Hugo Rifkind Hugo Rifkind

Why are men now so despised? I blame Hugh Grant

I’ve always wondered about the strike-rate of men who, in that fine media phrase, ‘aren’t safe in taxis’.

I’ve always wondered about the strike-rate of men who, in that fine media phrase, ‘aren’t safe in taxis’.

I’ve always wondered about the strike-rate of men who, in that fine media phrase, ‘aren’t safe in taxis’. It must be pretty high, you’d have thought, otherwise we’d tend to hear about them before they, for example, got accused of rugby-tackling chambermaids in New York hotels. Only, if it is, that would suggest that large numbers of women are actually quite aroused at the thought of a mauling from a lusty old codger in the back of a black cab, and I’m just not sure this can be true. You know that little switch that sets the fan off? You’d keep hitting it, wouldn’t you? Probably with your knee.

It’s been a bad few weeks for the reputation of men. Dominique Strauss-Kahn doing whatever he did. Arnold Schwarzenegger, now dubbed ‘The Inseminator’. Even Hugh Grant who, in rebutting the suggestion that his bad behaviour deserved a place in newspapers, blithely declared on Newsnight that men are ‘naughty by nature’. Speaking as a man, I resent this.

Then there’s the Slut Walk. Where do we start with this? A Canadian policeman, advising a small group of students on how best to avoid being attacked by nasty men, suggested that they should ‘avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised’. Cue worldwide outrage, apparently, and actual demonstrations across the globe, in which women have marched around in bras and basques to defend their right to do so. I think I must be missing the point on this one. It seems to me that most of the anger is based around the assumption that the Canadian policeman meant his sentence to have a second half, which was ‘because if they don’t, whatever happens is their fault’.

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