Friday, February 27, 2009

Barefoot, Pregnant and Get Back into the Irish Kitchen


When I first read this article in the Irish Times, I thought it was tongue-in-cheek. In this day and age, surely, the country of my birth could not possibly be advocating a return to repression and misogyny? Herewith an excerpt from the article:

"Of course there will always be a place in the world of business for exceptional women. Women also have an important role to play in jobs that are too demeaning for men, like teaching. But the general employment of women is another matter. Indeed, working women almost certainly caused the credit crunch by bringing a second income into the average household, pushing property prices up to unsustainable levels."

But now I see it being referenced in reputable blogs and by serious journalists and I rethink it may not be satirical at all.

Last time I looked, not one woman was mentioned in the Ponzi schemes and I was particularly taken by photos of all the male bankers, insurers and car manufacturers, caps in hand, approaching governments for obscene bailouts.

Oh, wait a minute, now I get it. It was women in drag, right?

20 comments:

  1. I don't know if you're familiar with the writer, Newton Emerson, but he produces both serious articles and satire. At one time he had a website called Portadown News which brilliantly satirised everything in Northern Ireland.

    Judging by the letters in today's Irish Times, nobody knows what to make of the article - is it satire, is it sexism, or is it both? If it's meant to be serious, it's not only pure sexism but obviously subject to counter-arguments on just about every point. If it's satire, it's so extreme as to be tasteless and irresponsible.

    As far as I can see, Emerson himself hasn't yet responded to the criticism. I shall be watching to see if he does. At a time of widespread redundancies, we could do without articles suggesting women should be the first to go.

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  2. I've read him a few times before, that's why I thought it has to be satirical. Unfunny satirical.
    In any writing of this nature, Nick, I substitute the word 'negro' or 'homosexual' and it reads even more appallingly. I just did this and thought, it would never have been printed.
    Why are women such fair game?
    It doesn't serve well on the global stage for women to be depicted like this. Satire or not.
    XO
    WWW

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  3. I agree with you WWW. Some 'jokes' just aren't funny. Some of us remember when those opinions were not only serious but no one thought anything of it, of course it is that way!

    I remember well the first serious job I applied for and got as far as the interview for. A job that I really wanted. They told me to my face that I was the most qualified candidate but because I was female they wouldn't be hiring me. And not only was that an acceptable and perfectly legal hiring decision, I too accepted it! A little disappointed that I didn't get the job, but unquestioning of their rationale. Only a few decades ago!

    So, no, I don't find that kind of satire funny at all.

    And in my near-senior cynicism, not surprised that pundits still resort to blaming working women for the ills of the world.

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  4. Anne:
    Us women are to blame for everything it seems. Patriarchy triumphs.
    I can relate about the job, it happened to me many times. My first professional job was rife with sexism, abuse and patronization.
    It fired up my awareness metre, though and the flame has never died.
    XO
    WWW

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  5. It makes me want to tear my hair out, but here in the Netherlands there are still plenty of women who think of their job as being secondary too their husband's job. In other words, it's not taken as seriously as a career. The husband's job comes first and any change in his career takes precedence over anything else that may be planned in the family. The wife can always find some other little job to do.

    I blame the women for this directly as they still assume the position of being the main carers in the household and bear the brunt of the household chores and the care for the children so that the husband's career may flourish. We may be liberated inside the marriage, but we aren't liberated when it comes to making a career. I see this happening especially in the middle classes who are well off and who hardly need the pocket money that the wife brings home.

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  6. That has to be satire - surely!?

    I see the underlying point: that it ought to be possible for one wage earner to keep a household going, thus freeing up jobs for households where neither partner can get a job. But why does it have to be the woman who stays at home - that's the injustice.

    If firms and institutions paid workers decent, fair salaries and wages, one wage might be sufficient for the majority of households, if they learned to live within their means, still comfortably though.

    That piece has to be satire.....I hope!

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  7. Irene:
    I don't think it as simple as blaming the women. Easy as that is.
    the whole structure in which women are raised is to blame. and the structure is patriarchal. we are not taught to place value on ourselves and our lives, including careers.
    XO
    WWW

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  8. T:
    Even as satire it doesn't fly. As I commented to Nick, if you substitute the word "negro" or "gay" where he has the word "woman" you'll see how offensive it all is. He'd never get away with it berating any other downtrodden class.
    Women are so fair game. Still.
    XO
    WWW

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  9. I could tell a bunch of stories about the difficulties of being a woman 50 years ago trying to get educated and have a carreer. What so far has not been addressed is the "jobs that are too demeaning for men, like teaching." So, I was not only a woman, but a teacher. And a teacher in college, where teaching is really looked down on.

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  10. Well, 20, in this man's eyes you are the lowest of the low.
    Debate tonight with friends' opinion swaying towards satire again, but how completely off the wall it is. He wouldn't dare try that with say Muslims or Jews xo
    substituted for women.
    XO
    WWW

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  11. Another baffled letter in the Irish Times today, but still no word from Mr Emerson. Perhaps he's gone into hiding to avoid gangs of murderous feminists with machetes....

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  12. They're not allowing comments, Nick, if they did there would be a deluge, I'm sure. I sent out the link to many feminist blogs.
    XO
    WWW

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  13. I have no idea who is the editor of the Irish Times, but allowing such appalling work to be published must surely be sufficient for him to lose his position. As satire, it may have had a place in 1950's humor, and even then only in the "men's" magazines.

    (I do hope the IT editor isn't a woman!)

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  14. RJ - the editor of the Irish Times IS actually a woman, Geraldine Kennedy, would you believe? Makes it even more extraordinary....

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  15. RJA:
    I keep hoping for a retraction or apology of some kind.
    XO
    WWW

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  16. Nick:
    I don't know how it could have passed her blue pen, then.
    XO
    WWW

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  17. I'm sure that it has to be satire - the problem is that as there are people who *do* think like that out there, they will not read it as such, and use the "arguments" contained within it as vindication for their small minded beliefs. :-(

    Shame on the Irish Times for publishing it at all!

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  18. I agree, Jo. As satire it falls flat and offensively. As reality it doesn't bear thinking about.

    I'm still waiting for the outcry, though I did tell my sister in Ireland about it. She hadn't seen and was appalled.

    XO
    WWW

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  19. I actually watched a documentary that stated that if there are too many men together in a small space, such as at a stock exchange, their testosterone levels rise to a degree where they start acting hysterical. This was actually tested. They said that the solution would be to introduce more women into the financial world, to balance things and make sure the risk taking is held under control. So it's the exact opposite of what this article says.

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  20. Very interesting WLLDM, much the same effect as women living together who menstruate at the same time every month but more aggressive when it comes to testosterone!
    The feminine is sadly lacking in this world!!
    XO
    WWW

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