You’ll struggle to find many feminists who agree with Bettina Arndt. This feminist certainly never does, because Arndt’s advice to women always comes down to this: “If your husband wants sex and you don’t feel like it, just say yes because halfway through you may find yourself enjoying it, but even if you don’t enjoy it, it’s good for a man to have sex when he wants it”. Um, yeah. Unless you’re a rapist, having sex with someone who doesn’t want to have sex ain’t very sexy.
Anyway, she’s done it again: Shacking up is hard to do: why Gillard may be leery of the Lodge:
Julia Gillard doesn’t want to move into the Lodge until she gets a democratic tick of approval. Or so she says. Maybe the real reason she is stalling is to test the waters about public reaction to moving her first bloke in there with her.
I know journalists are more socially liberal than the rest of the population, but I really don’t think the rest of the population gives a shit about whether Julia Gillard and Tim Mathieson are married or not. Except for maybe some Abbott supporters.
It’s fine for Gillard – a 48-year-old woman – to live with her bloke. Yet as a popular role model for women, her lifestyle choice may influence other women into making big mistakes about their lives.
Um. I just don’t know what to say about that. Living with someone you love is a “big mistake”?
Cohabitation produces two groups of losers among women and children.
That’s right girls. If you’re not married then you’re a loser.
Most women want to have children – Gillard is an exception – and some miss out after wasting their primary reproductive years in a succession of live-in relationships which look hopeful but go nowhere, leaving them childless and partnerless as they hit 40.
Riiight. So if a woman chooses to live with her partner and they don’t have kids, then it’s Gillard’s fault? And if a woman lives with someone who doesn’t want kids, then he’ll suddenly dump her because they don’t have kids? That just doesn’t make sense.
Women’s tiny reproductive window means they pay a high price for wasting precious breeding time in such uncertain relationships.
Arndt doesn’t think much of women, does she? She has this idea that adult women are silly creatures who only think about having babies. And getting married. And perhaps having babies to trap a man into marriage so she can have more babies. Sigh.
If Gillard chooses to play house with Tim Mathieson in the Lodge, this choice sends a strong message to the huge numbers of women who rightly admire her and seek to follow her example. A lifestyle suited to her particular needs may be riskier for many women and their children.
The chances of an adult woman choosing to live with her partner just because Julia Gillard does, is ridiculously small. And enough of the condescending “play house”. Ah yes, because if you’re not married then you’re not an adult, even if you are the Prime Minister of Australia.
Arndt then goes on to use a conversation between Germaine Greer and Margaret Whitlam IN 1972 (SHOUTING!) as an example. ALMOST FOUR DECADES AGO, when Australian society was very different. Can anyone say ‘out of touch’?
At the heart of this conversation was role models. People in the public eye, our influential leaders, need to think through whether others who don’t share their circumstances will follow their example and get into trouble.
Um, no. Being a role model is one thing. Expecting someone in the public eye to get married simply because they are a role model is completely ridiculous.
Every day we see well-known Australians making dubious lifestyle decisions being lauded in the media – celebrities choosing to become single mothers, unwed fathers, parents dragging children through a succession of chaotic ”blended” families.
Ooh, judge much?
Pat Rafter was made Australian of the Year just as he was about to become an unmarried father. What did that say to his many male fans about the importance of committed fathering?
Actually Bettina, what it says is that he doesn’t need a piece of paper declaring his love to one person (and usually a magical man in the sky) in order to be a good parent to another person. And the suggestion that you need the former to be the latter is just dumb.
Update: From the always fabulous Fuck Politeness:
You’re banging on about Julia Gillard’s ‘real reasons’ for delaying moving into the Lodge? I suggest your real reasons for having a problem are that Ms Gillard has chosen not to have children, has chosen not to get married and has a wildly successful career and appears to all intents and purposes to be a funny, happy, intelligent and well rounded woman and THAT bothers the hell out of you as an example for our girls, since they might realise that they don’t NEED to slide into marriage and babies.