Heather du Plessis-Allan is a columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Not all rosy for the happier sex

We gals just love cooking, cleaning and clowning. Photo / Getty Images
We gals just love cooking, cleaning and clowning. Photo / Getty Images

It has been a great week to be a woman. There has been a real optimism about the outlook for those previously known as the weaker sex.

Women are happier, women are acquiring new powers, and hitherto untapped career opportunities are opening up for women.

Yes, the struggle is over. So say the men.

The week started with former Saatchi & Saatchi boss Kevin Roberts explaining the real reason women weren't rising to positions of leadership: it's because we're the happy sex.

Give us an apron, a baby and a few chooks, and we're as happy as a pig in the sty around the back of the house.

It's hard to sum up a woman's lack of ambition better than Roberts did when he said, "They are going: 'Actually, guys, you're missing the point, you don't understand: I'm way happier than you.' Their ambition is not a vertical ambition; it's this intrinsic, circular ambition to be happy." Roberts knows women are just little circles of joy.

Women do not want to become CEOs, or surgeons, or prime ministers. They just want to become the family clown.

Later in the week, another man gave us affirmation.

Philip Morgan QC told women just how powerful our words are.

Defending Northern Districts cricketer Scott Kuggeleijn in his rape trial, Morgan told the alleged victim the problem was she hadn't said no. She said no the night before, but she hadn't said no that morning, according to Morgan.

"I suggest if I said to you that 100 men who have been in that situation and tried again, you would have a forest of hands," he said.

I'm not really sure why the bodies of these 100 men all end at the wrist, but I am just thrilled to hear we ladies have Gandalf-like powers of pronouncement. As we say, so it shall be done.

I guess I can give back to my mum that rape whistle she clipped on to my key ring.

And then to round out the week, the Pope announced he's considering allowing women as deacons in the Catholic church. We only have to convince a panel of 12 people we're fit for the job. Giving women permission to wear long dresses and bringing the Catholic Church into the 21st century is not as straightforward a decision as it might seem.

Men, of course, have a history of telling women how it is. The founder of the modern Olympics originally reserved the Games for men only because women's sport was "the most unaesthetic sight human eyes could contemplate".

Men opposed to suffrage told women they didn't need the vote because "you do not need a ballot to clean out your sink spout".

And, a man once said women don't qualify for equal pay because we "work fewer hours, take longer holidays and earn less for their companies".

Except, that quote's not historical. Celebrity journalist Milo Yiannopoulos said it only last year.

So, things aren't quite as sunny as it may seem from a testosterone-charged point of view.

It says it all when TV cameras at Hillary Clinton's recent speech to the Democratic National Convention filmed middle-aged women in the audience crying at the prospect of a woman finally becoming a president of the United States.

So, we'll let a woman have a say on being a woman.

There's a scene in the series Orange Is the New Black - acted, written and directed by mostly women - where one of the female prison staffers hears of a man transitioning to a female.

Her response: "Why would anyone give up being a man? It's like winning the lottery and giving the ticket back."

- Herald on Sunday

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Heather du Plessis-Allan is a columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a thirty-something trying very hard to avoid growing up. So far it’s working, except for the husband, the mortgage and the proper job. She lives between Auckland and Wellington. When she’s not writing for the Herald on Sunday, she co-hosts TV3’s 7pm current affairs programme Story.

Read more by Heather du Plessis-Allan

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