actually committed to making a meaningful difference to the lives of women and girls around the world.

How about getting involved in something really current and standing up to Amnesty International’s awful decision to recommend decriminalising the entire sex industry?

 How about backing the Nordic model? This would mean only decriminalising the prostitutes and supporting them to exit, while the abusive pimps and johns who trade the bodies of women and girls could still be punished. Listen to the current prostitutes and sex industry survivors who know prostitutes need the protection of a legal framework that will prosecute those who exploit, degrade and abuse them. Study the statistics that show that where prostitution is fully decriminalised, trafficking increases.
If you’re committed to equality, having fallen at the first hurdle, make a stand and tell the world that female bodies are not commodities to be bought and sold. That it is not ok to say prostitution is a job like any other when the rape risk is off the scale, when 89% of prostitutes want to exit and when most entered as children.

Add your voice to the campaign to achieve real equality for women and girls, including the ones Amnesty International threw under a bus to support its claim that men’s access to sex is a human right.

Join us, Jeremy. You let women down yesterday, but hand on heart I don’t think you’re a misogynist. Help us prevent this abusive trade from earning the stamp of human rights approval.

I could go on about this forever, you can read my thoughts here if you want, but for now, few more points about those crusading left wing men.

George Galloway, the rape apologist. Said having unprotected sex with a sleeping woman who has only consented to sex with a condom is not rape. Strongly implied that if you’ve had sex with someone once, you can’t rape them on the same day. Later accused a female politician of lying about being forced into marriage at 15 after sourcing her birth certificate that said she was 16. Like that’s ok for 16 year olds.

Comrade Delta of Socialist Worker Party was accused of raping a woman in the party. Women and men left the party when it was officially decided that the issue would be dealt with internally. He was “acquitted” by a show of hands.

James Bloodworth, editor of Left Foot Forward. Nice man, bang on regarding many issues. But he lamented the loss of freedom of speech and the dangers of overzealous border control when we women, backed by some great men, campaigned to have pick up artist Julien Blanc denied a visa to perform his rape seminars in London.“Let Blanc in,” Bloodworth told women on Twitter, despite the fact Blanc had already been thrown out of Australia and banned from various other countries. “Let society judge him; I will stand with women,” Bloodworth said. Really, James? How about now?

In the end, it was a dreaded Tory, Theresa May, who banned Blanc from the UK.

This is why it’s important to have women represented in senior roles, Jeremy.

A lot of men just don’t get it when it comes to the severity and frequency of sexual violence. Women are scared and women are angry; we’ve been dealing with lechery, intimidation and actual assault since our early teens or even before.

And if the fate of your equal cabinet policy is anything to go by, I hate to think what your women-only carriages idea is going to pan out like. Although I have to say, I’d rather you cracked down on violent men than got us our own train carriages.

Jeremy, I don’t think you’re a misogynist but you now have a lot to prove to women about your commitment to equality.
I think you’re a nice man with great principles.

I do look forward to the day when you will prove me right.

Janie Davies

In defence of quotas

Even in liberal circles, we’re still arguing over the use of quotas in recruitment for women and people of ethnic minorities and whether they are fair.

I back quotas to get a fairer amount of women and ethnic minorities into a profession or onto company boards.

I see quotas like this:

In a forest there’s Group A and Group B and 10 apples. Group A has 8 apples and Group B has 2, mainly because Group A prevented Group B from getting near most of the apples the day before.

Group B finds an eleventh apple and keeps it, then a Group B member asks a Group A member for an apple. They fight over it and Group B wins.

Some of the Group A members go crazy. They’re like: Oh my God, they’re taking over, we’ve only got six apples now and they’ve suddenly got four. It’s so unfair on us; Group B is erasing us.

Some of the Group A members say fair play to Group B, they deserved more apples, so others in Group A start calling them names, saying they’re not proper Group A members and they’ve been tricked by Group B and turned into traitors.

Quotas don’t make life unfair for men or white people, that not what fair means. They make the whole playing field fairer, reducing the inequality that is stacked against women and people of ethnic minorities.

For example, if a quota requires 25-30% of women in a role or on a shortlist, the level at which most seem to be set, men will still get most of the jobs on top of the fact that they’re still getting paid more on average and still getting the best networking and promotion opportunities. Even if it’s 50/50, broadly reflecting the population split, men still get a fair chance.

Having listened to the debunking of the nonsense that quotas are unfair, critics will state that quotas result in “token women” in roles. A lot of women even use this ridiculous logic. Anyone who says this is saying it is not possible that there women out there who are perfectly suitable for those roles. (Frankly if you’re a woman saying this, then you’re a turkey voting for Christmas). People who use this argument are also saying that companies and recruitment firms do not operate highly competitive and exhaustive hiring systems. They’re saying the women going for boardroom seats aren’t brilliant women who have fought hard for years on an uneven pitch and still excelled and proved themselves more capable than the men who didn’t get to where they are. They are also saying that it is better that women don’t get any such roles, than get them without universal approval. Women’s opportunities should not be stifled to accommodate the narrow-minded and the logically-challenged.

All this can also be said of the need for quotas for ethnic minority applicants.

Racist white people hate to see black and ethnic minority people getting apples, just as sexist men hate to see women getting them.

Even white people who don’t know they’re racist hate to see this. I suppose they feel that they’re entitled to all those apples all the time, even if they actually prefer eating pears.

The bottom line is, if you’re threatened by a level playing field, you need to improve your skills.

The myth of “mother privilege”

There has been intense discussion in feminist circles in recent days over the controversial concept of “mother privilege.”

I do not believe there is such thing as mother privilege, but I used to think there was.

The bottom line is that women cannot win when it comes to reproductive choices. It is true that mothers escape one particular kind of criticism; the kind directed at women who haven’t had children or don’t want to have children. But becoming a mother opens the door to a carnival of other types of misogyny and discrimination.

On one level, there is a nebulous thread of “mother reverence” running through society, but it is completely hollow and does not manifest on a practical level in any way. I regard it with great suspicion as you need only look at it twice to see the hypocrisy it is built on.

A few years ago, in my mid-late 20s, I regarded my friends who were mothers as privileged in some ways because they weren’t constantly being reminded of their “ticking biological clock” or being told that they were being “cavalier with their fertility.” I found myself excluded by some of my friends who had children, because they preferred to spend time with other mothers who shared their experience. Just as I was more comfortable at that time with women who were single, building careers and looking for their next serious relationship.

I talked to a close friend about this and she said: “But Janie, don’t you think I’m excluded too? I’m a single mother and I know absolutely no one who shares my experience. All my mum friends have rich, loving partners and my other friends don’t have children.”

That opened my eyes. And I realised it should have been obvious all along how mothers and pregnant women are regarded by society. The way that pregnant women are regarded as society’s property, meaning complete strangers think it is acceptable to touch their stomachs on public transport and lecture them about what they eat.

I saw the perceptions of mothers are highly classist as well as deeply misogynistic.

If you’re a single mum, society sees you as irresponsible at best and promiscuous at worst.

If you’re a working mum, you’re accused of neglecting your children.

If you’re a stay at home mum, you’re seen as a drain on society.

If you’re a young mum, you’re irresponsible and or promiscuous, again.

If you’re an older mum, you’re selfish and putting your baby’s health and future at risk.

If you don’t have or want children, you’re a selfish career woman or just weird.

If you can’t have children, you have to endure pity that you neither want nor need.

If you’re a poor mum, you have to deal with frequent suggestions that you should have had an abortion.

If you do have an abortion or give your child up for adoption, you’re selfish.

If you’re a rich mum, you’re a middle class cliche and out of touch with other mums.

So there really is no escape from it. These criticisms of women will be twisted again and again to fit the situation you’re in. You just have to try not to fall for a rhetoric that is designed to make women suspicious of each other.

And if you’re one of the women who hasn’t had any children yet or who isn’t going to have any, if you’re sick of apologising for that, blame society, don’t blame mothers.