Friday, November 3, 2017

Miss Protest

I learnt something surprising about my father-in-law yesterday: he thought beauty pageants treated women like 'cattle' and would not have them in the house, as it were, back in the 70s and 80s when these glitzy sexist fests were all the rage the world over and only extremist feminazi man-hating lesbos protested them publicly.

He is no longer with us and when he was alive he hid his feminism fairly well (as did almost everyone, until very recently), but I am glad to know, better late than never, that he was a closet feminist of sorts, because if he was then other straight white privileged men might be too, with just a little more prodding.

When discussing with my daughter the recent protests by Miss Peru contestants who recited on stage their country's gender violence statistics instead of their bust, waist and hip measurements (cattle indeed!) her response was 'just don't do the fucking contest in the first place!' which is fair enough, I think. She is the age of these contestants who sign up to parade around in matching gold bikinis and tight dresses to be ranked like cattle - by men like Trumptard -  according to their measurements, high-heeled strut and insipid sugar and spice smiles, and she would never degrade herself (and womankind) in this way. And that is a very good thing.

However she could also see, as all thinking women (and some men) can, that this battle for women to not be treated like cattle - and much worse than cattle - must be fought on all fronts and is far from a simple matter of avoiding watching or partaking in beauty pageants.

And so she and I, and her father, if not quite her brothers - who remain in the feminist closet and declined to comment (though taking an interest in learning something rather surprising about their grandfather) - could agree that the protest was a positive and gutsy step in the right direction, not least in the direction of women standing up for women instead of competing with each other, in the shallowest of ways, for the amusement of men.

The juxtaposition of bikinis and brutality I think strikes a particularly powerful chord of protest that resonates well in the present climate of women speaking out, and together, against powerful sexist and abusive men the world over.

To fighting on all fronts and in all fashions, from bikinis to burkas.   


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