Saturday 28 January 2017


Watching on television news of our Prime Minister's meeting with the American President, I took the liberty of noticing - or, rather, assuming - that she had been 'styled'.  She was wearing a   suit of a glorious vivid red and her hair had been cut to a smooth cap over her head where I had been accustomed to seeing her with a good but rather wayward, windswept cut: rather like the rest of us in fact.

A discussion, or dissertation more likely, arose between two early middle aged women I know.  The gist of which was that in 2017 not much has changed in the infantilising, patronising and diminishing way in which women are still treated at work and, indeed, everywhere else in the world.  It sprang from observing that Mrs May's appearance ahould  have no place in talking about her work and what she hoped to achieve. It was noted that she had been called 'headmistressy' as had Lady Thatcher in her time.  No-one had ever called Mr. Cameron or George Bush 'headmastery'. (Mr Obama wasn't) One of the women, a distinguished and senior person in her profession, admitted that she had felt herself forced to project more 'girly' and younger than she actually was in order to hold the attention of  bosses who, otherwise, were incapable of taking her reports, requests and presentations seriously. This stance was taken after years of struggling to hold on to a more realistic projection of who she was and she was sickened to find the strategy worked. The second woman had been promoted in a situation where she was already far up the ladder of success but then had to fight to be given the same job-title as a male colleague in the same situation. Assessing the clothes of  notable women is another irritating example of irrelevance but, perhaps, more readily noticable to those of us no longer having to deal with this outrageous situation, at least in the workplace. Although I am still prepared to go on about being called Liz by people on the telephone I have never met and don't intend to meet. I can see that in kindergarten it would not have done to call me Miss Mountford but that was many decades ago and should be binned, by now, with all the annoying rest of that insulting behaviour. I digress,  Tell me, honestly, did you ever hear a discussion about Churchill's ties or Eisenhowers shirts? No, neither did I.  I have occasionally heard criticism of shabby or inappropriate attire in a male public figure.  For instance, there is a television authority on politics who, it seems, was told to get a better hair cut and wear a tie while at work and, I must say, I was distracted, myself, from the portent of what he was saying by the shaggy dog nature of his appearance. However, the joke is, that at this point in my diatribe I have  noticed, in a light-bulb moment, that at last there is parity.  Which of us has not had a go at the hair of Mr. Trump?  Prynhawn da

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