Last week, when Feminist Hour (aka Woman’s Hour) plumbed new depths by promoting a chore wars calculator to monitor lazy husbands, when French feminists decided that kissing constitutes sexual assault, and the box office was taken by storm by Gone Girl, a film demonising husbands, I began to wonder.
When a friend told me about a mother ‘sharing’ her insight on the Mumsnet website that she was bringing up her own oppressors – otherwise known as sons – it dawned. Radical feminists will be content with nothing less than bringing men to their knees. Not content with equal opportunity or gender parity, they will stop at nothing but the complete humiliation and subjugation of men.
All I can say is that if the Mumsnet blogger wants her grown up sons to hate her and women in general, then she and her card carrying feminist allies are going about it the right way.
And I was not surprised to find Jenni Murray, the high priestess of feminism, in the forefront of this new assault on men.
Earlier in her career, she was famed for saying that marriage humiliated women. When, in 2003 she finally married David, her partner and the father of her sons, she made it clear that she was only doing it for financial not for sentimental reasons – namely to avoid inheritance tax. The new Mrs Forgham-Bailey (as she certainly did not want to be known) said she had no intention of introducing David as her husband and would not be pleased if he had the temerity to say: ‘Meet my wife.’ That put him in his place.
She was blind, it seems, to the virtues and value of marriage – for relationships as well as for society. Marriage for Jenni in 2003 was still a ‘patriarchal institution’ and I suspect still is for her now. For according to her, it ‘writes women out of history, because there is no evidence of either party having had a mother on the modern marriage certificate’ .
I don’t propose to list women who haven’t been written out of history courtesy of their marriage certificate. It would go on for ever.
Nor will I dwell on that more alarming fact that history, as a result of the feminist rejection of marriage and the consequent rise of lone parenthood, has written so many fathers not just off their children’s birth certificates, but out of their lives.
Why bother about that when you can set women onto their husbands, check their chore counts and ensure they engage in that most despised of roles – the household one.
Yes Woman’s Hour is there, at the ready, for these new taskmasters, armed with the online Chore Wars Calculator. All last week was spent telling their listeners how to use it to monitor their lazy and selfish other halves.
So you can forget any natural division of labour, any understanding of reciprocity or equality of respect as the basis of a decent relationship, forget the spontaneity of natural nurturing or home-making, forget that looking-after instinct and start calculating, monitoring and measuring. Forget any idea of just doing something for someone else – of sensitivity in relationships or awareness of mutual needs
No, there’s to be no more doing something out of love or as an expression of care. Not if he has not ticked off enough tasks. No more reaction to the here and now – seeing a job needs doing and either doing it yourself or yelling for some else in the family to get off their butt and muck in.
No, none of any of that. ‘Chore Wars’ said it all in the title. It’s a battle. Just make sure those men know by the end of the week how very oppressed you are by them and how bad and selfish they are. And kill any decency, tolerance, mutuality or respect in your relationship while you are about it.
This utilitarian utopia of total parity – family life reduced to the subject of task by task measurement – is a grim one
What an example for children, watching their parents invigilate, monitor and mark each other. No need for big brother, with big mother at hand.
Of course, the Woman’s Hour stereotype of female oppression was that 1950s house-proud wife who, horror upon horrors, actually scrubbed floors. ‘You have never done that surely?’ a shocked Jenni asked one of her more elderly guests. Of course not, came the embarrassed reply. Down on your hands and knees? The horror of it.
A few more chores, a bit more scrubbing and a bit less Woman’s Hour, wouldn’t have hurt you Jenni – was the thought, I am ashamed to say, to cross my mind.
Everyone – boys, girls, husbands and Woman’s Hour presenters too – should be brought up to clean up after themselves.
Chore Wars by definition is no way to go about it. The title denigrates important domestic tasks and the domestic role. That’s why it is a recipe for suspicion, disapprobation and distrust.
Degrading the value of domestic work then degrading men by forcing this reviled role on them is a rotten and stupid approach.
Sticking your man’s head down the toilet won’t clean it. It will just make him loathe you. I don’t believe most women want that.