Ann Farmer’s thought for today: There’s no need to be bad, girls

Lucy Elphinstone, headmistress of the leading private girls’ school Francis Holland School in London, says that ‘sensitive’ girls should be taught ‘banter’ at school to toughen them up for the world of work. She believes they should be helped to overcome ‘the curse of the good girl’ and taught to ‘wing it’ so they are not at a disadvantage to their male peers when it comes to applying for jobs. (Telegraph, November 11, 2017).

Leaving aside the implication that all women are perfect, and that no bullying or unpleasantness whatsoever occurs in girls’ schools or other all-female environments, clearly Ms Elphinstone has not noticed that in recent years girls have gained the edge in higher education and various professions, and even serve in the military. They receive equal pay – and more sometimes – and if they are paid less overall this is because they work fewer hours to spend more time with their families.



Admittedly women are conspicuous by their absence in the dirty, hard, heavy, outdoor jobs essential to society’s prosperity and security, but perhaps when such jobs are mechanised this might change. In fact those doing worst in education are white working-class males, but Ms Elphinstone seems keen for her pupils to emulate this group by employing banter, being bad and ‘winging it’. Like many another ‘feminist’, she appears anxious to seek sex equality only when it is easy and profitable – when the heavy lifting has already been done.

However, there is another category in which young men outdo young women, and that is suicide. Presumably she does not wish her gels to compete for predominance in this area.

Ann Farmer

  • Colkitto03

    It certainly seems that some young women are on the spectrum of what is called ‘imposter syndrome’ They undermine their own achievements and find it difficult to accept praise. They feel like a fraud or believe that anything they achieve is through luck. It certainly seems to me that more women than men think like this.
    Teaching them banter is not going to help.

    • You define a real problem, and I think it related to self respect. Well, I suppose that may (distantly) tie back to lack of banter (however defined). I think an inability to carry on a conversation would be more appropriate, in my experience. But if these girls were being respected for their achievements instead of berated for everything they do and say that is not PC, they’d likely come out OK, otherwise the lessons of life are going to be very hard indeed. And it will be a lonely trip, I fear.

      • Colkitto03

        Yes, never has a generation been sent out so ill prepared to face failure of hardship. Its not their fault its their parents.

    • Timmy

      Or because they know they haven’t earned it. Young girls get all the scholarships, support, help, while the boys struggle for the scraps but at least they earned the scraps so they feel good about it.

      • Colkitto03

        That is an interesting point, about the struggle that boys have. Maybe that struggle is a good thing,
        I know from a South African friend that the same sort of situation applies to white South Africans. Ever since the nineties all government, civil service and government funded jobs have gone to black people. The job market has been very favorable for blacks and very tough for whites. What that has meant though is that whites now are very self sufficient, very tough, entrepreneurial, inventive, and use thier ingenuity much more. They have to think outside the box to make money. The net effect is that white South Africans have ironically got richer. This has understandably bemused the government.

        • CRSM

          I would be very surprised if the SA whites were not always more entrepreneurial, inventive and ingenious.

          • Colkitto03

            Cannot disagree with that. But my friend also made it clear that for many of the elite whites back during the days before Mandela life was very comfortable indeed.For many going into ‘trade’ was not something they had experience of, but they have taken to it very well.

        • Groan

          Well if you think about it it has been explicitly a part of our society for at least the time in which widespread education has been discussed and planned. Explicitly in the form of tough team sports, encouragement to “fight your own battles” if bullied, hazing, parsimonious praise from teachers and frequent criticism. One can see it even now, and boys see it in co-educational schools- who is out in all weathers in PE?(clue not the girls),who gets extravagant praise and compliments?, which sex is routinely supposedly encouraged by “being on their case”?, who gets detentions and excluded? In short in the school where my wife works and I’m pretty sure in general whatever the rhetoric boys learn the world ain’t going to be a rose garden. The feminist stuff ” you’re all just plain bad and mean, maybe “rapey”” just another set of hurdles to jump. Possibly this is true also in Sweden where over the past three decades the productive sectors generating wealth have become almost male preserves while the extensive state sector a female one.

          • Colkitto03

            Very true,

        • Phil R

          The SAs I know are extremely capable and always working on the next opportunity.

          The put me to shame.

  • captainslugwash

    It would appear that the current crop of female politicians, left wing journalists and autocue readers (that is most of them) could do with learning a bit about ‘banter’ and human interaction themselves.
    They know already of course, but to admit it would show that modern feminism is not about equality, but is a Trojan horse for the Left’s war on society, and men in particular.

    • martianonlooker

      If we fast forward to society’s capitulation to the “Left’s war”, will we have a better society? Will everything in the garden be rosy? Or, will it be the demise of our civilization? If looking for a silver-lining: perhaps Ms head-teach will be lucky to have a school to be head in.

  • Labour_is_bunk

    …. and we think the State sector has problems.

    “Banter” means different things to different people – can this good lady define what exactly she means by it?
    I also noticed she’s a “headmistress” – that sort of thing disappeared from the State sector years ago, so presumably is it still OK and PC to use the term at a “posh” girls school? More double standards.

    • martianonlooker

      “can this good lady define what exactly she means by it”?
      The answer might be that she doesn’t have a meaning to it, or indeed, to anything. This headmissy keeps popping up in news items for the most spurious of reasons. She seems ever eager to get herself noticed. Some trick-cyclist out there could probably attach a ‘syndrome’ to such behaviour.

    • CRSM

      ‘Lucy Elphinstone’ is a rather fine name though.

      • Labour_is_bunk

        Lucy Setinstone?

  • Simon Platt

    Banter can cause all kinds of trouble. https://youtu.be/QWWPk9jrvqk

  • Sean Toddington

    I think her idea has some merit. The world of work can be a brutal place.

  • paul parmenter

    So instead of trying to change the more problematical aspects of male behaviour, the answer is now to copy it.

    So maybe it was not quite so problematical in the first place?

  • Steve

    When the Equal Pay lobby was deciding that Dinner ladies deserved the same pay as Binmen I proposed that the jobs be combined with jobholders doing alternate weeks at each.

    Oddly the binmen were happy with this idea but the dinner ladies not.

    Which to me proved that equal pay was not justified.

  • AKM

    With respect to Ann Farmer; I don’t think you are really an old-fashioned feminist, I think you were used by old-fashioned feminists to help them achieve their objectives at the time.

    The core belief the underpins all feminism (first, second or third wave) is that women have been oppressed by men throughout history and that marriage is the primary mechanism for that oppression. The women’s liberation/feminist movement realised early on that this was a hard sell to women, so they limited their campaigning to only those issues which women might be convinced to support. As they won their campaigns they always moved onto a new issue, but the end objective was always what we have now; women being completely independent of men, whether they want to be or not.

    • Groan

      And of course the end play of many was that when both men and women are completely “independent” from the web of social bonds then a uniform atomised humanity would embrace communism. This was of course symbolised in China by the unisex clothes now abandoned. Non of this was or is secret and many “popular” feminists such as Germaine Greer were trumpeting it and writing it. Women’s “liberation” is simply a stage en route.

  • Little Black Censored

    How would you go about teaching banter, anyway?

    • Bosanova

      “don’t like the look of yours much”
      “a 5 pinter maybe?”
      “nah mate, at least 10”
      Just entering into your thought experiment. But it’s a good question, makes you want to hear more just out of curiosity.

  • suemary

    Perhaps this lady might like to teach the ‘gals’ in her school who are heading for teaching that boys are not wicked for being noisy, not idle when they produce untidy work, and like to make silly cracks which doesn’t mean they are stupid or anti-social. Seems to me most of the young women teachers I see in my local schools don’t know those simple facts.

  • Phil R

    Girls and boys thrive and get fantastic results in single sex schools.

    Outperforming mixed schools by a huge margin.

    Check out the data.