Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Expectations and disappointments!

Apparently today is International Women's Day. Cue jokes and cartoons in various places about men being disappointed as they try to break the record for how many International Men's Days they could have on the run. The disappointment comes from discovering that once more they had been thwarted by the women insisting on having a day of their own. 

To mark the day, a "Suffragette ride" was organised in Manchester, with women dressed up as the original suffragettes riding around on bikes to highlight the gender imbalance in cycling. The original suffragettes, it seems, often used to attend demonstrations on bikes but nowadays research shows that there are four times as many men who cycle as women. Of course, there were fewer cars around in suffragette times than in the modern world. I'm not entirely sure how much of an indicator of inequality the statistics about cycling are. (I wonder how the statistics pan out for numbers of men and women who go out running.) Maybe women have more sense than to be out on the road in today's traffic. But I do agree that something needs to be done about cycle lanes and cycle safety. 

The actress Emma Watson, UN Women Ambassador, says she is giving up acting for a year "focus on feminism". Critics have labelled her a "feminazi" because she won't give up her work on campaigning about feminist issues. In an interview she said: “We are not supposed to talk about money, because people will think you’re ‘difficult’ or a ‘diva’. But there’s a willingness now to be like, ‘Fine. Call me a ‘diva’, call me a ‘feminazi’, call me ‘difficult’, call me a ‘First World feminist’, call me whatever you want, it’s not going to stop me from trying to do the right thing and make sure that the right thing happens.’ Because it doesn’t just affect me.” Good for her! 

This next has nothing to do with feminism. 

While we were in Spain, Phil managed to break his glasses. Unusually he did not have a spare pair with him and so was reduced to using an old pair of prescription sunglasses, not quite the right prescription for nowadays, uncertain whether he looked cool or just like a fool, wearing sunglasses on gloomy, damp days. 

Now we are back in the UK, spending a couple of days with offspring number one and his family at their house in Buckinghamshire. Looking out of the window in the early afternoon, I saw a number of large birds, hovering the way hunting birds do, floating on the spirals in the air. On other occasions our son has pointed put to us red kites hovering in the distance so I assume these were more of the same. Quite impressive! So I pointed them put to Phil. No use, he had misplaced the old prescription sunglasses. Without them, the hovering birds were just amorphous blobs against the cloud. By the time he located them the birds had gone. How useless! What a wasted opportunity! 

I would like to point out the use of exclamation marks at the end of the previous paragraph. A recent ruling from the minister of education says that seven year olds must be taught to use exclamation marks only at the end of comments beginning How... or What..... In assessments of their writing ability, they can be given no credit for using exclamation marks in other situations. These are the things that are expected of our seven year olds today! 

How gobsmacked I am!

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