Some men will do literally anything to get laid. Witness the outpouring of support among sexually-frustrated dickless wonders for #HeForShe, an attempt by the United Nations to get men on board with feminism. This mission is necessary, in case you were wondering, because the shrieking harpies of the third-wave feminist movement have alienated most of their own sex with their bullying, lies and harassment.
So the boys have been called up in service of the man-haters, and, such is the diseased world in which we live, they have come charging down the corridor with their tails wagging, regurgitating platitudes about the “urgent need” to “address sexism and gender bias” in the hope of a smile or nod of appreciation from the sisterhood. Can anyone else spot what’s wrong with this picture?
That’s right. It’s a patronising, gendered, borderline sexist campaign that reduces men to cheerleaders for the fairer sex. What ever happened to equality? Reading the #HeForShe website, it’s clear: equity and fairness is no longer the mission. Bullying and bias are issues strictly and exclusively affecting “women and girls,” while the responsibility for policing society is of course up to all of us.
The campaign has captured the imagination of the technology industry in particular, which, despite being one of the most welcoming places for women to work, never misses an opportunity to beat itself up with bogus statistics about how terribly, awfully, tragically oppressed women are in its heteropatriarchal landscape.
Emma Watson, the UN’s chosen cheerleader, who of course takes radical steps to avoid conforming to male ideas of female beauty, as the picture above illustrates, gave a speech to launch this otiose initiative while wearing perhaps the most expensive, figure-hugging overcoat I think I have ever seen. Is this the sort of person from whom we now take lectures on the sexualisation of women’s bodies?
I hate to be crude, but is it possible the Harry Potter star wears those ten-thousand dollar outfits, with jackets cut perfectly to accentuate every curve of her body, her hair snipped and tousled by the most exclusive stylists in the world, because she in fact really rather likes, and financially profits from, the idea of men waving their wands at her?
And I mean, for God’s sake, what’s wrong with a woman’s body being sexual? Of course it’s sexual. So is a man’s, only, it’s alright to sexualise men these days, and luridly obsess over the private parts of male celebrities, but don’t you dare suggest that a woman who makes a living by being hot ought to be careful what she does with nude photographs of herself.
It’s all so bonkers, isn’t it, this “white knight” phenomenon. Men who feel as though they need to come to the rescue of women by insulting and badgering other men for the crime of having a sex drive. Men who agree with absurd statements such as, “unwanted attention is sexual harassment.” Are we going to start locking up every man who ever gets turned down in a bar or nightclub? I’d be on my third consecutive life sentence by now…
I’m sure it’s entirely coincidental that these hen-pecked half-wits are unlucky in love. Because it can’t possibly be, can it, that men who call themselves “feminists” (the thought of it!) are really just currying favour with an opposite sex that has rejected them. It works both ways, of course. I mean: when was the last time you saw a really hot radical feminist? But no, I should change the subject, before I get into too much trouble.
To her credit, Watson in her speech identified modern third-wave feminists as man-haters. That’s exactly what they are, and their claims, which do not bear academic scrutiny, are behind tiresome, alienating and counterproductive campaigns in all walks of life. In the tech world I mentioned a moment ago, the fountains of garbage from “women in tech” events, which do nothing for women and nothing for tech, have been overflowing in recent years.
(In fact, there’s evidence that the more shrill these campaigners are, the more women are being put off coming into technology jobs. That appears to be the case in the UK, anyway. I haven’t seen numbers for the US.)
Watson’s speech is the sort of thing it’s easy to clap along to. So if you want to nod along and feel good about yourself for applauding in the right places, fine. But let’s not kid ourselves that there’s a serious woman problem in America or Europe today.
And, if you’re concerned about diversity, research shows that almost every factor other than gender is more important to a company’s success. The country of origin of its founder, for example: look at the number of successful immigrant entrepreneurs in the States. In other words, we don’t need more women starting companies; we need more South Asians.
Often, complaints about the under-representation of women focus on male-dominated sciences, engineering and programming. But I’d encourage founders of technology companies who in most aspects of their business look at the data and draw their own conclusions, but in the case of “women in tech” defer their thinking to WIRED, the Guardian and the meaningless pomp of the UN conference circuit, to apply those big brains to thinking about this a bit more rigorously.
Women don’t go into maths, engineering and tech jobs as often because they simply don’t want to, because they have different priorities and because, yes, men are better at some of the cognitive functions that engineering degrees and careers demand. And that’s fine! This is why shrill women in tech movements aren’t getting traction with ordinary women and young girls: they just don’t ring true, or reflect the experiences or aspirations of most women.
From a purely capitalist point of view, as a business owner, you should of course employ as many women as will work for you. They are, in the words of Australian multimillionaire entrepreneur Evan Thornley, like men, but cheaper. They’re cheaper because they don’t want to work the same hours (men work longer and harder in every industry, bar teaching and some creative jobs), take way more leave (not just maternity; they simply care more about holidays and family time), have different priorities and so on.
That’s why most women instinctively understand that their compensation packages reflect differing life goals. So if you find a woman who’s just as good as a man going for the same job, and she’s unlikely to want to take multiple nine month paid holidays in the next few years, snap her up. Lucky you, for finding one of the girls daft enough to want to spend her best years staring at lines of code.
Emma Watson wants you to know her life – that of a pretty, rich, famous, popular female megastar – has been monstrously traumatic, because of sexism. Some people will be sceptical of this claim, which is why I think the UN missed a trick here, and should have just got in a bimbette who could have spoken with a bit more credibility about the female lived experience. Someone who shares the UN’s unique Weltanschauung, perhaps. Might I suggest Jew-hating conspiracy theorist porn star Tila Tequila?