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to take the mick out of male colleagues who bring in shared food that their WIVES have made

(720 Posts)
morningpaper Sun 14-Dec-08 22:34:47

this makes me both scornful and slightly depressed and I resort to extreme sarcasm

Only last week I was nibbling lemon cake from a colleagues WIFE.

What IS that ABOUT?


onebatmotherofgoditschilly Thu 18-Dec-08 20:58:30

I realize with horror that far from being ahead of the game with respect to Christmas, as I thuoght I was, I am very much behind - so I;m bowing out. But thanks to Habbibu and everyone else for a very funny and very interesting debate. If you're still going when I've Done Everything I'll join you again.

Habbibu Thu 18-Dec-08 18:06:31

Hmm. Have just thought more about what I said about food and guilt and self-control, and think that it was a bit dismissive and overly simplistic. Will mull some more.

Habbibu Thu 18-Dec-08 15:25:28

WILF - the competition has disappeared!

Habbibu Thu 18-Dec-08 15:23:06

<belatedly beams at Thready>

Habbibu Thu 18-Dec-08 15:22:38

Swedes, I quite often bake in the evening after work, when dd is in bed. Other women may take that time to do more work - should they feel guilty that they may make it obvious that they clearly have a better professional work ethic than me?

I confused the issue, though - I was using food guilt as an example of how I don't think other people should feel, in general, responsible for setting off guilt in me that's down to my own neuroses, iyswim?

Sixspot - yes, there are clearly tons of women still feeling oppressed and forced into things. But I don't know that making that the default assumption, as in the OP of this thread, so many years ago, is very useful, esp if we extend it to the job interview/election context.

Habbibu Thu 18-Dec-08 15:17:09

Well, yes, that's where I'd have to have more fundamental principles in place. Which I don't. Yet. But I do think that, say, in a job interview/ election context, isn't that exactly the default we want? - and it's the job interview/election context and subsequent actions which may well have a huge effect on bringing the ideal scenario into play.

The food thing does bug me, though, because where do we, as people, start taking responsibility for our responses to food? Cake, in itself, is morally neutral. Within a context of a balanced diet it's nutritionally fairly neutral too. BUT - my intelligent, educated, thoughtful colleagues, both male and female, talk about it in moral terms. It's naughty, wicked, sinful - or, if it contains fruit in any form, it's good for you, positively virtuous, etc. I know that some of it is tongue in cheek, but some of it isn't.

I know if I eat too much cake I won't fit into my clothes. That's not a moral issue, but it is a financial and health issue. So I eat cake when I feel like it, I enjoy it, but I don't feel the urge to binge or ban myself from eating it, because I don't attach moral connotations to it.

Food as a support to social bonds - absolutely. There is, to my mind, an atavistic pleasure in sharing food with friends, but also strangers - in a non-sinister context, a stranger offering you a sweet can be very nice. But I take responsibility for what I eat, and what I weigh, and how healthy I am. I don't blame cake for any lack of self-control.

SixSpotBurNativity Thu 18-Dec-08 15:13:00

Sorry - just seen your other thread.

GoodWilfToAllMN Thu 18-Dec-08 15:12:58

Dunno. Am asking MNHQ for clarification before calling the police grin


SixSpotBurNativity Thu 18-Dec-08 15:11:39

So who has won it then Wilf?

Swedes Thu 18-Dec-08 15:11:30

Habbibu - I don't believe the homemade cake would make DP's colleagues possibly feel guilty because it's food and fattening. I believe they might feel guilty because a homemade cake screams 'baking day' or 'baking afternoon' at a full-time working mother. It's more about 'time' something that feels in very short supply when you work full-time.

GoodWilfToAllMN Thu 18-Dec-08 15:06:39

I think we should ALL nominate ourselves for Pseuds' Corner

<but still sulking>

SixSpotBurNativity Thu 18-Dec-08 15:05:55

Because I bet there are still some women out there who are doing things like this because they jolly well have to, not because they freely, joyfully etc etc choose to.

SixSpotBurNativity Thu 18-Dec-08 15:04:36


So unless there is actual evidence of inequality (in any way, shape or form) between the spouse/partner who tips up at the workplace with the cakes, and the invisible Other who has provided them - we should just say thanks very much and tuck in?

onebatmotherofgoditschilly Thu 18-Dec-08 15:04:03

Hmm. It's all very interesting. It all comes down to whether assuming innocent-until-proven guilty would will that scenario into existence, or whether it would have the effect of making real inequality less visible.

Sorry in a big rush, got to go, but dyswim?

I think that food is loaded with many different and often contradictory meaning, bwt habbibu. As wilf said, its one of the key arenas in which cultural meaning is thrashed out, isn't it?

cf size zero - women who are becoming figuratively nothing - v maternal feeding-up v Western over-consumption - v 'gourmet' and it's class meanings etc.

Threadworrm Thu 18-Dec-08 15:01:29

Habbibu your posts of 13:42:46 and 14:48 are splendid, really. I do think that if anyone truly ever did turn a hair at the office cake provision, those posts should have routed their turned hair.

"Some of the basics would be, I suppose, a default assumption that a woman is an independent, free-thinking, reflective personality until there is evidence to the contrary - innocent until proven guilty, if you like. And that actions in general should be assessed in context."

--Absolutely right. And of course their are some actions that can be disapproved independent of context, but we have already established thanks to onebat that cake-provision is intrinsically unexceptionable -- and it is surely only the intrinsically exceptionable actions that need the context free assessment.

What counts as intrinsically exceptionable? An action which is of-itself disempowering, rather than simply disempowerwing in virtual of certain (mis)construals of it.

I am howling with laughter at myself for writing all this. Why in god's name is it so compelling to persist in this ludicrous debate. Morningpaper started a thread a few weeks ago saying we shouldn't teach our children musical instruments because it is middle-class twattery.grin

Habbibu Thu 18-Dec-08 15:01:16

I think so, sixspot. It's a bit of a Pollyanna principle, I know.

SixSpotBurNativity Thu 18-Dec-08 14:59:48

I did think of that as being the obvious rejoinder to what I said, Habbibu, and maybe you're right - kind of the opposite to "the personal is political"?

Habbibu Thu 18-Dec-08 14:56:43

Sixspot, I guess what I'm wondering if whether the default assumption wouldn't in itself promote a change of culture, iyswim? do we need, men and women, need to default to this perception as a norm within which women should be seen first? Argh - I know I'm not saying quite what I mean to here...

TheFalconInThePearTree Thu 18-Dec-08 14:56:02

Now this is sexism

And I agree with Habbibu.

pamelat Thu 18-Dec-08 14:54:05

So what does the fact that my full time working husband made mince pies for my antental group (mainly off work mums) mean????????

SixSpotBurNativity Thu 18-Dec-08 14:52:21

I think your default assumption would be fine in circumstances of genuine (objective and subjective) equality between women and men - equality of opportunity, equality of earnings, equality of control over own bodies, etc etc etc.

Habbibu Thu 18-Dec-08 14:48:15

Yes. This is an obviously difficult area - I mean, I am most certainly NOT saying, oh, it's ok to be a surrendered wife because I choose to do it in a post-feminist fashion. Of course that's bollocks.

But it just seems so inelegant to me blanket ban anything which may have a political significance of the type we've discussed. I just want a totally different approach, and yet I truly don't know what that is.

Some of the basics would be, I suppose, a default assumption that a woman is an independent, free-thinking, reflective personality until there is evidence to the contrary - innocent until proven guilty, if you like. And that actions in general should be assessed in context.

But then I run in to trouble, as clearly there are some actions where I think context is irrelevant, as you can't get past the fact that they objectify women - Page 3, pole-dancing, etc. So my theory looks less elegant already.

Swedes' post was interesting - I get very fed up with notions of guilt for not being "the perfect parent", and I don't want to be held responsible for some other woman's guilt over something pointlessly unattainable. Why isn't "good enough" ok? It suits me pretty well. I mean, I get that it's not enough for an Olympic swimmer, but for a parent? And the guilt stuff is vile and pervasive - I detest and despise "guilt" over food - and yes, that's where I get scornful. Food is many things, but a "sin" is not one of them, and this common ascription of a moral value to what you eat vexes me enormously.

SixSpotBurNativity Thu 18-Dec-08 14:44:47


am I too late for the Xmas name comp??

onebatmotherofgoditschilly Thu 18-Dec-08 14:35:30

Yes, you know there is a more positive approach, because you advocate it. And in general I lean in your direction.

I think that, in arguing against your position, I am simultaneously asking myself whether some of these acts (I include many others of my own, extending beyond cake-sending to general domestic availability and beyond) don't veer dangerously towards Post-Feminism.

Which, as any fule know, is as meretricious a concept as was ever dreamed up by a --lad-mag-- Daily Express 'commentator'.

onebatmotherofgoditschilly Thu 18-Dec-08 14:30:42

It's perfectly possible to bf naked fromthe waist down, though ill-advised in this inclement weather.

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