Give me a hand, will you? Go over to the SMH and have a read of Emma Young’s piece titled “Maternity-leave Barbie? No Ken do”. After you’ve dry retched in reaction to the atrocious headline, try to work out exactly what Emma’s argument is. I’ve read the piece three times and I’m still a bit hazy on it.

824 words and no strong, overriding message. I mean, I get that despite being the 21st century women are still treated differently to men all around the world, and I get that paid maternity leave is a live issue in Australian politics, but the piece jumps from idea to idea and example to example so frantically that it’s difficult to find a coherent argument. What exactly is it that Young wanted me to take from her writing?

It’s like six degrees of Kevin Bacon, but with five degrees instead of six, and maternity leave instead of a shit actor. Here’s the trail so far as I can tell.

Michelle Obama > Angela Merkel > Barbie > Gail Trimble > Jade Goody > Paid maternity leave in Australia.

So help me out.

UPDATE: Compare and contrast with Catherine Deveny’s article in The Age.

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