We need to talk about femininity


We need to talk about femininity. Or rather, need to talk about femininity because I’m quite good at these things and you lot quite frankly aren’t. No offence. Recession, austerity and that, women are feeling lost and powerless, unsure whether they’re allowed to like Beyoncé or not. Most feel as if they’re not allowed to question whether Beyoncé is a role model or not – or discuss whether she will be tomorrow.

I know this because I’ve met women. I’ve even spoken to some. My OWN MOTHER is a woman! She doesn’t know she’s in crisis but she is. I can tell when she calls me. “How are you,” she says, “how are things?” Using my powers of intuition I know that she is crying out, CONFUSED and probably victimised by someone with 200 followers on Twitter.

I’m uniquely placed to observe this crisis of femininity. I may be a man but I’m a bit gay and sensitive and that. Also, I can write words like these in sentences. Most importantly, I conduct rigorous research. Last night I spent ten minutes googling the week’s news in order to best determine how to pay this month’s rent. The answer jumped out at me when I saw that that Zooey Deschanel had been in the finale of ‘New Girl’ this week. She’s a woman in crisis and no mistake. She’s intelligent, talented, funny and beautiful and does it all for men. I know this because I saw her in Heat Magazine looking quite pleased with herself.

Nobody seems to have bothered to ask women and girls whether they actually are in crisis, or whether they are capable of holding more than one thought simultaneously cos youth unemployment and that. But they are. Some below the line trolls will no doubt have the temerity to whine ‘where’s your evidence?’ This, readers, is the patriarchy talking. We need to break out of that mindset and liberate ourselves from the oppressive shackles of ‘evidence’. What is ‘evidence’ anyway? I asked this of some Nigerian youth activists as I shared a Hob Nob with them before we jammed democracy the other Tuesday. They looked deep into my eyes and said, ‘we prefer rich tea biscuits’. I cried, shamed by my Western privilege.

Only the other day I saw a woman crying on the street. I rushed over and asked what was wrong, only briefly delayed by George Clooney pushing me out of the way of a lorry that was hurtling towards me. She told me her mother had died. Another victim of austerity, which is amplifying the crisis of femininity. The woman demurred – she said her mother had died of a heart attack. How many columns, I asked, have you had published in the New Statesman? I think we all know the answer.

Women shouldn’t have to choose between being pretty and being clever. That may sound obvious but it’s really not – in fact it’s something which I just thought up entirely on my own there. You may think you’ve seen it before but that is patriarchy talking and Helen Lewis agrees with me so there.

Something about internet trolls. Clear evidence of the crisis of femininity.

What is ‘femininity’ anyway? Some idiots may tell me it’s ‘socially-defined’ and so claiming it’s in crisis is nebulous to say the least. I say to those fools – yes, socially-defined BY THE MURDERING ADVOCATES OF AUSTERITY.

There can be no doubt that women are in distress. Society’s unwillingness to let go of the tired old “female” model of femininity contributes to that distress. Instead of talking about what women and girls can be, instead of starting an honest conversation about what femininity means, there is a conspiracy of silence around these issues that is only ever broken by brave columnists like what I am and politicians looking for some head-lines. We still don’t have any positive models for post-patriarchal femininity, and in this age of desperation and uncertainty, we need them more than ever.

It’s for this reason that I have decided to release a charity single. It is, in fact, what the kids down the protests call a ‘mash-up’. You probably don’t know what that means but if you had spent time at Occupy like me, you would understand. Myself and some comrades are going to release ‘Man! I Feel Like A Woman’/All Woman’. All profits will go towards feeding a hungry columnist by enabling them to toss off some half-baked rubbish they’ve just thought up while drinking wine and watching Coronation Street. Sorry, I mean by enabling them to make you think.

Please give generously. Am I at my word limit yet?

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