I, like many women am struggling to contain a rage about some of the stuff going on in our society at the moment. Whilst the #metoo and #timesup campaigns are comforting, every day brings more utterly depressing and unacceptable behaviour towards women and young girls and along with the revelations the reactions from men AND women send me into a spin!
The latest reveal – the charity event at private gentlemen’s (so the wrong word) club in London where an elite group of super rich and super powerful men including Peter Jones, Philip Green, many politicians, Vernon Kaye, Gino De Campo (Gino, seriously, how disappointing) thought it was OK to behave like a bunch of 12 year old public school boys and much worse, just because they can!
Activities included, groping the hostesses and asking them to get their knickers off and do a dance; asking hostesses how much for an hour in a private room; with one guy (to our knowledge) even getting his penis out on the table whilst making lewd comments to the hostesses. Use your imagination!
But it was OK because the event raised £2m for charity – great until you hear one of the prizes was ‘Spice up Your wife’ a prize consisting of a series of plastic surgery treatments to improve your wife’s appearance.
It really makes you think eh? It appears that events on this level are common and not seen as an issue for many men at the higher levels of our society and they are so arrogant that even in today’s climate they believe this is OK? The event was hosted by David Walliams, an award winning children’s author no less.
Oh and the response by men and some woman has been shameful. It’s only a bit of fun, the hostesses were paid and knew the score, really £150 for the night and they knew they would be sexually harassed? It raised money for charity so what’s the problem, It’s PC gone mad and women are just as bad on hen nights? Seriously that’s your defence?
But my biggest sadness is how this event has brought the concept of single sex networking into the spotlight and how so many women have been asked to justify why women only events and networks are necessary and valuable. I would have thought taking into account this very situation, that was a no brainer and why is it that because a group of privileged, sexist, rich men decide to behave like louts, perfectly professional organisations are called to answer banal and quite frankly uneducated questions about their existence? This is not a female issue? Women’s networks do not exist to exploit men, alienate men or disempower men. Do I really have to explain why we need them and what their objectives are?
And for the record there is NO female equivalent of the behaviour that took place at this event. I have seen a few comments from women about how some women’s luncheons are a bit full on with Butlers in the Buff – really? I am not a fan of butlers in the buff but let’s get real, if you really believe there is ANY parallel between ladies that lunch and these men then, forgive me but you really have not understood what’s at play here, moreover as someone who has been to hundreds of women’s lunches, the agenda is uplifting, nurturing, aspirational and inclusive.
For a women’s group to follow this lead, women would be sitting on the table, with no underwear on spreading their legs displaying their genitalia whilst making lewd suggestive comments to the male waiters; women would be groping the male hosts without their permission and asking how much for sex ie. sexually harassing them and a typical charity prize would be Spice Up your Man – get him some Viagra, a buff body and a penis extension.
I know this sounds unthinkable, and offensive, but this is the reality of the comparisons some people are making. I repeat there is NO female equivalent of this behaviour so let’s position this problem where it belongs firmly and squarely at the feet of misogynistic men and let’s not allow this to become another opportunity to beat women over the head for attempting to change the status quo and in doing so let the real culprits off the hook. This is just another attempt to use transference and diversionary tactics to victim blame and I for one am not buying it.