Before I start I think it's worth pointing out that Letts doesn't just confine his hate to women. In fact, i think he hates almost everything and in this piece alone he manages to mention (to name a few) people who sleep in late, the younger members of the Royal Family and men who shave their heads. Particularly concerned by this last one, he wails:
I can't say it's something I've thought about. After all, they don't tend to my hair.
"...would you trust a dentist who had chosen to go bald? Would you want your children treated by a doctor who had shaved his head?"
But coming back to the main focus of the story - us wimmin and our hard-drinking, knicker-flashing, twinset-binning ways. Yes, he actually mentions twinsets and the fact that sadly, you don't see women wearing them these days. Instead of wearing pearls and blushing, we're behaving, as Letts tells us in no uncertain terms, like "slappers". In his world, women who don't drink are mocked and labelled "frigid". I don't know who he hangs out with, but I know a fair few women who don't drink for a variety of reasons. Their friends and acquaintances are totally fine with it. Even when I was at university and someone I knew derided a friend for not drinking, everyone took a pretty dim view of this.
If Letts thinks he writes out of concern for the 'fairer sex' and reverence for those 'ladies' of a lost era, his language smacks of pure contempt for women. He reviles their "fat faces", their "flab-mottled bellies" and "goose-pimpled thighs". He's clearly one of those men who claims to care for and respect women, yet actually shows nothing but disgust for all but those who fit his definition of perfect womanhood - and that includes the way they look. I see this so often among men who claim to care. They put the image of woman as the traditionally feminine, frock-wearing, quiet, married homemaker on a pedestal, claiming that they adore women yet put down those of us who don't fit the mold.
Who's to blame for all this? Germaine Greer, of course. Letts tuts at her for encouraging women to assert sexual power and objectifying the opposite sex (clearly that's something only men should be able to do). She's the godmother of all who drink too much, flash their flesh, make too much noise and sleep with whoever they want. A few weeks ago I wrote about a man linking women's struggle for equality with an increase in violence and rape. Letts again makes the link between misogyny and 'women's lib', claiming that:
"The very notion of being a gent became redundant if men and women were the same"Nice one Quentin. So if we go back to an age before equality, men will magically stop being sexist? He can't resist the opportunity to shoehorn in a nod to 'PC gone mad' either, as only a Daily Mail journalist could do:
"When the RMS Titanic sank in 1912, a large proportion of the female passengers survived, but 80 per cent of the men on board went down with the ship, doomed by chivalry. They had observed the code of 'women and children first' to the lifeboats.Bizarrely he attempts to address the privilege of middle-class feminists by pointing out the hurdles faced by working-class women when it comes to jobs and motherhood. But never fear, it's peppered with offensive statements and ends with a tirade about discrimination against married couples to the benefit of all those terrible young single mothers. Like much of the right, Letts yearns for a return to that imaginary pre-1960s paradise where everyone was happily married, all children grew up in stable, loving homes, men respected women and women never strayed far from the kitchen. Like much of the right it's clear he chooses to ignore the darker side of that 'paradise', mistaking the fact that more women were married or the fact they had fewer abortions for happiness and stability. He mentions Germaine Greer's infidelity during her marriage as if cheating is somehow a newfangled, post-1960s invention of the 'women's lib' set. He sees misogyny as a direct result of women no longer knowing their place and (shockingly) wanting to be treated on equal terms.
Would that happen today? After the onslaughts of sexual equality, it seems unlikely. Anyone using such a term on a modern-day Titanic would probably find himself rapped on the shoulder by the ship's diversity champion and told he had uttered a sexist comment which would be investigated by the relevant authorities, just as soon as the lifeboats reached land."
The answer to today's societal problems is not a return to the values of the 1950s. The blame for today's societal problems does not lie with the women who have struggled for a better deal for their sisters. Letts tries to make out he cares about the state of our 'broken' country, but this article was nothing more than another chance for the Mail to blame women for society's ills. Going to work? Selfish, makes us bad mothers. Not getting married? Responsible for the breakdown of society. Equal rights legislation? That's just taking things too far! Getting raped? We shouldn't be drinking/wearing short skirts/walking anywhere without a chaperone. What exactly CAN we do right?