Friday, April 19, 2024
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Permission to speak, ladies?


INDIA Knight wrote in the Sunday Times recently: ‘Most young men have attitudes a million miles from the ingrained sexism of the past.’ This statement is quite refreshing to hear in today’s man-hating age. However, Knight went on to undermine her point by contradicting herself in a good example of the double standards so typical of debate today: ‘There’s only one direction of travel. How quickly we get there depends on women being heard, and men listening.’

Men are far less inclined to listen, and far more likely to switch off,  when they are not shouted down with toxic insults thrown casually at them by extreme feminists who, when challenged by a man on their views, resort to labelling men ‘misogynists’ with no justification whatsoever. This has become the go-to response when they don’t like hearing an alternative – or, crucially, male – point of view.   

Recently at work, a twentysomething female colleague and I were discussing Johnny Depp. I suggested that, in light of evidence, he may well be innocent of assaulting his ex-wife Amber Heard. She snapped: ‘I don’t want to hear a male’s opinion on this.’ Her statement echoes the wider problem – mature debate is dying out.

It is even debatable whether a man can compliment a woman these days, as was illustrated last week on TalkRadio in a casual conversation between Mike Graham and Julia Hartley-Brewer. He remarked, ‘That’s a nice dress you’re wearing’, but felt obliged to add, ‘Are you allowed to say that?’ to cover himself. She quipped with humour, ‘No, resign immediately!’ The sad reality is that there will inevitably be hysterical hollers of sexual harassment by some.

In the words of Winston Churchill: ‘Everyone is in favour of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage.’

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Brendan Sharp
Brendan Sharp
Brendan Sharp is a freelance writer on culture, live music and politics.

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