Corporate feminism and International Women’s Day
Yesterday was International Women’s Day. Depending on who you are, this meant that you either celebrated the achievements of women throughout history, asked when International Men’s Day is (November 19th), or made a performative, gimmicky appeal to girl power in order to sell more things.
In the Dove age, where advertisers have managed to make money by harnessing both our insecurities and how starved of feminism we all are, leaping to do something really general and kind of useless “for” women is not exactly uncommon. McDonald’s, though, have really stuck the middle finger up to the patriarchy by flipping their Golden Arches upside-down to make a W (outside one restaurant), producing lots of W-themed promotional material and then making a very expensive video about it.
The fact is, just because a woman is physically in something (or says something, or becomes the subject of a multi-million pound gimmick), that does not make said thing a “feminist statement”. McDonald’s (like Burger King and KFC before it, but not Wendy’s because she’s an independent grease fire battle valkyrie who salts her fries with male tears, probably) has managed to spend an awful lot of money without actually really helping women at all – or paying them a living wage.
Mhairi Black becomes the first MP to say ‘cunt’ in Parliament
In more genuinely empowering news, Mhairi Black made history yesterday by reading out in Parliament, uncensored, a small sample of the abusive comments she receives regularly online. In a Westminster Hall debate about misogyny, the youngest member of the Commons said ‘cunt’ five separate times, saying that she wouldn’t “soften” the impact by talking about “the C-word”.
You would think that since Ms Black was quoting verbatim, it would be quite difficult to pour more scorn on her, but then you wouldn’t be the readers of MailOnline, who commented in their droves on the story calling the MP “a disgusting woman” with “a foul mouth” and “nothing but a loud mouth harpy”. It goes without saying that the MailOnline is a cesspool of humanity and the comments section even worse. On Twitter, actual people (like Quentin Letts) commented on Ms Black’s ‘fake’ accent, said nobody could understand her and posted screenshots of her swearing online to prove to everyone that she doesn’t mind it.
Theresa May doesn’t know what fun is
It’s Wheat Fields 2.0. ITV’s Julie Etchingham, she of the kind and wheaty questions, ended an interview about the Government’s proposed legislation on domestic violence by asking Theresa May what her perfect night with her girlfriends would be if she could get away from the stresses of her job and really let her hair down. Theresa, not known for her ability to react to questions like a human being, said that she didn’t have time to have the girls round because of all she was doing about domestic violence.
Poor Julie Etchingham, probably understanding that Theresa May has no concept of the figurative, asked the Prime Minister what her dream moment would be, if she really had to think about it, and if she forgot for a second about the job thing. But alas she forgot that Theresa May dreams of nothing more than a successful hard Brexit.
“As I say, my International Women’s Day is rather more focused not on what we can do to enjoy ourselves but actually on what we can do to help women out there whose lives are being made a daily living hell.”
It’s okay, babe. You’re allowed to have friends and drink wine and stuff. Women can do things like that (lots of them do!) and still be respected for their record on women’s rights much, much, much, much more than you.