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Subjugation of Women – an Urban Reality

By John Hargreaves - 31 October 2014 15

road-sign-woman-stock-191014

When I was overseas just recently in Barcelona, England and Dubai, I was reminded of a culture I have seen in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.

Sure, I saw the niquab in Dubai and in England. Sure I saw this as the expression of not only freedom of religion but also the freedom to suppress women into an inferior position in society.

I will defend anyone’s freedom to express their c in symbols. We have all seen the “cross” earrings, we have all ween the “dog-collar” of priests and vicars etc. we have all ween the traditional dress worn by Orthodox priests. We have all seen the orange robes worn by Buddhist monks and nuns.

We have all seen the need to shave the heads of Buddhist monks and nuns but do we object? Nah!

What I saw in Melbourne and Sydney and of course here in Canberra was the subjugation of women in more subtle ways. Many women in these cities still see their role in life as a homemaker, read – stay at home, raise kids, do the housework, make meals for a man who goes to work to earn the family income. This and while the “man of the house” sits on his ample derriere and does bugger all!

Mowing the lawn and doing small scale handyman stuff just doesn’t cut it with me.

How many times in my youth and more recently, have I heard the “lady of the house” say “I have to get his dinner”, “I have the washing to do, so I can’t come out”?

During the numerous election campaigns I handed out How-to-Vote card and I saw in Canberra suburbs examples of willing subjugation which appalled me. Get this!

I was handing out at Gowrie (and Wanniassa, Fadden, Gordon, Chifley and more so don’t feel left out) and offered one to a lady with a child. Her response was “It’s ok, I’ll follow my husband” others said “I’ll use his”, or “we vote as a family (after he had taken the card)”.

The social circles I wander in don’t do this but I have seen it many times. It is real and it is there under our eyes. And what do we do about it?

Perhaps the burqa and niquab are symbols of suppression of women. But they’re not the only symbols and they are not the only reality.

Perhaps we should look closer to home and come up with something a bit deeper than the superficiality of the current conversation around a piece of clothing.

What’s Your opinion?


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15 Responses to
Subjugation of Women – an Urban Reality
Ben_Dover 1:56 pm 03 Nov 14

Women have become much less burdened by household chores and now have the same amount of free time as men, a new study has revealed.

“Researchers found that women have cut the amount of time spent on domestic tasks by 90 minutes a day over the last 50 years, reaching parity with men for the total hours spent each day doing paid and unpaid work. The study involved women from 14 developed countries keeping diaries over the decades – which showed a huge downward trend in the amount of time spent cooking, cleaning and washing.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2817931/Women-free-time-men-help-housework.html#ixzz3HyE1416U

Now, where’s your facts Johnno?

Ben_Dover 12:03 pm 02 Nov 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

Interesting that when people run out of arguments they resort to personal attack. Gardening! Wow! That’s deep.

Self righteousness and bigotry do not become the contributors to Riotact, indeed they smack of boganism.

The irony/hypocrisy there is gobsmacking!!

There was no “personal attack ” John, there were however several calls on your bland broad-brush assertions that you know what everyone wants and how everyone should behave. You’ve been shot down in flames, deal with it.

neanderthalsis 7:22 am 02 Nov 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

Interesting that when people run out of arguments they resort to personal attack…
…indeed they smack of boganism.

Pot, kettle, etc.

justin heywood 7:10 am 02 Nov 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

I get a bit sick of points of view being characterised as lefty claptrap, or right wing this or that.

Come on John. Almost everything you post follows the same pattern.

After a long-winded and self-serving OP (“the social circles I move in don’t do this”)!, you eventually get to the polnt of the article, in this case the political hot topic of Muslim dress.

Of course some people follow with some feisty replies (‘lefty claptrap’ etc.) and then you come back in with some feisty replies of your own (‘boganism…bigotry’ etc).

You were known as something of a head kicker in the Assembly and I can’t help but think that you continue to enjoy a bit of biff.

So many interesting things you COULD post about.

fraserfella 12:05 am 02 Nov 14

hey champ, if you want to be a femminist you have to be the right sex otherwise you just sound like someone with to much time on their hands…

housebound 10:34 pm 01 Nov 14

This post seems to reflect the OP’s limited exposure to a range of life choices made by all sorts of families.

Some of us who chose to stay home and look after our kids didn’t feel subjugated at all. The kids are little for only a while, and we wanted to enjoy those few years while they lasted. I always felt sorry for the dads who missed out on so much of this time due to the terrible oppression of having to earn money to support the family.

And some of us, on seeing a politician on the streets, are more than happy to fob them off onto someone else.

Masquara 6:08 pm 01 Nov 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

… indeed they smack of boganism.

Classism from a class warrior …

John Hargreaves Ex M 4:48 pm 01 Nov 14

Interesting that when people run out of arguments they resort to personal attack. Gardening! Wow! That’s deep.

The point I make, apparently lost on those who seem somewhat short sighted or self indulgent, is that in addition to looking for ways to rid any woman of symbols of male dominance, we should look at ourselves and see what other symbols and morays exist for us to tackle.

For the record, I do most of the cooking at our house, I do the shopping and I attend to minor maintenance. This is not just because I have retired, I did this before leaving full time work. This is because I see our relationship as an equal partnership and my wife has a heavy job herself.

I get a bit sick of points of view being characterised as lefty claptrap, or right wing this or that. What is wrong with any of us having a view and wanting to enjoin conversation about it? Without inviting invectives and rudeness?

Self righteousness and bigotry do not become the contributors to Riotact, indeed they smack of boganism.

Ben_Dover 4:14 pm 31 Oct 14

Another load of disingenuous lefty claptrap. Funny isn’t it, that the left of the past fought long and hard to rid us of the shackles of (christian) religious nonsense. Yet the left of today, it all its middle-class guilt ridden fervor,would make excuses for any medieval religious subjugation of women, as long as its not done by white people that is.

chewy14 3:10 pm 31 Oct 14

OMG,
how dare women and couples make different decisions than me. Doesn’t every mother want to be a CEO of a multinational? They must all be subjugated by the patriarchy.

And to think that some women didn’t want to take how to vote cards off me at election time. It’s like they almost didn’t want to know the correct way to vote for the Labor party.

Preposterous!!!!

Someone is clearly pulling their strings and i’m going to get to the bottom of it.

Masquara 2:08 pm 31 Oct 14

Strange attempt at equivalence there John. Women in our society aren’t forced to marry. Ergo, they are not forced to do other people’s dishes. But women under sharia law are forced to wear the veil, and are subjected to compulsory inferior inheritance laws. They can be stoned to death, married off at age 12, or subjected to “honour killings”. As for comparing wearing a little crucifix around one’s neck with the burqa – sheesh! And what do you think of Saudi Arabia then? Women aren’t allowed to drive there – and aren’t even allowed to watch a soccer match in a stadium. What’s your equivalence to those in our society? Do please tell.

A_Cog 1:25 pm 31 Oct 14

I don’t really get what you’re trying to say… you’re kind of rambling and non-specific.

Maybe you should go back to the Legislative Assembly where your communication “skills” would be better suited?

dungfungus 12:17 pm 31 Oct 14

The niquab has nothing to do with religion; indeed, Islam is not a religion.
It is not realistic to justify the wearing of the niquab on the grounds that Christian nuns wear similar (but don’t cover their faces) and Buddhist monks wear orange robes etc.
The point is that only “office holders” in religions other than Islam (if it must be seen as a religion) are a tiny percentage of the entire flock whereas most Muslim women wear the niquab as a cultural requirement and there are billions of them.
If you are looking for something deeper then try global Islamisation. You must have been wearing blinkers not to see what is happening in Europe.

neanderthalsis 11:41 am 31 Oct 14

So you would support changes to Family Tax benefits that are designed to encourage women to seek work once their youngest child starts school? After all, it is breaking the shackles of housebound women and encouraging their economic independence. Are you trying to position yourself as a SNAG, that’s soooo 90’s.

You may have noticed that the 1950’s ended a while ago (at least three years ago for some people) and at least in my circle of friends, relatives and broader acquaintances, most husbands have taken on a major part of the domestic duties, some are even stay at home dads. Personally, I do all of the cooking, we split the housework although my wife does the bulk of the inside work as she works part time (her choice) and I work full time.

We don’t have legislation in place that stops women from driving, we don’t keep them housebound unless from choice or family need, we don’t stone them to death for being raped. And as for the point of families voting together, I’d have thought that the prospect of rusted on unthinking voters would appeal to any politician.

Mysteryman 9:47 am 31 Oct 14

“Many women in these cities still see their role in life as a homemaker…”

What’s wrong with that? A great many women choose that life. Do you really think it’s your place to make assumptions about why? It’s not.

“How many times in my youth and more recently, have I heard the “lady of the house” say “I have to get his dinner”, “I have the washing to do, so I can’t come out”? “

I have no idea, but it’s irrelevant. I say those things and I’m a male. Doesn’t mean I’m oppressed. It all goes back to the lifestyle that women (and men) have chosen. It’s not your place to make assumptions on why they’ve chosen it.

“This and while the “man of the house” sits on his ample derriere and does bugger all!”

I don’t know what household you grew up in, but I grew up in a relatively traditional one and that was never the case. Obviously you have no basis for this assumption, either.

“and offered one to a lady with a child. Her response was “It’s ok, I’ll follow my husband” others said “I’ll use his”, or “we vote as a family (after he had taken the card)”.”

Have you ever considered that maybe they weren’t interested in the party you were representing and felt it was a more polite way to refuse the card than tell you what they really thought? Or perhaps they already discussed their voting intentions with their partner and intended to vote the same way as each other? Maybe those particular women had no interest in politics whatsoever and were happy to just take their partner’s lead?

A handful of assumptions don’t make an argument, John. And they certainly aren’t evidence of an problem with society. Take up gardening. Your meandering posts are getting tiresome

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