IDEAL NONSENSE – Why Feminists Are Always Unhappy And Religion Is A Bit Like A Branch of Woolworths
Consider the following. There is a modern, independent young lady. She’s in her mid twenties. She’s read Germain Greer and is enjoying the fruits of the feminist revolution. Popular, pretty and successful, she can go into her office wearing her “Fuck Me Shoes” – Greer’s words, not mine – and none of her male colleagues will think any the less of her. The other females in the office are a different matter, of course, but there are certain aspects of human nature that are simply immutable. A point which we will return to later.
This woman’s success, like any success, has been hard won. But she has had a couple of little leg ups on the way. A decade and a half or so of New Labour has resulted in a greatly feminized education system. So she has a good degree in a subject she might otherwise have given up on had the cold hard reality of one shot final examinations not melted away into the cosy “have as many goes as you like” world of continuous assessment.
Twenty years ago, it might have been a case of stopping at gaining a good rack of A Levels and plunging on into the wonderful world of work. Then again, the entry level job she got after graduating is the same one she would only have required a couple of good A Levels for anyway in Nineteen Eighty something, so perhaps it evens out in the end. Apart from the mortgage sized debt the new government’s “leg up” has saddled her with.
One day, our heroine meets a young man. Their paths in life have been very similar. She fancies the pants off this young chap, and initiates the usual overtures to make him aware of that fact. He asks her out and they start dating. During the course of this time honoured ritual, it becomes evident that she earns a little more than he does.
Not enough to make them financially incompatible, but enough to make a difference. Women can tell. The car he drives, the clothes labels he favours, his shoes – big favourite that one. Not the décor of his home though. Most straight men, even fairly wealthy ones, couldn’t give a flying fart about colour schemes and suchlike.
Any attempts in that direction can usually be put down to reading articles in FHM about how much more likely you are to get laid if you present your living space in a certain way and are purely coincidental.
So our putative couple go on several dates and all goes well. The young lady likes our hero. She likes him a lot. He is charming and witty. He is a good listener and he makes her laugh. She manages to hold out until after the third date before coming forward with the goodies. And it turns out he’s pretty nifty in the bedroom department too. He does have a little peculiarity, though. Around about that time when going on dates starts to relax gently into a lot fewer candlelit dinners and lot more slobbing around at each other’s houses with a bottle of wine and a take away in front of the telly, something else becomes obvious to the young lady.
Her new beau insists on always splitting the cost of any joint treat. It also becomes even more obvious that this is not because he earns less than she does. Like many young men, he treats getting money like a game, and has an equally flippant attitude towards spending great wedges of it. This is just a principle he holds dear; do not patronize your woman by offering to pay for everything just because she happens to be female.
At this point in the fledgling relationship, what is educated and empowered heroine thinking? Is it:
a) This is my kind of man. A fellow warrior standing shoulder to shoulder with me in the battle against gender stereotyping and the subjugation of women. Hurrah!
b) Ok, going Dutch is a little bit Seventies. Keep expecting him to order prawn cocktail, steak and black forest gateau. But it’s quite sweet in a way; like he doesn’t expect me to be beholden to him when we do eventually reach the bedroom just because he’s shelled out for the entire evening.
c) Jesus, what a tightwad. Best ditch him before he gets too serious. Find someone who knows how to treat a lady.
If you actually are a career girl such as the one in our little story here, and you have honestly answered a), then I have to admit to holding a certain amount of admiration. Not towards you though; God no. My admiration is for your ability to delude and deceive both yourself and the world at large. No woman has seriously believed the sentiments in option a) for rather a long time. Not since The Black and White Minstrel Show was deemed good solid family entertainment and serving up a Vesta meal for two made you something of a raconteur.
Option b) is a sort of semi idealistic thing that everyone likes the thought of but no one seriously believes in, a bit like Santa or the tooth fairy. It’s the kind of thing Cosmo gives a good score to in their quizzes, purely so the boyfriend will think better of the Cosmo reader when he surreptitiously flicks through it while he’s waiting for her to finish getting ready.
It’s an unhappy fact that you probably answered c), even if only secretly. What you mean by “Find someone who knows how to treat a lady” is “Find someone who is willing to pay in kind for my sexual favours”. So you might want to re think the “lady” part of that statement. Not that c) isn’t a sensible choice given the nature of heterosexual bonding and the process of finding an eventual long term partner.
This is because Feminism, like all ideologies, is a beautiful idea but never works in practice because human nature will always subvert it for a single purpose. Having your cake and eating it. After all, what’s the point of inedible cake?
Religion is an ideal example of this. Most people treat religion like a Woolworths Pic n Mix, just grabbing their favourite bits and ignoring the rest. Yeah, I’ll have a Bit of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” and a big bag of “thou shall not suffer a sodomite to live”. Yum yum. No, I’ll pass on the “remove the plank from your own eye before attending to the splinter in your brother’s” and “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” They taste like boiled up sports socks.
But of course Woolworth’s is now a bankrupt and spent force, due to it not adapting and therefore becoming irrelevant. So that’s that analogy knackered. Oh, actually, I’ve just re read that. Correction, religion is exactly like a Woolworth’s Pic n Mix. Except of course that kids don’t bunk off school and wander around churches, mosques and temples so they can stuff their pockets with scripture when the priest/imam/rabbi isn’t looking.
The comparison does, I admit, fall apart at that point. All comparisons and analogies ultimately fall apart when it comes to human behaviour. I believe this is more of a reflection on human behaviour than it is on comparisons or analogies.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2013