Friday, 7 November 2014

Politically incorrect thinking

But I prefer to call it grown-up thinking, joined-up thinking, realistic thinking.

It all started when I saw this photo in the weekend papers:

That, in case you don't know him, is a man who has hopes of becoming the Prime Minister of this country after the election next May, Ed Miliband,the leader of the Labour Party.  He and other prominent politicians and entertainers - who were presumably given the t-shirts - seemed happy to pose wearing them.  The t-shirts, it is alleged, are on sale for as much as £45.

Now, my thoughts are not really about the cost of the t-shirts (£45?  They must be joking - and anybody paying that much needs their bumps felt!) or the fact that people have been happy to be pictured wearing them (Ed Miliband?  Nick Clegg?).  Nor does it much bother me that those so-called prominent men (and women) are seemingly happy to proclaim themselves feminists - although I am not entirely sure that I would want to see a feminist running the country.  But that leads me to the first of my non-PC thoughts.

I consider feminism to be wrong.

And age-ism.

Feminism - and ageism - is discriminatory.  At least, my understanding of feminism is so.  As I understand it, feminists want to push women into more of the "top" jobs.  Regardless of whether or not the women so appointed are the best people for the jobs.  It's like the political party that stipulated 50% of their candidates for election should be women.  That's all very fine and dandy in theory.  I repeat, in theory.  But what happens is, say, ten people apply to stand and only one is a woman?  And she is the least able of the prospective candidates? 

It was also reported that the women making those t-shirts are paid 62p an hour and sleep 16 to a room.  Shock! Horror!!

OK, so in this instance maybe the workers are underpaid; my newspaper failed to elaborate - or maybe I just didn't read enough, although I was under the impression that I did read all of the article.  But so often we hear that "workers are paid £50 a week" or something like that.  And we are expected to gasp in shock that somebody could earn such a pittance in this day and age.  What we are rarely told is what that £50 (or whatever) will buy.  If a loaf of bread costs just a couple of pence, £50 will buy a lot of bread!  We need to be told the whole truth, not odd facts taken completely out of context.

And as for sleeping 16 to a room, well, our soldiers, sailors and airmen do that.  Again, we need more information.

I am all for boycotting those companies that buy in clothes made in sweatshops, or unsafe factories like the one that collapsed (last year?) in Pakistan.  But at the same time, we must remember that factories employing people in conditions that we would consider poor are sometimes actually better than any others and the wages they pay may well be above average for that area.

Part of the problem is that so many of us act hypocritically.  We moan about stores buying clothing made in sweatshops or by child labourers - and then moan because we don't like the price of clothing made in better conditions and where the workers are paid adequately.

But I will end by repeating myself.  When sensationalist newspapers tell us the low wages that are paid to some workers, they need to give us the full facts.  It is only when we are in possession of  the whole story that we can decide what action to take - if any.


Mike @ A Bit About Britain said...

Wooah - whole lot of big issues there BP. Good luck! For what's it's worth, on the topic of 'isms' I'm in complete agreement. In the 1970s, it was about equality - which is right - but then the principle of 'positive discrimination' was introduced. This is not only basically unfair, but it doesn't help anyone. It is WRONG that some people in a society are treated differently (eg paid less) because of WHAT they are. It is RIGHT to stick up for them. It is WRONG to treat them as a special case. Mini rant over...

Sarah said...

I think both you and Mike have pretty much said what I think.

I'm not a fan of feminism in the modern sense and far from a fan of positive discrimination. People should be judged on their ability and nothing else.

I also wouldn't wear that tee shirt if they were giving it way let alone pay £45 for it!

joeh said...

WOW, you are a brave man.

I agree with most of what you say.
I think the feminist movement has achieved much of their agenda, and gender discrimination is at least illegal; enforcing the laws is something else, cultures do not change overnight. In some cases the only way to determine if employment discrimination takes place is to extrapolate what the gender make up of a job should be. Very difficult to do in most cases.

On another note, is your candidate for PM over 21?