Tag Archives: feminism

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I had an interesting conversation with a taxi driver this week. I say conversation, he didn’t really require much response, and I couldn’t really hear most of what he was saying. I realised at one point quite how much of a blessing this was. Having shared the story of his last fare- a couple who he had possibly managed to cause an argument between by suggesting that a magazine found in the back seat (which he showed me, complete with scantily clad woman on the cover) might have been theirs, he went on to explain to me the difference between men and women. For which I was understandably grateful.

Driver: “You know why men can navigate much better than women?”
Me (trying to not burst out into feminist-rant mode, and also rather intrigued): non-committal mumble
Driver: “Well its because when they finish school they just spend a lot of time in pubs…”
Me: thinking he might have a point there
Driver: “…and because they go round town from one pub to another they have to be able to find them all so they need to be able to navigate from one to the next.”
Me: another non-committal mumble as I start to realise that he’s actually not joking.

The best bit came next;

Driver: “and women don’t do that you see, cos they don’t go drinking in lots of pubs”
Me: wondering if he’s making a point about women not being drunken yobs, or being more discerning..
Driver (bursting my bubble): “women just go shopping, and all the shops are together in the middle of town, so they don’t need to be able to find their way around. And that’s why men are better at navigating than women.”

Unfortunately I was at the time too shattered to unleash the feminist wrath from within. And also too shocked for words.

This was then followed with a tale of woe which consisted of the result of many pubs closing, which is that men are losing this uncanny ability, or not learning it to start with, and are therefore forced to rely on sat-navs. The end result being that soon they will be “as bad as women”.

Priceless. The taxi I took back the day after wasn’t nearly so entertaining.

Girl Power?

Richard posted this on Connexions recently, and, as usual this kind of thing gets me angry. Not so much, as you might expect, at the people who produce these ‘lads mags’, or even the unimaginative and plain ignorant men who buy them, although both groups are not high on my list of favourites. No, the real problem I have with this is with the women who allow it to happen. And its not even just in magazines and ‘news’ papers like these, but in every corner of our lives. Singers, actors, generic ‘celebrities’, they all participate, voluntarily flaunting themselves to sell that next single or raise those ratings.

The justification for a lot of this, as Richard mentioned, is that it promotes the empowerment of women. This never fails to remind me of the catch phrase of a certain all girl singing group of the 90’s; “girl power” was yelled from the stage as they begged you to “tell me what you want, what you really really want”. Empowerment of women? In the shortest skirts and heaviest eyeliner? In flaunting your ‘assets’ in our faces in the hope of increasing record sales? In the need to be sexy, regardless of age or inclination, if you want to get ahead? This is making women stronger we’re told, it shows they can be dominant, and can’t be walked over. If you say so. To me, it says that no matter how talented, intelligent, courageous or strong-minded she is, at the end of the day, a woman is first and foremost a body, and that that is her most important asset.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being pretty, and every woman loves to be considered attractive, but there’s so much more to it than that. A woman’s power lies in her character, her mind, and her strengths and abilities, in the same way as any man. And I’d rather a daughter of mine grew up with that definition of ‘girl power’ than any other.