Monday, June 13, 2011

Offspring

Asher Keddie & Kat Stewart
There's a show on Australian TV my wife likes to watch called Offspring. On the positive side, Offspring does show some of the nicer bits of inner Melbourne; it is quirkily humorous; and it shows the female characters as being just as flawed as the male ones. And the two lead female characters, Asher Keddie and Kat Stewart, are both attractive women.

But there is one aspect of the show which grates. Offspring brings delayed family formation into prime time.

The show is relationships focused. One sister (Keddie) is still dating inappropriate men; the other (Stewart) is partnered to an arty type of inner city man and is attempting to embark on motherhood.

The problem is that Keddie is a 37-year-old actress and Stewart is 38. The character played by Keddie is not really grown up yet. Nor is she choosing men she might reasonably end up marrying.

So we're expected to sit down and watch two actresses in their late 30s in the midst of dating and relationships drama you would more reasonably expect from women in their 20s.

What's more, the show plays to the vanities of "late bloomer" women by showing them going out with younger men (Stewart's on screen partner is played by a 34-year-old man; the Keddie character is going out with a young intern).

If the answer to this is "it's just a TV show, it's not real life, no-one would take the message seriously", then I'd point to the real life circumstances of both actresses. This is how things stand with Kat Stewart:

Stewart .... hopes to have a family. "That's something I definitely want to do," she says. "I do love children. In five years' time, it would be nice to have a kid or two."

She admits starting a family isn't something she'd given a lot of thought to until recently... But given she'll turn 39 in November, she's all too aware that priorities now have to be made.   [Sunday Herald Sun Magazine, June 12, 2011]

Priorities now have to be made? She's about to turn 39! As for Asher Keddie, she still, at age 37, hasn't made up her mind about children:

Keddie has always been open about the fact she isn’t sure if children are on the cards. “I feel so good about the way life is unfolding with my incredible husband. We’re living the life we always wanted and I just don’t know if children are going to be part of it.”

Which makes her curious as to why the question keeps coming up. “Why do people want to know? I don’t care if people want to have kids or not. But I’m not sure how I feel about it, so to discuss it any further would feel too personal, I suppose.”

I think it's a pity. Here we have two intelligent, attractive, married women and it's possible that neither of them will become mothers because the whole issue of motherhood has been pushed back in their lives to such a late age.

30 comments:

  1. You should be happy, its culling the liberal herd. I'm pretty sure those Asian traditionalists will cover their loss.

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  2. Stupid, feminazi, man-hating bitches like that do NOT deserve to reproduce! I'm with Anon1030 on this one; when stupid bitches like that don't reproduce, it CULLS the liberal, PC, fascist herd-a good thing for all of us.

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  3. I am confused about whether they are married or not. Up top it says keddie is dating and stewart is "partnered" (whatever that means) but at the bottom it says they are both married.

    Whatever the case, I see cats in their futures...

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  4. They are not man-hating, just dumb followers of liberal autonomy theory.

    They may start hating men when they get dumped for younger, fertile women, heh heh.

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  5. Hey Mark,

    Well first off you must realize that acting is a career in which women that are like me get culled back in Drama School. My drama teachers/casting agents sniffed me out like wolves and that's actually how I started seeing "the bigger picture" of how things worked and became the wonderful evil OzCon Commenter that I am today.

    So these two actresses are not representative of the overall population.

    BUT...Since I am over the hill now that my birthday was last week..(FTR I look like a teenager still and when I was 25 I was submitted for roles of like highschool students...most men thought I was underage!)

    The age of having sex the first time is highly heritable.

    Now obviously I don't know much about my parents...but I do know that one of their ages was quite high. Like really high. And the other was pretty darn high too.

    So....if that is heritable...Then it would be no suprise that I would get married sometime in my 30s.

    ???

    Thoughts?

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  6. Anon,

    Its one thing to get married in your thirties its another to keep pushing childhood back and back or barely think about it. If your mindset is like that you'll start thinking, why even have kids? Dirty nappies and demands on your time, if you want to live la vida loca they're a nightmare. We do have to show women other role models than this or else they'll be busy doing offspring stuff until its left too late. By the way in answer to the question "why it is anyone's business whether I have kids or not?". Well is it anyone's business whether you get a Logie (Emmy)? If you got one you'd be trumpeting that everywhere, well kids are a far bigger and prouder accomplishment than a stupid tv show.

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  7. I am confused about whether they are married or not.

    The characters are not married, though one has a partner (a bloke she is living with long-term but not married to). The actresses are both married.

    You should be happy, it's culling the liberal herd.

    The problem is that whatever the middle-class Anglo liberals decide is the new life script tends to become the norm for middle-class Anglo life in general - at least here in Australia it does.

    So if you're a more traditionalist Anglo middle-class man, what are you supposed to do if the women you'd like to date have decided it's fashionable to leave marriage and motherhood till their late 30s?

    Stupid, feminazi, man-hating bitches like that do NOT deserve to reproduce!

    I'd leave that for the leaders. Asher Keddie and Kat Stewart aren't political leaders or theorists. They've picked up on trends in modern society that are likely to deprive them of the chance to have children.

    Yes, it has a detrimental impact on men. When these women defer serious family commitments to so late in life, it usually means that they reject offers from perfectly good men when they are younger.

    So we have to convince the next generation of women not to make the same mistakes. It's going to be one of the fronts in the next round of the culture wars.

    We need to take the time to explain our position.

    acting is a career in which women that are like me get culled back in Drama School.

    You were thought not adequately left-wing?

    So....if that is heritable...Then it would be no suprise that I would get married sometime in my 30s.

    In a normal society you'd be married already, regardless of genetic predispositions.

    No, I don't think it has much to do with genetics. You're living in a culture which makes family formation difficult. You have to persevere, though, regardless of the unnecessary obstacles put in your way. We don't have the choice of waiting for a non-liberal culture to appear and to put things right. We have to deal with things as they are for the time being.

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  8. if that is heritable...Then it would be no suprise that I would get married sometime in my 30s.

    Genes do not control you. At most they influence you. Unfortunately, today the greatest influence is the crazy liberal dogma that women should "have fun" and focus on education and career in their 20s and 30s, and leave family until the late 30s if at all.

    If you don't have a kid yet... make it happen! It doesn't get any easier as you get older.

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  9. "Stupid, feminazi, man-hating bitches like that do NOT deserve to reproduce!

    I'd leave that for the leaders. Asher Keddie and Kat Stewart aren't political leaders or theorists."

    I think its a mistake to see these actresses are simply pretty faces going along with whichever ideas are dominant. They are quite open in their feminist ideas. The statement, "whether I have children or not is nobody else's business" is a classic feminist one that society shouldn't pressure women, or have a stake, in whether they have children.

    Keddie's recent television hit in playing Ita Buttrose, a newly discovered feminist icon, was feminist hagiography. So now Ita through her magazine Cleo apparently didn't just get women to shop but also gave them their freedom. These actresses know what they're doing, and they act it out in their careers and lives. Should you look at their bookshelves they'd be full of feminist theory and if asked they would support it wholeheartedly. After all so much of feminist theory is designed for them, go-getting, and fun loving, career types who spurn or have little regard for family creation.

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  10. It's a good and encouraging trend that left-liberals and right-liberals reproduce little to zero due to their ideology (environmentalism and feminism). All that is needed is capturing the arts, academia and perhaps media.

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  11. Unfortunately, today the greatest influence is the crazy liberal dogma that women should "have fun" and focus on education and career in their 20s and 30s, and leave family until the late 30s if at all.

    Since college degrees are mostly worthless nowadays (in the academic sense) it's probably advisable for students to do vocational degrees, at a community/state college (cheaper) and in a short period of time. They can also obtain university degrees online (shorter and more efficient). I will study only 3-4 years at college while simultaneously looking for a husband. I'm 18 now so I guess I will finish at 23 and be married at 24-25.

    alcestiseshtemoa.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/college-plan-while-in-the-usa-nursing-degree-major-and-philosophy-minor/

    Note: I will not start looking at 23 for a husband but sooner...when I start college next year. I'll be 19 by then.

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  12. I'm so far removed from this mindset that its hard to imagine these are actual thinking people. They talk about having children as if kids are pet dogs or cats. Are either of these women married ? A child should have a mother AND father. At their age, its too late biologically/genetically. Downs syndrome, for one dysfunction, is much more likely at affect an older mother's offspring. They should just carry on with their lives as mental and emotional teenagers.

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  13. It's possible for a 40 year old woman to find a man, marry and start a family - my wife's best friend did it. But she had to totally change her life - leave San Francisco and her glamorous career with Apple to go to Atlanta, where she had family and there are a decent number of marriageable men. And of course her standards for marriageability had to be a lot lower than in her '20s, when she could have had her pick. But she did it, she's a married mother now.

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  14. 'They are quite open in their feminist ideas. The statement, "whether I have children or not is nobody else's business" is a classic feminist one that society shouldn't pressure women, or have a stake, in whether they have children.'
    @ Jesse_7: This is probably neither here nor there, but in my honest opinion, it is libel to denigrate two great actresses ("feminazi bitches")on false assumptions. I DON'T think that it is anybody's business whether Keddie has children or not, nor do I think this is purely a feminist concern. Rather, it involves the right to distinguish a boundary between the private and public spheres. I figure that this would be all the more important to Keddie given the scrutiny of the media in the lives of celebrities. In regards to some of the concerns about women starting families later in life, I respectfully disagree. The trend is not that women necessarily have children in their late 30's and 40's, but that they shouldn't be denigrated for having done so. It's not about being "a mental teenager" and it's ludicrous to group both "having fun" and focusing on "education and career" in the same negative boat, so to speak. Isn't learning a worthy pursuit? (and isn't working?) call me an idealist but I'd like to believe that education is about more than gaining qualifications for work, so I really don't resent women for spending more time in uni. I find it abhorrent that some of the comments are so accusatory, insulting and sexist. Even if one does lament the erosion of the family values put forward, such criticisms could just as well be leveled at the male population.

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  15. I DON'T think that it is anybody's business whether Keddie has children or not

    If it is part of a larger social trend (which it is: 43% of uni educated women aged 33 to 46 have not had children), then of course it is our business. It means that the Western middle class is failing to reproduce. Unless you're such an individualist that you think that only one person or one generation matters, then it ought to be a great concern.

    The trend is not that women necessarily have children in their late 30's and 40's, but that they shouldn't be denigrated for having done so.

    I don't really understand the point you are making here, but you go on to defend the idea of people pursuing education.

    I agree that the pursuit of education is generally to be commended. But that can happen in the period 18 to 25. It doesn't explain why a woman would delay deciding about motherhood until her late 30s.

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  16. G´day:

    Interesting text!
    I´ve admiring the great actress Asher Keddie for a long time...
    Some of her films were a hit in my country - FORTESS/THE LAST FRONTIER/LOVE MY WAY/REDBALL; she was good - and seems to be a nice person.
    Well, I read she is ALREADY 37: and I know she was born in 1974 (same year as me!)... So she is older than me; I´ll turn 37 in December. And does anyone know her birthday?

    See ya,
    Rodrigo (Brazil)

    zip-mail@zipmail.com.br
    http://rodrigo-arte.blogspot.com/

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  17. Life must be so damn easy to be a man or a woman where everything just falls into place. Children are not for everyone and that's OK. I'm a 38 year old woman and can't have children and get so down and suffocated by everyone judging me for not reproducing without knowing the story behind why I'm childless. As a woman, you are judged if you become a mother too early and judged if you leave it too late. You have about a 10 year window of when it is socially acceptable to reproduce when the fact is it is NO-ONES BUSINESS!! Stop being all moralistic and just concentrate on your own lives. Life is too bloody hard as it is for a lot of us and most of it is as a result of smug people covering their own insecurities by judging everyone else. Butt out and respect people no matter how they live their own lives. There is no rule book and some of us are just plain unlucky to get dealt a crap hand in life and are trying our hardest just to get through each day. Children or not.

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  18. Anon,

    I'm sorry you've had troubles having children. But you're wrong when you say that the issue of reproduction is nobody's business. First, it causes hurt when people are unnecessarily hindered from starting families. Second, a community has an interest in there being another generation to carry things on.

    So a community has to try to ease the path to family formation rather than complicating it. Our society doesn't do a good job of this. We encourage too much of a delay, making the available time frame too short. It's something that has to be criticised, so that the next generation doesn't experience the same problems.

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  19. What a profoundly offensive post. Until you've walked in those shoes, keep quiet.

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  20. What a profoundly offensive post. Until you've walked in those shoes, keep quiet.

    What makes you think I've never walked in those shoes? You've made a false assumption.

    And even if you hadn't made a false assumption I reject the idea that a culture of delayed family formation is off limits to public discussion.

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  21. Sorry, is your name Asher Keddie or Kat Stewart? Theirs are the shoes I refer to.

    I take your point that you have been affected by a decision to start a family late. I'm genuinely sorry if so. That would be heartbreaking.

    It would be better to talk about that to make your point though, rather than criticizing two people you don't know, or judging a large group of women's circumstances.

    Many of those women look like offspring characters, but their hearts are breaking because they wanted kids in their twenties but were treated abusively or couldn't find a decent (not amazing, decent) guy. Several of my friends are fine Christians who believe that they need to be with a Christian to follow the bibles teaching, and Christian husbands are seriously thin on the ground. These great people are making the most of their lives and opportunities, but I can tell you that an already painful situation is made far worse by judgement and the kind of scorn poured out here by people who don't know their situation.

    That's why I wrote what I did. I am a conservative. I recognize the wisdom of not leaving it too late. I am not in their situation. But it's horrible to attack the choices of two real women you don't know on a matter that's so personal. You dont know Keddie and Stewarts circumstances any more than i know yours. What gets printed can rarely be relied upon. By all means talk about the bigger issue - but without judging. that's the only way anyone you want to convince will listen to what you have to say.

    And it wouldn't hurt to point out that many of the comments on this board are just plain nasty.

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  22. Anon,

    You're making the mistake of personalising an argument.

    I'm not writing about women who were treated abusively in their 20s or who seriously pitched at decent, ordinary men in their 20s but who lucked out.

    The middle-class women of my generation were urged to delay family formation until some late point in their 30s. That was seriously disruptive to marriage and parenthood.

    I'm not going to refrain from criticising this larger trend because of a fear of being "judgemental".

    Also, looking back at this post, I criticised Kat Stewart and Asher Keddie for very specific comments, namely that one asserted in her late 30s that it was now time to prioritise the issue of children, whilst the other is still uncertain of whether she actually wants children in her late 30s.

    I also criticised the TV show for portraying women still being flaky about family formation in their late 30s, rather than having a more serious orientation to it in their mid-20s.

    Anon, have you ever considered that if these issues had been tackled twenty or thirty years ago, then perhaps some of your friends might not be in such a difficult situation.

    The churches in particular, rather than being mute on the issue for fear of offending someone, should have loudly criticised the culture of delay as quite predictably bringing future pain to many people.

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  23. Citing two real women, not characters, personalises your argument. The scathing tone you use about Keddie and Stewart about deeply personal issues attacks them personally. It is not respectful of them, or of the fact that a few quotes to celebrity journalists cannot possibly sum up their whole journey on this issue. How do you know that the journalist didn't add "priorities need to be made"?

    I am bothering to write because real people read these comments, like the other anon above, and it affects them in real ways. You can hear her anguish under the anger. It's an argument that IS personal.

    By all means discuss the trend, by all means share your view. It's a genuinely important facet of modern life that you're highlighting. Just do that without being judgmental, critical and damaging towards real people, and by clearly stating that you understand things aren't always easy for everyone and expressing empathy over the complex, painful decisions that sometimes lead to those situations.

    And you can also respond as carefully to posts that are outright abusive as you have to these. A storm of judgement will not make younger women more open to listening to what older generations have learned.


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  24. Anon,

    I did not use a scathing tone in discussing the situation of the two actresses. How can you interpret the following as scathing?

    "I think it's a pity. Here we have two intelligent, attractive, married women and it's possible that neither of them will become mothers"

    I don't think the problem is that I have been insensitive. I think the problem is that you are overly sensitive, to the point that a free discussion of important issues becomes difficult if not impossible.

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  25. Whatever Mark, I give up. In your real life youmight be nice. You really don't sound like someone wanting others to avoid pain right now.

    Discussing ideas is impossible? I said what you had to say was important. Terribly sensitive, yes.

    "Priorities have to be made! She's about to turn 39. As for Asher Keddie she still, at age 37, hasn't made up her mind about children." Scathing, and rude, and illinformed -Asher Keddie declined to talk about this further because it felt too personal. That could mean anything, including fertility issues. It definitely means, politely, "back off, this is none of your business." And it's not.

    You've lost a reader, someone squarely in your demographic. If you want to influence people's thinking, show respect for people. See ya.

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  26. Anon,

    I think if an impartial observer read our exchange they would think that it was you who was the more rude and aggressive. I have discussed the issues without making personal attacks, but you seem ready to do so.

    Also, and most importantly, when I write this blog I do try to consider the likely response of women. I do try to keep in mind the existence of the other sex.

    But you seem to lack awareness of men in what you write. You seem unaware that men, as a different sex and a different way of approaching things, exist.

    I'm not at all surprised that you can't stomach this blog, because the writer and most of the commenters on this blog are male and we naturally express this in the way we communicate with each other.

    I suppose what I'm trying to say is that you're not a woman who seems willing to meet men half way. You want instead to impose your own mentality, one that most of the people at this site can't be expected to comprehend let alone share.

    So again I'm not at all surprised that there is a parting of the ways.

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  27. My name's Garry. So I'm aware men exist.

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  28. Well, that goes to show how different we are that I would make such a mistake.

    Garry, I don't know where you got your values from. They seem unbalanced to me.

    Perhaps one of the problems has to do with the issue of judgement. In the Christian tradition we are supposed to not be judgemental in the sense of being sanctimonious - as that is a kind of prideful arrogance that separates us from God.

    But we are supposed to, as an act of caritas, want the good for other people, and that means criticising harmful acts or decisions that they make. It would not be an act of caritas to avoid such criticism out of fear of giving offense. In that sense, judgement rightly motivated is a properly Christian act.

    In the liberal tradition we are supposed not to judge because that then limits the autonomy of the individual to choose freely and this autonomy is held to be a key defining point of a person's humanity. It is self-creating choices which are thought to create meaning for the individual and so if we criticise these choices we are denying the central, defining aspect of an individual's life. Therefore, liberalism stresses "negative" qualities like non-judgementalism, non-discrimination, respect and so on.

    I suspect you have come to your values either through liberalism or through an unorthodox take on Christianity - or perhaps a mixture of both.

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  29. To respond to both this post and the one you deleted, which read "you're a man and you're worried about me being nice??" ...

    You're preaching Christianity to me and you don't think being nice is that important?

    The Bible says "speak the truth with love". Do both.

    Jesus was a man, and, if you call being full of unconditional love nice, then very nice. Spoke the truth and laid down his life for love of humanity. Took issue with the establishment and was gentle with individuals.

    I've said my bit. Over and out.

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  30. Ah, so it's the modernist understanding of Christianity.

    Well, thank you for responding, but take care to avoid modern heresies within the Christian churches, especially those in which unconditional love ends up erasing right and wrong.

    Garry, you have to be a lot more than "nice", not only to function in the world as a man, but also to be the spiritual man the Bible calls you to be.

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