Creaky feminist gorgons, unite

We at Hoyden About Town have been tickled pink that Julia Gillard is our new second-in-command.

Reviled by the now-Opposition for being “deliberately barren”, Gillard’s body, looks and fertility choices have been scrutinised and dissected by the media at least as much as her policies and competencies have been examined.

So fertility-fetishist culture warrior Angela Shanahan has got her sour on. She attempts to explain in “Why Julia is a heroine to creaky feminist gorgons”. I gotta admit, I’m still a bit confused – who exactly is the creaky gorgon in this picture? – but maybe you can make some sense of it:

AS we all know by now, Julia Gillard is a woman.

If the import of this fact has not already caused your world view to shift with seismic force, then the avalanche of banality – in the style of Year 8 schoolgirl essayists set the task of describing “Why I would like to be acting prime minister” – may cause a little trembling or even nausea.

As for me, along with 90 per cent of the female population living lives of unutterable suburban drudgery, the undeniable femaleness of the two-day Acting Prime Minister failed to inspire any paeans of deliverance from the chains of the patriarchy. We are rather too busy getting on with our lives: educating our children, cooking the meals, putting the washing on the line and (dare I say it) changing the nappies, while also working in schools, shops, offices and hospitals, and writing columns, to be bothered about the symbolic import of Gillard’s elevation.

Gillard, though, was naturally inclined to conform to the role model feminist mantra, saying that mothers had brought their daughters to see her during the election campaign and hoping that they would pause to recognise the significance of her short-lived elevation.

Unfortunately, we have come to expect from the press that this boring, public obeisance to feminist orthodoxy is normal whenever a powerful woman arrives on the scene. Why?

[…]

Women who attain high public office are the natural heroines of those creaky old gorgons, not because of virtue but because the sisterhood has always elevated power over virtue and condemned marriage and children as domestic slavery. They would rather see children reared by paid carers than their own mothers (known in Eva Cox fem-speak as home-based carers).

Indeed, they would rather see women deprived of children than deprived of a job because women in this world view are not really valuable as just mothers. They are valuable only if they are also workers.

The notion that caused a lot of huffing and puffing last year, that Gillard could not represent the average Australian because she was “deliberately barren” and had no acquaintance with the uses of the bucket and a product called Napisan, was deemed deeply offensive by the ultra-PC press gallery. But, really, it was wrong on only one count: that her circumstances would bar her from rising to her new position.

After all, how could Gillard become Deputy Prime Minister and represent anyone’s interests in that role if she did have any children? Her childlessness, ironically for the huffy-puffy media, is exactly why Gillard is a natural feminist heroine. She can devote her entire life to the pursuit of office and power.

Read the rest here.

For a taste of Shanahan’s past, read “Sex revolution robbed us of fertility”:

Despite the media’s discomfort, the fertility crisis in the West is a moral problem and, of course, only moral leaders such as Pope BenedictXVI have the guts and authority to enunciate it.

The truth about declining fertility is not all that complicated. It is the inevitable result of a so-called sexual revolution that broke the nexus between sex and having children, and has skewed our relationships, particularly marriage, forever.

What the media coyly refer to as private morality — also known as sexual morality — is having all too public social consequences.

On average, women in Europe will now only bear 1.5 children each, and in some places it is down to 1.2. The enlightened West can’t produce enough children to fuel its economy or maintain its culture.



Categories: culture wars, gender & feminism, Politics

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11 replies

  1. Wow, I had no idea that Julia Gillard came to power standing on the shoulders of straw feminists. And gee, I’m glad we have people like Shanahan to remind us that virtue and power are irreconcilable.

  2. Shanahan’s second article is an important one. There are countless Western women who have missed out on having children. Shanahan is right, in my opinion, to blame a breakdown in the culture of marriage, rather than economics. I’m not sure, though, that she has a close enough sense of what went wrong. It wasn’t just a case of men looking for sex alone, and deceiving women who wanted marriage and children. I think the problem is that women are brought up to be so committed to an independent single girl lifestyle in their 20s, that young men finally adapt and lose their instincts toward serious commitments beyond sex and casual relationships. By the time women look seriously toward marriage in their 30s, the kind of men who would have once filled the role of husband/children’s dad aren’t around anymore in large numbers.
    The age at which family is taken seriously needs to be brought back a few years.

  3. Wow, I had no idea that Julia Gillard came to power standing on the shoulders of straw feminists.

    Beppie, I’m sure there’s a cartoon in that, if only I could draw.

  4. God, Shanahan’s article was just dripping with envy, wasn’t it? Shanahan, until a few short weeks ago the darling of the ones in power – and allowed (within her “traditional” way of working) to excercise some power of her own – albeit behind the scenes, as that’s the kind of power women are allowed in their world. Then bang! It’s all over. She’s still on the ABC board, but she can feel her grip on the reins slipping… slipping…
    And that UPSTART Julia G.! Huff! Puff!
    Hugely enjoyable.

  5. After this effort, Shanahan is comfortably holding off the challenges of Rita Joseph and Lucy Sullivan for first claim to the title of Attila The Nun.

  6. I wonder what she would make of Maxine McKew’s decision to stay with a partner who is unable to father children, thus possibly also exposing herself to the title of ‘deliberately barren’ or will she get brownie points for standing by her man?

  7. Mindy: I suspect they’ll find a way to blame her. She’s slipping sperm-poisons into his tea, or “made” him wear tighty-whiteys, or something.

  8. Mark, what the?
    “There are countless Western women who have missed out on having children.”
    Who says we’ve missed out? Perhaps we realised that for educated, intelligent women, having kids could well be seen as a mug’s game.
    “I think the problem is that women are brought up to be so committed to an independent single girl lifestyle in their 20s, that young men finally adapt and lose their instincts toward serious commitments beyond sex and casual relationships.”
    We’re what? You find me an actual, live example of a woman who was “brought up” to think an independent, single WOMAN (not girl – we’re not children in our 20s) lifestyle in their 20s was the thang, and I’ll eat my hat. I’m in my early 30s – all of my female friends were, without exception, brought up to think serious relationships were the way to go (particularly when it came to sex) and I myself would have killed for a serious relationship that wasn’t utterly screwed up in my 20s. But all the blokes around me wanted to get pissed, screw anything that moved and had no wish whatsoever to settle down and get married.
    “By the time women look seriously toward marriage in their 30s, the kind of men who would have once filled the role of husband/children’s dad aren’t around anymore in large numbers.”
    Aren’t you contradicting yourself? If teh “girls” in their 20s aren’t getting married because they’re all committed to the single “girl” lifestyle, w
    The age at which family is taken seriously needs to be brought back a few years.

  9. Sorry, finger a little too fast on the send button!
    The last two paras of that comment were meant to read:
    Aren’t you contradicting yourself? If teh “girls” in their 20s aren’t getting married because they’re all committed to the single “girl” lifestyle, what the hell has happened to all the men? Why are they not around again? Did they move to another planet? Turn gay? What?
    Or is it actually that they’re married, to some of teh “girls” whom you claim are not yet interested in marriage, and it’s actually not all of us women who are rejecting the idea of committment in our 20s – just some of us find it, and some of us don’t.
    And what we’re rejecting is the notion that our only value lies in reproduction – so we may get married but we don’t want to immediately become submerged in a world of suburban drudgery, washing things in nappysan, leaking various fluids and reduced to a life of conversations with children under school age. And thank god we don’t have to.
    “The age at which family is taken seriously needs to be brought back a few years.”
    You blokes can incubate them and breastfeed them if you want to do it in your 20s. Some of us want to get an education and establish a career before we have kids. Some of us will never want to have kids. And that’s fine – we’re not “missing out”, we’re making a choice. A choice I’m personally very glad we have.
    And a choice which other women around the world don’t have, because of (among other things) a lack of education. And so the world’s population is growing – perhaps, Mark, you just think it’s the *wrong* people having babies?

  10. Well said, Rebekka. My eyes were rolling too hard at Mark’s comment to reply coherently to it.

  11. It’s now well known that countries like Spain and Italy with poor work-family-and-childcare choices for women – and patriarchal family culture still strong – are at the bottom of the demographic heap. Women in countries with more female-friendly systems are having more children. (I’m talking about the developed world, of course, not countries where choice is even more of a laughable concept than it is here.) In other words, promoting an antifeminist culture is bad for the birth rate, if it is a higher birth rate you want.
    Without maternity leave and childcare won for me by Teh Second wave feminists, I might not have had my second.

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