This post is going to get heavy in a moment, but before we get in to all that, here’s a gratuitous picture of hot dad Hugh Jackman being hot whilst playing with one of his kids at the beach.
This picture fills me with all sorts of confusing, pervy feelings – do I want Hugh to BE my dad? Or just the dad to my future children? (With all due respect to his lovely wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, it’s very hard to resist the siren call of one’s reproductive organs when faced with pictures of Hugh Jackman. She knows what we’re all talking about. She did marry the guy.)
You know what’s nice about Hugh Jackman? The tallness. The legs. I think that men’s legs are unappreciated, both within the entertainment industry, and in general. I mean, sure, footballers have great legs, but it’s not like we’re supposed to notice, right? We’re always supposed to go for the chests.
Well, screw that. I’m a leg-woman. Always have been. And, on a related note, can I just say – THANK YOU, Hugh, for not waxing your chest. Waxed chests? Me no likey. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a naturally hairless chest (heloooo Orlando Bloom), but I just don’t see the point of waxing *sexy* hair off. It just fills me with sadness, that’s all. Others might disagree, but you can’t really argue about taste, now, can you?
Anyway, here comes the heavy stuff:
Famous Twisty, of Famous “I Blame the Patriarchy” Blog, is once again dispensing her wisdom on poor, clueless fembots in thrall to the almighty Cock. The latest? Don’t have babies, girls. Just hold yer horses until the Glorious Feminist Revolution rolls into town. Then we will have, like, “collectives” (oh how that word grates on my post-Soviet ear), and no nuclear families, and we will all live on Twisty’s ranch in happy harmony, complete with free wireless and duffle coats for all. Or something.
You know what? Fuck that. In particular, fuck the illusion of the Glorious Feminist Revolution. I want none of it. I don’t want nice, perfectly well-meaning, and not at all condescending aunties saving me from myself whilst staring down at me from atop their high, well-bred horses. In fact, I don’t want anyone saving me from myself at all; it doesn’t matter if you’re a bearded priest, or a smooth-faced politician, or a clever spinster, or even Hugh Jackman come a-calling while wearing nothing but a strategically placed red bow, YOU are the very MANIFESTATION of the POWER you are telling me to FIGHT.
“Sell crazy someplace else. We’re all stocked up here.”
Daisy, once again, has made an interesting point – everybody’s personal is political, except for Twisty’s, of course, hers is just personal. Some of us get constantly pulled aside, like naughty schoolchildren at recess, and told “but you must examine, love…” while others get to retain their basic humanity. I don’t begrudge Twisty her inheritance. I don’t even think it must be “examined” much at all – so her rich dad left her money, so what? We all get by in our different ways, and some of us are luckier than others.
Hell, I even understand why Twisty is the one who so often gets held up as the Feminist Messiah – she’s a great writer, she’s witty, she has a (often overlooked) capacity for warmth, and she says stuff that makes other people uncomfortable. I get it.
But what I don’t get is where on earth Twisty gets off telling women what they “ought” to be doing, or else even going as far as drawing the line between “selfish” and “unselfish” behaviour. So having a kid is, by and large, “selfish,” eh? And living off a decently sized inheritance somehow isn’t? Please. See, the problem with the Glorious Leaders of the Glorious Feminist Revolution (which is just around the corner, dont’cha know) is that they don’t hold themselves to the same standards they propagate.
Lenin didn’t live like a poor, humble worker. Neither did Stalin. They’re the reason why the very word “revolution” makes my skin crawl. Twisty’s commentariat has been quick to point out, in the past, that I’m just one of those jaded, cynical, hyper-individualist types who came over from the post-Soviet wasteland in order to confuse and confound the noble and righteous Western Radical Feminist Cause, but hey, if they don’t see how their own Fearless Leader doesn’t exactly practice what she preaches, I can’t save them.
Daisy thinks that all of this, these feminist mommy wars, this constant sneering at women who are “lesser than,” is a product of class. I agree. I would also take it a step further and discuss the issue of entitlement, which does and does not go hand-in-hand with class. Why do I say that? Well, for the last 10 years or so, one of my aunts has been in the grip of a guru. The guru lives in a shoddy apartment in Kiev’s Borschagovka (one of the worst Kievan neighbourhoods by far, in case you’re wondering), and, from a creaky chair with faded and torn upholstery, preaches the exact damn thing that Twisty does.
Of course, the Guru dresses up her brand of entitlement in church-speak, but it’s all the same, essentially: any woman who’s ever enjoyed a dick is an idiot at best, if you bring up children you’re a daft cow who’s merely participating in her own oppression, and as for boys, they will be boys, hatin’ on women and drinking their lager and if you hold your boy to a different sort of standard, you’ll get what’s coming to you in the end, dearie.
My aunt has been in thrall to the Guru for years – groveling, apologizing, beating her breast and talking about how she deeply regrets raising three children, that of course she should have expected her first husband to start drinking and her second one to leave (the husbands bear no responsibility for their behaviour, you see – they’re men, so what did my silly aunt expect?), that the Patriarchy… I mean, Satan, in this case, had her fooled, et cetera, et cetera. It’s a miserable situation, and when I see people apologizing for their own lives on Twisty’s blog, I get a little jolt of recognition.
If you are going to be The New Boss, having money certainly helps. Having charisma helps as well. Above all else, you must believe in your inalienable right to tell people what to do with themselves. Not help them, you see. Not offer them useful advice on how to make their paltry, single-mom savings grow, for example. Or even stand in solidarity with them when they demand adequate childcare. Just preach to them.
Beat them down a little more, when they’re already beaten down, then reel them back in with promises of a Wimminly Utopia in which the Great Phallic Serpent has been vanquished once and for all.
And people wonder why the hell hardly anyone takes this brand of feminism seriously nowadays.
It’s all rather depressing, isn’t it?
So here’s a picture of cranky old alcoholic, opera aficionado, occasional sexist, Jaguar-driving fox, and crime solver Inspector Morse, to make it all better, you see.
Because quite frankly, I’d rather be shagging Morse than living in some dreadful commune, having the same ridiculous conversation about who buys into oppression more, and at what price.
In fact, I think I’d rather be shagging Morse than doing a lot of other things, but that’s beside the point.
The point is, childless women telling women with kids that they should never have had them is as ridiculous and backward as women with kids insisting to all and sundry that “you couldn’t possibly be fulfilled” unless you drop whatever it is you’re doing and procreate right this minute. Both worldviews are equally deranged, and just because the former is less prevalent than the latter doesn’t automatically make it OK. Look at it this way: plenty of horrible movies succeed at the box office. But a movie which does not succeed at the box office is not automatically a revolutionary tour de force, cast aside by dim-witted hoi polloi.
Or, to put it in simpler terms: the mere fact of being on the margins doesn’t make you right.
I say all this as a person who isn’t even sure if she wants kids.
But I must think about that. On my own terms. Without an obliging Big Brother or Big Sister looking over my shoulder, making sure I’m not “too brainwashed” to be able to make my own reproductive choices.
I choose Morse. And vodka. And Chaka Khan.