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Astroturfing News | ACT on Campus

Astroturfing News | ACT on Campus.

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:

An Idiot
Fucked Up
A Marxist
A Fatuous, self-serving, carpetbagger
Uneducated
A Wanker
A skinhead
A Neo-nazi
A member of the KKK
An Aryan
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.

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MPs reject employers’ chief’s ‘sexist’ comment – Business – NZ Herald News

MPs reject employers’ chief’s ‘sexist’ comment – Business – NZ Herald News.

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.

 

The Generation Gap

It can be hard sometimes being a young woman in the international women’s movement. Sometimes I feel there is a sense that my commitment will never be enough because I know what I am worth. There is an idea that to truly be committed you need to work in the movement for nothing or next to nothing, you have forgo comfort and struggle so that you are hard and tough and can relate to the women you intend to serve. Older women in the movement seem to have an idea that you need to pay your dues in the harshest way possible before you are worth anything to the movement.

I believe strongly that there is value in experiencing how people other than myself live. However I do not believe that not being to work in an NGO for next to nothing for the rest of my life means I am any less committed to the international women’s movement.  Women’s work is devalued over an over again by the various societies we live in. What is the point of re-creating this pattern within our own organisations? If you want committed, strong and capable staff you cannot expect them to sustain themselves purely on passion forever.

This work is valuable to society and the world and balance needs to be found in providing services and advocacy and looking after staff  in whatever small ways we can so that they know their contribution means something, that their work is valued and so that their passion and commitment are not questioned every time they have to beg for just a little bit more so they can keep going a little bit further.

Dating For the 21st Century Human Being

Dating advice really pisses me off. Whether it is the stupid manipulative bullshit aimed at men like ‘the game’ or the ‘how men think’ shit aimed at women. It all really really sucks. So I am going to do something about it and provide an alternative to the stupidity.

Disclaimer I am currently in a stable long term relationship and have not actually dated for some time. You can either take that as my approach to dating works or take the following with a grain of salt its up to you :p

First things first. Women, men and people who identify as neither or both are not monoliths. There is no ‘what women really want’ there is what this particular woman wants. To treat people as though their gender identity can tell you how they will behave in any given situation is EXTREMELY problematic. This one fact alone renders pretty much all mainstream dating advice useless.

So. Think about what you want out of dating. A relationship? Casual Sex? A summer romance that isn’t long term? Some fun? Of course in the process of dating what you want may change and that is fine but it is important to evaluate what you want so that you can ask for it. (now isn’t that a revolutionary thought?)

At the end of the day dating is going to be a numbers game. I personally believe that if you want to date then you have to be comfortable with rejection, learn to understand that rejection does not mean there is anything wrong with YOU but that you are probably not the right fit and that is OK! Statistically lots of people will probably reject you and some won’t. Changing who you are to fit what you think another person wants does not up those odds. Everyone wants different things. Just try and remember it is not really about you as a person. This is the single thing that probably revolutionised how I thought about dating.

So in essence here is how I believe is the best way to date.

1) Communicate honestly. Don’t try and be manipulative and play games. In the long run this never works and it makes dating much more frustrating and stressful then it ever has to be. Be upfront. If someone likes you they will like you and if someone doesn’t there is very little that you can do to make them like you. The worst that can happen is that they will say no. Yes that will suck but you will get over it.

2) Check that you are both on the same page. Yes you may both like each other but that doesn’t mean you want the same things out of life or this particular relationship (whatever form it may take) you might agree to see how things go anyway but it is important to know where you both stand.

3)Relationships (of all kinds) end sometimes. Just like rejection this is a part of life. Something that is hard to accept but we all have to do it. Human relationships are innately messy and hard work. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to try not to be assholes to each other and also ourselves.

Anyway I hope that helps.

NGO Suckitude – A small rant

Something I have noticed quite clearly in my admittedly short time working for NGO’s is how frequently they reinforce the very behaviours, attitudes and structures they aim to dismantle. In many feminist and/or women’s rights organisations it is fairly common in my experience to not make proper allowance for women who have children, to rely heavily on unpaid work, to operate from a heavily hierarchical structure where those who have not actually contributed to projects but are more senior in the organisation get to enjoy the ‘perks’ of those projects (such as attendance of conferences, book launches, activities etc…).

I personally find this deeply problematic. I understand that some of these practices are driven by pragmatic concerns – funding for not for profit organisations is never easy to secure and most philanthropic avenues do not seem to think that funding operational costs is a valuable use of their money (something I will comment on at a later point).  Thus there is a very real need to keep operational costs down – including  the cost of staff. Hence the heavy reliance on voluntary labour, howeber I do not think there is enough analysis of why such practices are deeply problematic despite their practical neccessity.

The devaluing of women’s work has been one of the cornerstones of patriarchal social structure. Care work has been particularly devalued but women’s contribution outside the home has also suffered. Women are paid far less than men for doing exactly the same work, Women’s achievements are often co-opted by their male superiors or co- workers, women are expected to do the crappy jobs no one else wants to do and not complain about it. A famous example of this dynamic is the historic discovery of the double helix shape of DNA – credited to James Watson and Francis Crick  but was actually initially made by Rosalind Franklin who found the shape via X-Ray crystallography. She shared her prints with Watson and Crick who published it.  History is littered with examples where a women’s professional contribution has been undervalued or credited to someone else.

Looking at this context it is deeply problematic to me that this history of undervaluing women and women’s work is continued in the very organisations that purport to work to benefit women. Furthermore women who speak out against this system of internalised exploitation are attacked and criticized for not being sufficiently committed to the cause, or for acting too entitled. This is a form of silencing that is very damaging.  I understand the practical limitations that constrain most women focused NGO’s however I believe that small changes to ensure organisations are critiquing this patriarchal dynamic rather than reinforcing it. Allowing volunteers or people lower down the food chain to enjoy the fruits of their labour by attending a conference perhaps. Simply acknowledging that the current situation is less than ideal but it is all we can manage right now and reinforcing that all contributions are valued can go a long way to subverting rather than reinforcing patriarchal attitudes towards women’s work.

 

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