Are we worth it?


The press was cruel, because they didn’t just dislike my work; they disliked me, personally—my voice, the way I dress, the way I look, my attitude. I’m sure they wouldn’t have carried on that way if I were a man. I’m absolutely convinced of that.” Tracey Emin – Vanity Fair

How very silly and presumptuous of us girlies to think that seeing as we make up the latter 101:100 of the population we might then also be entitled to the same ratio of representation in government, business etc. I mean come on ladies, surely the reason that only 3 of the top 100 CEOs are women is just that we aren’t good enough to be achieving these top jobs? We are, as Gerry Holt says, our own worst enemy; meek and simpering at the feet of the cigar-chomping old boys. We really don’t deserve these positions if we haven’t (and we clearly haven’t) earned it. This is the ever-present attitude, spouted by those same miscreants who bluster about poor people being poor because they don’t work hard enough, an opinion usually spat through a mouthful of silver spoon. It amazes me on an almost daily basis that this debate continues to grind on, defended by men and even worse, women. Headlines detailing misogyny seem now a permanent feature, gradually desensitising us to the importance of these issues, like a horrific TV ad for charity aid which we auto-block as we change the channel; that’s life, just the way it is.

Architecture in particular has recently seen a backlash after industry mag the Architects Journal published the results of a survey showing that 47% of women in architecture believe they are paid less than their male counterparts for the same work. I have yet to see Mr Silver Spoon defend this, but I cynically suspect more for PR damage limitation than any heartfelt moral stance. Zaha Hadid will only this year complete her first permanent UK structure, a mere passing decade since receiving a CBE and being widely regarded as the most influential living female architect.

And what of the infamous Tracey Emin (I can sense noses wrinkling up in distaste at the very mention of her name, accompanied by those meaningful ‘hmm’s’). Hated instantaneously by the press and the Sewell ilk under a thinly disguised veil of ‘ that’s not art’, it’s no real secret that her matter of fact treatment of sex and what was seen as her ‘vulgar’ honesty on the subject veered dangerously out of a woman’s remit, bruising more than a few egos on the way through.

For many, the female is still not expected, nor allowed, to share the territory of the male. Their true place is as insipid watercolor painter of flower arrangements, or even better, as ‘the muse’ whose modern incarnations continue to perpetuate the idea of woman as being of a purpose to the male genius or libido. In fact, sexual exploitation is the one area in which our representative roles are reversed. Perhaps the misogynists are right, equality and all that, we ladies should be glad we’ve got an industry in which we dominate. We are better at something. What a relief.


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