After the Fair Work Commission’s decision in February to cut Sunday penalty rates for hospitality and retail workers, it was virtually impossible to scroll through Facebook without seeing a post urging angry workers to join their union. Union membership was presented as the means to resist not only the Commission’s decision, but all of the industrial woes of our time. However, there is a striking dissonance between the portrait of union power painted by our Facebook feeds, and the material reality.
Artificial women have served as temptresses and traps in myths, legends and fiction, usually constructed to reinforce or critique a misogynistic worldview in which all female emotion and compassion is seen as false and designed to manipulate men. The artificial woman is a familiar cinematic trope, and better entries in this milieu can present profound questions about gender, posthumanism, technological anxiety and romantic desire.
In Australia – a wealthy and democratic country – we have a wealth of ‘shit’. But most of ‘it’ is invisible: the imprisoned refugees hidden in the torture prisons on Nauru and Manus islands; the homeless people of Melbourne who will soon be removed from the city’s centre; Indigenous peoples whose individuality and personhood is obscured by the tabloid spectre of blackness that links Indigeneity to alcoholism, barbarity, and violence.
Things to see/read/take part in this International Women’s Day.
However, since the early 1990s, research has shown that rather than hitting a glass ceiling, men working in the ‘female professions’ take a ride on what sociologist Christine Williams famously termed ‘the glass escalator’. In 1992, she wrote, ‘men take their gender privilege with them when they enter predominantly female occupations; this translates into an advantage in spite of their numerical rarity’.