Decades of feminism have come down to this?

KnickersThat obscene show called the Rio Olympics is upon us, marred even further by the travesty of athletes representing their countries.

Instead they ought to represent, and be sponsored by, major pharmaceutical companies. One can see, say, the Pfizer eight, their eyes driven out of orbits by their sponsor’s fine products, outpacing Glaxo, whose research team didn’t get the cocktail just right.

But everyone has got tired of the drugs issue and, if truth be told, of the Games in general. Fatigue had set in before the first steroid junkie crossed the finish line.

There are more serious issues to concentrate on, such as did she or didn’t she? Did the BBC presenter Helen Skelton wear knickers under her skimpy dress, or did she not? Certain camera angles suggested she didn’t, and I won’t try to scandalise you with a description of what the lens espied.

Nothing, not even Michael Phelps winning Olympic golds, has generated as much excitement as Helen’s knickers or the absence thereof. Did she or didn’t she? The columnist Katie Hopkins, whose heart is generally in the right place and whose writing is usually entertaining, doesn’t think it matters:

“Who cares if she’s wearing knickers, no knickers, or her knickers on her head? She’s doing a brilliant job and making Rio vaguely watchable.” One wonders why stage such tasteless extravaganzas if the only thing that makes them even vaguely watchable is a pretty girl who disdains underwear.

Miss Hopkins seems to believe that the only possible alternative to the knickerless wonder is the tall, masculine lesbian Clare Balding, who used to present Olympics in the past. As a hypothetical possibility, she also suggests that few of us would prefer watching a burqa-clad Muslim woman who, for all we know, might very well be a man.

However, I’d suggest that there’s something in between a knickerless girl and a Muslim wearing a burqa or Clare Balding, who looks like she might be wearing a jockstrap. That intermediate stage would include good-looking women (my favourite kind) wearing clothes that offend neither the occasion nor decency.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not waxing prudish, and some of the best moments of my life have been spent in the company of knickerless women. I’m simply satisfied that my lifelong observation has been vindicated yet again: all perverse modern campaigns, especially those countenanced by the state, produce the opposite results to those intended.

A war on drugs increases drug use. A war on poverty makes more people poor. An attempt to redistribute wealth destroys it. An overhaul of education promotes ignorance. And the feminists’ frantic efforts to masculinise women only lead to social disasters and, what’s worse, aesthetic catastrophes.

Women have always flaunted their bodies, much to the delight of those of us who have an eye for certain feminine attractions. Just read the descriptions of ballroom dresses at, say, the court of Louis XIV of France or Alexander I of Russia and you’ll find they left little to the imagination.

Even in Victorian England women didn’t cover themselves head to toe at parties, balls or wherever semi-nudity was appropriate. Their secondary, though not yet primary, sexual characteristics were there for all to admire when the occasion allowed it.

During the first half of the twentieth century, with the male population drastically reduced, women were massively drawn into the workforce, with mixed results. Juggling a job and children, for example, was hard, and one of those balls often hit the floor. When that was children, they often grew up brutalised and ignorant, with dire social consequences.

But, this side of Hollywood, women were typically still trying to get ahead on the basis of their competence, not bountiful exposed flesh. As a rule, their colleagues had to wait until the Christmas party to catch sight of the sales manager’s shoulders and upper breasts.

However, feminism reaching hysterical pitch turned out to be the kind of action that produces an equal and opposite reaction. Women, who were supposed to be men’s equals in every respect, started to rely more on their primordial wiles to advance their careers.

Party clothes began to be worn to work, and women started popping every which way out of their work dresses, often worn with no other garments underneath. I remember, for example, working with a pretty girl who was an ardent, vociferous feminist.

In spite of her heartfelt convictions, whenever she needed a special favour she’d bend over my desk, advertising the absence of a bra under her low-cut blouse. “Please, Alex,” she’d pout, “do it for me”. (I’m man enough to admit I always did.)

Whenever I’m abroad, I watch morning news on Sky. Amazingly, all female guests there whose locomotion isn’t assisted by a Zimmer frame inevitably wear décolleté dresses or blouses – at eight in the morning.

Ladies, this was evening dress in the days when you didn’t claim being equal, or even identical, to men. Don’t you realise that every square inch of flesh you expose vindicates the prejudices of antediluvian fossils like me?

There’s a time and place for everything, especially bad taste and vulgarity. These, I’d suggest, are defining characteristics of our time. And few things are more vulgar than feminism dialectically coexisting with exhibitionism.







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