Last week my dad announced he’s a feminist. He then rattled on for half an hour and didn’t let any women (me, mum) speak.
Last night we watched Bones, a show I quite enjoy, in which a men’s rights activist is murdered. A ‘meninist’. The sort of person who truly believes that ‘every job taken by a woman is a qualified white man out of work’.
Women still earn less than men for doing the same work, women of colour even more so, despite it being illegal here in the UK. Women still shoulder the vast majority of housework, chores, cooking and childcare. More women work part-time, and not necessarily because they want to.
I also watched Confirmation this week, a drama based on real events and real people, with Kerry Washington playing Anita Hill as Olivia Pope with bad suits. Hill testified against US supreme court nominee Judge Clarence Thomas in a hearing about his alleged sexual misconduct. No other women were permitted to testify. She was vilified in the press, he became a member of the supreme court.
Was the all male senate panel’s attitude towards her because she was a woman, because she was black, because she spoke up? Thomas tried to make it about race (he was African-American, as was Hill), but they didn’t buy it.
Would a man’s word have carried more weight, would his testimony been so easy to dismiss?
This week Beyonce released Lemonade, one of the themes of which seems to be infidelity. Now she hasn’t explicitly said it’s about her marriage, but the internet is alight with people trying to find out who Jay-Z cheated on her with.
But where’s the backlash against him? If he did sleep with someone other than his wife behind her back (as opposed to in an open marriage) then why aren’t people criticising him? Is it just easier to blame a woman, after all she betrayed the sisterhood, he’s just a man. And that’s what men do.
I read a recent interview with Monica Lewinsky, who had a brief affair with Bill Clinton in the 90s, he stayed president, she was humiliated and found it hard to keep her life on track. Now she runs an anti-bullying initiative, he’s supporting his wife’s White House run, but Lewinsky is still treated to vindictive comments but the married man many years her senior is just good ol’ Bill.
And you wonder why it’s hard to be a woman.