Em­pow­er­ment through in­dus­try

The Oban Times - - Leisure -

Many moons ago, when I was a cub re­porter, an MP put his hand on my knee. I was shocked – I am a wee Pres­by­te­rian from a long line of non- demon­stra­ble Pres­by­te­ri­ans – and was faced with a dilemma; would I make a scene about it or would I not.

I do con­sider my­self to have nat­u­ral good looks or the wai­flike fig­ure so oft re­garded as beauty. I am more of a High­land woman with a body rounded by the love of Crowdie and thick cream in my por­ridge. I also say it like it is, so these sorts of ad­vances have been few and far be­tween.

Of course I was also mar­ried for 25 happy years (that’s my ex­cuse and I am stick­ing to it).

Any­way, the MP, like ev­ery other politi­cian in Scot­land bar one (out­with the SNP) he didn’t make it back to West­min­ster this time around.

Re­cently, as I was driv­ing into work, I heard about the ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion of women by both Rus­sian pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and Amer­i­can pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Mr Putin is recorded as say­ing the best pros­ti­tutes in the world can be found in Rus­sia, while Mr Trump has made many com­ments about women that the ‘free world’ wishes he had never made.

Of course Mr Trump, a sec­ond gen­er­a­tion child of our Western Isles, also ran the Miss World beauty pageants. As a re­porter in these parts for a decade, I have not seen many ex­am­ples of women or girls be­ing ob­jec­ti­fied in such a way. In fact the op­po­site – I have seen women be­ing at the heart of our com­mu­ni­ties as re­spected as the next per­son, and in many po­si­tions of re­spon­si­bil­ity.

It is in­ter­est­ing that the world has shifted again with the elec­tion of Mr Trump.

We al­ready know he has his foibles. As a com­men­ta­tor said on the ra­dio re­cently – ‘he is not able to re­sist hit­ting back’.

I sin­cerely hope that some­one changes the pass­word on his Twit­ter ac­count be­fore too long, oth­er­wise the world might be in hot wa­ter in a very short space of time.

There is no di­rect cor­re­la­tion of the de­risory na­ture in the ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion of women and elected politi­cians thank­fully. I worked for a won­der­ful MSP once who was the most eq­ui­table man I’ve known. He val­ued me and lis­tened to me.

It does seem, from my wee house on the edge of the At­lantic, that there is a role that we all have to play in the em­pow­er­ment of our commu- ni­ties with­out see­ing gen­der or age or per­ceived men­tal or phys­i­cal abil­ity.

No, the progress should not be through per­ceived beauty but through hard work, de­bate and in­dus­try.

I met a man in a shop last week who at one time de­liv­ered fish to the Ma­cLeod’s of Lewis. he told me this story...

One day he hap­pened to be de­liv­er­ing some cod to Tong. In one home a sis­ter was vis­it­ing from Amer­ica af­ter al­most two decades of be­ing abroad. The sassy Amer­i­can woman crit­i­cised his fish.

It is re­ported her sis­ter said: ‘Och, Mary Anne stop try­ing to be some­thing you are not. It is good fish from the Lord’s good sea. You might live in Amer­ica now, but you came from noth­ing and you will go back to noth­ing.’ Or word’s to that ef­fect.

That wis­dom is fairly res­o­nant for all of us.

Never mess with a games con­venor – the con­se­quences will be taken out in the marks for your home­made jam or your ‘stodgy’ Vic­to­ria Sponge.

For­mi­da­ble, strong and sturdy – these women could run the world if they would only put their mind to it.

At the time this pic­ture was taken, it was so un­usual for a fa­ther ‘baby sit’ his own chil­dren that The Oban Times made a fea­ture out of it.

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