I had a funny conversation with friends last night. They are a married couple and were complaining about public displays of affection – PDA. When they were going on holiday last summer, a young couple in front of them were doing some heavy snogging – what my friends regard as ‘heavy snogging’ compared to me, or anyone else is all relative.
ME: “Was it open-mouthed?”
HER: “Ew, yes. It was gross!”
I laughed, maybe they were very much in love, or going on honeymoon, I suggested. Whatever, I thought my friends’ outrage funny. So I posed a series of questions – How much PDA is too much? And here, I am not talking about the rare instances when a couple feel they have to go into the realms of extreme – like this couple –
Holding hands – Fine, no problem.
Arms around each other – Okay.
Kissing on the cheek – Fine.
Kissing on the lips – Hmm, no.
Squeezing a partners buttocks – No!
Full on deep kissing – Absolutely not!
HIS addendum was; if the show of affection was politically motivated – ie: two gay men/women at a Gay Pride event, or similar, did this, then he could accept that it was done with purpose. But stepping out of a store onto the street to find a couple enjoying a grope and a bit of mouth action – No Thank You!
I told them they were too English. We do have a reputation for being rather restrained and ‘stiff upper lipped’. And apart from when we get steaming drunk and everyone is a friend, we tend to be reserved about emotions – especially affectionate ones!
Why do we feel uncomfortable when we see a couple engaged in PDA? As long as they aren’t getting naked and having full on intercourse or doing heavy petting in the park, then shouldn’t we be more accepting? Is it about etiquette and good manners? Does the sight of an older couple kissing spark revulsion more than if it were a young couple – or vice-versa?
Does the public space make a difference? I asked my anti-PDA friends, what if there is a couple kissing deeply under a tree in a moonlit Paris? That was fine apparently. What about Hyde Park? No! One of my friends is a high school teacher and occasionally encounters a couple of students kissing in the corridor, when she tells them to stop and they query her, her response is great: “Would you want to see Mr and Mrs Finnegan( a married couple) kissing around the school?” They would not, is the reply – so don’t you do it!
I know there are countries around the world where PDA are taboo; if not illegal. I read comments from the British Middle Classes calling PDA ‘repellent’ and ‘ghastly’. I think they/we need to get over ourselves. But I wondered where in the UK were we most and least demonstrative with affection. Should public displays of affection be banned? Some people think so!
Londoners appear to dislike it the most. Nottingham likes a bit of public romance. Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff like a street smooch. I couldn’t find any solid statistics – though I have to admit I didn’t search that hard – but I did find lots of articles calling for less shows of affection in the UK; even light kissing.
Personally, I don’t care if it’s ‘showing off’, or over the top. If a couple feel the urge to express their romantic inclinations then I think it’s lovely. Maybe if more people were snogging and squeezing each others bums and being affectionate, we wouldn’t have all the discourse, wars and aggression and so forth. Of course there need to be some boundaries, but so long as bedroom activities aren’t in public, then what’s the harm?
Next time you balk at PDA, ask yourself two questions –
There has been a LOT of negativity in the news and social media recently about men and the awful things some of them have done. It is quite right; I believe, that injustices should be highlighted, wrongs righted and awful people who do not know how to treat others with decency get their comeuppance.
But there are LOTS of men out there who are wonderful, delightful, loving and thoughtful human beings. Most of my friends are male, and I have noticed some of them curling in on themselves, like shy flowers or wilting petals, as a daily barrage of negativity streams from the radio, TV and so forth. They feel they cannot say anything for fear it will be misconstrued, twisted or misunderstood, so they remain quiet as though waiting for a tsunami to pass.
In typical fashion (in line with my perverse nature), going against the zeitgeist, I decided to write in praise of men. Some you might have heard of; others not so much. They have done, or continue to do things for other people, and those other people include women. Some are Random Acts of Kindness that display a thoughtfulness and caring side we do not normally report about men.
Arunachalam Muruganantham – Coimbatore, India. He is the inventor of a low-cost sanitary pad-making machine and is credited for innovating grass-roots mechanisms for generating awareness about traditional unhygienic practices around menstruationin rural India. “It all started with my wife,” he says. In 1998 he was newly married and his world revolved around his wife, Shanthi, and his widowed mother. Muruganantham discovered that his wife could not afford sanitary products; as it was with 1 out of 10 women in his and surrounding villages. He even made himself a false ‘uterus’ so he could test the absorbency of his new pads! He suffered terrible shame, ridicule and was even feared by some, his wife, unable to stand the ignominy any longer, left him. He spent five years perfecting his affordable sanitary towel. BBC Radio 4 even aired a drama about him in April 2017 – ‘The Man Who Wore Sanitary Pads’.
Julian Rios Cantu – Mexico. Is the inventor of a bra that can help in the early detection of breast cancer. Cantu said he was inspired inspired by his mother’s battle with the disease which eventually lead to both her breasts being removed. The bra; named EVA, was developed with three friends; and have since gone on to form their own company Higia Technologies and was created primarily for women with genetic predisposition to cancer. Breast cancer, if caught early, has a survival rate of nearly 100-percent. The bra is in its early development stages and as yet, is not on the market, but, this is a man, making something for women – and he is only 18 years old.
David Schwimmer – USA. (Previously from TV sitcom ‘Friends’). Is a member of The Rape Foundation Board – along with, Thomas Pfister, James T. McCracken, M.D, Stephen Davis and more. The Rape Foundation is dedicated to providing expert, comprehensive care and treatment for sexual assault victims – children and adults; prevention education programs to reduce the prevalence of sexual violence; training for police, prosecutors, school personnel and other service providers to enhance the treatment victims receive wherever they turn for help; and policy reforms and other initiatives that increase public understanding about rape, encourage victims to report these crimes, and foster justice and healing.
Cesar Larios – Florida, USA. Offered himself as a human chair to an elderly lady when the elevator they were in got stuck. He remained on his hands and knees for 30 minutes until the elevator was repaired.
Liam Roberts – Liverpool, UK. This 15 year old saves up his pocket money, to buy ingredients to cook food for the homeless. Once a month, Liam heads out with hot food for the homeless he has prepared himself.
Tamas Nadas- Albuquerque, New Mexico. Officer Nadas bought food and drink for 20 needy people when he saw their day shelter had no power one day. He said it felt like the ‘natural’ thing to do, to help out, regardless of whether in uniform or not.
Johnny Bobbitt Jr- Philadelphia, USA. A homeless man, he helped out a woman whose car ran out of petrol on an interstate. He made her stay in the car with her doors locked and walked a few blocks and bought her some with his last 20 dollars (£15).
Martin Gallagher- Liverpool, UK. Helped a student with train fare. After Grace Georgina was stranded in London; because she lost part of her ticket, Gallagher paid £159 so she could get home.
Thanks for reading, if you have a good man in your life, give him a hug from me!
“Women are irrational, that’s all there is to that! There heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags! They’re nothing but exasperating, irritating, vacillating, calculating, agitating, Maddening and infuriating hags! Pickering, why can’t a woman be more like a man?”
Asks Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady; the musical based on the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. The gist of the tale is – Higgins picks up a Cockney flower girl in order to prove he can change her accent to deceive others of her station – but he is not doing it for Eliza, out of the goodness of his heart – it is for his own sense of importance. Eliza doesn’t get an education, she gets trained like a performing monkey. Made in 1964, the musical is revealing in it’s shocking attitudes towards female education.
So when and how have females been educated? Have we really progressed? Were women educated equally to men – once upon a time? Find below a brief race through our educational history.
In ancient Greece – although it was generally unacceptable for women to be educated, the Pythagoreans and Epicureans allowed women, such as Lastheneia of Mantinea and Axiothea of Phlius, both disciples of Plato, to participate in schooling as well as symposia. Female poets were more common, including Erinna, Corinna, and Praxilla. Pythagoras believed that reason was the most important human characteristic, and that it was unaffected by gender. He felt that both males and females should receive the same skills and there should be no differentiation between the topics of education.
In ancient Rome – Education of women began around the 2nd century BC. The education of elite Roman women was normal. Education meant literacy, numeracy, knowledge of both Latin and Greek languages and reading in both languages, and also history. Girls were educated along with boys in some households, but as they grew older they started to learn different things. Literary education beyond the basics of reading and writing was available to some elite girls. These girls received such education, however, not to prepare themselves for future occupations, but to increase their value as wives.
5th to 15th century – During the Middle Ages, schools were established to teach Latin grammar, while apprenticeship was the main way to enter practical occupations. Two universities were established: the University of Oxford followed by the University of Cambridge. A reformed system of “free grammar schools” was established in the reign of Edward VI of England. The earliest schools in England – at least, those we know anything about – date from the arrival of St Augustine and Christianity around the end of the sixth century. It seems likely that the very first grammar school was established at Canterbury in 598. Educational opportunities for many were slim, for women it was marriage or the nunnery.
Early 16th century – many boys still went to chantry schools, whilst girls; in a rich family, had a tutor who usually taught them at home. In a middle class family their mother might teach them. Upper class and middle class women were educated. However lower class girls were not, neither were lower class boys.
17th and 18th century – following the reign of Queen Elizabeth I who was a brilliant and highly educated woman, women’s education suffered a serious setback. Powerful men opposed the education of women beyond reading and writing their names. King James I, successor to Elizabeth, rejected a proposal that his daughter be given a classical education saying, “To make women learned and foxes tame has the same effect – to make them more cunning.”
19th century – Education greatly improved for both boys and girls. In the early 19th century there were dame schools for very young children. They were run by women who taught a little reading, writing and arithmetic. However many dame schools were really a child minding service. Girls from upper class families were taught by a governess. Boys were often sent to public schools like Eaton. Middle class boys went to grammar schools. Middle class girls went to private schools were they were taught ‘accomplishments’ such as music and sewing. In 1811 the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principle of the Established Church (The Church of England) was formed. The state did not take responsibility for education until 1870. Forsters Education Act laid down that schools should be provided for all children. If there were not enough places in existing schools then board schools were built. In 1880 school was made compulsory for 5 to 10 year olds. However school was not free, except for the poorest children until 1891 when fees were abolished. From 1899 children were required to go to school until they were 12.
21st century – onward and upwards. We are informed that girls are overtaking the boys; though there is still institutional bias; at Oxford and Cambridge the majority of students are male, and women hold only 20% of professor roles in UK. Boys and girls are pretty equal when it comes to A Level results, and girls are more likely to go to university.
Some educated women from history –pre 19th century
Hildegard of Bingen; (1098 –1179)Saint Hildegard of Bingen, O.S.B., also known as Saint Hildegard, and Sibyl of the Rhine, was a German writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath. She wrote theological, botanical and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs, and poems, while supervising brilliant miniature illuminations.
Cleopatra VII; (5th c BC) studied philosophy, literature, art, music, medicine, and was able to speak six different languages. These languages were Aramaic, Egyptian, Ethiopian, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. Being very educated, she soon learned of all her political surroundings and of her father’s status and power he had as Pharaoh. When the Greeks ruled Egypt in the first century B.C., they stressed education for both royal boys and girls.
Queen Elizabeth I ( 1533 – 1603) Her studies included languages, grammar, theology, history, rhetoric, logic, philosophy, arithmetic, literature, geometry, and music. She was also taught religious studies.
Margaret More (Thomas Mores daughter) one of the best educated women in Tudor England. The first female commoner to publish a book. Educated equally to her brother by her father; a Humanist education that included ;grammar, writing, reading, religion, Latin, Greek texts (usually women were not allowed to read these)
Hypatia(ca. AD 350–370–March 415) was a Greek Neo-Platonist philosopher in Roman Egypt who was the first historically noted woman in mathematics and the first woman to make a substantial contribution to the development of mathematics .As head of the Platonic school at Alexandria, she also taught philosophy and astronomy.
Mary Astell (1666–1731); was an English philosopher. She was born in Newcastle. Today she is best known for her theories on the education of women and her critiques of Norris and John Locke.
Mary Wollstonecraft, (1759-1797); Anglo-Irish feminist, intellectual and writer. Established a school at Newington Green, when she was 24 years old. In 1788 she became translator and literary advisor to Joseph Johnson, the publisher of radical texts. In this capacity she became acquainted with and accepted among the most advanced circles of London intellectual and radical thought.
Boudicca (d. AD 60 or 61) ;was queen of the BritishIceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. Dio says that she was “possessed of greater intelligence than often belongs to women”.
I love Film Noir. As a child, I spent many a summer’s day ensconced in a darkened room watching old movies in the middle of the day – a time when very few watched TV in those days – and the ‘unpopular’ stuff was shown; old black and white films, public information films, or in some instances, a potters wheel! (Yes kids, British TV had a black and white film of a lump of clay, and we watched it!)
Film Noir is an extension of the Gangster film; Gangster films had been seen less on the screen and returned as this genre; re-categorised by critics. However, most of their appeal came after they were made, not the time they were made. The main influence came from France around pre- WWII. French critics coined the phrase ‘Film Noir’, Black Film; seen as crime, mystery’s, melodramas. Beginning with a small group of films such as : “The Killers”, 1946 and “Double Indemnity”, 1944.
As time progressed more films fell under the heading Film Noir; it is a flexible category.
From the late 1970s onwards saw a Neo Noir revival, with Noirish elements: “Body Heat”, 1981 and “Basic Instinct”, 1992 and the animated “Sin City”, 2005.
But for this essay, I’m focusing only on the older style.
In 1940s America everything was in short supply; film, batteries, even writers, so the film makers looked to pulp fiction for new ideas.
Many of the films were made by European émigrés; escaping from Nazi German oppression. In a time of darkness created by Hitler, film makers, technicians and writers on the run from Europe, brought their style with them. There wouldn’t have been Film Noir without WWII. There was an influx of immigrants to America and they brought ‘German Expressionism’ a style with skewed angles and dark style. The Nazi figures were transformed into gangsters in the films. In the 60s and 70s – people started to see them as Art films, not just popular money makers. “Big Heat”, 1953, by Fritz Lange is now regarded as an Artistic Film Noir.
What makes a Gangster film a Noir film?
There are strong psychological themes present, women of character, complicated plot lines. It is a world mostly devoid of children. Unhappy worlds, dark, urban more so than gangster films, the characters are trapped by their environment. Described by one critic as a “Dark American place with a fancy name”. Noir films were not the property of one studio, it had it’s own rules. Though the films are black and white, the characters are often groping around in a fog, things are not black and white in decision making, European music add to the tension; threat, danger. For an American audience in this period, this was all pretty dark stuff.
Who populates these films?
Everyone is bent, men women, and coppers: the heroine is a predator even when the victim, often a blonde, a femme fatale, desirable, sexy, untrustworthy, and slutty. The hero is her lunch and usually knows it. Women get their power through sexuality. Robert Mitchum in “Out of The Past”, 1947, is a typical Noir hero. The hero often has been to war, has some psychosis, they are hapless. Bogart’s characters often cannot connect, even when they are in love. Men and women in Noir never reach the daylight in their lives. Real men get to show their softer side with these women, without appearing weak. Men were manipulated, women were dodgy and manipulative. Many well known actors and actresses emerged in this period, Robert Mitchum, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, to name a few. Women emerge in their own right post war, reflecting the social changes. Men were damaged by wartime experiences; Post traumatic Stress Disorder; in the film “Blue Dahlia”, 1946, the ‘hero’ is a harmless guy, returned from war, everyone likes him, but he’s a serial killer. There is often a simmering tension between the hero and female, we watch a verbal tennis match going on between them, sometimes they might never even get that first kiss. The best example of this witty, sultry banter can be most often seen between Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart (who became a couple off screen too); full of euphemism and innuendo.
What does it look like?
Dark! Mostly urban. Cigarettes, rainy streets, shadows, lipstick, guns. There is little or no sunlight in these films; lighting carves up the scene and the faces with chiaroscuro. Shadows are tall and menacing to enhance the atmosphere. Many cinematographers had been filming in the war effort and brought back with them elements of that, in the mid 1950s they began to make the films more realistic.
Why do we like them?
The audience appeal lies in that the films mostly take place in an ordinary environment; previous films such as Westerns took themselves off to deserts and canyons; not places the audience regularly inhabited so had less to relate to. But in Noir, the people have adventures; we see their unhappiness so we feel better; one could reflect that, at least my life isn’t that bad. Male viewers see quiet men, strong men who can take care of themselves, when required, who yet fall for the charms of the femme fatale. Female viewers were suddenly exposed to female characters who could often stand up for themselves; not the helpless little wifey this one. There was a kind of glamour portrayed in the dialogue, the male/female relationships and clothing.
What should I watch if I have never seen Film Noir?
Out of the Past 1947/ Sweet Smell of Success 1957/ Double Indemnity 1944/ The Big Sleep 1946/The Maltese Falcon 1941/ Sunset Boulevard 1950/ Murder my Sweet 1944/Gun Crazy 1950/ T-Men 1948/ Touch of Evil 1958/ Stranger on the Third Floor 1940/ Sweet Smell of Success 1957/ Gilda 1946/ Kiss Me deadly 1955.
Noir is also famous for its dialogue and snappy lines. Much dialogue, especially in Philip Marlowe films (Raymond Chandler author) is really funny – but ain’t nobody laughing. Here’s a few you might like to use!
“Keep on riding me and they’re going to be picking iron out of your liver.” Wilmer Cook in The Maltese Falcon.
“Okay Marlowe,” I said to myself, ‘You’re a tough guy. You’ve been sapped twice, choked, beaten silly with a gun, shot in the arm until you’re crazy as a couple of waltzing mice. Now let’s see you do something really tough—like putting your pants on.” Philip Marlowe in Murder My Sweet.
“You know what he’ll do when he comes back? Beat my teeth out, then kick me in the stomach for mumbling.” Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep.
Johnny: “Doesn’t it bother you at all that you’re married?” Gilda: “What I want to know is, does it bother you?” Johnny and Gilda in Gilda.
“With my brains and your looks, we could go places.” Frank Chambers in The Postman Always Rings Twice.
“I wouldn’t give you the skin off a grape.” Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death.
“Well, you’re about as romantic as a pair of handcuffs.” Debby Marsh in The Big Heat.
“All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard.
“She tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up.” Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep
And now…. We have Nordic Noir – the name given to the new literature, TV and film we see more and more now with programmes like “The Killing”, from Denmark and Sweden.
You might also like “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid”, the Film Noir parody starring Steve Martin, which you could class as Comedy Noir, I suppose, if such a thing exists!
NASA is hiring a Planetary Protection Officer to protect Earth from alien harm!!
Apparently, NASA is currently looking for a Planetary Protection Officer to defend planet Earth from the threat of invading alien life!! True.
This is actually real government job! But before you get all excited, here’s what it’s really about – NASA needs a scientist to help fight alien life —but it is microscopic! The Planetary Protection Officer will be in charge of keeping our space exploration equipment free of contamination; from earth microbes and also microscopic organisms from outer space that may be attached to returning equipment.
Oh, so a ‘cleaner’ then?
It got me thinking about what use I would be in a world that REALLY needed a Planetary Protection Officer. I have been a fan of science fiction stories for as long as I can remember.
I had comics and annuals of The Fantastic Four when I was a little kid. I grew up on a diet of Star Trek and Doctor Who. I love films like Contact (Jodie Foster) and Netflix series like The Expanse. And I suppose like many of us do, I place myself in the role of one of the characters; not always the MC, main character, when watching – it’s what makes us root for them.
I never wanted to be Captain Kirk, or Lieutenant Spock, strangely, I most aligned myself with Khan Noonien Singh. Khan was a genetically engineered human from the late 20th century. He only wanted a place of his own – he was a major player in the Eugenics Wars, tried to take over The Enterprise – but was left, stranded on a planet that was toxic, his true love died and Khan blamed Kirk for the rest of his life. I know, I know, not entirely a nice chap, but I couldn’t help feel sorry for him.
“Ah, Kirk, my old friend, do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish best served cold? Well…it is very cold in space!”
~ Khan to Captain Kirk
Later we had the redoubtable Captain Jean-Luc Picard and then Captain Kathryn Janeway. It took me a while to like Janeway, but when I did, I committed fully – but I never wanted to be her. I don’t think I am Captain material; even in my wildest fantasies. But was he, Khan, born bad or made that way?!
I think most of us fantasise the ‘if I could be…’ scenario when we watch films or read books. Super hero films being the most obvious. How many times have you had or overheard the ‘nerd’ conversation – “So, if you could have any superpower, what would it be?”
I haven’t got a clue – or didn’t have until I watched Heroes. Remember that one?
It was about ordinary people around the world discovering that they have super powers. Their lives intertwine as they work together to prevent a catastrophic future; who can forget ‘Save the Cheerleader, Save the World’? All the characters had a single superpower – except the evil guy whose ability was stealing everyone else’s – Sylar, played by Zachary Quinto, who late went on to be Spock! There was another character, Peter Petrelli who was a Paramedic, he was able to absorb other people’s abilities after touching them, albeit for a short while. So my chosen power is the ability to absorb powers from others (by Peter or Sylar’s methods! See! It’s Khan all over again!)
Among the Superhero canon, my all-time favourite was Batman. Who actually has no super powers, but was a billionaire highly trained physically and with ‘all the best toys’. Recently, my decades old devotion to the batty one has shifted – I still love him, still want to be him, but there’s a ‘new kid’ on the block for me – Deadpool. He is witty, tough, unpredictable, indestructible! Who wouldn’t want this? Oh, his face is a mess, like scary Halloween night in an abattoir mess, so he has to wear the mask. Would he ever work for NASA? I don’t think so. Would he ever fight to save the world from aliens, sure, if there was something in it for him I suppose. That something is his girlfriend, Deadpool after all, is a romantic; a scary, loopy, kick-ass romantic, but a romantic none the less. I think that’s what would drive him to save mankind.
But what about the ordinary folk, I hear you say, what about those who have no ‘special abilities’ and want to help save planet Earth from those pesky space invaders? I.E: YOU and ME? What sort of people will we need? Thinkers? Muscle? Builders? Carers? I know we need them all, but for the sake of my stupid argument, and in keeping with stories; there is only ever 1 hero, who will it be?
Some ideas for ‘ordinary’ people – (other defenders of Earth are available)
Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games
Sherlock Holmes – Sherlock
Lyra Belacqua – His Dark Materials
Lara Croft – Tomb Raider
James Bond – James Bond
Buffy Summers – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rupert Giles – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Frodo Baggins – The Lord of the Rings
Peter Quill – Guardians of the Galaxy
Rincewind the Wizaard [sic] – Terry Pratchett’s Discworld
Evelyn ‘Evie’ Carnahan – The Mummy
I am surprised to see not one but 2 librarians in there, plus a librarians assistant (Rincewind, he never mastered wizardry and so helps out The Librarian – an orangutan)
‘I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O’Connell, but I am proud of what I am… I am a librarian.’
~Evie Carnahan, The Mummy
Forget the words of Bonnie Tyler – “I need a hero, I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night” or Tina Turner – “We don’t need another hero,”
Let the ‘little people’ be the hero’s (Good grief, I sound like something from Team America!)
Ever fancied yourself as a bit of a hero? How about the protector of mankind? If you had to choose a non superhero to be our Planetary Protection Officer who or what would you be?! And why?
Imagine that you’re an alien. Imagine that you’re so huge, (no, huger).
That you can see all that is going on down on planet Earth. Wouldn’t you begin to wonder, why those creatures that walk upright, are divided into, what appears to be two camps? Look at them,*points, they seem to be the ones in charge, you might think. And those *points, they seem to be as capable as those others, but get less recognition, rewards and status than the first ones. How weird.
What, we wonder, keeps these creatures in this apparently, permanent state of conflict and division, oppression and submission?
Hmmm, Men and Women, what a conundrum; not saying I have the answer folks, if I did have a wand to change things…boy, there’d be some sorry asses I can tell you (FOR I AM A VENGEFUL GOD!)
I have been around a while (hey! Less of the ageist jokes!), and admittedly there have been some changes and redress of balance; female leaders, female presenters on TV and Radio, women doing ‘men’s’ jobs, men doing ‘women’s’ work. (I personally am blessed to be married to a man who truly knows what equality is, he cooks better than I do, so does 99.9% of it, he changed baby nappies as much as I did. He does the same amount of shopping and housework as I do.)
But are we anywhere near parity?
Don’t get me wrong, I know my life is so much better than my mothers, or my grandmothers. And there are inroads into traditionally male dominated careers, but when I see something in the media that is attempting to say – ‘look here’s a woman who can play football/lift a spanner/throw a ball/play a guitar’ etcetera, etcetera, it usually comes with the ‘hidden’ adjunct, ‘as good as a man’.
Why can’t women be that thing without referencing men? There was a horrible period when the creative industries adopted feminised versions of career description, and so we had Actress, Comedienne, and the worst – Authoress!!! Now we say things like, female footballer, The England female cricket team, female band, lady doctor! Yes! Really, I hear people on buses, even my own parents saying that they had to go to the GP/Hospital and saw a ‘lady doctor’. Why cannot a writer be a writer, regardless of gender?
Anyone who thinks Feminist movement is not required anymore is living in a dream – and it isn’t just males, there are plenty of women out there who think it’s all over. It isn’t. When we can print books, hold music concerts, conduct interviews, book tickets for a match, vote for leaders, and everything else without mentioning that persons gender – then and only then, will we be on our way to an equal world.
Let us just speak of how good or bad a writer is. Let’s just say how strong the performance was. Let us just commend a well directed movie and not say something along the lines of; “And it is directed by first-time female director —“. Let us just recognise people, and gender need only be mentioned if it has relevance.
The world population has almost, almost not quite, equal numbers of males and females – but when did you last read or hear about, the male cricket team, the male mountaineer, the male member of parliament, the male writer?! I think it is easy to miss this, and so we compound the problem.
I have included, below, some sites you might like to visit in regards to further information and articles on this point.
Thank you for reading.
On census night, the population of the United Kingdom (UK) was estimated to be 63.2 million.
There were 31 million men and 32.2 million women in the UK.