The Honeymoon is Over, Kevin.

February 26, 2008 at 11:54 pm (Uncategorized)

Dear Kevin,

It had to happen, I knew it was only a matter of time. I never thought you were perfect. That’s not where we’ve gone wrong. I always knew we disagreed on some things, and I understood you’d never change, but I was prepared to believe we could still make things work. Perhaps we still can.

But Kevin, the honeymoon is over, and we need to talk. I feel so left out of your future plans. So overlooked. I can’t understand it – did you mean the things you said back in November, back in those halcyon days of starry-eyed young love? Because if so, you’ve changed. Mighty quickly. I know there are other women who think you should favour them just because they’re women, but that was never our thing, was it? I never asked you to recognise me as an equal simply for my (opposite) sex. No, I believed you understood that equality is a state of mind, and in that context, there’s simply no question that women are equal to any task. I have never – not once in my life – even remotely considered the possibility that I am not as intellectually capable as a man by virtue of my being a woman. It isn’t a concept worthy of my consideration. It insults my intelligence. I do, on the other hand, understand and accept the physical differences between the sexes. Any idiot can plainly grasp what men can and – oh yes, it’s a biggie – can’t do. Likewise I am well aware of my physical limitations. Llew can carry me but I haven’t a hope of ever lifting him. Still, I could give you both a hiding in the physical stakes in other ways. Care to run a half-marathon with me, Kevin? You’re on.

I feel betrayed, Kevin. Pushed aside. How else do you explain the sole woman chair on your 2020 summit for mapping Australia’s future? Ten chairs, and you select one woman? This after saying the 1,000 participating delegates will comprise Australia’s best and brightest? I’m so shocked and insulted by the gender bias of the chairs that I shudder to think who the delegates will finally prove to be. Let’s get this straight right now, Kevin, before another word is said: I don’t think you should have more than one woman chair because women should be more fairly represented on the basis of being women. Truth be told, I’ve always struggled with the affirmative action movement because I believe in merit, not balancing scales. I know it’s much more complicated than that (how, for instance, can women gain qualifications and recognition and promotions etc if they can’t even get in the door? There is no question at all that patriarchal societies East and West have done much to keep women marginalised, so affirmative action was perhaps a necessary corrective measure, but not without its problems) and I know I am oversimplifying, but what I mean to stress is that the reason I’m so appalled is that it’s grossly erroneous and intellectually reckless to suggest that 9 out of 10 of Australia’s best and brightest possible chairs are men. It’s laughable, or it would be were you joking.

But you’re not joking, are you, Kevin? Oh, you’ll scramble about now, and load up the delegates with women and ethnic minorities and tick all your fucking boxes, but that’s affirmative action style number crunching to get out of gaol. That’s not real equality. That’s not looking around and thinking ‘You know what, there’s no way you 9 guys and 1 woman comprise the most effective mix of chairs among this country’s best and brightest. There’s just no way.’

Choosing six out of ten female co-chairs from your own Ministry as a pathetic peace-offering ‘make good’ is not only cheating, Kevin, it’s arrogant. It’s like saying ‘Oh well, I already scooped the best and brightest females in this country for my cabinet, so my work here is done.’ Well, excuse me, Kevin, but you’re mistaken. You’re very gravely mistaken. Oh, and co-chairs are subordinate, mate. We women folk have had quite enough of that position already, because here’s the fundamental thing: WE AREN’T SUBORDINATE.

Is this where we are in 2008, Kevin? I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it. If this is your idea of mapping this country’s future, then we’re all in trouble, and that includes you.


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