You want it all? Sorry, you can’t have it.
You can’t have it all. That’s a self-evident truth.
You can’t have all the pies and all the ciggies and also have all the gold medals and grand finals. Well, not unless you also have all the sports scientists and all the banned substances as well, maybe.
So when the coolly coiffed deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop came out on the weekend saying women couldn’t “have it all” you could be forgiven for thinking she made sense.
The “having it all” furphy was an exquisite way to grab a headline, wrench open the maw of a hokey debate, and then let a diatribe about feminist attacks on Abbott – and a snarky stab at Prime Minister Julia Gillard - tumble out. It also let the Opposition suck some of the oxygen away from the Government’s plans for working families, working families being bread and butter fodder for election campaigns.
Ms Bishop forgot two things, though. The first is, again, self evident. No one can “have it all”. The phrase itself reflects a retrograde notion that women must choose between work and children. Black and white. Not juggle both, successfully, but choose.
People are forced to make sacrifices all the time, and women sometimes have to sacrifice career advancement for child rearing, and vice versa. But they can still have both children and a successful career.
Ms Bishop forgot that men cannot have it all either. Pies, cigarettes, gold medals. They can’t be 007 and a house husband. They make sacrifices, too. No one can be everything.
She also apparently forgot to consider how this would make successful mothers feel. Is she telling them that their careers are lesser because they had children? Or is she telling them that they failed their children because they’ve had successful careers?
Either way, by saying they can’t “have it all”, with a little caveat about being rich or superhuman, she’s shanking a lot of women who have done a bloody good job on both.
And she’s done that at a time when the Opposition could be trying a bit harder to win women over.
Not that the Opposition has too much to worry about right now. The Government is, for them, the gift that keeps on wrapping itself up in increasingly frayed knots.
In the end, they couldn’t even take full advantage of the perfect headline storm of drugs, sport and organised crime. The Government talked tough, clawed back control of the news cycle for a shining moment, and promised action.
And so it became the darkest day, the shame of the nation, an occasion for investigating the deepest depths of dozens of navels.
Generally, people’s betrayal seemed to be because of the drug cheats, and not so much the corruption.
It’s not good. But the Government quickly looked like it had been overly eager to deliver the dire news.
The point has been made that innocent people had their reputations tarnished.
Another important point to be made is that all the supplements and untested substances and weekend snorts got lumped in together to create a picture of an unparalleled drug frenzy.
Some of the banned substances are legally available but banned in sport. Some, like the calf’s blood and the pigs’ brains are probably more offensive to vegetarians than they are to our laws.
Too many people were painted as Armstrong-style dopers, and some may be, but many of them would also be young, vulnerable to influence, desperate to win, and just wanting to do whatever it takes to get back in the game.
They just want it all.
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