Despite loads and loads of stuff going round in my head at the moment – like: how could I have not seen the white, male, upper-class privileges whirling round Stephen Fry and instead found him whimsically amusing and faintly adorable?: how come Steve mcQueen can be used to advertise watches and everybody else see his image and thinks ‘cool’ and I think ‘wife-beater’? – I’m finding a coherent narrative hard to come by. Swirly stuff that would end with, ‘but I digress’ I have shed loads of but even I can see that these swirls need a thread to turn them into a post. So thank fuck for the Daily Male.
It is an article of faith with me that on any given day, should I be in need of conjuring a bit of righteous anger (not often necessary to artificially induce this, but still), I can always, guaranteed and without fail, rely on the Daily Male to supply it. I came to this article of faith by virtue of my parents who live many miles away and visit only seldom, but always, always, come armed with a copy of the Daily Male, regarding it as a ‘good, informative read’ (I know, I know; safe to say I am regarded as an alien being by my parents). It was therefore only on completely random and infrequent days that I flicked through a copy yet, however random and infrequent, my reaction was always the same. It is, as we all know, a piece of work; worse even than The Sun which at least knows it’s a comic, rather than actually a newspaper.
The other day things were just a little too harmonious: the BoogieMeister and I were loved up, Boogie was behaving like an angel and L’il Boo was having a particularly long nap even for him. Things were too fucking right with the world. So I click open The Beast:
And it’s good. It’s pure. Pure clap-trap. It’s classic Male. Just so you don’t actually have to bother reading it, The Male kindly summed up the whole article in one sentence: ‘Dr Catherine Hakim concludes that the battle for sexual equality is over and any pay gap is down to women’s lifestyle choices.‘
So short a sentence. So much wrong with it.
OK, OK, so you can see from the date of the article that I’m using a bit of artistic licence here; I started this post last year (though it seems a bit bizarre to put it in those terms), but – I don’t know if you’ve noticed – it’s been Christmas and I always lose the plot a bit at that time of year. I was going to do a short criticism of the article then swiftly realised that that wouldn’t be possible; the only thing that would do this bit of clap-trap justice would be a line-by-liner and, frankly, I have resolutions to plan (first one: make resolutions before the New Year), otherwise how am I going to know exactly how much I’ve failed come this time next year? So y’all can read it and savage it at will (although, seriously, it’s too, too easy, candy-from-a-baby time or, as I Blame The Patriarchy would probably describe it, an exercise for ‘novice’ patriarchy blamers only), and I will limit myself to quoting one sentence; according to Dr. Hakim:
‘In Britain half of all women in senior positions are child-free, and a lot more of them have nominal families with a single child and they subcontract out the work of caring for them to other women.’
First off, commiserations to all those single children out there who have to deal with the knowledge that they are members of only ‘nominal‘ families. Second off, let’s just see how that sentence works out for men:
half a small proportion of all women men in senior positions are child-free, and a lot more the vast majority of them have nominal families with a single child with any number of children and they subcontract out get all the work of caring for them to other women done for free by the significant women in their lives.’ Who they then divorce for a younger model and complain that ‘feminism has gone mad’ when said women demand a bit of cash recognition for devoting their lives to bringing up said men’s children and then being left below the poverty line as a result of their diminished work skills.
Too fucking right the battle for sexual equality is over. What the fuck was I thunking?
Too, too easy.
Such was the basic idiocy of the article that I found myself thunking: who is this Dr. Catherine Hakim?
I wish I hadn’t. I really do. Because Hakim has a bit of form.
She is, apparently, a Senior Research Fellow (I bet she’s not arguing with that title) in the Sociology department of the LSE. Amongst her ‘topics of interest’ is ‘women’s employment and theories of women’s position in society.‘
Hmm. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I was even remotely interested in ‘women’s employment and theories of women’s position in society‘ I would feel behoven (yes, I suspect I’ve made that word up, too, but it sounds so…nice), to at least make enquiries as to whether there was, say, a whole movement utterly devoted to analysing ‘women’s position in society.’ I surely wouldn’t have to make many enquiries before stumbling across something called ‘feminism’. You’d think, wouldn’t you? Even if it was just by accident of the weird results you can get from a Google search.
Maybe Dr. hakim doesn’t own a computer. Maybe she thinks that ‘feminism’ is actually a term invented by the Male meaning ‘harbinger of all evil’. Who knows, but Dr. Hakim does seem to skim over the whole, boring bit about ‘reasons’ for stuff she concludes.
In an article for Prospect magazine Hakim expands on something called ‘erotic capital’ (a term she claims to have coined) and detailing how women ‘use’ it. Her conclusion seems to be thus: proper economic capital be damned; women may have none of it, but bugger me, they’re ‘erotic’ and that’s just as good. I paraphrase, of course, but that seems to be the basic jist (‘cept of course I inserted the bit about women having no actual economic capital). And you can see her point, can’t you? I mean the machinations of The Patriarchy means that whilst women do the work they sure as hell don’t hold the money but who gives a shit when you have ‘erotic’ capital? Because then you just get a man to buy you a house and some diamonds instead, right? So, we can all lie down and relax, girlies, because the equality war is so over. And women, of course, are just better at being erotic; to quote:
‘Erotic capital goes beyond beauty to include sex appeal, charm and social skills, physical fitness and liveliness, sexual competence and skills in self-presentation, such as face-painting, hairstyles, clothing and all the other arts of self-adornment…Yet women have long excelled at such arts: that’s why they tend to be more dressed up than men at parties.’
Which is a bit like saying, Poor people excel at being able to resist the temptation to buy a Ferrari. Indisputably true, but kinda meaningless when your analysis only takes into account the amount of poor people who actually own a Ferrari, n’est-ce pas? Maybe – just maybe, ’cause I don’t want to be dogmatic here – the number of poor people owning Ferraris is influenced by something other than just poor people being better at managing the urge to buy a fast, shiny car? Or am I missing something? No, I’m really not. But somebody is.
And, in a nice twist, she just keeps going. She is quoted in yet another Daily Male article today.
This woman’s like the bloody Duracell bunny.