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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

How to achieve equality in the arts when one of its advocates behaves like this...

26 replies

Bidisha · 07/03/2012 00:25

Something to make you smile. Ideals of equality are peerless perfection - but as for man, he is just mortal....

OP posts:
Sanjeev · 07/03/2012 09:37

I am a not sure if I get this. Is she upset because he invited her to a show?

MooncupGoddess · 07/03/2012 09:55

Just in case you really don't get this, Sanjeev, the specific point is that this women-friendly cultural supremo spent ages telling her all about his relationship, quasi-stepdaughter, etc, then sent her a late night text, the phrasing and timing of which made it clear that the invitation was not just to a show.

The wider point (and one with which I heartily concur) is that women should be able to function in a professional arena without being pursued as potential sex objects... which can put those with less self-aplomb than Bidisha in a very unpleasant, awkward and potentially professionally damaging situation.

PS Hello Bidisha. You are ace.

Sanjeev · 07/03/2012 10:11

I asked in case there was something further down the article that I missed. He said 'I enjoyed your company. Would you like to go to a show sometime?' She said, 'No, there is no need. Have a nice year.' He said, 'You too'. And that was the end of the exchange. No follow up, no pestering.

Isn't the rest rather a lot of supposition on her part (and yours)? Second-guessing his motives?

He could be what we gentlemen refer to as a fanny-rat. He might not be able to keep it in his trousers. He may have displayed a disposition to cheat many times before. But the writer appears not to know him, nor does she suggest that she has knowledge of his behaviour elsewhere (I might have missed that bit). What if it was an innocent request for friendship?

Assuming he is intending to have sex with her, I would also point out that this behaviour is not a male-only thing. Is it the intent of her article to say that it is, or merely that this behaviour is common amongst men in the circles she moves in, and she is sick of it?

StewieGriffinsMom · 07/03/2012 10:15

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NotYetEverything · 07/03/2012 10:18

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Sanjeev · 07/03/2012 10:24

I think you must be right. I can suspect him of wanting to have sex with her, but I cannot prove it.

Dworkin · 07/03/2012 10:37

I think this is an excellent blog post too. I cannot wait for the day when you out these sheeeitts.

It does seem that in Kabul they have more respect for women.

Nyac · 07/03/2012 11:02

I am also very excited about the publication of your list of sleazebags Bidisha.

Thank you for sharing your blog here. I'm such a fan of your writing.

Sanjeev · 07/03/2012 11:05


Dworkin · 07/03/2012 11:24

I suggest you read the blog post; if you've already read it, then you need to re-read. That bit I paraphrased was meant to be sarcastic (with a hidden nugget of truth in it).

Sanjeev · 07/03/2012 11:39

Dworkin, I did read it. My take on it was that she was outraged by the one-off behaviour of a man she had just met once. I took the approach that if adultery, or the attempt thereof, was illegal, would her evidence stand up in court? Perhaps this is the reason that the other men in her article have not been named and shamed.

Also, imagine if I had said, 'My god, I have had enough, I am off to Kabul where they know how to treat their women'. Can you imagine the response? Then I come back with 'I was joking', and the gates of Hell would open......

VictorGollancz · 07/03/2012 11:42

Ah, the old 'legal' justification.

Sanjeev, why should women's negotiation of work environments need to be protected by law and heard in the courts? Why do we need to apply legal discourse to a woman going to work?

Doesn't say much for the behaviour of men, does it?

ps - Hi Bidisha: excellent blog post.

Sanjeev · 07/03/2012 11:51

Because she is accusing him of something based upon what he might do, perhaps? I raised the original point that there is a lot of supposition in her blog. What else is there?

Also, what was the 'nugget of truth' in the comment about Kabul having more respect for women?

VictorGollancz · 07/03/2012 11:56

No. Bidisha is calling him out for what he did do. Which was blither on about his (weirdly sexual, imprecise, odd) connections with other women, take Bidisha's business card (clue's in the name, folks!) and use it to ask her out.

He deserves to be called out. That ain't what business cards are there for.

Sanjeev · 07/03/2012 12:03

I thought she worked in 'the Arts' (strange phrase!). She is a patron of at least one performing arts network. If he had asked her to attend an engineering conference, I would be more suspicious. Was this not one Arts person asking another Arts person to an Art form?

As I said (and has been ignored), what is his history? It seems pretty quick to judge in here.

MooncupGoddess · 07/03/2012 12:09

Hi Sanjeev,

As I said in my post above (which you have ignored), 'sent her a late night text, the phrasing and timing of which made it clear that the invitation was not just to a show'.

The text was sent at 10.30pm and included the revealing words 'Not sure how to go about this but'. If he had sent her an email saying 'Great to meet you yesterday, I'd love to discuss X project further, do you fancy a coffee to talk about it?' that would be a very different thing.

Dworkin · 07/03/2012 12:17

Hi Sanjeev,

Clearly outlined in the blog post and in posts above, Bidisha was rightly annoyed that Sir Constance texted her at 10.30pm with an invitation to go out. She had never met him before, didn't flirt with him. She was working.

Sir Constance portrays himself as a huge respector of women, and yet he does this. What with that and other instances of men who are unfaithful that Bidisha links to and hopefully will out one day, Bidisha writes sarcastically that she'll go and live in Kabul. Well the hidden nugget of truth is that women are no more respected in Kabul than they are here.

Now I've explained it as clearly as I can and I'm no longer engaging with you.

TunipTheVegemal · 07/03/2012 12:18

with a kiss at the end of his message.

Do you usually do that in your messages to female business colleagues Sanjeev? Bet you don't! And if you did it by accident (I know people who have....) wouldn't you be all mortified and worried about being misunderstood?

Sanjeev · 07/03/2012 12:35

Tunip, I missed the X - my mistake.

Dworkin - missing you already X

MediumOrchid · 07/03/2012 12:57

Hmm - I'm not sure what I think about this. Sure, the manner of his invitation was not great (text at 10.30pm), and the situation with this other woman also doesn't put him in a great light (if I'm reading that correctly), but other than that, is there anything wrong with a man contacting a woman he's met at a professional event and asking her out? It there anything inherently sexist in someone doing that?

Sanjeev · 07/03/2012 13:24

Orchid, I think the point is his double standards. Banging on about his partner, his daughter etc., and then asking her out (his likely intention, but not certain). I wonder though, what are we meant to deduce from the article, other than that one man is a potential cheater?

VictorGollancz · 07/03/2012 13:35

Neatly eliding the workplace element there.

I work 'in the arts' (ish). I chuck out my contact details like confetti, looking for work, writing opportunities, etc. I do not expect to be contacted and asked out as a result. That is not why those details were given.

VictorGollancz · 07/03/2012 13:37

I can think of plenty of men who have my contact details. They are heads of department, editors of journals: people in positions of power.

I shouldn't have to negotiate the minefield of turning down a proposition. Urgh. Quite apart from anything else, what a headache. I'd rather spend my mental time on something else, cheers.

Dworkin · 07/03/2012 13:42

The problem is Medium, some women who are propositioned by men they have met in the work place, usually those with apparent greater standing and experience, fear that to turn down the proposition might be detrimental to their work.

Bidisha has no qualms in knocking this, he obviously picked the wrong woman, but her blog post would resonate with others, though not me thankfully.

TeiTetua · 07/03/2012 15:54

I'm bemused by the way that Bidisha started her article with a lengthy description of how she was so hideous, at the time and in general, that no man ought to have any interest in her. She showed a picture to prove it, in which I thought she looked fairly ordinary, given that she was a bit dressed up in order to appear in a public panel discussion. No makeup, how repulsive! Yet this bloke made a pass at her, sort of. Maybe it shows that he's a cut above the shallow herd, or does it show even more clearly that he's got no scruples at all? This part made me wonder if she regards herself as Bidisha The Awful, and he's at fault for not having heard of her and kept his distance accordingly.

But, talking about his soon-to-be ex (??) and his good relationship with the near-ex's daughter, then making the pass--that's pretty low. Maybe there are psychological reasons for why he acted that way. A kind of reassurance that he's still got the nerve to ask a woman out?

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