Why left feminists don't like kids
"Biffo" (Former ALP leader Mark Latham) has a go below. There have been shrieks of protest from feminists over this article but I think he is pretty right. I am impressed by and agree with his child-orientation -- and his past as a Leftist leader should earn his words serious consideration among Leftists. He is a perpetually angry man but I think that, at the end of the day, he does have a heart. I think he is a man I would like to meet. I am sure his wife never has a dull moment with Mark around
I love a social experiment, so last Saturday, I broke the habit of a lifetime and read the agony-aunt pages of The Sydney Morning Herald. I should have done so years ago, as an exercise in political awareness.
It nearly knocked me off my chair, as I confronted the core arguments of left-feminism. The inner-Sydney writer Lisa Pryor said the only way in which she can cope with "raising two small children while studying medicine full-time" is through "caffeine and anti-depressants".
Apparently, this is her standard answer whenever anyone asks: "How do you do it all?"
I felt depressed myself, at the thought of a Fairfax columnist describing one of life's great responsibilities, the raising of infant children, as requiring "neurochemical assistance".
Why do people like this have children in the first place? How will the children feel when they grow up and learn that they pushed their mother onto anti-depressants?
The sadness of these circumstances is aggravated by a broader political point. A major part of left feminist campaigning has involved the demonisation of children.
You know the refrain: men have rigged the rules of society by dominating the workforce, while women are left with the agony of domestic duties, the nightmare of raising kids.
Women in western Sydney with no neuroses
It's widely assumed that home-based life is pathetically menial. So much so, in Pryor's case, that only a cocktail of little red pills and caffeine-overload can ease the burden.
Yet, in truth, this is a political hoax. Women I speak to in western Sydney, who have no neuroses or ideological agenda to push, regard child-rearing as a joy. Financially, if they can avoid work, that's their preference.
Home life gives them the freedom to pursue their recreational interests and bond with the most important people in their lives, their children.
Other than for money, why would anyone want to commute and toil long hours for businesspeople?
With only 2 per cent of Australian men serving as the primary carers of their children, the left-feminist orthodoxy has been allowed to dominate the political debate. Men have been sucked into thinking that work life is inherently superior to a life raising children. From a male perspective, alternative views have not been aired.
So let me explain another experiment. What happens when an opposition leader quits politics, decides that he hates the prospect of working for other people and becomes the primary carer of his three children?
In my case, the results, for nearly a decade now, have been splendid. Sure, there's the odd hiccup and flash of frustration in full-on parenting, but the rewards are immense.
Left feminism is akin to a psychoneurotic disorder
My lifestyle has never been more satisfying. Whether it's my daughter's smile, my eldest son's Aussie irreverence or the belly laughter of my youngest son - these are my anti-depressants, every hour, every day. What is Pryor going on about?
I'm sure I'm just as busy as her: looking after a huge native garden at home, cooking gourmet meals for my family, pursuing a few business interests, writing books and The Australian Financial Review columns and, most crucially, preserving time for my children's homework, conversation and love. When I explain this reality to my male friends, they are incredibly envious. Each of them wants to swap places.
But the inner-city feminists know little of this. They spend a lot of time complaining, ostensibly on behalf of other women, yet their real priority is themselves. More often than not, they don't like children and don't want to be with them. They use political feminism as a release valve, trying to free themselves from nature's way.
Thus left feminism is akin to a psychoneurotic disorder: externalising personal feelings of distress and deficiency into the demonisation of children.
This is why people in the suburbs, especially women, distrust the likes of Pryor. Their political agenda is seen as unrepresentative and self-serving. At a personal level, it's also cowardly: popping pills as an easy way out, instead of facing up to the responsibilities of adulthood.