Mark Latham and the West Side Story

Homelife Crisis 5 Comments

I’m really confused.  That’s nothing new, but hear me out.  I’m a bit of a new kid on the block and not a massive follower of things political, so I’d never heard of Mark Latham before yesterday.  But I was doing a bit of quiet reading of Amy’s blog over at Handbag Mafia (which I really like) and thus suddenly found him launched into my orbit.  He’s a little charmer, isn’t he?

I’ve been having a bit of trouble this weekend.  Possibly due to the post-indulgence fug of a hangover.  (Impromptu wine fests at the neighbours don’t make for clear heads, I admit). First I found Sarah Wilson’s blog via Twitter (read it here) which I thought was arguing that mental health is linked to physical health, so there may be a link between anxiety and other physical manifestations.  From the angry responses her post has elicited on various different social media channels, I feel that the fact I grew up in a village and no longer live there must be linked.

Then I read Amy’s blog which alerted me to the whole Lisa Pryor assault. And that’s when I realised I was beyond a minor lapse of comprehension, but lost deep in a labyrinth of confusion.

Brene Brown talks about human connection and how vulnerability allows us to reach one another, and Lisa Pryor’s article was a perfect example: she opened up her own vulnerability and I’m pretty sure a significant chunk of the nation resonated with what the German’s like to call Mitgefuhl – “feeling with”, best translated as empathy.  And from this gently humorous article comes the Latham lambast.

There are many things that can and have been said about this article.  Annabel Crabb and Jacqueline Maley each make much better points that I ever will, so go have a look at them.  But these are the things that I still don’t understand:

  1. Mark Latham has a problem with not just feminists, but the particularly nasty breed of feminists: left ones.  Now please tell me something: isn’t “the left” commonly associated with socialism and didn’t he used to lead the Australian Labor Party which according to Wikipedia (where I’ve been doing all my very thorough research into issues thrown up by his rant) is “a democratic socialist party and has the objective of the democratic socialisation…“. Does that mean Mark doesn’t like females that vote for the ALP?
  2. As someone that has never needed anti-depressants, how does he know they are little red pills?
  3. Mark Latham chose to leave politics and chose to become a full-time carer.  Why was it OK for him to choose a non-gender assigned role, but when a women wishes to do the same thing, she becomes the scourge of Sydney and all its suburbs?
  4. Are women living in western Sydney genuinely lovelier than those living in the centre or other suburbs?  (I’m being allowed out of Boganvillia and heading for the Big City in a couple of weeks: I will do research!!!)
  5. If Mark Latham is so good at being a grown-up, why is he calling names and taunting people like he’s still in the school yard?

So I know I’m just a simple soul from overseas.  But isn’t feminism, at it’s most basic level, just asking that women have the opportunity to choose. To choose to stay home or to choose to go to work. To be equal.  Not to be more. And yes, amongst the crass fist-flailing bombast of his column, there is the admission from Latham that men refuse to choose because society has straight-jacketed them into the role of full-time worker. Society, Mark, not just left-feminists, I think you’ll find.

So maybe it’s time there was a new, complimentary movement whereby we dispense with the wild accusations – like depression is merely some whim or lifestyle choice.  Or going out to work if you’re female automatically makes you a misopedist. I know we’re approaching silly season, but surely it’s a bit early for that level of nonsense?

Why don’t we call our new complimentary movement something like masculism, so the boys can join in the debate.  Not to be confused with chauvinism, mind.

Nah. Tell you what, I’ve thought of a better name, why don’t we just call it


Or is that too rad for the 21st century?

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