The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets

Monthly Archives: November 2011

The pay gap

I have an article about the pay gap in the Dominion Post this morning.

Isn’t it time to fix the pay gap?

Instead of thinking what might be the best way to assess and reward work, we assume that the way that work is structured and paid right now is the way that work ought to be structured and paid. The real solution to the pay equity gap is not to make women behave like men, or men to behave like women, but to engage in a serious discussion about better ways of working, and better ways of understanding and valuing all work.

Friends of TLG might prefer to comment on it here rather than entering the fray at Stuff…

Bad parenting. Alternatively, good parenting.

Cross posted

It has been one of those days. I had a mass of administrivia to get through at work, and half way through, I got a call from my girls’ school: Miss Ten the elder was feeling queasy and could I come and pick her up. Yes, I could, in half an hour. Frantic rush to get the trivia done, and I got to school an hour or so later. Working at home for the rest of the day.

After school, I had to get Ms Thirteen to her drama class. I left the Misses Ten together at home, as is my usual practice. The law in New Zealand says that you may not leave a child:

“without making reasonable provision for the supervision and care of the child, for a time that is unreasonable or under conditions that are unreasonable having regard to all the circumstances.”

I figure that the girls are fine at home alone, together, for 10 or 15 minutes, as I run their elder sister somewhere.

We’d been gone for about three minutes when my mobile phone rang. Ms Thirteen answered it. It turned out that Miss Ten the Elder had thrown up, and Miss Ten the Younger was caring for her.

Bad mother moment.

I was back home five minutes later after dropping Ms Thirteen at her lesson (Greenhills is not large, and we are very conveniently located). Miss Ten the Younger explained to me how she had looked after her sister, and cleaned up after her, and settled her on the sofa with a bucket and a towel.

“Well done,” I said to her. “You did very well.”

“I knew you would say that,” she said.

“Well, yes,” I said. “But *you* knew you did well, and you did do very well, and it’s important for me to acknowledge that.”

She nodded.

They both coped very well indeed. And of course, that makes me much more confident about leaving them at home, knowing that they can, and will, cope with minor disasters.

I have loved every stage of my daughters’ growth, from their baby sweetness to their toddler learning to the first days at school. And I’m loving this stage, as they become increasingly independent. That is my hope, that together with my partner, we will be able to work with and guide our children so that they will be able to grow into competent adults.

For a meditation on loving children, check out my friend Denny’s thoughts about her children: In praise of a wise woman. The ‘wise woman’ of Denny’s post is not her, but that soubriquet fits Denny too.

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Election Day links! ‘though no political links given the Electoral Commission rules.

Nora Roberts on romantic fiction:

There is, she says, “more than a streak of misogyny” in the way romance is viewed. “All some people see is the big R and dismiss it. But I’ve made my career on my own terms and that doesn’t necessarily suit the likes of the New York Times book review.

Pickled Think has a lovely post about her changing relationship with Anne McCaffrey’s writing: Anne McCaffrey.

A wonderful article on the early days of Ms Magazine:

The magazine, despite its flaws, provided so many words that had been missing. So many silences finally broken. Ms. changed lives, changed attitudes, helped to create and change laws, policies, practices.

Bob McCroskie doesn’t want us to focus on women when we talk about domestic violence. How about this, then Bob?

In Tuvalu, half the females surveyed lost their virginity in forced sex. In Samoa, 46 per cent of women are physically abused, and up to 8 per cent are beaten unconscious by their spouse. In Fiji, 66 per cent of women have been physically abused by their partners; 26 per cent were beaten while pregnant. And in Kiribati, 68 per cent of women have been physically or sexually abused.

And Tiger Beatdown’s Flavia reminds the UN that violence doesn’t just happen against cis-straight-able-bodied women.

New blogger Ursa makes a great point about headlines: Unimportant headline information.

Talking of newspapers, Annanonymous is blogging again at The End is NaeNae. Check out her post about women ruining everything in the world according to Stuff.

And this week’s pretty: Yes I’ve voted!


Breaking News: Bob McCroskie won’t be wearing a white ribbon this year. Why? Because it’s not a gender issue. And you ladies should stop telling lies.

If we’re serious about reducing family violence, we need to open both eyes – and tell the truth. The website says “Violence is endemic within New Zealand. One in three women are victims of violence from a partner”. The first part is right – the second misrepresents the facts….But will the researchers ask men to what level they have been victims of intimate partner violence? How many men would say they, too, have been physically assaulted, or made to feel bad, humiliated in front of others or intimidated by their partner?

Now. I’m not going to negate that there is certainly violence against men, nor that women can also commit family violence. (And that your analysis completely – and shockingly – ignores anyone who isn’t cis and hetero.) But if we’re going to have this conversation, wouldn’t it be good to do it without some hand-picked statistics selected to prove Bob’s point?

Here’s one I found, simply by googling “crime stats NZ”:

There were 1,696 fewer family violence offences recorded in 2010/11 than in 2009/10 – a 3.1% reduction. A total of 52,408 family violence offences were recorded compared with 54,104 during the same time last year. This 3.1% drop marks a strong reversal in the steady upward trend of recent years.

Within this figure there were 555 fewer family violence assaults – down -2.1% from 25,935 to 25,380 family violence assault offences. Most of these assaults were male assaults female which decreased by 904 from 8768 to 7864 offences.

Here’s something else I found with a really quick Google:

In 2005 the New Zealand Police recorded 62,470 offence and non-offence family violence incidents; 62,615 children and young people aged under 17 years were involved (TAVF 2006). Between 2000 and 2004 54 women were murdered by men through family violence, and three men were murdered by women (TAVF 2006). Although the overall murder rate is declining, murders that are domestically related are not (TAVF 2006); in fact the number of deaths of women due to domestic violence has increased from an average of nine per year in the 10 years to 1987 (Fanslow et al. 1991) to an average of 15 in the years 2000 to 2004, suggesting a real increase (see TAVF 2006). In 2007, 25 of 53 murders were recorded as family violence-related (TAVF 2007). In 2005 Women’s Refuge supported 17,212 women and 9,904 children (TAVF 2006). Between 90 and 95% of all applicants for protection orders in New Zealand are women, and most respondents are men (Bartlett 2006, Law Commission 2003).

Want more? (if you can stomach it).

  • In 2005/6 NZ Police apprehended 25,356 male family violence offenders compared to 4,135 female offenders.17
  • Researchers have found that some men who have experienced abuse by their female partner find the violence humorous, suggesting that they are not afraid of the abuser, whereas women routinely report experiencing distress or intense fear (for themselves and their children) as a result of abuse.
  • The psychological effects of family violence upon women and children have been found to be far more severe. Twice as many women as men report being significantly affected by partner violence. However, in one New Zealand study both men and women reported depression and alcohol problems linked with experiencing partner abuse. It is not known to what extent the problems identified by the participants preceded the violence.
  • Research suggests that most women’s violence towards men is self-defensive or retaliatory, whereas much of men’s violence towards women is used instrumentally to dominate and control their partner.

I’m sure, if I had the time and the inclination, I could find as many statistics as I wanted. And I am fairly certain that LGBT people would be over-represented therein. But frankly, I don’t feel like spending my afternoon trawling through facts and figures about women being assaulted, smacked around, intimidated or murdered.

But no, Bob, it’s not a gendered issue, is it? And in fact, you’re right, it’s not. But not for the reasons you have. Not because your self-righteous, holier-than-thou, indignant sensibilities are offended by an ad campaign that happens to be aimed at people like you. (Which, as the White Ribbon campaign points out works, because more men respond to messages aimed directly at them.) It’s also not because WOMEN DO IT TOO, no matter how loudly you try to scream that.

It’s not, because stopping family violence is incumbent on us all, regardless of our gender. It’s because standing up and saying “this isn’t OK”, stepping in where we can, helping out where we can, doing what we can do – that’s for all of us. And for you, Bob, to say that you won’t support the campaign because “the statistics lie”, is disingenuous at best, and downright fucking disgraceful at worst. And I know which I believe it is.

Porn Tue(Thur)sday: The Marcia Edition

I think women who participate in pornography, and those who condone it are disrespecting themselves.

After Tallulah’s post re: The Wellington Young Feminists Facebook Kerfuffle, it seemed like an appropriate time to post some more links to porn. Because now Marcia has left, I really will have to go back to disrespecting myself, instead of just having her do it for me. It’s either that or just sit home playing with my magic vagina.

Please assume all links are NSFW. By that I mean, not safe for Actual Workplaces.

Here is the trailer for Erika Lust’s Life Love Lust – moderately explicit, some nudity, possibly excessive use of tattoos.

But that, clearly, is not what Marcia means by porn. Porn is

sex as an act done to a woman by a man, or several woman at once, or an act done by two or more men to a woman, or encourages violence against women.

So let’s find something a little more “choky and rapey”, shall we? How about some of Maria Beatty’s work? – mildly explicit, BDSM, lesbianism. That spur? Yeah.

Or how about this? That’s horrible BDSM porn too. Well, again, there are no men, and that clip is, while powerfully erotic, perhaps not what a lot of people would be happy calling “porn”. When that spreader bar appears? That’s not intended to arouse, right? And then there’s all that laughter and genuine pleasure.

This is porn, though, definitely: the trailer for Petra Joy’s new film The Female Voyeur – highly explicit, group, domination, bi material. Finally, we’re finding an act done by two or more men… oh, no, that’s to each other… There are several women at once…

You know what? I think I’ll just stay deluded, and stick to listening to people who don’t call me a whore.

Quickie: What the Actual Fuck?

Posted without comment (for now). Lindsay Perigo says:

Whatever the outcome of the vote on MMP, some way will have to be found to decretinise the suffrage. Disenfranchising everyone under 40 would help, though some means would have to be devised to exempt those members of Generations Airhead who are not airheads. (Disenfranchising all women of all ages without exemption would definitely help also.) As things are, democracy is just, to paraphrase Mencken, a bunch of wolves and a sheep having a vote on what’s for dinner. Rights, I repeat, must be placed beyond the vote.

Boo, you whore

OK. Let’s just get the irony of someone complaining that women liking porn turns men into rapists calling said women “whores” out of the way, shall we? HAH! Don’t like violence against women? How about you don’t commit it yourself.

Want to know what I’m talking about? Well. Let me take you on a little journey. But first, a warning. A number of us here at TLG are short of spoons this week. And patience. A number of the things discussed in this post might be triggering. I’m not going to put up with any bullshit in the comments, and that includes rape-apologism, concern trolling, and flat out misogyny. Per the comments policy, don’t be a dick.

So. Here we go. On Saturday, someone tweeted the Garden Ladies to warn us about this article. Rightly. I read the headline, thought, yeah, nah, I’m not reading that. Emma did, and pronounced it bollocks. So did FOTLG Constance. And that’s where all this gets interesting. Constance posted her column on the WYFC Facebook page. To be met with this comment.

Are you fucking serious. If these are the thoughts of the “feminist collective” (what a joke) I am unfollowing you guys right now. Constance i am lost for words. You enjoy your rapey, choking sex, and while you’re at it try to spare a thought for the millions of women (and children) around the world who have actually been raped or choked to death by a man who wouldn’t take no for an answer, because of whores like you make them think its acceptable, fun and sexually stimulating. But, you know, as long as YOU get off, that’s all that matters right? Because the world revolves around your vagina, you selfish bitch.

Well, you know what, love? The world actually does revolve around my vagina. (Though, I’m not Constance.) It’s awesome. There’s entire solar systems in there, also, unicorns and glitter. It’s fucking magic.

And one of the things about my vagina? I only allow the people into it that I want. Anyone touching it, or any other part of me, without my permission, that’s assault. My partner hurting me because I ask him to? That’s not. So when you say

How do we hold the power? A few years ago, men were lucky if they were getting any and there was no judgement about the way your vagina looked, they just thanked their lucky stars to be in your pants in the first place. THAT was when we held the power.

Actually, I hold the power because I know what I want and I ask for it. Also, because I know the difference between fantasy and reality. I know that people watch porn for various reasons, and few of those reasons are as a guidebook for How To Do It. I’ve been assaulted, and I’ve been hurt in the context of consensual sex, and I know what the difference is. One is about someone doing something to me I want, one is about someone doing something to me I don’t want. It’s that simple. And porn isn’t the thing that blurs that line. It’s people like you who do that. Because you’re telling women it’s not OK to ask for what gets them off. It’s not OK to like what you like. What you like is getting other women raped. No. I’ve said this so many time. On the internet. On TV, and in my life. The only thing that causes rape is rapists.

I am not going to link to the studies, because a) not a 101 blog, and b) Emma is significantly more knowledgable about this stuff than me. But porn doesn’t cause violence against women.

Futhermore, when you say this:

Rapists come from all demographics. The one thing they have in common is they don’t respect women. They treat women like objects. Pornography does not portray the act of sex as a loving consentual act between a man and a woman. It most often portrays sex as an act done to a woman by a man, or several woman at once, or an act done by two or more men to a woman, or encourages violence against women. I think women who participate in pornography, and those who condone it are disrespecting themselves.

Actually, you are the one being disrespectful to those women. You’re assuming they are not there consensually, of their own free will. You’re assuming they don’t know better. You’re assuming they don’t like it. Well, frankly, fuck you. You don’t know their lives. I’m not going to say every woman in pron or sex work is there consensually, but a good number are. Oh, and when you say porn portrays sex as something done by a man to a woman (Hi! someone remind the gays they don’t get porn. Ahem), actually, again, that’s you doing it. Because that other quote up there, when you talked about our “power? That was you saying that women’s sexuality is something that is to be taken away from us, something we give to men. That’s you giving all the power to men. When frankly, that’s bullshit.

Men are never going to put a stop to it, they are sitting back with dicks in hand while women are handed to them on a silver platter – brothels, strip clubs, internet porn. Where are the men parading for us? It’s up to women to stand together and say enough is enough. Sadly that is never going to happen.

Yeah. Again, um, bullshit. Emma and I walked with two people on slutwalk. They were both men. But no, you assume that men are all drooling rapey monsters, and it’s just the porn that makes them cross the line. I assume you’re also against women wearing short skirts, because presumably all those men can’t cope with that, either. Nah. Most of the men I know can tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Also, as you were told over on Facebook, and we’ve written about here, one of the great things about BDSM sex is that the people involved (sensibly) in it are really good about negotiating boundaries, having safe words. And I would never let someone I haven’t had that conversation with tie me up and hurt me.

So, this morning, you asked why is it OK to simulate rape? Because, between two (or more) consenting adults, everything is OK. Because “consensual rape” is an oxymoron. Because what I do in my bedroom (and my living room, and my backyard) is none of your fucking business.

I see this woman is now off to find some “actual feminists”. Cool. Those ones who love to judge other women for what they do, who assume all men are evil, and who think it is completely OK to call other women whores and bitches. They’ll embrace her.

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Greta Christina talks about why she probably won’t do porn again. It’s not what you think. And it’s pretty depressing.

I (Deb) love Isis, the domestic and laboratory goddess. She’s a scientist, and a feminist, and she loves shoes. And she has written an excellent take-down of the nonsense published by Nature about “womenspace”: What Womanspace Really Looks Like (And Why Nature Can Suck It).

Robyn Gallagher has a lovely analysis of who reads Playboy: What kind of man reads Playboy?

Does the NY Times have a problem with women?

Kayt Sukel talks about having an orgasm in an MRI machine. I (Emma) have been through too many MRIs to count, and I’m absolutely sure I could not do this. I’m hugely grateful to the people who can, because they help get us data like this, showing how we perceive people when they’re undressed. The short answer, vulnerable and stupid. And that goes for both men and women.

Ms Naughty also has a round-up from the Berlin Porn Film Festival. I (Emma) found the third one down quite delightful, though public transport operators may differ. Those of you who’ve met the odd hipster may enjoy “Man with a Bolex Movie Camera”.

How rape culture flourishes: Rape culture datapoint, by tigtog.

Despite what many people like to think about themselves and their communities, the truth is that the normative human response to bad things happening to people whose social spheres hardly intersect with their own is not usually compassionate generosity and support, the normative response tends to be indifference.

TRIGGERING: This is deeply disturbing – The Face of Modern Slavery. It’s about the trafficking of little girls into brothels, and what happens to them there.

A response to Eve Ensler’s recent Over It piece.

And this week’s pretty, via Vicki Hyde at SciTechDaily: an amazing time-lapse sequence of the Earth, taken from the International Space Station.

If you are at all interested in science, then SciTechDaily is a great site. I (Deb) recommend it, highly.

Sorry for the late appearance of this post. I’ve (Deb) run away to the Chateau for the weekend, with partner but sans children, and I’ve been otherwise occupied until now…

Zac Guildford

Cross posted from my place.

This is a link to an article about Zac Guildford returning home and apologising for some his inappropriate behaviour while in Rarotonga.

I think Zac Guildford’s apology regarding assaulting two men is a very good one, and I am really pleased to see that he is open about needing to put steps in place to get well.

However, I really wish while publicly apologising for his first inappropriate incident, he had also apologised for harassing a female athlete – other than just mentioning he “tried” to meet with her and “she declined”. I’m hugely disappointed that this incident is seen as being less worthy of apology than him punching two men.

The woman who reported being harassed has talked about fearing for her safety after she asked Guildford to stop yelling sexual obscenities and comments about her body while he followed her in his car as she went for a run. She has talked about how he became aggressive, and how she hid in a shop until he left.

Since then not only has she been pressured to meet with him by his manager (really empathetic move to try and push someone to meet with the person who harassed them and made them feel unsafe, thanks All Blacks management), but she has been pressured to drop the charges by All Blacks management and had Acting Police Commissioner Akatauira Matapo refer to her complaint as a waste of police time.

It seems to me that Guildford is a clever guy who understands that he’s in a bad place (especially in regards to his relationship with alcohol) and that he has let a lot of people down with his actions. I’m not sure whether not specifically apologising for acting in a deplorable way toward this woman is due to a decision by All Blacks management or Zac Guildford himself, but I hope that her refusal to meet with him, compared with the men he assaulted agreeing to meet with him, is not the reason why she has not received a public apology and they have.

I also have to question the mentality behind All Blacks management pressuring the victim of harassment to meet with her harasser. In the interests of wanting to deal with this in a tidy, private way, they have effectively attempted to erase her right to lay a complaint and let the police deal with it. They have ignored the (fairly common sense) need for distance from the person that made her feel unsafe, and THEN publicly discussed her refusal to do what they asked, which is a judgement on her ‘willingness to cooperate’ regardless of whether they frame it as such.

All Blacks management pressuring her to drop the complaint is further harassment as far as I’m concerned. It’s the big boys vs one lone woman, whose own police commissioner thinks her grievance is not worthy of anyone’s time.

People with power trying to silence women who have experienced harassment or abuse is not new, but frankly I feel that Zac’s attitude is new. In the hyper-masculine culture of Rugby Union in New Zealand, it’s rare to see someone mess up and talk frankly about needing to put steps in place, draw on his support systems and take one step at a time to get better.

So I hope with all my might that Zac will realise he has every young rugby fan watching him. He has office workers discussing him over the water cooler, and radio commentators filling their inane timeslots with every juicy detail of his fall from grace.

I hope he realises his lack of apology makes women who get harassed on the street every day feel like even if their harasser is famous no one will care. And that his comments about her refusing to meet with him make women feel like we are obligated to face the people who make us feel unsafe or else we’re not ‘moving on’ or ‘being fair’.

All Blacks management might continue to throw their clout around and try and nip ‘problems’ like this in the bud while denying victims justice or due process, but Zac actually has the power here. If he apologises as openly and genuinely for harassment as he has done for assault, then people might actually start to see that harassment is violence.

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Things we liked, or didn’t like, from around the web this week.

A little bit old, but worth reading – on women’s butts in gaming. (H/T FOTLG Hadyn on GooglePlus) (I – Tallulah – don’t game, so I don’t have a perspective, but I’d be interested to hear if women do think the community is reaching a tipping point.)

More on #mencallmethings. Including the important point that it’s not just men that do it, and that women are not the only marginalised group that get abuse and threats.

And still more:

Still, I feel this misogyny has to be put in some kind of context. It was not invented by the internet. Anyone who gets on a bus or just listens to the way people speak to each other cannot help thinking that woman-hating, as I said recently, is our cultural wallpaper.

More more on #MenCallMeThings – a summary of the hashtag from Sady Doyle: But How Do You Know It’s Sexist? The #MenCallMeThings Round-Up.

Using (cis)women’s bodies to make political points.

I (Tallulah) endorse this message.

No pretties this week, I’m sorry (Deb): I’ve been frantic with exam marking and concert preparation (my choir is singing tonight – Mozart and Haydn) and partner and children doing this, that and the other thing, so I haven’t found any to share. But feel free to add your own in comments.