Be nice, ladies. Stop being shrill. Stop moaning shrilly about being accused of being shrill.

There is nothing shrill about calling out inequality, whatever Oliver Callan thinks

Ailbhe Smyth speaking at the Women Rising 2016 rally on Rosie Hackett bridge, Dublin, on Friday. Photograph: Mark Stedman

Ailbhe Smyth speaking at the Women Rising 2016 rally on Rosie Hackett bridge, Dublin, on Friday. Photograph: Mark Stedman

 

Satirist, writer and Irish Times columnist Oliver Callan has a weird notion that feminists should realise that they actually need men. Why? Did someone forget to put the bins out again?

Apart from the obvious usefulness of men in the elimination of household waste, it seems that feminists (who insist on propagating the weird notion that men and women should have equal rights) need to offer them an olive branch and a freshly-baked cookie.

For without men, those Top Gear, Transformers-loving funsters, who are about to stuff Donald J Trump’s top table, women will be going nowhere.

If women don’t glad-hand the other half of the population towards the door and make them see the error of their wife-beating, pussy-grabbing ways, they might just find that door slammed in their pretty little faces.

Ask all of the black people whose lives matter so much in the US. Ask any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person as they ride high on the hog of State-sanctioned matrimony. Did anything change because the status quo was rotten and unfair? Nope. Turns out any benevolent help came from the inequitable rule makers. The oppressors sealed the deal, we are told.

So you know what to do, ladies. Ask for help.

Weak men

Don’t expect men to drain the murky swamp of inequality for the good of their health. Why should they? It is not going so well for them, after all, what with all that erectile dysfunction and all.

As Callan reminded us: “men are becoming weaker rather than women getting stronger.”

So be nice, ladies. Stop being shrill. Stop moaning shrilly about being accused of being shrill. Get a life. Unless you are a granny, in which case kiss goodbye to any semblance of a life.

Working motherhood has had “an anti-feminist effect for some”, says Callan. To think, mature ladies could be cracking open the prosecco and watching Loose Women instead of wiping their grandchild’s snotty nose. Yet mature women are the very cohort on smaller pensions because the State decided they should stay out of the workplace and look after their kids. Lose-lose, as your granny could have told you.

Did Your Granny Have a Hammer?: A History of the Irish Women’s Suffrage Movement was the title of Rosemary Cullen Owens and Rosemary C Ohlens 1989 book. Thankfully by 1918, granny’s hammer had been gainfully employed smashing glass windows and gaining women the vote. It has still not shattered the glass ceiling, but that will happen. Yet there is no reason to believe men will hold the door open for us to get at the glass ceiling, well-mannered though they are.

As for those evil drag queens playing with serious notions of gender identity. “Where are all the hilarious drag acts where women dress as a stereotypical man and exaggerate their dress, gait and speech?” Has Callan never seen the Shamcocks or watched the late, lamented Alternative Miss Ireland? We are all at it, cleaving the tyranny of allotted gender roles apart. Feel the difference, test it out, then celebrate it. What is not to like?

Bridge rally

On Friday at lunchtime, hundreds of people gathered in the cold on Rosie Hackett Bridge in the centre of Dublin calling for repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution. At 5pm in Cork, a “Women Rising” rally on St Patrick’s Bridge echoed that call loudly.

The rallies were just two Irish events taking place on Friday as part of an international day of support for women in countries where abortion is banned or difficult to access. Some of the countries participating around the world include Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Poland, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and Italy.

The Rosie Hackett was thick with feminists. Some of them had started to find out why Callan thought they needed men, but, flaky and girly as ever (even the men), they had given up a few paragraphs into The Irish Times article. If they had persisted they would have discovered some perky home truths:

Feminists love frocks: Oscar frocks, princess dresses worn by Kate Middleton. Yes, feminists love frocks. Just don’t mention Angela Merkel’s matelot jacket or Theresa May’s mules, as feminists get shirty when anyone mentions hemlines and hardcore financial forecasts in the same breath.

Feminists fuel the heterosexual wedding trade: “More than 20,000 weddings are held in Ireland each year, one ‘special day’ as interchangeable as the next.” And guess who is to blame? Yes, “women are in charge of most of these chauvinistic nightmares where people pretend to be in Downton Abbey for an afternoon. It’s time to end stupid wedding customs where a woman is handed over by one man to another like two fellas trading a van on DoneDeal.”

Er, yes, exactly. Is Oliver Callan actually a feminist?

Wait. “Some women are so entrenched in their views they won’t get past the male byline to read this far,” he wrote.

The view from the bridge appeared to back him up. A lot of the feminists there had tuned in and dropped out.

“They must realise that to dismantle chauvinism they must first understand it and take us by the hand. Otherwise the ya-ya sisterhood of backslapping will only end up like the closing scene of Thelma and Louise as the free women plunge off a cliff.”

At lunchtime, conveniently located, as we were, on a bridge, no one plunged anywhere.

No one had led the small cohort of men to the bridge by hand. Women are far too busy working, searching for work and wiping our grandchildren’s noses to spoon-feed the other half of the population.

Although they hate Jeremy Clarkson, I am confident, because I live and work with some of them, that men do not need women to hold them by the hand to locate their own moral compass.

Men know right from wrong and some of them say so.

After all, there is nothing shrill about calling out inequality.

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