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Jane Shillingford pleads for a sense of fun in the gender war

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


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About Jane Shillingford

Jane spent the bulk of her career working on women’s magazines. Now retired and living on the south coast, she has no regrets and 'would do it all again'. More Posts