I wasn’t going to mention a certain Guardian contributor again so soon, but the fusion of self-regard and obliviousness is strangely compelling. What follows may well include one or two candidates for our ongoing series of classic sentences from the aforementioned newspaper. See if you can spot them. It’ll help us get through this.
The establishment, patriarchy, the mainstream, whatever you want to call it, just doesn’t find women interesting. It makes sure that women are heavily outnumbered from the very beginning by offering us only a fraction of available opportunities, slots, placements, commissions, trips, panel places, star jobs, reviews... It talks down women’s work. It is supported by a false mythology about the weakness, inconsistency, subjectivity and inconsequentiality of women’s creation, experience and perspective.
Readers will no doubt recognise Bidisha’s trademark rigour and understatement. Our favourite “non-white angry political female” has been counting posters in the underground and has deduced that something nefarious is afoot.
It’s all part of my investigation into cultural femicide - the erasure of women from public life. Who are the perpetrators? Events organisers, editors in broadcasting and the media, radio and TV producers, commissioners and jurors. They are male and female, they probably don’t realise they’re doing it, but they don’t mind. They’re fine with a virtually woman-free world.
Yes, I know. Do help yourself to refreshments. A stiff one seems in order.
To witness femicide in action, go to the town of Hay this May. At the same time as the annual book festival is an unrelated philosophy festival called How The Light Gets In. There are 25 debates covering broad themes such as evolution, the urban space, creativity, violence and privacy. All but two of these events are male-dominated... The discrimination is obvious. All you have to do is count.
Because anything but exact gender parity in any given sphere must, simply must, be proof of “cultural femicide” and “the erasure of women from public life.” It’s obvious, see? Thank goodness we can count on Bidisha to fight back.
I used to power my way through every token-woman appearance on panels in the hope that the shining example of my contribution would change the paradigm through sheer force of presence.
It didn’t happen.
Oh, it gets worse.