by Dr. Theodore Dalrymple:
My patient was intelligent but badly educated, as only products of the British educational system can be after 11 years of compulsory school attendance. She thought the Second World War took place in the 1970s and could give me not a single correct historical date. I asked her whether she thought a young and violent burglar would have proved much of a companion. She admitted that he wouldn’t, but said that he was the type she liked; besides which—in slight contradiction—all boys were the same.
I warned her as graphically as I could that she was already well down the slippery slope leading to poverty and misery—that, as I knew from the experience of untold patients, she would soon have a succession of possessive, exploitative, and violent boyfriends, unless she changed her life. I told her that in the past few days, I had seen two women patients who had had their heads rammed down the lavatory, one who had had her head smashed through a window and her throat cut on the shards of glass, one who had had her arm, jaw, and skull broken, and one who had been suspended by her ankles from a tenth-floor window to the tune of, “Die, you bitch!”
“I can look after myself,” said my 17-year-old.
“But men are stronger than women,” I said. “When it comes to violence, they are at an advantage.”
“That’s a sexist thing to say,” she replied.
A girl who had absorbed nothing at school had nevertheless absorbed the shibboleths of political correctness in general and of feminism in particular.
“But it’s a plain, straightforward, and inescapable fact,” I said.
“It’s sexist,” she reiterated firmly.
A stubborn refusal to face inconvenient facts, no matter how obvious, now pervades our attitude toward relations between the sexes. An ideological filter of wishful thinking strains out anything we’d prefer not to acknowledge about these eternally difficult and contested relations, with predictably disastrous results.
I meet with this refusal everywhere, even among the nursing staff of my ward. Intelligent and capable, as decent and dedicated a group of people as I know, they seem, in the matter of judging the character of men, utterly, almost willfully, incompetent.