Chad had learned the traditional masculine characteristics of our fathers and other men in cities across rural Canada: ill-equipped to handle (let alone display) emotion, unable to properly cope with psychological stress, and prone to view any form of vulnerability as weakness. Stoicism and anger were the primary emotions: great when facing death or danger, but crippling in everyday life; excellent on the hockey rink, but useless for navigating the rest of the 21st century.

Stoicism sounds like an excellent method of dealing with things, no?

Won’t they shout at Elaine Page now

Elaine Paige, the singer and Radio 2 presenter, has encouraged young women to “just deal with it” if a man “puts his hand on your knee or your bum”, saying life would be dreary if they are discouraged from flirting.

Paige, 70, said she had “of course” been hit on by predatory men, joking she would be “really embarrassed” if she had managed to avoid it.

But while rape and sexual assault are “completely unacceptable”, she said, other behaviour should be treated with “perspective”.

Obviously. It’s rather how the species has reproduced down the generations, a reasonably important thing for a species to do. There has to be some socially acceptable manner of “Oi, Oi? Fancy a …?”

Whether that’s “can we have a conversation about the beneficial effects of Fairtrade” or “Would you like to come up and see my etchings” there does need to be that manner of asking the question. The problem with some of the modern complaints being that even the asking, in whatever terms, is deemed to be verboeten.

This is the patriarchy, is it Rhiannon?

When is the right moment to reveal the full horror of the patriarchy to your daughters? According to BBC historian Dan Snow, you don’t. The “grim realities” of gender relations won’t encourage them to follow their dreams, he reasons, and so he fibs. This week, on an episode of the Parent Hood podcast, he said that during a visit to an aviation museum his six-year-old daughter pointed out that all of the photos of Spitfire pilots were of men. Snow told her that women also flew Spitfires in combat in the second world war, which is untrue.

“Having to then explain to her why all the pictures of women are of them in ball gowns or in formal dress looking quite wooden and all the pictures of men are of them rampaging around having a great time, being heroic and climbing mountains, shooting things, being soldiers. That is something I struggle with,” he said. “Now at some stage she’s going to learn that I lied to her and she’s going to find out that women weren’t allowed to do active frontline service so I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.”

Millions of men forced – yes, forced into state slavery to then go die – into the military and active service is patriarchy is it?

Someone was always going to try this

A local Labour party has suspended a man who previously made it onto the list of candidates for women’s officer because he “identifies as a woman on Wednesdays”, under their “self-id” rules.

In order to stand for the women-only position, the candidate has to self-identify as a woman, but there are no other stipulations about gender.

David Lewis, a Labour activist, told the Spectator he identifies as a woman “on Wednesdays, between 6.50am when my alarm goes off and around midnight when I go to bed.”

Some feminist activists have raised concerns about self-identification, arguing it could cause men to stand on the all-women shortlists the Labour uses to improve gender equality. They have tried to bring a legal challenge against the party, saying where transgender women do not hold a gender recognition certificate, they should not be allowed to stand in posts the law reserves for women.

Mr Lewis said he stood as candidate to: “inform the CLP, and maybe some other people, about what this policy means, about what happens when you say that someone’s gender depends only on what they say and nothing else.”

He added: “anyone else’s criticism or questions about my gender identity are just not relevant to the Labour Party at the moment, given the current policy. If I say I’m a woman, I’m a woman.”

And of course no one is happy that he’s exposed the contradictions in the policy. Everyone would rather he just shut up.

If it is possible to gain privilege through simple self-identification then people will self-identify in order to gain privilege. You know, incentives matter?

There might be a reason for a lack of female directors

I know nothing about film nor auteurs. I do have at least a vague grasp of markets:

Twenty-five years ago this month, Jane Campion became the first, and so far the only, female director to win the Cannes film festival, with her wild gothic tale of repression and obsession, The Piano. When Campion broke through and was recognised as an auteur by her male peers – with the Palme d’Or and three Oscars in her handbag – feminists assumed that more women artists would follow in her wake. They were wrong.

There was no great bursting of the financial and cultural dam that held back women film-makers. Instead their work filtered through in drips, excluded from directing blockbusters, and excluded from competition at Cannes and other festivals. “I think we got caught in a complicated supplicancy, a very sophisticated supplicancy,” says Campion.

But now, a quarter of a century later, Campion feels that time is up for supplicancy as the #MeToo movement reverberates in the film industry and beyond. “Right now, we’re in a really special moment. I’m so excited about it. It’s like the Berlin wall coming down, like the end of apartheid. I think we have lived in one of the more ferocious patriarchal periods of our time, the 80s, 90s and noughties. Capitalism is such a macho force. I felt run over.”

Dipping croissants into coffee in Soho on a trip from her home in New Zealand to London, Campion seems the last person anyone would dare to run over, with her iron will, silver hair and ready laugh. But even after The Piano’s success, Campion’s journey was never easy, and her insistence on a stubbornly female gaze in her work did not translate into big box office returns.

That last line being fairly important, no? A film takes some multiples of decamillions of dollars to make and show worldwide. A major studio movie does at least. The people who cough up that cash would quite like to have their money back too.

If female directors making feminist films made beaucoup de cash then investors would line up to pay for them. They don’t, apparently, so…….

And, so?

The market – note, not capitalism – gets what the market wants. This is even so if there are some millions of women out there who wish to see a film based upon feminist principles and stories. Market demand rather calling forth its own supply.

And so I ask myself

This is a mistake. A closer look at the arguments being made by these two camps reveals a deeper, more serious intellectual rift. What’s really at play is that feminism has come to contain two distinct understandings of sexism, and two wildly different, often incompatible ideas of how that problem should be solved. One approach is individualist, hard-headed, grounded in ideals of pragmatism, realism and self-sufficiency. The other is expansive, communal, idealistic and premised on the ideals of mutual interest and solidarity. The clash between these two kinds of feminism has been starkly exposed by #MeToo, but the crisis is the result of shifts in feminist thought that have been decades in the making.

Do I actually care?

Umm, no, no I don’t.

As with some of the Senior Lecturer’s output, it reeks of pinheads dancing upon angels.

I was wondering about this

It’s an asinine law, sure, but I have wondered whether we might not find more women than men convicted under it:

A university graduate is believed to be the first woman convicted under new domestic abuse laws after scalding her boyfriend with boiling water, stabbing him and keeping food from him.

Jordan Worth, 22, banned her partner from their bed, decided what clothes he could wear, isolated him from friends and family and even took over his Facebook account.

She was jailed for seven-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to the offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship, introduced in 2015, as well as wounding with intent and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Anyone offering an over and under on the ratio convicted once the law is bedded in?

Have they really done something this stupid?

Yes, they have.

The gender pay gap reporting requirements. All those companies reporting. They must include all employees, part and full time. But the statistics ombudsman insisted that we shouldn’t do it this way, because more women part timers and part timers get paid less per hour.

So, the law insists upon reporting in he manner in which the stats buys say it shouldn’t be. Seriously?

Interesting from Google

Google has revealed a 17pc gender pay gap in the UK, although the technology giant says it pays men and women equally for the same work.

The internet search company revealed that the mean average for women’s salaries in the UK is 17pc below that for men, and bonuses are 43pc less generous.

The mean pay gap more generally in the economy is around that 17%. Which does surprise me. A tech firm has such a small one?

BTW, handy test for reporters’ ignorance. Anyone who compares this to the 9.6% average gap is spouting nonsense, that’s the median.

Rhiannon Lucy is all growed up now

There is not a day that goes by where I don’t feel grateful for the fact that I am no longer embedded tit-deep in the feminist movement. Though I remain a feminist – my commitment to the cause is unaltered – it is a relief, not to mention immeasurably better for my mental health, to find myself no longer overly concerned with putting a step wrong somewhere and facing the wrath of, well, everyone. “Did you see the fallout from so-and-so’s column?” a friend who is very much still involved in the feminist media circus asked me the other day. “Nope, don’t care,” I replied. She looked at me with wonder in her eyes.

Women are so frequently pitted against each other that it feels somewhat disloyal to admit that some of the worst tearing downs to which we can be subject are often from other women – so much for sisterhood.

All of which makes one wonder why we pay so much attention to those not yet growed up?

Peeps still aren’t understanding Iceland’s equal pay law

On the face of it, Iceland is a good place to be a woman. For nearly a decade, it has been rated the world’s most gender-equal country. It was the first to directly elect a female president, nearly half its MPs and company directors are women, and first-class daycare and parental leave help ensure almost four in five women have jobs.

So it came as a shock for Fríða Rós Valdimarsdóttir to learn, when she was managing a key team of 10 home carers at Reykjavik council a few years ago, that male colleagues in other departments, with far fewer responsibilities than her, were being paid a great deal more.

“It has been illegal for decades, for jobs that are worth the same, to pay people differently because of gender, but still it happens – it’s simply been allowed,” says Valdimarsdóttir, who is now the chair of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association, in her bright offices in the country’s capital.

Despite an equal pay act that dates back to 1961, Icelandic women still earn, on average, between 14% and 20% less than men. So Valdimarsdóttir and her association were one of many campaign groups to back a plan that finally resulted, last month, in the island becoming the first country in the world to legally enforce equal pay.

They’re not enforcing equal pay. They’re enforcing equal pay for the same – or very similar, to be fair – job.

It is still true that different life choices, different commitments to career, different deployments of talent, will lead to different pay outcomes.

Within four years from January 2018, any public or private body in Iceland employing more than 25 people that has not been independently certified as paying equal wages for work of equal value will face daily fines.

Be fun to see the lawyers arguing as follows.

“My client pays different amounts because they regard the work as being of different value. The proof that the work is of different value is that it is paid differently. QED.”

At which point, my prediction. The country will still have a gender pay gap even after this is all bedded in. And people will still complain.


Most UK employers believe a woman should have to disclose if she is pregnant during a recruitment process, according to “depressing” statistics from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The EHRC warned that many businesses were “decades behind the law” after a YouGov survey of 1,106 senior decision-makers revealed that a third of those working for private companies thought it was reasonable to ask a woman about her plans to have children in the future during the recruitment process, 59% said she should have to disclose if she is pregnant and almost half (46%) said it was also reasonable to ask a woman if she had small children.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, the chief executive of the EHRC, said the findings were “depressing” and accused many British companies of “living in the dark ages”.

“We should all know very well that it is against the law not to appoint a woman because she is pregnant or might become pregnant. Yet we also know women routinely get asked questions around family planning in interviews,” she said. “It’s clear that many employers need more support to better understand the basics of discrimination law and the rights of pregnant women and new mothers.”

EHRC is talking about what the law is. The companies are talking about what they think the law should be. These are not the same thing.

As the Senior Lecturer keeps telling us about tax…..

No, they’re getting this wrong again

Fathers now take more time off work to care for sick children than mothers, a new survey of parents reveals.

Traditionally it was mothers that stepped in to look after their youngsters when they were ill but a change in social and working attitudes has been attributed to a rise in fathers taking on the role.

A study by health app firm Evergreen Life revealed that a higher percentage of men are now taking time off work to care for their children.

This will be used to show there should be no gender pay gap because fathers more than mothers etc. Missing that mothers tend (as always, tend, this is about averages) to organise life so that time off isn’t needed for the little germ factories that is a nest of young ‘uns.

Expect less pretty actresses to get film roles

More than 190 of Britain’s leading female actresses are demanding an end to sexual harassment ahead of the Bafta Awards.

For today’s definition of sexual harassment crosses over the line into comely young females using their being comely and young to gain work.

No, I do not mean that it’s just fine and dandy that every young woman who wants to strut their stuff on screen has to watch the producer toss off into a palm plant – and certainly not that rape is just dandy nor fine. But comely youth is something valuable and it’s absolutely certain that one or two have sold it over the years. It might even have been the marginal wannabes doing the selling but still…..any bird who has been to the screen test interview with an extra button undone on the blouse has been doing exactly that.


The practice is called wigging: stuntmen don wigs and women’s clothing to resemble female actors while filming risky action scenes.

Camera angles, special effects and editing preserve the illusion that it is a pulchritudinous star leaping off a building or driving through a window rather than a man in drag.

Audiences may not know or care but stuntwomen do because it means less work for them.

One is now mounting what is believed to be the first legal challenge to wigging. Deven MacNair, a Los Angeles-based stunt performer, is planning to sue a production company and Hollywood’s acting union over a male colleague performing a stunt in drag instead of giving the job to a stuntwoman.

“The practice is so common,” she told the Guardian on Wednesday. “It’s historical sexism – this is how it’s been done since the beginning of time.”

The answer is to insist that the act of donning a wig makes one a woman. For in this modern age there is no other definition is there, just the claim?

Doesn’t this just kill an argument

But to hear Linda Bellos, the veteran feminist campaigner, arguing on the radio this week against allowing trans candidates to join Labour’s all-women shortlists because she didn’t feel a trans woman could “represent me” was as depressing as reading Bergdorf’s tweet. There are men in parliament now, never mind trans politicians, who represent my feelings about stamping out sexual harassment at Westminster better than older women insisting that a hand on the knee doesn’t matter.

Thus dies the line that it matters more who represents rather than what they represent. The race, gender, orientation, of our representatives doesn’t matter, only their policies.

Well, OK, I’m fine with that myself. But it does rather kill about 90% of today’s left wing politics, doesn’t it?

No Zoe, that’s actually the important question

That is the hot-button pay-gap question of the day – do women choose low-paid sectors because they are more naturally suited to them? Or is this all a gender construct, with the patriarchy putting centuries of graft into persuading one sex that they are hardwired to do the stuff the other sex doesn’t like the look of? Always happy to wade into a fight about gender essentialism, I sometimes forget to reject the premise. It doesn’t matter why women go into female-dominated sectors. The only question that matters is why women’s work is less well-paid.