WOMAN’S WORLD

Wolf‘Hard Times’, the often-overlooked 1854 novel by Charles Dickens set in a fictitious Northern Powerhouse named Coketown, features the character of Thomas Gradgrind, a school board superintendent whose rigid adherence to cold, hard facts at the expense of imagination is drilled into the children in his charge; one of his star pupils is known as Bitzer, a humourless product of Gradgrind’s educational model. Towards the end of the book, Bitzer – who has matured into an emotionless bank clerk allergic to any appeal to humanity against which his education has immunised him – appears unmoved by Gradgrind’s change of heart, and Gradgrind belatedly realises the error of his ways. In many ways, the story is a morality tale based upon the ‘you reap what you sow’ maxim, but it could also be interpreted as a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’. The character of Bitzer is a warning of what can happen when a malleable individual is exposed to an immovable ideology at an impressionable age by those too full of their own righteousness to countenance the possibility that their utterly inflexible dogma might not be the be-all and end-all after all. But it is too late.

For some reason, ‘Hard Times’ sprang to mind when I was watching an interview on the ‘Triggernometry’ YT channel with Kelly-Jay Keen-Minshull, better known by her user-name of Posie Parker, the so-called ‘anti-Trans activist’ (© Wikipedia) who has endured a campaign by the MSM and social media over the past three or four years demonising her as a (Shock! Horror!) free speech advocate and campaigner for women’s rights. The interview included graphic descriptions of the kind of state-sponsored butchery which even Nazi surgeons would’ve regarded as a bit much, but brainwashed ‘Trans-teens’ are subjected to in pursuit of their perceived human rights, and was an eye-opener as well as further sad confirmation of the sorry state we’re in. But it also made me think of the long-term feminisation of the western world, something which is all around us (often in the most innocuous places), and something that has perhaps led us to where we are now, including the brand of insanity Posie Parker has based her public career in opposition to.

It made me wonder if the way in which traditional masculine virtues have been repeatedly rebranded in a negative light over the past two or three decades – AKA ‘toxic masculinity’ – could be indirectly responsible for the extremities of the Trans movement that Posie Parker is such a virulent opponent of. Whilst some men have been driven towards suicide by a society that regards their once-prized qualities as poison, others – specifically on the far fringes of the Trans cult – have dealt with the negativity by aping ‘feminine’ characteristics to the point whereby they come across as female caricatures, straight out of a sensationalistic 90s ‘Jerry Springer Show’ dealing with drag queens. But their freak-show personas make sense in some respects; it is almost as though they’ve realised the only way in which they can be validated as human beings in an increasingly feminised society is to transform themselves into women – even if that transformation neatly sidesteps all the awkward and uncomfortable biological factors that separate natural-born men from natural-born women.

As part of the illusion, they simply pretend to be in possession of these factors, such as pregnancy and menstruation – just witness the revamped unisex marketing of female-exclusive products like tampons in recent years – and their successful monopolisation of the victim narrative so prevalent within mainstream culture has guaranteed them the co-operation of a corporate world eager to signal its virtue; the near-religious worship of the Stonewall interpretation of LGBTXYZ values before which all have to bow down has enabled them to implement their non-binary fantasy into every strata of society and to indoctrinate another gullible generation in the process. But we already have one generation that has been taught the only way to get on and get ahead is to be a woman rather than a man. Over-representation within the MSM as a hackneyed method of compensating for past discrepancies has its undoubted drawbacks – even my mother has complained she’s sick of women presenting everything on television, particularly sports programmes; but this is one of the more noticeable results of submitting to the demands of radical feminism. There are no contemporary Des Lynam or Dickie Davies figures for granny to drool over anymore; they have to make do with the likes of Alex Scott because women obviously only want to see other women on their TV screens. A younger female friend of mine made a similar complaint that all the male presenters today seem to be gay, but that’s what diversity and inclusivity’s all about innit. TV executives used to make the same mistake when producing kids shows presented by kids; they didn’t twig that kids didn’t want to see other kids on the telly; kids actually want to see grownups instead of nauseating little brats they fantasise about punching.

There are far more serious unforeseen side-effects when one chooses to use radical feminism as a blueprint for society, however; is it any wonder some men conclude that avoiding the dreaded masculinity and embracing what they believe to be feminine traits is the way forward if social mores have been reorganised to fit the Rad Fem agenda? The ‘fashion acccessory’ Trans-fanatics that aren’t prepared to commit to the time-consuming surgical processes of actual transition but imagine wearing a dress and donning makeup is enough are the monsters that radical feminists have created. And this is the monster that has come back to bite them, for now we have men in drag encroaching into women’s spaces that legislation provoked by radical feminist doctrines has facilitated. So, we end up with a sadly ironic situation that has diminished hard-won women’s rights and has marginalised biological women to a reduced status within society once again – a place where they’re described as ‘bleeders’ or ‘birthing people’ in official literature produced by the likes of the NHS so as not to offend the Trans lobby, where the actual word ‘women’ itself has become so loaded that even a darling of the Left such as JK Rowling can be cast out, ostracised and blacklisted from polite society for daring to say it.

Posie Parker claims that the ultimate manifestation of ‘toxic masculinity’ is the adoption by some men of female trademarks in order to pass themselves off as women and to therefore be accepted by a western world that has remodelled itself along feminine lines – and she may well have a point. When we think of toxic masculinity we usually picture a pea-brained macho idiot who talks of women solely based on their physical attributes; but some of the unhinged Trans activists who turned up to protest outside the venues comprising Posie Parker’s recent US visit were – for all their superficial co-opting of visual female tropes – far more vociferous and vicious in their aggressive misogyny towards the actual women attending than a mob of MAGA hat-wearing rednecks. By exposing their surgically-manufactured breasts in a show of narcissistic exhibitionism and haranguing attendees, they did far more damage to their own cause than someone like Posie Parker could ever do; but it does make one wonder why such evidently mentally-ill individuals are so indulged in their imaginary worldview. Or is this the actual patriarchy in action, not the old-school, testosterone-fuelled male stereotype, but reborn as the wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing of imitation women – the worst kind of toxic masculinity?

The pendulum which once swung in a very masculine direction appears today to have swung to the absolute opposite, yet the one place it would work for both sexes is somewhere in the middle, a place where there is room for the old-style male and female archetypes as well as those that borrow a bit from both and blur the lines in a healthy fashion. But that’s not where we’re at right now, unfortunately; like Thomas Gradgrind, we’re confronted by a poisonous harvest of our own making.

© The Editor

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DRINKING VIOLETS

Wollstonecraft BabychamLittle girls and ladies who’ve been through ‘The Change’ – presumably the two female demographics the manufacturers of alcoholic drinks should henceforth aggressively target. Women of ‘childbearing age’ are now apparently verboten, at least according to the ever-dependable World Health Organisation, so sales of the most prominent ‘lady drinks’ are destined to plummet unless the prepubescent and postmenopausal are encouraged to swarm into their local off-licence. That’s right – the WHO didn’t say ‘childbearing women’, but ‘women of childbearing age’. As girls are able to become pregnant once they start riding the menstrual cycle and can pretty much keep popping them out until they hit the menopause, that’s a pretty wide area to make an alcohol-free zone.

The World Health Organisation hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory over the past eighteen months, so the timing of this bizarre recommendation seems especially odd, particularly when it stands to reduce the WHO to an even more contemptible laughing stock than it already is. The response to the proclamation has been pretty universally derisive; the WHO was accused of paternalism and sexism, both of which seem fairly accurate accusations. The ongoing infantilisation of women has taken numerous fatuous forms over the last few years, often emanating from a position of seeking to protect the precious little shrinking violets from the malevolent male of the species. However, it sometimes feels like the Suffragettes never happened, so patronising and Victorian have many of the proposals been, and this latest laughable WHO advice is treating women like the archetypal ‘sickly child’ of the 19th century novel.

Mary Wollstonecraft, the 18th century author and thinker routinely (and rightly) cited as the Godmother of feminism, railed against the way in which young women continued to be treated as children both socially and legally in her landmark 1792 book, ‘Vindication of the Rights of Woman’. Her passionate and groundbreaking work is an ideological foundation stone unearthed during each successive feminist wave, yet were she around today Wollstonecraft would see in this WHO recommendation precisely the same condescending tone women of her era were confronted by whenever they sought to assert any sort of independence as befitting a fully-grown adult. Amidst increased marginalisation by the loud, screeching voices of trans-activism and the capitulation of institutions, public bodies and the corporate world to this unhinged take on biology, women are now being informed that their childbearing years – essentially the prime years of their lives – should be years of teetotal temperance, presumably so they can perform their sole duty as breeding machines.

Almost 30 years ago now, a friend of mine who was a smoker didn’t pack in the habit during her first pregnancy; the baby was healthy when born and it appeared the impact of cigarettes on the womb was nonexistent. Around a decade or so later, a friend of a friend who also smoked when pregnant often spoke of the ‘dirty looks’ she received if lighting-up in public when carrying such a prominent bump. Move on another decade and-a-bit and it’s hard to imagine a woman having the nerve to grab a quick fag in private when with-child, let alone in public. My point is that smoking during pregnancy is now such a social black-mark against the mother-to-be that it has practically been outlawed. Drinking when pregnant doesn’t provoke quite the same horror in the observer, but it’s still regarded as ill-advised and reveals potentially bad parenting skills. The WHO proclamation unsurprisingly references this, recommending that ‘appropriate attention’ should be given to the prevention of drinking ‘among pregnant women’ – which is what you would expect them to say – but then adds the more contentious inclusion of ‘women of childbearing age’.

Christopher Snowdon from the Institute of Economic Affairs didn’t mince his words. ‘This is classic World Health Organisation idiocy,’ he said. ‘Not content with repeatedly dropping the ball on Covid-19 and dishing out awards to politicians for banning vaping, it now thinks most of the world’s women should abstain from alcohol. The idea that it is unsafe for women of childbearing age to drink any alcohol is unscientific and absurd. Moreover, it is none of the WHO’s business.’ One wonders if any of the experts who put this WHO recommendation together are mothers of young children for whom a glass of wine at the end of a stressful day is such a vital shot of medicine that it should probably be available on prescription. Even the chief executive of Alcohol Change UK, whilst sticking to the ‘drinking when pregnant is bad’ narrative, was critical of the WHO advice. ‘Drinking alcohol in the early stages of pregnancy…can be very damaging for a foetus,’ said Dr Richard Piper before going on to add that it was ‘vital we balance this against each adult’s right to make informed decisions about what we do with our bodies, no matter our age or sex.’

Joining in the chorus of disapproval was the Portman Group, which regulates alcohol in Britain. ‘We are extremely concerned by the WHO calling on countries to prevent drinking among women of childbearing age in their latest action plan,’ said chief executive Matt Lambert. ‘As well as being sexist and paternalistic, and potentially restricting the freedoms of most women, it goes well beyond their remit and is not rooted in science. It is wrong to scaremonger in this irresponsible way and associate women’s alcohol-related risks with those of children and pregnant people.’ He could have done without saying pregnant ‘people’ – the word ‘women’ would have sufficed; but the fact even organisations like the Portman Group and Alcohol Change UK have reacted in such a manner perhaps shows what an own-goal this WHO ‘action plan’ really is.

A current storyline on ‘The Archers’ concerns the alcoholism of young mother Alice Aldridge; the character drank during pregnancy and the baby was born premature, thus enforcing the public health edict that drinking when pregnant can be damaging for one’s baby. Had the WHO’s ‘global alcohol action plan 2022-2030’ concentrated on that as well as the children and teenagers it also mentioned as the groups who should be dissuaded from hitting the bottle, few would’ve batted an eyelid. However, to include women alongside babies, kids and teens – regardless of whether or not they intend to have a family – seems to bracket women back in the same infantile limbo they occupied during Mary Wollstonecraft’s lifetime.

NHS advice on alcohol consumption is awash with the familiar language of ‘units’, recommending that not exceeding 14 of them a week is the act of a responsible drinker. Apparently, that translates as 10 glasses of wine (low-strength) or half-a-dozen pints of beer (average-strength). A recent study revealed binge-drinking remains an issue for one in three adults; despite regular claims that today’s adolescents spurn the practice in comparison to their predecessors of 10-20 years ago, it would seem the grownups still like a binge – particularly those at extreme opposites when it comes to incomes. ‘Highly-educated women’, AKA the middle-class Alice Aldridge types, are also cited as being most at risk. Were the World Health Organisation not possessed by the same crusading moralistic zealousness that appears to afflict every institution with a remit for improving public health, maybe people could actually be persuaded to alter their more unhealthy habits; as it is, by overreaching this remit and extending even further into the private sphere, any sensible suggestions are lost amidst the anger and derision this latest WHO missive deserves.

© The Editor