There was a lot of hoo-haa last week after Julie Bishop’s Press Club address where she declared that she wasn’t a feminist. A (predictable) chorus of feminist voices went on the attack against Bishop, venting their anger that she was a feminist, she wasn’t a feminist, she isn’t a real woman, she only got where she is because she does not have kids blah blah blah.
A similar voice has been heard recently in America with the mid-term elections, where at least two (that I know of) black Republican senators were voted into power in traditionally ‘white’ or ‘Southern’ electorates. When quizzed about how they felt about being voted in as ‘black’ senators, they both responded that their electorates did not vote them in because of their colour. They were voted in because of policy, hard work and pragmatism. I’m sure pundits could argue both ways on those claims – the interesting thing is how both these candidates focused on a Martin Luther approach, rather than the vouge affirmative action approach.
Julie Bishop, Mia Love and Tim Scott (the latter two were the abovementioned senators) all have detractors seeming to sing from the same songbook. Whilst Bishop does not sing from the Feminist songbook, or Love and Scott aren’t promoting the politics of race, their detractors argue that they are still feminist and benefiting from affirmative action, because of all the hard work that feminists and race politics have done before them.
I don’t want to detract from the inarguable fact that, and quoting Luther King, all men (and women!) are created equal. I’m not hear to argue that men or women or blacks or Asians or Arabs or Jews or Aussies or anyone can or can’t do a particular job, follow a particular role or identify how they wish. Hard work, discipline and nous is the key to success.
What I am saying is we have all benefited from the hard work the suffragettes did. Why women didn’t have the vote earlier is anyone’s guess. We are all better off from early Australian migration (and the abolition of the White Australia Policy), which saw an influx of New Australians, eager build this great nation of ours. Does it mean I identify as a feminist, because I have benefitted from early feminist victories?
If we follow this logic, as applied by these critics of Bishop, we should all be Christians. And Socialists. And Capitalists. And Constitutional Monarchists. I could go on. Why? I have benefitted from subsidised health care and education, but I’m not a socialist. We have benefited from the Westminster system, even if you loathe the British monarchy. We have benefitted from a Judeo-Christian heritage (despite many rumblings), even though many do not identify as a Christian.
We’ve all benefitted from something in our past that we really have no control over – wealthy parents, where we were born, the country we live in, a stable democracy. We have also been disadvantaged buy things out of our control – war, monetary policy, natural disasters. We don’t go around calling ourselves a GFC or a flood, even though we’ve been affected by it.
Like I said above, I’m no feminist, even though I’ve benefitted from some of the early wins feminists have fought for. Guess what women – working a full week can be pretty crapola, right? But you wanted it and you’ve got it.
So if someone does not want to identify according to your pre-set mould of them, leave them alone. No one likes being put into a box or defined by a set of rules. As Luther King so amazingly said “Let us not be defined by the colour of our skin, but by the content of our character”.
Surely that trumps any ‘ism’ any day.
Now a lot of my feminist readers (thanks Germaine) got all in a huff that the ladies didn’t have flags to wave in a relationship. My last post certainly saw a chorus of interesting opinions from both guy and gal. So to keep the ladies included, I’ve derived a set of equally usable and apt nautical flags that the ladies can use to communicate key thoughts, feelings, needs and emotions to their special gentleman friends.
You need to understand, however, that a guy will use a flag to communicate a simple, specific meaning. The ladies on the other hand – much more difficult. So I’ve tried to distil the ladyflags down to the key messages that I hope you gals would want to communicate to your gentleman lovers. I’ll still keep the original nautical code, for context.
So, here goes:
Nautical code: I am taking in, discharging, or carrying dangerous cargo
Relationship code: This flag is aptly named, in nautical themes, the ‘red flag’. If a gal waves it to you, it means she’s, well, its that time. The dangerous cargo referred to could be anything from a kilo of chocolate to a box of tissues (deadly in the wrong hands)
Nautical Code: “Yes” or “affirmative”.
Relationship code: When a gal waves the ‘Charlie’ flag, it usually means ‘yes’. But it might not. It could mean ‘I dare you too’. Or ‘Yes, but if you do, you can get used to the couch. So it’s a yes, but it often has certain, unstated (or unflagged) caveats.
Nautical Code: I am maneuvering with difficulty; keep clear
Relationship Code: I’m driving a manual, stay off the footpath
Nautical Code: I am disabled; communicate with me.
Relationship Code: Something is wrong, but I don’t want you to fix it. I know you can fix it quickly, but that’s not the issue. I don’t want you to fix it. Yes I’m crying but it does not mean that anything is really that wrong, I just need to cry. I need to talk about it. For a long time. Shut up, I’m talking to you.
Nautical Code: I require a pilot.
Relationship Code: It did not look like this on the map. This is one of those times when I don’t just want to talk about it, I need you to help me find my way out of the city. Yes, that means come and get me.
Nautical Code: I have a pilot on board.
Relationship Code: My mum is driving with me. We had a lovely chat and somehow ended up on the wrong side of the river.
Nautical Code: Coming alongside
Relationship Code: I just want to cuddle. That’s all. Absolutely all.
Nautical Code: I am on fire and have dangerous cargo; keep clear.
Relationship Code: I’m moody and I don’t know why and everything you do is going to annoy me and my tummy feels sore and I just need chocolate and oh honey please give me a hug and geeze you are annoying me and why isn’t there any chocolate in the fridge and geeze no I don’t want to talk about it and I was saving that last cornetto for tonight and why do you have to be so annoying and ughhh! Can’t you just be quiet and watch Greys Anatomy with me but whip down and get some chocolate for me?
Nautical Code: I wish to communicate with you.
Relationship Code: I want you to tell me what I told you, except in a deep, manly voice so my idea sounds good and rational.
Nautical Code: You should stop your vessel immediately
Relationship code: Why don’t guys ever ask for directions! You should have stopped at that service-station and asked for directions!
Nautical Code: No or negative
Relationship Code: Definitely no. Most definitely no. Don’t even dream about it.
Nautical Code: Man overboard.
Relationship Code: If you do go out with your mates, don’t come home. Ever.
Nautical Code: Do not pass ahead of me
Relationship Code: What do you mean you will meet me at the restaurant? You are not going to pick me up from my house?
Nautical Code: You are running into danger.
Relationship Code: You are WAY PAST running into danger. Danger was minutes ago. You are way past that point. Keep digging. (Often given with ‘the look’)
Nautical Code: I require assistance.
Relationship Code: There’s something creepy crawly in my room and you need to get it out. Yes I know it’s past midnight. Yes I know you are 20 minutes away.
Nautical Code: I require medical assistance.
Relationship Code: Don’t even think about coming over until you have brought chocolate.
Nautical Code: Stop carrying out your intentions and watch for my signals
Relationship Code: I’ll tell you when it’s time for ‘cuddles’ and no, it won’t be before the end of Downton Abbey.
Nautical Code: I require a tug
Relationship Code: I’ve broken down and I don’t know how to change the tyre and I don’t want to call the autoclub cause the guys are creepy and strange and I don’t like them and they’ll be hours and can’t you just please come and change my tyre. Oh and bring me some chocolate?
So gals… Do you think it’ll take off, or should I start running?