Monday, September 05, 2005


Under the heading "Victims of feminism's tinpot tyranny", the article below by Amanda Platell appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" on Sept 4th., 2005

Of all the social battles of the last century - against poverty, class, racism - the battle of the sexes began with the best of intentions, yet ended with so many casualties on both sides it is difficult to see who the victors were.

One of the largest surveys into what academics call "life satisfaction" (what we mortals call "happiness") has concluded that many defining principles of the feminist manifesto brought sadness, not salvation, to millions of women. Far from liberating women, says the survey, the feminist movement has created its own sexual tyranny. And, ironically, women are the victims.

The research, by Dr Silvia Yezzini for the London School of Economics, examined the effects on women over two decades of four key tenets of the feminist movement: the introduction of the contraceptive pill, legalised abortion, liberal divorce laws and enhanced rights for women in the workplace. These were seen as a way to liberate women, give them control over their own bodies, ensure them equal rights in marriage, and secure a package of benefits at work. The research spanned 23 years in 12 European countries, tracking the "life satisfaction" of 450,000 women from 1975 to 1998.

Dr Pezzini's work paints a different picture to the high-flying designer-clad superwoman, juggling a fabulous career with an exciting marriage and gorgeous children. The pill and legalised abortion did give women social and sexual freedoms. But now children as young as 14 are on the pill, forced into sexual relationships they neither want nor understand.

We may feel in control of our bodies and we are certainly more sexually experienced, but more marriages break up now than ever before and the rate among cohabiting couples is even higher. And what about those young girls on the threshold of puberty who are coerced into having casual sex and who pay the price for their naive promiscuity with sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamvdia that can rob them of the chance of being a mother? Some liberation! This is not to say for one moment I want a return to the time when women were forced into desperate marriages because of the shame of pregnancy out of wedlock. The question is whether it has made us happy.

Dr Pezzini's research into the improvements for women in the workplace makes particularly interesting reading. "There is no life-satisfaction improvement for women in enhanced maternity rights, she says. "Instead of making women more satisfied, it has the reverse effect, as the longer the maternity leave, the less employable the woman becomes." Dr. Pezzini says maternity rights are now so onerous on businesses that employers are increasingly reluctant to take on any women of child-bearing age. Where's the liberation in that?

Even when it comes to marriage, Dr Pezzini concludes that more liberal divorce laws have certainly not made women any happier. "There is a marked decline in women's happiness from the moment easier divorces became legal," she says. "The no-fault, mutual divorces have not brought women the happiness one might have expected. "That is because, love aside, marriage is ultimately a contract between two people for mutually beneficial financial, child-rearing and support arrangements." Easy divorce changes all that, she says. In other words, quickie divorces make only for quickie marriages.

Is this really what we fought for: the right to ruin our personal lives? For what we feminists lost sight of, in our march on the barricades of prejudice, was that we never listened to the mothers who wanted to stay at home. We treated them as second-class citizens and invited society to sneer at them and their narrow horizons. Yet now it turns out that they understood a fundamental truth that escaped us a11: that to create a home, you have to spend time in it. That to enjoy your family, you have to spend time with it.

All I am advocating is an honest appraisal, not just of how far we have come, but also what we've left behind. None of us would wish a return to the days when divorce was a disgrace, nor a bad marriage a shackle for life, but we must be aware of the consequences of the changes we have wrought.

Women's liberation was driven by the most terrible inequalities. It was a social necessity but, as with all social experiments, no one could have fully foreseen the consequences. Now it is time to recognise them: Time for a bit of balance. We started off burning our bras. Maybe now we should burn our pride, admit our mistakes and try to end this tin-pot tyranny in which the greatest victims are ourselves.


Beer Fox Guide to Politically Incorrect Beer Titles (Excerpts):

Venom – DuClaw Brewing Company, Abingdon, Maryland, USA –American Style Pale Ale - Brilliant topaz lights dance within the glass beneath white rings of head and delicate lacing. This aggressively hopped potion is infused with the citrus, pine and floral flavors of Cascade and Columbus hops, while a muscle of malt balances the saddle.

Epidurale – Goose Island, Chicago, Illinois, USA – American Barleywine – The passion of a ruby reflects in this deep red elixir with minimal head. Rich caramel sweetness is accented with flavors of black currants, honey, orange peel and citrus in a sherry-like complexity, while the hypnotic pleasures of alcohol drift lazily around your head.

Insanity – Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Easton, Pennsylvania, USA – American Barleywine – Misty copper orange with thin, off-white head fills the nose with bourboned-oak, sweet vanilla, cherries and caramel. The tongue experiences a flavor explosion between the sweetness of cherry, accented with candied citrus peel and bourbon, and the bitter profile of grapefruit. Superb!

Slobberknocker – Capitol City Brewing Company, Downtown D.C. and Capitol Hill, District of Columbia, USA – American Barleywine – Your eyes are greeted by a nearly opaque burnt sienna body with a head of delicate eggshell that quickly dissipates to a scant ring with a web of light lacing. Pineapple and mandarin orange marmalade are enmeshed in cedar, toffee and grapefruit, with a peppery bite of alcohol and hops. Aggressive…sinful…passionate!

Opium – Coniston Brewing Company Ltd., Coniston, Cumbria, UK – English Bitter – Warm brown amber with a misty haze hails you with spicy, light hops and clean, biscuity malt. A generous basket of dried fruit seems to greet your taste buds, while chewy malts fill your mouth with unending pleasure.

Aphrodesiale – Brick House Brewing, Patchogue, New York, USA – American Pale Ale – The hazy, amber glow of a soft sunset over the ocean, topped with cask-like carbonation and white head, is the immediate eye-candy that sucks you into submission to this APA. Doughy malts of fresh-baked bread light up with a delicate wafting of alcohol.

Kwak – Brouwerij Bosteels, Buggenhout, Belgium – Belgian Strong Pale Ale – Deep ruby amber with whispers of brown around the edges and a tight creamy head puts on a display of elegance for the sense of sight. Complexity of sweet nuts and candied sugar, dressed with fruit, draws you into its caressing arms with a powerful, warming effect.

Kiltlifter – Pumphouse Brewery, Longmont, Colorado, USA – Scottish Ale – Deep amber glows from within the glass, topped by an ample white head that dissipates to a thin ring. Caramel and fruit slide past your tongue like liquid satin, leaving you in an aura of mild alcohol afterglow.

Bare Ass Blonde – DuClaw Brewing Company, Abingdon, Maryland, USA – American Blonde Ale – Light highlights of gold flicker beneath a thin white head. Light fruit blends with a straw-like maltiness, feathered with light touches of hops. Crisp and clean profile makes this a highly drinkable potion.

Ex Wife Bitter Blonde – Freeport Brewing Company, Freeport, Maine, USA – American Blonde Ale – Spectacular strawberry blonde color with a ½” layer of ocean foam. A sweet, malty nose greets you with hints of lemony citrus. Fresh bread touches the tongue, while succulent lemon and sour apricots clean the palate.

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