Women reduced to a disembodied womb, GetUp edition

GetUp, a large Australian anti-conservative action group, has a Paid Parental Leave campaign on at the moment. Yes, bravo, etc. (They do confuse parental and maternity leave, but that’s another story.)


When we’re talking equal pay, we get faces. But when we’re talking about mothers, everything disappears except the belly and the babies.

Is it really too much to ask that women be represented as more than a protruding uterus? By “progressives”?

For background, see my previous post on Styling Womanhood, and all of the Shakesville series on Disembodied Things.

Categories: gender & feminism, social justice, Sociology, work and family

Tags: , , , , ,

10 replies

  1. Nice how the “dad” figure gets part of his face shown, even. Fantastic contrast: Focus is on the children (all boys? The two older ones look it) and “dad” has a face (at least we get to see part of it), but yes. “Mom” == “pregnant belly”.

  2. Get Up were also pretty challenged by how an ad about making midwifery available to Australian women as normal care was the most popular ad in the competition they ran. Anyone would think WOMEN were important or somefin. *eye roll* Personally I’m hoping we get discrete snapshot reminders of men at some point. What oh what would make a good Man trope, I wonder?

  3. Sorry nothing to do with this post but wanted to link a Greer interview without rereading all the comments on the post about her!
    Tony Biggs did a great interview on RRR last week. It is the first one in the archives but if you are looking for it in weeks to come you might need to hunt for it. Greer on Rage but also on Zappa, crabs, music and so much more.
    another outspoken females last blog post..Greer as you’ve never heard her

  4. That’s an excellent link, AoF, but it is off topic for this post. May I suggest a different procedure be followed another time?
    *you could use the sidebar “Recent Comments” links to go directly to the most recent comment on the relevant thread, so that you can leave your new comment just below it without having to scroll down through all comments.
    *Or you could leave such a link on the Otterday Open Thread (which will be a recurring feature) instead of on an off-topic post.

  5. I voted for the midwifery care thing. Have they done anything with it?
    I also just sent them an e-mail about how it’s not okay to present a woman as a disembodied uterus. I’m big into sending e-mails at the moment.

  6. It might just be confusion, and I know it’s another story, but the use of ‘parental’ and ‘maternity’ leave as if the two are interchangeable is kinda weird. Or totally not, really. I reckon it’s part of an attempt to suggest that really what they’re aiming for is parental leave—nice and inclusive, right?—while trying to sneak ‘mat leave’ in underneath that. I’m all for parental leave, but in other countries the expansion to parental leave has been built off mat leave, and I’m also a bit weirded out by the suggestion that men and women are situated in the same way in the aftermath of birth. Which is clearly ludicrous (and in some sense a result of pretending that wombs are, indeed, detachable from actual women). I don’t like the idea, though, that we’re in such a conservative space that we have to call ‘mat leave’ ‘parental leave’ in order to make it palatable. Makes me grumpy.

  7. “I’m also a bit weirded out by the suggestion that men and women are situated in the same way in the aftermath of birth”
    So, you’d prefer that partnets not contribute to the care of the infant, in those weeks while the mother is undergoing the aftermath?

  8. Paul: please make an effort to either assume good faith, or at least not to deliberately misread other commenters. If you’re still confused about our comments policy, please read it over until you’re not.

  9. Jeez, yeah, Paul, I said nothing of the kind. I’d love for there to be parental leave for everyone involved for as long as possible. I think that partners have a thousand and one things to contribute. However, new mothers are also in physical recovery, and so are situated somewhat differently to their partners (though the lack of sleep, I think, is something that everyone forgets to take into account about new parents!). In the end, my point is not that there shouldn’t be parental leave, but that when we’re trying to create some sense of what is most needed, given that as the goverment is always reminding us, it’s really expensive to have leave at all, perhaps mat leave can actually be permitted to have priority, given the physical recovery involved. What do you think?

  10. This picture is such a mess on so many levels, I’m not sure where to start. Yes, the arc o’ belly is symbolically bad, but it’s also bad graphic design, and the PhotoShopping of the whole image is absurd. Here, I whipped up an improvement with my own meager PhotoShopping skillz.

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