September 15th, 2009


Yeah, I WANT the freaking symbolism

It seems like we, as women, have to work so hard to get positive symbolism and recognition of equality, and that even when we do make real progress, it gets dissed for being "mere tokenism". Course when it's in the reverse direction, we get told we're being too sensitive or picking the wrong fights or not looking at the bigger picture.

It occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that I experience sexism and antisemitism very differently. I grew up in a post-Holocaust Jewish world (you can't half tell). I went to a Jewish day school, most of my peers were Jewish. I've visited Israel. I've spoken to so many Jews about the politics of Israel, Zionism, Judaism and antisemitism (Jewish people sit on a spectrum, we don't all think the same thing). The one thing though that I have taken away from all of these experiences is, you never ever don't notice an antisemitic jibe. You never ever let it slide - you might not say anything at the time (you pick your battles) but you never forget it. Because the history of my people is this - at the end of the day, noone will come out and fight for you. I am in Australia because of the Cossocks in Moscow in the 1890s and because of Hitler in Czechoslovakia in the 1940s. I am alive because my grandfather and my great great grandfather never didn't notice an antisemitic remark, secondclass treatment or joke. And at the end of the day, they saw the writing on the wall and they got the hell out of there.

"At the end of the day, you'll always be just a bloody Jew."

That's a nice big burden to carry on your shoulders. But I notice all and every antisemitic action because I've been taught to. And I make a mental note, because at the end of the day, that person is not likely to be my friend, when push comes to shove.

This is part of what I take with me when I navigate my way through life. And I spose that might seem overly sensitive, but it should also be seen in the light of being raised in a post-Holocaust world. Being part of families and communities with glaring spaces where family members should be. And are not.

But it occurred to me that I don't do the same with sexism. In part, that's probably because inequality is so much more ingrained in our society - I can choose not to associate with people who are racist, but it's much much harder to remove myself from experiences of sexism. They are just far too common, part of the everyday experience.

And this is what I was thinking when I read this news article here about the WA Liberals deciding to back down about standing in the way of Michelle Roberts' Private Members Bill to make changes to the equal opportunity legislation. This Bill came about after a woman was ejected from a fancy restaurant for breastfeeding. The Libs maintained that the current law protects the right to breastfeed in public - which you know, if that was the case, um ... ?

I was thinking about how we don't actually have respect and equality in society, thank you Premier Barnett for reminding me: "The Private Member's Bill probably at law does very little, however symbolically it does give a message to the community that women should be respected and free to breastfeed."

See, the current law clearly didn't protect women's rights to breastfeed in public. And even if it did, why belittle the supporting of women's rights to breastfeed by insisting it was only a symbolic message to the community that women should be respected? See Barnett's problem is he likes to always be right - he's one of those people. So even in backing down, he has to put the boot in. A better response would have been: "This sends a clear message to the community that women should be respected and free to breastfeed."

Instead he needs to point out that any victory for the women's rights movement can only be a "symbolic" one.


I'm on the Drugs!

I have found a new elixir people, a new drug!!! I have found ... VITAMIN B!!!!!! Probably you have to be as low in Vit B as I was for the Vit B tablets to make you feel THIS GOOD but Dayum I feel FANTASTIC!! I feel like I could take on the world!!

Today I:
Completed my draft for the next job application and sent it out for feedback
Sent out a bunch of book orders and review copies
Read about 20 short stories
Updated a bunch of TPP websites with information on Shiny and Roadkill/Siren Beat
Did some final bibs and bobs for the text of same
Worked out how to enlarge my patchwork template to the exact scale I need

And now I am going to go and make that patchwork square, read some more of Liar (yes I totally am nicked it out of the ASif review pile) and work on the monochrome tumbling blocks, whilst watching Star Trek.

On the way home tonight I popped past my mother's to pick up stuff and tell her some good news and my sister was there. Unfortunately she and my brother-in-law have cancelled their trip overseas which was good news for me cause I was dogsitting their puppy for them for three weeks in a week's time and do I look like I need that right now? Seriously?! Anyway so we were talking about that and I was feeling bad that they had to cancel so I leaned over to my sister's stomach and yelled "Hey you in there! You'd better be fun!!!"
And my sister says, "The baby can hear you now." Then she pauses and adds, "apparently they can be startled too."
And I swear I barely moved, and my mother and my sister in unison yelled, "Don't!"

Damn but that would've been fun.

This is my favourite news item of the day

Quotes from ABC News

But a Coalition bid to silence the Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek backfired - it gave her new ammunition to attack the Opposition for failing to give female MPs a prominent role.
She accused the Coalition of being stuck in the past and out of touch with reality.
"They don't let women ask questions, its seems now we're not allowed to answer them either," Ms Plibersek said.
Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard also went on the attack.
"I've come to Question Time and watched them gag women speaking," Ms Gillard said.
In all[,] three of the Government's female ministers used Question Time to call the Opposition out of touch on women's issues.

And now for the kicker? They sent Julie Bishop in to retort, that the the Opposition is not out of touch with women's issues - she used a 40 year old speech quote to, um, prove the point?

Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop hit back by quoting the former Prime Minister Paul Keating's maiden speech from 1969 where he described the increasing number of women in the workforce as an embarrassment.

That'll learn us! Who wants to tell her that the internet has been invented, I got this news item via twitter and I'm blogging on a laptop?
Ahh, give us something to at least challenge us? We don't even have to TRY anymore!