What's in a headline? The power to make us irate, to click on a link to an article with a string of expletives on our lips? This week, Mona shares some of the witty satire that was composed at one of our free writing workshops for rural women. Jan Pittard, from Wiradjuri Country in New South Wales, lures us in with a sensationalist headline before she treats the latest neo-conservative misogynistic dismissals with the tongue in cheek humour they warrant.
TEN REASONS FEMINISM IS REDUNDANT!
1. Women keeping our own last names on marriage is so last century! Do any women under 60 even consider it? Might as well hold up a neon sign saying ‘Hey, I’m a feminist’
2. Making a so-called feminist statement is mainstream now. Why take a special stand when all but a few right wing ratbags now agree that gender equality is a GOOD THING?
3. Alan Jones’ show is off the air, Harvey Weinstein is in gaol, Jeffrey Edelstein is dead and Prince Andrew will soon be completely cancelled. Women are winning.
4. Gender specific toys have almost disappeared. Now boys can have Barbies and girls can have Chemistry sets!
5. Gender fluidity has supplanted feminism as the cause du jour. Old school feminists like J K Rowling are being taken to task for persisting with trad feminist narratives on LBQTI issues.
6. High fashion used to be a feminist target. Manolo Blahnik stilettos, the size 8 ideal! That’s all changed. We have ‘plus sized’ models now and wearing Birkenstocks and runners is cool.
7. Sexism in sport has been exposed. Swimming Australia has apologised for body shaming and ogling. How much longer can it be till it’s all fixed?
8. Sexism in advertising has gone. We laugh about the ‘buy her a vacuum cleaner for her birthday’ campaigns now.
9. When we talk about ‘girly stuff’ and ‘pamper parties’ now we’re being ironic, not celebrating a narcissistic gender stereotype.
10. Women a can drink, get tattoos, drive, vote, become brickies and jockeys and buy the Firies calendar to gawp at objectified male bodies. How much more equal can we get?
TEN REASONS WHY WE STILL NEED FEMINISM!
1. There is a 14.2% differential between male and female rates of pay in Australia.
2. Women are raped and murdered as often as ever and some commentators even seek to blame feminism for gendered violence.
3. Women are still not guaranteed access to facilities to manage our own fertility - there is no abortion clinic in Wagga Wagga, and the same is true for many regional centres.
4. The wedding industry is booming but now, instead of having to embody virginal purity, a bride is supposed to project sexual desirability – one stereotype replacing another.
5. …and speaking of oppressive stereotypes, the ‘yummy mummy’ phenomenon prioritises women’s appearance and sexual attractiveness over our parenting ability and the genuine struggles some women face with post-natal depression.
6. Only 7 women have ever been nominated for a Best Director Oscar and only one has ever won it.
7. Women still carry the major share of household and caring tasks in most Australian households.
8. Girls are 3 times more likely to experience cyber bullying than boys.
9. Women are still underrepresented in key decision-making roles across almost all industries in the Australian workforce.
10. Our government fails to address underrepresentation of women in its ranks and our last Prime Minister needed his wife to point out to him why sexual assault is wrong.
Jan was born in the UK to an English mother and Australian father. They came ‘home’ in 1968. She and her friends reacted to the pressures of living in the conformist Sutherland Shire during the Puberty Blues era by writing a humorous and satirical newsletter they photocopied at the local library. Jan also wrote poetry and short stories throughout her childhood and adolescence. A public service career dominated by corporate-style writing inhibited her creative output somewhat.
In 2008 a friend of Jan's suggested starting her own blog http://alicewritlarge.blogspot.com/ She has posted intermittently about books, politics, the arts and history since then. Jan's tree change to Wagga Wagga in 2014 saw her writing flourish and she has published articles on family and local history, poems and pieces on art exhibitions. Mona’s workshop was a spur on to writing her most recent humorous and serious verse.