So, I went to a poetry book launch last night, and while there I heard the poet, who also runs the publishing company, say the most astonishing thing.
The publishing house concerned is an imprint designed to publish only female writers. Women’s books for women. I don’t have an issue with that. It’s her company she can do what she likes. But the sexist diatribe that came by way of explanation for this publishing policy was unreal. You know, those may well be her motivations, but to trot them out in public is sexist. Undeniably. Just as sexist as those two English Football commentators who lost their jobs (rightly so). After the speech I asked several women present what they would have thought if a man had said those things, and 100% agreed it would be deemed unacceptable and hugely bigoted and then the man would have been censured.
The reaction at this launch? All the women there laughed and applauded. And so did most of the men.
Now, here in the 21st century, we are all striving for egalitarian treatment of the sexes, races and so on. Our very liberal, wonderful constitution demands and guarantees it. Women want and demand respect from men as equals, as competitors and human beings. Rightly so. And yet this display demonstrated that many women still feel it is alright to go male bashing. Being a poetry launch these were also of course, educated, erudite, informed women.
Is this supposed to be some kind of feminist version of Affirmative Action? What happened to do as you would be done by? If you demand respect, give it. THAT is equality, seeking to chop down the tallest poppy to make the other poppies feel better is just fascist.
My deepest regret is that I arrived at the event just in time to hear this attitude expressed in response to a question and I was in no position to challenge it. But it’s OK, I will vote with my wallet. I will attend no more launches of that publisher buy no more of her writer’s books. That would be like buying Zimbabwean rice as far as I am concerned. Pity, but what am I supposed to do, condone sexism?