There’s a good looking woman lying on Bondi Beach, so Bruce treats her to his best smooth-talking chat-up line.
“G’day Sheila. Wanna f***?”
“No thanks, mate,” says Sheila.
“No worries,” says Bruce. “Would you mind just lying there while I have one?”
This joke, as you can probably tell, comes from Australia, which in its heyday was probably the most sexist country in the world. But apparently no longer. The honour is now Great Britain’s. Or so claims a human rights expert from South Africa called Rashida Manjoo. British sexism, she has just reported to the UN Human Rights Council, is more widespread than in any other country due to a “boys’ club culture.”
“I’m not sure what gives rise to a more visible presence of sexist portrayals of women and girls in this country in particular. What is clear from these indications of portrayals of women and girls is that there is a boys’ club sexist culture and it does lead to perceptions about women and girls country.”
Ms (bound to be a ‘Ms’, isn’t she?) Manjoo based her views on meetings with “UK government officials, civil society organisations and individual survivors of violence”, as well as on her observations of the “easy availability of porn, the use of social media including influencing young children around images” and what she called “harassment on the Tubes.” By this last she appears to be referring to the latest trend for taking pictures of women eating on the London Underground and posting them onto Facebook under the heading “Women Who Eat On Tubes.”
The government must take action to deal with this terrible scourge, she is quoted as saying in the Telegraph:
“The state has a responsibility to protect, to prevent, to punish, to provide effective remedies. So in terms of prevention, is it necessary to mandate that certain modules are mandatory for children in schools considering the quite pervasive levels of bullying, sexual harassment and harassment on the tubes which is part and parcel of violence? The general view is that it should be mandatory.”
Some critics of Ms Manjoo’s thesis have noted that there may possibly be more obvious candidates for the title world’s most sexist – for example, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, or the Indian subcontinent.
But no doubt Ms Manjoo – who when not in Britain surfing the internet for pornography or wandering past construction sites waiting in vain to be wolf-whistled or asked to get her breasts out – has carefully considered these possibilities and rejected them.
Perhaps she thinks it’s not very sexist that women in Saudi Arabia are banned from driving because women aren’t very good at parking or cornering without hitting the curb and that therefore this spares them from unnecessary ridicule.
Perhaps she thinks it’s not very sexist that in countries like Somalia women have their clitorises removed because actually sex is a ghastly business which women were never really meant to enjoy anyway.
Perhaps she thinks it’s not very sexist that women are gang-raped in India because, probably, in some way, they have it coming to them having read Fifty Shades of Grey.
Perhaps she thinks it’s not very sexist that in Afghanistan and Pakistan girls who’ve sought to get the same education as boys have been shot and mutilated because women really shouldn’t bother their pretty little heads about sums and stuff and should really get on with the ironing.
Perhaps she thinks it’s not very sexist that in swathes of the Muslim world women are forced to go round dressed as tents because, hey, it’s kinda fun, like Glastonbury all year round.
Clearly, Ms Manjoo must have thought something on these lines, for she is clearly an expert – a public law professor at the University of Cape Town, no less, who has reported on violence against women in more than 10 countries since 2009, including Somalia, Zambia, Algeria, Jordan and America.
A serious, important woman like that would never have uttered a statement so apparently fatuous, airheaded, preposterous, tendentious, intellectually dishonest, politically correct unless it was grounded in deep thought and careful analysis. Right?