For centuries, nations, societies and cultures have relied on the unwaged work of people, mainly women, to ensure that the young, the elderly and others unable to fully care for themselves are looked after. Society has relied on unwaged caring work to ensure that successive generations are produced, educated, and socialised. Nations depend on unwaged caring work for the existence, health, and well-being of their waged workforce. Three quarters of the world’s unwaged caring work is done by women undertaking 12.5 billion hours every day and representing a contribution to the global economy of at least $10.8 trillion a year.
Care income describes an end to this system. It describes a wage, paid in cash or access to land, beginning with mothers and other primary carers, and including those who care for and protect the soil, water, air and natural world. The care income values and recognises the life-giving and life-sustaining work of reproducing and caring for the entire human race. It recognises caring as fundamental to all human relationships and the need to invest in those who do care work for the survival of us all. It recognises that there is no human reproduction without the natural world on which we all depend – the care of the land, the air, the oceans and the rivers. It demands a reversal of priorities: from an economy aimed at profit which enriches some to the detriment of all, to an economy aimed at protecting and enriching all life.
The demand for a care income has grown out of the International Wages for Housework Campaign (IWFHC) started in 1972 by Selma James. The IWFHC is an ongoing campaign that begins with those with least power internationally – unwaged workers in the home, mostly mothers, and unwaged subsistence farmers and workers on the land and in the community. The demand for wages for caring work is also a way of organising from the bottom up, of autonomous sectors working together to end the imbalance of power relations among us. The IWFHC succeeded in getting the UN to pass path-breaking commitments that acknowledge the contribution of unwaged caring work that women do in the home, on the land, and in the community. Since 8 March 2000, the IWFHC has become more widely known as the Global Women’s Strike (GWS).
[I]t is sheer caricature to portray the fight over cancel culture as left–right trench warfare.. . .
The case of J.K. Rowling is a good illustration. She is unabashedly a political progressive. Her transgender rhetoric may be acerbic, but the politics are feminist, not conservative. It belongs broadly in the gender-critical school of feminism that sees women’s oppression as anchored in the female body itself, the cultural assumptions that surround it, and how it is “vulnerable in specific ways to sexual violence, such as pregnancy from rape”, as Susanna Rustin put it in The Guardian. This goes back to Simone de Beauvoir, and stands in opposition to the later queer feminism of Judith Butler, which substitutes gender identity – the subjective feeling of being male, female or something in between – for the biology of being female. The attempts to cancel J.K. Rowling are therefore attempts to cancel a particular version of feminism and declare it invalid. The aim is to expel Rowling from the progressive fold in order to set the meanings of progressivism: it is a border war within progressive politics. . . .
[C]ancel culture is the story of a young, socially conscious generation trying desperately to remedy the injustices they see, but having been left with wholly inadequate tools for the job.
If liberalism is about freedom, cancel culture is about power. . . .
But perhaps cancel culture’s most fatal problem is that while it intuits liberalism is insufficient, and seeks to dismantle it, it cannot escape it. In fact, it ends up imbibing several of its basic ideas. This isn’t immediately obvious due to liberalism and woke politics’ opposing focus on individual rights and collective identities, respectively. That seems completely incompatible until you recognise that cancel culture adopts a postmodern version of identity that becomes highly individualistic. So, on gender (though not on race) identity is largely determined by individuals who declare themselves into existence, then require society to recognise them on those terms. That is very different from pre-modern identities, which were overwhelmingly given to people by society, assigning membership of a collective, which came with established roles and obligations to other people.
This problem of using liberalism’s terms to fill the holes in liberalism causes wokeness to stretch these liberal concepts to breaking point. Hence woke politics’ wildly expansionary use of terms such as “harm” and “safety”.
Thus does cancel culture devolve into what moral philosopher Hugh Breakey calls “meta-argument allegations”, which foreclose debates on grounds of harm and safety rather than truth.
Some men have for years been trying to deny women the right to their own safe spaces.
First there is MGTOW, for “Men Going Their Own Way” – their own way being, hopefully, nowhere near women, who are all liars and cheats.. . . MGTOW, like most of the other anti-feminist groups out there, possesses “the special quality of being a group supposedly exclusively devoted to men, whose near-total focus is women”.
Also focused on women is the world of “Pick-Up Artists”, most famously documented in Neil Strauss’s The Game. PUAs profit from workshops teaching shy men how to insult women to get their attention and try their luck. . . .
[A]spiring PUAs are very like “incels”: men who think of themselves as “involuntarily celibate” because women won’t sleep with them. Both groups, Bates points out, essentially think of women as slot machines for sex. “The difference is that incels regard the machines as rigged,” she writes, while aspiring PUAs hope “to learn the exact secret combination of buttons to push and levers to pull, in order to trick the machine into paying out every time.”
It took 200 years to get a statue honouring the life of pioneering philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, but its creators have faced criticism from almost the moment it was unveiled.
The new sculpture was met with dismay and bafflement by some when it was unveiled in north London on Tuesday, with critics asking why it did not directly depict Wollstonecraft and why the “mother of feminism” had been celebrated with a naked female form.
The writer Caitlin Moran tweeted: “Imagine if there was a statue of a hot young naked guy ‘in tribute’ to eg Churchill. It would look mad. This, also, looks mad.”
I started the organization All Mothers Work in 2014, not only as a reaction to conventional socio-cultural notions of motherhood and labour (the name comes from a cry of frustration over the term “working mothers,” as though mothers who do not work for pay are not also performing labour), but also to challenge a lot of existing feminist thought on the topic. I was overwhelmed by the reception I got for my work; endless numbers of women found themselves so dissatisfied with both radical and liberal analyses of motherhood that some even refused to call themselves feminists because they felt so looked down upon, underrepresented and misrepresented. Like me, they found it to be a fulfilling, vital undertaking that was as hard and as valid as any paid work, and yet this was incompatible with what both patriarchal society and feminism were telling us we should be doing and experiencing. . . .
As a result of the influence of Firestone’s work, feminist analysis of motherhood too often reads as though there are only two choices: rejection of motherhood or collusion with patriarchy. It is futile, self-defeating and in my opinion inhumane to approach reproduction and motherhood as things with no value or worth, to treat women as though none of them really want to be mothers and as though they long to be freed from what must be viewed as the burden of motherhood, while seeing children as little more than parasites who don’t require a primary caregiver (which goes against everything we know about child development and how nurturing works) and who should be made to live away from adults as soon as possible. To me, this is seeing reproduction and motherhood in a patriarchal way. It denigrates motherhood, rejects caring activities, and reveals a lack of interest in what women actually want and what children actually need. . . .
I believe that the way forward is to embrace nurturing and caring more – using our own model. When we look objectively at the labour that can only be carried out by women, and also that which is seen as “women’s work,” we see that women’s labour is productive, life-creating, life-maintaining, life-facilitating, co-operative and egalitarian. Labour deemed male, by contrast, is all too often appropriating, parasitic, exploitative and hierarchical. It relies on women’s labour being performed invisibly and for free, which men obtain and maintain by normalizing and justifying their labour values as superior and natural, through the use of gender. We need to shift the whole of society over to those matriarchal values. That means stripping the concepts of nurture, care and the maternal of the meanings given to them by patriarchy, and creating and living our own.
If women were even paid a minimum wage for the labour extracted from them for free, women would be the leading global economic superpower, before any paid labour done by them was counted in. This is not nothing. This is absolutely huge. And yet patriarchal tropes about the work women do, paid and unpaid, still flourish.
Brazen Hussies adds depth and breadth to the second-wave stories of our popular imagination: consciousness-raising circles in the suburbs, femocrats seizing power in government, Germaine Greer urging a female orgasm-led revolution. The film’s focus is the movement’s key campaigns. While their brothers and lovers were dying in Vietnam, early women’s liberationists organised against women perishing in backyard abortions. Covering domestic violence, equal pay and childcare battles, it also reminds us change can be glacial.
A pioneering feminist trying to change things from the inside, Elizabeth Reid was subjected to the very behaviour she was fighting against — including an unwanted sexual advance from the governor-general.
Of course, there were the usual suspects. Those repeat offenders (cough *Mark Latham, Malcolm Roberts) who seem to relish being as noxious as possible at any given opportunity.
But there were also some new faces including top gong (Gold Ernie) going to Jayson Westbury, CEO of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents who sickeningly suggested that Tracey Grimshaw deserved a “firm uppercut or a slap across the face” for her reporting of a travel industry refund scandal.
The Political Silver Ernie went to the previously mentioned, Senator Malcolm Roberts for his commentary on the family law system (and apparent defence of perpetrators of domestic violence) when he said:“But when you’re a father, and you can’t get access to your kids, and you can’t get access to the legal system properly, what else is there to do other than check out or hurt the other person?”
There was a dead heat for the Celebrity/Clerical Silver Ernie going to the Council of the Order of Australia for awarding Bettina Arndt an AM for her “significant service to the community as a social commentator, and to gender equity through advocacy for men”.
Ironically, Bettina Arndt was awarded her own Ernie (AKA ‘The Elaine for remarks least helpful to the sisterhood) for her commentary on the devastating murder of Hannah Clarke and her children in which she congratulated “the Queensland police for keeping an open mind and awaiting proper evidence, including the possibility that Rowan Baxter might have been ‘driven too far’.”
Unsurprisingly, Pauline Hanson stepped up for joint acquisition of ‘The Elaine’ for her comments as Deputy chair of the Family Court Enquiry, in which she suggested that women were fabricating stories of domestic violence:“A lot of the women out there abuse the system by instigating false DVOs against their former partners or their husbands. They use that to further their needs… Domestic violence orders have got completely out of hand”, she claimed.
And, in case these recollections aren’t enough to have you tearing your hair out to the point of baldness, let’s not forget the wonderful Shore school boys who also scored a Silver Ernie for their recent ‘Triwizard Shorenament’.The ‘muck-up day’ challenge manual that included instructions for students to have sex with a woman over 80kgs; aged over 40; or who was deemed to be a ‘3/10 or lower’.