Did you see the viral trailer for the new Alan Partridge movie? It was great, wasn’t it?
Proper ‘next level’ marketing stuff. Fancy getting someone from the BBC to seamlessly deliver a Partridge parody during a broadcast to millions eh? That’s ingenious.
It was certainly daring: it really risked being sidelined by the weekend’s main show.
After all, it’s not every year that Britain crowns a male Wimbledon champion.
However, once John Inverdale slipped into the metaphorical sports casualwear of Partridge, and babbled ‘Listen, you are never going to be a looker’ about Marion Bartoli, tennis’s premier event felt as if it had been Coogan-ised.
That’s right. It’s 2013; women still get a rough deal from society and dinosaurs still rule the earth. As Partridge might himself incongruously bellow, ‘Jurassic Park!’
I work in one of the few sectors where women are arguably the ones holding the influence – look elsewhere in the business world though, and Birmingham remains blokier than a Jason Statham punch.
This lament isn’t about tokenism though. It’s about an unrepresentative imbalance which doesn’t serve our city well.
Gisela Stuart, the Edgbaston MP, nailed it when she tweeted about a Birmingham Post headline proclaiming ‘the city in their hands’ was illustrated by a photo of five men.
Now, I’m not a bra-burning feminist (though, judging from my moobs, you might accuse me of being too hasty in slinging my brassiere into a brazier), but five chaps running a city of ‘super-diversity’ is super-contradictory.
Sticking with Gisela, I noted that this week she also tweeted a comment from Patrick Wintour, the Guardian journalist who bemoaned that “not a single question at the [Ed] Miliband press conference was asked by a woman. The lobby including me is a bit of an embarrassment.”
So, it’s men at the top being held to account by…other men.
You start wondering where the women actually are.
Then you remember – they’re being patronised at Wimbledon!
Even if you’re Bartoli, ranked in the world’s top ten and a convincing winner of the women’s singles title… you’re still categorised by experienced sports journalists on the basis of physical attraction.
Perhaps the national media journos like Mr Inverdale – I’m sure he’d appreciate me describing him as a man of fading looks, and mildly sagging saddlebags, sporting the demeanour, hairstyle and clothing of a stand-in Freeman’s catalogue model from the 70s – can blame such faux pas on partisanship?
Maybe this slip of the sexist tongue wouldn’t have happened if it was a woman representing good old Blighty?
Hardly. After Andy Murray won the Wimbledon’s men’s singles title, British newspapers and websites wallowed in a sea of patriotic pride.
It’s a shame that too many news outlets were reporting the Wimbledon story incorrectly. Murray wasn’t the first Briton in 77 years to win at SW19 – Virginia Wade won in 1977.
Thankfully, it only took the BBC homepage six or seven hours to rectify their mistake. And, I’m sure The Times only meant to sideline Virginia a little bit with their front page headline “Murray ends 77-year wait for British win.”
Being an equality pedant, I found it all a bit annoying.
Thankfully, David Cameron – a man who would annoy me even if he was handing me bars of gold bullion – is always capable of taking me to the next level of incandescence.
He succeeded again on Monday, when he cumbersomely attempted to clamber aboard the bandwagon of British sporting success.
When asked if Murray should become Sir Andy, Cameron’s response was: “Honours are decided independently but, frankly, I can’t think of anyone who deserves one more.”
Can’t think of anyone Dave? Let me give you a nudge: “Virginia Wade”.
Granted, she’s not a bloke, so knighting her would be way awkward.
Presumably, however, she can be ‘Damed’. Surely she’s earned that level of trinket? She’s only a piffling OBE at the moment.
That’s despite being the last British woman to have won Wimbledon in the last 36 years – that’s pretty impressive huh?
Actually, Dave, while you’re casually throwing out honour recommendations like they’re manifesto promises, you can chuck one in for Birmingham-born Ann Haydon Jones too – she won Wimbledon in 1969. That was ages ago. Give her a gong.
But, let’s face it, it won’t happen.
Why? Because a British woman winning Wimbledon isn’t deemed as significant as a British man winning Wimbledon. For some reason, it’s seems easier for our society to encourage male achievement than female achievement.
It’s the kind of society that has a Church of England still fumbling its way to equality – latest reports suggest that the new draft law for allowing women to become bishops isn’t expected to get final approval until 2015.
It’s the kind of society that saw the highest ranking nurse in the Royal Air Force overlooked for promotion in favour of a male doctor – Wendy Williams won damages after it was agreed last month that she had been discriminated against on the grounds of her gender.
It’s the kind of society that’s slowly taking a stand against such nonsense, exemplified by Ms Williams’ tribunal win, and by Inverdale being humbled into a personal apology for a very unprofessional gaffe.
Ah, John – I wonder if, when you were a lad, your father said to you: “Listen John. You might be a looker to some misguided people, but you’re never going to live down one particular remark that was actually…well, ugly.”
* Keith Gabriel is a Birmingham-based PR account manager