Monday, January 30, 2017

Modern man

Ghandi once said the test of a society's humanity is how it treats its animals. As much as I can see the simple truth of this sentiment, as a feminist who has long studied men and women in various cultures, it is all too clear to me that the much more profound and ultimate test of our humanity is in how women are treated - by men; a test that all societies fail in some degree and most fail almost completely.

Men in all societies in some degree fail to treat women with the respect and dignity we deserve for all that we have done and continue to do for humankind. There are exceptions of course, and Obama is perhaps the best of these exceptions. In the genuine respect, affection and admiration he has for his wife, he has shown the world what a man should and could be in this first duty of treating women with respect. Trump is showing the world, in the most brazen and base way possible, the very opposite; the sadly much more common way that men mistreat and disrespect women, beginning with their girlfriends and wives.

If you want to know a violent man before he commits any actual physical violence, the research on domestic violence says look and listen to the way he speaks about women. Most male violence in the world is based first and foremost in misogyny.

This video of these two men arriving with their wives to be sworn in as president of the US, with one waiting for his wife to exit the car and following her up the steps, the other charging up first leaving his wife - his third wife - to trail behind, says it all, really.

In this respect, Obama shows us the way forward to a fundamentally less violent world, Trump shows us the way back to the violent world from which we are just beginning to emerge. As I've said here before, it is possible that we needed to go back in this way to expose the reality that only marginalised and hated feminists have long recognised, to SEE what we cannot seem to believe otherwise, just how much hatred so many men have for women and womankind and how much damage this hatred inflicts on all of our lives.

Obama is the best of men, Trump the worst, it's as simple as that. And how poignant it is that one should follow the other into the most powerful political position in the world to accentuate the contrast and highlight the truth that our very humanity rests on exposing and eradicating misogynistic men like Trump and celebrating and encouraging men like Obama.  

Monday, January 23, 2017

This is what feminism looks like (Jan 21, 2017)

The nearly two million people who protested Trump's inauguration worldwide yesterday were mostly women, 500, 000 of them in the US capital here, the pink 'pussy hats' denoting pussy power and protest. That's quite some protest power alright, but sadly, it's not real power and it's too little, or even too much, too late.

I marched too, here in Auckland, with more than two thousand others, and like all the other protest marches they were organised by women and mostly attended by women to protest Trump's misogyny and the corrupt way in which the first female president of the US was denied her rightful place in history, a place that was well overdue and promised all sorts of flow-on improvements in the lives of girls and women around the world. Sexism, and racism, but mostly sexism, screwed that chance and so we feminists, tired but not defeated, protest. The battle continues.

Unfortunately, all those women (and men) - and I know a fair few personally - who did not realise in time that this was the election to fight against sexism first and for an idealistic (unrealistic) equal and free world second - because gender inequality is the oldest and most damaging inequality in the book - and supported Clinton's opponent instead, were substantially responsible for this disaster. By the time it was Clinton v. Trump, much of the anti-Clinton hate on the left of the political spectrum had already done devastating damage to her reputation and left many who wouldn't vote for Trump deciding not to vote at all, which was effectively voting for Trump. Trump was elected by less than a quarter of the US population; over 40% of Americans didn't vote.

So here we are, wearing pussy-protest caps, marching and shouting into the freezing cold or blazing heat - in all weathers across the globe - while a blatant billionaire misogynist 'predator-in-chief' rides in his warm, bullet-proof car, on his way to take the reigns of power and undo so many of the hard-won gains that feminists before us have worked for and eventually won for women.

It's depressing, deeply. But perhaps a lesson was learned in the only way that it could be learned. Let's not make the same mistake again.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

This is what democracy looks like (Jan 21, 2017)

Washington DC

New York


San Jose


Auckland (I was there)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Behind every great Gosling

So I asked my daughter what she thought of Ryan Gosling's Golden Globes Best Actor acceptance speech in which he thanked his 'lady' for taking care of their daughter and being pregnant with their second child while also nursing her brother who was sick with cancer so that he was free to act, sing, dance and play piano in La La Land and she said it was great. It seems almost everyone else agrees.


British journalist Narjas Zatat of the Independant does not (see link above). She says Gosling's speech reinforces the patronising notion that behind every great man is a 'great' woman doing the unglamorous heavy lifting of supporting and caring for her man - and his children - and sick and aged relatives to boot, work that is not actually considered great - or even work - whether women are thanked for it or not.

I'm not quite sure what I think. To be thanked publicly by your man for this usually invisible work is better than remaining invisible and being totally taken for granted, I guess. But it would have been nice if Gosling had added something about Eva's acting career (which never came up) having to be put on hold to carry and care for his children and how he can never return that favour in full but he will do what he can by trying to be the best partner and dad he can be and the caregiver in chief for their family when that is what she needs him to be. Something about them being in this greatest of jobs - of making and raising a family - together, as equals - not one great and award-winning, the other just good - would have given substance to his thanks for supporting me by doing womanly things speech.

You can't play a romantic lead when you are actually pregnant, after all.

For a feminist critique of La La Land see here.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Seahorse love, just because

I made these in high school and somehow kept them safe and well all these years, probably because I left them in peace. In fact I forgot all about them for aproximately 30 years and never wore them - they are earrings, but surely much too lovely for ears. 

A few years back I rediscovered them and decided to take them out of their long hibernation, at first barely remembering where they came from. But studying them closely the memory that was stored inside their intricate grooves and rustic red sheen came back to me all at once and I did remember; I made them in Year 8 Art, when I was 13.

Yesterday they found a home inside the cute little Trade Aid pot that my youngest gave me for Christmas this year. It is just big enough for them to fit together kissing, making a seahorse heart and, even more cosmically (great word from the 70s), the women's internal reproductive zone.  

It was all meant to be; they have found a home in the zone and will remain there kissing (well, almost) until they fall out of love. And as they can't fall far, being squeezed by the sides of the pot, that probably won't be for a while. They say you can't force love, I think it must be different for seahorses. And just as well for us, as there may be no cuter creature.  

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wishful Drinking (Carrie and me II)

This is not my copy.

So it turns out I didn't appreciate the full Carrie when I blogged about her recently here.

In particular, I didn't fully appreciate what a grand lady comedian she was, performing a one woman show based on the memoir she wrote, with the genius title 'Wishful Drinking' .

Shame on me. I blame the drink (and the pills).

I will read it asap (as well as her other books).

Just coincidentally, because this is not all about me, having written and published my own memoir this year I am now trying to put together my own one woman show, so I am essentially trying to do exactly what Carrie did only from a position of being a complete unknown who did not star in the biggest box office hit film series of all time and who is approximately one million years older than Carrie was when she did those things.

Never mind. I plan on coming up with a better title for my one woman show. I think I need a drink - hey! that could work.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Meryl's broken-heart art

Accepting her Cecil B. Demille lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes yesterday Meryl Streep finished by quoting Carrie Fisher: 'You take your broken heart and make it into art'.

Meryl's heart (like many) was broken most recently by the man who mocked and mimicked a disabled reporter and became president. She showed the video of this 'man' mid-mockery, because naturally his favourite defence is the shameless denial and rearrangement of the facts.

By using the few minutes she was allotted to speak in acceptance of her award to call out this bigot instead of talking about herself and her 30-year career in which she has been nominated for more awards than any other actor in history, and won a whole bunch of them too, including other lifetime achievement awards, Streep turned her broken heart into the hardest of all arts - politics.

And in so doing she made Hollywood history. Hopefully more actors will follow her lead - if they can and if they dare.

Of course the mocker denied everything and called Streep 'the most overrated actress in Hollywood' on Twitter where all the trolls and bigots and president-elects hang out.

I guess he's just jealous, as he could, arguably, be called the most underrated actor in politics.




Friday, January 6, 2017

The year of the cock

So apparently 2017 is the Year of the Cock (rooster; same thing). How very apt! The Chinese really are talented fortune tellers. Who knew?

The chief cock knew. He even styles himself to look like a rooster, with that reddy orange comb over and puffed out chest of his.

Not to mention his talent for crowing. They're only supposed to crow in the morning, roosters, but some crow all day long, Wiki tells us. It all depends on their 'personality'.

I didn't know cocks had personalities. It would appear there's a lot I didn't know. But one is never too old to learn.

And as this is my first blog for the Year of the Cock, let that be our motto and resolution for the year: you're never too old to learn.

Cock a doodle doo.