Politics dynamically affects the personal; the personal is not the ‘only’ of politics. Self-absorption is common place when viewing the world. Education which I thought should over came ignorance of limited view, does not seem to dent this issue. Self-absorption encompasses absorption of social propaganda one lives through, the issues involved when deemed to be betraying the community (in this instance the ‘sisterhood’) including the experience of vitriol that reigns down on such people (especially women critiquing ‘sisterhood’) who speak out and further social belonging that includes, in this instance of gender comment, the many educated men that in their desire to maintain a relationship with women remain silence and worse actively campaign for the propagandists.
Firstly, due regards to my friend, if you recognise yourself here. You provoked me to think harder on gender communications. I thought our Xmas break conversation contained much of what is wrong with current ‘debate’ on gender issues in our NZ society. The conversation seemed to reflect exactly the feminist refrain of ‘the personal is political’. The personal while worth examining is merely a start point to investigation of the wider realm. It is not the only point and evidence should not be gathered to support that sole position with other inconvenient evidence ignored.
I describe this conversation as being with an intelligent and educated woman friend but during this conversation I was struck by the unwillingness to acknowledge anything beyond a narrow view of the personal. On one hand she could relate many examples of her friends of both sexes being victims of violence and abuse, she could ‘hear’ my pointing to current research out of NZ’s own Otago University that backs up the many studies on domestic violence as being substantially bi-directional and that this fact needs social attention to effectively deal with the issues of conflicted couples. But then she fails to actually ‘hear’ that both sexes need to acknowledge their violence in whatever form it occurs before we as a society will ever have any chance of dealing successfully with violence. Leaving aside the ‘elephant in the room’ that history shows humans as simply being violent fucks that periodically enact violence. Or even the smaller ‘elephant’ containing the issue of mothers enacting the majority direct child care time and influence but apparently not being responsible for the social learning of the child and how they are as adults in our world!
She can ‘hear’ that in actual fact men are the most assaulted sex in our (NZ) society but then she continued to proclaim women are the vulnerable sex in terms of violence in our society. She fails to ‘see’ that the one sided distortion of dv that the white ribbon campaign, as the mainstream ‘mouthpiece’ continues to be allowed to ferment in our society is harmful to dealing with domestic violence in its entirety. Nor was she willing to express any problem with NZ white ribbon day facebook moderators firstly erasing comments attempting to discuss these findings and such related issues and then blocking myself and another like-minded woman from contributing to their ‘public’ page.
When discussing the very recent period of social outrage arising out of the ‘roastbusters’ saga occurring at the same time as the annual blame males white ribbon campaign. Education apparently fails to raise real disquiet for ‘poor science’ and lack of real working outcomes that must arise from like-thinkers insulated from any other input which cannot but perpetuate an endless ‘loop’ of their own views on a given situation. Made more urgent and bizarre given the now decades of the same style of campaign.
Further she apparently saw no contradiction in her immediate family to the issues of gender division rhetoric and what is now a NZ reality. She maintained her stance of discrimination occurring in our NZ society against women as her daughter is doing well at university and being a self-avowed radical feminist while her son did not know what he wanted to do and was between work in the service industry providing him with ‘mcjobs’.
She still remained ‘stuck’ to the political claim of wage inequality between men and women that is not borne out by current research that points more clearly to individual choice to pick certain fields of study, to remain close to home, to take physically safer jobs, continuous time in the job and paid workplace etc. Still further that this inequality remains supported through current research that shows men do more paid work and women more unpaid work within the family situation. Yet this is clearly related to decision making that occurs as a couple intent on what is best for the family unit. It only arises as a long term problem if our society continues to denigrate the worth of the nuclear and extended natural family in favour of the ‘cult of the individual’. That is our society continues to assert that one’s worth is only measured by commercial marketplace criteria and that the reality of family strength and cohesion will remain the arena of conflict between biological drive and the various erosion from ideological and marketplace pressure.
Worst though is so called inequality in political representation. There is no doubt that feminist ideology has been successful in its claims of ‘victimhood’. Like a lot of things in life, it is a double edged position, in the scramble for ‘achievement’ of the individual how is any thinking voter, male or the majority female, to reconcile a vote for a member of the sex apparently so easily manipulated and controlled in her personal aspiration?
The mitigation to such thinking for my friend is life exposure to a culture outside our educated, previously affluence western first world society of NZ. However that too is political device long employed by white, educated, academic middle and upper class women to conflate their experience to that of the lower class, other race, uneducated, third world to achieve some imagined release from the dread of having an average life.