Monday 23 April 2018

Money and mysogyny behind the popular criticism of women

Be optimistic for this backlash against women tells us society is on the cusp of great change, writes Sarah Carey

Misogyny is not an anachronistic attitude. Misogyny has been commercialised. Stock photo: PA
Misogyny is not an anachronistic attitude. Misogyny has been commercialised. Stock photo: PA
Sarah Carey

Sarah Carey

My friend the psychoanalyst gave me great advice once: "Name It". Dr Ciara Kelly - in a fine piece in the Irish Independent last Monday - extracted some shrapnel from this BBC/Kevin Myers incendiary device. Struggling to answer Myers' question - why is there only one female chess grandmaster? - she Named It: Expectations.

That's when I remembered when we girls from the Convent were sent down to the Christian Brothers to try Honours Maths. On the first day, the teacher declared that he expected only half a dozen of the class to sit the paper in the Leaving Certificate. He looked at me meaningfully and I knew straight away I'd never make it. And ever since I've deferred to men I thought were smarter than me because they did Honours Maths.

So with expectations of Us and Them set hard in my psyche, I cheerfully laughed off the drunken groping because hey, they're only lads, and isn't a sense of humour the trick to getting through life and sure, some things you just have to put up with? And then you watch, in broad daylight, as the King of The Office actually grabs an intern, right in front of you, and you don't even know what you're looking at any more. Was that a friendly embrace or an assault? And it was the wonderful Barbara Scully who Named It for me: "But imagine if a woman did that? It simply wouldn't happen. We put up with this stuff and that's how they get away with it."

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