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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Feminism Today and its black sheep, the Yummy Mummies

The 3rd generation of feminists, as I call them, having established their careers and being financially independent have come to realise that the biological clocks are ticking. They want to have families and full-filling careers but have found that under current workplace arrangements when you have a family the career suffers. You get side-shifted, opportunities for advancement diminish, skills are lost and in general the career stagnates. They are also finding it hard to find good men, apparently they are all taken.

Over the last two months the op/ed pages of the non-murdoch (liberal friendly) newspapers (TheAge, SMH) has been the battleground of public debate over the needs of working mother. The feminists are leading the charge followed by the columnists, husbands and mothers chipping in.

The feminists of past generations chose to be martyrs to the cause by not having children and instead focussing on changing society and breaking down the glass ceilings. I have noticed how most of these women have a lot of cats at home. From Germaine Greer to one of the best professors I have had, all of them have cats. I guess you can't outrun some biological callings after all. However the 3rd Gens have realised this and want it all. After all, why shouldn't they be able to live their lives to the fullest as individuals in a community reaching their potentials?

Basically, the debate so far has gone as follows ( I might have missed a few..please add in the comments ).

  • The government has been accused of not funding enough child-care places and of wanting women/mothers to stay at home around John Howard's white-picket fences.
  • Industry is accused of not supporting equality of the sexes by not being family friendly, thus implicitly supporting men's careers over women’s and there by being sexist.
  • Mandatory working hours have been called for with penalties for people who work extra.
  • Bosses have been blamed for employees working long hours without pay and missing out on family time.
  • Men have been accused of working too hard, being insecure and not standing up to their bosses.
  • Men have been asked to act collectively in demanding family friendly actions at work.
  • Women have been labelled as too fussy in wanting the perfect man (I.E. intelligent, successful, sensitive, good looking, a good cook, etc)
  • The boredom and frustrations of bringing up children have been written about and compared with the fulfilments of career achievements.
  • Feminists have been alarmed by women leaving the workforce and giving up the careers to have children.
  • The rise in House Prices and Cost of Living has being blamed for both parents having to work. Specially in the working class homes where the choice of staying at home is not an option.
  • Young men have been accused of selfishness for not wanting to settle down and have a family.
    For each argument there has been opposite points of view provided too.

Then a few weeks ago a hand-granade was dropped into the sisterhood by introducing us to Yummy Mummies who are stealing child-care places in the name of lifestyle. Until a few weeks ago I didn't know what a Yummy Mummy was. Apparently a Yummy Mummy is someone who ...

..... pays attention to trends, assiduously avoiding anything pleated, tapered or high-waisted

....She indulges in a nip here, a tuck there. She stays fit, even buff......

..... "They have kitten heels, cleavage, and they don't cut their hair short....

In this article the author accuses Yummy Mummies of

Across the affluent inner-ring suburbs of Sydney, a covert war has broken out between working mothers and yummy mummies who use scarce child-care places as an opportunity to attend Pilates classes or have a pedicure.

I have to agree with her. These Yummy Mummies are usually married to high-paying husbands and have chosen to take part in just breeding, at the expense of their individuality. Unlike more progressive women who choose to use their intelligence and their capacities for reason by pursuing meaningful lives towards self-realization and services to community.

My predictions: The next time we have a Labour federal government they will radically increase the support for women in the workplace.


  • At 7:14 pm AEST, Anonymous Jack Point said…

    For some rambling on Yummie Mummies..

    Yummie Mummies

    It is a strange phenomenon of London life that wealthy men seem to find beautiful wives, impregnate them and then return to work leaving them to lurk in pouting herds around Primrose and Notting Hills.

    Nobody is quite sure why this happens but the concentrations of quite stunning looking women around yoga classes, coffee houses and the kind of shops that sell the sort of expensive fripperies that no sane person could want has not gone unremarked among the gentlemen of the Metropolis.

    So what if they're carrying somebody else's offspring and are, therefore, no longer breeding targets for the alpha male? We have evolved from the base ape. I don't have to actually own a Picasso (although obviously I do - several in fact) to enjoy going to a gallery.

    Cruising the hills on a Summer afternoon and appreciating the YMs even though you can't have them is the the kind of rarified and purely aesthetic pursuit that marks a True Gentleman.

    Think of it as a contemporary take on the convention of Courtly Love



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