Trawling the memories — 8 Comments

  1. I would imgine that the representation of a woman waiting has historically has more to do with womans’ position in society. Men would be ‘out there’ fishing and fighting, even the older man would have had their time, women would be waiting for the men to return to enable their roles to continue in a ‘traditional’ manner.

    During the miners’ strikes in the late 70’s/early 80’s, it was considered newsworthy that some women joined the men on the picket lines. The media still primarily focused on the women who set up community kitchens and charity bases for those who had nothing – this was a role that was recognisable and understood (and was valid and commendable).

    That the ‘heartbreak’ of a people is represented by a woman is not suprising in either context . Have you considered that it may be something as simplistic as Ireland – as most countries- is symbolically portrayed as a mother/woman?

    I hesitate to say this, the final paragraph of your item from 2006 is written firmly from a patriarchal mindset – although I guess that you thought it was written from quite the opposite perspective.

  2. Bette,


    As a matter of interest, in a context of relativism, how would you maintain that a feminist perspective is more valid than a conservative patriarchal perspective?

  3. It’s a moving statue alright. Why a woman? I think because they’re symbols of nurturing and empathy I don’t think it’s a sexist statement at all. But you’d have to ask the sculptor. Besides a man with outstretched arms would look silly. Big boys don’t cry remember!

    And . . not just the men in exile . . a quick look at our transportation and settler lists would highlight a great number of women who came out here against their will or as hopeful exiles.

  4. I don’t suggest that a feminist perspective is more valid, I wanted to offer an alternative. There is an overwhelming tendancy for the conservative patriarchal perspective to be the ‘norm’.
    As a liberal feminist I merely ‘offer’ people an alternative reading – to make them think – I don’t argue that they have to accept it!

  5. What suprises me is that people don’t challenge why/how they think. On a personal level men have found it bizarre when I offer an alternative reading of events (I have been insulted in a variety of ways for even offering the mildest alternative reading…)

  6. I always enjoy banter with radical feminists, they think their narrative is normative with the same degree of certainty as religious fundamentalists!

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