Germaine Greer, circa 1975.
"Chivalry is dead and feminism is to blame!" The headline screeched at me from my computer screen. I could practically feel the spittle coming from it, like an excitable Head Boy bursting into the common room demanding to know which of the third year maggots had left his dirty rugger boots blocking the entry hall when they knew full well that Professor Flatchety-Hogginsbottom was on the jolly warpath that day.
Feminism, I cursed! You’ve stomped through the world leaving a trail of destruction in your path, and now this? With the Knight’s Code gone, which noble warrior will lay his jacket down in a puddle so that I may float over the surface like a whimsical lily, my delicate tootsies protected from the potentially fatal chill of winter’s wrath? Am I now to take to my bed with fever while the apothecary tells my family in grave tones that the leeches are my last remaining hope? FEMINISM, HAVE YOU KILLED ME TOO?
After hearing this troubling news, I did some research and discovered some other things feminism has set its gnarled, yellow talons to over the years. I warn you - the results may shock you, for it appears feminism isn’t the cutesy little movement we may have originally thought, but actually a nefarious scourge sent to Earth by a distant alien overlady intent on destroying our way of life and everything we hold dear. Hold onto your crotch cups, people. This could get dangerous.
1. The superior version of the Westminster system
Once upon a time, governments of the day were treated with the veneration they deserved. They were rightly acknowledged as a realm best understood by educated, sensible people whose very DNA pulsated with the life force of logic. So it came as quite a shock when early feminists demanded that flibbertijibbets - or ‘women’, as they were sometimes known then - be given some say in who the elected officials would be determining the laws that might affect their lives.
With scant regard given to the fact these pea brained (but adorable!) poppets could barely understand how to tie their own corsets let alone interpret the intellectual discourse that wafted from the House of Lords like a giant, pheasant scented fart, the suffragettes went ahead anyway and lay their heaving, proto-lesbian masses on the ground and proceeded to steamroll the rights of men and their man brains to control the political voting system.
And boy, did we all suffra from that point on. Now, we not only have to endure the indignity of women (and later, even blacks) being granted a say, we also have to watch as they infiltrate the governments themselves.
LOGICAL POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT: DEAD
2. Exploitation of workers
Once upon a time, the contribution of women to the workforce was given the acknowledgement and respect it deserved - that is, a significant percentage less than that given to their male counterparts. Sadly, by the time the 1960s rolled around, most women had lost appreciation for the generosity shown by men in giving them the vote.
Urged on by the ‘women’s libbers’, women began pushing for more! It wasn’t good enough that they achieved all the goals set out by feminism prior to that; no, they wouldn’t stop until they were SUPERIOR to men! Their next step was going to be forcing companies and employers to pay them the same amount of money for the same work. The greed of it all!
So after gorging on the inequalities of the workforce, the ferociously hungry feminists burped out the Equal Opportunity Act and ruined public life forever. And hey, even though it seems to be rarely adhered to, it doesn’t stop the threat of it hanging over society’s head like a giant, murderous bat just waiting for you to disappear into a daydream about the golden days of yesteryear so it can strap itself to your face and send you irreversibly mad.
EXPLOITATIVE WORKPLACE PRACTICE: STILL NOT DEAD
ATTEMPTED MURDERER: FEMINISM
3. Conjugal rights
Way back in the distant, prehistoric era known as the 1970s, Australian men were treated like the kings that they are. Every king deserves his very own kingdom.
In most cases, this was a 3 bedroom weatherboard house with a Hill’s Hoist in the backyard and a Sheila cooker and dishwasher in the kitchen. The law knew that a man’s home was his domain, and it granted him all the rights that were owed to him in that capacity.
Rights such as being able to watch the footy without complaints, to commune with nature out on the surf while scrags admired from the beach and fetched Chiko rolls and pies, and to have sex with their wives whenever they felt like it, even if their wife didn’t.
All that started to change in the early 80s though when those bloody feminists dropped their Hard Yakka trousers to flash their Medusa’s eye on the state legislatures. And one by one, the conjugal rights previously enjoyed by hard working Aussie blokes were turned to stone. Some places around the world are still holding out fast against the marauding feminist agenda against husbands, but one day they’ll fall too. Vale, patriarchy.
CONJUGAL RAPE WITHOUT PUNISHMENT: DEAD
4. The rights of men to hold open doors for women without being treated like sexist buffoons
Actually, surprisingly still thriving. That is, when you’re talking about doors being held open for women. Funnily enough, it seems that MEN are the ones who object most strongly to having doors held open for them by other men. Maybe it’s because it makes them feel like women, I dunno.
CHIVALRY: WHEREABOUTS UNKNOWN, NOT REALLY THE ISSUE, GET OVER YOURSELVES
MURDERER: THE RED HERRING
Clementine Ford will be speaking at the All About Women festival on 30 March. Tickets are available here.