Whoa man

So. Tomorrow morning I’m going to be on TV! Gah! Excuse me whilst I have a little nervous vom in my mouth.

I’ve been asked to join a panel on the Morning Show on Channel 9 to discuss an article that Lucy Chesterton wrote on Mamamia last week about Feminism (I have tried and tried to get the link to work but it just refuses to co operate sorry). The gist of the story was that she feels like she is letting down the “sisterhood” or “feminist movement” by loving “traditional” female duties like cooking or making a tea for her husband. There was quite a bit of feedback about this – that it was ridiculous to compare these choices to the feminist plight and so they are putting together a panel to discuss it. Jane Caro, Gretel Killeen and yours truly.

I’m nervous and excited all at once. What does feminism mean to me? Am I a feminist? Isn’t anyone with a vagina? I know I am. I strongly believe in equality for men and women. For both sexes. For gender equality – sexuality equality – anything equality. I do not understand why a woman would be paid less for the same job as a man. I do not understand why women are in positions of less power, or are taken less seriously because they are women. I know just how far females have come for their fight for equality and just how far we still have to go.

I think that there is a generation of young women out there who are confused by feminism. What does it mean? Can you still do x, y and z and be a feminist? Can I stay home and raise my children and not go back to work and be a feminist? Can I sew? Or get my hair done? The role that media and advertising play in their portrayal of women can be confusing. Tune into any film clip and you will see women gyrating in next to nothing, hear men talk about their ‘bitches’. I refuse to let my 5 year old daughter sing along to “I’m sexy and I know it.” We have role models like Kim Kardashian to look up to. Is it any wonder they are confused? Did you see that Godforsaken show “The Shire” last night? 5 minutes of that took back female equality 500 odd years – young women more interested in looking “good” and by “good” I mean primped and pumped and spray tanned and fake haired – it was completely depressing. And horrifying. And worse still, entertaining. Is that really what young women out there are thinking? Why show that and perpetuate those myths again? I guess it makes good TV.

I don’t know where I fit into the argument/discussion or how it’s going to go. I can only continue to educate my own girls about what being a woman is. It’s about being fortunate now to have choices available to us. It’s about being informed, being aware, and being true to themselves. It’s about having the ability to do one of the most incredible things we can do as humans – give birth to our own children. It’s knowing that if they want to, and work hard, they can do just about anything they want to do. They can lead our country, they can treat the sick, they can be bankers and make lots of money, or they can stay home and raise a family. I’ve done both and am now in a very fortunate position now to be home with my children. We jumped off the working/city treadmill that made me exhausted, angry and empty. Whilst it’s not glamorous, at times not very challenging for my mind, and VERY bad pay, I am home, cooking their meals, washing their clothes and being there, physically there, each and every day. For my girls, and for my husband. And I love it. I’m the happiest I have been in like, ever. If blogging about making a good bed, or how to hang a load of washing along the way and having a laugh about the silly, mundane parts of my day helps me get through it, then I’ll keep doing it. I’m lucky to have my little outlet, my space to share with others. I’ve said it before – it’s no different to what women have been doing for thousands of years: sharing, talking, bitching about their partners and exhaustion and what they have to cook for dinner  – just in a different medium.

I’d love to hear what you think about this stuff. What does being a feminist mean to you? What hope do those girls in the Shire hold for a current generation out there? Does darning your husband’s socks mean you aren’t a feminist? Maybe my lack of desire for blow jobs makes me a feminist? Could that be the answer? Oh, and make sure you watch. I’ll be the one with the deer in the head lights expression with the bad roots – 10am tomorrow morning Channel 9. SHIT.


  1. I do both Beth – I’m the stay-at-home mum and the work-from-home mum and I’m quite happy to say that doing the washing, cooking a wholesome meal and tucking children into fresh sheets every night makes me feel very, very good. Call me boring but I absolutely love doing the homely things. I definitely value the opportunity more since I began working and earning for the family too. There’s definitely balance for me and I recognise how fortunate I am to have the experience. But profession over stay-at-home-muma? Never.

    Good luck for tomorrow – hope the words flow effortlessly x

  2. Anonymous says

    Hi Beth, My name is Lucy and I am big fan of your site, but this is the first time I’ve made a comment. This is a great topic and really look forward to seeing you on the TV tomrorow. I agree with what you’ve written up here and you might be interested to read this piece by Caitlin Moran too: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/07/caitlin_moran_s_how_to_be_a_woman.html – more thinking on the subject of modern feminism. I personally think, it is what you want it to be. We don’t have to fight as hard as our mums and aunts to get what we want out of life, being ok with all of our choices is the aim of the game.

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it was about choices.

    My grandmother didn’t have a choice…although she went to a full four year college and not just a finishing school as was typical back in the day she knew that when she graduated she would be getting married and raising a family.

    My mother didn’t have a choice…as a professional in a man’s world she had to work long hours five days a week…she couldn’t take sick days, she couldn’t make it to school recitals…and like you pointed out, while she was making these sacrifices she was earning less than her male colleagues.

    I do have a choice…and I feel very lucky to have that choice.
    I work three days a week. This is enough to satisfy me professionally, intellectually and financially.
    The other days I devote to my family. And I love my time at home too.

    I must also say that as an American living in Australia, I think that this country is wonderful in terms of the options it gives women and especially mothers.
    I was so grateful for the generous maternity leave my job gave me and for the paid maternity leave the government gave me. Being able to take a year off after the birth of your baby is virtually unheard of in the States.
    And I continue to be grateful for the flexibility my job gives me in terms of working part time and taking days off if necessary. And for the government contribution to child care.
    I honestly think that Australia gives you all the tools you need to make whatever choices you want to make.

    Good luck tomorrow! I am sure you will be great!

  4. To me, being a feminist is all about having choices. It’s not about bra burning and man hating. Years ago women didn’t have many choices about the life they wanted to lead. We have a fairly traditional household here, husband goes out to work, I stay home and look after the kids, cook, clean, etc. I also look after the running of our business from home too. There are members of my own family who scoff at the way I like to have a hot meal waiting on the table and for making sure the house is presentable and the kids are bathed for my husband when he gets home from work. He’s not forcing me to do it though! Before I had my 3rd child my husband would stay home with the kids while I went to work one day a week and he used to do exactly the same thing for me. we are so lucky to have the choice to live the way that we do. And to live in a country where we can vote and have a voice. Don’t even get me started on those Shire type girls. I HATE the idea that my daughter will grow up feeling the pressure to look and behave that way. Or that my sons think that’s how women should be.
    Good luck for tomorrow!

  5. Cannot wait to watch, you’ll be fantastic!
    Interestingly I’m about to start reading Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to be a woman’ which on just this subject.
    Good luck tx

  6. That is SO cool!

    But as a sidenote, GRETEL KILLEEN!?! They couldn’t pick a worse ‘has-been’ than her?!

    I am glad you’ll be there. Weighs it up.

  7. Yay something exciting to watch whilst I do my ironing! I love my work-home balance. A luxury that not many of us can afford these days. We are fortunate to have the CHOICE. That, to me is what being a feminist is. The choice to raise a family, the choice to concentrate on your career or the choice to do both. We live in fortunate times.

    I also love the fact that I’m in good company knowing that I’m just as pedantic about a good hospital corner and a clean sink. What’s your view on ironing Beth?? I’d love to read about that issue; iron as you wear or iron it all in one go?

    As for those Shire clowns? Didn’t even bother watching, switched it to another channel once Masterchef finished. The previews were enough to turn me off. Hope rubbish like that gets canned ASAP.

  8. Felicity says

    We have already addressed this topic this morning, however I have one more thing to add and that is – I believe woman more than men are the one’s to judge each other more in regards to ‘Staying at home’ or ‘Going back to work’. I think there is enough pressure on mums to get through the day so let’s all give each other a break and be happy in our own skin.
    Good luck tomorrow, I have already IQ’d so we can watch over and over!

  9. Wowsers! Go you! That’s fantastic!

    I agree with what you’ve said.
    I think for a lot of young women they think that being a feminist is being a hairy-legged lesbian. They have this stereotype in their head and forget that feminism is about equality and respect.

    Being a SAHM, I get a lot of flack. I get a lot of insinuation that I’ve given up my career and foresaken my dreams. That I ‘live off’ my husband. The amount of men who ask Clint if he’s bitter that I live off him (cause you know I just sit around spending ‘his’ money and watch soap operas all day, forget about raising his kids, etc). I get more flack from men for staying at home than from women. They often believe that I should be helping Clint pay the mortgage and pay our family instead of being a ‘burden’. Clint obviously doesn’t think like this.

    I’ve also been thinking about feminism a lot in the context of moving to a country where women aren’t equal to men. How that will affect my girls? How will it affect the way I parent. On one hand they skimpy, raunch culture is taken out of the equation (which I’m happy about), but on the other I have to get permission from Clint to have a licence, to drink, to work, to go on the pill, etc.

    As you see I have more questions than answers!!
    At the end of the day EVERYONE should have the choice to bake, not bake, have a career or just have a job, get paid properly for the job they do. Be respected for being female. Being respected as a person.

    Best of luck! I’ll make sure I watch. xx

  10. Awesome stuff! I think that we need to embrace the now to help us move forward in equality. I enjoy both staying at home to raise my kids and working in the workforce and looking after the house and the husband and everything that comes with all that. I think you can have both and love both. It comes down to choices though and what individuals want and believe in. I will miss the show but hope you do a sterling job! And have fun! X

  11. First time poster but I read your blog every day. You really have a talent and have me in stiches each day! You are fantastic!!

    I can really relate to this post. I agree – it is all about choices! We as female have the ability to choose!!! I am a 24 year old female civil engineer in the construction industry. Currently, I am very career motivated but I can’t wait for the day I can stay at home and raise some little munchkins and do what I love – cook, sew, garden and decorate! However, I didn’t slog it out at school to get a good OP and do four years at university to do that just yet. Being a female in an incredibly male dominated profession, I am very grateful for the path the previous feminists have paved for us. However from personal experience, it is quite ironic that I have had more issues being a female in the construction industry with men ones in the 25-40 age than the 40-60 age bracket. I think it is an ego issue and not wanting a “girl” to outdo them. The men in their 40-60s are very respectful and mentor me a lot in my role.

    Now – “The Shire”, considering this is “my” generation – I am ashamed! What a load of rubbish! I was watching this show while sewing some roman blinds so I didn’t actually watch any of it, just listened to it but it was enough for me to form an opinion! Although the show was obviously very scripted, there are actually people in “real” life that are like that. It should be illegal for those people really shouldn’t procreate! Hopefully those girls will wake up to themselves one day and realise that life isn’t about being “pretty” (fake) or being “smart”, it is about being the best person you can possible be.

    MM x

    PS – break a leg tomorrow (hypothetically of course, all you need is a broken leg after just coming out of hospital a few weeks ago)

  12. Good luck!

    I enjoy making my husbands breakfast for him every morning (1 weetbix, 1 banana, milk, berocca – it’s not rocket science). I enjoy being the ‘cook’. I am generally the cleaner around here (I won’t say I’m any good at it), and I like it that way because I hate outside jobs (mowing, gutters, bins). We have pretty traditional roles in our home, without having ever discussed it or planned it that way, and it suits us fine.

    While we each do our traditional jobs we don’t demand that of each other or take it for granted. I always thank Paul for the way our garden looks, and he always thanks me for dinner.

    We share the parenting as equally as we can when he works full time and I work part-time. When he is home he is ON DUTY as Daddy, and he loves every second of it.


    I have to work tomorrow but will be taping it.

  13. This is a wonderful post Baby Mac. I think about 99.999% of us are struggling with these issues. I too gave up a promising career to care for my girls. Having it all means doing it all and I cant do it all. (Sometimes I feel like I cant do much at all). I greatly admire those who manage to cling on to their careers.
    Upon reflection so far in my 42 years I’ve been able to complete uni and post grad studies, have a shot at a career in stockbroking, purchase a unit entirely on my own and be a traditional Mum. Its far, far more than my grandmothers could ever have dreamed of. I believe that although we cant have it all at the same time we can have a hell of alot.
    All the very best of luck tomorrow
    [email protected]
    Here’s my little piece on the pinkification issue which is sorta relevant.

  14. Wow Beth what an amazing panel. GO GIRL!! You are amazing xx

  15. Speak from the heart as you always do and you will be a hit. Thats why they have asked you isn’t it? People love real people telling real beliefs and stories. Good luck. G.x

  16. As many people have already said – it’s about our ability to make choices for ourselves, in the best interest of our family and relationship. I work and my husband stays home because that is what works for us.

  17. Way to go!! On the feminist issue I think I have a totally different view than many! I believe as a woman we are smart, powerful, independent and all the rest BUT there are some positions men can perform better than women and vice versa (oh I’m going to get crucified for saying that) but I believe in equality of pay if it’s for the same position! I personally love my place in the world- I am a stay at home mum, I tend to the kids 24/7, I wash the clothes, I clean the house and cook meals. My husband works, does the yard work and washes cars. BUT he treat me with the highest of respect and although we are old school and he’s the ‘man of the house’ he always says I’m the boss! I think if both sexes have mutual respect for each other there is no need for drama. Each person and household work their own way and if both parties are happy then that’s equality! I love your post and do agree with it but I just have maybe an old school look about it with a modern twist! I’ll be watching tomorrow!

  18. Anonymous says

    I’m all for feminism as long as we don’t stop being femine.
    I think the whole feminism issue has made men very confused as to where they stand amongst women.
    Chivalry and good manners have gone out the window because of it.

    • This is so interesting.

      I don’t think that chivalry or good manners have gone out the window because of it. But maybe for some they have?

    • Mr BabyMac says

      I’ve got to say there have been frequent occasions where I have second guessed what is the appropriate behavior – particularly in business situations. However, I have found that the best thing for me to do is to stick to the notions of manners and chivalry that may well be out dated to some but are what come most naturally to me. Standing when a woman enters the room. Holding a door/lift for a woman. Not extending my hand for a handshake until the woman initiates. It may make me seem like a dinosaur but I have never had a complaint. But yeah – things have got a little confused for many men.

    • Anonymous says

      My good husband with an excellent upbringing,who has good manners offered his seat to a woman on the bus once and she gave him such a serve.”do you think I am a weakling and need a seat” Blah Blah Blah. He didn’t know which way to look or what to do,she completely flumixed him ( is that how you spell it?).
      Or have good manners gone out the door for so many people?

  19. dammit I will miss it! will be however many thousand feet above sea level, headed for sunshine. will get dad to record so I can catch up when I arrive. good luck! x

  20. As a twenty-something female, I believe that feminism is all about having choose. The choose to study, travel, raise a family or whatever it is I want to do with my life. I am so grateful for all the amazing women who have fought for women’s rights in previous generations to allow women today the opportunity to have this choice.

  21. I’m all for equality, for woman having choices, for woman doing what makes them happy. Wasn’t that what woman of the past fought for? So we could have our own voice? Why are we our own worst enemies? Why are we so hard on ourselves & each other?
    Feminism is hard to get your head around sometimes. I think your right, if you have a vagina & want equaloty between the sexes your a feminist.How you go about it is your choice. Simple as that.

  22. Hello, I must tape the show only foxtel IQ.

    Of course I’m a Feminist- I want equal pay, I don’t want to be sexually harassed etc.

    I also think Feminism can co-exist quite happily with the Domestic Arts.

    I bake, I garden, I wash, I iron, I basically run the show domestically.

    I run a medical negligence team at a large firm which I like but I find hard and often fraught.

    Being at home on maternity leave was about 10000 times easier than running a matter to trial.

    I think Feminism was about Choices and Options. Both of which I am all for.

    Of course the domestic side and motherhood and a career can all blend beautifully. I have a blog devoted to the realities of same.

    Good Luck.

  23. Way to go Beth! Good luck, you’ll totally rock it. I also believe in choices but am also a total sucker for thinking I can have it all! Plus I think common sense comes in as well. My husband earns 4 x what I earn and that is not because he’s a man but he chose mining as a career and I chose healthcare. So it would be totally silly for me to insist on being the career woman just so I prove my point. Since having my kids, I’ve learnt that their are so many more opportunities out there in my profession that I wouldn’t have thought about before children. I’ve moved into the teaching, writing, editing and the business side of health. And hey, I can have it all! Part-time career woman (totally more efficient post-children), mum, cook, gardener, seamstress, home organiser, friend, sister and wife. I am woman. Hear me ROAR!!

    Go get ’em Beth!

  24. Honey the other day I tried jif on my sink for the first time. The mofo sparkled by the time I was finished and I was so excited I rang my husband and he said oh you are a real housewife now! And you know what? I was proud. I have a degree and I had a career but now my job is to run this house and look after our kids and make sure when he comes home he can leave his work stress behind. And this is my choice. Having the choice is the point. Not necessarily what you choose to do.

  25. Oh, wow. This is a tough one. Gender inequality does exist. It really really does. And not just in the very obvious ways like unequal pay and the ‘glass ceiling’. Women have less superannuation, primarily because they tend to be the ones who take career breaks to parent. And then when they do go back to work they try to do jobs that fit around kids – self-employment; part-time; etc. When we have less super, we have less financial freedom and choices. So while we are so lucky to have the choices about how we spend our time without sacrificing our feminist ideals, we are still sacrificing something, whether it be our career opportunities, our future financial freedom, our boobs (!), so many things. Gender inequality is rooted in social mores, cultural expectations of gender roles developed over generations, expectations about women’s sexuality, culturally defined forms of conflict resolution – it’s so complex. We’re lucky here; we’re afforded relative equality, but yet we still earn less, we step away from our careers, have less super, are exposed to higher levels of sexual harassment in the workplace, and so on. Even so, these aren’t reason enough to stop me from being home with my baby boys. I work part-time, for myself (so no super here!), and I am lucky to have a strong relationship. I hope that doesn’t change. I am my babies’ mum first and foremost, and I am both fortunate and privileged to be able to make that decision for myself and for my family. Over and above all, I think our workplaces and corporate culture needs to reframe the way it operates. Women are awesome. They can multitask, will deliver on time, will work themselves to the bone happily, if they are given the flexibility that suits their family situations. Maybe it’s time to reconsider how work is delivered. Until that happens, I sadly think that we can’t have it all at the same time. Perhaps that’s not a very feminist thing to say? You will be fabulous tomorrow. Good luck.

  26. Anonymous says

    Please mention blow jobs

  27. Choice for sure. Here’s the thing. We burnt our bras in the name of feminism but we still have boobs. You know?

  28. Oh how exciting lady, I’m so glad I read this post as I’ll be tuning in tomorrow for sure! Well done you for being recognised once again for your awesome writing skills and your ability to reach out to people… the sky’s the limit for you!
    Feminism to me, is about equality, always has been. But it also comes down to choice. Whether that be out in the workforce or at home with a husband and children… or a mixture of both. I enjoy making a dollar, but I also love looking after my home and family. I am often criticised by the sisterhood for not insisting Scott help me more around the house. To be perfectly honest, I would rather he didn’t. At this point in my life (and probably always) this in my domain and I feel in control when I’m running it. Hmm, such a power hungry control freak I sound.
    Good luck with the show tomorrow, you’ll nail it! xo

  29. Brains Brains Brains with side doses of Humour Humanity & Hope is my take on the group of three speaking.
    Jane is my Public Education Hero.
    Gretel is witty and clever
    You are the woman who could have had it all but the all nearly WAS SO NOT WORTH IT.

    As the Baby Boomer a couple of years older than your mum, I have done it all but never had it all but always liked that there was a level playing field in my career path. Teaching pays men & women equally and I rose to the position of principal. I never considered full time staying at home because I was a better human going to work – by better I mean less angsty & all.

    Beth you will rock the set! That new do is amazing!
    Denyse xxx

  30. Oh man, I missed this! I try not to watch too much t.v as I really am disgusted by what is entertainment these days. It seems the media is following the crap coming out of the U.S. They are just dumbing down the audience and I hope we aren’t following in those steps. I would hate my daughters and sons to follow any of this rubbish on t.v. like the Shire. I do enjoy being at home with my kids and doing everyday stuff. I suppose I do enjoy working one day a week if I had to go back just so I can talk to someone older than 4yrs old.

  31. Completely missed this, hopefully it will be up on the website – I usually enjoy what Jane & Gretel have to say.

    And being a feminist for me means continuing to push for equality. I’d like to see equal rates of pay, particularly in my old industry of banking/finance which sees a gap of between 14% and 24%. I’d also love to see more flexibility surrounding men’s roles in the workplace since it’s usually women who have to sacrifice careers/superannuation/networks to support the higher income earner. I’m fortunate to be able to stay at home for now, but ironing is outsourced and the meals aren’t always warm x

  32. Damn I missed it! But I saw your pic on instagram – amazing hair! The feminism thing does get to me – mainly that while I would call myself a feminist I feel less of a feminist because I’m not bringing in an income while at home nurturing my babies. I know in my head that that doesn’t make me less of a feminist, but I feel pressure from the outside world (outside my home and little family) that I should be both. It stings a bit, and leaves me rather confused. Perhaps there’s a blog post in this! I will check online to watch the segment you were on! xx

  33. Definitely still topical. The Manager at my sisters firm recently brought his kids into the office on school holidays and promptly left them to the care of the five female office staff. 10 days of childcare added to their already impressive workload. Would this have happened if it were an office of men? Is this a slap in the face of feminism or is his wife a champion of it for not hesitating to insist the kids go off to work with their dad? Messy but worth the discussion.

  34. I’m still defining my own thoughts on what modern feminism means to me 🙂

    But about 5 or 6 years ago, my sister took me to this feminist meeting. It was her first time attending & she asked me along for support.

    At the beginning, like … the VERY beginning of the session, we had to stand in a circle, all holding hands, while chanting ‘cu*t’ repeatedly.

    The C word isn’t a word I drop easily, or ever.
    My sister, was even more … shocked, lol!

    When we left, we laughed so much I honestly thought I was going to wet myself.

    Sorry. I know that story is probably the OPPOSITE of what kind of comments you wanted here. But, this post brought a smile to my face remembering that story.

    In fact, I’m going to skype my sister right now & remind her of the time we held hands & chanted the C word with a group of pretty extreme feminists.

    lol. I’m laughing again now 🙂

    Beth, you’re on TV.


    I can’t believe I shared a taxi with you once upon a time!?!?

    You’re amazing. Seriously x

  35. Missed it!

    Are you going to post a link!?


Speak Your Mind