SOME men, when they have daughters, have a bit of a Damascene moment.
Even the most unreconstructed man, once he starts to see the world through the eyes of his daughters, is more inclined to spot and challenge sexist assumptions when he comes across them.
Rishi Sunak thanking women for doing home-schooling reinforces the most dated of stereotypes
This does not appear to be the case with Rishi Sunak, despite him having two daughters himself.
This week, the Chancellor took time to thank women everywhere, “for doing the enormously difficult job of juggling childcare and work at this tricky time”.
No doubt he thought working mums would be thrilled to be thanked.
But the backlash on social media started as soon as he had finished the sentence, angry that his response reinforced that most dated of stereotypes: That childcare is women’s work.
Sunak’s defence, in the face of accusations of sexism, was that he was responding to a question that focused on mothers.
But why did his answer not immediately focus on fathers too?
The poster showed a woman cleaning, handling childcare and doing the home-schooling, before relaxing in a man’s arms on the sofa
Thanking only mothers does a huge disservice to the many men out there who are pulling their weight at home during this unbelievably challenging time.
And not thanking fathers for doing their share reinforces the notion that childcare, including home-schooling, is “women’s work”.
As a result, the men who leave it to the women in their lives feel justified in doing so.
There have always been men who don’t think the domestic realm is their concern.
But since the first lockdown struck, many women who previously enjoyed equality have been wondering if they have been catapulted back into the 1950s.
It was exactly this concept that was being depicted in the Government’s “stay at home” poster, which — thankfully for them — was withdrawn this week.
It showed a woman cleaning, handling childcare and doing the home-schooling, before relaxing in a man’s arms on the sofa (her reward for being a good housewife). It’s so out of date.
Sunak failing to question the notion that home-schooling and childcare is something that only mothers do, does nothing to help repair the reputation of this Government’s view of women.
Forget posters — throughout this pandemic there has been a dearth of women in Boris Johnson’s inner circle.
The people who have created the policies that have made huge impacts on all of our lives have been mainly men.
If there were more women in prominent positions in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, the assumption that home-schooling is primarily the responsibility of women would not be so prevalent.
Normalising the notion that childcare belongs to women makes it easier for men to justify opting out.
But as everyone is stuck at home why shouldn’t the chores be split, especially if both parents are working? (And in April to June 2019, three out of four mothers with dependent children WERE working).
But even for those parents who are not working, it takes patience to home-school, and I’m sure everyone’s is running out.
Spreading the load makes it bearable. Instead, the domestic burden has fallen on women during the pandemic.
And we also know the crisis is hitting low-paid mums and single parents the hardest.
I would love to end this with some solutions. I don’t have many. But it starts with the Government not reinforcing old-fashioned misconceptions that housework and childcare are women’s work.
They are not. They are parents’ work. And I’d like to remind women who are doing more than their fair share that it is OK to delegate.
Write a rota, teach your children to cook and clean, expect equality and let things go a bit if need be.
But. above all, please don’t worry too much. It’s the pressure that kills you, not the home-schooling.
I’M disappointed with Ulrika Jonsson for her remarks that Liz Hurley’s topless Instagram snaps are “wholly inappropriate”.
Ulrika, who is 53, said it “doesn’t sit well with her” that the 55-year-old actress would enlist family members such as her mother to take the images, as it feels like “crossing a boundary”.
I’m disappointed with Ulrika Jonsson for her remarks that Liz Hurley’s topless Instagram snaps are ‘wholly inappropriate’
This came hot on the heels of others criticising Liz’s social media snaps – which are entirely in keeping with everything she has ever done – by suggesting she “put clothes on”.
Sorry, but in an age when women of all shapes and sizes routinely gain approval and followers (not to mention huge incomes in their role as influencers) by gadding about scantily clad on social media, why is everyone suddenly attacking Liz?
From back in the day when she first appeared in two scraps of fabric held together only by safety pins, flaunting her many and various hugely impressive assets is just what she does.
Not only that, but that’s why the nation loves her, isn’t it? Well, not any more, it seems.
I think Liz Hurley looks stunning but, regardless of that, she has every right to pose in any way she wants
I’m sure Ulrika would hate to think she was being ageist, but to me that’s what this looks like.
I find it slightly bemusing that Liz should get so much stick for looking so fab – and clearly feeling so good – at 55.
Ulrika seems to have forgotten that one of the central tenets of feminism is that women of any age can wear what they want and do what they want, when they want and at any age they want.
I think she looks stunning but, regardless of that, she has every right to pose in any way she wants.
I WAS not surprised to see how happy Jennifer Aniston looked after getting new highlights in her hair last week. She was positively glowing.
Pictured with her hair stylist Chris McMillan, she looked like the cat that got the cream.
Jennifer Aniston looks as fit and healthy as someone a decade younger
Which, let’s face it, is what any kind of hairdressing experience would make you feel these days.
Jen will turn 52 on February 11, but she looks as fit and healthy as someone a decade younger.
I don’t know what I am more jealous of – how great she looks, or the fact she has seen a hairdresser.
My hair is so long, I look like a demented Rapunzel.
And despite using a £7.99 home hair dye kit, my roots are still grey.
Hol lot of nonsense
I KNOW being stuck at home and not being able to go to the pub, cinema, restaurant or to see friends means we all have more time on our hands than we are used to.
But surely there are better things to do with that time than call Ofcom to complain about Holly Willoughby’s dresses on Dancing On Ice.
The first show saw 341 complaints, and rising, with viewers “shocked” by her “inappropriate” plunging gown.
Really? I fail to see the problem. In fact, I think she looks beautiful.
There is nothing wrong with what she is wearing. And she is certainly cheering up my husband’s Sunday nights.
PS: We are loving the show and my tip for the winner is Rebekah Vardy.
A TEAM of doctors from the World Health Organisation this week set out in the city of Wuhan on a fact-finding mission to trace the origins of coronavirus.
Their aim is to establish how the virus crossed from animals to humans.
If it started by people eating bats then we need to ban the eating of wild animals worldwide – and do it now
But it remains to be seen where they will be allowed to go and who they will be allowed to speak to.
This is a hugely important trip.
Until we know where and how this virus started, we will not likely be able to stop it happening again.
If it started in a lab, as has been widely speculated, then China has a lot to answer for and should compensate the world for their catastrophic actions, which would amount to mass murder or manslaughter at least.
And if it started by people eating bats then we need to ban the eating of wild animals worldwide – and do it now.
Either way, we need to know more to prevent other pandemics from happening in the future.
He needs help, no more ops
BODY modification fanatic Anthony Loffredo has covered himself in tattoos.
And the 32-year-old has confessed that since having his tongue split and his top lip and nose removed, he struggles – perhaps unsurprisingly – to speak.
The Frenchman, left before his nose op, who documents his dramatic physical alterations for his 227,000 followers on Instagram, said he had his nose removed in Spain as the procedure is illegal in France.
And so it should be. Whichever doctor is performing these “surgeries” should have their licence revoked and be struck off.
He now wants to have his arms, legs, fingers and the back of his head altered.
He needs help, not another operation.
AND so, it is official: Five more weeks of lockdown and home-schooling.
After the past 11 months, it is no surprise Boris Johnson said it would take schoolchildren a year to catch up.
Schools will need to work out where to put the kids who should start school in September
Not only that, but the mental health impact of this past year will probably last far longer.
With all that in mind, perhaps the increasingly persistent calls by several head teachers to allow pupils to redo the school year they have missed is not as crazy as it might have sounded at first.
In fact, surely it would be a relief for all concerned and a sensible solution, for those that need it.
There are just two things.
First, schools will need to work out where to put the kids who should start school in September. And second, universities won’t have any students for a year.
But given there were more young people than university places last year – due to so many exceeding their expected A-level results – perhaps that won’t be such a problem after all.
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