Penguins Behaving Badly

What do men and doormat penguins have in common? Quite a lot, according to Bruno Phillips

We have long regarded the male penguin as a model of uxorious loyalty and sharing. Coupled with an amusing persona, this delightful creature seemingly sacrifices himself to defend the nesting site and sit on his mate’s egg to the point of starvation. She, meanwhile, after fulfilling her procreative purpose, buggers off to have a good feed with her chums.

Thanks to the freedom of information act – or more likely a raid on the archives of the Scott Antarctic Expedition by the feministas – it seems that the male Adele penguin stands convicted of rapine and necrophilia on a habitual basis. This is bad news. One of the better masculine gender war defences is to do with examples of good male behaviour in the so-called ‘animal kingdom’. Paired swans and storks come to mind. On the other hand, even in the cat family, lions are clearly male-supremacy-driven, while leopards represent pragmatic female independence. For the truly aggressive feminist, only spiders (mate, female eats mate) represent the perfect paradigm.

As in every aspect of the debate, evidence is what is selected by the protagonists. So it is probably wise to avoid species comparisons which conflict and mislead. Although lurking about must be the ghost of the culture/nurture-versus-nature discussion. Meanwhile, the ‘men are vile animals’ cause fostered by the penguin revelation has immediately been counteracted by the new French President’s involuntary but embarrassing role in an undignified tweet-based cat fight between the two most recent women in his hitherto supposedly dull and hence blameless life. Having said that, to we English (if not the French), how a man in the middle of a dispute between Segolin Royal and Valerie Trierweiler could be thought dull, is a puzzle.

Such revelations of female emotional dependence in relation to the man in their life sit ill with the concurrent protests against male dominance. It seems that Professor Lesley Yellowlees has mounted a campaign against the masculine, nay ‘macho’ domination of professional chemistry. She does this from the arguably contradictory position she holds as the President-elect of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Well ladies, at a time when Saudi women can go to gaol for driving a car, surely the paucity of women chemistry professors should not be put down entirely to the awfulness of male hegemony or chauvinism. I can see that may be true in say, snooker or darts, but surely not around the test tube?

Our feminists did not stop there this last week or so. Poor Michelle Obama has been castigated for promoting vegetable growing and her political sisters Sam Cam and Sarah Brown simply for being supportive wives. Unlike Sally Bercow who functions as an independent person in her own right, and is reprimanded for being a tart and a show-off. A fellow female (whom some allege is Katie Price) referred to her as both a Berk and a Cow; which if true is not very sisterly and definitely risible given the source.

All of this shows clearly that the radical feminist movement is in danger of a nervous breakdown as it tries to reconcile all the contradictions inherent in the imperatives of gender and the seductive but complex options of culture; which are of course harder to balance from an extreme position than from one of fairness, compromise and good humour about the human condition.

This must explain why, as I have noted before, so many women are permanently cross – none more so than too many of the female hacks who fill the columns of our left wing media with their bile. For whatever reason, it must be that they don’t enjoy being girls and having to wrestle with the contradictions intrinsic to their hormones and life in the real world. Having babies is somehow both a right and a necessary evil. It is also a chore to be got rid of as soon as possible through use of nannies and nursery school. Husbands are a disposable nuisance. It is still regrettably essential to have ones hair done and wear make-up and frocks. Appearance is regrettably more important for women than men, which is why Boris Johnson gets away with his hair and Cherie Blair never did with hers. Hence everything is men’s fault.

Curiously, in the sorry bitching that goes on about chemists and company directors, I hear little acknowledgement that it is women – Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel – who represent the two most powerful stewards of our global financial situation. But then it may be that the radical feminists see them as merely the titular representatives of continuing male power.

Nor is it much remarked that another duo of the most successful people in recent media history happen to have been women and have now left the stage. Sly Bailey (Trinity-Mirror) and Rebekah Brooks (News International), have had to bow out, we assume for reasons of performance and probity but doubtless in the feminist view, as victims of male hostility.

It isn’t very polite to question female competence. In our PC world WASP women are in the same beyond-critique and maximum-indulgence category as any other minority such as Jews, Afro-Caribbeans, Indians/Asians and Travellers or whoever and who may have a better claim on our sympathy. So we may not openly and honestly discuss issues that may well represent essential evidence in understanding our attitudes and relationships with each other.

Yet women can write and say stuff about men that would get men prosecuted if they were to utter such sentiments about women. It was therefore pleasing to learn that Doris Lessing, whilst entirely supportive of equality, refused to ally herself with feminist activism on the grounds that its activists were so hate-filled. She was saddened that the movement could not acknowledge the reality of men as good fun, interesting companions and worthwhile fellow citizens.

But radicalism has never been rational. Sadly, too many voices in feminism are filled with spite and self-loathing. They remind me of Lady Macbeth and her invocation ‘Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts/ unsex me here and fill me from the crown to the toe top full of direst cruelty!’

This helps explain why feminists are so cross about fashion models and female celebrities being slim and pretty. They dress it up as concern about anorexic teenagers but really they are just jealous. Even as I write, BBC Woman’s Hour is rabbiting on about feminist interpretations of the Bible and whether that particular holy book was written by men or was the word of God. Good grief! We’ll be going mad ourselves soon. The movement is in danger of losing its sanity as it denies its femaleness while, at the same time, gazing into its own navel.

Nothing better illustrates this than the latest complaint to preoccupy the chattering classes -and try not to laugh – which is about the dearth of young lesbian writers. Women often complain that their ‘issues’ are always seen only through the prism of their relationship to men so a desire for lesbian literature is understandable if a bit trivial in the scheme of things. Wait a minute though – it seems that what really pisses the girls off is that gay male writers have no problem in bringing their voices to our cultural party. So even the lady boys are out of the LGBT club.

As our own premier might say, ‘calm down dears, calm down…’