Rambling greetings from a neglected blog

Hello, hello, anyone out there?

*Cough, Cough* Hmm, dusty.

What’s been happening?

Is that…? –  Yes, I do believe that’s tumbleweed.

*Clears tumbleweed, chases down dust bunnies, frantically tidies*

Ok, here we are. So yeah, I have rather neglected this blog haven’t I? Turned my back on it, done other things, seen other people, been busy and all that. So what have I been up that has kept me so occupied that I haven’t summoned the energy to comment on the election? Which, incidentally has produced an eminently interesting result, even through at this point (two weeks post-election) we are still not sure what that result is.

Well there’s been a range of things occupying my time and my mind.

You may know that I started full time (paid) work in February. Well, this full time employment gig keeps you busy doesn’t it? Having never worked in a full time salaried position before I expected this to be a shock to my system but really the busyness has actually been less than the proceeding months in which I completed the PhD thesis. Yes, I don’t know whether I mentioned it or not, but I handed in the thesis on the same day that I started my job. Probably not the best way to start but there you go, that’s the way it happened.

So what was it like submitting the thesis, this thing that I’d been labouring inconsistently over for the better part of nine years? Anticlimactic, truth be told.  (It was handed in 6 and a half months ago, and I haven’t yet heard how I’ve gone, so that’s a little…annoying, shall we say).

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In other things you do that keep  you away from blogging, we moved house in June. It was the 26th of June. Two days after Australia got its first female PM. The house that we moved out off we returned to a week later and spent the next two weeks painting, renovating, removing junk from, and generally preparing for market (all the while I was still juggling the full time jig, it just doesn’t conveniently fade away when one has other priorities does it?). Anyway, in news to make you sigh with relief, that house was promptly sold (and settled yesterday actually, so yay, we no longer have pay two mortgages).

I may sound flippant about move and the sell but I’m quietly sad. It was our first house – a charming two bedroom miners cottage. A dump when we moved in, and nicely restored inside when we moved out. When we bought it, we intended to be there maybe five years. Then we thought we’d buy something bigger and start our family.  Well, of course, best laid plans and all that jazz. We ended up staying eight and a half years, and twelve months after we moved in I fell pregnant. So when we moved out it was with two kids and a dog and an excess of stuff. The kids and the stuff necessitated the purchase of, and move to a bigger place.

Been here in the new house for the last two and a half months and it still doesn’t quite feel like home, yet. I’m sure that’ll change. My daughter loves it here. She now has her own room and thinks that this larger house, with the nicer outlook and the handy proximity to a park is the best place in the world (Ahhhh, to look at the world with the eyes of a child – I look at this house and I see another house that needs major renovation work).

My son is not so happy. He keeps asking to ‘go home’. The morning after we moved in, we awoke to the sounds of his sobbing and he told his father that he was scared. Then he vomited all over me. And I thought to myself, “Yep, we are officially moved in now”. (Doesn’t everyone christen a new house with some sort of bodily fluid?, actually don’t think deeply on that question, it was silly and a bit dirty). It takes a drama to make a house yours, and our first drama arrived less than 24 hours after we did.

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There’s been other stuff too. “Issues” you might say. IRL deterioration of a precious relationship which has tainted blogging. So rather than blog, I’ve spent the last few months lurking in my fav places (see the blogroll if you can’t contain your curiousity),  and on twitter and improving my bejewelled stats. You know, concentrating on the important things. And keeping up with that shit is really tiring you know. Exhausting actually.

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In other news we got a puppy. This is Billy.

Cheeky mischevious hole digging not yet house trained Beagle

Billy

Foolishness? or Misogyny?

Perhaps both in equal measure – foolish misogyny from a misogynistic fool.  Yes, Steve Fielding I am taking about you. Do you seriously believe that

“Drug addicts and welfare cheats can go out there and get themselves pregnant and then after 20 weeks have an abortion and still pocket the Government’s cash,” he said.

Family First Senator Steve Fielding has been condemned by other senators for suggesting women might have an abortion after 20 weeks to try to claim paid parental leave.

I have to wonder if you are serious – do you really believe that women are cunning and calculating enough to get pregnant, then have a late-term abortion, then claim that it was a stillbirth and then OMG! shamelessly take the government’s money. Kinda a lot to go through for the minimum wage for 18 weeks, I mean, the supposed diabolical pregnancy would last longer than the cash flow.

But perhaps you are serious, after your religion has inculcated you with the belief that women are responsible for the entry of evil into the world, and I suppose that if that’s the basis of your twisted logic, I can see how you might seriously think that masses of evil women could rort the system in such a manner. Seriously, though, when Barnaby Joyce is telling you that what you are doing is contemptuous [perhaps he meant contemptible?] then perhaps you really should take a long hard look at yourself.

I wholeheartedly agree with News with Nipples who awarded you the Tony Abbott Budgie Smuggler award for Excellence in the Field of Misogyny. So take your award and go listen to the angels.

For this guy, I’ll make an exception

I don’t generally think that footballers (particularly those of the NRL variety) make good role models. But standing up for yourself and for your family, against systemic racism and against one of the League’s most charismatic personalities – well I rate that.

I suspect – as we have seen before when high profile people get named (such as his brother, who could forget that episode?) – that Andrew Johns will be a symbolic scapegoat for systemic attitudes that he alone is not responsible for. So he’ll be scrapped from his job, hidden out from the public eye (or maybe not), and later, months down the track when people forget exactly what he said he’ll reappear (like his brother and that god awful show) unchanged, and unrepentant.

But in the meantime, let’s not forget that Timana Tahu, stood up, and walked away from, the racist bullying tactics of not his enemies, but his friends.

One thing that irks me though, is that the NRL hierarchy seems to find it easy to disavow racism and make it clear that its not acceptable. If only they could be that intolerant (heck I’d settle for even recognition) of sexism and misogyny.

Funnily enough, I’m not all that surprised

at the results of this research (reported here). Here’s my version of the snippet that the ABC presented. [Strikethrough and bold = my edits].

Men doing chores reduces divorce risk: study

Divorce rates are lower in families in which husbands help out with the housework, shopping and child care, according to a study of 3,500 British couples.

The research by the London School of Economics, entitled Men’s Unpaid Work and Divorce, found that the more husbands helped out, the lower the incidence of divorce.

The study said its conclusions blew open the theory patriarchal myth running since (at least!) the 1960s that marriages were most stable when men focused on paid work and women were responsible for housework.

“The lowest-risk combination is one in which the mother does not work participate in the paid work-force and the father engages in the highest level of housework and child care,” the study found.

I just *love* how that last sentence typifies the way in which mother’s unpaid labour is constantly being rendered invisible. In reporting about a study entitled “Men’s Unpaid Work and Divorce” they can not make clear the distinction between women’s unpaid and paid work – rather only counting paid work as ‘work’ (wow, how special is men’s unpaid work – it gets counted and measured while women’s doesn’t even exist!), even when the results suggest that when men help out with the unpaid work it decreases a couple’s chance of divorce.

Of course, while revealing nothing all that surprising, the study itself continues to reinforce heternormality and the privilege accorded to marriage above other forms of relationship by its lack of investigation into any other form of long-term partnership.

Edited to Add: What is also entirely unsurprising is the fact that with the article ending – “The lowest-risk combination is one in which the mother does not work and the father engages in the highest level of housework and child care” the comments thread on the story was riddled with comments such as:

agnesal: So if mum gets to sit at home all day eating chocolates and dad goes to work then comes home and does the majority of the house work, mum will be happy and less likely to file for divorce. Now there’s a surprise.

JW: So the marriages where the women do the least and the men the most last the longest – sounds like these people need some lessons in shared responsibility. I’m guessing these guys are also the most henpecked.

Every now and then

I am reminded of how deeply conservative Australian culture is.

And I am disappointed. Not disappointed for myself, I am not directly affected. My life is both comfortable and safe. My relationship has long been deemed worthy by the state and is privileged by virtue of marriage and heteronormality. But what about the relationships of my youngest sibling, the one who had to flee our small town for the bright lights of the big city in order to survive? Why can’t the future partnership in that life be deemed worthy of recognition, privilege, protection?

I know that not all of those in homosexual relationships want marriage. I know in some circles its seen as irredeemably conservative, patriarchal and exploitative. But I also know that there are many couples who desire to have the love of their lives recognised as such. Who wish to celebrate their partnerships with a publicly recognised ceremony. Who wish to have their relationships validated as marriage. Who by virtue of the fact that the person that they share their life with is the same sex as them, their commitment to one another is not seen as being worthy of being ‘marriage’.

I believe that by recognising same-sex relationships in marriage, the relationship of same sex couples who choose not to marry are also validated, as the option would be there even if they chose not to take it up. They would be free to reject marriage, rather than be rejected by it. The privilege accorded to heterosexuality would be challenged.

Right now, the Rudd government is attempting to have its cake and eat it too when it comes to the vexed issue of same-sex marriage. On the one hand, the conservatives are being appeased. Marriage is deemed to be ‘sacred’ and ‘natural’ and is defined in law as being between a man and a woman (doubtless in that order). On the other hand, laws have been changed so that same sex relationships are recognised and a accorded a sort-of pseudo equality (with hetero relationships) before the law, that falls well short of being understood as marriage. (This situation is not without its critics). It seems pretty cowardly to me. For tax purposes, same-sex relationships count, so the State benefits.  In addition, to some extent, our human rights obligations are fulfilled as many forms of legal discrimination and inequality have been dismantled. But in regards to marriage, and the attendant status and privilege, the state will not extend these benefits to same-sex relationship. You know what, almost equality is not equality.

Here’s a list of how the Senators voted, so you know who to excoriate write to to express anger and disappointment.