Louise Upston, Michele A’Court and Feminsism – A reader’s view


A reader emails about Michele A’Court’s column and Louise Upston’s comments regarding feminism. It is fair to say she is extremely annoyed.

Dear Cam,

I am not usually one to get angry at things I read in the paper. Nor am I a feminist. At least, not a feminist in the modern sense of the word.

Having read Michele A’Court’s recent article regarding Women’s Affairs Minister Louise Upston’s recent statements about her not branding herself a feminist, I was surprised to say the least at her supposedly ‘feminist’ interpretation of the Minister’s speech. I cannot for the life of me reconcile in my head what I hold to be true feminism and the drivel she spouted; and it was the final straw.

Let me clarify some things. I am, indeed, a woman. I may be young, at 22, but I do pay attention to world events and take the time to formulate my own opinions about our society. This is what I believe ‘feminism’ should be about: choice. A woman (in fact, any one) should have the right to choose what she would like to do with her life. She should be able to choose to perform in a beauty pageant without censure from others, and to feel good about herself in what she does; just as a woman should be allowed to choose to be a stay-at-home mother without such censure. I know personally I could not stay at home all day, but that does not mean that as a ‘career woman’ I should censure those who do make that choice. Just the same, I don’t think I would like to perform in a beauty pageant, but that does not mean I should hurl abuse at those women who do wish to participate and perhaps for them, it is their expression of themselves as a woman. When did feminism become reduced to a bunch of extremists censuring other women for doing what they want to do? Isn’t that what women in previous generations have fought against? 

A woman’s choice not to sympathise with the feminist movement is also something I believe in. Am I the only woman who agreed with Upston’s speech? As a Member of Parliament, she must want to represent ALL peoples’ concerns and issues – and feminism certainly alienates some people, no doubt about that. Not wanting to be branded a feminist is perfectly fair in my opinion. Certainly, her words could have been chosen better,  but what people like A’Court don’t seem to grasp is that the definition of feminism has changed in modern times. The most prevalent brand of ‘feminism’ I seem to encounter is that which could be better classified as mysandry (i.e. man-hating). These women seem to believe that men are now the ones to be oppressed, and it occurs daily. “Man up,” “grow a pair” – the culture of putting men down and insulting their masculinity is rampant in this society, and insults like these come out of women’s mouths just as much as men’s. Why can’t a man be sensitive if that’s in his nature? It concerns me that in the news we hear about how women are so unequal to men; but what of men’s inequality to women? Indulge me in a few examples: early childhood care, nannies, rape. These are all things in which men seem unequal, and let me tell you why: in the first two professions, men never get a look in, and why? Because women do not want men near their children. Again, why is that? Sexism, pure and simple. The third is something that angers me to no end, as a feminist and equal rights enthusiast: under New Zealand law, men cannot be raped. They can be ‘sexually assaulted’, but not raped. I cannot communicate how much that angers me.

Back to A’Court. She closes her article with this: “”I don’t ever want anyone to look at me,” Upston says, “and say ‘she’s there because she’s a female’.” Sorry, minister, but so far I can’t find any other reason why you got this job.” Excuse me, Michele, but do you not hear yourself? Spouting the sexist comments that feminists rail against daily? How ironic. I agree whole-heartedly with Upston; a woman should never be given a job because she is a woman. The left’s gender quota notions insult me deeply. A person should obtain a job because they are the ideal candidate, not as a result of their sex (or race).

The core truth is this: there will never be any such thing as complete equality of the sexes; and that’s something that brings me comfort. Want to know why? Because men and women ARE unequal. We are totally different in the way our biology works and the way in which we think and perform tasks. A small tidbit of advice from my grandmother (who is a pragmatic woman when it comes to such things, having been a nurse her whole life):

“What women don’t understand is that men approach tasks in a completely different way. When a woman has several tasks to complete, she will multitask; that is how we work. Men, however, like to perform one task at a time and to complete that task satisfactorily before moving on to the next. And that can frustrate a woman; she can’t understand why a man won’t jump to doing what she asks straight away, when he’s already engaged in another task. This leads to nagging, and to arguments.” Just something that may lead to peace in the household. Men are told to understand women; why should we not return the courtesy?

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.