Julie Burchill

Women are becoming more and more infantile. It’s time to grow up, girls

Women are becoming more and more infantile. It's time to grow up, girls
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I consider myself such an extreme feminist that I make Germaine Greer look like Greer Garson. (Ask your gran.) But this doesn’t mean that I have to believe women are superior to men in every way. Yes, we violently attack, sexually assault and feel the need to commit murder far less than they do. But when it comes to the little things, there are many ways in which manning up would make women better. Maturity is one of them.

We are told from the get-go that females ‘mature’ far earlier than males. It’s weird that feminists go along with this, because it’s one of the main justifications for adult men having sex with female children: ‘She looked at least 18, your honour!’ In their twenties, women will often complain that their male contemporaries are not ‘mature’ simply because they feel no obsessive need to mate and procreate. 

But in their thirties, many women begin to regress. They may conceive a crazed passion for fashion — i.e dressing up, like little girls — and wear T-shirts saying ‘I see shoes.’ (Imagine if men wore T-shirts saying ‘I see ties.’) In their forties, they become possessive about female friends, as we did back in the playground. Men, for all their faults, just don’t do this — when I asked my husband whether he’d be upset if one of his mates went out for a drink with another mate and not him, his incomprehension was wonderful to behold. I have experienced jealousy, possessiveness, verbal abuse and violence from men, but I have also experienced jealousy, possessiveness, verbal abuse and violence from women, usually when I failed to respond to their clammy advances, which started out as innocent ‘girly catch-ups’, the dirty clowns. 

Of course the former was worse — being beaten up by a man is far scarier than having a bitch fight with someone of your own strength, and usually comes without the advantage of earring-pulling. But the sisterhood warns you about the first, whereas the second is swept under the carpet. Women like to mock men’s friendships, saying that they’re shallow and mostly about football and video games, but is that so bad? It certainly seems to contribute to them not getting their knickers in a childish twist over their mates.

Take these ‘adult’ colouring-in books which are flying off the shelves like hot cakes. Who is buying them? Clue: their names are not Tom, Dick or Harry. No, it’s our old chum the Weedy Needy Woman — the one who finds it hard to get sexually excited unless she’s doing the deed on a bitsy-ditsy Cath Kidston coverlet. Creepily, the latest to hit the market is The Art Of Love (Mills & Boon, £9.99), which consists of 40 old Mills & Boon covers to colour in in the privacy of one’s own padded cell — sorry, home. Talk about money for old dope. It’s a sad reflection of the gulf between the sexes that for men adult books generally means pornography while for women it refers to something the happily married among us left behind in childhood. Frankly, if I had to choose, I’d pick the porn.

This juxtaposition of adult appetites and childish naivety has many unpleasing connotations, making one think of those unfortunate tots wearing ‘My mum read Fifty Shades of Grey’ rompers, or the prostitute who has to clear a chorus line of leering soft toys from her bed before servicing her punter. And like a lot of other modern female foibles — such as having such an extreme scented candle habit that it drives them into debt — it’s part of the increasingly annoying rise of nurse-the-screens self-coddling, which finds adult women in fruitless search of ‘stillness’ and ‘mindfulness’ rather than grabbing their one life with both hands and sucking all the juice out in one big noisy joyous slurp. 

The modern miss sees her lot as a non-stop cycle of stress, whereas of course western women have never had it so easy. In the olden days, lady life was a vale of tears — you’d start off as a child labourer before becoming a teenage bride and dying in childbirth at 30. It’s sinister for western women to fetishise childhood when one considers that one of the first acts upon gaining power of the Islamofascist state sweeping mercilessly towards Europe is the removal of women’s rights and their reduction to the status of children.

Playfulness in an adult is a lovely thing, but rather like sex, it flourishes only when it’s free; the minute commerce raises its ugly head, you’re not being playful, you’re being a one-born-every-minute baby. Rest assured that if I ever find my inner child nagging me for an adult colouring book, I’ll be searching for my inner adoption agency PDQ. 

We all know now that only the saddest sort of man expresses his masculinity by treating women as children. Let’s acknowledge, also, that many women today exist in a state of pathetic infantilism, and attempt to deflect detection by mocking men as immature.