I’m wondering where the line will be drawn – if anywhere – on all this political correctness malarkey.
How long will it be before people become social pariahs for admiring the beauty in others?
In recent weeks, we have seen a couple of incidences in sport where having good looking women (am I allowed to describe them as that?) have been banned.
Really? Isn’t this pushing PC too far?
The game of darts – I don’t really think it’s a sport, too many big lumps like me playing it – has decided to drop the ladies who walk on with players before the start of matches.
In addition, and probably more headline-catching in global terms, Formula 1 has decided to drop its grid girls with immediate effect.
Did either sport really need these attractive ladies?
Will our experience of the sports be a lot poorer without them there?
Again, maybe not.
Was their presence damaging the image of either sport or womankind in general?
At the risk of sounding like a stuck long player … yet again, I think not.
I understand that some might contend that their presence belittled women. I’m not sure I’m in agreement, but would certainly concede the right of others to make the point.
But here’s the thing. I’m yet to see a quote from one of these displaced ladies saying they are glad to put the perceived exploitation behind them. Most of what I’ve read suggests they are just hacked off to be missing out on decent paychecks.
So where will it all end?
Will American Football drop its cheerleaders?
Boxing it’s ladies who hold up boards between rounds?
I believe the latter is under serious discussion.
Regarding American Football at least that sport can truly claim that in the game’s college version there is no shortage of male cheerleaders. Indeed, cheerleading competitions abound which are more akin to the floor exercises in the Olympics. Given the acrobatic skills involved, I say, long may they continue.
But in the professional version of the sport the cheerleaders do seem to be chosen for ease on the eye as much as any tumbling and jumping prowess. I’ve attended big American Football matches and can say, hand on heart, I rarely cast a glance in the direction of the cheerleaders. Not through any prudishness, it’s more that if you are in the wrong part of the stadium they are just very difficult to see.
These ‘banning ladies as decoration’ announcements came fairly hot on the heels of the furore in the UK created by a now-disbanded outfit called the Presidents Club. If you missed the stories, let me give a quick refresher.
To keep it brief. A bunch of toffs got together for a male guests-only p*ss-up in a posh London hotel in the middle of January and some of the ladies working as hostesses at the charity fund-raising event complained about being groped and having inappropriate comments aimed at them. All very tacky and I’m not condoning the alleged actions of the club’s members.
The fall-out has been little short of spectacular. Senior figures have resigned. Charities such as the Great Ormond Street Hospital have felt the need to hand back money raised by the club. Why the sick kids have to miss out bemuses me.
Some of the language used in reporting this Presidents Club alleged debauchery was fairly restrained so it is difficult to get a full sense of what went on. But I would be fairly confident in placing a bet that most of it would be viewed as pretty tame in comparison to some to the misogynistic practices I have witnessed (with awkwardness, I might add) in Thailand.
Mind you, saying “worse things happen elsewhere” is never an excuse or justification.
So how will all this feminist PC-ness impact on Thailand?
Not a lot, I expect.
Will the Buriram car track ban its grid girls?
Will property developers stop hiring good looking ladies to hand out their condo sales material?
Will the bars and restaurants stop inviting in beer promotions girls any time soon?
I think the answer to all will probably be “no”. And, let’s not sit on the fence for once – I hope the answer is “no”.
That said, the beer promotions girls may disappear if the letter of the law referring to promoting the sales of alcohol is applied with a heavy hand. I recall that at one time it was suggested to me that waiters in restaurants might be breaking the law if they recommend which wine should accompany your meal. It would, after all, be encouraging you to drink alcohol.
There is little doubt that the times are changing and the days of seeing attractive people promoting businesses are probably numbered. Car shows in Europe are no longer littered with blondes posing on bonnets. People are more interested in carbon emissions nowadays. I’m not convinced that anyone ever bought a car because they “fancied” the lady draped over it.
So, I’m not entirely sure just where the PC line should be drawn, but I think these recent bans have gone too far.
If the ladies involved in holding umbrellas over the heads of racing drivers felt they were being exploited or coerced into doing something against their will, that would be another matter.
But to the best of my knowledge most, if not all, quite liked being well paid for looking good.
Some, I would imagine, had to work pretty hard to retain those good looks.
Since when did it become non-PC to look beautiful or handsome?
By Dave Buckley