They do make me laugh, these oh so self-important ladies of the press – they of very thin skins and a permanent sense of humour failure. It was all too predictable once Sir Roger Gale called his office staff ‘girls’, with a wonderfully blythe disregard for the PC feminist rulebook, and his ‘misspeaking’ misdemeanour hit the news. Would they mount their high horses? They couldn’t wait.
While I was cheering on a chap who’d managed to remain in blissful ignorance of the feminist ordinance all these years, or better, actually dared defy its thought police, the very modern Rachel (don’t you dare call me a girl) Johnson thought she was trapped in a time warp. “Last week I had the uncomfortable sensation of being faraway and long ago,” she wrote in the Mail on Sunday.
She decided it was contingent on her to take Sir Roger, and any other surviving dinosaurs for that matter, to task.
“Cringe,” she started her homily off with, “it wound the clock back to my parents generation when, if you were born female you had a choice of 4 careers apart from wife and mother. Nurse. Secretary. Governess/teacher. And worst of all: lady’s maid”.
So opined a woman who once earned her bread and butter as the Editor of The Lady magazine! The one you go to if you are an Amal Clooney or a Cherie Blair looking for a butler or two to staff your houses.
So, mustn’t it be just great, now, to have a full page every week in the MoS to demean all of us who chose to be wives, mothers, secretaries, teachers and nurses or cleaners and some of whom – though clearly a million miles from her own experience – want and like to help their husbands with their work!
Rachel, the truth is that most of us don’t want to be engineers, deep sea oil engineers or boardroom bosses. We still like caring, still love domesticity and bringing up our children ourselves if we are allowed to. Still. That’s despite 40 years of indoctrination of being told wimmin are too good for these lower status – in your eyes clearly – roles. What’s discriminatory and depressing is not old fashioned gallantry – I bet Sir Roger opens doors for ladies too – but constantly hearing the roles women chose diminished by wimmin like you. That’s what turns us in to second class citizens, not chaps like him.
But that sums up feminism for you. The ‘alpha female’ 10 per cent telling the rest of us what to, how to think or act, or what to protest over. If you doubt me Rachel, please read up on Dr Catherine Hakim’s preference theory based on her huge sample surveys of women, which will tell you what the majority versus the minority of women want. It’s not to be an engineer or a boardroom boss but to have work that fits in with family life.
Rachel, of course, was not alone this weekend pouring snobbish scorn on the unenlightened Sir Roger and his even less enlightened girls. ‘There’s something so local radio about hiring loads of women to skivvy after you’, sneered Camilla (bile is my middle name) Long who chose to aim a barb directly at Sir Roger’s dedicated wife who runs the girls’ team. “No one else but a wife would put up with changing his silly nappy non stop”, she opined adding, for good measure, that ‘calling his staff ‘girls’ is treating them like pets’.
Debbie Hill – one of Sir Roger’s girls – didn’t think so. In fact she’s made clear she was more than happy about it. Indeed she liked it. Dangerous stuff. Well, whether Rachel and Camilla’s columns manage to quell any such future dissident outbursts remains to be seen.
One thing they can be assured of that is no man will ever risk calling them girls again (if they wanted to). Or the rest of us either. They just won’t dare. We can forget ‘petal or blossom’ too, the terms Rachel kindly gave her sanction too. Not after the lecture she’s just given those poor besieged ‘older white males in the mother of Parliaments’ who, in Rachel’s chippy feminist history book, “have benefited from thousands of years of un-interrupted male supremacy”.
Thanks a lot girls