Miriam’s Musings

Wolf whistling a hate crime? They must be joking…

Wolf whistling has gone from being de rigueur to something that’s now viewed as being one of our most offensive gestures. In fact, it’s an issue so acute that in the UK, according to reports, some individuals are in favour of reclassifying wolf whistling as a hate crime, lumping it in with misogyny, which is in my opinion most definitely a hate crime as it’s a deep-rooted prejudice against women.

To be honest, I fail to see how an innocuous expression of attraction towards anyone can be viewed in the same way as hurling horrific gender-based, racially/ethnically-charged, bigoted, homophobic or discriminatory and disgusting invective at them. But then we live in a world that’s painfully politically correct, meaning if – for example – a man were to whistle at a woman, instead of taking the gesture as a compliment, it’s likely some neurotic snowflake may take offence, dial 999 and divert Garda resources away from someone who is being abused. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about someone making sexual advances or shouting crude or derogatory comments; I wouldn’t tolerate that. I’m talking about a good old-fashioned, well-intentioned wolf whistle that I personally don’t find demeaning at all. To my mind, there’s only one thing worse than being whistled at, and that’s not being whistled at…i.e. being treated like you’re suffering from a chronic case of invisibility! Now that’s an issue that should be addressed; a topic which I personally find much more offensive than the genial and harmless wolf whistle.

Chatting with some of my former TV sisters (all of us now women of a certain age), we remarked on the lack of mature ladies working in the industry. We joked about the continuous bombardment of that TV ad peddling those ‘I feel pretty and protected’ incontinence knickers professing to disguise our, ahem leaky bladders. Personally, I find these ads so hilarious I almost, well, wet myself laughing at them. But I have to ask…why is it that, as mature women who, despite taking care of our skin, engaging in regular exercise, sporting fashionable hair-dos and eating healthy diets, we now feel like we’ve been cast into a state of invisibility? Is it because we miss the wolf whistles of our youth? Let’s be honest girls, we’re all familiar with that scenario whereby, confidently walking down the street, the bloke/blokette on the building site, etc., assesses us through a prism of desirability, and stereotyping us as ‘a mature lady,’ deems us unworthy of any attention. I mean, how insulting is it to see someone’s gaze pass right through you, only to settle on the younger model trotting behind?

Now while we certainly don’t need a wolf whistle or male/female attention to validate us, I believe we’d all agree there’s no shame in wanting to be desired…am I right? With that sentiment in mind, perhaps those of us who’ve been feeling invisible should make a pledge to ourselves to rediscover our missions in life! We can do that by curbing that continuous swell of inadequacy and not worrying if our bum looks big in this – instead, let’s consciously make an effort to relaunch ourselves onto this cruel ageist world.

Middle age is not the time to hand over the baton to a younger generation of selfie-obsessed, inexperienced Barbie dolls, ladies! No, it’s the time to wear our myriad of hats and tell the world we’re mothers, grandmothers, sisters, partners, workers, business owners, international travellers and highly relevant human beings. As Bette Davis famously said…‘old age ain’t no place for sissies’. She was right. Embrace your desire to be admired, choose to stand loud and proud – and, if someone dares to ignore you, don’t surrender, stand firm and demand that wolf whistle!

 

Please take care of yourselves

Minding our mental health has always been vitally important. However, even for the most relaxed and easy-going among us, the current Covid calamity is proving to be extremely challenging. And yes, anxiety is part and parcel of our daily lives – unless you’re he-who-must-be-obeyed and are constantly calm and laid back, kinda like cartoon character Top Cat – but without the snazzy hat and waistcoat combo. Hubby is defo the antithesis to my self-analytical, neurotic Daffy Duck!

However, given the growing concerns around the rise in cases of Covid, the onset of winter and the annual flu virus, etc. I wanted to take time to address those readers who, like me, may be feeling a bit vulnerable. While a certain amount of anxiety would be construed as being healthy – in so much as it drives us to strive to do better – getting mired down by stress can seriously affect our daily lives. Feelings of inadequacy and other intense emotions can seep into our very soul, often affecting our families, our relationships and our work.

To that end, today, as you read this column, can I ask you to do two things…one, make a conscious effort to be kind to yourselves, and, two, believe me when I tell you you’re a wonderful human being, you’re loved, you’re cherished and you are, (by following all of our health experts’ advice regarding Covid-19), doing the absolute best that anyone can expect of you.

 

Give our Gardaí equal opportunities to defend themselves

We all know that the number of violent attacks on members of An Garda Síochána is on the increase. In addition, (according to a report in the Irish Mirror), it can take approximately three hours for the Garda Armed Response Unit to arrive at a ‘violent incident’ in certain areas of the country, i.e. rural Ireland. Therefore, given this information, I find it hard to comprehend why An Garda Síochána are taking the decision to reduce the number of its members carrying firearms. I firmly believe that a properly trained, armed support/back-up capacity should be present in every single station across the country; especially divisions located in rural Ireland.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve no desire to see members of our force locked, loaded and tooled up. However, if the reason allegedly being given for reducing the amount of armed Gardaí is that, due to an expansion (some years ago) of specialist firearms units, ‘more detectives were being appointed who were authorised to carry firearms’ but had ‘received much less training than their specialist colleagues,’ my argument then is – why not provide them with the appropriate training? Give our lads and ladies of the force an equal opportunity to defend themselves in the event some scumbag with a lethal weapon attacks them in the line of duty. Simples!

Leave our seals alone!

Under the Irish Wildlife Act (1976) and the EU’s Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972) seals are a protected species. In fact, these beautiful, intelligent, gentle creatures who’re sadly suffering a major decline in their numbers, are now possibly under threat of total extinction due to the Department for Housing, Local Government and Heritage considering granting licences to ‘cull individual problem seals’. Why? Well, to protect ‘fishermen’s catches’ of course!

Now I don’t know about you readers, but personally I believe wiping out a beautiful, harmless and innocent species just because they’re trying to survive is not just horrific, it’s barbaric. To that end, I’d be advising those greedy commercial fishermen/women to either consider a career change or to consult with the Irish Seal Sanctuary and Ocean Research and Conservation Ireland regarding engaging in more humane and compassionate approaches; ones that don’t involve committing speciocide against these innocent creatures.