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My unreserved apologies

(307 Posts)
jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 13:20:01

It seems I have upset MN posters.

I am sorry if you have been upset by me. I apologise.

I wont do it again.


pianomama Sat 13-Oct-12 22:35:08

rabbit - I think you do not have to explain the obvious. I really think that being a mother is the most important, fulfilling , rewarding , enriching job you will ever do. We are so luckly to be able to give life, admire it,nurture it and keep its bottoms clean. Everything else is secondary. It is the only natural, unselfish and truly rewarding job that will never get boring. (I think) .
Why compete with men when we can make them - men, women and bring them up to be the way we like and believe is right? We are in charge - the hand which rocks the cradle rules the world.Thats my kind of feminism.
I think a lot of sexist behaviour in a work place comes from men who are insecure - why give them a satisfction by engaging in it? If you are good at what you do there is very little they can do to undermind it. Girl power.

rabbitstew Fri 12-Oct-12 17:39:49

I found the area of work I was doing as a solicitor extremely boring. That's how I knew I'd chosen the wrong area of work! My clients were definitely getting the more interesting end of the transactions. Looking after my under 3s was far more energising - the great thing about kids is they keep growing up and changing and, when they are your own, are somehow far more endearing, amusing and generally diverting than the clients I used to work for... I saw quite clearly that some of the people I worked with genuinely did enjoy what they were doing, some were also highly specialised after years of doing the job and it would have been a disaster for the firm if they had left (and pretty bad for them if their specialism ceased to be relevant), but a substantial proportion really didn't enjoy what they did, they just didn't know what else to do once they'd got thus far and assumed that most well paid jobs were stressful and boring, one way or another.

MordionAgenos Fri 12-Oct-12 16:36:15

I don't think anyone here has suggested that dull jobs have value when done by women. I have suggested that some (obviously not all) jobs which you call dull may not actually be as dull as you believe and furthermore are currently given low economic value because of their perceived 'women's work' status rather than because they are easy to do well, or dull. In societies across the world we can see evidence of shifting value patterns where previously 'male-domain' jobs have become either gender neutral or more 'female domain'.

I agree that there are some people on this thread who have either suggested outright, or implied, that only mothers can care for under 3s properly. This is clearly lunacy of the first order. Fathers can care for under 3s properly, and men and women who have not had children can also do this. But clearly not everybody can do it well - there is a definite skillset involved (one element of which is probably not finding it boring). There is a world of difference between believing that caring for under 3s is difficult (not that I do, necessarily - I do believe though that not everybody can do it well) and believing that only mothers can do it.

Xenia Fri 12-Oct-12 16:24:32

All cultures and countries have cleaning and housework at the bottom and rich women always find others to help with the dross of day to day childcare although we all of course like a few hours to cuddle and breastfeed our babies. I think you can value rare skills. Miss World will make money and marry a billionaire whereas someone who looks like the back end of a bus won't. Someone with an IQ of 80 will not be in much demand whereas someone rather brighter may find employers and indeed potential husbands in effect bidding for them left right and centre. I agree it is very hard to get entirely free markets just as much as it has been very hard to experiment with pure communism.

It may be sexism that women get landed with years of dull domesticity but they must take some responsibility 0 they can shout from the roof tops I am far too good for this, it is dull dull dulll, they can say to their husband when he suggests they stay home - oi buster - here is the baby, if you think it's so much fun or necessary for a parent to be at home you do it.

To suggest caring for under 3s is very difficult and only mothers can do it keeps women down and in fact is much worse sexism than someone whistling at you in the office when you bend over. A philosophy that dull jobs have value when done by women is very very damaging to women.

MordionAgenos Fri 12-Oct-12 15:58:41

@rabbit I expect that all this is true. It is the case though that there are some very specialised roles in the city in some fields which only a very small number of people are qualified to do, in some cases because a key element of 'being qualified' to do the thing is having a body of certain specific very specialised work experience that only a tiny number of people will have. I'm one of a very small number of people in the world who can do what I do. Lots of people could probably do it if they had followed exactly the same career path as me and built up the same CV (and had the same skills mix, because it's not all about knowledge) but few people have done that therefore I get paid what I get paid for being a very scarce commodity. This means that I get away with being (a) female and (b) strange grin

rabbitstew Fri 12-Oct-12 15:40:42

Loads of people were willing and able to take up my vacated position as a solicitor in the City. I would have been a fool to think nobody else could do it. I don't think I would have found someone I viewed as an ideal carer for my children unless I had been willing and able to pay them an awful lot of money. I value my role very highly, thank you very much. grin

MordionAgenos Fri 12-Oct-12 15:31:28

@rabbit Exactly. The B ark lesson resonates everywhere. And sexism is just one of the distortions which ensure that the 'free' market is anything but.

rabbitstew Fri 12-Oct-12 15:28:04

And free markets do not decide things, because whilst we have rampant sexism in operation, we don't have anything like a free market.

rabbitstew Fri 12-Oct-12 15:26:34

Only an idiot thinks anyone can do childcare. Just look at the mess we have in society as a result of thinking anyone can do it... In fact, just look at the mess we have in hospitals as a result of thinking anyone can keep them clean!...

MordionAgenos Fri 12-Oct-12 15:22:37

Well, if you believe we ever operate in a truly free market then I'm afraid I really can't help you. grin

I would be tempted to draw a sizeable distinction between childcare and cleaning, but I have learned the lesson of the B ark better than some, it would seem. However it is I think not tempting any variant of hubris to point out that there is a sizeable space between 'lower than living wage' salaries and those commanded by brain surgeons (brain surgery of course is one of those areas which is most definitely vulnerable to technological advances. As is cleaning. Childcare, not so much).

Xenia Fri 12-Oct-12 15:15:00

I think it's much more simple. Free markets decide things. The pretty and kind girl gets the better man. The dustbin man is lucky to get the shop girl. Ayone with arms can clean, hardly anyone in the UK can do what I do hence the cleaner gets the minimum weekly wage which I earn in an hour. It's all just common sense. If people want to try to found some kind of commune where minding a child and cleaning is as highly paid as brain surgery let them try.

It is however very anti feminist to try to elevate boring cleaning and service jobs to heights as it keeps women down and doing them. It is like lazy men who have seduced a housewife type and say - I could never do what my wife does, she's a saint and a hero - he is just saying that to make her feel appreciated even though most people can empty the washer and sing to a toddler whilst the baby is in their arms.

MordionAgenos Fri 12-Oct-12 14:36:31

@Xenia We do OK in terms of (lack of) fraud and corruption here - we aren't the best but we are nowhere near the worst. This is basically one of the more honest countries however of course so many businesses are transnational now and fraudulent manipulation in particular can have an impact far beyond the jurisdiction in which the initial problems occurred. In a recession the drivers of fraud are magnified, sadly while there may be coincident drivers for governments to publicise things such as 'benefit fraud' (rarely actually fraud of course) but this doesn't change the fact that all the research indicates that in times of economic distress the drivers for fraud (broadly, opportunity and incentive) are amplified and the incidence of fraud increases.

Apparently (this is annecdotal information picked up at events in Brussels recently) in some European states we are seeing disproportionate pressures applied to women in the workplace now. Its certainly a fact that the austerity measures introduced in this country are affecting women far more than they are affecting men (at the moment. Of course, what affects a woman will usually affect a man too where the woman is married/in a partnership with a man so its a bit simplistic to ignore this - but still....)

A job having low value in economic terms does not of course mean that it has low intrinsic value, merely that the people who make the decisions about these things believe that it does. In my view they are wrong. If we were to ever see true gender equality I believe we would see much better rates of pay for things like childcare and also care of the elderly not least because these are activities which cannot be done (for want of a better snappy description) digitally. This would be partly because women would have more influence over the attributions of economic value and partly because men would demand that such work was valued more appropriately if they ever had to actually, you know, do it in great numbers (for the reverse of this see the decline in pay rates for formerly male now predominantly female professions and job sectors).

rabbitstew Fri 12-Oct-12 14:32:49

Xenia - maybe you aren't the only person who thinks childcare and cleaning are low value and low paid because society around the world is sexist and therefore has always denigrated work done by women. I don't see why you have to retain its low grade status and take women away from it as opposed to learning to value it for what a lot of women actually see as its true worth - and then let men get in on the action, too!

rabbitstew Fri 12-Oct-12 14:29:46

I agree, MordionAgenos, it is unfair to accuse you of having been intolerant of other peoples' choices. You have only ever objected to the reasons some people have given for not making other choices.

I don't know about people in power being inclined to be more corrupt. I think that's rather cynical! I want and need to believe that some people want power because they really (even if misguidedly) think they can do good and have enough self belief to carry it through. But, frankly, I don't really care about whether it can scientifically be proven that power seekers always enjoy abusing their power when they get it, I do think standards should be higher for those in power, whether they like it or not, because of the disproportionate amount of power they yield. Power brings colossal responsibility - or it d*mn well should. Society, however, seems to favour coming down hard on those with the least power and letting those with the most power get away with far lighter chastisement.

Xenia Fri 12-Oct-12 14:23:07

We have wonderful levels of lack of corruption at the top in the UK compared with many countries internationally. We are very lucky that that is so. In recession it suits governments to find people to blame which could be bankers or single mothers on benefits or the very few people who have made a lot of money in the UK. However much of what is written is not accurate. However just like a "good foreign war" it can help as a distraction from people's day to day woes in a recession. When jobs are scare countries often try to suggest women ought to be at home too so we obviously need to guard against such a pernicious suggestion wherever we see it.

I am not the only person on the planet who thinks childcare and cleaning are low value and low paid. Just about every culture ever has sought to subcontract out as much of that stuff as possible. Obviously parents of both genders do enjoy some baby care and love being with our children in reasonable amounts but no one really wants to do it 24/7. Not surprisingly therefore in most cultures ever it is the lowest paid area of work.

MordionAgenos Fri 12-Oct-12 12:58:41

@bread I am not being at all aggressive. I'm just not prepared to accept that level of insult - it was certainly not meant to be jokey, the poster was clearly trying to be insulting presumably as a result of envy and/or dissatisfaction with her own life. Many many posters bang on incessantly about Xenia's insults to SAHM's (insults I have not supported, I have several times pointed out that people who are bored are in fact boring and sensible interesting people therefore will never be bored being SAHMs) but seem to expect to be nasty about working mums with impunity.Well, they can obviously say what they want but they shouldn't expect nobody to comment on it. The poster has neither apologised for nor retracted her comments, she compounded them with additional barbs about people valuing money more than family. It's clear even to the meanest intelligence that she meant to be rude and she didn't care about offending anyone.

You need to read this thread again, because far from being intolerant of SAHMs I have often said I'd bloody love to be one and certainly would be one if we won the lottery (although I don't think I've made the lottery comment in this thread.) The only people I am intolerant of are dissemblers and hypocrites.

Regarding corruption - corruption at the top of the scale invariably costs more and has a bigger financial impact but in terms of volume of incidents rather than volume of losses, there is far far more fraud committed by people low down in the corporate food chain. And the biggest losses of all (except in Eastern Europe where the situation is muddied by the still fluid nexus between old and new political and business systems) are caused by fraudulent manipulation which can be done by 'middle people' upwards.

I have not made any demeaning comments about housewives at all. Not one. In this thread or any other.

breadandbutterfly Fri 12-Oct-12 12:37:35

Mordion, you've obviously had a tough life so your v aggressive response to an obviously jokey post about those on 100K being drinkers and shaggers is maybe understandable - but you may be unaware that you come across as v intolerant of other posters who have made different choices to you, on this thread.

i posted a reasoned response to your objections to the shaggers/drinkers point upthread, namely that v high earners may well tend towards being more unpleasant, immoral types on average (not including you or Xenia in this, nor every high earner - but revelations in the news ove the last couple of years of numerous wealthy/powerful people in a range of jobs being exceptionally corrupt does make one wonder how common that is). Whether they are successful because they are corrupt or corrupt becaue they are successful is a moot point.

Clearly, the views of those on this thread as to the ideal role/s of women will vary reflecting the choices that they themselves made.

I don't see why a bit of tolerance can't be expected from all sides - why you and xenia should be allowed to get away with making demeaning comments about other women's work and lifestyles when if the same comments were made by a man "Housewives are stupid", "Chidcare work is inferior" etc then every sane person on this forum would be up in arms about it!

pianomama Fri 12-Oct-12 12:10:22

I was thinking about a conversation with a friend who told me a little girl (8 years old) was being tied up to a chair to make sure she does piano practice for 3 hours.Becuse "it is much harder for a girl to be succesful".
May be her mother would be better off competing with men in who earns more after all. Or is she trying to ensure that little girl will not be dominted by men when she grows up by being super succesful? I think any extreme is not smart..

rabbitstew Fri 12-Oct-12 11:29:50

pianomama - in answer to your earlier question, I would rather competitive women directed their energy to other forms of competition than competitive parenting, which I don't think is helpful or constructive competition. (Mind you, devious, putting down others and being rude about them behind their backs isn't healthy competition in any sort of environment, if that's the sort of competition you were thinking of!).

Xenia Fri 12-Oct-12 10:51:59

It is getting better. Also a lot of people's work these days is by email. People I work with could have 3 legs or no legs or be 40 stone or 7 stone and I'd never know so technology in a sense abolishes the sexism which is great. As I want to work until I am 80+ I also need to ensure ageism cannot apply either.

The power of threes is supposed to work. If 3 women or more on a board are female then they are not special or other and it is no big deal. If you are the only one then it is more of an issue.

Yes, of course there is masses of sexism. I think most sensible young women know how to deal with it but it is there all the time. There is a new casual sexism site (and twitter feed too) I can't remember the reference and there are good stories on there of what people encounter. You may not get the BBC man who used to come back drunk and walk through the office with his penis hanging out of his trousers as one female older journalist described in the press but there will be young women subjected to sexual comments and touching every day all over England. It is much better than it was but still there.

MordionAgenos Fri 12-Oct-12 10:48:22

@rabbit you are completely right about men and career breaks. It's not right.

One of the good things I think I've achieved in my current job is that several of my close colleagues (male and female) with youngish kids now work from home one or two days a week - I was the 'door pusher' for that and it has helped quite a few people. I'm rarely proud of anything I do at work in anything other than a 'job done well gives satisfaction' or 'tricky problem solved' sort of way - essentially it's B ark stuff, we aren't splitting the atom - but I'm proud of that.

MordionAgenos Fri 12-Oct-12 10:41:35

@orange Quite. The nature of sexism changes, also. I'm way too senior to have British people be overtly rude or dodgy to me now. But being the only woman in the room at important professional level meetings (ie meetings where different organisations send representatives) is to experience sexism, even if its not sexism directed specifically at me. Being constantly met with surprise when new people learn I have 3 kids and then having to field the 'who looks after them, how do you cope' question for the umpty thrumptieth time is to experience sexism. (My standard answer now is 'the daleks'. It's not entirely inaccurate either).Being 'the first woman' to do this that and the other is sort of nice but also .....honestly, I don't want to be the first. I'd rather be the 10th or the 'who knows how many we've had'. I never set out to be a pioneer. I just need to make sure I'm not bored in my job because I don't want to become boring.

pianomama Fri 12-Oct-12 10:34:06

orange - I think its quite fab to be a manager mistaken for an office angel PA. Girl power! Surely thats not sexist - just funny?

rabbitstew Fri 12-Oct-12 09:20:37

I have definitely encountered sexism, but of the rather pathetic, weak variety that can easily be responded to, rather than sexism accompanied by the genuine power to mess up or hold back my career. I am fully aware, however, that had I chosen a different career and tried to stick with it, or come up against a particular individual who took against me, I might have encountered something more sinister or institutionalised. I am also aware that I am now on a different footing because, like madwoman, I now have a less clear CV. However, since a man who had done what I have done would be treated with similar uncertainty when looking at their CV, I wouldn't view that as a negative for me, it's sexism that counts against men and in favour of women, as people might be more understanding of my having had a career break while my children are small than they would of a man having done the same thing - something utterly unfair on men who have sensibly decided that they are the ones in the better position to take the career break if, in their family circumstances, that seems the best arrangement.

orangeberries Fri 12-Oct-12 08:51:35

Just an observation here, but don't you think that the concept of "need" is so subjective, even in financial terms?

I know many people on fairly low incomes who are happy to live in very small accommodation and have no holidays and they tell me they are fortunate to be able to live on one income. I know couples on hospital consultants salaries who say they both need to work.

You could see their "needs" items as luxuries but to them they are necessities. Often you'll find that lifestyle choices for some people can feel indespensable. I can empathise with both views really.

I guess we fall in the middle category, as we could have easily lived on DH's salary but I personally feel that with the contribution of my salary we as a family can make many more choices - but I do question sometimes whether the stress is worth it, hence us working part-time.....but it does feel like a compromise both ways.

As a final point, I am really pleasantly surprised at those who say they never encountered sexism in the's not too bad for me now, but when I was a 20 something climbing up the career ladder it was terrible, I encountered sexism every day - I remember clearly every time I started in a new job people thinking I was the new office angel PA and then their look of sheer shock when they realised I was their new manager!!!!

And I was a fierce kind of character so I didn't let it stop me - still it was there - it's good to know that some industries are more enlightened than the one I work in!!

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