Australian govt memo, 1968: Women become "spinster battle axes;" "men usually mellow"

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31 Responses to “Australian govt memo, 1968: Women become "spinster battle axes;" "men usually mellow"”

  1. Gillagriene says:

    @19

    “Senator Brown said Kora had not disrupted proceedings yesterday, nor had she on previous occasions when she was present in the chamber.”

    Except that she didn’t start crying until they took her from her mother.

  2. a_user says:

    @ Jerril

    “Where’s you sense of humour. Can’t you take a joke?” – come across this as a justification for offensive behaviour before?

    I find a delicious irony in this, due to the fact the person who posted it is apparently unaware of it’s dual edged nature:

    “Incredible how the top dog always announces with such an air of discovery that the underdog is childish, stupid, emotional, irresponsible, uninterested in serious matters, incapable of learning — but for god’s sake don’t teach him anything! — and both cowardly *and* ferocious. [...] The oppressed is also treacherous, incapable of fighting fair, full of dark magics, prone to do nasty things like fighting back when attacked, and contented with his place in life unless stirred up by outside agitators. [...] Once I learned the tune I stopped believing the words — about *anybody*.”

    – James Tiptree, Jr., male persona of author Alice Sheldon.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear:

    “(iv) It is extremely doubtful if a woman could, year after year, under a variety of conditons, stand the fairly severe strains and stresses”

    I read ‘strains and stresses’ as ‘of mistresses’ due to the type…

  4. Anonymous says:

    As a girl who has to pretend to be a guy on unix forums in order to get any sort of good advice on questions, I can attest that sexism is alive and well.

  5. TamaraRose says:

    Assuming A. R. Taysom had a female secretary, I have to wonder what she must have been thinking as she typed up this report for him. I also have to wonder how she restrained herself from poisoning his coffee.

  6. speedeep says:

    “Do you come from a land down under?
    Where women glow and men plunder?
    Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?
    You better run, you better take cover.”

    Men At Work – Land Down Under

  7. Jerril says:

    #18: I haven’t seen any misandry. I’ve seen plenty of mocking of the attitudes of a previous era and the men that held them. That’s not misandry. It’s misandry when I suggest that your paranoia is due to excessive testosterone poisoning ;)

  8. sammich says:

    “A spinster lady can, and very often does, turn into something of a battleaxe with the passing years. A man usually mellows.”

    so, as hormones become less polarized with age, men and women converge towards the median… who’d’ve guessed…

    and the only problem is the disparity with (undeniably sexist)societal expectations?

    personally, i’m looking forward to my battleaxe years…

  9. AnoniMouse says:

    So… by 50 I’ll be a +5 battlaxe and will be able to split his mellow skull.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “Incredible how the top dog always announces with such an air of discovery that the underdog is childish, stupid, emotional, irresponsible, uninterested in serious matters, incapable of learning — but for god’s sake don’t teach him anything! — and both cowardly *and* ferocious. [...] The oppressed is also treacherous, incapable of fighting fair, full of dark magics, prone to do nasty things like fighting back when attacked, and contented with his place in life unless stirred up by outside agitators. [...] Once I learned the tune I stopped believing the words — about *anybody*.”

    – James Tiptree, Jr., male persona of author Alice Sheldon.

  11. Enochrewt says:

    Men Mellow? I’ll beat you with my cane mutherf**ker.

  12. sammich says:

    anonimouse @ 2 – stave off osteoporosis with calcium and excercise and the (old people’s) world is ours!

  13. NicoNicoNico says:

    Oh, this is a gem. Best parts:

    >”…where there are no other major drawbacks, such as the Islamic attitude towards women…”
    Yes, they have it down pat.

    >”…a relatively young attractive woman could operate with some effectiveness, in a subordinate capacity.”
    Emphasize “attractive”. Can’t have any uglies polluting the workplace.

    > “If we had an important trade in women’s clothing and accessories, a woman might promote this more effectively than a man.”
    Yes, they need a woman’s touch, as man cannot comprehend the intricacies of shoe shopping.

    > “Relationships with businessmen would tend to be somewhat formal and guarded on both sides. This would make it more difficult for a woman to obtain information…”
    Why?

    > “It is extremely doubtful if a woman could, year after year, under a variety of conditions, stand the fairly severe strains and stresses, mentally and physically, which are a part of the life of a Trade Commissioner…”
    Oh really…

    > “A man normally has his household run efficiently by his wife, who also looks after much of the entertaining. A woman Trade Commissioner would have all this on top of her normal work…”
    Well, make the hubbie pick up the new work. Women don’t need to deal with the second shift.

    And of course there’s the quote from the end.

    Bravo, Australian government authorities in the 60′s, you really stood up for your beliefs.

  14. reginald says:

    Sir Les Patterson clearly did not Dame Edna Everage to become Australia’s Cultural Attache.

  15. Utopiana says:

    @17: Huh? Do I detect a little “oh, crap, more fodder for the manhaters”?

    Maybe I’m missing your point.

    I hope.

  16. AnoniMouse says:

    @Sammich
    *evil laugh* Awesome! We will rule this world with wisdom, sensible shoes, and daily glasses of red wine for our “health!”

  17. Utopiana says:

    Sorry, I meant #18.

  18. Anonymous says:

    True story: a few years later, Australia got its first female TV newsreader (she now plays Morag in Home and Away). She did one broadcast, then ONE guy complained to the station that women shouldn’t read the news “because you can’t trust women”. She got the sack straight away.

  19. Baldhead says:

    This was from an era where it was still quite normal for women to quite their job because of marriage. Heard of Betty McGlown? She was one of the original Supremes but quit when she got married- just after their initial success.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Well, it’s embarassing to look at now, but we Aussies still gave women the vote before the US :)
    (Except the Kiwi’s beat us all to it)

  21. adonai says:

    Bearing in mind the hue & cry that male politicians raise whenever a woman breastfeeds in Parliament, I’d say we haven’t advanced too far….

  22. Anonymous says:

    Uhhh… are the people posting from the USA by any chance? Because it was the same way here in the early 60s, and in some places until the mid 70s.

    My mother and my wife’s grandmother both lost their jobs in the 1960s because they got married. They were expected to devote themselves to their husbands so completely that they would be unable to perform their jobs properly. Probably true, too, in the case of my mom – my Dad couldn’t function without her. (Nana on the other hand could have ruled the world without breaking a sweat.)

  23. Spikeles says:

    Breastfeeding in Parliament? Heck, just the presence of a child is enough to send them into coniptions.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25657858-5013871,00.html

  24. Jewels Vern says:

    He has his priorities twisted. When you educate a young woman you educate a whole family.

  25. a_user says:

    Every time a thread like this comes to Boingboing, I find the irony of using misogyny to justify misandry a little too rich.

  26. mdh says:

    He has his priorities twisted. When you educate a young woman you educate a whole family.

    you missed the irony in the phrase “sage advice”.

  27. Anonymous says:

    This appears to be circa 1963 (13 March 1963), not 1969.

  28. Moriarty says:

    So there are people who think there’s nothing wrong with disruptive two-year-olds in parliament. Huh. What about murder trials? Operating rooms? Space missions?

    ::preempt easy joke comparing politicians to disruptive two-year-olds::

  29. Anonymous says:

    On top of all this, women had to give up government jobs when they got married, and the wives of police weren’t allowed to work in any job.

  30. minamisan says:

    The most surprising thing is that this is from ’60s Australia, and not present day.

  31. Takuan says:

    often thought men looking for good, solid, sane spouses should turn to Australia. The shit they have put up with from Australian men forges character like good steel.

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