I am a bona-fide feminist.
Now, dear reader, before you choke on your crumpet, I am not about start burning bras, hurling elephantine insults at the President of the United States or flinging myself under horses on Derby day.
No, I, like the vast majority of gentlemen the world over am delighted to share it with the fairer sex. What a better place God’s green earth is for the creation of Eve.
My notion of feminism is, nonetheless, underlined by one’s adoration of women and the undeniable belief that we are all equal. Moronic to think anything else, which leads me to ask; does a sexist man hate his mother, his wife or daughter. I sincerely doubt it, well I hope not or perhaps he does?
I know there are poisonous, bitter little men who do revile women. However, I would much rather spend time nattering with an intelligent person – hand clamped to a chilled cocktail, my dears – than with knuckle dragging soccer fans, who are almost exclusively men. The boon being that a conversation wouldn’t be littered with curses, uneducated uninformed crude observations and cruelty; the ‘lads’ try to give this rubbish a thin veneer of acceptability by calling it banter.
Not for me.
Certain male observations I have been privy to would make your toes curl. Some machismo and braggadocio is just about tolerable but all too often it tips over into ignorant and crass comments – and, worst of all, downright bigoted ones.
This makes me wonder how they behave towards the ladies in their lives, who I presume they love deeply. Is their bar room sexism for show? Would they behave like this if their wives were there? Who are they trying to impress? Or, are they just products of a grim environment – which is at least a cheap way of blaming everyone but themselves?
Sadly we can hardly expect these unpleasant displays to reduce in number now that they have their role model Donald Trump in the White House.
Equally, women – and their male allies – have made it clear they are going to fight back, starting with last weekend’s marches across the world.
Enter the fourth wave of feminism, the first since the 1960s.
I am not by instinct a man who takes to the streets to protest so remain to be convinced that these protests will achieve anything. Rather I am a calm person who prefers a glass of wine to a fight. I feel that a march is confrontational – lessening the strength of their argument, reducing sympathy and ultimately stoking the fire that lead to a further conflict. I am, of course, not the victim in this case so I could be very wrong about this.
Moreover, as a middle-class white privileged male I am, perhaps, not in the best position to judge. But, I am able to identify the different strands of male behaviour that have so angered not just card carrying feminists but so many of either sex.
Violent – The most reprehensible strain is when a man exerts his position or standing to bully a person half his size, either mentally or physically. I should further suggest that violence is abhorrent whether it be man on women or baby on giant.
Endemic – The most common is the long-standing men’s only clubs and businesses. Fortunately these are eroding and there are more female chief executives but there is still an enormous way to go.
Quotidian – “Alright darling!”, “Nice Arse” and “Cheers luv” are a small selection of the romantic sweet nothings that the chaps on the building site like to coo when a beautiful woman walks by. The uninvited torrent of compliments is to be frank peculiar and I am sincerely doubtful if it has any chance of success. I have noticed when I jog that many women are the victims of this when then they run along the Putney Bridge.
Unfortunately, as is rife in 2017, shameless celebrities have hardly helped. Pioneer of nothing but herself, Kim Kardashian, has been at the forefront of vanity posing, which she claims helps her reclaim her sexuality. The talentless thing does this by posting provocative half – often fully – naked pictures on various social media platforms. Not sure it works. Then there is Madonna whose idea of utopian egalitarianism is to blow up the White House, the less said the better..
I would stress again that I am not a woman so cannot comment at first hand on the situation. But my instinct is that most of my friends are in equal relationships – none I know bosses their wives or girlfriends. And the workplace is now much more even than even a decade ago.
My thought is that, as positive as it is to march for equality, it was really a march against a dated bigot in Trump, whose sexism and racism has slipped the net and continues to revolt the world.