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Laura Perrins: Premature declaration of female victory in the gender wars. Clinton, Sandberg and Mrs Clooney don’t hack it


Update from the gender wars: women won. So says, Women After All: Sex, Evolution and the End of Male Supremacy by Melvin Konner (published by W W Norton, £16.99).

Fabulous, I hear you say. No more International Moaning/Women’s Day. No more Woman’s Hour. No more, No More Page Three. If we are to believe the biological anthropologist Melvin Konner, soon many, many feminists who believe wimmin are still being discriminated against on an industrial scale are going to have to pack up their Twitter campaigns and find themselves a real job, as their old one will no longer exist. Konner believes that ‘the pendulum of power is swinging ever faster in women’s direction.’ He is not going to be thanked for this.

To illustrate this alleged fact The Times mentions the following women of fabulousness:  Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Sheryl Sandberg and Amal Clooney. Mmm, I am not convinced these are the best candidates as evidence of “the end of men.”

Let’s start with Hillary Clinton. She is in contention for the US presidency but her platform consists of the following: she is married to a man who happened to be a very successful President and she carries his surname but unlike her husband she does not possess a penis.

In other words, when Hillary is not busy illegally deleting hundreds of thousands of e-mails, she is offering the American people the opportunity of having Bill Clinton back again, only this time without the penis. No doubt this will be welcomed by vulnerable and impressionable interns everywhere and the American people themselves but it is not really the great feminist victory we were hoping for.

As for the other supreme women, as Bill Clinton himself might say when faced with a room full of interns, where to begin?

Sheryl Sandberg is, of course, outstanding on her own merits, but she is chief operating officer for the company (Facebook) invented and still owned by a man fifteen years her younger, Mark Zuckerberg. In his own words, she does the stuff he does not want to.

Amal Clooney is an exceptional lawyer in her own right.  But let’s face it, she was unheard of until she married in a very self-promotional wedding that grand self-publicist, George Clooney. That leaves only Angela Merkel,  who is running Germany and not because of who she is married to.

I am not convinced by Melvin Konner’s theory. He tells us, ‘when more women call the shots the world will be safer and more efficient,…, because men are responsible for most of the rotten things that happen in the world.’ Nice little piece of misandry there.

Men also enabled the great “liberation of women” by inventing the Pill and pretty much every domestic appliance we know that enables women to work outside the home. Men are also responsible for most medical advances, including caesarean-section that has saved the lives of millions of mothers and babies.

In fact Konner speaks wistfully of our sisters in Botswana (the way you might hear a conservative tear-up when talking about the 1950s) and their great skill of hunting and gathering for food, as well has facing with courage the still dangerous nature of childbirth there. I doubt these mothers are as romantic about it.

I too hunt and gather for food for my family but thanks to the industrial and technological revolution mainly by men it means I can order my shop online from the comfort of my home while a machine washes the clothes and I do not have to give up a whole day of my life to complete this chore. And thanks to men (mostly) I was pretty confident that I would not die in childbirth during my three labours.

Anyway, there is lots to love in this book including the obvious fact, still denied by many feminists, that ‘there are fundamental differences between the sexes that are not just a matter of culture or upbringing.

‘There are intrinsic genetic and physiological differences between men and women and one of the most important is in the brain.’ That sound you hear are entire university departments devoted to the dodgy knowledge-light topic of ‘gender studies’ going up in flames. I am liking this chap more and more.

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