Thursday, August 17, 2006

Nuclear Marriage? No Thanks

When you look at the salaries of single men and single women, you find that the women actually earn slightly more than the men. They certainly don't earn less. For never-married workers, there is, if anything, a slight pay gap in favour of women.

When workers get married, everything changes, especially once they start to have children. When the wife gets pregnant, she generally works less, and her husband generally works more, and this makes perfect sense, and suits everyone, more or less. When the woman goes on maternity leave, her employer is obliged to keep her job open, and many organisations continue to pay her a salary while she is off work. Her colleagues have to cover the work that she was formerly doing, as well as doing their own, or if the company is wealthy enough, they will hire an extra member of staff to cover her job temporarily, a member of staff who has to be trained at company expense, and who has no job security. This means the company is paying two salaries to get one job done. Having your job covered for you is a benefit that working mothers on maternity leave receive. She is, in effect, receiving two salaries, and using one of them to pay someone else temporarily to do her work for her. The company is paying two salaries in order to make life more comfortable for the mother. This is a quantifiable benefit for her which is never taken into account, and on which she is never taxed.

I am childless, and I have been conscious throughout my working life that I, and my childless colleagues, are subsidising the family life of those with children. Even when working mothers come back into the workplace, they often do so on a part-time basis, and the rest of us have to take up the slack because the mother on the team doesn't do Thursdays. Needless to say, we don't get paid any extra for that. It is not just the childless who are affected in this way, fathers are too, because they continue to work. Everybody else in the workplace is subsidising the mothers.

A mother will be absent from the workplace for up to a year for each child, enjoying these benefits, but her employer has no say in how many children she will have, or when. That is regarded as a purely private decision of hers. However, if other people are paying for it, it is no longer her private business. If she wants to have children, she should be held financially responsible for her decision.

Her husband, meanwhile, is acutely aware of his new responsibilities if he is a normal human being, and takes on the task of providing for his new family. This means that he will often become more career oriented, work longer hours, and seek promotion and salary increases more than he would have done had he remained single and childless.

Even without this additional incentive on the part of fathers, everyone else in the office continues to work while she is off. This means that while she is at home enjoying the comforts of family life, the rest of us are gaining more skills, experience, promotions and pay rises. If she has several children, she may be off work for several years, followed by several more years of working part-time. She then swans back into the workplace and complains that she is not being paid as much as other people, and is not being promoted as quickly.

A male friend of mine who comes from a South European country had to do compulsory military service at eighteen. He commented that when he and his friends came out of the army and entered university, the girls they knew from high school were already one or two years ahead of them. This is a sexual inequality which feminists don't seem to be interested in for some reason. However, it would not be reasonable for him to insist that he should be allowed to enter university straight into the third year. If you take one or two years out of the career market, then you go back into it one or two years behind everyone else. That's life. At least working women can choose whether or not to have children; my friend couldn't choose whether or not to join the army.

The prevailing dogma further insists that working parents are interchangable; there is no reason to suppose that the mother is the best natural parent - either parent is equally capable of providing child-care, and in order to help the poor woman achieve equality, the man must share in the responsibilities of house-work and child-care when he gets home from work, usually without the luxury of being able to work part-time if he feels like it.

However, if the couple should divorce - which commonly happens simply because the wife tires of her husband and fancies doing something else - all of that changes. Suddenly, she is the best natural parent, and the children belong with her. The courts will award her the children, the house and most of the financial assets of the marriage, most of which, in most cases, have been generated by the husband.

What will the husband receive? In general he will be obliged to pay a substantial part of his income to his ex-wife, ostensibly as 'child support'. If some court-appointed professionals decide that he is an outstandingly good citizen and model parent, he may be allowed to meet his children once a month. The money which he pays to his ex-wife is paid regardless of whether or not she has a career or is remarried. Her financial circumstances are generally not taken into account in many jurisdictions. The money he pays to her is completely unaccountable; he has no way of knowing if she spends it on holidays and fancy clothes. For all he knows, his children may not even see a penny of it.

If he suspects that the childen may not even be his own, he is usually forbidden from seeking a DNA test to establish the truth. If he cannot pay the sums demanded, he can have his salary docked at source, his property siezed, and may even end up in prison.

He is publicly characterised as an 'absent father' and a 'deadbeat dad'.

This is, in general, the current situation throughout the English-speaking world, although the details may vary between jurisdictions.

The UK government is apparently 'aware' that some divorced fathers have committed suicide as a direct result of impossible child-support demands.

Do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife? I don't.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Wacko Parade. Next up: MacKinnon

'(Catherine) MacKinnon's answer to her book's title, Are Women Human? is no. She writes: "If women were human, would we be a cash crop shipped from Thailand in containers into New York's brothels?', Guardian, 14th April 2006

Note her use of the royal 'we'; when is the last time she was shipped in a container from Thailand to a New York brothel?

Assuming that migrants do travel from Thailand to the USA concealed in shipping containers as Ms. Mackinnon claims, there are a number of questions one needs to ask.

1 Are all of these migrants women? That they are all female is almost inconceivable. They are bound to be men, women, and probably children too; in other words, a mixture of families and young single adults of both sexes.

2 Are they all from Thailand? It seems unlikely, but it shows us the status that Thailand occupies in the feminist world-view. Why is she not concerned about East European prostitutes?

3 Why is Mackinnon not concerned about the plight of male illegal immigrants? It simply doesn’t fit her case to talk about them, so she chooses to ignore them. She needs her gullible readers to believe that women are singled out for special abuse, special discrimination; it is only women who are shipped in containers in a way clearly (and no doubt deliberately) reminiscent of the Afro-American slave trade of former centuries. If one stops to consider that men may also be travelling in this way, the radical feminist case begins to lose its appealing simplicity and clarity.

4 Are all of these migrants, even just the female ones, destined for jobs as prostitutes? One would think not. As belle de jour points out in her letter to the Guardian, immigrants come to the West for many reasons. Some women may simply be coming to join husbands or other relatives already in the country, others will be coming to do a wide variety of jobs. Some will be intending to work as prostitutes, in full knowledge of what they are doing.

5 Why is Mackinnon not concerned about those who will not end up working in prostitution? Again, just because she is trying to manufacture a feminist cause celebre, and counter-evidence is a political inconvenience for her, so she simply ignores it and hopes that no-one will notice.

6 Why are these people travelling in shipping containers rather than on deck with everyone else? Do sinister Western interests think so little of them (or the females anyway) that a shipping container is all they deserve? No. The fact is they are travelling concealed in this way not because of Western institutional structures, as Mackinnon suggests, but in spite of them. They do it precisely because they are attempting to circumvent Western institutional structures. They are travelling illegally, and if Western (in this case US) authorities find them, they will not be permitted to enter the country. Mackinnon clearly implies that the US somehow condones the practice, tacitly or otherwise, when in fact all Coast Guard and Immigration services are doing their best to prevent it - the immigrants are only in the containers in the first place in a deliberate attempt to frustrate US government efforts. What exactly is MacKinnon complaining about? Coast Guard inefficiency? I'm reminded of John F Kennedy's statement when asked what he was doing for women. He replied, "Well, whatever it is I'm doing, you can be sure it's not enough"

7 Why are these people travelling to the USA at all? The answer is that they are economic migrants, travelling in search of jobs and a better life.

If any of these migrants end up being forced into prostitution against their will, this will happen only because the gangsters who run the people-smuggling operation - who are generally from non-Western countries, it must be noted - are the ones doing the coercing, not Western governments or corporations, and not 'men' as some kind of generic group.

Needless to say, the fawning Guardian interviewer doesn't bother to ask any of these questions.

Prostitution is a complex issue, as is economic migration. On Planet MacKinnon, however, it is as if some Blofeld-like arch-Patriarch sitting behind a huge desk at the top of some Manhattan skyscaper picks up his phone and says 'Send me fifty more slave-girls...Yes, just stick them in a container as usual. That'll be fine'.

Mackinnon’s statement is a gross misrepresentation bordering on flagrant dishonesty. It is disingenuous scare-mongering of exactly the sort one has come to expect from feminists.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Wish you were here

I've been offline for a week or so as I've just been on holiday to Thailand. I did some great scuba-diving. If you haven't been there, then all I can say is - go. Don't argue, just go. The women are something to behold. Every day I fell in love with waitresses, airline staff, shop workers, passers-by. My heart bled from the minute I entered the country to the second I left. I walked down the main street just after breakfast, and at that time in the morning everything was closed. I passed an open-air bar, its plasma TV unprotected and untouched. A beautiful girl on a motorcycle blew me a kiss but didn't stop.

If you've never had a traditional Thai massage, then you've really missed out. I was lying there one day while a beautiful Thai girl was massaging me, thinking, this could just never happen in the West.

Thai women are not the downtrodden victims that Western feminists like to tell themselves. They like to go around on motorcycles, often with a child on their lap, and I saw them engaged in every conceivable kind of work, including house construction and highway construction. They are just not fucked-up the way so many Western women are. They are open, friendly, they like men and they are not afraid to show it. They regard their husband and children as an asset rather than a liability. The contrast became clear to me one day as I was walking along a beautiful palm-fringed beach, which Thailand has many of. If I smiled at a Thai girl she smiled back. If I smiled at a Western girl, she scowled and looked away. Yet some Western women in Thailand apparently complain that they feel ignored. Wonder why? But I think this gives us an insight into the truth of it. Western women regard Thailand as a hotbed of evil simply because Western men like it so much. They just can't compete with Thai women, and they are jealous. It's also ideological. Positive inter-sexual relations are alive and kicking in Thailand, and feminists just don't like that.

I passed a go-go bar one evening and stopped to look. There was a friendly party atmosphere. Two Thai girls were dancing on a table. Everyone seemed to be having a great time apart from two Western women in the corner, sitting stone-faced and impassive, staring at the dancers. They looked like two feminists on a fact-finding mission, come to witness the true horrors of the Patriarchy. Imagine travelling half way around the world just to disapprove of something. The dancers didn't seem to notice. They were too busy enjoying themselves and mining a rich seam of foreign tourist revenue, and good luck to them.

It isn't true to reply that the Thai women I encountered were all prostitutes looking for business. That would be an insult to the Thai people. Besides, I was with my girlfriend. One day I passed some women doing agricultural work in a coconut plantation, in traditional wide-brimmed straw hats. They called over to me, and we had a conversation. The fact that we only knew a few words of each other's language made it funny. They didn't want anything, except to be friendly.

Does the fact that Thai women work on road construction and farm labouring make them liberated, or does it make them victims? Hmm. Tough one. That's one for the priestesses to pronounce upon. The answer of course is obvious. It makes them liberated if it suits us to say so, and it makes them victims whenever that suits us better.

Many have travelled to Asia in order to learn the wisdom of the mystic Orient. I have learned it: There is another way. It doesn't have to be like this.

If you haven't been to Thailand, then all I can say is - go. The women are something to behold.