I am a female professional in my early sixties. And I watch with interest at the outrage that goes on about things that don’t matter at all.
The latest is the raft of attacks by feminist brigade – on Donald Trump, for starters. Was it just ‘locker room talk’? Or does it show something far more sinister – an attitude of deep misogyny?
Who knows? He wasn’t running for President at the time, and he admitted that he got nowhere with the lady in question. So what’s the big deal?
And now Paul Henry. So, he likes women’s breasts. Show me a heterosexual male that doesn’t. And all these modern day feminists – one of whom works on a rival breakfast show, conveniently forgetting how much help she had from the man in question – who are trying to take an advantage.
It is shameful. Hypocritical and shameful.
I grew up in the Seventies – when, in the workplace, men would stare at you in the chest, would ‘accidentally’ rub up against you in the hallway, and would make all kinds of remarks that these days would be considered extremely sexist.
It was mainly the older men doing these things – and, by and large, it was meant in a friendly way, with no wish to offend. It was all part of the banter of the work day, and it definitely helped to pass the time.
I’m not saying it didn’t occasionally get out of hand, and I’m not saying that it was OK really – but it was something that you had to put up with, sometimes enjoyed, and overall, it didn’t wreck anyone’s life. Most of the time, I would just roll my eyes and get on with my day.
Fast forward to today, and everyone is terrified to be seen or heard to be doing anything sexist, racist, homophobic, heterophobic – or just plain phobic. We have all become neurotic, and with good reason – eyeballs on stalks in case we accidentally look at someone in the wrong place for half a second too long. It is madness. No one dares say anything nice about anyone in case they are offended by it. But why should anyone be offended by it?
Don’t we all prefer people who appeal to us – for whatever reason? So – why do we all have to be so careful all the time, in case we inadvertently offend someone? Why is that?
And why is it that men have to be really careful, but women don’t?
I would go back to the 1970s in a heartbeat. The world was a freer place in those days. You could say what you thought and not be punished for it. You could have a bit of banter in the office with a member of the opposite sex without risking your job. If you offended someone, generally, it was intentional. The term ‘politically correct’ hadn’t been invented yet – and the world was a much better place for it.
The thing that upsets me most these days is the hypocrisy of it all. As I shake the hand of a male client leaving my office, I confess I will sometimes admire his rear end as he walks away. He doesn’t know. Women do this all the time. And yet, if a man looks at a woman’s breasts, he is being sexist. Men’s breasts generally are not worth looking at, which is why we don’t get caught. But it is hypocrisy just the same.
You only have to go to a hen’s party or a male stripper revue to see that women can behave like animals too. But no one is calling them out on this. That sort of behaviour is OK when women do it. When men do it, it is highly sexist.
Women have fought for equality over the last few decades. But they have not achieved it. All they have done is achieve some kind of special status, where they can do what they like and not be called to account. They have not achieved equality because they do not behave equally. We do not behave equally.
I believe in equality. I believe in Women’s Liberation. But I believe in Men’s Liberation too. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. We can have both.
If I told a man that I admired his bottom, he would probably be flattered. If a man told a woman he admired her breasts, she would probably be outraged. That is because she comes from a position of perceived inferiority – where she thinks he is being demeaning, when he probably isn’t. Women will not achieve true equality until they can react in the same way to those kind of instances as men do. The man probably doesn’t see it as an affront, and the woman shouldn’t either.
So, as I watch my client with the nice bottom leave the office, I realise that, in my own way, I am no different from Donald Trump. I certainly cannot claim some imagined moral high ground. I appreciate the male form, as he appreciates the female form. We are intended to do so – after all, the human race would die out otherwise.
Let he who hath not sinned cast the first stone. And I hope to God that none of my male clients are reading this.
(And just so you know, I agonised about whether or not I should publish this – just in case someone, somewhere, is offended by it.)