I am wary of men who describe themselves as Feminists. I don’t have any problem with being supportive of an issue that isn’t strictly your own; but there’s something akin to those white liberal Muswell Hill-ites who claim that they identify with immigrants and asylum seekers because their maternal grandmother came to this country as a refugee after the Russian Revolution.
I’m also not comfortable about agonising and intellectualising over what people think rather than what they do. I had all that as a kid with the Catholic thought-police, and there is something about ‘sexual politics’ which is rather similar.
But then again every now and then you see something, a small everyday thing, that makes you stop and just think ‘what the fuck ?’ Take this morning:
I am sat on my bike stopped at a pedestrian crossing. Alongside me a white van pulls up with two blokes in it. Now I don’t make any claims to be a looker myself, but even so I can safely say these fellas are not in good shape. Late middle age, overweight and generally ugly as fuck. A young woman crosses the road in front of us. She is conventionally attractive – blond, tanned, petite but curvy and wearing a short skirt. So ugly blokes in van give a couple of toots on the horn, leer out of the window and shout ‘wahey’. The woman looks nervous and/or embarrassed and speeds up her pace. Then the moment has gone.
What exactly just happened there ? Did ugly blokes think that somehow the woman was going to have a road-to-Damascus moment and suddenly say “I never realised it until you sounded your horn but I now know that I am strangely attracted to ugly middle aged blokes’. Or were the ugly blokes just trying desperately to re-assert their heterosexuality to each other or themselves ?
I don’t know - and that way lies psycho-babble. But I do know that they made me cringe. See - maybe I’m a Feminist after all.