"Daft cow", indeed
My wise, old dad always said: “You can say anything as long as you say it with a smile on your face.” Luckily, I was 10 and knew he was talking about kindness and charm rather than getting yourself off the hook when you’ve been caught sleeping with someone else’s beloved.
Boris evokes another great philosopher besides my dad, the late writer Maya Angelou, who wisely stated: “People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Boris makes us feel giddy and included; he makes us listen out for the bon mots he routinely pulls from the ‘scoundrels’ dictionary.’ And even though he is a politician (although not an MP at the moment), he makes us feel as though we are laughing with him at all other members of Parliament.
Yet, if a female MP dared to behave in the same way, she’d be roundly punished for disloyalty and viewed as a dangerous threat who could not be contained. She would be viewed as a daft cow, just as The Independent’s Archie Bland notes. You know it. And I know it.
Boris manages to tick every box that defines stereotypical Tories as irritants: Eton educated – tick; a history of extra-marital affairs – tick; a tendency to say one thing and do another – tick. He’s also fat and seemingly unworried about his appearance - two sticks which newspaper editors and social media quickly normally use to beat lesser-loved politicians. Wrack your brains. Is there any woman in the public eye who would rise to office if she sat in the same venn diagram as BJ?
Don’t laugh but Ann Widdecombe is the closest I can muster (minus the sex). She’s a bit daft, a bit fat, a bit posh and a bit of a caricature. [Didact: She also looks like a cow. As in, the back end of one.] But until she shimmied her way to metaphorical adulthood on TV in Strictly Come Dancing she was far from well-liked. You see, she just wasn’t funny and the thought of her ever having sex – never mind seducing multiple willing partners - is quite a stretch of the imagination. She was far too buttoned-up, unlike our Boris.
A female politician who sleeps around with various men would be called a whore- and quite rightly so.
A female politician who swears like a sailor in public and generally acts without decorum would be called a clown- and quite rightly so.
A female politician who makes outrageous statements for the sake of getting attention would be quite difficult to take seriously- and quite rightly so.
Why? Because all of these things go against feminine nature. And when we see something as unnatural and bizarre as this, we react viscerally to it.
There is nothing strange or reprehensible about those reactions- such things are ways of maintaining order and structure within human society. Shame, after all, is a most powerful weapon, and should be used liberally in order to ensure that the norms and values that define a culture are preserved and protected.
Boris Johnson can get away with acting as he does because a man can act like a bit of a clown in public and get away with it. There is nothing particularly wrong with this- when done right, it can be used as a powerful way to express masculine ambition, drive, and control. A woman who acted like Boris Johnson does would instantly be labelled a laughingstock, and quite correctly, because she would be demonstrating a lack of control and poise- two qualities that are essential parts of the female identity.
So the next time this particular(ly silly) writer- Beverly something-or-other- feels like getting on her high horse about the antics that male politicians can get away with, perhaps she should instead discreetly find an excuse to be hors de combat in order that she might properly understand the otherwise blindingly obvious truth that men and women are DIFFERENT, and this is a VERY GOOD THING.