From the link:
“At some point during the debate a group of left-wingers, most of whom Cameron didn’t know, joined in the debate.
They proceeded to call him:
A Fatuous, self-serving, carpetbagger
A member of the KKK
A Genocide supporter
And a white supremist”
The gist of the article implies that people calling Mr. Browne these names was sufficient justification for Mr. Browne to tell a woman he disagreed with – who did not call him any of these names – to “get raped”
One of these things is not like the other. Telling anyone but particularly a woman who you are disagreeing with to “get raped” is not a slur it is the implicit threat of gender based violence. It is permeated in the idea that ‘uppity women’ who get above themselves need to be put back in their place. Mr. Browne clearly used this particular phrase against a woman with the specific intent of silencing her indicating he knows and understands the power and context of it. Nowhere has Mr. Browne apologised for using this phrase.
This is rape culture in action. Using the implicit threat of rape to silence a woman then pretending it is nothing. Do me a favour and if Cameron Browne ever stands for election don’t vote for him – because this is clear evidence of man who is a misogynist and is no ally to women.
So these comments of the head of the Employers and Manufacturers Association of New Zealand are so full of fail I barely know where to begin.
“Mr Thompson today admitted there was a gender pay gap in New Zealand.
He told Newstalk ZB it was partly explained by some women needing sick days every month, along with extra time off to care for children.
“Let me get down to tin tacks. The fact is women have babies. They take time out of their careers.
“Looks at who takes the most sick leave. Women do, in general, why? Because once a month they have sick problems. Not all women, but some do they have children they have to take time off to go home and take leave of…
“I don’t like saying this because it sounds like I’m sexist but it’s a fact of life.”
I find it deeply humorous that a man of Mr. Thompson’s age and stature cannot openly refer to menstruation and refers to it as “monthly sick problems”. I suppose points should go to Mr. Thompson for admitting there is a gender pay gap in New Zealand, but the rest of his analysis suffers from a severe lack of structural analysis.
Firstly the fallacies, Mr. Thompson implies that all women suffer from “monthly sick problems” and have children. Of course this is not true many women either cannot or do not menstruate for a wide variety of reasons and the same applies to procreation.
Even if what Mr. Thompson said is true of all women he would still be wrong. He is implying that women should rightly be paid less because of their biology. This should not sit well with anyone with even a slightly developed sense of justice. Women are paid less because of a society that systematically devalues their work on every level. From the care work that they do within their homes to the career work they do outside of it. The gender pay gap exists because women are expected to do the lions share of care-giving and unpaid house work while also managing to have a career. The gender pay gap exists because women are consistently seen as less than their male counterparts,
I almost wish that every woman could/would go on strike from having children to see whether that would close the gender pay gap. I don’t imagine it would but it would make people fear for the future of the human race quick smart.
Sometimes I get so frustrated with how anything associated with women is deemed frivolous and unimportant. Women’s fiction, women’s cinema, women’s interests, women’s issues.
Being girly in common parlance means being into fashion and make up and skin care and interior decorating and having things match. Basically making all things including yourself pretty. There is nothing innately wrong with this it is just simply the assumption that this should be all a woman should want and could ever be interested in that is deeply problematic.It is just as problematic that ANYONE who is interested in these things is frivolous and stupid and womanish because that is what they are womanly.
I feel like that the way things operate right now is that it is awesome for women to like things that are traditionally associated with masculinity and that these things are ‘gender neutral’ and that this neutrality has freed us from having to be interested in silly traditionally womanly things, as no one would REALLY be interested in these things given the choice.
This is obviously not true and makes many women feel at odds with the mainstream feminist movement and also does nothing in terms of making socially constructed gender boundaries more fluid as it is OK for women to be interested in and to do more masculine things because they are ‘better’ but not for men to do the opposite because traditionally female things are ‘worse’.
I said in my previous post that I had been spending some time traveling, I had a short but fantastic trip to Laos which is an excellent country to visit on a tight budget and is incredibly beautiful.
Part of my trip involved a two day long boat trip down the Mekong river. Sitting behind me was a group of back packers from Australia, Italy and Holland. At one point there discussion turned to the ‘problem’ of immigration. I was trying really hard not to listen because I find it almost impossible to disengage from political conversations even if I am not participating and other people’s ignorance can make me really pissed off.
It was the usual fare of ZOMG the immigrants are flooding in there have to be controls! They must assimilate into society and be good immigrants and then it is OK. I understand that there are many practical considerations with immigration but for the love of pete can we step back and look at the big picture?
The key reason that people immigrate from the global south to the global north (I use these terms loosely) is the search for a better life. Not because they think western society is way more awesome than their own and they want a piece of it, but because the vast majority of the worlds money sits in the west. In my experience the vast majority of immigrants do not choose to go through the myriad and very real difficulties of immigration including becoming a marginalised group just for the hell of it.
If you are really worried about the ‘immigration issue’ then how about lets talk about fixing global inequality – much of which has been caused by the pillage of colonialism and subsequent imposed economic systems (this when you think about it is the white supremacists ultimate fear of what immigration will turn into). Lets do that instead of whinging and moaning about how immigrants (like yours truly) don’t like to integrate, that we clump together in our ghettoes hoarding money and political power to try and change the social fabric and cultural values of ‘your’ society.
What makes these arguments about immigration even more ludicrous is that it is exactly what happens when white people immigrate to the global south. We don’t call them immigrants though, we call them expats and its ok for them to clump together in private housing estates, never learn to speak the local language, and send their kids to special schools that spout only their own values. I see this a lot now that I live in Asia and it makes me laugh hysterically considering the content of the immigration debates where I come from.
It of course comes down to where power lies and what people in power consider valuable. This is obviously their own language, culture and values – wherever they may live in the world. At least we can try to be honest about it.
This post was inspired by the controversy that happened earlier this year when the Feminists With Disabilities Helen Keller blogswarm clashed with Juneteenth. One of the comments made was that Juneteenth is a North American/ US’ian holiday and as such only relevant to North Americans US’ian’s.
Slavery is and was not just a North American tragedy. It was a tragedy that is felt by all of humanity. I say this not to diminish the other human tragedies that have occurred throughout history like colonialism, the holocaust, ethnic cleansing etc.. but rather to illustrate how these tragedies are tied together. They occurred for many reasons but they would not have been possible without the denial of the humanity of the groups that were targeted. Denying the humanity of those who are different from us is something human beings are very good at and in my opinion the catalyst for many of the great evil’s that happen in the world.
By claiming that slavery in the USA was only a North American or USian tragedy we deny the cultural factors, the political discourse and the simple othering that is common to the ways in which all marginalised people are marginalised. This is not to say that all opressions are experienced in the same way, only that the process by which white supremacy, or abelism or any other opression operates are built upon the same blocks. Denial of personhood and autonomy, othering, objectification.
I view all opressions as being the symptoms of the sickness of the kyriarchy and so being a good ally is as important as fighting my own battles. This to me means seeing the tragedies of all oppressed people as being my own tragedies because they are allowed to happen by the same system that allows my own. This means listening to people who are oppressed because of different factors to me and ensuring that I am subverting – not reinforcing those forces that make their oppression as well as my own possible.
The other reason that this is so important is because of intersectionality. Oppressions do not exist in discrete boxes and neither to people. We all have many facets to our idenities and can be both privileged and oppressed by many different factors at any one time. Intersectionality not only forces us to take heed of those whose voice have been most erased by mainstream social justice movements, often because they are invisible within them, but to also see the commonalities as well as the differences between our marginalisation.
Solidarity has often meant making some people wait for their rights and recognition so that some can progress now. It has often meant the silencing of critical voices in the name of the movement. What I want is a true solidarity that comes from collaboration, true listening to the concerns of all marginalised people, and a universal rejection of the kyriarchy – not just the bits that affect us as individuals.