Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Questions About Catherine Hakim

A journalist has just asked me to answer some questions about "Dr" Catherine Hakim and her forthcoming report about women in the workplace. [Spoiler alert: she thinks gender difference are all down to us hopeless women and our biological pre-destination for the kitchen and the scullery]

Anyway here is what I was asked and my answers - you may at some point see some of this quoted in an online paper called The Fresh Outlook.

What is your opinion on women's advancements in the workplace?

I think that women's advancement in the workplace is restricted by something called sexism. Reliable, tried and tested reports consistently show that it is discrimination, nothing else, at every level, that holds women back. The pay gap in this country is wide and shows little sign of narrowing at present.

Do you believe that equality has been achieved for women?

No, of course not. As a comedienne I am regularly told by promoters that they "simply" don't think women are funny. How can that be equality when my ability to do my job is pre-judged based on my gender? I battle daily to get half the work men around me get. I don't know a woman in any profession who hasn't been held back by sexism in some way at one time or another.

Do you think that women would like to marry a man who earns more than

I think women are all different. I wouldn't dream of generalising like that. I think most people, men and women, can see advantages in marrying someone who has a lot of money. I think that's obvious. And given how tough it is for women to progress in the workplace it seems likely that this would encourage them to seek other means of securing their - and their families - future financially. I don't think seeking a rich partner means a person doesn't want to work or wouldn't prefer to earn their money themselves. It's a very practical choice.

Do you think women see their role as the primary carer of children in the

Again some do and some don't. It would be weird, would it not, if women were all the same?And again those that do may do so because of what they sense as a biological urge, other may feel pressured to by society, family, and culture and others may do so because their workplace opportunities are so poor, they decide to focus their efforts elsewhere - or of course a combination of those reasons and others.

Further comment: This report has yet to be actually published so far as I can see. "Dr" Catherine Hakim is a terrible researcher. Last year she published a similarly misogynist report entitled "Erotic Capital" which I read and it's methodology was laughable. She quoted the book Belle De Jour as a key source without questioning it's veracity and made a series of bizarre and contradictory statements. That she is accepted by the academic elite serves only to highlight the entrenched and unquestioning sexism which permeates academia. That her "reports" are quoted as fact in every major newspaper before publication and peer review serves in turn to show the entrenched misogyny in the media. Only last year Cordelia Fine published a whole book (Delusions of Gender) debunking the "gender as innate" myths with painstaking, incontrovertible research and in a fun and easily readable way - it received little to no coverage. Personally I think every woman in the country should be sent a copy of that book and should gather as one and slowly beat Catherine Hakim to death with it.*

*Not the official view of the F-Word (through whom the request came) or the feminist movement. The official view of me however.


Chloe said...

Boom! Lovely stuff. Far superior, in both wit and accuracy, to 'Dr' Hakim.


But, but Dr. Hakim is an academic and this in itself means she knows more than non-academic women.

Remember women are responsible for not seizing work opportunities our male supremacist system so generously affords us. Therefore it is always women's fault for not taking these opportunities. Then, as Hakim claims 'women's and men's priorities are diametrically opposite' which is why women are responsible for family and parlour whereas men are the 'breadwinners.'

I blame feminists for attempting to change women's biological functions because as we all know and malestream media consistnently proves this - women are from venus and men are from mars!!

We can ignore Cordelia Fine's book because she is just claiming more 'feminist myths is she not??? And no I am not serious - but women such as Dr. Hakim who adhere to male supremacist lies are certain of having their spurious research published as 'facts' and not be subjected to claims 'your research is not sufficiently rigorous and engages in pre-conceived theories but little or no evidence to support your claims.'

Only feminist researchers are subjected to minute male-centric scrutiny because male-defined views of women's roles and aspirations are the real truth are they not?

frances1704 said...

Can I ask why you use the term 'comidienne' to describe yourself? As a feminist I go out of my way to use gender-neutral terms and call others-invariably men but not always- who still use terms like 'actress' or 'manageress.'

This is not intended as a slight- am genuinely curious. I know that many women dislike he male-as-default that this entails, so erasing female specificity ...

Great blog- keep up te good work, and calling out jokers like hakim.

Cruella said...

Hey Frances - yes you sure can ask. I guess I just see a lot of female acts using "comedian" and it feel like they're suggesting that their "lineage" is from the likes of Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce, Eddie Izzard, etc. The inference seems to be that all the greats of the past were men. But I think that's total rubbish and if people see me as a "descendant" of Lucille Ball and Joyce Grenfell then I couldn't be more pleased.

A few years ago I was involved with some shows that did comedy covers - where comics did a "cover version" of their favourite act from the past. All the women were covering male acts and it really felt to me like they were collaborating with the way that history tends to re-write itself and forget the great women of each era (herstory). So I decided to be "comedienne" and I have been ever since. I signed up for the shows and did Joyce and then later Sandra Bernhart (which according to one reviewer I was rubbish at because I was just as unfunny as her! ha!). I did Joyce again at some cabaret shows in Edinburgh during the festival this year and reminded me how amazing she was. Later another friend of mine Debra-Jane Appleby did the covers night with her cover of Maria Bamford which was rocking and then to bring things full circle a guy called Danny Hurst came and covered Victoria Wood which was ace.

butterflywings said...

Well said. *Signs up for beating of 'Dr' Hakim*.

frances1704 said...

That's great that you align yourself with a specifically female comedy lineage - a shame more of your fellow comics didn't do likewise. But then considering the lack of visibility of female comedians perhaps this isn't surprising.

joanhrobinson said...

I've been googling around for some time for Hakim's CV. Despite her numerous publications and lengthy work experience, I can't seem to find her educational background anywhere. She may be a researcher at LSE, but I can't seem to find anywhere what courses she has taught ("Professor") or where she earned a doctoral degree ("Dr."). Would love to know, if any of you guys can find it!

Because if my instinct is right, there might be a connection to the gist of some of her arguments (erotic capital >= education). . .

I could totally be wrong, so if she truly is "Dr." Hakim, I apologize Dr. Hakim.

If I'm right, screw you Ms. Hakim!