Sometimes our readers see things and send them in to us. This is great for many reasons (it’s good to have a crew, yo), but the main one is that I don’t have to read stuff like the salmon pink monstrosity that is the Financial Times. Instead, people just copy and paste offending articles and send them to me by email, skipping the paywall (fight the system) and generally making my day about 76.4% better.
So, last weekend someone called Lucy Kelleway wrote an article called “The Female of the Species is More Scary Than the Male”, in which she highlights several “scary” women such as Angela Merkel, Anna Wintour, Madonna, and all her old uni friends. “What is it about successful women that makes them so frightening?” she asks, at which point my inbuilt ‘crass generalisation monitor’ starts spinning and whirring faster than a boxful of rampant rabbits.
Oh, what, Lucy? The reason could be ‘Darwinian’? NOW FOR THE SCIENCE BIT FOLKS. Oh, wait, no…sorry. No science. Just several badly constructed hypotheses, which are:
1.) Women are scary because “it is harder for women to advance, so those who make it have to be more impressive and more fierce.”
2.) Also: Women act scary to drown out the voice of their inner impostor.
3.) Third: Women are harder to read, which makes people anxious.
4.) People expect women to be docile and motherly. When they are not, it is scary.
5.) Prep school boys are scared of their matrons.
But are successful women really all that scary? I would automatically discount the examples of Madonna and Carla Bruni from the “makes me want to shit my pants” category. Madonna is scary because the press have made her out to be scary. Carla Bruni makes beautiful chanson francaise that is the musical equivalent of someone lying next to you stroking your hair and calling you snuggles. So not scary at all. Angela Merkel is scary because she is German and British people still haven’t really got over that. Rebecca Brooks is scary because she was editor of a now defunct newspaper which dispensed with all morality and hacked the voicemail of a murdered schoolgirl. Thatcher is scary because she systematically and psychopathically destroyed the livelihoods of millions of people and her voice makes my skin crawl.
Furthermore, nothing prep school boys say should EVER be taken as indicative of a larger societal trend. Most people’s parents didn’t send them away to school from an early age to have their stools inspected by a formidable matron with the only vagina in a five mile radius. And most people don’t have all the psychological issues that will come hand in hand with that.
Fact is, none of these women are as scary as the Nazi zombies in Norweigan horror movie dead snow, finding out your mum has cancer, serial killers, the first day of school, the tory government’s slow erosion of the human rights act, or ghosts.
All these women share in common is a vagina.
Seeing as we have dispensed with all science, I would like to put forth a little hypothesis of my own. Maybe some successful women are scary because, like successful men, they might not be nice people? It might just be my wishy-washy liberal instincts talking, but I have the niggling feeling that in order to be THAT successful within a capitalistic system, male or female, you might have to be a little bit of a twat. So maybe the reason there are fewer women on the boards of FTSE 500 companies is because there are simply fewer female twats. Or maybe we all just have inferiority complexes and need to get a fucking grip.