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The Pussy Pass is an Old-Fashioned Thing

This story in today’s NZ Herald shows how the pussy pass was the norm 50 years ago. Marjorie Ellingham poisoned food that she served to guests and this was later assumed to be a way of covering up her own suicide. She gave herself much more arsenic than she put in the others’ food, presumably so her death would look like food poisoning that had not killed the others. Apparently, she had been experimenting for some time feeding others doses of arsenic. A young son of her guests ended up dying after eating her arsenic-laced food.

The reaction at the time is mirrored by that of the article’s author 50 years later after she dug up news articles, inquest reports etc about the case. There was a great deal of excusing for this woman’s manslaughter. She was in a “tortured, depressed state”, she “reasoned that she alone would die”, she was actually really caring and considerate in trying to protect her family from the shame of a suicide by making it look like a food poisoning accident, it was never in her plan that a child would die, she was referred to later as a ‘madwoman’, she was a gentle woman who ‘never intended to cause the death of others’, it was the fault of her controlling mother and ‘neurotic’ father, and so on.

But imagine if it had been the father who carried out this poisoning. Most unlikely he would have been shown such understanding. He would have been an idiot placing others at risk with lethal substances, and a selfish bastard for depriving his wife and children of a provider in the first place rather than seeking help responsibly. His suicide would likely have been seen as an act of violent retribution to his wife.

In fact, Mrs Ellingham knew the boy was dying from her poisoning and she could have saved his life by admitting what she had done and with what. Instead she withheld that information and let him die before the doctors were able to identify the toxic agent. Giving arsenic to others at all was always going to place them at risk of serious harm or death and she made the choice to do so. She wasn’t too mad to plot and carry out her plan carefully and systematically over a long period, and she wasn’t too tortured or depressed to graciously host numerous people at her home on frequent occasions. One of her own children was found to have lethal quantities of arsenic in his body that had been administered over a long time, which tends to throw doubt on her assumed considerate intentions.

The pussy pass is the result of longstanding protection and compassion towards females at levels never shown towards males. Such special treatment runs deep and has hardly been dented in the drive to gender equality. The feminists have been silent concerning this form of gender inequality as for many other inequalities that favour women.