f all the social evils afflicting society in the West - homophobia, racism, economic disparities (and class), xenophobia - there's one that's so dated, so cosy and retro, that it's become a nice, reassuring plot device for the laboured narratives the media calls news.
Yes, kids: it's sexism.
Apparently, we're to believe that in places like the United Kingdom and the United States, women are the victims of chauvinistic bigotry, their poor faces squished desperately against the glass ceiling. In 2011, we're told repeatedly, men are still better off.
The latest outrage against this repressed
minoritygender are comments made by two middle-aged football commentators.
After a piece to camera, Richard Keys and Andy Gray spotted a female lineswoman. Apparently thinking his microphone was turned off, Keys said to Gray, "Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her."
Gray: "Can you believe that? A female linesman. Women don't know the offside rule."
Keys: "Of course they don't."
Keys later said of West Ham Football Club vice-chairman Karren Brady, "The game's gone mad. Did you hear charming Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Do me a favour, love."
Saying women don't understand their (read: men's) stupid "offside rule" is hardly an outrageous slur. But the slightest hint of sexism must be acted on (unlike homophobia, eh, BBC?). Sexism is a big no-no. And so Keys and Gray were unceremoniously axed by Sky - at least from from last night's match, at any rate.
Are women without a sense of humour? No. Could it simply be that women in sports are joyless dykes? I wonder...
Maybe women aren't the problem. Maybe it's KD Lang's mates. Let's cast our minds back to late last year, when gay equality hero Lt. Dan Choi - instrumental in bringing down Don't Ask, Don't Tell - used the word "pussy" in an interview. "Harry Reid is a pussy," Choi said after a failed Senate vote on DADT, "and he'll be bleeding once a month."
reacted with fury, branding him a misogynist, and wishing everything from AIDS to beheading in Basra on our brave soldier boy. But the real pussies were people like Natasia Langfelder of Lez Get Real ("A Gay Girl's View On The World") who, from the comfort of her laptop, tried tearing Choi a new asshole. Because you could be the man who finds a cure for cancer, and end the human rights abuses in Iran, but if you ever dare make a joke about the bearded oyster, God help you.
A friend of mine argues that in order to further gay equality, we must first be feminists. I can understand his point, and if it wasn't for the feminists, I'd probably agree with him. But feminists - or at least lesbian feminists - don't want equality. They want to go back the 1950s, but with the roles reversed and Cynthia Nixon in the driving seat. The pendulum has swung too far. Female executives now dominate television, and look how that's turned out: drama stifled by gooey soap operatics designed to appeal to women. The London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival seems to be run by and for women - even the gay flicks that do make it into the programme have to have something for the girls.
And just how did "LGBT" come to be the most common acronym for the gay community? Why is it always "lesbian" and gay? Let's face it, compared to us boys, the dykes have a pretty easy time of it. Gay men are at the coalface of activism, taking the worst of the abuse, and generally getting a raw deal. But within the hierarchy of the GBLT community, lesbians want to be seen as the oppressed minority - victims of sexism.
Recently, I read an article that suggested the "T" in GBLT should be hived off, because the gay equality movement isn't serving the needs of the transgender community. I have a better idea. Why don't we keep the trannies, and excommunicate the lesbians. Seems to me they'd be much better off - and happier! - left alone with their ball-busting, hormones and vaginas...
Title quote: "I have met many feminists who were not lesbians but I have never met a lesbian who was not a feminist." Martha Shelley