Sunday, 21 June 2009

Women Elders, fear and prejudice

Re the African persecutions of Witches, often young children, they are ghastly. (response to someone else)
Another particularly badly treated group are older women. They are beaten up and tortured, cast out of their communities and left to starve.

In societies dominated by men women are seen as dangerous which equals: likely to disobey their masters. They are tolerated only if they can provide sex, plus children who can add to a man's pride, and to his wealth by their child work. Children are not just sold because of dire poverty, they are sold because they are possessions, as women are.

In a society with greater wisdom in my opinion older women are valued as child carers, healers, repositories of long experience. Rejecting the knowledge that comes with experience means you have to work everything out over and over, making the same mistakes over and over.

Read on for analysis applied to the (Western) Pagan community.

There is a problem with this hatred of elder women in our own community. I and other older people, especially women, are often snubbed when we give advice from our experience. I have more than once had frantically hostile reactions when I refer to myself as an elder! It is SO taboo to mention being older.

In modern Paganism I can see three roots for this anti-elder women stuff.

This is a community that values innovation, and fierce independence. That makes it difficult to value elders. The two ideas are extremely contradictory.
While I too value innovation and independence, I would like to see a bit more ability to actually look at what elders say rather than dismissing it almost automatically because it comes from older people who are seen as past it. Difficult I know to balance these two points of view, probably impossible to get it right!

This area applies to both elder women and men. But other issues make it stronger around women.

2. MALE DOMINANT SOCIETY OUTSIDE We are not free of the male dominant modes still so prevalent everywhere.
Before anyone jumps in with outrage about how dominant women are a quick reminder on the rape epidemic going almost totally unstopped by any legal or other restraint/ 80% of domestic violence is against women, who die every week from it/ the poorest people are still women, struggling to look after kids etc etc Things have changed for better off women in terms of money, property, and for some, sex; not much else.

So the male dominant deep psychology still affects us, and older women are the least valued people among male dominant groups. Nor is this a simple case of women vs. men. It's just as often other women who are scared of getting - or being - old, and fear elder women so show them contempt in minor and major ways. Surrounded by media saturating us with the value of young bodies this is not surprising.

This is a powerful potential work area for Goddess magic. Hmm might do a workshop on it at House Morgain!

3. GODDESS/ PRIESTESS AUTHORITY The Pagan community and the overlapping but not identical Goddess community, has had huge effects in reclaiming the authority of the priestess.
This is not the same thing as "women priests" who merely occupy the masculine defined job of priest. They may soften it or change it a little, but they don't hold that place BECAUSE they are women, but in spite of it.

It may seem odd to put this here as a problem for older women, but it is. As noted we are all socially conditioned by anti-women ideas from the wider society. So Goddess and priestess do not sit in our heads without tension. We kind of pretend they do I think.
But the tension comes out in endless bimbo Goddesses or priestesses like Barbie images. Nothing wrong with them as an option, but their overwhelming majority shows that the propaganda from everywhere is right there in our heads.
There are plenty of other situations that show that our respect for Goddess/ priestess though much more than skin deep, doesn't go very deep. For example I frequently find Pagans who can't hear and consider what I say but can hear exactly the same thing perfectly OK if John says it in his male voice! Another example is how as soon as I speak of women/ men the assumptions of manhating leap up excitedly without looking at what I really say.

That's just good old sexism at work. In some ways being older is MUCH better. I don't have what I say or do ignored, discounted because my tits are the main interest any more! Which is wonderful.
Yet I can also feel how what I do/ say sparks much stronger hostile reactions now I'm older. The other side of the coin maybe? - without perky tits to distract any more I'm taken seriously - hence hostility! Perhaps I should not complain since this is what I want.

But there is an intensity to the hostility I encounter that intuitively flashes MOTHER at me. (I freely admit that here I'm talking my feelings, not evidence.) It links to some great research years ago (Chodorow I think) that pointed out that we're all with few exceptions, brought up in very early years by Mothers.
Those very early years form us like no others. So we all experience female domination when we're doing our core growing. Few later experience outside the gulags and horror camps, have such dominated experience as nappy changing, passive feeding etc So ANY female authority is underlaid by this deep layer of buried memory of almost total domination. No wonder we fear female authority!
Is this perhaps why "power women" are expected to be rake thin? as unlike Mother as possible? I wonder. In a period of transition where women are taking so much more power in commerce, law, the academy, and a bit, in government - perhaps they have to drastically amputate themselves as mothers to be permitted to do it.

Anyway my point here is that while Pagans are strong, independent people, we are by no means free of deep psychology. That deep laid Mother domination is still there, and elder women remind us of it: they are the generation that changed a lot of nappies, up ending the younger ones to do it.

Innocence, guilt, democracy, Child Protection

"To be judged on evidence by a jury of our peers goes to the heart of a democratic society."
(Leading article 'Independent' Sunday, 21 June 2009)

Yes. Absolutely.
But there's precious little of that stuff around Child Protection.

It'd be a start if Child Protection operated on evidence rather than the personal opinion of one person. That person may be exhausted, overworked, not well trained, and as subject to the prejudices and jealousies of humanity as anyone else.

In Child Protection there is NO "innocent unless proven guilty."

There's just guilty until proved innocent, with the whole system against you.

Even then, if a family pushes allegations into court and gets an innocent verdict against all the odds, it's often too late. The child was adopted long ago, midway through the case. Then as Social Workers say with a triumphant smirk, the child is "settled" and cannot be moved.

In years to come we are going to hear from these children. Often they are lied to and told their parents didn't want them, or committed offences against them.

Like the lost children of 60s single mothers, adopted and not told till they were adult their true parentage, these children now being torn out of innocent healthy families, will rise up in accusation, grief, and rage, against those who are being paid to wreck their lives.

Child Protection is a rule of terror gone way out of control. even a small brush with them ruins families for years. No one is safe unless wealthy and well connected. That is something these people do understand. But innocence, and healthy families - and EVIDENCE - no.

Thursday, 18 June 2009


Justice Coleridge may have 'carefully' added bits and pieces to soften what he said. He still insulted committed parents by babbling about 'marriage' being best (oh how I detest breast is best, marriage is best etc)

The public trend is clear: marriage is on the way out. Less than half of all couples go for it.

We therefore need to look at how to build in procedures and customs that will strengthen everyday partnerships. Flogging a dying horse on an outdated system just won't work. People have been ignoring these attempts to foist marriage on them for some time.

I agree with Deborah Orr that the practical and traditional stages of celibacy, courtship, contract, are desirable. I'd further divide the Contract stage into an Early Contract (1 -7 years) Longterm Contract (7- 20yrs) and Life Contract (Over 21yrs) because these stages have different needs and different outcomes. A partnership just can't be assessed, or supported in the same way without looking at its stage.

If we got away from the ridiculous Christian custom of making "eternal vows" for a whole life, often when very young, it would help. The old Celtic laws (Hywel Dda, Brehon system) of different kinds of marriage, some resident, visiting, short term, long term etc was much more realistic. The Celts incidentally had women's property rights and divorce.

Deborah's analysis is good, but overlooked that the traditional model included close family supervision of the stages of a partnership. Arranged marriages have a bad name but in reality, as long as the principals are fully involved, they help a lot. If the family investigates a possible partner they can dig up the dirt and save much pain. Older people can often see a chancer and give warning.
An involved family will also contribute more, not just a wasteful splashy wedding, but real financial help for bills and babies over the years, where a family shut out is less likely to. The biorth family can also champion a partner getting abused.

But most of all I found this article lacking in its economics. The Judge is not living in the real world - presumably cushioned by high pay, gated living and a solid pension.
Real people are struggling to survive among debts, repossession, unemployment - if not actual, threatened. Then there's an ugly culture driven by the greedy wealthy barons where alcohol is sold with weak controls fuelling violence; drugs are linked to crime, more violence; both parents MUST work to pay ruthless property prices.
More than anything this last item, forced double employment for parents, is destructive. It means partners have little time to BE partners, to simply be with each other at home. When they are, they are exhausted and exhaustion breeds aggression and shuts down sex.
Additionally children are necessarily neglected, left to makeshift arrangements or institutionalised. That means their social abilities are very poor and they cause endless crises and stress.

Meanwhile a proft driven sleaze media recommends sex sex sex, affairs and orgasms as the golden remedies. Naked bodies are displayed everywhere to urge people to do it dot it, it'rs your right. Exhausted, frightened, lost, people unsurprisingly either shut down and give up, or reach for forbidden fruit.

All this goes back to the early 80s and the deregulation of the economy. As the biggest result the economy has just collapsed. It will happen again if banks are not regulated.
But that's the big level/. On the everyday level all kinds of misery is hitting people, and has been for 30 years. We cannot run a society on greed and ruthlessness with out families being damaged.

Actually I think it's a tribute to families and their brave, diogged, determined members, that the damage is not far worse than it is. It's time that our authority figures started PRAISING the families that work, and looking at how they do it. Rather than generate more despair by hammering people with disapproval, be practical, look at what works, and rty to spread it around.

I think any such study would find that 'marriage' - big weddings, flash sounding vows, certificates, have little to do with it. Nor do huge long contracts as very few people can achieve them - a life contract was historically around 15 years maximum, often no more than 3 - 7 years with deaths in childbirth, war, epidemic etc.

Let's start being realistic, instead of pompous and disapproving.
Again, I'd recommend a look at the Celtic laws. Short and longer contracts both, building long ones from short ones. Residential and visiting contracts. Cut the fuss at the start: get a celebration custom going when there's something to celebrate at 3 years 7 years 10, 21 and so on.

The Cowboy Age

Another excellent analysis of the economic crisis by Vince Cable today. Vince thank you for yet another calm, accurate analysis.

As Vince keeps warning, the Crash is far from over. A bit of bright gameplaying among the financiers staving off the very worst collapses is only a step away from disaster. We still have unemployment rocketing, repossessions and debts sky high, public services about to be cut back to a dangerous degree, crime, alcohol, drugs, violence and hopelessness blighting our society as never before in living memory.

The crucial key is banks regulation yetjavascript:void(0) Darling (currently Chancellor) says this is not going to be done. GRRRRRR. We are staring another BIGGER crash in the face.

The most important issues facing us today in Britain are -

1) the regulation of the banks, splitting them into two sectors - utility banking and international risk investment (Vince Cable's agenda).
If banks are not regulated we will have another crash that will make this one look tiny, because it'll crash on top of an already weakened base. There will also be very little or no Government capacity to borrow in order to do another bail out.

Since Darling is currently fudging bank regulastion the prospects are dire.

2) The second major issue facing us is the database state - this is not unconnected.
There is nothing clearly stated in the current central database proposals to protect us from having our detailed and centralised personal records sold to commercial interests.
Given the record of banks and commercial companies on how they deal with ordinary people's vulnerabilities again the prospect is dire.

We have increasingly become trained to be cows, financial cows, herded and milked by powerful cowboys. This is the new age, not the industrial age, not the information age, but the Cowboy Age.


I don't know what Vince's strategy is around the election. I hope it's to negotiate a Coalition Government so he can be Chancellor.
In which case DO NOT vote Tory. Labour will get few votes so all we need do is avoid a Tory triumph and the LibDems will be able to strike a deal with one or the other main party.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Mother, Child dead due to "Christian" faith

A 30 year old woman killed her baby then died of blood loss in a toilet.

I am horrified that the revolting beliefs of these parents terrorised their daughter to the point that she suppressed awareness of her pregnancy, then panicked, committed deliberate murder, and died herself in a ghastly way.
What a poor crazy woman, with her mind twisted by these foul ideas of sex guilt and shame.
In a healthy family she would have been TOLD about sex - her mother admits they never spoke of it so she never checked her daughter was knowledgeable and competent to be an adult woman.
In a healthy family she could have told her parents and they could all have enjoyed an addition to the family. Instead of THIS.

Do not PLEASE blame this on "religion." This isn't religion. It's a particular part of one religion, Christianity, and a certain type of Christianity that wrecks lives with guilt and misery.
There is a lot of other religions not like this. You can venerate, meditate, pray etc without poisoning minds like this.

The Politics of Depression

It appears there is concern that such enormous numbers of people are living drugged for depression. Oh deary me, why are so many dependent on nasty chemical pills that cost the NHS so much?

It's true that there is too much reliance on drugs drugs drugs. But then that means money for the drug sellers.

For a great deal of depression one of the best remedies is simply exercise. It stimulates the cheerful hormones.
The difficulty is that depression itself makes doing exercise very very hard to do. It makes a person desperate to stop, slump, give up. That's its nature. A system of encouragement and coaching would go a long way.

But beyond exercise, healthy eating, meditation, the elephant in the living room is the appallingly depressing society we live in.

Depression is political.

Since 1979, we've lived through 30 years under two long Governments by supposedly different parties, and our society has been ruthlessly engineered to centre on wealthy people getting wealthier. Inequality hasn't been greater since before the World Wars.
This destruction of our society, once beautiful, has been like a juggernaut of destruction ridden though every human value, every piece of kindness, beauty, safety and health that made up a decent society.

Violence rules our streets and invades our homes. Domestic violence and rape are an epidemic. Police are useless unless you are rich.
Drugs destroy huge numbers, not just addicts, but their families and lovers. But a lot of money is made from drugs.
Alcohol is freely sold everywhere, every other shop sells it, at all hours. Young people are dying of it through disease. It's fuelling violence everywhere. But it makes money.

Women, girls, boys are bought and sold, whether for full sex or bits of sex stopping short of coitus. They aren't the ones making the big money.
Almost all parents are forced out to work by crazy property prices, leaving children neglected, to grow up into yet more violence, drugs and robotic lives.
Films games and popular books glorify violence, make booze part of almost all everyday events, reduce sex to a physical grunt. More money is made.

Jobs are insecure, pensions a joke, unemployment support strips life of dignity and comfort. The money saved isn't going to ordinary people.
Families are torn apart by the drugs, alcohol, violence everywhere, financial insecurity, debt.
Community projects go unfunded, collapse. Post Offices are closed that are vital centres of community life, and privatisation blights community networks.

Thousands of families have their children threatened by insane social services, getting fat fees for extracting perfectly healthy kids for adoption.
Hospitals are places of terror where you wait hours or days in pain for emergency treatment; or die because an operation becomes available too late. If you do get in you risk dying of hospital infections. Crowded wards with mixed sexes, dirt, impossibly overworked staff, make it a misery being there.
New mothers are dying of the Victorian puerperal fever because cost cutting throws them on the street within hours of giving birth.
Our elders are forced into institutions that then abuse them and neglect them. Life reduced to mechanical survival. Money thinking.

Education and opportunity is no more unless you're rich or take on massive debts.
Banks lie to people and persuade them it's safe and sensible to borrow money they can't afford to repay. Then bailiffs can knock your door in, or knock you to the floor, in order to take your possessions away.
Aggressive companies constantly invade our privacy, or threaten us, or cheat us.
An aggressive government invades our privacy, and plans to do it more efficiently with databases, forced 'home visits', cameras, ID Cards and tracking us. Because it all helps certain businesses make money.

Try to complain about any of it - it gets you nowhere. Poorly paid junior staff give scripted answers, acting as a buffer group so the wealthy mangement can't be touched. Complaints drag on for years building fat files, making huge money for lawyers, winning perhaps a grudging sorry, or rarely, some money: but nothing is improved about what happened.
Public consultations are smokescreens. Afterwards the wealthy do what they wanted to do anyway.
Consultants make big money to hold meetings, write reports, for projects that don't happen, or cause wreckage in our lives. But consultants are not accountable for what they do.

Meanwhile MPs earn four times what we do, and on top, cheat to get massive expenses, free (expensive) houses etc.
Companies are demanding we work for nothing (unpaid overtime, 4 day week).
Redundancy and repossession stalk us.
Fatcat directors roll in money that they rip out of the national economy that supported them and let them do it.
Bank directors and managers get massive payouts for wrecking our lives with forced debts, cheating us, terrorising us, overworking us, repossessing us.

It's ALL about putting money first. Is it surprising people are depressed?
We once had a decent society. Until the 80s.

Depression is suppressed, helpless anger.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The Morality of Passivity

This is an essay on morality, about the difference between being active or passive. It looks at murder, mercy killing, domestic violence, international exploitation.
From that introduction you can decide whether to read more or not.

It's a piece of Philosophy, which for some might be a bit hard to read. But take heart, it's got guts!

I agree with Ash (see footnote) that defining ‘morally relevant’ as a matter of praise or blame is too limited. I add that such a definition leads straight to Plato’s Hydra – as in how many people’s votes praise X and how many assign it blame? Alternatively we could examine exactly who, outside of the demos mass of people on a majority vote, has the authority to praise and blame? Neither works.

But from there, to merely say that something is morally relevant means we use it to make a moral decision, really only moves the words around without saying anything about the meaning of moral relevance.

So to take it further I suggest that to be morally relevant, something has to contribute to a hierarchy of desire, or value.

What we desire most, as in we value it the most highly, is helped by or hindered by what is morally relevant. Still thinking of that hierarchy of what is most valued, something is not morally relevant if it does not move an action up or down a hierarchy of desire or value.
Now having done the philosopher's duty of defining my terms, onward.

In Frances Kamm’s example given by Ash, a doctor disconnects a patient from a life support machine, which means the patient will die. According to Kamm the doctor ‘allows’ the patient to die; she does not ‘kill’ the patient (make the patient die). She merely fails to prolong life.

In Rachels’ case of killer cousins, also cited by Ash, one cousin kills their intended victim. The other cousin finds their victim is dying anyway, but does nothing to stop it, when they could have. Thomas Ash says “Here our intuition is that both Smith and Jones [the two killer cousins] behave equally badly.

I cannot agree. My intuition shrieks that the cousin who actively kills is morally worse. An active killer intervened where there was no question of their victim, otherwise, dying. Had the killer not interfered the victim would have lived out their entitled span of life. The killer is squarely and totally 100% responsible for the death.

The other killer who refrains from acting, has a situation where the death was going to happen anyway. Crucially, they are not totally responsible for it.

If the death were wholly due to their inaction, that would remove the responsibility or causality from whatever other factor created the fatal situation before they arrived on the scene, or before they had a chance to act. The death is only partly due to their inaction, not wholly due to them.

There is a useful comparison here with the doctor who switches off life support. In both cases a death is happening, and in both cases the agent chooses not to provide what is necessary to avert the death. Other factors are different of course. The doctor acts, does something with the switch, which confuses the issue a bit as this is action not passivity.
But it doesn't confuse if we remember that it was the doctor who originally switched on the life support. So by switching off, the doctor resumes a passivity that could have been taken at the outset. That is, it is not the doctor who was the originator of the dying process. The "allowing" nature of the death is similar in that the original cause of death is not the doctor/ killing cousin.
There are other issues that make it morally different obviously, but here I am only looking at the active or passive cause of death.

In the example of the killer cousins, the victim is drowning. We can get clearer by asking why? People don't drown for no reason. It might have been because of their own ignorance, or stupidity, in swimming in that place on an outgoing tide. It might have been a hidden, treacherous current that pulled them under.

But if we say that the passive killer is no less responsible for the death than the active killer who drags down a safely swimming person, why then the victim’s own agency in choosing to swim in a dangerous place, or their ignorance that led to doing it, these become irrelevant. By giving the full responsibility for the death to the passive killer cousin, we are denying any responsibility to their victim, whose actions do in fact carry responsibility.

So to review, I maintain that the moral responsibility for a death by an active killer is solely their own. But the moral responsibility for a death involving a passive killer is shared, between the victim’s own agency, and the killer’s inaction.
Moral philosophy need not be, and I think seldom is, as simple as yes/no dualism. Morality needs more than individuals who are simple dark or light figures.

In speaking of shared responsibility with more or less on each side, the proportion of shared responsibility would vary according to the type of situation. For example we would probably allocate less responsibility to the passive, inactive killer who arrived only seconds before the victim died, and who did not know how to resuscitate. We might allocate less responsibility to a young child, more to an older one or to an adult.
There could be interesting situations like the determined suicide who warns the new arrival to do nothing as this will only require a repeat attempt to die. Much debate could hang on that one!
I am not going into all that but will just note that a case by case assessment is necessary to determine the balance of responsibility just because it is not yes/no simple, plus there are complex cases like the determined suicide which open up a particularly hot set of issues.

This moral characterisation of passivity as responsible, but not wholly responsible, is very important. One application for it is in domestic violence. Here we find argument that the victim "asks for it" or is the innocent sufferer.

(My discussion uses 'she' for victim, 'he' for abuser. This recognises the common statistic that 80% of domestic violence abuses or kills females. Of the 20% of males abused, a death is extremely rare indeed. To hide this enormous inequality by using gender neutral language, is I think, immoral. At the same time I do recognise that a small number of males are victims.)

To take these common characterisations of the victim of violence, in turn, it is true that the victim can do or not do certain things that trigger violence. In my view women in highly suggestive clothing that projects extreme sexuality, who are drunk, walking alone, are not "asking for it" but are certainly taking unacceptably high risks. The colloquial form may mean the same thing.

By taking unacceptably high risks I mean that they do carry some responsibility for an attack. The major responsibility is the attacker's, always, but some belongs to the thoughtless woman. In a healthy society as the old Anglo Saxon Chronicles described it, a naked virgin could ride a horse from one end of the country to the other, untouched. We do not live in that society.

Women are wise who take account of the society we do have. In the West we do not go to the extreme of burkha cover up and chaperoning, which is one solution, though not a very effective one as heavily controlled women still get raped and attacked. Westerners are left to assess just how much suggestive clothing, just how much drunkenness, just how much isolation, constitutes a lessening of responsibility for an attacker?

Not much in my book. Strictly any lessening of responsibility there is, is practical rather than moral. Properly behaved men would resist a naked virgin, clearly the worse for drink, alone on a horse!
My main point is that Western women of wisdom must recognise and shoulder the difficult art of taking responsibility for their own vulnerability, without staying at home all the time unless escorted out.
But that does not excuse her attacker from moral responsibility if a woman is silly and provocative. It is after all, not inevitable for a man to attack her, just more likely that he might - because so many men are weak and inferior. That is not her responsibility, though it is her vulnerability.

Staying home to be safe fails as a solution. The home is often unsafe too, in fact more so. Here the responsibility of the victim in "asking for it" is much less obvious. A woman in her own home is entitled to be partially dressed or naked around her family. She will sometimes be irritating, even exasperating, that's life. It is difficult to see what kind of behaviour means she "asked for it" as in triggering a violent act of abuse upon her.

Possibly there might be an understanding that her abuser has a certain definite trigger. A man suffering from post traumatic shock might lash out violently faced with a certain set of words, or a specific object. Here it might be possible to construct some responsibility on her part if she is not careful to avoid the known trigger, and chooses to live with him before he is over the problem.

But those who say she "asked for it" seem to mean that she is simply infuriating. It may be said that she was bitchy, manipulative, that she attacks her abuser's ego in painful ways until he 'helplessly' snaps, and lashes out at her.
I do genuinely sympathise with a tortured man (or woman) under such treatment. I have seen it happen. But moral responsibility for reacting by violence belongs to the person who uses violence.
That is, there are other options: verbal response, including savage verbal response; cutout, moving towards exit in immediate or final terms; negotiation, including counselling support and anger management; etc.
The victim may be held most seriously responsible for manipulation, but not for the violence. The violence is squarely the responsibility of the person who opts to use it.

One area of information that supports this assessment is that much abuse research, and a lot of anecdotal evidence, tells us that the violence is pretty random. Its victims can desperately try to avoid its onslaught by 'being good:' that is trying not to do any one of a thousand acts of 'provocation.' This has little or no effect. Its failure as a strategy helps to clarify that it is the abuser who is responsible for what he does.

Moving to the second case, from "it's her fault she asked for it" to "she did nothing to deserve it poor lamb" it is far too easy to absolve the victim of responsibility for their own suffering. In a dark vs. light scenario the victim in this version is a helpless angel, not responsible for the violence. They ‘do nothing’ so they are ‘not to blame.’ Only the villainous partner is to blame, according to many.

But passivity is complicit. The passive, suffering partner could almost be compared to the passive killer. Both fail to act, and by failing, they allow (their own) injury or death to occur. Both share responsibility for it.
In the most extreme situation, facing a loaded gun at point blank range, there are at least two options: obey, or get shot. The moral decision is still there, even though almost anyone would understand the overwhelming argument of the gun.

This analysis can cover the all too frequent situation where an abuser threatens to kill his victim if she tries to leave, or worse, kill her child. Under this threat, with not very secure protection offered only under strong pressure by authorities, it is completely understandable that the victim submits.

However my partial moral responsibility laid upon her has a timing element. To hold her partly responsible is not at all to remove the larger share of responsibility from a violent partner. But just as the swimmer has not noticed or checked out the currents of the sea, the victim wife fails to take account of early signs of abuse, to stop it before it grows too much, to forbid, and/or move away from it. Violent abuse typically has a ghastly pregnancy: it does not leap fully grown into existence.

I am well aware that abuse quickly paralyses its victim into passive compliance. The victim begins to feel they deserve it, or it is a special kind of love, or some such construction. Their strength and self respect diminishes as insult and paralysis grows ever more. That is extremely powerful in destroying their agency to act. It also doesn't take long for the paralysis to build up. The window of opportunity to act may only be weeks, or even occasionally, days.

All the more reason to urge the importance of early vigilance among lovers against small signs of abuse, with the incredibly urgent need to act fast, and firmly, to forbid it; if it repeats, to leave. This needs to be educated as a task that usually belongs to the most difficult time to do it, in the romantic honeymoon phase.

Any encouragement of (usually female) masochism via the 'stand by your man' worldview, which sentimentalises bad manners, selfishness, roughness, or rage, is corrupt, especially as this is so often a slippery slope to injury, or death. While the idea is current, as it overwhelmingly is, that women or girls must in any way put up with rough treatment, their health, sanity and lives are at risk.
Arguably if there were no sick socialisation that females must suffer in order to stand by their man, then the minority of males who suffer as victims would not endure what theyy do as a role reversal.

Again, another famous instance of passive complicity is the person who does nothing while their partner tortures or kills someone. Or they merely obey a partner who dominates them. Courts recognise this situation clearly by sentencing the collaborator as well, though normally less than the main agent.

However in these situations there is often a form of gentlemanly sexism that does not hold the ‘little woman’ fully responsible for her crime. While I accept what I call “shared responsibility” I do not see the gap between action and collaboration as being so enormous. It would be better to set the precedent that collaboration carries a high degree of moral responsibility.

Occasionally such a dominated partner is male, but it betrays our understanding of what this means that we would call such a male 'weak.' There is significantly more effort needed to convince us that the dominated male was actually dominated, so their complicity was not a full, equal partnership.

Where the dominated partner is a woman there is usually little need to spell it out that she was dominated. This is the default assumption which can be raised and dismissed in just a few words, or even not mentioned at all as it is taken for granted that the 'little woman' just obeyed her master.
Explanation of the power balance only comes in if a) a report wishes to dwell upon pornographic or grisly details of just how subservient the woman was, or b) if the woman was 'unusually' the dominant partner. Apart from these extremes the assumption is that woman = dominated = not morally equal.

It is, obviously, corrupting to women to treat them as infantile ‘little women’ not capable of moral responsibility. Far more attention needs to be given to how women encourage, manipulate, or otherwise "allow" a monster to develop until atrocity occurs. If women were publicly held far more responsible than they are, for their contribution to crime in a partnership, it would act as a deterrent.

I am reminded especially of the vile Fritzl case where a daughter was imprisoned, raped and bore children in the cellar. Her mother apparently did not challenge her husband's domination and secrecy. If she had she might have saved her daughter from a fate literally worse than death.
In exoneration the Fritzl wife was only seventeen when she married a much older, bullying man. What was the very young wife's family doing? Why didn't they help her stand up to him? Because their particular society is famous for nurturing dominant men and submissive women.

The Fritzl case blazes the danger in weakening women (and our view of them) into obedient dolls. There is no more responsible persojn than a parent: moral agent deluxe! Where one parent acts badly the duty of the other is to correct it, and a subservient wife cannot do that. Nor is it only she who is responsible: the relatives on both sides carry some responsibility for allowing a bully parent to rampage.

In a society where female (or male) subservience to a dominator partner was clearly and universally understood to be corrupt, and dangerous, there would be far, far less scope for all forms of domestic violence: abuse, assault, rape, child abuse, spouse murder. The fact that we live in a cess pool epidemic of it says how far feminism has to go.

Given that inaction carries moral responsibility, how does this relate to the kind of inaction we all practise? For the world is full of people dying of bad water, hunger and preventable disease, yet most of us ignore most of it, at best. Some ignore it completely.

Ash would say that distance, or lack of knowledge, makes no odds. In his compass, inaction and action is not different: there is no distinction between the manufacturer of baby milk who knowingly sells to mothers who cannot get clean water to dilute the powder, and we, who live thousands of miles away.
It's worth noting that we also live in a complex world where millions are deprived, injured, ill, dying, because of a greedy economic system that is also hurting most of us as well, though not as much.

In a purely abstract way yes, we are all responsible for suffering everywhere. In that sense also, I am responsible for the fall of a stone into a pool of water on the other side of the world. That is the wisdom of the mystic who reminds us that everything is connected. I respect that philosophy in helping me to connect, so that I do not disregard things outside my everyday rut as nothing to do with me.

But true moral responsibility lies in power, yours and my power to act or prevent, to move a situation up the hierarchy of (what we) desire or value, or to prevent it slipping downward.

Without power to act I cannot be said to be morally responsible.

Now taking each of those faraway suffering people in turn, yes I could do quite a lot to help some of them. If I reshaped my life I might succour twenty or a hundred to a substantial degree, by direct personal action, for example going to them in my holiday time and feeding them or providing medical supplies. Or going further and opting to work with the aid charities full time.

Individual effort is a tiny matter when dropped into a mess of millions. Even the big charities have limited effect. This is enormously relevant, and affects people differently. To a heroic minority it is all the more important to try to do that tiny bit alone, or to dedicate a life to charity work.
Certainly to do nothing at all, not donate, not write statements and letters where we can, not spread the awful information on how unnecessary all that suffering is, these are morally indefensible passivities.
But beyond what we CAN do, we cannot be held responsible.

Therefore my inaction on many millions living in suffering, dying, carry no significant moral responsibility. Where I do carry moral responsibility is where I clearly can act to save or prevent, if I do not do what I can. It is doing nothing that condemns me, not doing small things.
It is important to remember that small contributions add up. The shift as a pile of pushes finally topples the huge rock comes often without warning, suddenly.

Here the question of distance arises. Clearly I can act to prevent far more effectively in my own zone, whether that is my own immediate locality, or my own society where I know the rules and how to use them. I am therefore faced with a lot more potential responsibility on a local basis.

Secondly the issue of moral intimacy comes in.
We are not disembodied brains in buckets - even though we can devise a fantasy that we might be deceived by a Cartesian demon or futuristic Matrix power elite so that we do not realise brains in buckets is all we are.

What we are, in everyday experience, is hot hairy mammals, whose moral motivation is most strongly stimulated by our genetic kin, our friends, and those similar to us – extensions of our kin. That is hardwired in our brains, bucketed or not. We are embodied as philosophers say, we are bodies. As bodies we're situated in a certain place, which makes THAT PLACE more real, more important to us.

There is no good deploring this incredibly strong preference for our own, as if we ‘ought’ to care for millions of babies somewhere far away, as we care for our own. We just don’t, any more than we can naturally see clearly, what we’re looking at several miles away across a lowland landscape.

Until we can invent the moral equivalent to a telescope, bringing the immediacy of suffering everywhere into our ordinary sense of reality as vividly as we notice our own child's hurt, we will continue to see suffering close to as far more important than suffering far away. How not? Evolution developed us, and all other animals, to service the survival of ourselves and our immediate kin. If our ancestors had not had this imperative built in we would not be here to worry about it.

Nor is it necessarily desirable to invent that moral telescope. It is arguable that if we could feel for suffering everywhere as much as we can feel it HERE, we would collapse into a paralysis of sensitivity. Some anxious personalities already do something very like that and the result is inactive depression. We are in fact more likely to get practical and do direct aid or support a charity if we are not frozen by pointless and unrealistic responsibility on a massive scale.
That is the burden of guilt, something that only very rarely helps: significantly, I think at its rare helpfulness in parenting, that responsibility deluxe, the hot, hairy, animal, hardwired to protect and survive.

Finally there are certain people who are enormously responsible for world tragedies of hunger or epidemics, and it doesn’t help to blur them in with people who have not traded in guns, or poisoned waters by extracting or manufacturing processes. To claim moral ground is to act on this muck. But to share its responsibility completely when we did not make it happen, and can do only a certain amount to stop it (each of us) is a noble masochism that can destroy the ability to act at all.

To conclude, I do not hold myself or others wholly responsible for the death of children far away. Nor are we wholly responsible for suffering or death we fail to prevent. Collaboration is certainly morally responsible, whether for killing someone, failing to feed them, or for submitting to violence oneself.

The doctor who disconnects life support is responsible in part for the death that results. The battered wife, or the partner of a killer who ‘helps’, is responsible, in part, and it’s a large part. The person who does not act to save, protect, nurture or support, shares responsibility for the consequences.

But collaboration, while complicit, is not the whole story. We would not speak of it, see it, as collaboration, if there were not other factors of responsibility there. The swimmer flailing and sinking to death is doing so before their passive killer even knows it’s happening. The patient on life support is dying of something or would not be on it in the first place. The battered wife has a violent partner who was not wholly developed by her passivity, even though I hold her passivity to a harsh judgement. The complicit partner assists a murderer or abuser who begins the horrible job before the partner can interrupt in any way.

I do want to see collaboration held responsible to a very high degree. I think doctors who mercy kill need respect and understanding for the hard moral act of compliance with death they do. I want us all to contribute to feeding the hungry. I want people to refuse to work for the really obvious exploiters and killers. I want ‘little women’ to grow up and be counted, whether they like it or not, especially as responsible parents.

It does no good to spin morality around in the upper air where distinctions fade into each other. Down here among the hot hairy people, the hierarchy of responsibility must be examined with care, to see where its graded differences lie. Such is the task of moral philosophy.

* This article was written in response to an essay by Thomas Ash. I mention Kamm and Rachels as sources: this is taken from Ash, who does not list references.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Buckets for Social Services

Apparently children who are "young carers" for parents with health oproblems don't get enough support.

There should certainly be a system in place so teachers know a pupil has good reason for late work.
Also the very real benefits for personal maturity, practical organisation should not be underestimated.

I'd recommend some buckets and rubber gloves for Social Workers so they could do a proper job and make themselves USEFUL. For a change.

It comes back to the current monumental failure of Social Services.
They are too busy fussing and interfering in healthy families to have time for families with real needs.
It's so much easier to tick a box for a family that needs nothing but has been "assessed" than to actually do something practical to help where needed.

It would be far better to cancel meetings, take away the briefcases, ignore the degrees.
Just issue pinnies and rubber gloves and buckets.
A bit of practical home help would help families in need far far more than all the conferences, meetings, assessments, and reports in the world.

Mobile numbers directory -consent?

A new company has harvested mobile telephone numbers for the UK.
If you have ever entered your mobile number on a form, and not made sure you ticked/ unticked the option to share your number elsewhere - you're on it.

When you gave permission to share your number this could be because you didn't notice the small opt out box. It could also be because you were advised your telephone number would only be passed to selected companies who might offer you products that interested you - such as items to fancy up your mobile phone.
You DID NOT KNOW at that time that your number would be placed on a national directory which anyone can use to contact you.

Clearly this threatens your privacy. It also raises issues of young people and children, or vulnerable people, using a mobile phone.

For full details on your privacy, how to protect yourself, click READ MORE.

When an enquirer contacts the service it will send you a text message advising you that someone wants to contact you.

Clearly this will mean a lot of spam, and could be used to harass.
If you receive abuse as a result of the service the company refuses to take any responsibility.
I contacted my phone provider 02 who are seriously concerned that they have been unable to protect their customers.

OfCom is investigating and a report is due out by Friday.
the DP commissioner's office has provided me with some useful legal data (see below).

1. To have your number removed from the Directory call 0800 138 6263.
DO NOT use the option to text them. This opens a loophole by placing your number on another database.
However as of today the company is swamped with calls to do this and by 1pm today it was no longer possible to get through. I have spoken to several 'managers' who are sounding rattled.

2. You are probably safe if your phone is bought from a shop on a pay as you go basis, if you did not give your name and address as part of the purchase.

3. The legal position is:
Privacy of Electronic Communications Regulations 2003
Regulation 18:
(Summarised) People have to know about a directory and that their number is on it. They must be given the opportunity to opt out.

That does not mean getting to know through third parties like newspapers, No2ID, me, or other concerned organisations. It means the directory must notify you direct.

The company stated to the DP office that they planned to notify everyone in one communication, presumably a mass notification. Details on that have not been publicised which is of consern as the service goes live within the week.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Fathers say it doesn't come naturally

I was very lucky that my John did bond quickly with Tal but on the other hand John knew nothing at all - nothing whatsoever about how to even touch a baby. Since he wanted to be a fully active devoted father he had to learn it all from the first basics.
It was terrifying for both of us, for him obviously it took great courage, and for me too as after a few weeks I had to walk out and leave THE BABY in the hands of an apprentice parent.
Well for us it worked. Phew! But men need a lot more preparation than they get.

But let's not sugar the mummy pill too much. We too know the hell of hating the beloved child.

Yes it's easier becoming a mum. That squalling lump came out of ME and my body recognises it as an extended ME. Right on.
But I vividly recall the day I clung to sanity with shaky hands. At one point I went out of the house feeling I was safer around other people. I just couldn't handle the exhaustion. Its effect on me was literally unspeakable, unsayable.

As soon as John got in I said take him, take the baby for Goddess' sake before I do something awful. Like hit him. The unsayable thing, said, right there.
With soothing and a cuppa I was fine within 15 minutes of getting help.
I was lucky there too. John stayed calm, recognised end-of-tether was natural and normal, didn't panic. Told me I was normal, so I rapidly felt I was, and returned to a more comfortable normality.

What would happen if I'd been alone? If the person I turned to panicked?
"Child Protection" -so-called, is dangerous. It criminalises normal reactions. It stops us ALL - mums as well as dads, admitting we ALL get to the edge of madness at some point. Better to admit it, make it known, then work on it. For ALL of us.

Because if we CANNOT admit it for fear of the child stealers - that's when we are left alone spiralling into just that danger that the ghastly Child Protection system supposedly prevents.
So let's look honestly at what being a parent involves. The greatest love, the greatest joy - and the greatest most ghastly horrors as well. Because it rips us open and expands us, bigger, bigger, until we break and go beyond the greatness we ever dreamed we could be. That is the meaning of ultimate love.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

60 Today - many happinesses

So today was my real 6oth birthday even though my party with Jenny's family was on Saturday.
A quiet day today - there's been a heatwave for a week anyway. Tal did his History exam this morning - partly why we did the more active celebrating at the weekend.
A lot of happy things.

I made some Mabinogi notes this morning (brain happiness),
chatted with Colin who is staying bless him (Friend happiness).
Spoke with mama, only a minor squabble! (simply B)
Checked out a tile design vinyl for the kitchen floor (House happiness).
Tal came back in fine style from his exam, (maternal priide and teacher happiness) with John escorting (father devotion happiness).
I retired to a long bath with rose oil (hedonism happiness)
where I read a cute book by Fay Wheldon (silly book happiness)
and John brought me my old favourite banana custard, (hedonism happiness again) accompanied by Senua Cat and Morgaina Cat (Cats happiness).

John and Tal brought me a PILE of presents -
the most magnificent being a laptop they bought jointly the darlings. I am strictly instructed to use it for ME so it will be mainly for my writing and studies. Careful notes by my John in green Celtic font! (IT happiness)
Also a pretty skirt, scarves, (clothes happiness) a book )brain happiness), and for sheer craziness two model London buses (? a dream of road life fantasy but also a reminder of my very young days as a bus conductor).
I also have a fluffy with cat design and exquisite handmade card from Colin and Joan; not forgetting my fluffy hugs from Jenny and John's tiny witch model.

Many many happinesses brought together on a delicious day touching on all my aspects.

(Ignore READ MORE: full post is here.)

Erotica for Women?

A new magazine called Filament aims to provide erotica for women.
Well I don't agree with those who immediately say that women don't respond to visual images. Many do, some don't.
But women have much higher standards than men when it comes to visuals because unlike men the visual is not the most important thing about sex. So a visual prompt has to be good to hack it.
Mind you I once asked John what he thought of porn and he said he found it boring even as a young man. A narrow set of poses and types, quickly becoming repetitive.
So the discerning man and many women both require something better.

More pics if you follow the READ MORE link.

It's unlikely that Filament will do any better than previous attempts to get female money. One picture shows a man's back - tired shrug. Now if there was a glimpse of the join with the thigh at one side ... but as it is BORING.

Another has an unpleasant pool of greasy oil around the shoulder and neck. Sloppy. Also why the jaundice yellow? Botox lips are NOT a turn on - they scream a lack of sensitivity. Kissing feelingless plastic is hardly sensual. Plus far too much make up. He looks like a schoolboy who has raided mum's make up and desperately tries to look grown up and instead looks like a crude doll. Poor boy.

I like the one I put at the top best - it has the contrast of white sheets and dark man, and some HAIR for Goddess' sake! though not enough.
But the pose is boring, too straight and rigid. Where's the all important hip? thigh?

Why are all these pictures cut at the waist when the lower stomach, hip and thigh is so magnificently central?
Why no pics of the line of jaw and how it aligns with a cheekbone? That's high erotica.

There needs to be a much wider range of types. Women are varied in our tastes. We don't just respond to elflike effeminate Legolas (oooh!) or elegant hard 007 Connery (oooh!) - we also like stocky Herculeans with deep hairy chests (oooh!) and strange, wiry creatures with slanted eyes (ooh!) and some of us like beards (ooh!) or tattoos (ooh!) or grubbiness and sweat from work (ooh!) or long luxuriant hair (ooh!) or sleek baldies (well no not me but lots of women love them) or jeans + leather belt and maybe cowboy boots (ooh!). That's just a few without thinking about it much.

Whichever type it is it'll take more than just a sheet, or a bit of symbolic art, or an expanse of well lit skin. It'll need a whole zone of body poses. Men use their bodies differently to attract another male and straight men rarely know how to do it for women. But some stars like Sean Connery know, so check them out. It certainly isn't enough to have the body sitting upright facing front, or lying in a straight line. What the legs and hips are doing is crucial.
Oh and pay attention to the THIGHS for heaven's sake. My great grandmother, an Edwardian lady, had a naughty habits of leaning over young men in the park and squeezing a thigh with a happy laugh. Wouldn't be allowed today but I can understand her joy very well indeed.

Then there's lesbian images. Don't they know straight women react very strongly to those without being lesbian at all?

Now THAT'S of interest - and no nakedness either, but the stuff of happy reactions for some.

I think the problem is the designers are just lazy. They want to crank out the same tired old stereotypes as the men's media. It might help if they realised that men too might like something better.

Also that more and more it's an obstacle that the brain throws up the questions - is the model happy about this? Or is s/he so slicked up it's uncomfortable? are they drugged? (check the eyes) are they scared? (ditto) - erotica is a two way exchange.
But that goes into the complex power play or porn, a huge can of worms. Not today thanks, it's my birthday so I'm staying lighthearted.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Tal Fawr with Log

Tal at 18.

Well actually this is from last Saturday but it's so magnificent I thought it should be posted on its own.

"The Four Branches of the Mabinogi" Will Parker.

If you love Y Mabinogi then this is a must have book.

I wanted to share my first impressions of
"The Four Branches of the Mabinogi"
before I move into a closer re-reading, taking notes + organising quotes etc type of reading. No doubt I will have more comment later.

What a feast for the mind you are Will. Having managed so far on bits and pieces, short papers in anthologies or journals, or the introductory sections that go with various translations, yours is such a magnificent massive cornucopia.
So magnificent was it that over the first couple of days after the book arrived it was almost too much. Like an ascetic suddenly switched into hedonistic celebration I could hardly encompass the giantism of what you have given me.

Now that the dazzle is settling down I can manage a tiny bit of detachment about my first forays. I can confidently say that whatever critical comment I make, now or later, the sheer scope of his study places Will Parker with the giants of Mabinogi scholarship.

I think what I like most at first grapple apart from the sheer immensity of the opus, is Will's profile of Annwvn as the "Indigenous Underworld." This very much agrees with my own views, but he has expanded my ideas with the perception of Annwvn as a view to the East, recalling Roman luxury villas in the Southwest of England. Even back in my romantic superficial beginnings with Y Mabinogi, I thought that Annwvn and its persons were Neighbours, or Foreigners, rather than the remote, transcendent theology of the "classics" (sic). So this "Indigenous Underworld" is received gratefully.

I am pleased to have a clear etymology for Annwvn. If I understand aright, Will suggests a separate Underworld (chthonic) and Otherworld (marine). I have seen (I think the Matthews) use of Otherworld which did express the kind of Foreigner mode I prefer, but was never quite comfortable either. Although "Underworld" is tricky because of its connotations elsewhere, the etymology as "deep, under" makes it imperative to reconstitute it in Brythonic fashion.

Also the chthonic UNDERWorld sheds light on Arawn's name and nature. I found a possible cognate on Arawn in arawen = grain, cereal. (See Celtnet) Since Hafgan links to the Cymraeg for Summer, this makes Arawn either the Winter King (the Man in Grey as we first meet him) in the seasonal duel, or possibly (Summer) Hafgan is his enemy because from the point of view of the grain, Summer with its killer harvesting is the enemy.

With my interest in Hywel Dda and Elen I was delighted, and perhaps a little disconcerted to find my cherished theory described independently in Will's pages. Reassuring but a bit uncomfortable (wail - this was MINE) However I do have a few more details to add still and shall continue that line to find more.

I also enjoyed much the Teyrnon material - I have been researching place names and especially Wentwood here in Gwent for my "indigenous" local tradition.

There are of course some bits where I disagree with Will but nothing major. I shall explore them as I do my close reading over the next few weeks.

I do recall one item that I will mention which is not so much a disagreement as that I feel Will has not given due weight. That is the Mari Llywd as the missing aspect of Rhiannon/ Non. In Y Mabinogi we have her as Maiden, Bride, Mother, but not as elder matriarch/ crone.
The Mari Llywd fits the gap as its practice stretches across South Wales - I have a delightful tidbit on an author who took his book about the Mari to an Eisteddford. On a stall talking to people about the book he discovered just how prevalent the Mari is - only each locality thought their surviving custom was unique!
The connection is of course the Horse/ Mare and that she is "a grey" that peculiar British convention for a pale horse. Given the Mari's geography, her tenacity of survival, and her fertility/ death's head duality I think we have our other aspect of Rhiannon as elder.

I found a review of Will's book on the net. It lists a number of inaccuracies.
For myself I apply a very tight level of assessment to a paper in an anthology or journal, or a short book. But I feel that for a long opus it is appropriate to be just a little more forgiving.
The functions of the large work, like this one, are to provide extended theory, with a wealth of cross references both intrinsic to the work examined, and extrinsic to it. "The Four Branches" amply performs these duties.
By contrast a paper or short book, which covers only a handful of points on one theme or at most a superficial outline of two or three themes, can be required to achieve 100% rigour. Any inaccuracy damns the entire item.
In an ideal world the long opus should be perfect too, but once past adolescence one has to notice we do not live in an ideal world. If we applied the same harsh criteria to a long opus as we do to a standard short paper, I suspect papers is all we'd ever get for a full book would be beyond human competence. Certainly I've never found a full length book that offered more than the obvious, that didn't have some inaccuracies on detail.

That review, and a couple of comments attached, raises the point that where we find inaccuracy on a few points we already know, it destabilises our trust on the rest of the work. We cannot then rely on using points made in our own work.
Excuse me? Really! Standard academic training is to NEVER use a secondary source, citation or quote, without checking it out. Methinks we have here the bleating of the lazy student who just doesn't want to do the required labour.
Also a touch of envy working. It is of course, so easy, and to a small mind, satisfying, to poke at the detail of a big person's work. So much easier to make a petty dig than to make the effort to dig foundations for one's own edifice.

Admiring as I am of Will's book I do not feel the same about his publisher. The book is badly presented - too bulky, with overly wide pages, and the proof reading is ABYSMAL. There are actual words left out on almost every page! Typos ditto.
I hope Will will consider a second edition with a better publisher who designs the physical book better, and knows more on how to reduce the price as well.

On the work itself I remain deeply in debt and would recommend it highly. It's utterly worth putting up with the thumping great book that needs a small cushion to support it! to get a thumping good read.
It should be obvious from the foregoing however that it's not a book for popular reading. A Level education and above, or self educated equivalent.

Go! Get it and luxuriate as I am doing. Oh what a feast indeed.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Women have never had it so good?

Sir Stuart Rose, Chair of Marks and Spencer, says "Women have never had it so good." He asks with exasperation what we're unhappy about as a new study by M&S shows women are less happy than in the rigid inequality days of the 1950s.

Could it be, Stuart, that in spite of all the pretty things you desperately need to sell us, and, as you say there are women in high spots in industry now; but you see we women are aware of rather more than that going on.
Frankly my dear, you sound like the men of my youth who thought women shouldn't worry their "pretty little heads" about serious matters.

Here's a quick sample of why women might not be entirely happy.

Domestic violence is a national epidemic with women dying from it every single week.
Rape is running unchecked across our lives. Hardly any rapists get charged, and those that do, don't get sentenced.
Women are giving birth in agony, with huge short staffing in labour wards wrecking safety.
New mothers are chucked on the street within a day. As a result, the Victorian scourge puerperal fever, has returned. It kills. Yet it's so easy to prevent with good hygiene and keeping a nurse's eye on new mothers.
The property boom has pushed rent and mortgages sky high so almost all women have to work for money. Choice? You must be joking. LSE research showed that only 30% of women actually want to go out to work full time when they have a child. About 80% do it, unhappily.
We are separated from mothers, sisters and brothers who traditionally helped us cope with our children. We are separated because we are forced to get jobs in other areas.
We watch horrified and helpless as our children grow up badly because we are not there.
The education system is dangerous to kids, with its violent bullying in every school, drugs, knives, a radical lack of studying ethos.
The ruthless fashion industry is destroying our confidence worse than ever. Your industry, dear Stuart, which kills young girls who starve themselves to try to be "beautiful."

We are utterly utterly exhausted with covering three roles, job, mother, home, making it work. Our health is suffering.
Yes there have been some improvements. But don't insult us by saying that this is equality, or feminism.