There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth of late, both inside my head and during wine sessions with selected friends (one in particular- HI!). These sessions involve loud clattering of glasses and angst-ridden shouting. The reason? Wimmin. Feminism. And the fact that we, as a society, seem to be slipping down a muddy slope that we’ve only just, really, started to clamber up. Our central question is this: whatever happened to feminism?
I’m not specifically talking about rights and jobs and whatnot. Though seriously, why are women still paid less than men? But anyway. It’s the creepy, subtle attitudes which bug me, from both women and men, magazines and telly and all around.
This morning I found myself feeling cross and red-faced before I’d even arrived at work- in fact, before I’d made it through the news section of the Metro on the bus, with two rather nauseating examples of how we’ll end up trussed up in crinolines again before we know it.
Item no. 1, on the front page: “Perfumes Linked To Infertility”
They say: perfume and cosmetics MIGHT effect the development of male reproductive organs in the unborn fetus. There is no concrete evidence whatsoever. But stopping using cosmetics is “one positive thing expectant mothers can do for their baby” (and now, henceforth, be judged if they don’t. And it’s stil; deemed to be front page news.
I say: Bog off. And furthermore, hands off my body (though must stress here that am not actually pregnant). I’m not very good at explaining why this insiduous piece of reporting bothered me so much- it’s just the implied ownership (by society and science) of a women’s body, and the accepted notion that women should sacrifice themselves on the altar of being the Perfect Mother, that is so sneaky, and so prevalent, and so judgey and such bollocks. As if pregnant women just sit in isolation for nine months, and don’t need to do anything for which they might want to look or smell nice- eg go to work, or out.
Item no. 2, further into the paper:
Interview with Helen Mirren (disclaimer: this may have been misquoted but on the other hand, I don’t see how it could be taken out of context). Having first complained, in a go-feminism type of way, that being a woman with big t*ts and blonde hair had held her back because she “wasn’t allowed to be intelligent”, Helen Mirren apparently then went on to say the following:
“I was (date raped), yes. A couple of times. Not with excessive violence, or being hit, but rather being locked in a room and made to have sex against my will….
…I mean, look at Mike Tyson. I don’t think he was a rapist.
… I don’t think she can have that man into court under those circumstances [withdrawing consent at last minute before sex]. I guess it is one of the many subtle parts of the men/women relationship that has to be negotiated and worked out between them.”
Yes. Rape. Just part of love’s rich, subtle tapestry.
ps See Guardian article on Mirren-gate here