It’s not sexism Dame Sally, it’s politeness

The country’s chief medical officer has hit out at “sexist” attacks after being accused of a “nannying” approach.

Professor Dame Sally Davies questioned the BBC’s Nick Robinson on whether a male counterpart would have been given the label.

She was speaking after the UK’s chief medical officers said families should ban phones at bedtime and keep them away from the dinner table.

In an awkward exchange on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Dame Sally was questioned about the nannying claims by Mr Robinson.

He asked her: “You always have this question, so I know you are familiar with it – this balance you have to get between nannying on the one hand, or being accused of it at least, and on the other hand banality, stating things that are obvious.”

Dame Sally shot back: “I thought you were going to be sexist.”

Robinson asked, “What bit of that is sexist?” and Dame Sally replied: “I wonder whether you would say to a male chief medical officer…”

A man who came out with this tosh would be told to fuck off you cunt.

So it’s not sexism it’s just politeness. Or even, it is sexism and aren’t you glad we are being so?

To be slightly more serious there’s an interesting point here. Yes, indeed, women are equal and can and should be doing any and every job and all that. And yet there’s something that all too many still don’t quite get. Quite how brutal men are to each other. And we’ve still got, very strongly, the social insistence that we don’t treat women in the workforce in the manner we entirely happily would men.

That is, we’re nowhere near equal treatment and women would, in general, be entirely horrified to find out what that would be if we were.

34 comments on “It’s not sexism Dame Sally, it’s politeness

  1. “Nanny state” is common parlance. The state is nongender (assuming saying so is not a hate crime). Exactly the same word is always used when it’s men making the ‘suggestions’. So Dame Sally is an idiot and/or just wanted to duck the question. Robinson is a shoddy journalist if he didn’t point this out and ask the question again.

  2. They are all nannying fussbuckets.

    And women can be just as brutal to each other. Or should I say bitchy.

  3. Robinson should have asked her why she thinks men can’t be nannies.

    But he’s a nanny statist arsehole too so this is all just leftist autophagy for our amusement.

  4. +Henry if Sally Davies wants to be treated as an equal, first she will abandon that Dame nonsense which strongly suggests that the title-bearer thinks she is superior.

    I’ve worked in accounting and finance for much of my life and such departments in a firm are normally staffed by women. The average man would simply not be able to handle the viciousness between women over tiny things. Men who try that on their male colleagues usually end up visiting the dentist soon after.

  5. If you grow up in the rough end of town it’s a given that men will respond violently to each other when challenged. Accordingly you learn what and where to avoid, how to negotiate when confronted, when to run, and, on occasion, when to stand. Politeness has always been a necessary tool – not least when half the population carries a gun. Women don’t expect to fight as a matter of convention (I was assaulted by girls when a cheeky kid because they knew I would never hit them back). As an adult I quickly learned not to treat female colleagues as men, given they would run bawling to the ladies loo and fail to venture out for an hour or so.

  6. She just cynically brought this up to avoid answering the question, and the interviewer gratefully fell into its open arms.

    As we saw with the “so what you are saying” debacle, modern journalists simply do not possess either the brain or the inclination to think on their feet, even a tiny amount. Script, snark or grovel, it’s all they have.

  7. Fill a good strong cloth bag with a dozen old mobiles and then and then practice swinging on that weighted old bag. Good exercise.

  8. And of course the ‘row’ is not the overbearing State but completely manufactured offence over a word in common usage.

    Sums the media up nicely.

  9. Does she consider herself a Dame?

    Sounds really sexist to me, she does need to drop that.

    It does highlight the lunacies inherent in PC when the headline “Dame says calling her nanny is sexist” is greeted, not with howls of laughter, but rather as a matter of serious concern.

  10. Feminism is a scam to shield wealthy white women from consequences and accountability, Vol MXLVII

    It’s a very old and boring hustle by now: they’re ball-breaking, glass-ceiling-smashing SLAY KWEENZ when talking themselves up for the job (“aren’t we AMAZING, ladies?”, as every wimmins TV chat show declares every day), then turn into wibbly-lipped Little Nells as soon as people demand to see results.

    See also: Hillary Clinton, Kathleen Kennedy (the woman who made Star Wars lose money, hitherto thought unpossible – naturally Disney promoted her for this), any number of dopey cows in Parliament, etc.

    Current Year clownery keeps confirming that our ancestors were bigoted old squares for a reason: stereotypes save you a lot of time and money. Really, very few men are good leaders (which is why we test each other mercilessly and even Julius Caesar eventually got Goved), and great lady leaders like Maggie Thatcher are one in a million.

  11. Perhaps oddly, both “nannying” and “paternalistic” are used to describe the ethos of “we know better than you do, so we’ll nag/nudge/compel you behave as we say” and both words can be used regardless of the gender of the alleged nanny/paternalist. Or perhaps it isn’t “odd” at all, since the words are not being used to indicate a literal nanny or father figure…

    And for what it’s worth, aren’t male nannies A Thing these days?

  12. She’s the chief medical officer – can I assume, since she’s fannying about with stuff like this, that no-one’s dying of anything else?

  13. She has a point, although inadvertently.

    We should stop using the term nanny State because it implies looking after children who are by definition incapable of making choices in their best interest or trading off risks and benefits.

    We’re adults and can make our own choices, lets start calling it what it is, the patronising State.

  14. Steve,

    “It’s a very old and boring hustle by now: they’re ball-breaking, glass-ceiling-smashing SLAY KWEENZ when talking themselves up for the job (“aren’t we AMAZING, ladies?”, as every wimmins TV chat show declares every day), then turn into wibbly-lipped Little Nells as soon as people demand to see results.”

    This is one of the reasons I like working in smaller companies: there’s no passengers. Large companies and government don’t care about the thing that really matters – making even more money. They mostly live off a previously-established reputation, so the management are corrupt and use their power to waste money on pet projects.

    The women I work with do a good job and there’s not a whiff of this cobblers. On top of that, there’s less sexism than in large places because in big places, men will abuse their power to gain sex or further personal agendas.

    (it’s more cost-effective for the the owner of a small business to pay for an escort than promote a female employee just to get sex)

  15. Steve,

    “See also: Hillary Clinton, Kathleen Kennedy (the woman who made Star Wars lose money, hitherto thought unpossible – naturally Disney promoted her for this), any number of dopey cows in Parliament, etc.”

    Yeah. Even the prequels made a good profit.

    Star Wars is running on nostalgia. There aren’t lots of little kids who are into it. China hasn’t taken to it. The new films don’t just suffer from “woke” but from a lack of good creative leadership. Because Kathleen Kennedy doesn’t know what she’s doing. She was Spielberg’s production assistant. And yeah, she’s a producer of Spielberg’s films, but you think she pushes Spielberg around?

    She hired JJ Abrams who is a hack. After quite a good decision to hire Lord and Miller, who have made a run of very good films, they went off script and did their own thing and got fired for it, for Kennedy to hire Ron Howard. Lord and Miller instead went off and produced and wrote the brilliant Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.

  16. BoM4 – Yarp. I also work with a lot of great girls who are very conscientious and consistent grafters.

    Office shagging will always be with us so long as the mens and the wimmins have interlocking genitalia, but toxic management – including Queen Bee-ism from female “leaders” who think it’s a personal affront if you question them – thrives more in big corporates and pubsec.

    Also, apropos of nothing, the worst male bosses I’ve ever had were ex-Army orifices. Tend to combine thick-as-shittery with obsequious toadying to the Board and authoritarian twattishness towards their own reports. Sandhurst must have a brain donor unit, or something.

  17. “If you grow up in the rough end of town it’s a given that men will respond violently to each other when challenged. Accordingly you learn what and where to avoid, how to negotiate when confronted, when to run, and, on occasion, when to stand. Politeness has always been a necessary tool”

    There was a very interesting book written by a NY lesbian called Nora Vincent, called Self Made Man, in which she describes her decision to dress as a man and pretend to be one in some specific times and circumstances. She was astounded at how men behave towards each other and negotiate their way around, acknowledging other men, but not challenging them. As a woman she had never seen it, because men behave differently towards women, but in her male persona she got the full experience.

  18. Steve,

    “Also, apropos of nothing, the worst male bosses I’ve ever had were ex-Army orifices. Tend to combine thick-as-shittery with obsequious toadying to the Board and authoritarian twattishness towards their own reports. Sandhurst must have a brain donor unit, or something.”

    It’s public sector. And one of the worst parts because there is little real world testing of it. People can go for years without their decisions being checked against reality. So the incentives stop being about running a good military and become about ego, politics and corruption.

  19. MBE – a good point. A re-posed question substituting the terms would’ve been a deft parry lunge. Sally was irritated by the question and instinctively reached for a go-to attack on the questioner. That is not always wrong, but nick couldn’t have more softly framed the question and it was a fair enough question. As he said Sally’s asked that question all the time, shouldn’t be too hard to play a straight bat to it.

  20. “It’s public sector. And one of the worst parts because there is little real world testing of it. People can go for years without their decisions being checked against reality. So the incentives stop being about running a good military and become about ego, politics and corruption.”

    Until there’s a war, then the dead wood get weeded out sharpish. Of course one might have lost by then………

  21. Officers are expected to take the ‘party lne’ from above and impose it on those below. No independence of thought is required, no rebels allowed. Usually there’s some senior NCO who will stop them doing too much damage until they learn how to get along. Once they get into civvy street they are inclined to give orders and expect them to be carried out. They don’t always know how to get buy-in from subordinates.

    Having said that, some of them are pretty good inside the Army, and it’s not the middle-class grammar school boys but the thicko upper-class twits in the family regiment who do well.

    If it’s not clear, I was a sulky senior NCO, accused by my grammar school officers of dumb insolence more than once.

  22. @ rhoda klapp
    That is partly because the thicko upper-class twits dumped into the army and family regiments *know* that they are thickos, having had it rubbed into them by their Paters and school-“friends” whereas *some* of the grammar-school boys think they are clever and know best.

  23. “Just been appointed Master of Trinity”: well, well.

    Unless the rules have been changed the mastership is in the gift of the Crown i.e. the Prime Minister chooses.

    Some PMs have consulted the Fellowship (e.g. Maggie) and others have not (e.g. Wislon).

    So I don’t know whether to blame the lamentable Mrs May or the Fellowship. Since the College advertised the post maybe there was a deal that the PM would rubber-stamp any recommendation from the College.

    Declaration of interest: they didn’t “reach out” to me. Bastards!

  24. Anyway, can we all agree that if the opportunity should arise we’ll refer to her as the Nanny of Trinity?

  25. “Also, apropos of nothing, the worst male bosses I’ve ever had were ex-Army orifices. Tend to combine thick-as-shittery with obsequious toadying to the Board and authoritarian twattishness towards their own reports. Sandhurst must have a brain donor unit, or something.”

    You’ve been unlucky.

    Broadly and simply speaking there’s two types of Army officers, those who are leaders and allowed to command troops and NEWTS (Not Employable With Troops), who are restricted to Staff or admin jobs. Staff jobs are seriously important so no shame there but they aren’t going to get to the top.

    Leaders set objectives and then leave their subordinates to get on with it. A Regiment will get an objective. The CO will decide how he’s going to achieve that objective and the outline plan, along with what the rest of the Brigade is doing. They then brief their Company commanders on the objective, his overall plan and their individual objectives. As part of that briefing they’ll also been told whats happen in the broader picture to the Regiments flanks.

    They then figure out their plans and brief their platoon commanders on the company objectives, what the other platoons are doing and set them their own objectives. And so it goes on until a section commander his briefing his team on his plan to achieve his objective.

    Its called an “O Group” (O for Orders) and a set procedure.

    Commanders then get kicked if they start dropping behind their objective. In the final push in the Falklands one message went over the air “if the [xxx] don”t get a move on [very very senior officer] says he will come down their and personally kick their arses.

  26. @ Pcar
    I read that he styled himself Gerald Grosvenor T.D. because he had earned the T.D. Left off all the other initials that got handed out unearned. Wanted to be an army officer and that was blocked so he joined the TA hoping to be called up if war broke out (but too old in 1982) and earned a promotion or two.
    When asked about his wealth said that he’d like to give it away but he couldn’t (he actually had no claims on the capital, just the income). Did give away a lot of said income.
    Sounded a thoroughly decent bloke.

  27. Going back to the subject: it seems that almost everyone is complaining about the sexist treatment of women by men – how about the sexist treatment of men by women?
    As Jim says women often don’t appreciate that men negotiate around men without challenging – the “no skin off my nose” attitude – while a minority of women expect to ride roughshod over men. More often than not the bigger guy will move to accommodate the smaller as he doesn’t need to worry about losing face before the smaller guy needs to make a choice.

  28. Agree re comment above that “nanny state” might be a poor term – it leaves itself open to being accused of sexism or even misogyny.

    The “paternalistic state” or “patronising state” sounds rather more like the problem is with the patriarchy (powerful people, by and large men, bossing other people’s lives around after all) which might just gain a bit more traction….

  29. @john 77

    a thoroughly decent bloke.

    Agree.

    Also how Arrsers describe Tim Collins & Dick Strawbridge – both also NI

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