This Week

Friday, 2 November 2012

I don’t normally do these Friday, end-of-the-week-links posts on my blog (I’m no good at it). But I’ve read and seen too many significant things this week, so I feel this post is compulsory.

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy
(A parking lot full of yellow cabs sits flooded as a result of Hurricane Sandy on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 in Hoboken, New Jersey. AP Photo/Charles Sykes.)

It’s always hard for people on the other side of the world to completely understand what it’s like to be in the middle of a devastating natural disaster. We’ve had quite a few of those recently in Australia, but unless you’re in the thick of it, it’s quite difficult to describe. Which is why I’m not even going to attempt to describe Hurricane Sandy all the way from Australia, but simply draw attention to how people can help here and here. If anyone would like to add any links in the comments section on how we can help, please do so. Let’s also not forget that other countries were affected and need help too. I know that when Australia faces such natural disasters, communities tend to stick together, and I hope the world pulls together to help both Americans and people from Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti, who desperately need help.

Licia Ronzulli

Licia Ronzulli (1)

Licia Ronzulli (2)

Licia Ronzulli (3)

Licia Ronzulli (4)

Licia Ronzulli (5)

Even though I linked these photos in my previous post, I’m posting them again here in honour of my own mother, whose birthday is on Sunday. My mum took me to work regularly, as did my dad, when I was growing up. I think it made me understand the world a bit better from an early age, and I often find it bizarre that we’ve turned such an issue into a problem concerning women alone. The biggest problem as I see it is the increasing lack of flexibility in the workplace. This is not a gender issue where women should be punished for entering the workforce, or for returning to it after having children (most people don’t have a choice about this anyway, financially speaking). To me, it’s a structural problem about the way our workplaces function as if nothing has changed socially or culturally over the years. In other words, like my wonderful mum, we need more flexibility, not guilt placed on women’s shoulders about whether or not they can ‘have it all’. Happy birthday to my lovely mum!

The GOP on Rape

GOP on rape

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is frightening stuff. I find it hard to accept that women would actually vote for these men.

And so I bid Penguin a sad farewell

This article made me feel so sad. As Andrew Franklin points out, the Penguin-Random House merger is bad news for all:

Don’t believe the guff about “rich content” and “high-growth emerging markets”. This is consolidation and both authors and readers will have less choice and less diversity.

South Africa: Setting Feminism Back 100 Years

chris brown

I couldn’t agree more with this post, so go ahead and read it, and get angry.

Intersectionality: It’s not that hard to understand

There’s been a lot of talk about Caitlin Moran and the Vagenda Magazine ‘defence’ article. Some of you have asked me via email to write about it. I really wasn’t going to. It feels a bit awkward to be asked about feminist topics as if I’m some ‘expert’ on the subject. I’m not, I’m one voice out of many. But I guess that’s the point of this whole debate about Moran and intersectionality: listening to and including the many voices of women. So I’ll weigh in on the subject too, once I get my thoughts in order. In the meantime, this article by Ray Filar is a good introduction to the issue, as is this article by Lianne on Black Feminists.


hannah debbie said...

I don't understand how women could vote for these men, either.

I can't even imagine what those devastated by Sandy are going through. We felt it here, for sure, but it was not even close to what happened in the city, New Jersey, and the Caribbean islands. So many of my friends and classmates lost their homes, though, and it's absolutely heart-wrenching.

elsan said...

My dad used to take me to work on Saturday mornings, probably to give my mum some free time to get her own things done. The situation was probably a bit unusual, since my dad was a consultant pathologist and worked in a hospital laboratory. I therefore spent part of many Saturdays looking down microscopes at slides, swooshing around the lab on swivel chairs (great fun) and operating the microtome as I "helped" prepare tissue samples for staining and mounting on slides. I suppose Health and Safety regulations wouldn't allow for this sort of visit any more, but I remember those mornings fondly. I suspect that they fueled my interest in science and medicine.

Megan said...

I have several friends who are Republicans, but who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I always wondered how they could put aside what Romney stands for socially; even if he doesn't believe everything his party does, he still perpetuates it by running as part of that platform. To me, no economic turnaround is worth the potential for legislation that is anti-women's rights and anti-gay, among many other things.

I saw this quote on a family member's Facebook timeline recently and couldn't agree more. It's specifically about gay rights, but it applies to so much else:

"I wish my moderate Republican friends would simply be honest. They all say they're voting for Romney because of his economic policies (tenuous and ill-formed as they are), and that they disagree with him on gay rights. Fine. Then look me in the eye, speak with a level clear voice and say, 'My taxes and take-home pay mean more than your fundamental civil rights, the sanctity of your marriage, your right to visit an ailing spouse in the hospital, your dignity as a citizen of this country, your healthcare, your right to inherit, the mental welfare and emotional well-being of your youth, and your very personhood.' It's like voting for George Wallace during the Civil Rights movements and apologizing for his racism. You're still complicit. You're still perpetuating anti-gay legislation and cultural homophobia. You don't get to walk away clean, because you say you 'disagree' with your candidate on these issues." --Pulitzer and Tony winning playwright Doug Wright

Megan said...

P.S. Not that I think Romney will turn the economy around, by any means.

Petra said...

it's all so depressing. the things you pointed out alone are bad enough, but having them all together really makes you wonder what world we are living in and where it is heading. maybe it's just too early here and I can't stomach it yet to have a more positive outlook...

rooth said...

I know this may not have meant to be a politically charged post but I actually think that the economic / fiscal / and healthcare related issues of the Republican party are important to me - more important than the social issues. And I clearly emphasize, to me. I believe it's the government's responsibility to - at a minimum - try to run a solid foundation for the country to stand on. But it's an opinion, right? What I think is important versus another? Which is why voting is so important.

Jane Flanagan said...

Oh, there's so much to be angry about here, but I'm glad there are people like you putting posts like these together.

While I am most certainly an advocate of fiscal prudence, I can't stand any government that thinks it belongs in my bedroom. It was one of the things I hated about living in Ireland (where church and state are ridiculously intertwined, abortion is illegal, and it is illegal to travel for the purposes of one too).

And as you know, I've had my own brush with an abusive relationship. I know there's terrible suction to abuse, an immediate and malignant shame that makes victims feel they deserve abuse. But women tweeting that they'd not only tolerate it, but embrace and promote it, strikes me as completely wrong on every level. I hate the idea that these people could be raising young women with this mindset too.

Still, the sweetness and strength of those images of Licia Ronzulli - so uplifting. They were a highlight of my week too.

Thanks for all you do, Hila. But you're quite wrong about one thing: You are very good at these kinds of posts.

Hila said...

Hannah Debbie: It is heartbreaking. And I can't imagine what it must feel like to lose your home, or worse, people you love, in such disasters.

elsan: I used to go with my mum to the bank a lot when she was a computer programmer for one of the big banks in Israel. I loved her office, and seeing what she did. This kind of stuff probably wouldn't be allowed these days. I think it's counter-productive to make workplaces so inflexible. Our private and public lives eventually have to spill into each other, and it creates too much stress to expect that we completely separate our workplaces from our private and domestic lives.

Megan: I completely agree with you (on both comments). I don't think it's possible to separate ethical concerns about basic human rights from economics. And I think those who claim to do so are deluding themselves. What a brilliant statement by Doug Wright.

Petra: I admit, I get really depressed sometimes too, and feel like, what's the point?

Rooth: Well, it's a post about politics in many ways, so I expect it to be politically charged - I don't shy away from such things. I don't think we should have to choose between a stable economy and basic human rights. I have to agree with Megan on this issue. I don't think the economy is more important than social concerns - the economy exists to serve people, not the other way round. While it's important to consider economic concerns as one of the basic foundations of a society and a country, these economic concerns don't override things like marriage equality, abortion and women's rights. Placing the economy above humanity defeats the purpose of the economy even existing. There really isn't anything anyone can say to me to convince me that sexist, racist, homophobic and bigoted beliefs and policies are okay, as long as the economy is fine and dandy. Plus, I doubt whether the Republicans can really do a better job with the American economy in the current economic climate around the world. But I'll leave that issue to those who are better informed on the subject!

Jane: Thanks Jane, I'm glad this post is of actual use!

I agree, the government most certainly doesn't belong in our bedrooms, and I find it so frightening that people are willing to let such matters slide so easily. I also find it frightening that current American and Australian politics is becoming dominated by overly conservative and religious discourse. It's like we're going backwards.

And ugh, don't get me started on those silly girls and their love of Chris Brown. I really hope they don't have daughters and raise them to believe it's okay for a man to beat the crap out of you because he's 'hot'.

Ana said...

Hi Hila!

Thanks for this post, I'm going to share it definitely. I can't imagine either what kind of woman will vote for these men, and in general terms, who would wanna vote for "the anti-intellectual, anti-science freakshow" behind Romney, as Bill Maher would say:

He's usually not my cup of tea, but I think in that video he completely nails it.

Have a nice Sunday Hila ;)

Hila said...

Ana: Thank you for sharing it Ana. And aren't you glad Obama won!