Monday, April 06, 2009

Sizzling G20 Wives -- This is the 21st Century? Plus Roundup of Grumbling Female Voices

"The wives stood for photographs on the Royal Opera House stage."

World leaders are men. Women are wives. The imbalance of power is unmistakable. There was plenty of racial and ethnic diversity at the G20 Summit of World Leaders. Gender? Not so much. While the men, plus 2 strangely out of place women, did the world's important work, the First Wives had tea and dined at gender segregated events. The women attended charity functions, spoke to children, changed clothes frequently, and were entertained by the author of the Harry Potter books. J.K. Rowling was invited to the gender segregated club because she is a woman, of course.

Some wondered why the 2 husbands were nowhere to be found or where was Mr Angela Merkel? Possibly the 2 husbands stayed home to avoid being caught in the First Wives Fashion Parade or maybe the men simply wanted to avoid kimono-folding lessons.

And wouldn't the stage of wives have been so much more crowded if King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia had brought his 7 wives?

So many wives and so many male leaders, little wonder that the folks at The Daily Beast got confused and included the President of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, in their already utterly ridiculous and demeaning slide show of "Sizzling G20 Wives." Via Paul Krugman, Goddess love him, whose only comment was "We’re doomed, part XXXV."

Thank you, Paul. I feel the same way. Actually most days, I am certain that I am not from this planet, else the stark gender segregation would not look so absurd, so hopelessly otherworldly, and so sad. What was that about separate but equal?

Gender equality? Oh, well, there's always the next millennium.

More grumbling female voices:

Zoe Williams: G20 wives offered tea, cake and absurdity -- When world leaders meet, men are the bread and women the circuses.

Janet Street-Porter: Able women going to waste, while men talk
-- The tabloid headline said it all: "Sarah has a girls' night in while the boys talk business." In other words, it was situation normal in the world of politics: men make the real decisions while their womenfolk talk about doing good and bringing up the kids.

Emma Duncan: Pity the Stepford G20 -- The torrent of gush about Obama - almost entirely written by female journalists - was restricted primarily to the tone of her arms, her ability to mix’n’match designer with high street fashion, whether her silhouette had been achieved with the help of “magic pants” and the sensitive question of how Sarah Brown might be persuaded, in the interests of the nation, to buy herself a pair of the same for future summits.

Penelope Trunk: The G-20 is Complete BS for Women -- What is up with the constant photo ops of the wives of the men running the financial universe? What about the two women in the G-20? Do we put their husbands in the midst of this group of women? No. It would look insane. And that is exactly the reason that all the other women in the group should feel insane. Because this is just a tea party. But it's actually worse than a tea party. It's a tea party from hell.

Belinda Tasker: Rein relegated to First Wives' Club - THERESE Rein might hold her own in business and political circles, but she's been relegated to hanging out with the spouses of world leaders in London for Thursday's G20 talks.

Melanie McDonagh: Women are just wives at the top table -- The camera does not lie. Those photos of the leaders emerging from the G20 summit tell us as much as we need to know about the balance of power between the sexes. There's Angela Merkel. There's Argentina's Cristina Kirchner. The rest are men.