Raising Cain

Why do men hate women? This is the question I’m asking, after the Great British Bake Off left a nasty taste in my mouth. In amongst the sponges, there were persistent internet tales of flirtation, manipulation, smugness and favouritism. Even when a woman bakes a cake, which surely even the most anxious of men can’t see as a huge threat, it seems she just can’t do it right. As runner-up Ruby Tandoh says in today’s Guardian, “if a show as gentle as Bake Off can stir up such a sludge of lazy misogyny in the murky waters of the internet, I hate to imagine the full scale of the problem.”

I suppose the question really should be ‘why do some men hate women?’ or even ‘why do some men hate some women?’ But the essence of the question remains. There is something about women that really annoys men. And it annoys them to the point that men kill two women a week. This is aside from accidents – this is murder of women by men, happening on a regular basis. If women were killing two men a week, do you thing something would have been done about it yet?

It saddens me hugely – and not just because I have two daughters. What on earth is waiting for them out there? They are bright, competent and full of promise – the sort of girl that these men seem to really, really hate.

Why are men suddenly so fragile? Why do they feel challenged by women to such a degree? I don’t know a single woman whose aim is to outdo men. Yes, they may be ambitious and yes, they may be a lot more than capable, but they are not trying to humiliate anyone by being so. The only woman I can think of who had that as an agenda in recent history is Margaret Thatcher – and men let her walk all over them.

All the statistics show that women are still firmly under the patriarchal thumb – we get lower wages for equal work, we get thrown out of jobs first in tough times, we’re much more likely to do low-paid, low-status jobs. Our careers suffer, if not stall outright, when we choose to have children. Why, then, do you want to hurt us so much, men? All right, it’s no secret now that we want to be treated equally. Is that enough to rouse all this latent anger and aggression?

Women are physically weaker than men. If they want to kill us, it’s probably not that hard. I’ve never tried to kill anything so I don’t know how much force it takes, but these two men a week who murder their wives or girlfriends seem to find it a bit of a breeze. What should we do to stop them? There must be something. There really must be something we can do. If ever we needed that get-out-of-jail file baked into our Victoria sponge cakes, it is now.

Ruby: baking up a storm


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