Harriet Harman (should that be Harperson???) has said today that the next leader of the Labour Party should be a woman. Nothing particularly controversial in that you might think but she goes on to say that ALL the candidates should be women and that the men in the party can “jostle amongst themselves to be deputy”. She admits there are some men who would be great leaders but insists that only women should be considered for the role.
If I was one of those women I’d be up in arms against Harriet for wilfully trying to take away any sense of achievement and pride that I might have had should I have secured the leadership on my own merits! Any woman who gets the job now will always have it in the back of her mind “am I only here because I’ve got breasts and not balls?”; she may not phrase it quite like that but you get the point.
The same applies to the delicate little flowers who are offended if a man winks at them, wolf-whistles them or puts a hand on their lower back or shoulder. This may sound harsh but, if you don’t like it, say something to the person who has offended you, don’t say nothing at the time and then plaster your outrage all over Twitter or other social media. By doing this you are:
- Trivialising actual physical or sexual assault
- Putting yourself and other women into the role of ‘victim’ completely unnecessarily
- Creating a culture that separates men and women rather than integrates them
Feminists claim that they want women to be seen as strong and independent but by constantly bemoaning the fact that they are ‘offended’ by every little real or imagined slight they are achieving quite the opposite. Articles like this are being seen more and more often – women who have worn revealing clothing in whatever their profession may be and then claim that their industry is ‘sexist’. Surely there has to be some element of personal responsibility here? If you don’t want to wear a bikini, don’t wear one but then don’t complain that your earnings from sponsorship have dropped because promoters find the image of you in a full body wetsuit less marketable than pictures of you in a bikini. Try as we might, we cannot change other people’s ideas of what they find attractive.
A really strong woman doesn’t need other women to fight these little battles for her; if a man pats her on the backside and she doesn’t like it she’ll tell him so in a very loud voice and, if necessary, introduce him to the the sharpened side of her elbow! Men are just people, they are not the enemy and surely it’s better to work towards genuine equality through discourse rather than trying to force them into the subjugation that the original feminists fought so hard to liberate women from?