Prince Harry, feminist, says, “Real men treat women with dignity and give them the respect they deserve.”
Why do I feel that this time it’s going to be different? That the Fourth Wave of Feminism will actually achieve equality?
Because the men are different.
Compared to the unafraid, more serious, individualist men of today, the macho but fearful, grey flannel Suits of the 70s were waxworks.
Today’s men can see the logic of the situation: it makes sense not to waste 50% of the country’s brains. It makes sense to dump the medieval attitude of men towards women that has so clearly not been dumped by Islamic extremists. It is only fair to treat women as equals, rather than unpaid servants.
In the 70s, the male backlash against feminism was instant and brutally effective. Feminists were branded hairy-legged, saggy-breasted, aggressive lesbians.
Worse – they were “unfeminine”. Nobody has yet worked out what “unfeminine” means because to be a woman is, by definition, to be feminine.
But – after years of being taught how to be feminine by women’s magazines – Seventies’ women were terrified of being unfeminine.
This time round, the women’s magazines head the Feminism Uprising and the leader is feisty Lorraine Candy, editor-in-chief of Elle. The December Feminist issue of Elle also points out that wanting Equal Pay doesn’t stop you wearing heels and shopping for lacy underwear at Agent Provocateur: you can be a feminine feminist.
Lorraine Candy, Editor-in-Chief, Elle Magazine. Photo by Victoria Adamson
Elle has photographed top male stars wearing a t-shirt that says, “This is what a feminist looks like”. These men include such icons as Benedict Cumberbatch,
Eddie Redmayne, Tinie Tempah, Christopher Kane, and long-time feminists, Eddie Izzard, Richard E Grant.
Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg wore the t-shirt. David Cameron refused.
Professor Michael Kimmel, who wrote The Guy’s Guide to Feminism (good for a Christmas stocking?) points out in Elle that the problem still exists and won’t go away because, “Women are not equal. … Just look at every political, financial, social, cultural and educational institution in the world.
“Stated most simply, gender equality is in our own interests – as men,” Professor Kimmel says, “Because we’re not just ‘men’. We’re fathers and sons, brothers and cousins, friends and colleagues, grandsons and grandfathers, lovers and partners and husbands.”
But the most convincing proof of a true trend is the size of the December issue of Elle, packed to its glamorous, hard-hitting 362 pages with exquisitely expensive advertisements.
The advertising business is run by men: clearly, the Board Room Dinosaurs are dying out. This time, the old men will lose the battle, and the young men will win. The December issue of Elle magazine is the foam on the tsunami of Western public opinion.