Saturday, 16 July 2011

Germaine Greer Says Something Sensible

Holy cow! A Catholic blog with a link to Germaine Greer! But as a matter of fact, Greer's The Whole Woman (1998) impressed me enormously for her myth-trashing attitude towards men.

Greer blunted stated that men are just as nasty to weaker men, if not more, as they are to women. She also stated that women want to hang out with men more than men want to hang out with women. She observed that the only female relational role anyone seems to care about nowadays is Wife, and in stirring terms she described women's lust to give, to pour out our endeavours as love-gifts (like a great-aunt constantly knitting unwanted pullovers) before our at least somewhat oblivious or ungrateful male beloveds.

Greer's advice was to stop being so obsessed with being where the men are. "Stop chasing men," she seemed to say. And in the Telegraph article to which I link above, she seems to say that is okay for men to be on their own some of the time. It is okay for them to have their own clubs. It is foolish to force private clubs to welcome members they don't want just because those members are female.

This, I think, is enormously sane. I was about to write approvingly about Boys' Nights Out, but then I was distracted by the memory of my Girls' Night Out, which was last night. Three 30-something Women of our Parish (if you count me as 39 + 1) met at the top of Harvey Nichols department store, surveyed its boring bar and left for the much more inspiring mock 1890s black-and-gold cocktail lounge around the corner. As our pregnant member preferred "an early night" we joined the thin, quiet, after-work crowd. We were dressed somewhat soberly, but to the nines, incidentally. The non-pregnant wore pumps.

Three well-educated expat Trad Mass-loving women all chatted merrily together under a very Art Nouveau ceiling with cocktails for the non-pregnant and soda for the pregnant. It felt all very sophisticated, grand and grown-up. But then there was a loud shriek from the doorway from the bar-lounge to the restaurant where we were now seated.

A woman in the prime of life and flashy clothes paused there dramatically with her arms outstretched to the rather large group of bottle-blondes at the biggest table. I wouldn't swear to this in court, but her cry sounded like "PETE-ZAAAAAA!" Her pose reminded me of Samantha returning to her friends in Sex & the City the Movie (don't, I beg you, see it). There were answering female cries from the table, and the tone of the classy joint dropped like a can of fake tan.

The bar-lounge was now packed with groups of noisy women. There were some groups of men, and there were one or two mixed groups, but women definitely outnumbered the men. This surprised me, for this is never true of the pubs my husband frequents. The pubs are quieter, too, the patrons less flashy.

So as I think approvingly of Boys' Nights Out, the great amusement my husband has in occasionally meeting up with his university pals and drinking stunning amounts of beer while looking at old photos and repeating old jokes, I think somewhat less approvingly of the loud Girls' Nights Out in my new town. Do they have to be so noisy and unpleasant? Obviously they don't, but they so frequently are that I wonder what the participants are trying to prove? If it's that they can be as brash and noisy as men, they have rather exceeded their goal. If it's that they don't care what men think, they have rather forgotten that they are visible (and audible) to both sexes. And, if that's what women act like in groups nowadays, it shouldn't be a surprise that exclusive men's clubs don't want us.

What I hope for is a happy medium. We shouldn't chase men, but we shouldn't go out of our way to disgust them either.


Steve Finnell said...
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Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Yes, it's definitely the noises they make that contribute mightily to my dislike of women. The high-pitched shrieking. There should be research done on the effects it has on the human brain.

Western civilisation started to deteriorate about the same time women were allowed to go about in public in men's clothes and to frequent pubs and other eating/drinking establishments in groups. If women are to go out to eat or drink in public, they should be accompanied by at least one man.

aussie girl in australia said...


I somehow doubt that your husband's "boys night out" is typical. The counterpart to the women you witnessed is something equally as loud and lacking in class. They don't sit around looking at photos, they got out in groups making the general public feel rather less safe. There is a reason that many pubs don't allow Stag Night groups to enter.

I agree about Greer's book "The Whole Woman". I actually delight in shocking my traddie friends when they see I have Germain Greer on my bookshelf. :)

Seraphic said...

Well, there is an age thing going on. Middle-aged men around here tend not to go out in large, rough, large groups. Young men do, I believe, but I haven't notice it, possibly because I don't go where they go or WHEN they go. What I notice is that it is women of all ages who are hootin' and hollerin' and bringing attention to themselves.

I had a chat with a police officer after two such women (aged about 40, dead drunk and escorted by children) went berserk on my bus, and he said that this behaviour in local women was both new and getting disturbingly more frequent.

sciencegirl said...

Ugh, high-pitched diva-dom is the worst. I am rather self-conscious about my soprano voice and try to avoid squeaking. I don't get the yelling thing either. I'm used to people talking louder and louder in conversation as they get excited, but yelling across rooms "Pizza!" is for kiddies at Chuck E. Cheese.

aussie girl in australia said...

I suppose it depends on what part of the world you are in. I agree though, there is an increase in loud, drunken female behavior. I do see loud, drunken male behavior as well but that may be because I live in a major city. Your situation on the bus sounded most traumatic.

theobromophile said...

In the defence of our fair sex, may I amend? Women like being where well-behaved men are. Golf clubs? Sober cigar bars wherein men hold their liquor and talk politics with respect and decorum? Sign us up. But fraternities? Bachelor parties? Strip clubs? Groups of rowdy men who drink more than they can handle? Few sane women, and no sane woman over the age of 25, clamours to get into those establishments.

The implication, of course, is that men have zero desire to be around questionably-behaved women. What we (as a group) fail to understand is that "we" cannot demand membership or admittance for all of us, since we are not all well-behaved. It is far easier for men to exclude all of us rather than sift through the teeming mass of women to find the ones who will comport with their well-behaved, sedate ideals.

Kate P said...

I was already tired of shrieking drunk girls as a university undergrad, when my dorm neighbors would wake me up at 3 a.m. as they came in the building. It just never appealed to me to be that out-of-control wasted.

It's not a perfect show, but the sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" had an entire episode discussing "Woo Girls" where "Woooo!" was orobably the equivalent of the "PETE-ZAAAAAA!" cries you heard. ("Almost anything can elicit a, 'Woo!' from a Woo Girl: a good song; half-priced shots; or just remembering she fed her cat.") It was a little silly but they felt it was a justified thing single girls needed to do to let off steam.
Granted, most "Woo!" shouts happened in a Country/Western bar and not Harvey Nichols. Probably more appropriate that they stay in the bar. If they need to happen at all.

Clare said...
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Seraphic said...

Dear Clare, I think you should stop asking guys these questions immediately. I can think of few things more limiting.

I imagine very few men who respect Humanae Vitae and go to Latin Mass have "A Man for All Seasons" as their favourite movie. And I shudder to think how few Catholic men in the USA respect HV, let alone go to trad Mass. And as for Wodehouse, men (in general) do not read (or buy) light fiction to the extent that women do.

Mass preferences, Catholic sexual teachings and favourite movies are very personal questions that should come up naturally during the course of a friendship. They are not hoops for people to jump through. If a man likes you, he might be interested in going to trad Mass because you do. If he wants to marry you, he'll follow HV because you insist on it.

Eliminating a man as a possible because "A Man for All Seasons" or any other film is not his favourite is very foolish indeed.

Meanwhile, I hope you are studying hard and have a back-up plan. Going to a secular college campus solely for your MRS is not a good idea. Get good grades and do an M.A. at Steubenville. (Don't take out student loans to do this, though, since you are not planning on being salaried.) It's the only place I've ever heard of where girls who go only to get an MRS have a pretty good success rate.

Mrs Doyle said...

What's an MRS?!
I'm having a blonde moment ;)

Seraphic said...

Stare at it long enough, and you'll get it, MRS Doyle!

Meanwhile I was just thinking that the reaction of the campus ministry boys is a wonderful example of reality versus imagination.

Seraphic said...

(I should explain that I was joking about Steubenville. I personally know only one woman who did that and succeeded. Of course, there may be more, and at any seriously Catholic or evangelical college, men are going to be interested in early marriage.)

Seraphic said...

(SOME men, that is.)

sciencegirl said...

I would be totally thrown by these questions myself and all of the men I know would be as well. I've known maybe 2 men who might answer "YES!" to all of the above, but I think they would find it rather off-putting to be asked. It's nice to ask what a person's favorite movie is. What if he's never seen "A Man for All Seasons?" What if he's never been to Latin Mass? What if he liked "The Mission" better? What if he doesn't like movies very much at all?

If these things are really very important to you, you can find out without a pre-date interview.

1) Start a Catholic Discussion group on either the Theology of the Body, Humana Vitae, or Christopher West's synthesis. Or go to a Theology on Tap that discusses one. Or a class at church on one of them, and see who appears enthusiastic about it.

2) Go to Latin Mass regularly, and chat with people afterwards.

3) MOVIE NIGHT! Show some fun Catholic movies including your favorite one.

4) Read PG Wodehose in public (ahem, not during Mass!) Or quote him and see who gets it.

Please note that not even my closest female friends share my favorite movie or authors, and that it can be rather fun to actually date someone with slightly different taste in books and films. It is nice to experience new things. But if these are really the most important things to you, you can perhaps find them in a more genteel way.

The Real Clare said...

Hi Seraphic-- the previous comment was one of my friends posing as me. We both read your blog, and she thinks she's clever because I have oft aired my discomfort. with trad men/the homeschooling, stay at home mother ideal. She is a very cheeky and impertinent young women, and I'm sorry you wasted your valuable time on her frivolous remarks.

Kelly or Christine, whichever of you that was: this means war.

Seraphic said...

Oh Clare--Clara Vera--I am sorry both you and I have been taken advantage of in this terrible manner!

If you find out who it is, let me know and I will make sure her name appears in one of my blog stories.

The Real Clare said...

Hahaha actually I just found out it was one of my guy friends. The plot thickens. It was kind of clever though, wasn't it?

Seraphic said...

Actually, it makes what I do a lot more difficult. I do what I do to help women who are too shy to ask priests or whomever for advice, and I accept emails and comments in good faith. Although letter-writers sometimes lie to me (e.g. that they're not actually sleeping with their sort-of, not-really boyfriends), this is the first time I know of that a man came on here impersonating a woman.

I know that many men get a kick out of online transvestitism, but I am not happy to discover this has happened on my blog.

hip2bsquare said...

You know, A Man for All Seasons is in my top 5 favorite movies.