So. Reasons that are given by men, individually and generically, for not taking more and better action on matters of gender equality. Reason 1: I Deserve It. Reason 2: It’s Not Fair, aka I Don’t Wanna. Reason 3: It’s Not That Big A Deal. Yowsa! So many reasons, so little time, for there are yet more. May I introduce you to Reason 4: Why Can’t A Woman Be More Like a Man?, aka It’s Your Fault Anyway.
The long name for this reason comes from a Lerner and Loewe song from My Fair Lady, the songs from which I learnt almost by heart as a child when an LP of My Fair Lady was one of only three records in my dad’s collection which I actually enjoyed. (I was not a big classical music fan. The other records I liked were Gerard Hoffnung doing the Bricklayer’s Lament, and Bernard Cribbens singing “Hole in the Ground”*, since you ask.)
Ours was the Audrey Hepburn/Rex Harrison version, and the song in question, appropriately called A Hymn to Him, features Harrison, as the baffled Professor Higgins, in the aftermath of Eliza’s exit, reciting** lines such as “If I were hours late for dinner, would you bellow? If I forgot your silly birthday would you fuss?” to his sidekick, Pickering, who of course replies robustly “Of course not!” and “Never!” at appropriate intervals. It’s a great song, brilliantly delivered, and it nicely sums up one of the common responses to gender equality complaints, namely, “Women wouldn’t have a problem if they’d only behave more like men”.
*Still one of my favourite songs. You can listen to it here, and if you’re not already familiar with it, I strongly recommend that you do.
**Harrison couldn’t sing, and succeeded in the role by half singing, half declaiming his lines, a method which worked surprisingly well.