Why can't women make their rules?

Images of women that stick in your mind for all the wrong reasons: Ed Miliband lining up his female MPs and shadow ministers for last week's Prime Minister's Questions, objectifying them and totally missing the point; Samantha Cameron (successful businesswoman), Frances Osborne and Ffion Hague (both successful authors) photographed dollied up in evening clothes on the arms of their husbands at a Tory fund-raising ball last week.

The beautiful and talented Kristin Scott Thomas, starring with Ralph Fiennes' in the new Dickens movie as the mother (in a frumpy wig) of his young friend, complains that at 53, all she gets are supporting roles, "where it's not about me but the man and woman elsewhere … it gets very lonely".  Ralph, her friend on screen in the English Patient, is still offered appealing roles on screen — she's not.

Has feminism stalled? I've complained before that politics doesn't reflect the real world, and the antics at last week's PMQs show that nothing has changed. Look at the numbers — just 34 per cent of Labour MPs are female, and 16 per cent of Tories.

Shocking. It feel as if every week another female MP decides that she's had enough, depleting numbers even further. I can't understand why Cameron and co (and let's not forget the Liberal Democrats with their weird attitude to sexual harassment) fail to see that women are fundamental to their success.

For the electorate, the battle has been won; turn on the television, and women take centre stage. From Emmerdale and EastEnders to Corrie, modern soaps are built around strong characters that the audience can relate to.

My favourite dramas, The Bridge, Borgen, Homeland and Stella, are constructed around difficult women. Sadly the cinema, like Westminster, seems mired in a bygone age, believing that men of 60 can pull girls young enough to be their granddaughters.

Feminism has adapted to the times; which is why canny old bird Madonna linked up with Pussy Riot to reinvigorate her brand (she is the ultimate psychic vampire), to the disgust of some band members who claim her introduction to the group at a charity concert in New York undermined the original intentions of the collective, which was set up to stage illegal performances in public places.

Pussy Riot aren't punks, but subversive performance artists, and having Madonna's blessing sanitises their message.

We can argue about whether or not Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus are feminists as they claim, but both convey a strong message of women in control to their millions of fans. So why is politics such a backwater?

The people who make decisions about the big issues that affect our lives ­— from health to environment, to housing and social care — are overwhelmingly male.

You can tell me that it doesn't matter — that we need the right decisions, not ones made by a box-ticking quota system — but I will never believe you.

In every aspect of my life, I see women doing well. But when it comes to democracy, women seem unable to take strength from Beyoncé and co and find a way to destroy the smug maleocracy. Why should we have to sign up to their rules when we should be making our own?

The Independent


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"Tell me....and I wont believe you", well you do not have to. What you believe is your independent choice, but like it or not, quota systems are discriminatory and, in my opinion, meritocracy is the only correct way. So if you want a piece of the political action, I suggest you contest the election and if people want you, you can get in, other wise tough luck!! There is no excuse for incompetence. Also, we as men should start fighting for rights like child custody and fairer divorce laws. Until those are not realized, we as men should not budge and give the women an inch.