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The International Writers Magazine: Comment

Let a Woman in your Life...
James Skinner

'And you invite eternal strife' so goes the lyrics sung by Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady. He ism of course, the abominable Professor Higgins who utterly repudiates the values of the opposite sex.


The story is based on one of George Bernard Shaw’s plays, ‘Pygmalion’ written ironically in 1913, the same year that Emily Davison was killed by a horse in the King George V Derby sweepstakes as she continued with the Women’s Lib campaign in England better known as the ‘Suffragettes’ in pursuit of more equality for women in a predominantly male society. In the play, young Eliza Doolittle is a poor flower girl working at Covent Garden, London who is picked up by the professor and his friend Colonel Pickering and for six months is subjected to a phonetic experiment to improve her ‘English’ so that she can be introduced into High Society as a noblewoman. During the process, Professor Higgins treats Eliza as nothing more than ‘human flotsam ’ whilst the Colonel is more gentle and sees in Eliza that of a bright and sensitive young woman. During WWI that followed, many jobs, traditionally carried out by men had to rely on Britain’s women folk as the young studs were being slaughtered in France, thus inadvertently giving credence to the ‘feminist’ movement for more equality between the sexes.

Although there is still much ground to be covered, the subject of equal rights for women has come a long way since 1913. In the Western world from Chief Executive Officers in Industry to Prime Ministers, from judges to doctors, from soldiers to sailors down to the buses and taxi drivers, women occupy an important post in modern society on an equal par with men. No longer do we see a woman confined to the kitchen to cook dinner for her working spouse, or sitting around knitting all day, constantly babysitting for the numerous offspring of an old fashion marriage as the husband is out playing golf or down the pub with the lads for a couple of pints. The cards have changed and the players sit on equal sides of the poker table. All original bets are off and the new rules of the game have taken over. Even female sexual freedom has blown adultery and other female nasties to smithereens. Young studs now have to compete amongst themselves for prowess under the bedcovers as more women have learned the arts of Kama Sutra better than their counter parts. But there is still a great deal of ground to be covered outside the West.

We all know that there are millions of female human beings in numerous parts of the world that are not only considered as second class citizens but are treated in the most inhuman and brutal way not only by their male opposites but by the actual system or regime of the countries concerned. Without going into a geographical tour of, in many cases the third and first world areas where this inequality is rampant, suffice to say that our civilized and democratic society championed by the United Nations continues its fight against this female discrimination. Most humans of both sexes applaud the efforts of all representative organisations within our society and hope that they will never let go the banner of equality until the job is done. There is however, within our modern world a downside that still persists. It is known as ‘Domestic Violence’.

Hundreds of thousands of men around the world, including the developed nations continue to ill treat their women folk, in particular their own partners with acts of aggression and physical violence in many cases ending up in murder. Men have been known to rape, burn, mutilate and beat to death a woman for a variety of reasons ranging from jealousy to just plain hatred for being a woman searching for her equal rights. Every day, a woman ends up in a pool of blood at the hands of a man. Every day, a woman screams for assistance as her partner accosts her indiscriminately on a daily basis. The scale has reached such a point that only 10 years ago the United Nations declared 25th of November as ‘International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women.’ The present chief Ban Ki-moon has unveiled a Network of Men Leaders around the world to act as role models campaigning against this violence. Amongst them is the Prime Minister of Spain, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

However, not all is sugar cake and dandy for the new ‘Suffragette’ movements around the world. Many sceptics are cautious in supporting all the schemes that have now mushroomed protecting women from violence. Some say that there will be a backlash of discrimination against men as a whole, especially in the law courts, by dishonest women presenting a plethora of reasons for pure revenge against their partners. A bruised eye, or a cut wrist caused by other means will immediately be accepted as evidence by a ‘female’ judge in a case of domestic violence against a male partner. Even some of the sentences can be harsher than those for more serious crimes. Others claim that too many acts of violence are caused spontaneously by ‘nagging’ women that provoke their partners who otherwise would have behaved in a normal fashion. There are even some that argue that men and women are different both physically – which is obvious – and physiologically and therefore differences will always exist particularly in accepting sexual equality. All these arguments are partially true. Even some of the forthright campaign ads deploring the violence seem to accuse all men of wrongdoing and not just the minority of bastards that won’t take the hint. Whichever way one looks at the problem, no answer or solution is perfect. By and large, the constant denouncement of brutal males by society as a whole is to be applauded and victimised women should be protected and assisted.

Then you’ve got my third solution to the problem. I quote Professor Higgins in his dissertation against women, ‘why can’t a woman, be more like a man!’  

© James G. Skinner. December 2009.

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