Tool of the week… and it’s only Tuesday

We interrupt the programming plan of updating you on Oscar learning to walk again due to an article of astounding small-minded, cheap-shot, playing-dirty, shoddy journalism. I’m stealing Mrs Woog’s regular Friday column on tools of the week for this early entry.

Take a moment to go and read the article by Bettina Arndt in today’s Sydney Morning Herald. Go on. Click here. Go and read.

Then get really angry. Maybe rest your head in your hands at the incredulity such a piece was viewed as having any merit whatsoever.

Here are some tasty morsels from it:

Cohabitation produces two groups of losers among women and children. Most women want to have children – Gillard is an exception – and some miss out after wasting their primary reproductive years in a succession of live-in relationships which look hopeful but go nowhere, leaving them childless and partnerless as they hit 40.

You know, if a male leader or politician chose not to have children I hazard a guess it would barely raise an eyebrow. I’ve heard Julia talk about her choice – as if it is anyone’s business – and she pointed out that she is an incredibly focused, single-minded person and that if she had had children she would have only wanted to focus on being a mother and not the other things in her life she was passionate about.

So she made a choice to focus on the other things she felt passionately about.

And according to Bettina, cohabitation produces two groups of losers. No winners. Apparently.  

How about this:

It is often assumed these children will provide the glue to keep de facto relationships together, but sadly this is not so.

Yeah, because that never happens with married couples.

or this:

People often drift into living together – someone’s lease runs out or they get sick of running home for fresh shirts and underwear. They slide rather than decide, and frequently fail to discuss their mutual expectations for the relationship.

It’s the women who end up stranded when they spend years in a succession of de facto relationships waiting for Mr Not Ready or Mr Maybe to make up his mind.

Women’s tiny reproductive window means they pay a high price for wasting precious breeding time in such uncertain relationships.

 Or this (my bolding):

If Gillard chooses to play house with Tim Mathieson in the Lodge, this choice sends a strong message to the huge numbers of women who rightly admire her and seek to follow her example. A lifestyle suited to her particular needs may be riskier for many women and their children.

‘Chooses to play house’? I’m sure if Bettina had tried a little harder she could have been more patronising.  

How about this:

At the heart of this conversation was role models. People in the public eye, our influential leaders, need to think through whether others who don’t share their circumstances will follow their example and get into trouble.

Really Bettina? That’s what is at the heart of this conversation? Really? I think what’s at the heart of your grubby little piece of highly selective if not poorly researched writing is that having Julia Gillard as our Prime Minister –  barren and living in sin – is not to your liking.

Somehow it would have been so much palatable if you had not tried to truss up your sow’s ear of an article into a silk purse of journalism on social trends. Apparently your new book What Men Want is out this August.  Oh GOODY. I can hardly wait to repeatedly walk past it in bookshops.

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  • peskypixies

    OMG!
    is she serious??

  • Injera

    Bettina probably thought she'd be able to follow up What Men Want with a sequel What Women Want, but now both titles have been answered with "shut up, Bettina".

  • Mrs Woog

    I smell a bitter woman trying to justify her own situation. Fuckwit on Sale at Mitre-10 in the clearance bin.

  • kim at allconsuming

    You know what pisses me off the most about all this? Is that it is wasting precious space that should be devoted to debating education issues, health reform, issues (ie FRAUD) with BER, a decent environmental policy and so on.

    Instead we get this sloppy piece of nothing.

    Attention Editors and Newsmakers – it's 2010 NOT 1980 anymore.

    We don't care if she has kids, doesn't have kids, is married, isn't married, likes dogs or prefers cats. We do care about what she thinks and how she is going to make it work.

    Did you get that?

  • Ms Brown Mouse

    Kim – I HOPE SMH got that, but you know what? I suspect not 🙁

  • Kate

    Oh, sweet christ.

    I, for one, am pleased to have a partnered but unmarried, deliberately barren, smart and driven woman for a leader, since I am also all those things. Apparently I do not deserve role models, and women who choose to do anything OTHER than 'play house' with the sanction of marriage don't either.

    GRAR

  • brownhairblueribbon

    Bettina Arndt = Poor (married) man's Miranda Devine?

  • Paola

    Kim, my lack of comments is due to being so busy I have no time to look in the mirror.
    Those pics were hard to digest but it was all for the best no?
    A huge hug to you all!

  • Three Owls

    shaking head and choking on my coffee… seriously. I can't get my head around it to make a clever comment, must drink fresh coffee and contemplate the ridiculousness of it all….

  • Badger

    I did not read the article. I KNOW. I wanted to read your take on it first, and now I can't get past the phrase "precious breeding time". As if women aren't treated as livestock in ENOUGH parts of the world already. Ye gads.

    But your Bettina would LOVE our Dr. Laura over here. Oh yes. They must NEVER MEET.

  • Frogdancer

    Love your last sentence!

  • Alan of Merewether, NSW

    Whether she lives with a partner, is married, single whatever, Gillard and her crony party should be worried about the country, instead of the bitchiness of factional backstabbings in her party. If people think things will change under her watch, well, she was in Rudd's gang of four that decided 99% of ALP policies. Pity the country doesn't a huge surplus anymore which was spent giving everyone $900 rather than creating sustainable projects such as roads, hospitals and schools. Look at NSW……too many ease of inept fiscal management, means that we are broke. Federally, we are headed the same way unless there is rapid change.

  • Reality raver

    I too was outraged about Bettina's column.
    I also went onto her Wiki page and it said she had had two husbands now the first one may have died or she is DIVORCED so her argument is hypocritcal.

    On a plus side maybe she believes in gay marriage.

  • tiff(threeringcircus)

    Am wondering why I haven't found you before this. Your blog is fantastic!

  • Fe

    Oh Kim… I've been not-reading my google reader for about 6 weeks now, so have missed banter regarding MORONS like Bettina Arndt. I do not read her. Her mysognistic "reporting" of family court issues is enough to make me literally vomit.

    This "article" is ludicrous. Sadly, in our current Australia, it has an audience.

    Thanks for reminding me of why I need to read my Reader to retain my sanity xoxo

  • Suse

    I came back to say have you read Catherine Deveney's reply to Arndt's article? Hilarious but so very accurately viciously righteously spot on.

    Link on my facebook.