I like LBC. LBC is a long-running talk radio station with a politically diverse set of presenters, engaging in lively debate with a healthy level of audience participation.
But, for some reason, yesterday at 6pm they decided to let Rachel Johnson on for an hour of cringe to pose the question as to whether the coronavirus pandemic has hit women more?
Now, there is an element of truth in this. If you believe that men and women have differences, then that means that men and women will also sometimes have different challenges to deal with in life. A recent article claims that female academics are not submitting papers at the rate they were because of childcare responsibilities.
But then, the well has to be poisoned when someone like Rachel Johnson writes an ill-received article in the Daily Mail a few days ago, accusing men of “milking” the lockdown. Because, you see, during this crisis, women are only to be empathised with, and men are only to be criticised.
Now, Rachel is the sister of our Prime Minister Boris. And I do like Boris. But, as many people may know, unlike her star studded brother, Rachel is not a Conservative. She’s a Liberal Democrat and Remainer. So, unfortunately, she doesn’t entirely get a pass.
I was so tempted to phone in yesterday to speak my mind. But, I thought I would do it here instead. Had I phoned in though, here’s the question I would have posed:
Hi Rachel, it’s nice to speak to you. Here’s my question for you. As a woman, would you rather be affected by a short term amount of economic inconvenience, and not getting the housework done as you would like? Or would you rather be in hospital on a ventilator with a greater likelihood of actually of dying from the virus? Because, as we know, over 70% of critical care patients with coronavirus are male and males are more likely to die across the entire age spectrum?
Being male of course is not the only co-morbidity of COVID-19 – being elderly greatly affects your chances of dying, as well as being overweight, having diabetes and being BAME.
But the thing that really bothers me about the framing of this kind of debate, is that what I think men are hearing when such a debate is had, is that it really doesn’t matter what catastrophe has befallen the human race, there’s always going to be a healthy queue of white and middle class comfortably off wine-swilling feminists who think that only one half of the human race is affected.
Someone in the comments on the Daily Mail article accused Johnson of being solipsistic. Is she? You decide.
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