Would you Eve it?

by Louise Livesey // 26 February 2009, 14:15

We all know women are to blame for everything but three guesses where this question leads:

Does the woman in your life really need a job?

Yes apparently working women caused the credit crunch. Not those irresponsible bankers over lending on toxic assets, no it's mere tomfoolery to suggest such a thing apparently. Just another way of blaming men - see the writer (Newton Emerson) suggests it's wrong that "from Iceland to Australia, men are blamed for causing the credit crunch" no 'cos those bankers weren't men (in the main), not at all, and capitalism isn't an essentially masculine concept based on competition and, frankly, a lot of willy-waving nonsense. No not at all. Poor menz being blamed for, erm, well, their actions.

But Newton isn't finished - far from it - as he avers that "Women also have an important role to play in jobs that are too demeaning for men, like teaching" (because obviously educating the next generation is demeaning rather than, well, crucial and I assume he'd draw the line at women teaching science or in Universities because that's far too butch for us and we might break a nail /end sarcasm/).

But wait for it, not only is teaching apparently demeaning but Newton thinks it can simply be abolished - along with medical jobs like being a doctor or nurse or policing or in immigration or tax posts (that'll help the credit crunch surely be restricting the flow of revenue into the government (don't blame me, it's as sensible as Newton's dodgy grasp of economics) and all other public sector work...

It would be ludicrous to suggest that women should be sacked purely to give men their jobs. In many cases, their jobs should be abolished as well. Women are twice as likely as men to work in the public sector. They account for two-thirds of the Civil Service and three- quarters of all public employees. Yet they are barely represented in the useful public services..

Right now for the economics bit according to Newton this is the problem

Women working = families with more money = high house prices = credit crunch

Anyone else seeing flaws here? I am, like the fact that most higher house prices was a side effect of 90-100% mortgages making credit more available even where evidence that repayment was possible was limited. But wait that'd be asking bankers to take responsibility for their actions and Newton can't do that so guess what? He'll blame women.

So Newton's solution to the credit crunch is that women shouldn't work. Now there is an inherent contradiction because either Newton mean's it's OK for some men to be demeaned by doing those pesky jobs like teaching or those pesky jobs won't exist. Which won't create more work for men, it'll just create more people unemployed. See the problem?

Add to that the fact that, y'know, for some families women's income is the only one they have either through single parenthood or through the man being unemployed already or disabled or being single women or being in a lesbian relaitonship.

The "additional benefits" of the article is laughable, by the way - citing the fact that twice as many women as men travel to work by public transport Newton argues banning women from work would halve the pollution problem. Conveniently ignoring that men, we therefore surmise, travel by car which is a far more pressing environmental issue assuming they don't liftshare.

(H/T to Penny at The Anti-Room)

Comments From You

Anna // Posted 26 February 2009 at 14:53

'a lot of willy-waving nonsense.'

awesome mental picture. brilliant article, only bad thing is the fact there are actually knuckle-dragging idiots out there that necessitate the writing of it.. my god. how can people think like that? misogyny I get, to an extent. but that is just stupid. I mean.. the most stupid thing I have read in the last five years.. women are making global warming by using a less polluting form of transport than men?
it's one of the times you really do just have to shake your head, laugh, and say 'wat'

Amy // Posted 26 February 2009 at 15:14

Right... so halve the workforce. Take out those with a vagina!

Ha only 'exceptional' women get to do business! Proof though, i guess, that us womenz always need to go the extra mile. Even if we're smarter, better than an 'average' business bloke, our general inferiority needs to be proved non- existent beyond reasonable doubt. Otherwise our inferiority needs to be used to fill in teacher posts, apparently.

Does he consider a lot of women aren't even considering marriage and domestic household life? How about the MAN QUIT? Or is housework too demeaning for that special someone with a dangly bit of skin between their legs?

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 26 February 2009 at 15:28

Where to start? Or perhaps I should simply say this proves men are not more intelligent than women and as regards Newton Emerson he clearly has no intelligence whatsoever.

Now if a woman had written this article such crass claims would be instaneously dismissed as 'the rantings of a deranged female' but since the author is male I have no doubt his claim women are responsible for the recession will be accepted at face value.

By the way Emerson did you not hear it reported that certain politicians used their power to dissuade the independent financial body from taking action against stupid male bankers who were systematically engaged in treating money as though it was play money. Guess what these politicians are not back benchers but important powerful male government ministers and accountability for this recession lies not only with the current government but the previous one too. Capitalism is a male creation and its sole aim is to engineer profits for powerful men and look what has happened. So-called clever men have caused this recession but these clever men are refusing to take responsibility - because - all together now - 'women are responsible for the recession.' Misogyny what misogyny?

Would you Adam it?

Amy // Posted 26 February 2009 at 15:31

I'm sorry but the complete misogyny/irrationality/ignorance of that article just made it all too ridiculous to be taken seriously. I think it actually made me laugh out loud more times than the article about the Bishop-y guy who wrote about women wearing trousers creating an abortive society.

Is this guy for real?!?!

Alice // Posted 26 February 2009 at 15:40

I find it disturbing how much anti-women-working sentiment there still is out there. It really surprises me. As well as this, I'm thinking of things like the HYS on the BBC website last year asking 'should mothers work?' and that recent Children's Society(?) report that implied that working mothers damage children's wellbeing. I HAD thought that it was widely accepted now, in the 21st century, that women had as much right to earn a living as men. But no, apparently not.

Cara // Posted 26 February 2009 at 16:02

What?!
Reading this I was thinking it was satire. Most sexists at least try to veil their sexism a bit!
As Alice says, I thought it was widely accepted for women to work - did feminists not do that battle 50 years ago?!
It may be the credit crunch/ recession - in fact, it is. I read that a backlash against women is predicted.
And i thank karma/ whatever for my secure and 'cushy pc' civil service job ;-)

girlleastlikelyto // Posted 26 February 2009 at 17:05

I showed the article to a friend and I was told it was a humour column, is this the context? and if so what's the joke?

Kuja // Posted 26 February 2009 at 17:25

Funny how men see themselves as so in control of the world until something goes wrong; then suddenly women have all the influence. It's just having all the responsibilities of power with none of the privileges; like we're an entire group just waiting to play scapegoats when the men inevitably mess it up from time to time. Similar to how women in history were seen as powerless possessions of their husband... until the husband did something stupid. Then, of course, he was manipulated by his scheming wife. I think they change how they see us to suit their needs at any given moment. I hope beyond hope that everyone sees how ridiculous this kind of viewpoint is, but like Jennifer Drew said, I'm thinking that as a male writer, he'll be taken seriously. Despair.

Oh, and he's obviously writing for a male audience. That is, assuming by "the woman in your life" he is not including lesbian women. Has it occurred to him that perhaps some of the readers (like me...) may be women who live independently and couldn't give up work for the apparent good of the country even if common sense suddenly abandoned me and it seemed like a good idea?

Fran // Posted 26 February 2009 at 18:24

I'm wondering if it's a joke, too: a) because as Cara said, misogynists usually try to veil their misogyny, and b) because of the ridiculousness of the last paragraph -- claiming sacking women would be "equitable and progressive" (you don't usually hear those words associated with misogyny!) and telling husbands their wives "can ask you for the housekeeping on Friday." Not to mention the obvious nonsense in the rest of the article about how sacking public sector employees would have no downside and that statistical figures produced by women "should be taken with a pinch of salt."

I don't know, the more I look at it, the more I think it's just bad satire. If it is, though, who is it aimed at? What's the point?

Jess // Posted 26 February 2009 at 19:18

It's been several years since I last read thefword. Now I remember why - reading it makes me so angry! Not due to the quality of the site (it's excellent) but due to to reminder of how things STILL are for women. But I'm gonna keep reading this time - anger gets things changed. Keep up the good work!

Shea // Posted 26 February 2009 at 21:07

On one point he is correct- women working has had an effect on the house prices- it now requires two incomes to buy an average house rather than one. But this effect is negated by the massive economic and fiscal stimulus of having women working and contributing to the tax base and economy by spending money! (Not to mention the billions, yes BILLIONS, saved by women working as unpaid advisers, volunteers and carers for children and elderly relatives, or the unacknowledged "natural" labour of women giving birth to the next generation of workers. )

In fact if all the women stopped paid work tomorrow I'm willing to bet the recession would become a full blown depression (if it isn't already) as the flow of capital dries up even further and the tax base reduces.

I knew it was only a matter of time before women as a collective get blamed for the recession and general catastrophe of the financial markets. (Although no-one has mentioned Margaret Thatcher's de-regulation of the city in the 80's, which I do think is a cause). Essentially this guy's argument is as basic and ridiculous as "women buy shoes- therefore they are to blame for the recession." Time for economics 101 & feminism 101 for that matter.

"Like a compass pointing towards the North so the finger of blame finds a woman".

This on the same day that it was revealed fatcats like "Sir" Fred Goodwin are getting a pension of £693,000 a year at age 50! Oh, so, so much RAGE!

This is Robin Hood in reverse and it is time for it to stop.

Elle // Posted 26 February 2009 at 21:07

Emerson is a satirist, and used to run the portadown times, a site similar to the onion.

http://www.portadownnews.com/index.htm

It seems to me, having read some of his other work that this is an exercise in the ridiculousness of life, and the fact that somehow, somewhere someone would try to make an argument like this. The sheer stupidity of the piece says to me that it is not serious. I still don't find it as entertaining as it's supposed to be.

Princess Rot // Posted 26 February 2009 at 21:28

Newton Emerson is a satirist, and it is a humor column.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton_Emerson

However, since this is so close to actual sexist views that a disturbing amount of people hold onto I'm not seeing the funny side, humorless feminist that I am.

Rachel // Posted 26 February 2009 at 21:32

I've done a bit of googling and it seems that this was a 'joke'.

'Women Just Don't Understand' it though...http://www.jossip.com/women-just-dont-understand-20090226/

Rachel // Posted 26 February 2009 at 21:40

I think 'A Modest Proposal' referred to in the post I just linked to ('Women Just Don't Understand') is the essay written by Jonathan Swift in the early 18thC, which just makes it doubly insulting.

Anne Onne // Posted 26 February 2009 at 22:05

Who knows whether it's satire or not. Satire is pretty much supposed to be extreme, take the normal bigoted arguments to a new level and show how absurd they are.

Problem is, some people use satire as an excuse to write what they feel, others as an 'it was a joke' justification after the fact to avoid blame, and some just rehash the serious arguments bigots make without extrapolating them to show more clearly how awful they are.

If this is satire it fails as satire, because I've seen those arguments made with straight faces in earnest. It may be my taste but satire only makes me smile wryly (as opposed to shake my head in disgust) if it goes far enough to make clear it's a load of rubbish.

femmegaygal // Posted 26 February 2009 at 22:09

This was published in the Irish Times, and it was in the satirical column. Personally I didn't find it particularly entertaining or witty. I think it was sexist - and I find it equally as biggoted as if he thought it entertaining to suggest that all black people should return to slavery to end the credit crunch. I am sure that would be considered racist (and reasonably so). You can email the irish times if you find it offensive too...though it seems you get a reply saying that its satire (the implication being just get over it).

Filip // Posted 26 February 2009 at 22:46

This is certainly meant to be satire. But the sad fact is that we live in a society in which this is not obvious - because there are still lots of people around who actually think like this and it's not exaggerated enough in comparison.

It's like claiming in the 1930s that the abolition of slavery caused the depression, and expecting African Americans to find it funny.

Deschant // Posted 26 February 2009 at 23:08

Note also how the article is directed to a male public, as if it was their decision to have their wives stop working.

Laura // Posted 26 February 2009 at 23:37

This seems to be nowt but bad satire. It doesn't go quite far enough to be good, IMO; given that there are people who genuinely think women do not have a right to work and should be the first to go in times of high unemployment and economic instability, the ideas expressed aren't quite ridiculous enough for the piece to really work.

Lara the Second // Posted 26 February 2009 at 23:58

It seems like clear bad satire, see the last line.

Would have been better if it managed to get in the fact that if all women left their jobs the economy would collapse entirely...

Cara // Posted 27 February 2009 at 11:40

Am sort of relieved it's satire.
Not that I find it funny though; as others said, it's badly done - as most of us didn't get it.
A good satire would be worth reading ;-)
And yes, there certainly are people out there who actually do think that way.

Clumperino // Posted 27 February 2009 at 12:30

Emmerson has long been a satirist in Ireland and although this piece is clearly an attempt at satire, I don't really know that it works. Having said that I think books like the one below are much more worrying than anything a columnist in the Irish Times has to say!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/feb/27/women-work-and-careers

Ellie // Posted 27 February 2009 at 12:44

They've posted some responses by readers here: http://www.irishtimes.com/letters/index.html#1224241893890

so hopefully the message got through to the author

Ruth // Posted 27 February 2009 at 17:08

There's also a nod to the whole "all public sector jobs are wasteful and unproductive" cant as well. Sigh. Yes, I'm sure all those folk making novelty rock are essential to the future of our society in a way that people who care for older and disabled people just aren't.

Apologies to anyone here who makes novelty rock, by the way ;-)

Lazy 'satire' is poor satire. I wonder how much he gets paid for that column and how long it didn't take him to write it?

Laurel Dearing // Posted 27 February 2009 at 18:18

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2231195611&ref=nf

i wonder if this is supposed to be satyrical? im guessing not as some of it makes sense. the rest is just ugly. facebook has groups about everything...

undercurrent // Posted 28 February 2009 at 03:29

shea has point that no-one has addressed, at least as far as my quick scan has rendered.

Both partners working and using those incomes towards a mortgage has caused house prices to rise.

Now..I'm not saying 'only one partner should work'...but I will say only the high earner should be providing the mortgage calculation data. Be the high earner male or female.

By all means, people should be able to mortage themselves to the hilt, if they think it does right, no matter who they are... but they should also have some disposable...partly to help fuel the economy but also to ensure children or help fuel the retail sector.

P.s. if you'd like a house cook...please reply... will work for food and bed!

Nicki // Posted 02 March 2009 at 13:19

I'm afraid I'm not taking that as satire; I can't see anything witty about it. Even satire about migrants or gypsies can't address them that way.

linsy splmn // Posted 02 March 2009 at 17:26

There will be more people making comments like his. Over coming years women will be blamed for everything from global warming to the coming depression. Women will be back in the home by the end of this centuary if all women do not start sticking together more to form a 4th wave of feminism. Women make each others life difficult, and are too competitive with each other and too quick to pull each other down. There is a male agenda, it involves divide and rule, and too many women have become too post feminist to see the need for a new wave. Some women are so nasty to those who do better then them, that some women who would have been good feminists are been put off other women.

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