Louisa Peacock of The Telegraph‘s Wonder Women desk has written of how a doorman who refused her entry to a London restaurant because she was not wearing smart enough clothes has lost his job. Peacock appears to think this a victory for the crusaders against #everydaysexism. I can’t agree.
Ignoring the fact that the man probably wouldn’t have been sacked had Peacock not been a journalist, this piece sets a very worrying precedent. Louisa Peacock has mistaken a minor grievance for a political point, and a man has lost his job. Peacock did not intend it to be so; but that is what has happened.
If you read her account of the affair carefully, ‘Clipboard Man’ (as she kindly refers to him) never actually tells her she isn’t ‘sexy’ enough (even though that’s implied in the headline). Those are her words. He simply tells her she must look smarter to get in. ‘High heels and smart… as if you were going to a club,’ he says. She concludes that ‘I just was not sexy enough for him’. He says smart; she translates it as sexy. This isn’t sexism. It is simply the restaurant’s dress code, and he was paid to enforce it.
Let’s imagine the shoe was on the other foot, as it so often is. I bet there are plenty of men who’ve been turned away from clubs and restaurants by some snooty ‘door bitch’ because they don’t fit the dress code. Is that sexist too? Establishments are allowed to have dress codes, and if you don’t meet them, you aren’t allowed in. Them’s the rules for private establishments. Peacock even admits she wasn’t dressed like everyone else in the queue – but for some reason, she takes this as a sexist affront, contacts the restaurant’s management office, and soon, the man is sacked.
This is no victory for feminism. In fact, it speaks of a particular section of our press that has decided it’s ok to publish aggressive attacks on men. Wonder Women began as a noble experiment – but now, I’d rather not read a section of a broadsheet newspaper that pursues men for its own political purposes.