Women: Know Your Place! (It’s wherever you want it to be)

According to a diligent and thorough survey of – only 180 people – elderly women are figures of fun and women are token panel members! Conclusive, would you say? Read through this article in the Telegraph and see if you feel the same way I do.

For starters, Ann Widdecombe, whatever your personal views, was undoubtedly one of the stars of Strictly Come Dancing Series 9. It wasn’t because she was old or a woman or because she wasn’t a very good dancer – the so called  ‘joke’ contestant – it was because she was herself.  She didn’t win because, as all regular viewers, passionate about the show know, a good dancer has always won and no amount of media hysteria is going to change that, dance off or no dance off. Yes, I’m looking at you lot who kept banging on about John Sargent, instead of just letting him enjoy his natural run. Russell Grant was this year’s equivalent – supposedly the joke but he had rhythm and timing and the entertainment factor. The joke figures are the ones who can’t dance, but are convinced they can – and no-one knows who they are until a few weeks in. See what Ann had to say on the matter.

Being yourself, having a ball, and being paired with a professional dancer who understands what the show is all about (making the most of your partner’s strengths and entertaining a diverse viewing population) is the winning combination: Chris Hollins & Darren Gough didn’t win because they were good dancers (and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise; they were) they won because they, along with Ann, had a ball, fell in love with dancing and it showed. Alesha didn’t win because she’s a young, pretty woman, she won because she was a fantastic and hard working contestant who had the perfect partnership and a down to earth, funny character …  is it my imagination, or are the media now embarking on a ‘Get Alesha’ campaign?

The results of the survey mentioned above suggest they’re influenced as much from what those 180 watch on the telly as their real – life perceptions and prejudices. As an avid viewer of the panel games mentioned, Jo Brand is always fantastic value; Victoria Coren, concise and precise; Sarah Millican just has to mention cake and I’m hers. However, there are other women I see who are, quite simply, not as funny. My criteria for a panel is that they make me laugh; I refuse to count how many of each sex have taken a turn.

I’m no fan of shoving a woman in to make up the numbers; I’d hate to be promoted to make up a quota instead of earning it.  I don’t need to be told I have rights; I know my rights. I don’t believe I think the way men want me to think (as some tweet I saw the other day suggested) I’m perfectly capable of making up my own mind, thank you. I’ve worked in some very male dominated environments and can honestly say I’ve never been harassed. So women, quit complaining and go on an assertiveness course if you need to. The world is yours, you can achieve anything you like – take a look at the money lists. There’s not as many women as men but men had a head start – we only got the vote 90 years ago. And as much as that was down to the Pankhursts, it was also down to the Nightingales and Frys too – driven women have always achieved, not had it handed to them on a plate because it was their ‘right’. Male or female, it’s ambition, acumen, drive and belief that will find a way. Timidity isn’t exclusive to females; there are plenty of men who don’t achieve.

Enfranchisement, that's the word I was looking for ...

Women’s Lib had its moment, now it’s up to us individually. Want to stay at home with the kids? It’s your choice, do it. Want to work full time? Knock yourself out. There’s no right or wrong.  It’s our choice. And I do wish the righteous few would let us just get on with it.

Photo courtesy of Ell Brown on  Flickr

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