Rod Liddle

What I did on International Women’s Day

I tried to think of something I had done to help advance the cause but came up short, sad to say

What I did on International Women’s Day
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It was International Women’s Day on Wednesday of this last week. The Guardian had enjoined its readers to send in reports of what they had done to advance the struggle, or how they had been in some way oppressed by men — perhaps raped, or talked to as if they were stupid, or looked at a little coldly when they squirted breast milk over fellow diners at The Ivy. I tried to think of something I had done for the cause but came up short, sad to say.

So instead I tried to show solidarity by spending a substantial amount of International Women’s Day looking at a photograph of Emma Watson’s tits. The actress is a radical feminist campaigner and has even been given some kind of role at the United Nations to advance the cause of female liberation across the globe. Presumably as part of this drive to stop men regarding women as sex objects, Emma got her tits out for Vanity Fair.

I have to say, I heartily approve. They seemed to me attractive and exquisitely English breasts. Far superior, in my opinion, to the bulbous, vulgar, artificially enhanced cantaloupes which adhere to many American actresses — especially those who appear in films towards the lower end of the market. Emma’s were modest, but not too modest. They were not in your face, but at the same time nor were they invisible. They eschewed the rather plastic perkiness which you see in many women’s breasts these days: in short, they were self-possessed and confident breasts, neither thrusting nor yet cowed.

I suspect that, had he studied them with the same diligence I studied them, even Professor Dumbledore would have got a bit excited. Except that we learned by about book nine of the Harry Potter series — Harry Potter and the Goblet of Irredeemable Bollocks or whatever it was called — that Dumbledore batted for the other side, so perhaps he wouldn’t. The poor professor had his new sexual orientation stapled on to him by his creator J.K. Rowling when it was politically expedient to do so, and henceforth one imagined him lusting after Severus Snape or maybe some of the more amenable house elves. Anyway, well done to Emma, and congratulations on a fine pair of baps.

She has been criticised for undermining the cause by this latest photoshoot, but I do not see any contradiction, even if in the past she has said things about other female performers — such as Beyoncé — appearing in states of undress. Quite the contrary: I think the feminist cause would be advanced enormously if Emma went further and decided to show us all what my 11-year-old daughter refers to as her ‘front bottom’. There are plenty of publications or websites which would be happy to accommodate her in this, many of them emanating from Russia.

Having exhausted myself with Emma’s tits, I metaphorically hosed myself down by studying an article written by a man called Bill Giles, who was once very familiar to us as a weatherman on the telly. Bill existed in a time before that law got passed which said that every weatherman has to be gay and should talk to us as if we were five-year-old children. He turned up every evening looking kind of normal, and told us if it was going to rain tomorrow, or maybe if it was going to be a bit windy. He did not tell us that we ought to root out our Wellington boots or galoshes, or instruct us to stay at home or –during periods of pleasant sunshine — insist that if we dared venture outside at any point without adequate covering then the melanomas would multiply on our skin and eventually metastatise throughout our bodies, leading to painful chemotherapy followed by certain death. He did not tell us not to go to work or not to use the roads. He did not try to scare the shit out of us by insisting that Storm Hermione was on its way and millions of people would die, when all that happened later was that a mild breeze slightly discombobulated some but not all of our garden ornaments. Bill came from a better, more intelligent time. Bill and that man with the lugubrious moustache, Michael Fish. And that other one called John Kettley, who had a silly song written about him which reached number 21 in the charts in 1988.

Giles wrote a piece which was effectively telling the weathermen to calm down a bit. It is absolutely true that they have turned into a legion of immaculately turned-out bed-wetters, pirouetting beside their little maps and shrieking at us that the world is about to end. There are too many severe weather warnings, was the gist of Bill’s argument. To the extent that really severe warnings go unheeded, because we have become inured to them all and so take no notice whatsoever.

This seems to me so obvious as to be virtually incontestable; even mediocre weather these days requires some sort of fatuous advice from the perennially panicked gobs-on-sticks. Perhaps it is a reaction to Michael Fish’s famous failure to predict the Great Storm of 1987, which was a genuine extreme weather event. Or perhaps it is the Met Office attempting to shoehorn its climate-change ideology into every evening forecast: the weather is getting more and more extreme, a consequence of global warming. Either way, I wish they’d shut up. Giles is right. The weather forecasts have become a nightly hissy fit, an injunction to panic.