Monthly Archives: April 2013

Why do women become mysoginists?

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Ok. So we know about the men. Not all men, but enough. But what about the women? I occasionally help out in a shop. I work in the back, officially, designing and making handbags, but help out when busy or when the owner is feeling lethargic… Quite a few of the ladies over 70 only want to talk to ‘the man’. If it was a technical question, I could understand. Some of them I can answer, some I can’t. The Man always has an answer. I’m not being sarcastic, he knows his stuff. But I object to the fact that I Don’t Count, as a woman….It’s somehow more disappointing and traitor-like from a member of the same sex.

It’s not just the older age-group however. Many of them are under 50. Surely they had their consciousness raised? Women who will see me working, as well as The Man, and then declare they have asked me whatever it is because The Man is busy! So, we are both there to earn a living, but the work that The Woman does is not as important. Before you make the point that I am making handbags, so hardly searching for a solution to World Peace, he is mending or making jewellery, so equally frivolous!

The number of women who just want to flirt with The Man is also unbelievable. Women who are happily attached (presumably) are disspointed if they see my face appear at the desk, rather than The Man, who pops out occasionally, to do the school run, and occasionally just goes missing in action.

So how come they have absorbed so thoroughly that men are more important than them, these women born after the women’s liberation movement? Feminists would call them Handmaidens of the Patriarchy, presumably with some kind of vested interest in preserving the status quo. God only knows what that interest could be. I certainly have no clue?

Your thoughts?

No more Ms Nice Guy(ess)….

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So I think there is a problem in being ‘too nice’, for me anyhow.  I didn’t think I was ‘too nice’. I’m a feminist. I’m over 50. I’ve been married twice. I’m from Northern Farming Stock. Not known for unneccessary ‘niceness’. But lately, I have done a couple of things to  be nice, that have backfired. The woman in the bank, at the same time as I was changing my name over and having to produce the multitude of documents that went with it, semi-persuaded me that I no longer needed my free overdraft. I agreed. I had been stood in the bank quite a while. She was sat down while I stood through the entire encounter. Not the best customer service….I just agreed. It was easy. It was nice. Then later, I had forgotten about a cheque, and then got slammed with an overdrawn charge, and another cheque was refused, so I got an invoice….yada yada. They cancelled the charge, but it was my own fault really. The free overdraft, that I already had would have solved the problem at source! And then another bank one this week. Would I like them to ring me about updating my will? Well, no not really. They were will-writers, not solicitors, and I would rather the solicitor did it. She pushed on, we’ll just give you a ring then shall we? I think I was a bit baffled…hadn’t I just said “No”? So baffled was I that I agreed to let them ring on my mobile…I rarely answer unknown numbers on it…I actually have two mobiles, so this was my Spam Mobile. But it was pointless. I should just have put my foot down with a firm hand! It’s odd, when you think people are being nice, so you are nice back, and it turns out be about commission and targets.

It made me think though, about how being too nice doesn’t help a dysfunctional marriage. I somehow thought that by not objecting to what he wanted, and in many cases agreeing to family resources being diverted in that way, it would keep him happy. There was the caravan, the two motorbikes, the 4 by 4 car. Mainly going where he wanted, trailing round classic car shows and Steam Railways…. None of it made him happy because on some level he was determined not to be.

So I was Too Nice. I don’t have to be like that anymore. I don’t care if people associate femininity with being nice. I don’t intend to stop being a decent human being, just stop being a doormat.

Was it because she was a woman?

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Yesterday Margaret Thatcher died. She was the first, and only female Prime Minister of Britain. She was not a feminist, indeed is quoted as saying ‘Feminism is poison’. She did not make it easier for other women to achieve big things in the world of ‘work’. I remember being a member of a womens group at university in the 80’s who wrote to her in government asking about plans to improve the availability/affordability of childcare to women working outside the home. She replied that the government believed that the best people to raise children were the parents Not what she herself had done.

I’m not sure that it  was part of her job-description to help other women, but nevertheless disapointing. She polarised opinions, but in selling off so many council houses, too many in fact, enabled many people to become home-owners who may never have otherwise. Like most governments, there were good and bad legacies, and I do not intend to debate them here.

However strongly people feel about the ‘bad’ policies/legacies, it does not justify gathering in a large group to celebrate her death. There is something horribly reminiscent of crowds gathering by the gallows to jeer. It has no place in a so-called civilised society. One group,  forming part of the larger group, was the anti-bedroom tax group. Margaret Thatcher has been out of government since 1990, so this was clearly just ‘bandwagon jumping’ and faintly ridiculous.

Would this have happened if she had done exactly the same things politically as a man, not a woman?

It saddens and appalls me to think that it would not.

The Philpotts, a Tragedy of Our Time?

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The tragic case of Mairead and Mick Philpott will be discussed for many years, probably long after I am gone. We all hope ‘lessons can be learned’ but what lessons?

Mick Philpott had a previous conviction for almost killing an ex partner, was known to be violent to Mairead and several other ex-partners and was recently involved in a road-rage incident. His defence team tried to claim he was NOT violent, and was a good father. I don’t know in which universe this would hold true, nor how these people trot out this rubbish and sleep at night… Mick seemed to have been involved in ‘performance parenting’, ie when the cameras were around when he was involved in a documentary, and being seen driving his children to school, but it was his wife and his live in girlfriend who did the actual grunt work of the parenting apparently.

He tried to set up a dangerous fire, so he could be shown to rescue the children, and show himself to be a ‘hero’ just in time for a court case where he was asking for custody for the children by his girlfriend, who had recently left the home, with the children. Had sprinklers been fitted as standard, as with all new houses in Wales, it may have saved them. On the other hand, he may just have been the type of psychopath who would have found a way to disable the sprinkler system.

As others have said, the tragedy is not just of its time. Psychopaths have always existed. However, as Ann Widdecombe  said, these events did not occur in a vacuum. The fact that he was able to father 17 children mostly subsidizes for the state, is uncommon, but still a subject for concern.

To quote Ann Widdecome, “Philpott saw his children as meal tickets and his women as possessions and it is daft to suggest that those who observe this are branding the entire body of unemployed persons as child killers. The State allowed him to live the life of Riley on the taxpayer and is responsible for the continuation of his fecklessness and cynical manipulation, which it was powerless to stop under the law. It is not responsible for the reckless, senseless deed in which he, his wife and accomplice Paul Mosley engaged of their free will”.

Much of the money available to him was for the children. A civilised society looks after its vulnerable, and it is unfair to penalise the children to punish the parent. Had Philpott had his benefit withdrawn under the new working for benefit system, the children would still have had to be provided for, and he would simply have used that to live on. Here was a man who controlled all the money, and both women handed over their benefits and their wages as cleaners to him.

I find myself wondering why Lisa Willis the ex-girlfriend was able to escape the situation, when Mairead was not or was unwilling to. I think it is a strong possibility that Mairead at least was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, where people feel a strong emotional bond with their abusers, and find it difficult or impossible to see a way out. All the hallmarks are their, financial abuse, physical abuse, a belief that the abuser cared about her… Abusers are supremely skilled at giving their partners a little bit of what they need psychologically. I am not excusing Mairead Philpott’s part in this. Very few people who have been abused end up in a situation where they have colluded in the death of their children.

I feel tremendous sympathy for Philpott’s remaining children, having to live with the notoriety and knowledge of whom and what  their father was.