Monday, 14 November 2016

Super Loon



Like many in the world, I've found it hard to see a bright future with Mr President-Elect waiting in the wings. The romantic-comedy of Mr O's two terms is set to transform into a full blown tragedy: lunacy fuelling tyranny.

The task of bringing up two little boys into this new world suddenly got a lot harder. The democratic election of a self-professed molester has legitimised the sexism that we are fighting against.  The teaching of respecting women and men equally has always been necessary, but the weight on our shoulders just got a lot heavier.  I talked at length to both boys about the importance of gender equality, fair pay and how to be a true gentleman in all situations. At only two years old and five months young, I'm not sure how much they took in. But even without my guidance, my toddler already knows that his Duplo granny can drive the Duplo tractor just as well as the male farmer figure that came with it; the little Duplo girl who accompanied the gardening set can also fix the train just as well as the cap-wearing boy on the picture. When giving out pretend tea and food to his various soft toy picnic guests, all get an equal share of whatever imaginary delight is on offer.

Our boys may well see their Papa leave for work every weekday, but they also see him making morning cups of tea for the family, changing nappies at the weekend, cooking dinner when he can and folding the laundry.  They will also see their mum building intricate railway tracks, bowling a cricket ball and attempting keep-me-ups in the garden.

We should thank BBC's CBeebies for challenging our traditional expectations of gendered roles. Nina, the young female scientist, is the face of experiments, explosions and gadgets: a refreshing change to the bespectacled older white gentleman. In Andy's Dinosaur Adventure, Andy is the  young enthusiastic museum worker who is apprentice to Hattie, the older female dinosaur expert, a revered Doctor in Paleontology and courageous global fossil hunter.  Footy Pups is hosted by the talented star of  English women's football, Rachel Yankey OBE.  The Pirate Captain on the popular Swashbuckle game show is also female, a welcome alternative to the tired and worn out image of the Doctor Who- like relationship of the experienced and educated older male figure to a young, usually very attractive, female side-kick. Even Shakespeare had already started to challenge these gender roles with strong female powers on the stage: Titania, Olivia, Lady Macbeth as well as the historical Cleopatra and Elizabeth I, all with their younger respectful male servants. It's a shame that the Miss Universe-owning Business Tycoon and next US President seems oblivious to the worth of women beyond his own carnal satisfaction.

Pro-Trump women on a discussion panel on Radio 4's Women's Hour were asked whether they'd allow their daughters to work in Trump's office.  Their answers were resoundingly in favour of the idea, impervious to his proven track record, that makes a woman's worth limited to her attractiveness.  And some men would learn that that is acceptable, too. Calling women names like "pig, dog, slob, disgusting animal" would become commonplace, instructing other men on how to molest and over-power women and commenting on little girls' sex appeal will no longer be 'just' abhorrent "locker room banter" but discourse in the Oval Office.

Perhaps it's not so surprising that such political madness and lunatic Trump policies have coincided with the passage of the supermoon, the closest the moon has been to the earth since January 1948, the month of Mahatma Ghandi's assassination. The lunar effect on human and animal behaviour has long been tracked and analysed; law and enforcement report a rise in crime during a full moon and we all  know about werewolves.  I also find myself transfixed by the cratered face of the moon, periodically looking up to chart its rise from the ground to its zenith. My eldest stares out of the window and then bounces wildly on the bed, somersaulting and shouting "da moooooon".* Our baby's face turns to the warm glow of the east as the dusk sky darkens before bath time.

There's nothing like an enormous moon to bring you back down to earth.  The mighty moon has seen many triumph and fail, witnessed the creation and extinction of different species and is powerful enough to dictate the tides and correlate with the fertility cycles of womankind. Sitting aloft in his tower, Mr PEOTUS may well be in a commanding position of tyranny but he, like all of us, is a nobody in the eyes of the moon.  And if that isn't comfort enough, just know that the only trump that our toddler cares about is the funny sound and stinky smell that parps out of his bottom.



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