During my review of newstand women’s magazines it has become clear that there are only 3 things of interest to women:
1) looking sexy
2) food – both eating and cooking thereof
3) creating ‘lovely’ living spaces
This must mean that women who do not have an interest in any of these things must be unnatural.
Well where does this leave me? Perhaps that New Scientist magazine has to go?
My post the other day on this topic revealed my complete ignorance of house & home magazines (this deficiency in my reading was kindly pointed out in a recent comment). I have rushed to the store to get hold of a bunch of womens’ magazines and have been reading them with a critical eye for ‘housework mania‘ inducing words and imagery.
Well I must confess I had not realised how pervasive the imagery of good housekeeping was in these magazines. I usually read New Scientist, Time, Business Review Weekly etc. – they do not have many pictures of lovely sparkling clean houses with lots of well placed nick-nacks. But these other magazines certainly do! They have it in spades. In fact the spaces not already occupied by the other 2 key items (food-challenged models & very nice looking food) are occupied by little pictorial features on how to improve the home.
Then my searches took me to the internet, where I found the FLYlady
where visitors are greeted with:
‘Are YOU living in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) like Franny in the pink sweats? Do you feel overwhelmed, overextended, and overdrawn? Hopeless and you don’t know where to start? Don’t worry friend, we’ve been there, too. Step through the door and follow FlyLady as she weaves her way through housecleaning and organizing tips with homespun humor, daily musings about life and love, the Sidetracked Home Executives (SHE™) system, and anything else that is on her mind.
Now this site does not even seem to glimpse the oppression that covers this whole area of housework like a miasma (or a fog in a really bad 1950s horror movie).
More on the humorous side is the Bad Mothers Club – subtitled ‘In the aisle by the chill cabinets, no-one can hear you scream.’ This site at least recognises that some of this stuff is not important. There are also some good tips on time management (e.g. put the kids in their school clothes before bed as this saves a lot of time in the morning – I might even try this one for work?)
It is astonishing that many women in the west still seem to be obsessed with housework and cleaning in spite of the advances women have made in the past 100 years.
A recent series of visits to various online women’s groups (that are ostensibly about something else) showed a focus, in an almost unhealthy way, upon housework. Many of the women in these groups express sincere distress at not feeling able to cope with housework or to perform it to a level they see as ‘normal‘.
There is something wrong here. There are bigger things in the world than worrying if your lounge room or kitchen are clean.
What’s the real story?
Is this a form of internalized oppression?
I do not have children, nor do I plan to reproduce – so I suppose you could say I have no skin in this particular game. But I’ve been thinking about the debates around maternity leave and the low birthrate that have occurred recently in Australia.
The key problem does not actually seem to be paid maternity leave for a number of weeks after the birth, rather it seems to be the fact that one must support the child for at least 18 years after the birth. Nowadays there are few women who do not have to return to work to support their families. Given this situation it seems to me that the real problem is not maternity leave, instead it is the lack of cheap and available childcare.
The solution to this problem is obvious! The government should provide childcare on the same basis as it does school education. It should be a universal right in this country. Since many women (and men) would like to have children this would support a rise in the birth rate by removing a key impediment to child rearing. I must admit I would prefer my taxes go to universal childcare than to some other things.
This site is a real gem, at the Doomsday Guide you track doomsday in its many and varied forms. This site provides an “online link resource to the full spectrum of End of the World Scenarios” inlcuding Armageddon, the Apocalypse, End of Days, Doomsday. There are even categories to look under:
- Religious Prophecy (western & eastern)
- Global Conflict
I’ve always had a fondness for a good disaster scenario (although I prefer not to experience them in real life) so this site is fabulous.
It is an unending source of amazement to me that our society will not let a hairdresser cut your hair or a mechanic fix your car unless they’ve done a multi-year apprenticeship BUT they will let any half-wit who thinks they have a clue play with mission critical computers.
Since computers are now a central part of modern life this course of action seems at best imprudent and at worst plain stupid and dangerous! In recent times I’ve seen some configurations that are criminally stupid and risky, and these could only have been implemented by people without any idea of what the were doing.
An equivalent disaster to the big blackout in the east USA could happen at any time because there are complete clowns being allowed to ‘play’ with essential computer systems and infrastructure. If only people realized how scary the world of technology really is!
The case of a defined body of knowledge that practitioners must master before being let loose on our systems is a most pressing issue. How can we have homeland defense when there are people who don’t know how to patch their systems against worms, trojans, and viruses. Heaps of the recent attacks had patches out months earlier.
Again, a lack of professionalism in the IT industry.
Women in the western world are actually very lucky in many ways. Now there are so many choices for women – education, full time career, part time work, family, no family, travel, etc.
But for men there does not seem to be so many choices. Many women of my acquaintance have decided to take career breaks, to leave work and raise a family, to work part time and pursue a hobby or education.
However, amongst the men of my acquaintance those who make similar ‘lifestyle’ choices are in the minority. Instead men seem to have a linear set of options: get an education, get a job, perhaps have a family, retire, die.
The multiplicity of ‘lifestyle’ options seems to be passing many of them by. I wonder why?
One thing that the big focus nowadays on so-called ‘family friendly’ workplaces (including maternity/paternity/parental leave) has overlooked is that this excludes the many people who for various reasons do not have children. The question is ‘what about us’? While parents are getting time off, more ‘family friendly’ rosters are implemented (etc.) who but the childless are left holding the fort in this 24×7 world of work?
Not meaning to sound grumpy here, but what is an employer going to give me in return for coming to work every day, not leaving early, working unpaid overtime, covering so-called ‘family’ un-friendly shifts, etc?
The other annoying thing is that I’m not considered part of the ‘family friendly’ world because it only counts children not other relationships. So tough luck if your only family is another adult (like maybe a few gay or lesbian couples out there?).
In essence these ‘family friendly’ policies are rewarding those with offspring and punishing those without. The sooner employers start to see this the quicker they will stop the inevitable revolt amongst the childless. In fact, the revolt may already have begun:
This from 2002: Whirlpool News – Telstra to stop rolling out pair gain
Many people (including me) are still suffering from this stupidity and cupidity of Telstra!
They knew pair gain was a cheap but ineffective way to roll out phone lines but they did it anyway. I think this bolsters arguments not to privatise them.
If this is how Telstra behaves when they are under government regulation what will they be like when they are free to do anything they want!
These issues with pair gain go way back and Telstra is still avoiding the problem! Here’s some more evidence:
War of words erupts over Telstra service levels, pricing: ZDNet Australia: News: Communications By Rachel Lebihan, ZDNet Australia, 13 March 2002