October 19, 2010

"Que sera sera."

"Que sera sera." 

In English, it means, whatever will be, will be. It's also the lyrics to a popular 1956 song made famous by Doris Day. In my family, it was like one of those "hand me down" songs that you knew made no bloody sense but loved all the same - I mean, come one, what bloody housewife asks her husband: "Will there be rainbows, day after day?" Unless of course she's already downing that Prozac with a bottle of wine and her best friend has become the microwave.

But it does beg the question, do girls have to ask what their future will hold and whose to say, the people answering will always be right?

Now I am pretty sure in 1956, there was very little opportunities for girls to start running countries or being CEOs of some top telecommunications companies and we're told, that's progress right, a step forward for women, but at what cost? Most women in these positions, as far as I can see, are women only because they possess the same bits as I do. It's a gender thing - once they get into these positions of power, they forget the entitlement of actually being and thinking like a female as if that, in itself, were a detriment. 

Let's take Paula Bennett for example: A previously single mother, at age 17, on the Domestic Purpose Benefit who, by all accounts, struggled like shit to provide food for her kids on the small governmental hand-out. Hats off to her, she got herself educated through governmental funding and, after some years, found herself in the role of New Zealand's Minister of Social Development and Employment. Hooray - finally, a role model, right? Wrong - barely has this woman had a chance to rip her tights sliding down a Parliamentary banister when she's putting procedures in place to axe the 'Training Incentive Scheme." The same 'scheme' that enabled her to study. Now she's questioning just who should be entitled to the DP benefit and putting measures in place that will, eventually, see single mothers forced to work. 

Now, there is nothing wrong with getting single parents to work for a living. Just not realistic when, first of all, there is a shortage of jobs (ask any unemployed person without kids) and childcare facilities are practically non-existent, and, here's the clincher, if you leave your kids to go to work, especially under the age of 14, then you're committing a crime. Well fuck me! How's that working for you?

Despite which, I really feel like encouraging my daughter to get into politics. I mean she doesn't need to have brains and she certainly doesn't need to be beautiful. But opportunity she will have and, because I am her mother, so too will I - by sheer default. What a wonderful, glorious, system. Finally I can get to jet-set all over the place, sit back, order whatever I want off the airline menu, and not once have to think - shit, whose paying for this crap? I will finally stop worrying about whether my own child will have a retirement fund cause in politics, it's a done deal. She will have a lifetime of free travel, even if she flunks after a few terms in office, and if I were her, I'd eat at that 5-star government restaurant every night and twice on Sundays - after all, it's cheaper than having to part with the public cost of a lettuce these days. As for healthcare, no problem. It will be paid for by the tax people, as will any housing cost, power, childcare, transport, phone - you know, all those expenses that, for the general public are fast becoming luxuries. 

I will need to install into my child the absolute and critical reality that, no matter what she does, she will not be liked. Tough, it goes with job - she can be popular some other time. She will need to be slightly clever however. Not in that "life changing" way but in knowing what the rules are in government so she take it to the limit and never be held accountable. Oh don't worry, I will also tell her - if you get caught, say nothing. Worse thing that can happen, as with Donna Awatere, is a wee stint in jail or, as with Winston Peters, you just lay low for a while and then come back once the dust has settled.

Whatever will be, will be....

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