Rodney Hide: Bar brawl a feminist triumph?

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My inner feminist has been in turmoil with the case of Ernest Opai, 43, and 46-year-old Shona Louise Maiden. Photo / Jason Oxenham
My inner feminist has been in turmoil with the case of Ernest Opai, 43, and 46-year-old Shona Louise Maiden. Photo / Jason Oxenham

My inner feminist has been in turmoil with the case of Ernest Opai, 43, and 46-year-old Shona Louise Maiden. If you missed it, Maiden claimed publicly she had been hit by Opai. CCTV footage shows that she hit him twice first.

She has pleaded guilty to assault and Opai has also been charged after allegedly retaliating after he was hit the second time.

My inner feminist hasn't known what to make of it. I suppose a liberated woman should be able to start a fight outside a bar just as much as any man. Why not? Maiden certainly proves women can do anything.

But is that the feminist vision? Women drive trucks, drink beer, play rugby, fight in the army, and swear. Good for them. But punch a guy outside a bar? In the face?

My turmoil shows I still see a difference in the sexes, in how they should behave and how they should be treated.

I fear that's a fault in me but wonder whether the whole women-being-just-like-men thing is off track.

Is Maiden the most wonderfully liberated sister of them all crossing that final great taboo of maleness? Or is her punch cause for quiet reflection on where things have got to between the sexes? Is it an event to celebrate? Or mourn?

I am sure a fellow sister will put my thinking straight. But my turmoil doesn't end there.

What is the proper feminist response for a man punched by a woman? It might be chauvinist not to punch back. It's tricky being a man these days - especially if you are contemplating discriminating between a woman and a man.

My upbringing provides no guidance. I was taught never to hit a women, to protect them at all cost, and to stand up to all bullies.

I have no default guidance should a woman punch me. Such a shocking occurrence would simply not compute in my brain.

I would, I am afraid to admit, struggle in an all-out brawl with a woman.

I wouldn't know what to do. I fear a deficiency in my inner feminist. I remain a work in progress.

I wonder what the sisters make of Opai. If a man walked up to him outside a bar, slapped him across the face then punched him, would he punch him right back?

I would, I am afraid to admit, struggle in an all-out brawl with a woman.

That's what he allegedly did to Maiden. Shouldn't the feminists among us be applauding his apparent even-handedness?

Not for him one approach for men, one for women.

A man and a woman in a punch up outside a bar. They are an unlikely pair for feminists of the year but she can be just like a man and he doesn't discriminate.

We have reached peak feminism.

Sadly.

- Herald on Sunday

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Rodney Hide

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