I’ve written previously about how people I consider to be well-judging, normal humans dismiss feminism because they believe women have already achieved equality. I’ve been reflecting on this, looking at the news and my own life over the last week, and you know what? I’m open to changing my mind, so let’s re-visit that viewpoint.
Starting with sport. With Wimbledon just behind us, we can reflect with satisfaction on the fact that female tennis players now receive the same prize money as men. And how lovely to see the congratulations pouring in to this year’s female Singles Winner, Marion Bartoli. My personal favourite from the plethora of good wishes comes from the delightful @Willshow95: “Bartoli you fat shit. I don’t want a ugly bitch to win”.
Hmmm. OK, moving on. Golf! Yesterday I received an invitation to Muirfield, a club hosting the 2013 Open Championship. This is arguably the biggest professional golf tournament in the world, certainly the oldest. On opening the emailed invite, I felt pleasure mixed with alarm. I turned to my colleague (also invited) and asked “am I allowed to go to that, though? Is it not for men only?” This was a serious question – I’d read only a few days before that the Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, was boycotting Muirfield because it doesn’t let women in. It turns out, though, that although Muirfield does not allow women to join, it does deign to let them spectate. Go equality. A wee question for any men out there – have you ever received an invite to an official sports event, where your first thought is alarm that you’re excluded because of your gender? Not a trick question – I would actually like to know. (As a sidenote, who fancies storming the ramparts with me, á la Rosa Parks? Go to Muirfield, sit there, and refuse to leave until they let us join?)
So that was yesterday morning. At lunchtime, I gave Twitter a cursory glance as I ate in the sun. (There is actual SUN in Scotland at the moment. This is a rare event for us). Little did I know, a lunchtime revelation was in store for me! Makeup you can sleep in, so that your boyfriend doesn’t have to barf with shock at your ugly, unadorned face in the morning. Apparently, ‘mornings just got a lot prettier’. In the interests of equality, I’m wondering what this company is proposing to make my boyfriend more visually palatable to me in the morning? Here’s an idea – why don’t we just both wash our faces before we go to bed, wake up a little sleepy and have some sex. That’s my idea of a pretty morning.
Eyes on the prize: shagging for shelter
Night-time make-up wasn’t the only treat Twitter had in store for me, however. Cue lots and lots of coverage of the Tory-led Coalition’s new benefit cap: cutting housing benefit for teenage mothers. Apparently, UK society is being bled dry by these house-hungry teenage girls, who are having cold and calculating sex to win the ultimate prize: a council house. Now I remember being a teenager, and I remember having sex. The only thing on my mind was the fact I had a boyfriend I loved and fancied the pants off. Teenagers, as most people will accept, think about sex a lot. Not so the Coalition government. Not only is it making the mistake of thinking that teenagers have sex to obtain a house, but it is also putting the burden of any subsequent children on the teenage mother. Not the father. Now I don’t have any kids, but last time I checked it takes two people to make a baby. One reader commented in the Independent this morning that “instead of coming down so heavily on unmarried mothers, isn’t it about time the Government started to focus on young dads?” Or, instead of ‘coming down’ on anyone, how about acknowledging that the UK’s teen pregnancy rates are the lowest since records began?
So in a nutshell, here’s what I learned yesterday:
1. At a club hosting an international sporting tournament, women can watch golf but not play it
2. Looking pretty for your boyfriend at 7 am is not only desirable, but something you should spend money and time achieving
3. And lastly, teenage girls bear sole responsibility for having children, and should be punished accordingly.
Yay equality! Its work is clearly done.