Tag Archives: childcare

The Blind Pimple of Fairfax

You know when you get a blind pimple, and you know you shouldn’t try to squeeze it because not only will it hurt like crazy without any satisfying pop, but it will just make the pimple a whole lot worse? Well, Elizabeth Farrelly is a blind pimple. I know I shouldn’t read her opinion pieces when they’re about women, but I just can’t help myself.

Here is today’s women-aren’t-interested-in-work-because-they-have-wombs nonsense: Your chicks or your career? Do you really want what he’s having?

First there’s the insult to feminists:

the hairy-legged Guardian reader contingent

And then the insult to women in general:

How can you expect to leave work to collect the kids at five and still get promoted with your more dedicated male colleagues?

Just because someone is at their desk after 5pm doesn’t mean they are more dedicated. In my experience, those who are still there after 5pm have either fucked around all day, or they came in late, or they’re playing solitaire in the hope the boss sees them still “working” and mistakenly believes they are dedicated to the company. And those who leave at five-on-the-dot are usually going to the pub – with other male managers. Of course, there are exceptions to this, and many people have massive workloads, but just because someone is trying to achieve a balance between their work life and their personal life doesn’t make them less dedicated to their job.

Then she says something weird about how Architect Barbie’s biggest handicap is being an architect, not being a woman – as though somehow Barbie dolls are a realistic representation of the real world. When she writes about women, Farrelly makes very little sense and I honestly don’t know why half her shit gets published. And this piece makes so little sense that I’ve had to read it twice to work out what she’s saying. Was she drunk when she wrote it?

Apparently only those who see women as “just men with breasts” want equal gender representation in positions of power. Huh? I don’t hear anyone saying that women are just men with breasts. But Farrelly, don’t let that get in the way of you making shit up. You know, I was so pleased when trollumnist Miranda Devine left Fairfax to return to her natural home at News Ltd, but she’s been replaced with someone who is baffling. It’s hard to know where to start picking apart her arguments because it’s so hard to find them.

Other standard Guardian-reader assumptions are that women listen and talk better, intuit better, are more client-responsive and collaborate better. This last is clearly rubbish.

Men collaborate – I give you football, war, organised crime, the boys’ club. But even if female communication superiority is, as I suspect, real (unless we’re putting this, too, down to conditioning) there’s still a contradiction. Women are either different from men or they’re not.

Wait, I’m confused. Is she saying that only hairy-legged Guardian readers believe that women are better communicators and that she also believes that women are better communicators? At least you could understand Devine’s feminist-bashing opinion pieces.

And there’s still childcare. For yes, it’s unfair. But what’s to be done?

Perhaps the Dutch have this sorted, what with state childcare and parental leave.

But how to manage it?

How to manage it? Here’s a hint: ask the Dutch how they do it. For fuck’s sake, it’s not rocket surgery.

And then there’s something about how only “cretins and shysters” run childcare centres, and that the only productive, dedicated staff members are those who spend every waking minute in the office. Huh?

Sure, men love babies. But (tell me I’m wrong) women love them more. Essentialist, perhaps, but god help us if it ever changes.

Yep. She actually wrote that. Not only do women love babies more than men – which is a bullshit generalisation – but if the situation was reversed then THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT IS GOING TO END IN CATASTROPHE!

So the issue is not whether women ”want it” as much as men, but whether they want it as much as they want to nurture their chicks. I’m as ambitious as anyone I know, male or female. I put both my kids in childcare as littlies, and wept each time I left them.

See! It’s nature! Women aren’t supposed to work when they have children because I didn’t like putting my kids in childcare! The hairy feminists are wrong!

Yet I’m conscious of having made deep and ongoing career sacrifices for their sake. Yes, it’s hard. And yes, it still makes me furious.

Farrelly, what makes you think that only women feel this?

We don’t just have babies and pop them off to wet-nurse and boarding-school any more. Not only because we can’t. Because we won’t.

In Farrelly’s world, raising children is still something women – and only women – should do. So rather than work towards a society in which both parents are able to job share, to take parental leave, to achieve work/life balance, she thinks women should just raise kids and men should just earn money.

My dad once said to me that the biggest regret he has in life is that he wasn’t more involved in our childhoods. He said he had five chances to be involved and blew them all because it just wasn’t the done thing back then. He said he sees the ways his three sons are with their kids and it makes him sad for his own lost opportunity, but also happy that a father’s role as just a money earner seems to be a thing of the past.