I learned something interesting today. Apparently, we are in what has been described as ‘fourth wave feminism’, fuelled and supported by initially the #me too movement and the quite ridiculous “Love Island” one episode of which I watched before sprinting to the vomitorium.
The conviction of Harvey Weinstein has produced an avalanche of social media comment, mostly from jubilant women glad that a dangerous serial predator has finally been caged, despite his many protestations of innocence. It seems undeniable that he used his influence and Hollywood machismo to coax, indeed force women to sleep with him or otherwise degrade themselves in order to further their careers. Sex became a form of currency, so, nothing new there.
I am in no position to either support or condemn Mr Weinstein because I wasn’t there. However, the Hollywood casting couch mythology bubble has finally collapsed and rightly so. But, there’s another side to this. A very difficult side, yet one that begs a rational response. Jordan Peterson, the Canadian academic, author and psychiatrist has done for the patriarchy what Timothy Leary did for drug use. He has challenged some of the foundational precepts that some women are not altogether innocent. Some women, either by social pressure or design, provoke men. One can buy artificial nipples, get a boob job, use Botox to enhance lip structure, get liposuction to remove unwanted cellulite etc, and 92% of all such procedures are carried out on women.
Why? Let the reader fill in the blanks.
Makeup, for example, enhances a woman’s best features. It can make her look younger, hence more desirable. She uses red lipstick on an enhanced lip profile. Red is a universal colour in certain mammals to suggest arousal. High heels make her legs look longer. We could discuss cleavage, figure-hugging dresses, specially designed underwear to enhance the labia so people feel better in yoga class… Oh, and I make no apology for the use of the feminine pronoun.
This is quite enough in most circles to precipitate not only ridicule but total career destruction. Of course, women should not be harassed in the workplace, or indeed whistled at by workers on a building site, but the fashion and makeup industries, together with a spike in surgical and other less invasive procedures have become unstoppable financial behemoths simply and most basically designed to make women look better, hence, one supposes, make them feel better and thus improve their self image. The by-product, unwanted as it is, is that the results interest men, and, the rest follows.
Peterson then trod almost voluntarily into the quagmire but suggesting that women knew exactly what they were doing when they applied makeup, dressed or danced provocatively – a quite unsayable assertion. Yet, with thanks to Douglas Murray:
“All this suggests that our societies have arrived at a stage of seemingly industrial-strength denial. We have decided to forget or completely edit out things that were recognised to be valid the day before yesterday. And, we seem to have decided that the individual complexities…between men and women can simply be pushed to one side with the assumption that they have all been overcome.”
Maturity brings with it an ability to look beyond the superficial. Some women who are self-classified as beautiful, attractive even, present to the world a hologram of themselves, easily seen through and recognised for what it is, a cardboard replica, a clumsy papering over the cracks. The most attractive women, at least for me, have an inner light that is entrancing to look at and healing to be with, regardless of whether they swell the coffers of L’Oréal or not.
I know two such women. You know who you are.