I was amused to come down this morning and find my ten-year-old son sat glued to the wrestling on cable TV. My wife was less amused, and my argument that it was the natural occupation of healthy young boys to be interested in wrestling did not appeal to her French sensibilities.
Yet this evening, she called him down (as part of her efforts to culturally appropriate him) to watch Miss France and ogle beautiful girls in swimsuits, which of course these days is tantamount to sexual assault mixed with child abuse.
Incidentally, the girls were spectacularly beautiful with incredibly toned figures – something unlikely to be seen nowadays on the equivalent Miss Great Britain, for which we have McDonald’s to thank, though admittedly it was banned from television years ago as sexist – and the red thigh boots were a nice touch.
Yet wrestling used to be a staple of mainstream television sporting schedules. Big Daddy (fans included Margaret Thatcher and the Queen) and Giant Haystacks were the star turns, the crowd booing Giant Haystacks and cheering Big Daddy, women seated in the front row, knitting like the tricoteuse at the guillotine, egging them on and screaming for blood – and it was all great fun.
All pantomime of course, except on the one occasion that the two charged at each other and the referee got caught in the middle, crushed, and had to be carried off on a stretcher. Boxing was big too and we all stayed up late to watch the British contender fight for the world title – John Conteh, Alan Minter, Charlie Magri, and even Joe Bugner come to mind. And, of course, there was Muhammad Ali. Then there were the beauty contests, hosted by smooth presenters dressed in velvet jackets, with girls competing to wear the most revealing clothes.
These were one’s formative experiences, and like so much of our shared cultural heritage, now lost to the brave new world of unisex, multi-culture, and protected minorities. Speaking of which, Liz Truss, the ‘Women and Equalities minister’ (our next woman prime minister) played a blinder the other day with her announcement that equalities policy will be reset to move away from ‘fashionable’ race, sexuality, and gender identity issues and towards an approach based on ‘freedom, choice, opportunity, and individual humanity and dignity’.
She castigated quotas, diversity targets, and unconscious bias training as ‘tools of the Left’ that were ‘ultimately destructive’, criticised the 2010 Equality Act’s ‘narrow focus on protected characteristics’, and argued that small groups of ‘self-selecting activists’ had hijacked the agenda. Apparently, the Cabinet Office ‘Equalities Hub’ will be moved from London to the North – hopefully to a disused oil platform in the North Sea.
The logical next step would be to abolish the post of Women and Equalities minister. Then we could reinstate Miss GB (beautiful biological women only); aggressive biological men could beat each other to a pulp in the ring; and more ambiguous men could dress up as women and say ‘Ooh … you are awful’. But we must take things one step at a time.
Anyway, well done, Liz! You have given us a glimmer of hope in these dark days.