I like women. I have always had more female than male friends. This, despite the fact that while (pace my late wife’s trenchant view to the contrary) men and women can undoubtedly be friends, sex quite often does get in the way*.
This also despite my not buying into — even to be polite — the stupid conspiracy theory called “the Patriarchy”. It doesn’t exist. It never existed. Women have simply, as society has developed and free markets and technology have liberated them from traditional roles been able to enjoy a steadily more fulfilling life with a wider range of possibilities. Which is good news, right? I am happy modern women have more options than their grandmothers. What’s not to like unless you have a stupid zero sum notion of economics?
I never hankered for the life my grandfathers enjoyed. I was happy to have a more fulfilled and therefore more interesting partner than — with the best will in the world (and I loved my grandmothers) — they had.
I honestly believe that there are more women who fantasise about dominant males than men who fancy it. Who bought “Fifty Shades of Grey?” Not men. Nor did a man write it. Nor do straight men go in much for body shaming. Men are attracted to low-maintenance women who believe in their own attractiveness without any need for constant reassurance. If you think you’re beautiful, you are as far as we are concerned. You’ll only get an argument from the non-heterosexual world of fashion (and from each other). Don’t look at us.
If equally qualified women were underpaid, cynical employers would hire them in preference until the market ensured equal pay for equal work. That is actually what has happened if you calculate comparitive pay by the hour. Women on average earn less in a lifetime because women on average still make different life choices. As they are entitled to do. But by the hour they earn what their similarly qualified and experienced male colleagues do.
Relations between the sexes have changed in some ways but not in others. We are now accustomed to working together professionally in a wide variety of roles, but we still fancy each other rotten and with very poor discrimination and have to deal with the awkward social issues sometimes arising from that. Some of them, like effects on the children of broken homes, more serious than that sentence made them seem.
Third wave intersectional feminists, perhaps just addicted to being outré, are trying hard to make continued mischief but feminism per se is now mainstream to the point of banality. If you are a feminist Ché Guevara, bored with the success of your revolution and hankering for violent struggle, you have to adopt some pretty weird stances now to justify it. Socially determined gender identity anyone? Sewing on floppy ears makes you a spaniel?
If in an era when the Conservative Party has twice been led by a woman, when the Chancellor of Europe’s leading country is female, Israel and India have long since had women PMs and the favourite to be the next US President is a woman, you are still banging on about “women’s ishoos” I am therefore cheerfully going to ignore you. Especially if you are from a party that has never come close to electing a woman leader. But if you are an interesting and intelligent woman who likes a chat, let’s have coffee.
*A French friend once told me this is exclusively an Anglo-Saxon problem as Latins just get it out of the way and get on with being friends.