Do Your Homework.

21 Apr

Usually, I don’t do this, but it was too good to not answer it bit by bit…:

Gabriele Wolff, a jurist and fiction author who prides herself in “having analysed the devastating effects of feminism à la Alice Schwarzer on the state of law” (…LOL!), has published a reply to the various criticism Kristina Schröder’s book (and, you know, her general policies…) has received, including citing mine.

Of course, it is necessary for argumentatively forceful replies to entitle themselves with a hint of rebel and anti-political correctness, so her article is named “Kristina Schröder also says what has to be said”. Indeed, it is always a great selling point to construct your argument as the only voice of reason in a firestorm of mass media political correctness; as the sole keeper of truth and decency in this jungle (yes, I am using that consciously) of anti-racism and anti-sexism that leaves such devastating effects on public interests you alone have discovered, and to imagine yourself as being the censored minority publisher, when all you do is repeat the same arguments that every other Stammtisch and the millions of people who bought Thilo Sarrazin’s and Eva Herman’s book and will, without doubt, also buy Schröder’s, think and argue all along.

After having made this introductory maverick statement, Wolff continues that

und erntet dieselben Reflexe, die Günter Grass erfahren hat. Denn Feminismus-Kritik ist dasselbe verminte Gelände wie Israel-Kritik.

I find it marvellous that people have to step into every trap of cliché they possibly can to defend Schröder. Günther Grass has written a ‘poem’ that accused Israel of wanting to “eradicate” the Iranian people; he then complained about the “gleichschaltung” of the media (as you seem to do, dear Gabriele Wolff, but you have the sense to not use that word), and imagined himself, just as Wolff does, as the sole voice of reason in this politically correctness crazed world.

Indeed, what Wolff does here, is to play with the implicit belief that both feminism and Israel (as a state? As a government? As “the Jews”?) are so powerful and all-consuming forces that any form of criticism leads to inevitable, horrific repercussions (hence: the “mine field” analogy); a very subtle hint at the continuous and revoltingly anti-Semitic idea that both have a secret power network and are above democratic influence and are somehow capable of pulling every string. This is how antifeminist and anti-Israel prejudices work, apparently: regardless of the fact that an explicit and outspoken anti-feminist is now germany’s Federal Minister for women, and that Israel has been up for every form of criticism (and attack) since its existence, and middle-Eastern conflicts seem to be a little more complicated than what Günther Grass makes of them, somehow both feminism and Israel have been the secret victors all along.

Wolff then selectively cites a number of replies and reviews of Schröder’s book and policies from different media outlets to construct her argument that the “mass media” is somewhat hostile and can only attack ad hominem. I find it remarkable, however, that feminist outlets like Mädchenmannschaft and myself are now suddenly this country’s majority. Who knew? I don’t even know what to do with all that sudden power and discursive influence… :)

Und schon läuft die nächste Pressekampagne, angeschoben von den getroffenen Mainstream-Feministinnen in Medien und Politik, die zurecht aufheulen, wenn jemand die Entideologisierung der Geschlechterrollen fordert. Es ist mal wieder eine Scheindiskussion, die mit den realen Frauen nicht geführt werden könnte, denn die haben andere Sorgen. Und wie üblich kommt es zu einer Personalisierung, die an Unsachlichkeit nicht zu überbieten ist, wie ein Blick auf den Blog ›Mädchenmannschaft‹ belegt.

Ignoring the elaborately formulated criticsm on many feminist blogs and selectively going for frustrated one-liners, Wolff then claims that the debate about Kristina Schröder’s views and actions completely lacked objectivity [sic]. Sadly, this assertion is made in the same paragraph where the author states that “mainstream feminists of the media and politics” start to “howl” when someone asks for the “de-ideologisation” of gender roles. The author further writes that this was a strawman debate anyway, since “real women” were not part of it because they had “different worries”.

Let’s take this one apart step by step: although Wolff laments ad hominem attacks on Schröder, she seems perfectly alright with essentially calling all of the 10,000 women that have signed the Open Letter to Schröder within these past days no “real” women. It is quite interesting that even on Kristina Schröder’s personal fan page on Facebook, most of her defenders are male (just saying…). So, what are the “different worries” of “real women”, other than small women’s issues like equal pay, equal rights, family finances, and having acces to daycare spaces? Since these topics are, apparently, of no interest to “real women”, forgive me if I have to ask: is Eva Herman’s apple pie recipe?

Second: to associate Kristina Schröder with the de-ideologisation or de-construction of gender roles is a bit of an absurdity (and by a bit, I mean: total). Wolff ignores the fact that the de-construction and de-ideologisation of gender roles is one, if not the most, important part of feminist movements and ideologies. It is, however, not even remotely related to Kristina Schröder’s antifeminism and conservatism. Kristina Schröder falsely claims “freedom of choice” as a conservative value, whereas it actually is a value feminists have been fighting for for decades. Kristina Schröder’s policies run diametrically to freedom of choice in any case, because families who cannot afford to hire help privately or have a stay at home parent face enormous difficulties in finding a daycare space for their child – and Kristina Schröder’s policy of Betreuungsgeld is a mere deflection of that fact.

Since care work is still the almost exclusive domaine of women, this, in turn, leads to a re-ideologisation of women’s roles: Not only vertically, but also horizontally. Women will continue being responsible for care work, since there aren’t enough daycare spaces for children. Then again, women who can afford to hire help privately, are the ones who will mostly hire other women, who, in turn, in the care work sector, are often women of color and women with an “immigration” background and/or different social status. The social stratification Kristina Schröder’s policies perpetuate and reinforce, therefore, are the complete opposite of an de-ideologisation of gender roles. De-ideologisng gender roles is, and I can’t believe I have to write this, not really what conservatism is about. Not even the “new” conservatism of Angela Merkel and Ursula von der Leyen, which is more about pragmatism than actual equality. And if Wolff actually knew more about the processes that lead to new policies like “Elterngeld” and the affects, she would probably refrain from sweeping assertions like this one.

Wolff continues:

Kristina Schröder wird vorgeworfen, sich für das Betreuungsgeld einzusetzen.Das war nicht ihre Idee, sondern die der CSU, die es der CDU abtrotzte. Schröder hat insoweit nur die Wahl, zurückzutreten oder den entsprechenden Gesetzentwurf mit zusammengebissenen Zähnen vorzubereiten. Wählt sie die erste Option, erhält eine stramme Parteisoldatin ihren Job.

In what political world does Wolff live? Kristina Schröder is the minister for families, seniors, women and youth – she is the one with the authority and the duty to implement policies that are not detrimental to the well-being of the people of her reponsibility. Ironically, Wolff denies Schröder’s agency and competence and makes her a mere party loyalist, cynically holding on to power, maybe against her better judgment. Moreover, Wolff basically gives up politics for “the people” here (you know, that thing a representative democracy is actually about… not that anyone cared anyway…), and makes political decisions that affect millions of specific people about mere party politics. I find it interesting how Wolff constructs Kristina Schröder as a small party loyalist with no other choices and no voice of her own – one might even call that sexist…

Kristina Schröder wird vorgeworfen, den Kita-Ausbau nicht voranzutreiben.Der Kita-Ausbau ist Sache der Kommunen.

Really? Daycare is the sole reponsibility of local communities? The BMFSFJ begs to differ.

Kristina Schröder wird vorgeworfen, zu wenig für die Vereinbarkeit von Beruf und Familie zu tun. Diese Forderung muß zuständigkeitshalber an Frau von der Leyen adressiert werden.

Why? Why is not also the responsiblity of the federal minister for families, seniors, women and youth to further policies that help reconcile work and family lives? I agree that it is certainly not Schröder’s job alone – rather: the job of the entire government -, but Ursula von der Leyen sure wasn’t picky when she had Schröder’s office, and, yet again, Schröder’s agency and relative power are being denied here.

Kristina Schröder wird vorgeworfen, gegen die Frauenquote in Aufsichtsräten von DAX-Unternehmen zu sein. Man kann auch aus feministischen Gründen gegen Quotenfrauen sein: http://www.emma.de/hefte/ausgaben-2011/winter-2011/warnung-vor-der-quote/ Letztlich ist es ohnehin nur Symbolpolitik für ein paar happy few, die bei einigen Sitzungen im Jahr das abnicken, was die entscheidenden Aufsichtsratsausschüsse und der Vorsitzende ihnen präsentieren, wofür sie fürstlich entlohnt werden.

I am not even going to dignify the link to Emma with more than the remark that 1) Emma / = / Feminism as a whole, and 2) if Wolff had actually read the article, she would probably realize that it is a quite nuanced piece that counters her argument on several levels. It is quite funny, though, how Wolff suddenly discovers her love of social equality when it comes to quotas for women in germany’s top corporations and states that quotas would only help a “happy few” who would not really be in charge of anything but would get a boatload of money for saying Yes to the decisions other people make. Again: Wolff’s image of women in higher positions is that of loyal party soldiers who are not in charge of anything, really, but say Yes to everything. According to this, women have no agency at all.

I could question why it is so much more reprehensible to have a couple of women in the offices where other men do exactly the same, if one would follow Wólff’s logic that every executive board member is only affirming what someone else has decided for them already, but let’s get to the actual problem here: Despite the fact that massive corporations in germany, let’s take Lufthansa as an example, have a female workforce of at least 50%, the higher the ranks get, the thinner the air gets for women. People have traditionally called that the glass ceiling phenomenon, and it seems to hold true that while women are over-represented in very specific niches, such as the “classical” women’s jobs of Human Resource Management and Industrial Councils, the number of women in charge of actual decision making processes in germany’s DAX-noted corporations is almost negligable, namely 3.7 per cent. You call it a mere “symbolic” policy, I would call it a political decision and action to raise this percentage, to actively break through this very real glass ceiling. Fortunately or sadly, social change usually starts with this kind of “symbolism”.

The fact that quotas like these are profitable mostly for a very specific group of women – german, white, well-educated, well-off already – holds true and I am very happy that Wolff recognized that. What does not hold true, however, is the implication that once you implement quotas for DAX corporations, you are not allowed to do anything else for any other group of women at all…

Kristina Schröder wird vorgeworfen, nichts gegen den Gender Pay Gap in Höhe von 23 % zu unternehmen. Sorry, selbst wenn es ihn gäbe, wäre sie dafür ebensowenig zuständig. Das statistische Bundesamt konnte überdies nur eine Einkommenslücke von 8% entdecken, für die es noch keine Erklärung gibt. Aber Mythen leben eben lange…

Dear Gabriele Wolff: arguing with facts – it’s a thing! Because the Statistisches Bundesamt has actually come to the conclusion of a gender pay gap of 23%. And while some of them, you, some of other conservatives and people who cannot fathom the idea that sexism exists usually argue that this is  because of baby gap years, because women just magically choose different types of professions without any external influences and in a wonderfully pink-bubbly vacuum, because typical women’s professions are just magically valued less and, therefore, women earn less, it can also be broken down to the simple fact that, even in the same profession, with the same working hours and with the same education, men’s salaries are higher than women’s. Period. And you know why people are confronting Kristina Schröder with the lack of daycare facilities and the lack of women on executive boards? That’s because both are huge factors in the gender pay gap. And who is most harshly affected by gender pay gaps? Women of Color. And that’s an international problem.

Existiert in der Wirtschaft oder im öffentlichen Dienst auch nur ein einziger Tarifvertrag, in dem zwischen männlichen und weiblichen Arbeitnehmern/Angestellten differenziert wird? Haben wir nicht ein Antidiskriminierungsgesetz, nach dem auf gleiche Bezahlung geklagt werden kann? Gibt es nicht auch den Niedriglohnsektor für Männer (Wachschutz, Gebäudereiniger)? Werden Frauen gezwungen, in Branchen zu arbeiten, in denen weniger verdient wird als in anderen?

1. Yes, in a sense (…and by the way…).

2. Yes, but… (page 12)

3. Yes, but…

4. No, but…

Zwischen der sozialen und der Geschlechterfrage muß getrennt werden. Denn das abgehängte Drittel unserer Gesellschaft besteht aus Frauen, Männern und Kindern. Familien, Ledigen und Alten. Immigranten und Deutschen.

This is the most intersting paragraph to me, because, suddenly, it all comes down to an abstract “social question” for Gabriele Wolff that entails a third of “our society’s” people who have been “left behind”, and that third of the people entails… everyone. The logic is persuasive, of course, but, again, let’s take this one step at a time: to Wolff, “the social question” (which is: what? Class Warfare? Poverty? Racism? A combination of things?) is one that should be completely divided from the “gender question” (which is funny, because gender issues are inherently social issues, as they are inextricably linked to the persistent social structure), to then be able to talk about the “social question” that, again, entails gender (men* and women*), families, singles, the elderly, immigrants and germans (…by the way, Gabriele Wolff, that distinction is revolting!).

So, in Wolff’s view, we have to talk about all of this, but we’re not allowed to start with one aspect of discrimination. I am delighted that Wolff is a fan of intersectionality, but I am afraid she misunderstood the basic premise: gender questions are questions that concern children, elderly people, “immigrants”, people of color, people with german passports or without them, singles, families, etc. – gender issues are inextricably linked to all of these and vice versa. The only thing that gets left behind when framing a discourse of gender that takes other structural discriminations and privileges into account is the old and boring critique of Nebenwiderspruch. And we should be happy to see that go.

Die alle sind der Ministerin zutiefst dankbar, daß sie sich gegen eine Ideologie wendet, die in Wahrheit eine Gruppe bevorteilen und die andere diskriminieren will, ohne die realen Gegebenheiten in den Blick zu nehmen.

Gabriele Wolff presumes that she (…and Kristina Schröder? The “animosity/xenophobia towards germans in germany” person?) has both the right and the ability to speak for “women, men, children, elderly people, families, singles, immigrants, and germans.” Personally, I do not think she has that right or capability, but maybe that’s just me…

Indeed, the “real circumstances” that Wolff is denying here have been showcased over and over again in studies, in people’s lived realities, and have been linked on a multitude of blogs – yet, to Wolff and Schröder and people alike, those are “ideologies”, whereas their perception is actual reality. It is almost funny that Wolff states that gender equality is trying to secure advantages for one group of people, when the people who would actually be affected by gender equality are… everyone. Gabriele Wolff inadvertently makes the important point that gender equality must include the fight against racism, classism, hetero-sexism, cis-sexism, ableism and ageism – but I have the funny feeling that I might be better off fighting for that with people rooting for gender equality than with people who think they as white, german women are the perfect spokesperson for “immigrants” and can actually decide what “immigrants” think or do not think of an “ideology” as an alleged homogeneous group. Homogeneity seems to be a particular favourite of Wolff anyway, whereas gender issues, family politics, politics for single and married people, politics for men and women and children, politics for young and old people are much more diverse and interwoven than the alleged united anti-ideological front Wolff creates here could ever be.

To conclude: Nothing of your writing, Gabriele Wolff, in any way refutes the criticism that has rained its evil and vile wrath down on Kristina Schröder. Kristina Schröder, the federal minister also in charge of gender equality politics, however, has chosen to proclaim repeatedly and, finally, write a book about the silliness of gender equality politics. That is within her rights, of course. Actually, I applaud her for being explicit about her ideology, whereas you, Gabriele Wolff, disguise your ideology as an alleged common-knowledge reality. The personal right to write about every topic you want, the personal right to be anti-feminist, and the personal right to be german-nationalist do not, however, equal a right to not be criticised for these positions. Your right to critique the pushback Kristina Schröder has gotten does not make the criticism of Kristina Schröder invalid; if only, because the alleged “facts” you want to argue here are  nothing but your personal opinion, not backed up by anything than your self-proclaimed expertise on all the “real women” in this country.

The problem with that is: I am a real woman. And so are the thousands of women who have signed the Open Letter to Kristina Schröder. So are the thousands of women (and “real men”) who have spoken up. And if you want to refute some of their rightful claims that counter Schröder’s and your world view, please try harder next time.

9 Responses to “Do Your Homework.”

  1. kiturak April 22, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Dear accalmie,

    your blog makes me very happy. Sadly, at this point I am at a loss for more qualified or detailed statements. I am just now smiling blissfully and forgetting to read my book and cook my dinner. Thank you very much!

    signed,
    kiturak, happily blog-crushing stop! talking since 2011

  2. Marie April 22, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Thanks for this text. I was thinking to write about her myself, but I would never did it as great as you did here.
    I did try to discuss with her and her followers in hier blog. Wasn’t that productive.

    • accalmie April 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

      @kiturak: Aaaaw… ;)
      @Marie: Thank you! “Miriam K.” wants to publish the same things she wrote over at Gabriele Wolff on here, interspersed with lovely little insults, of course. I personally think that might push things too far, so I’ll give her the opportunity to think it through again :)…

  3. gabrielewolff April 22, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Usually, I do this: answering criticism bit by bit – if there is something like a substantial criticism. And as you are a ›real woman‹ like me (unfortunately I didn’t find an impressum and therefore you remain, at least for me, an anonymous woman), why shouldn’t I react?

    It’s a little bit disturbing, though. You say I cited your criticism towards Kristina Schröder – that’s not true; I just posted a posting from ›Mädchenmannschaft‹ which linked to your blog. I didn’t even read your blog-post:

    https://stoptalk.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/not-my-representatives/

    I just wanted to give my readers an opportunity to plunge into a very strange world with very strange labels which (your are no exception) are sticked on people who think freely and unbiased. Of course, Frau Schröder is a member of a conservative party and therefore not my cup of tea: but she’s clearly no »bad person« or a »conservative ideologist and activist, a german nationalist with racist tendencies«, as you name her. To call her a »anti-feminist«, what she is just like me, sounds like a praise for a »real woman« who is interested to make her own experiences, once she got away from Mom’s education. She is definitly not seeking other Moms who should judge her life. To make matters even more complicated: only unexperienced youngsters if not puberty-ridden human beings believe in ›Lebensentwürfe‹. Nobody can design his own life: there is always destiny, and I can tell you, it hits you. If you are lucky, not too soon.

    What do you gain, personally, when you use such diffamating phraseology? A feeling of moral supremacy? It’s just a cheap excuse for the waived obligation to argue. Let’s take this point:

    »Schröder refuses to amend gender-discriminatory fiscal policies (such as the german “Ehegattensplitting”)«

    I doubt whether you are sure what you are talking about: it’s about justice when the legal commitment of a couple to care about each other leads to a fair fiscal policy. And please, don’t be so biased as to presume that it’s regularly the salary of the husband which maintains a couple: there are also women who support their husbands, the classical example is the female teacher who earns the bread, and her husband is an artist with low income… I had never problems with this concept, and it’s just, if somebody, who cares for two, pays less tax than somebody who lives alone.

    You write:
    »I won’t spend a penny on this drivel, so I haven’t read it, but what I gather from her interviews, guest articles, excerpts from her book, and other people’s book reviews, her writing seems to be in line with her rambling: an oversimplifying, anti-feminist treatise about the magic awesomeness of individual freedoms; negating structural discrimination and evoking the very tiresome neoliberal construct of unlimited personal liberty and agency, and that if you face resistance or are discriminated against, it’s simply your fault and there’s no non-individual remedy, and that it’s certainly not a political issue.«

    Don’t you feel ashamed to judge a book without even having read it? What I do believe is that you nurture a horror concerning the concept of individual freedom. Your thinking depends on ideology and biases like handicapped people depend on wheelchairs. Of course Schröder has political concepts: she knows exactly that Germany needs more Kindergärten and that there has to be changes in the world of economy and labour (but that’s not in her ministry’s competence as well as tax laws).

    You write:
    »Yet, she is the one who will implement “Betreuungsgeld”, a monetary reward for every family that decides (and can afford) to not put their kids in daycare and either take care of the toddlers themselves (or rather: herself…) or hire someone privately, while selectively eliminating the additional financial support parents get within the first year of a child’s life (“Elterngeld”) for parents who are on welfare (“Hartz 4″).«

    You don’t realize that this is not her policy – it’s obvious that she hopes that the resistance of her own party may prevent this policy of the sister-party CSU – and please be fair: the scandal of eliminitating Hartz IV-Parents of the benefits of all social wellfare for children has nothing to do with her personal policy. Please address the responsible persons and parties, if you know which and who they were.

    You write:
    »Moreover, Kristina Schröder is not only a (ultra?)conservative when it comes to women’s rights, she’s also an Enthusiastic German, who tells fairy tales of the alarming rates of reverse racism [sic] and animosity towards german people in this country (germany…), of course: committed by “immigrants”. She was the one to not only cut funding for anti-racist and anti-fascist grassroots organizations, but to enforce the new ordeal that all of them now have to officially declare their love of the constitution.«

    You name it. She tried to please her party and win profile. That doesn’t make her an Enthusiastic German. By the way: the last project failed. And it was commitment to and not love of the constitution she wanted – that shouldn’t be an ordeal…

    You write:
    »She chose to shift the focus of “anti-extremist” work to the extremely outrageous german left-wing terrorism of sabotaging army vehicles and smashing paint bombs against buildings, while right-wing terrorists could travel the country and execute people they deemed “non-german” (…but that’s the same!). Moreover, taking up the right-wing slogan of “germany for germans”, Schröder was so generous to fund a project titled “Dortmund den Dortmundern” where neo-Nazis and “normal” teenagers were brought together in a nice circle to discuss the city’s “democratic” future.«

    Good gracious! I understand the desire to simplify: but this is too much. The criminal acts of these Nazi-terrorists, a very singular phenomenon, were detected last year, and many responsible agencies made mistakes in uncovering them. Until now it was just the former Innenminister Otto Schily (SPD) who regretted his failure (he excluded publicly a right-wing act of terror after a bomb exploded in Köln hurtig eleven turkish people). Where do you see any association with the educational teenager-program “Dortmund den Dortmundern”? A title that provokes no memories of the slogan “Germany for Germans” at all: Dortmund is a multikulti city. There are two ways to deal with right-wing youngsters: to leave the problem to police and justice-system (the punishing approach) or to try to change their ideology and re-integrate them (the dialogue approach). Both should be tried even if both may not succeed.

    There is nothing that justifies your perception of Kristina Schröder as a ۛ»bad person« with »nationalism and racist “tendencies”«.

    You write:
    »I understand that activist nitpicking can be annoying and that, sometimes, some form of protest is better than none. But to me, this is not a minor detail – this is unacceptable, and it showcases a lack of awareness and an abundance of white privilege in certain “professional”, german feminist circles. It also makes this letter really “safe” and ensures that some of the more prominent undersigned won’t face any repercussions and/or disadvantages in case they’re looking for a “gender mainstreaming”-labelled job offered by a political party or related organization at some point and want to use this in their portfolio…«

    Here I’m totally with you! “Professional” feminism is a very successful lobby-group and efficient job-machine: Gender Studies create jobs in Universities, political parties, administrations and big firms. Feminism is mainstream, and many female journalists (newspaper, TV) exploit their jobs to promote feminism.

    Your article about my post:

    http://gabrielewolff.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/kristina-schroder-sagt-auch-was-gesagt-werden-mus/

    is just a repetition of your article about Frau Schröder. Just one question:

    »Of course, it is necessary for argumentatively forceful replies to entitle themselves with a hint of rebel and anti-political correctness, so their article is named “Kristina Schröder also says what has to be said”.«

    Why do you say THEIR article? It’s just mine. After quoting some sentences from my article, you ask: »In what political world do Meiritz and Reimann live?« Who are these persons? Not me.

    The funniest point in your sadly non-arguing document is this link you posted, trying to prove that low income risk is higher for women than for men. Unfortunately the paper didn’t give clear clues. But on page 6 you can find a Gender Pay Gap of 8,3 % (as I published it). As the author is a woman and a professor with a gender studies background, you’ll believe ›her‹ facts.

    »Gender Pay Gap (2)
    • „bereinigter“ Gender Pay Gap: Indikator für Lohnunterschiede zwischen männlichen und weiblichen Beschäftigten mit vergleichbaren Eigenschaften
    – „Herausrechnung“ der Lohnunterschiede, die auf (beobachtbare)
    strukturelle Unterschiede zwischen männlichen und weiblichen
    Beschäftigten zurückgeführt werden können (2006: 13,9
    Prozentpunkte oder 62,7%)

    – Die restlichen 8,3 Prozentpunkte (bzw. 37,3%) des Unterschieds
    können nicht durch „Ausstattungsunterschiede“ von Männern und
    Frauen erklärt werden (Finke 2011)«

    http://www.uni-due.de/imperia/md/content/ekfg/hat_niedriglohn_ein_geschlecht.pdf

    Or this source:

    Statitistisches Bundesamt 2006
    “Verdienstunterschiede zwischen Männern und Frauen”
    http://www.familien-schutz.de/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Verdienstunterschiede-zwischen-Männern-und-Frauen.pdf

    »page V:
    “Der bereinigte Gender Pay Gap liegt in Deutschland bei etwa acht Prozent. Dies bedeutet, dass im Durchschnitt Frauen auch dann weniger als Männer verdienen, wenn sie vergleichbare Arbeit leisten. Der ermittelte Wert ist eine Obergrenze. Er wäre geringer ausgefallen, wenn der Berechnung weitere lohnrelevante Eigenschaften – vor allem Angaben zu Erwerbsunterbrechungen – zur Verfügung gestanden hätten.”

    Do you ever read your sources? I doubt it.

    I asked rhetorically expecting a NO:

    »Existiert in der Wirtschaft oder im öffentlichen Dienst auch nur ein einziger Tarifvertrag, in dem zwischen männlichen und weiblichen Arbeitnehmern/Angestellten differenziert wird?«

    You answered YES – twice!

    Your first ›proof‹ was this article:

    »Tarifverträge werden auf Diskriminierung von Frauen überprüft
    27.06.2000, 16:32 Uhr«
    http://www.handelsblatt.com/archiv/gemeinsames-projekt-der-oetv-und-der-stadt-hannover-tarifvertraege-werden-auf-diskriminierung-von-frauen-ueberprueft/1990884.html

    Do you know the result of this check whether there are discriminating clauses in Tarifverträgen of the city of Hannover?

    Your second proof was this article:

    http://www.sueddeutsche.de/karriere/diskriminierung-von-frauen-karriere-ist-maennersache-1.405283

    It contains not a word about discriminating labour contracts.

    That’s why I can conclude with your own words:
    »Please try harder next time.«

    • accalmie April 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      It’s a little bit disturbing, though. You say I cited your criticism towards Kristina Schröder – that’s not true; I just posted a posting from ›Mädchenmannschaft‹ which linked to your blog. I didn’t even read your blog-post

      Oh yes, Gabriele Wolff is here, everybody! The Oberstaatsanwältin felt the need to come and defend herself – awesome :)! I am so sorry that you did not read the article that you have linked on your own blog – that is a bad mistake to make.

      I just wanted to give my readers an opportunity to plunge into a very strange world with very strange labels which (your are no exception) are sticked on people who think freely and unbiased.

      That is a remarkable thing to say, especially for an academic and a writer (it’s “stuck”, by the way!). Not only are you the self-proclaimed arbiter of who is “free and unbiased” and who is living “in a very strange world with very strange labels”, thankfully including myself. The problem is: you are not “free” and “unbiased” – a quick look through your posts shows that quite well. What you do, is to disguise your anti-feminist ideology as “free and unbiased” thinking and, to be able to keep this up, then claim the capability to single-handedly decide who is part of your club and who is not. Personally, I find that very strange. Even stranger, you still have not explained your claim that what we apparent, strange ideologists, in contrast to you free and unbiased thinkers, are talking about here, namely issues like gender equality, equal pay, daycare spaces, family finances, “Elterngeld”, etc. is a discussion that is of no interest to “real women”. Since you deem yourself capable of speaking for all “real” women, I would be quite curious to know…?

      Of course, Frau Schröder is a member of a conservative party and therefore not my cup of tea: but she’s clearly no »bad person« or a »conservative ideologist and activist, a german nationalist with racist tendencies«, as you name her. To call her a »anti-feminist«, what she is just like me, sounds like a praise for a »real woman« who is interested to make her own experiences, once she got away from Mom’s education. She is definitly not seeking other Moms who should judge her life. To make matters even more complicated: only unexperienced youngsters if not puberty-ridden human beings believe in ›Lebensentwürfe‹. Nobody can design his own life: there is always destiny, and I can tell you, it hits you. If you are lucky, not too soon.

      Personally, I would have hoped for a little more elaborate line of argument than your “No, she is not” from someone who was trained in arguing. I do understand, however, your need to distance yourself from Schröder and deny her ideology, because, since you seem to enjoy aligning yourself with a Federal Minister, she needs to be “free and unbiased” too. You write that the conservative party is not your cup of tea – and while it might not be your cup, your flavour is still quite alike, as your past writing has shown. The Freudian gem about mothers you provided me here is something I will leave alone, since it might be too personal for you. However, I will tell you that I live a real life, and so do all the people who criticize Schröder, of whom you deem many to be “unexperienced youngsters” and “puberty-ridden” human beings, apparently. Not only are you revoltingly presumptuous here, I assure you we are all capable of living our lives without your condescension, and that no one here actually needs your lessons about life concepts and destiny (what a wonderful thing to bring up in a debate about gender politics and identity!). I realize that this is all some people have to offer in their need to look down on younger women and men who, shockingly, still think gender equality is a good idea, since I think what Kurt Tucholsky once wrote holds true: “Erfahrung heißt gar nichts. Man kann seine Sache auch 35 Jahre lang schlecht machen.” What you do here, is uncomfortably projecting your own life and your own perceptions, wrapped in the the wonderful gift paper of folksy wisdom and pseudo common-knowledge, onto other people – exactly what you condemn about “ideological” feminist thinking and its supposed proneness to ad hominem attacks (that your line of argument so carefully avoids here). If you are lucky, you, too, will realize that soon (…see what I did there? See how it’s neither useful nor shedding a good light on someone who finds this necessary? See how it only thinly disguises the act of actually dumping one’s own frustration on somebody else, desperately trying to make that look like a self-proclaimedly objective and factual “live and learn, as have I”-argument?).

      What do you gain, personally, when you use such diffamating phraseology? A feeling of moral supremacy? It’s just a cheap excuse for the waived obligation to argue.

      Since you are a lawyer, I will not have to refute the point that my evaluation of Kristina Schröder’s ideology is defamation; moreover, not even close to the defaming things Kristina Schröder makes a point of saying to the Turkish-German community, for example, on a regular basis, selectively citing studies that make the studies’ authors withdraw from her… Also, as far as I can tell, we are arguing right now (it did come as a surprise, though), and the feeling of moral superiority is usually reserved for the “free and unbiased” thinkers, as I have heard.

      Let’s take this point: »Schröder refuses to amend gender-discriminatory fiscal policies (such as the german “Ehegattensplitting”)« I doubt whether you are sure what you are talking about: it’s about justice when the legal commitment of a couple to care about each other leads to a fair fiscal policy. And please, don’t be so biased as to presume that it’s regularly the salary of the husband which maintains a couple: there are also women who support their husbands, the classical example is the female teacher who earns the bread, and her husband is an artist with low income… I had never problems with this concept, and it’s just, if somebody, who cares for two, pays less tax than somebody who lives alone.

      Yes, of course: you need to turn around the lived reality for a vast majority of women to seemingly make your argument work and to seemingly expose those secretly sexist ideologists who presume that women always make less. Since you also don’t believe in the gender pay gap (and it must be a belief, since facts just don’t seem to matter to you here, but more about that later), it seems to be less of a stretch. However, you know exactly what I am talking about, and I am tired of people who pretend they don’t. As examples: See 1, See 2.

      You write: »I won’t spend a penny on this drivel, so I haven’t read it, but what I gather from her interviews, guest articles, excerpts from her book, and other people’s book reviews, her writing seems to be in line with her rambling: an oversimplifying, anti-feminist treatise about the magic awesomeness of individual freedoms; negating structural discrimination and evoking the very tiresome neoliberal construct of unlimited personal liberty and agency, and that if you face resistance or are discriminated against, it’s simply your fault and there’s no non-individual remedy, and that it’s certainly not a political issue.« Don’t you feel ashamed to judge a book without even having read it? What I do believe is that you nurture a horror concerning the concept of individual freedom. Your thinking depends on ideology and biases like handicapped people depend on wheelchairs. Of course Schröder has political concepts: she knows exactly that Germany needs more Kindergärten and that there has to be changes in the world of economy and labour (but that’s not in her ministry’s competence as well as tax laws).

      I could take the high road here, but why? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for having this massive lack of reading comprehension? Because what I have written was not a book review – I have commented on Kristina Schröder’s ideology and subsequent policies, on the recent outrage it ensued, and what I think the criticism is lacking. Personally, I am thrilled about the ideal of individual liberty – if only it was a reality for most people in present social structures, and not just for a privileged few. Given the fact that you felt the need to put in a wheelchair analogy to make this politically-correctness-crazed youngster “howl out”, I suppose, it seems quite clear that shame is something you have yet to experience for yourself (but please, don’t get me wrong: you are marvellous indeed with passing judgment onto “ideologists” and evoking every condescending cliché possible – tip of the hat!). I am happy, however, that you know exactly what Kristina Schröder knows exactly, and that you agree that this country needs more Kindergärten. My nerves, they are calmed – it is, after all, your approval why people get out of bed in the morning.

      You write »Yet, she is the one who will implement “Betreuungsgeld”, a monetary reward for every family that decides (and can afford) to not put their kids in daycare and either take care of the toddlers themselves (or rather: herself…) or hire someone privately, while selectively eliminating the additional financial support parents get within the first year of a child’s life (“Elterngeld”) for parents who are on welfare (“Hartz 4″).« You don’t realize that this is not her policy – it’s obvious that she hopes that the resistance of her own party may prevent this policy of the sister-party CSU – and please be fair: the scandal of eliminitating Hartz IV-Parents of the benefits of all social wellfare for children has nothing to do with her personal policy. Please address the responsible persons and parties, if you know which and who they were.

      I realize that since you and Kristina Schröder, apparently, share the same mind, you need to defend her here, and I, again, am very happy that you agree that abolishing the financial aid for parents on welfare is a scandal. Nevertheless, I am baffled by your denial of any form of agency or authority for Kristina Schröder and your degradation of the Federal Minister to a mere party soldier. The funny thing is: Politics do not work without people, and while “Sachzwang” is a great word to hide behind, there are still people who have authority and responsibility for decisions. That Kristina Schröder does not make them by herself is quite clear, but you seem to follow her logic that women’s and family issues are just not political ones, and, therefore, a federal minister in charge of them can do nothing about it. The way you portray Kristina Schröder’s execution of her Office might even be called sexist…

      You write: »Moreover, Kristina Schröder is not only a (ultra?)conservative when it comes to women’s rights, she’s also an Enthusiastic German, who tells fairy tales of the alarming rates of reverse racism [sic] and animosity towards german people in this country (germany…), of course: committed by “immigrants”. She was the one to not only cut funding for anti-racist and anti-fascist grassroots organizations, but to enforce the new ordeal that all of them now have to officially declare their love of the constitution.« You name it. She tried to please her party and win profile. That doesn’t make her an Enthusiastic German. By the way: the last project failed. And it was commitment to and not love of the constitution she wanted – that shouldn’t be an ordeal…

      Yes, because “pleasing” your party and “winning profile” is what battling neo-Nazis is all about. Again, I miss a more argumentative line here than your simple “No, she isn’t.” And when you follow the history of “Dortmund den Dortmundern” closely, you will realize that the last people standing in defense of it was the BMFSFJ. Indeed, you, again, know “what she wanted”, namely, “commitment to and not love of the constitution” – very impressively argued. Of course, commitment to the constitution, as you name it, is not the slightest ordeal, since every single person has to regularly declare it when receiving public funding. Oh, wait… It is not the slightest ordeal for anti-racist organizations to be equated with neo-Nazis due to Kristina Schröder’s traditionalist extremism theory, to police the cast of mind of every cooperating person at two arms length, and to make the fight against neo-Nazis in this country one of begging for assistance while funds are cut. Yes, that is “free and unbiased” thinking, indeed.

      “You write: »She chose to shift the focus of “anti-extremist” work to the extremely outrageous german left-wing terrorism of sabotaging army vehicles and smashing paint bombs against buildings, while right-wing terrorists could travel the country and execute people they deemed “non-german” (…but that’s the same!). Moreover, taking up the right-wing slogan of “germany for germans”, Schröder was so generous to fund a project titled “Dortmund den Dortmundern” where neo-Nazis and “normal” teenagers were brought together in a nice circle to discuss the city’s “democratic” future.« Good gracious! I understand the desire to simplify: but this is too much. The criminal acts of these Nazi-terrorists, a very singular phenomenon, were detected last year, and many responsible agencies made mistakes in uncovering them. Until now it was just the former Innenminister Otto Schily (SPD) who regretted his failure (he excluded publicly a right-wing act of terror after a bomb exploded in Köln hurtig eleven turkish people). Where do you see any association with the educational teenager-program “Dortmund den Dortmundern”? A title that provokes no memories of the slogan “Germany for Germans” at all: Dortmund is a multikulti city. There are two ways to deal with right-wing youngsters: to leave the problem to police and justice-system (the punishing approach) or to try to change their ideology and re-integrate them (the dialogue approach). Both should be tried even if both may not succeed.

      You see, it are little things like this paragraph that show what kind of person you actually are. You choose to point out the singularity of NSU, ignoring the fact that NSU did not pop up out of nowhere as this “singular” phenomenon you make it out to be. NSU had a support network, NSU could count on the incompetence of the Verfassungsschutz for money and passports; NSU profited from the year long assumption that when people deemed non-german are murdered in this country, it can’t possibly be for that very same reason. Otto Schily is a good example for that kind of thinking that permeated (or permeates?) german society.
      The paragraph you are talking about was, in turn, talking about the ridiculousness of Kristina Schröder’s ideological approach of equating present right-wing movements and terrorism to left-wing movements and “terrorism” and her decision to shift the focus of “anti-extremist” work to the latter. Since Schröder (and you?) evidently do not trust the judgment of people who have done exactly that (the dialogue approach) in their social work for years (take the MBR in NRW, for example) who were basically up in arms about “Dortmund den Dortmundern”, she deemed it a good idea to give neo-Nazis a federally funded platform (…by the way, I do wonder: did they have to declare their “commitment” to the constitution before that or would that be too much of an ordeal…?), supporting a format that not only people who are professionally concerned with what you call “the dialogue approach” of re-integration were adamantly opposed to, but that was eventually withdrawn by the initiators. That “free and unbiased” thinkers such as yourself do not recognize the blatantly obvious take-up of a nationalist to right-wing discourse in the title of “Dortmund den Dortmundern” – a fact that even led the organizers to eventually try to drop that title… – just showcases your white privilege. Combined with your understanding of Israel criticism and minefields and the “immigrant” talk, you are making yourself quite clear.

      There is nothing that justifies your perception of Kristina Schröder as a ۛ»bad person« with »nationalism and racist “tendencies”«.

      You mean besides the number of examples and her political socialization? Oh, good (you had me worried there for a moment).

      You write: »I understand that activist nitpicking can be annoying and that, sometimes, some form of protest is better than none. But to me, this is not a minor detail – this is unacceptable, and it showcases a lack of awareness and an abundance of white privilege in certain “professional”, german feminist circles. It also makes this letter really “safe” and ensures that some of the more prominent undersigned won’t face any repercussions and/or disadvantages in case they’re looking for a “gender mainstreaming”-labelled job offered by a political party or related organization at some point and want to use this in their portfolio…« Here I’m totally with you! “Professional” feminism is a very successful lobby-group and efficient job-machine: Gender Studies create jobs in Universities, political parties, administrations and big firms. Feminism is mainstream, and many female journalists (newspaper, TV) exploit their jobs to promote feminism.

      Indeed (and please forgive the snark, but you, again, assume to be able to speak “common knowledge” that is, actually, nothing but your own perception): Gender Studies are a thriving industry where millions of Euros can be made, mirroring every university’s willingness and ability to hire hundreds of people every day; the sheer number of women in political parties, administrations and big firms and the feminist agenda they are pushing is mind-boggling; and to even think of the audacity of female journalists to write and talk about topics that concern at least half of the population (…I would say: everybody). That’s also why books like Eva Herman’s treatise sold millions of copies despite all the immensely powerful feminist pushback and that’s why germany has an anti-feminist minister also in charge of policies for women (which you deny, I know). Your reasoning, it is humbling.

      »Of course, it is necessary for argumentatively forceful replies to entitle themselves with a hint of rebel and anti-political correctness, so their article is named “Kristina Schröder also says what has to be said”.« Why do you say THEIR article? It’s just mine. After quoting some sentences from my article, you ask: »In what political world do Meiritz and Reimann live?« Who are these persons? Not me.

      I do apologise for that – for a moment I thought your blog was so popular to have a guest post (…silly me) by the journalists Meiritz and Reimann, until I realized that it mostly consisted of quotes by other people, and that the rest was all you. Imagine my delight! I am afraid I overlooked it in this paragraph. Sorry! What I do notice here, though, is that 1) you, again, do not even recognize the names of the people whose work you have quoted at length on your blog (…you even start out your own article with their names…), and 2) you have nothing to say about this reproach (nor are engaging with most of the critique about the alleged de-ideologisation and “real women” vs. no “real women” talk) . Now look at that…

      The funniest point in your sadly non-arguing document is this link you posted, trying to prove that low income risk is higher for women than for men. Unfortunately the paper didn’t give clear clues. But on page 6 you can find a Gender Pay Gap of 8,3 % (as I published it). As the author is a woman and a professor with a gender studies background, you’ll believe ›her‹ facts.

      Ah, Gabriele… If you read on, you see that the author both criticizes the 8.3% assumption you quoted from Fink and does give clues about possible reasons. But since she is an academic who does not make sweeping conclusions as you do (“free and unbiased”, I know…), it would be silly to take her seriously. As to the rest of your “rebuttal”: In the same paragraph I quoted the sources, I also mentioned that people at the Statistisches Bundesamt, you and other “free and unbiased” thinkers usually evoke the same explanations why it is “only really” 8 per cent and why that cannot be explained at all. If you look at the sources again, you see the critique of this line of argument. Update: I, sadly, forgot to link this very recent article that sums up the criticism of the “8% theory” (forgive me, Rheinsalon).

      I asked rhetorically expecting a NO: »Existiert in der Wirtschaft oder im öffentlichen Dienst auch nur ein einziger Tarifvertrag, in dem zwischen männlichen und weiblichen Arbeitnehmern/Angestellten differenziert wird?«

      Of course you did! You are a lawyer, and you know what questions to ask and which questions to better avoid – it’s all about presentation and perception here. You asked questions that could only be answered with a qualification – because you chose to focus on areas where progress has been made. You chose to neglect the area where, for example, the actual claims for quotas are being made: private corporations. Check the first link and second link again, please – html failed me last night (or rather: I failed it), but it has been corrected and I am just dying to hear your opinion on this one.

      It contains not a word about discriminating labour contracts.

      The old first one did, in fact (I do realize that it is too old, so there’s more in the other links), as does the actually intended one. And the second link says “by the way”, a subtle hint about the point I just made: you asked very specific questions about gender discrimination to, as you admit, inevitably receive a “No”. If you acknowledged the problems at hand for their complexity instead of chosing four very specifically focused rheotrical questions to further your moot point, and yet, accuse others of oversimplifications, that would, hopefully, not be the case anymore. So I opted for linking a piece that shows that, in public offices, it’s illegal to discriminate against women (…whereas structural discrimination persists), but that you are, thus, ignoring the actual problem of women working in the private job market sector. I really thought you would get that…

      That’s why I can conclude with your own words: »Please try harder next time.«

      Come up with your own punch line, would you? Thanks for playing.

      / Wolff-Engagement

      Everyone: I do like this video, have you seen it :)?
      http://www.br.de/fernsehen/bayerisches-fernsehen/sendungen/quer/120419-quer-schroeder100.html

      Update: well, look at that: Some judges do find the “extremism provision” (Extremismusklausel) to be an ordeal after all…

      • Gabriele Wolff April 22, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

        Wow. That is a lengthy reply, and I really tried to honour it by a substantial answer.

        […]

        If my comment was just No. 407 on your blog which started in May 2011, it seems that you are a person without feedback, not embedded in reality. I got more than 300 comments on my blog which started in March this year. I’m open to arguments – but if there are none: what can I do? Why do you think bloggers from ›Mädchenmannschaft‹ who promote you don’t argue against me? They know me: but prefer to label my postings as obnoxious. That means: they refuse to ague.

        Excuse me, but I didn’t find any hard argument in your comment that I could challenge. At least, to your pleasure, I will create my own closing punchline:

        I will never ever repeat the mistake to write ›sticked› instead of ›stuck‹. I’ve never dreamt I could learn that much by writings of a devoted feminist.

        P.S.
        I assure: if you ever dare to write in German and comment on my blog, I would neglect your mistakes. It’s the spirit (Geist) which counts.

        [This speaks for itself and is a beautiful example for the repeated need to focus on the fringes of the criticism they have faced and not engage with the actual critique, to continue ad hominem attacks and condescension, and the poor attempts at lazy, self-centered irony by self-proclaimedly “free and unbiased” people. Good thing I didn’t make any “hard arguments” for Wolff to challenge so she could gladly find her way out without writing that “substantial answer”, and for someone who is not afraid to dish it out on grammar mistakes and make fun of other people’s writing, you, dear Gabriele, sure can’t take it…

        To be clear: I made two changes to her comment: I deleted Wolff’s insult to a commenter on my blog, and several links to Gabriele Wolff’s blog.

        I have no interest in Wolff promoting it on here (but I do hope you make it to 408 reality bites in May, dear Gabriele – because comment frequency is the best way to argue against other bloggers, and is, without doubt, the clearest indicator for a blogger’s embeddedness in reality; especially, when people are commenting on posts that mainly consist of lengthy quotes of other people’s work) and if you, Gabriele Wolff, have something to say to other people, do it on your own blog (which, by all means, is a treat, if you have the stomach for this kind of thing…). Now, really: /Wolff.]

        • Name (notwendig) April 27, 2012 at 11:31 am #

          Oh, the irony! I guess priding oneself with comment frequency is not considered puberty-ridden (the more so as Ms Wolff’s commenters are the usual two dozen suspects found whenever antifeminist issues are discussed)…

          The real reason why the women who read (like me) and write “Maedchenmannschaft” don’t argue against you, Ms Wolff, is (at least as far as I’m concerned) that they don’t deem you capable of giving satisfaction. As the intelligent woman you most certainly are, that fact can’t have escaped you.

          So as much as I enjoy your style and reasoning, accalmie, I’m afraid your efforts regarding Ms Wolff are pointless. Then again, I would have missed a great. Thank you very much.

          • accalmie April 27, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

            Thank you. The whole exchange was rather… peculiar. I should have known better, but a puberty-ridden, unexperienced, biased, unfree, dubios and evilly censoring femi-weirdo who is trying to destroy The Truth™ can still hope, right? Also: OMG!!! A commenter!!! I can feel myself slipping into reality again… ;)

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