From washing up to driving to major operations, were evidently more competent than men because patriarchy has forced us to be, writes activist and freelance journalist Julie Bindel
As a lifelong feminist I have always balked at the idea that women might be better than men because it perpetuates the myth that women and men are polar opposites, and that our skills (or lack of them) is to do with innate qualities rather than as a result of socialisation or opportunity. This particular competition of who is best at what further ingrains the false belief that the battle of the sexes is here for time immemorial.
The reality is that after thousands of years of living under patriarchy, through no choice or fault of our own, women have developed certain skills as a result of this tyranny. A feminist friend once remarked that if oppression made one a better person there would be something to be said for it, and while I agree wholeheartedly with this, the truth is that we have had to become far better than men at most things.
According to a recent study, women cope far better than men under pressure. No wonder we are often under it. Not only do we have institutionalised oppression and discrimination to deal with, but under this system, men become lazy and complacent. As Barack Obama argues, women make better bosses and leaders because men seem to be having some problems these days. To clarify what I think Obama means, women have long had massive problems with male bosses and leaders because so many of them cant keep it in their zippers, and seem to hold the attitude that women can do their jobs and be sexually harassed and assaulted at the same time. Talk about multitasking (which incidentally, we are also better at than men)!
Women even fare better in those jobs traditionally thought of as for the boys. A study published this year in the British Medical Journal found that women make better surgeons than their male counterparts, and that 4% fewer patients die following an operation performed by a woman.
We beat men at raising money from crowdfunding, which is just as well because we are paid less for doing the same job. A report published in Fortune found that globally, women are consistently more successful than men in reaching funding targets. In terms of self-care, we even do that better. More than half (53%) of women will talk through problems with friends compared with only 29% of men according to a survey by the mental health charity Mind.
And women are much safer (and therefore more skilled) drivers, causing fewer accidents and being more likely to survive a serious crash.
We are less likely to abandon our children, and therefore make better parents. Our washing up and general cleaning skills are far more honed (we have had loads more practice).
While men love to brag about boys food, meaning massive burgers and slabs of greasy protein, women are more likely to have the recommended five-a-day. I would hazard a guess that those men sucking up the carrot juice and quinoa as opposed to burger and chips do so because women prepare it for them.
Ah, I hear some men cry over the sound of scraping at the bottom of a barrel, We are better at DIY than you are! But even mens practical skills are diminishing, as they get lazier and more complacent. A survey carried out by a bathroom firm found that women are increasingly likely to get on with tasks such as fixing a leaky tap, fixing the toilet, hanging wallpaper, and sealing windows rather than hanging around waiting for the man of the house to drain his lager, switch off the football, and move his backside into action.
But here is the rub. Women tend to be better than men at so many things because we have no choice. Yes we are better at washing up, but only because we do it way more often than men. This state of affairs self-perpetuates our oppression, highlighted by ridiculous scenarios such as restaurants advertising for female washer-uppers because men are rubbish at it.
Boys are privileged from the moment they are born. The fact that girls often exceed them in so many ways is testimony to the fact that patriarchy is really not up to much after all.
Julie Bindel is a freelance journalist and political activist