It is surely not enough that Professor Sir Timothy Hunt, should have been forced to resign from that great centre of disinterested enquiry, University College, London, for having drawn attention to the fact that women tend to cry more than men; he should be expelled forthwith from the Royal Society, stripped of his knighthood and his British citizenship, deprived of the Nobel Prize, not allowed to vote, and all his papers should be expunged from the scientific record as if he had never existed. Only in that way can the terrible damage he did when speaking to the press in South Korea be repaired.
But of course it should not end there. There was an article in the French newspaper, Le Monde, of 12 June, about two women elected recently to be mayors respectively of Barcelona and Madrid. Manuela Carmena, who apparently was somewhat reluctant to stand for office, reportedly said that she hoped to bring to politics ‘the values of feminine culture: emotion, empathy, dialogue and listening.’
Now some people might think that this bears a faint resemblance to the kind of thing that Sir Timothy was saying; as indeed on any reasonable understanding it does. Surely emotion has some relation to crying? This being the case, what should we do about the new mayor’s terrible retrograde ad deeply sexist utterance?
The first thing to do, of course, would be to demand of the Spanish authorities the abrogation of the election that brought her to office, however democratic it might have been. There is no place for democratic sexism in our society: it is perhaps even more invidious than the undemocratic variety, in so far as it gives it a veneer of respectability. And, of course, disgraceful Manuela Carmena ought to suffer the same civil disabilities as I suggest that Professor Hunt deserves.
But what if the Spanish authorities refuse to listen to our just demands? There should be escalating sanctions, in the first place economic but not excluding military action in the last analysis. British passports should be marked ‘Valid for all countries except Spain’ so that no money should accrue to that dreadful sexist country from British pockets. We should go back to South African sherry. We should make it clear that we will sink the Spanish fleet if Sra Carmena is allowed to take office.