My husband, despite all efforts and honest intentions to the contrary, is an unreconstructed old school chauvinist. He refuses to go shopping with me, describes to my occasional woman-to-woman phone chats with girlfriends as ‘wittering’ and only yesterday cited the magazine shelves of WH Smiths – which he had just visited – as definitively illustrative of the difference in attitude and understanding between the sexes.
He was referring to the general gulf between what appears on the ‘general’ and men’s interest shelves – motoring, boating, computers, films, cameras, war, music and (of course) sport, sport, sport etc. etc. – and that on the women’s interest equivalent, viz. hair, dieting … weight, sex and relationship issues … home, decorating, cooking and (inevitably) celebrities, celebrities, celebrities (usually relating to how good or bad their bikini bodies and latest choices of men, fashion and hairstyle are judged to be).
His point – and yes, I’ll make it for him here – is that, for all the logic behind the ‘equality’ lobbying of well-to-do Hampstead ladies already possessed of worthwhile careers, the bottom line is that the majority of women are primarily just interested in matters of relationships, families and housewifery.
It’s a facile thrust, but sometimes even I suspect there’s something in it.
Post-modern feminism not only needs to guard against taking too much for granted, but against taking itself too seriously. Life is life, not a constant tight-lipped struggle requiring a total absence of humour and irony.
In support of my contention, here’s a link to a piece I spotted on the website of the Daily/Sunday Telegraph today – SPOOF MAGAZINE COVER