Friday, December 17, 2010

Motherhood is a gift...or not

I was at a wedding earlier in the year, talking to a pregnant person in the line for the loos.  We were talking about when she was due and then talked about my daughter and the son that she had already. 

As the conversation continued she looked in to my eyes and said something along the lines of "It's just such a gift isn't it?  It's just the best thing in the world.  It's just a real gift".   I nodded and smiled, looking like I was agreeing with her, all the time thinking, "Is she really serious?  Does she really really believe that?"

I have heard a few people say this now.  And I don't...get it.  It does not resonant with me, but even more, it makes me feel squirmy.  Very squirmy.

I understand that just because it's true for me, it doesn't mean that it's not true for other people.

But a gift is free, without pain, effort, cost and comprise.  It comes to you with joy and doesn't take from you. 

And I love her, but the Strumpette is not a gift.  She comes with pain, effort and compromise. Confusion and frustration.  Tiredness, every-day-grindiness.  She is awesome, and smart, and funny, and oh-so-cute, but a gift she is not. Gifts don't snot on you and shit in the bath.

And it makes me squirmy - because by framing Motherhood in this way, we erase all that stuff that makes Motherhood and parenting so bloody difficult and consuming.  And that does no one any favours.  You can't complain about a gift, say you're struggling with a gift, that you need help with a gift.

And that is really problematic.  Because then people don't voice their problems.  Don't mention that they're having trouble coping.  Don't explain that sometimes it ain't all baby cuddles and soft skin. Because there is nothing wrong with a gift, amirite?

I'm not saying that there isn't a lot of awesome when it comes to parenting. Because there is.  It must be for the human race to keep breeding as it does.  But a gift it is not. So I think we have to be careful about the way we talk about parenting to others.  So we can leave the lines open to commiserate, share and debrief.  Which is really the gift now isn't it?

Maybe if I had struggled with fertility and really really went through hoops to get a baby, I might feel different.  For those of you in that boat, I apologise and allow you your feelings!

Monday, December 13, 2010

If you read one thing this year...

Make it this. In fact, given that we're almost at the end of the year, if you're only going to read one thing this finacial year - make it that. And, if, as I suspect, most of you are women reading this blog, show this article to the men in your life.

Why Profligate Promiscuous Strumpet?

Thanks Deborah for the idea.  I hope this answers your question!

I have a friend.  A great friend.  I don't see her often enough and I miss her heaps.  We came up with this fabulous name for ourselves, back in the day.  We were Profligate Promiscuous Strumpets.  And still are with any luck.

We both love words.  And books.  And dancing.  And being loud. And flirting. And somewhere in the deep dark past, we came upon this word.  Profligate.  Such a good word.  You can bite it. And let it dribble down your chin.  We liked the meaning of it, because at that point in our lives, we were all about the excesses. (I'm not providing the definition here, because I figure you're all really smart and know it, and if it's unfamilar to you, it doesnt mean you're not smart.  But it means you're here, on a computer, and can use google).

Promiscuous.  I probably wasn't as promiscuous as I could have been, or as much as I now wish I had been.  But we liked it - it was kind of a fuck-you to all the slut-shaming and good-girl lessons and being a lady. Fuck that.  We liked boys. And men.  And kissing them. A lot of them.  It was sooo much fun. 
So yeah... Promicsuous? Hell Yeah. Testify.  Hands up in there, wave em around like you just don't care. 

Ahem. Sorry, got a little distracted.  I was vogue-ing in my seat and I hope you were too (or maybe that's just me again.)

Strumpet.  We just liked the word.  It sounded fun.   And that implied sluttiness in the word, which I'm sure some people applied to us, it was another way of owning that judgment but also saying fuck you to it as well. To us, it meant sexy, and messy, and sassy and mischevious, and powerful. Which we were  And I hope we still are.

And when I was looking for a blog name, I wanted something a bit fun. And a bit fuck you.  And that meant something to me.  I think it's probably too long. And to complicated to search for.  But it's done now.  And it's mine.

So, my other Profligate Promiscuous Strumpet - thanks for the great times.  I miss you.  And Thanks for the name for my little space on the intertubes. 

N.B This posts hints a lot of the raunch culture I embraced as a young adult.  My privelege allowed me to indulge in it, nay, wallow in raunch culture, relatively unscathed.  One day, when I get the time, I'd like to unpack that time for you all.  But I just want to acknowledge it here, so that you're aware, that I'm aware that this post touches on it, and that raunch culture is not without it's problems.  All aware now? :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A safe space (Bookclub is awesome, wrapped in bacon awesome)

With shirtless libidinous Hugh Jackman (insert other crush here) awesome.

We all need safe spaces.  Where we can talk, and discuss and explore.  And laugh.  Feel better about ourselves and the world.  Regroup if needed.  Feel like we are connected.  Feel like we are Heard.  That we are cared for.

I am lucky enough and have enough privilege, to have a few of those spaces in my life.

One of them is Bookclub.  Created and managed by my wonderful sister, who shall be known in this blog as DootDoot. (Strumpette christened her so.)

Bookclub is once a month. We read a book, we meet at one another's houses and we talk about said book.  Very simple.

But oh the joy.
I often desire meaningful conversation in my life.  Not necessarily serious, but conversation that talks about stuff that matters.  Bookclub fulfills this desire so well.  The books we pick aren't necessarily feminist books or books about 'big' stuff.  They have generally been fiction.  But the books have allowed us to discuss feminism, relationships, gender, activism, the importance of pets, writing styles, race, politics., class, education. 

And laugh.  At each other (gently and not-so-gently), with one another, about men, children, life, genitals, swearing and just funny stuff that happens on the night.  Laughter until there are tears in our eyes, doubled over, gasping, fading off into giggles.  The kind of stuff that makes you laugh out loud later in the week when you think about it.  And people look at you strangely when you do so.  (Maybe that last parts just me).

Each time I come home from Bookclub, I am happy. Inspired.  Proud to know and be part of such a wonderful, thoughtful, intelligent caring bunch of women.  Who don't take shit but like to give it.

And though some of them would reject the label, everyone of them, to me is feminism personified.

Thank-you, my Bookclub women.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Down Under Feminist Carnvial is Up! Woop!

Go read the 31st Down Under Feminist Carnival, at Hoyden about Town.
Neglect your children, ignore your in-tray, divert your phones to voice mail, shut the door, it's time for lunch, a cuppa, and a good read. 

Just quietly, please submit to the next carnival - held HERE!  Too exciting!
Either direct to me, or preferably at this little handy do-dad


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I am holding the Down Under Feminist Carnival in January

Hello everyone,

Yes I am a slack blogger.  Life and things and children and stuff have been distracting.  But I do miss it.

On a brighter note, I am holding the Down Under Feminist Carnival in January, 2011!  Woop!
So, I thought I better spruce this blog up a little.  I'm going to try and post twice a week.  Yup, twice!  Do you think you can handle the excitement?  Anyone?  *crickets*. 

So I will try to post Monday, and Saturday.  Please fell free to suggest things for me to post on. I will try to honour your requests, unless their boring topics of course :).

See you Saturday.



Thursday, August 12, 2010

NOT the way to continue this conversation..

A few months ago I went out to a suburban club.  I danced with a bunch of guys, my girlfriends I was there with and had a grand old time generally.  However, on 3 seperate occasions I had an identical conversation with men.

I had told each of these men that I was married (their actions indicated to me that they wanted to do more then dance). 

They then asked me why I was out on my 'own' (even though I was with 3 girlfriends).  When I answered with something like - "Because I want to be" (Incredulous look, pissed off tone).

They then said "If you were mine I wouldn't let you out by yourself"".

The tone was fully intended as a compliment, like if I was theirs they couldn't bare to have me unaccompanied by their manly selves...

Oh vomit. It shows how fucked up things are when men think this a good thing to say to a woman.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Death and Feminism

Someone near and dear to me recently died.  Due to his illness, the last few weeks of his life was a drawn out shitty time of pain, dizziness, vomiting and indignity. 

It's not something I would have wished on Tony Abbot, let alone someone I admired and loved.  (Ha de ha ha, see my funny there - I replaced worst enemy with Tony Abbot.  I am a comedian extraordinaire.While I'm on it, this post is not about youth in asia.  Dear lord, someone stop the chuckles!)

So it got me to thinking about the rights of the dying - they don't have many really. They should have more. 

They should have the right to dignity and it is denied to them.
They should have the right to not be subjected to torture or cruel and unusual punishment and it is denied to them.

So, Euthanasia advocacy and activism here I come.  It is something that I have always been vaguely 'for' but this has crystallised it for me.  I don't want another person to have to suffer this way. Death is a big part of life and we largely ignore it, I think.

What has this got to do with feminism?  Well feminism is about equal rights for all.  Dignity for all.  And I am feminist.  So I stand up and I say, Euthanasia is a hard subject, an emotive subject, a shitty thing to have to sort out. But so is abortion.  So is rape. So are a lot of things. But to do nothing is worse.

So I may donate some money to Exit International or a similar organisation.  I'll sure as hell be writing to my state and federal members on this issue.  I don't know what else.  But I will stand up and say we, they, those to come - deserve more.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Damn right!

Down Under Feminist Carnival - yea.  One day I will be brave enough to nominate myself.  When I've written something I'm a little in love with I think.

The way Blue Milk writes is just so...right.
I think she is brave for writing this, because when I have expressed simlair things to other people they seem SHOCKED that you could hate parenting, or loathe that your child is awake.  Because us parents, especially us mothers, we are martyrs and sacrifice ourselves on the altar of our kids - bleurgh!.

Thoughts on vulvas, what we do to them and how this fits in to our current culture (western, privileged culture)

This really says everything I need to say about consent and how the patriarchy works against it.  And maybe how women are taught about consent.  It's not just yes and no.

Women's friendships with women.  Did you learn how to deal with conflict?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Some answers on Rape Culture and why you can't stop yourself being raped.

Some of my girlfriends read this post and they made questions along these lines:
Saying that a girl isn't thinking about her safety by going somewhere with a group of men isn't being sexist, it's just about safety. 

I'm paraphrasing of course, but I think that was the gist of their comments (apologies if I'm misrepresenting you, my loves!).

I couldn't answer you at the time, except to say THAT is exactly the problem and THAT is rape culture right there.

Having pondered on it, I can now (hopefully) answer you better. And maybe these things could help too.

Maybe it isn't safe to go somewhere with a group of guys.  Maybe it is.  The point is, as long as we question what a woman was doing in a given situation where she was raped, verbally  or sexually abused or had her safety threatened we are blaming her.  We are saying that she COULD have done something different.  And when does that stop?  And who gets to decide? And when is it unsafe? (especially considering you are more likely to be raped or sexually assualted by someone you know)

Is it unsafe when you have drunk too much? How much is too much? 1 drink, 4 drink, 10 drinks?

When your skirt is too short? How short? How tight?

When you were too flirty? What's flirty? Who decides?

When you were with too many strangers? How many is too many? When does a person become someone you can know and trust?

When you were dancing suggestively? What makes it suggestive? How should you dance?

When you were having intimate interactions with someone? At what point does it mean that you were 'up for it'?  When does it become 'too late to back out'?

As long as we make these calls on women - What were they doing there? How come they were that drunk? Why were they wearing that, at that time, at that location -  we are placing the onus on women to keep themselves safe, to keep themselves from being raped.  At what point do we stop limiting ourselves and our actions to be safe?  We can't stop ourselves from being raped, anymore then we can stop being smited by a vengeful sprite :D. 

We can't stop it happening to us, because we can't do anything to cause it.  That is not meant to frighten you, it is meant to free you.  Women can't stop rape occuring to them, because it's not our actions (or inactions) that cause rape.

Rapists cause rape.
Rapists are the only ones who can stop it.

(I understand that there is actions women can take to educate men (who are the people most likely to rape other people, especially women) about consent, but that is not the argument I am refuting, or the point I am trying to make.  Hope that makes sense...)

Monday, March 22, 2010

The neverending struggle

I am relatively new to this whole parenting gig.  About a year new. And I am a SAHM and my husband works, so the lion's share of care falls to me.  This is the decision we made, and I am all good with that.

We just recently celebrated the Bubbanor's 1st birthday a few weeks ago.
And for the most part, I love it.  It's endlessly fascinating and entertaining and changing.

But it also WORK. And the part that I find the most work? Not the nappy washing, the bum changing, the breast feeding, the food feeding, the outfit changing and all that associate drudgery.

It is ensuring that my partner is involved in her care when we are together.  Let me clarify, when I am not there he is all fine with her routine, and going out and about and making decision about what to do when and where.

But when I am there, he abdicates this responsibility to me.  Because I know her best, because it is second nature to me to pack her bag early, to decide to go out at this time because it work best for that nap or mealtime.  And it would be easy for me to let him do that.  But that is not what I signed up for. That is not how I want our parenting to be.  So I work at it.

What time do you think we should head out tomorrow?

When works best for X?

You decide, you know her schedule, what do you think is best?

X time.

Good, okay, cool.

The problem is that I am the one that always asks this question - if I don't ask it, it is assumed that I am taking care of it.

At bathtime, if I am there, he forgets to get out a night nappy, pyjamas, to check the time, and so he will ask for me to do these things.  He copes when I am not there, but when I am there, he abdicates again and again.

I am the one who keeps an eye on the clock for snacks, for lunch, for bathtime. I am the one who reminds him that is the time for these things.  Because if I don't remind him, then they are left for me.

I know I need to talk to him about this, and I know he is aware he does it but he still does it.  It would be less tiring to give up and just do those things myself - without the reminder, without pushing him to make the decision. And it has suprised me, that this thing is the most tiring part of parenting.

 But I refuse to capitulate.  But it is work and I don't feel like it will ever end. It is tiring to continually be struggling

Is this an unusual parenting thing or does this tend to happen when one parent has the lion's share of care?  I would be interested in your responses and thoughts....

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Take two, and teaspooning


Hi again, loyal readers *waves*

So I did plan to post regularly and you can see what has happened with regards to that.

So take two on the regular posting and we'll see how we go from here.
I think I am (as always) too ambitious and then I get overwhlemed so do nothing! Hence, just a short post today.

I've done a bit of teaspooning this(scroll to teaspooning) week.  Just a little one, but important. 

My lovely Dad, and my lovely husband both made a couple of off-the-cuff comments to other males about "Not being a girl" or "How's your ovaries" and "Stop being a girl".  Y'know the comments that use girl/female/so called feminine behaviour as an insult. I told them that this was not appropriate and by saying those comments they were saying that being a girl was worse then being a man.  I said that I don't want my daughter exposed to that type of comment. My Dad seemed to take it on board, at least I think he will curb those comments around my daughter and his other grandchildren.  My husband, stubborn, argumentative love that he is, didn't really get it, but seems to understand that I find it offensive and will curb it on the basis of that. 

So my little act of teaspooning for the week.  It was both easier and harder than I thought it would be.