Before Boris Johnson got the Prime Ministership via 0.13% of the British population, he attended Eton, a school that educates 6% of Britain but has produced 74% of their leaders.
A recent article questioning the moral and mental fitness of the latest British Prime Minister to enter 10 Downing Street described Boris Johnson as the “mortifying
element” of what was a “once-proud United Kingdom” and a “model of caution and common sense.”
Couple this with the process that allowed 0.13% of the population – approximately 92,000 of 160,000 members of today’s Conservative party – to vote him in as leader
of a union of 64 million, and the debate about elitism and democracy continues.
Many attribute Johnson’s sense of self-entitlement to the premiership to his time at Eton, part of Britain’s private school system which educates 6% of its youth and yet
has spawned 41 of the last 55 British prime ministers.
Eton has arguably been responsible for cultivating the type of ego that allows someone like Johnson to flaunt his particular brand of self-deprecation all the while emboldened by an underlying knowledge of first-class intellectual training.
His public bumbling and faux pas, misappropriation of truth, even choice of running gear – a mismatch of beanie hat, shoe socks, boxer shorts riding up porky white thighs, spilling midriff and man nipples – may signal to the state-educated majority that Boris is one of them. However, they’d do well to remember that only a true member of the UK’s ruling class can display the confidence of idiocy and be anointed to positions of authority.
Johnson is the apotheosis of patriarchal entitlement, born under the deep-rooted assumption that members of his sex will be in charge; even to the best of their mediocre ability.
But this is more than elitist privilege; Johnson is also the apotheosis of patriarchal entitlement, born under the deep-rooted assumption that members of his sex will be in charge; even to the best of their mediocre ability.
It is impossible to imagine an equivalent female political contender, even from the ranks of top celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey or Michelle Obama, displaying equal nonchalance in their personal appearance, or indeed fluffing, winging and mocking policy detail, without being accused of mental illness – never mind inadequacy.
Women still have to prove themselves up to a job they have yet to occupy. There is no female equivalent to universal patriarchy, no professional sisterhood that
tolerates and indulges their gender’s ineptitude and thereby brings out the worst in
Just as well. Though it does mean that women have to work twice as hard, regularly defer on promotion for fear of being under-qualified, acquiesce to less well-paid positions which inadequately cover childcare and largely miss out on the ability to set the tone, culture and approach of high-level decision-making.
The result? Only seventeen countries (out of today’s 195), currently have women as heads of state, while, on average, just 18% of ministers and 24% of parliamentarians
globally are women, according to the World Economic Forum.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Australia can do more to keep women in parliament
- When it comes to women in parliament, Australia is 48th in the world
- Corbyn’s Britain: The same June as it was under May
- May: Britain’s Mother Theresa
The ongoing dominance of today’s turbo-charged patriarchy is not only an injustice, it is dangerous. Britain has a new Brexit “war cabinet” of men, and Trump’s security establishment is made up of men goading an Iranian autocratic junta of men, while playing nuclear chicken with the North Korean son and grandson of two previous male
A kleptocracy of Russian men has deployed Novichok and plutonium on British streets – one gram of which could kill a country and a male Saudi autocracy murdered and
dismembered a journalist in Istanbul who had criticised his country’s fruitless bombing campaign against a male-led insurgency in Yemen.
In the meantime, a manic male US president and his male trade advisers are engaged in a trade war with a Chinese politburo made up of men.
Nor have women been responsible for any of America’s 340 mass shootings last year, the world’s ongoing pandemic of sexual violence, the shooting of commercial airliners out of the sky and wars in South Sudan, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Ukraine, with millions of innocent people displaced, killed and suffering.
In major peace processes between 1992–2017, women comprised 3% of mediators, 3% of witnesses and 9% of negotiators, according to Data from UN Women and the Council on Foreign Relations. And the majority of peace agreements signed from 1990 to today include zero female signatories.
A 2017 study by Australia’s Humanitarian Advisory Group described women’s leadership in the humanitarian sector as “almost entirely absent.”
How are we to walk straight on a planet that is so asymmetrically aligned?
Patriarchy will not save us from ourselves. Women must also engage, with fifty-fifty access to political power as well as economic opportunity, educational attainment and healthcare resources.
Testosterone-driven thinking and principles of dominance have left us with depressing, destructive and, most of all, conventional ways of shaping the world we live in.
The male-driven socio-economic and political model that prizes money, status, power, and egotism is failing, and it is not keeping any of us safe at night. Without fifty percent female participation in positions of leadership, no state will be modern enough to solve today’s modern issues, let alone lead us into stewarding our planet in a way that prevents it from slowly dying under our watch.