The only surprising thing about the goings on at the Presidents Club dinner is the surprise of our media commentariat that such things could happen. How is it that so many well-heeled men at a charity gala be such terrible people, with such awful attitudes towards women? Either they are pretending they don’t know that this goes on in every walk of life where men hold positions of power or they are very, very stupid people.
The sort of people at this event were very wealthy, very powerful men. The way very powerful men often treat women should be a national scandal without needing an undercover reporter from the Financial Times (of all news organs) to show it to us. These are the people that decide on promotions, on board membership, council and senate bodies and such. They are happy with their boys clubs and will do what they can to maintain them. They see women as beneath them, the see people poorer than them as beneath them and they see society as beneath them.
What is not acknowledged and won’t be anywhere in the post-mortem of these events, played out in the outrage-by-numbers method at which our media excels, is that our society is built to ensure that people such as this become the power-brokers, the decision makers and ultimately our rulers. Only a system such as capitalism with its contradictions and selfishness at its heart can promote sociopaths to positions of supremacy. Men like this are misogynists to start with and at no stage during their progress up the greasy pole of influence does anyone pick them up on their behaviours; quite the contrary they are rewarded for their bigotry, their sexism and their egocentricity. They are seen as go getters; managers who take no prisoners, natural power brokers rather than the borderline criminals they actually are, and always have been. The dominance they acquire along the way only emphasises to them that their behaviours are not just OK, but expected within the communities they move and the philosophical paradigm they inhabit.
Another aspect of the usual trajectory of a story such as this is that there is the event, the rage and opprobrium, followed by the reactionary kick-back from the usual suspects who will defend anything that “has always been like that” as something that shouldn’t change. These people would be the same people a hundred and fifty years ago defending child labour as something that “had always been”, that would have defended slavery 200 years ago as “something that had always been” that would defend male only property owning suffrage not that long ago at all, and all the better if the person you can get to write this garbage is a woman; the highest paid women in journalism are those that are willing to be hired to shame other women, who live under the mantra: the pen is mightier than the whore! Even Germaine Greer can pipe up and victim shame; Greer can be summed up as a person who adores her narrow, single strand of feminism but at the same time seems to hate all women. Why is it the case that women-shaming women are the best paid female journalists? Because newspapers are owned by the type of people who go to these “gentlemen’s parties”; and the hill they choose to die on is anything remotely right-wing.
Quite how defending sexual assault became an issue for the right to tie its colours to is beyond me but it seems to be that anything remotely progressive needs to be attacked from the right, no matter how ludicrous a position it is. Perhaps it’s that the most obscene elements in a society; the knuckle dragging openly racist violent scumbag is no longer something that carries the requisite shame it once did, so it goes with sexists. As the atrocities of World War Two drift out of living memory the caverns open and the same goblins appear, with the same old politics of dominance and social Darwinism turned up to 11. It comes from the top; Britain First wouldn’t have the following they did if it weren’t for the successes of UKIP, the KKK wouldn’t be in the ascendency in the US were it not for Trump, and parties like this wouldn’t be tolerated if year after year misogynists weren’t thrust into positions of national and international importance; everything from “Grab ‘em by the pussy” to David Cameron’s “Calm down dear” gives extra room to manoeuvre for the disgusting, slobbering suited feral rich, who if they had done the same thing in a working men’s club would either have been punched or arrested and placed on the sex offenders register.
Outside of a reform of capitalism, or indeed a collapse; unlikely since the ruling class will prop it up with every piece of rusting austere scaffolding available, this all comes down to education. No matter the wrath and indignation that comes from the Daily Mail and their ilk, boys at a young age have to be taught feminism, and have to be taught how to behave around women; because generation after generation of women hating misogynists are being shot out of our educational establishments and then welcomed into boardrooms and directorships because the previous generation reproduces itself, not as tragedy or farce but as a reinforcement of regressive dominion. It’s not good enough. Women deserve better, society deserves better.