Monday, 4 June 2018

The widening gap

It seems I can’t switch the television or radio on these days without listening to a woman being interviewed, usually by another woman, about how it feels to be a woman. I’ve written about this fairly recently, but, as the summer heats up, it seems like this phenomenon is reaching fever pitch. It used to be the terrain of Women’s Hour - and it was interesting and thought-provoking for a concentrated period of time. It now feels like Women’s Hour has escaped and started charging all over the BBC. I switched the radio on on Friday night and was informed that, within the next hour, I could expect a documentary about the post #MeToo world, before hearing an interview with the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, which would happen after Lucy Catherine’s epic radio play about a female Viking Warrior.

Yesterday, during my car journey, I listened to a piece about how difficult it is for women in the record industry, before a piece about the Women’s Power List. There was talk about inappropriate male touching, then we heard about ovarian cancer. One woman said the word “woman” sixteen times in a minute. I counted.

I switched the telly on Saturday night to be told by the announcer that “to celebrate the Year of the Woman” the BBC was showing an all-women version of “From The Apollo.” Then I watched “There’s Nothing Like a Dame” - a documentary about four well-known female actresses, which I would have wholeheartedly enjoyed, without prejudice, had I not started to wonder whether it had simply been commissioned to tick the apparently insatiable need at the BBC for material about women.

This evening, I watched a programme about Suffragettes which was followed by a trailer for a programme called “The Trouble with Women - with Anne Robinson.”

Maybe I’m just noticing it more. Maybe this is some sort of frequency bias in action. Maybe the pendulum has to swing the other way before we can ever find equilibrium.

But why do we continue to ask women how it feels to be women instead of allowing them to talk about the art they make, or the jobs they do?

No one has ever asked me how it feels to be a man. I’ve barely been asked how it feels to be gay, which is far more relevant to what I do. Being gay - and not having children as a result - is a great driving force for me, because it means I’m working towards a legacy of music rather than children.

Funnily enough, I actually think in today’s climate it might be quite interesting to ask a man how it feels to be a man: to ask him what #MeToo has done to his perception of women, and the perception of himself and his own value. I never used to feel any different to women, but, in the last few months, I’ve learned that I’m an entirely different breed of person...

I feel a gap widening between men and women which I never felt before and I don’t like it very much.

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