Magazine article The Spectator

Battle of the Sexes

Magazine article The Spectator

Battle of the Sexes

Article excerpt


Battle of the sexes

The programme I'm enjoying most at the moment is The Apprentice (BBC2, Wednesday), in which teams of men and women, all of whom have supposedly resigned from their high-powered jobs for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, take part in various business-related competitions and are whittled down week by week until there is only one survivor. His prize is a highly paid job with Sir Alan Sugar. (In the American version it was Donald Trump.)

I say 'His' because on current evidence it's almost certainly going to be a bloke who wins. If you'd seen the boys and girls in action during the flower-selling episode, you'd know exactly what I mean. Even my wife, who thinks of herself as a bit of a feminist, was taken aback by the girl team's astounding crapness.

Their task was to buy 500 quid's worth of flowers from New Covent Garden market and sell them for the maximum profit by that evening. While the victorious boy team made a few quick decisions and got on with it, the girl one spent ages just bickering, vacillating and trying to make up their minds what each other's roles were. They couldn't even decide on a team name. While the blokes took all of ten minutes to choose 'Impact', before heading off for a drink, the girls floundered for hours over whether 'Daisypetalbarbie' (I forget the exact names) was maybe too girlie and Ocean' too broad and wet. Twenty weeks later, they settled on the monumentally rubbish 'First Forte'.

'Heh heh heh,' I sniggered as I dug my wife in the ribs. 'That's your sex, that is.' But I didn't really take it as proof that all girls are terminally useless. Au contraire, I think chicks are mostly way better than us - hardier, more intelligent, more sensitive, and great for a shag. What I do think the experiment illustrated quite damningly, though, is just how comprehensively modern woman has been shafted by the idiotic PC notion - cf. the recent Harvard controversy - that the only difference between men and women are the roles ascribed to them by a patriarchal society.

Whenever the women remembered to be themselves, they did brilliantly - flirting, charming, scheming, intuiting, as girls will. Where it all fell apart was when they started behaving as PC culture has told them they must behave if they hope to get on in a man's world: being assertive, speaking their mind about how patronised they feel when their colleagues are being assertive, laboriously defining their objectives, and so on. Chaps, on the whole, don't feel the need to articulate any of this stuff. They know business is competitive, that some will be leaders, others followers, that it's a good idea to volunteer your services when you have a talent particularly germane to the task in hand. …

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