|Paul Gomille (photo by Ryan Pfeiffer/ Metroland)|
Just say, "She doesn't like this one bad habit" to your male friends and they roll their eyes, shake their head in agreement, as in, "I know just what you're talking about!"
From when do Controlling Women come. I always wondered and now I know. Heather Mallick, probably forty-something writes a column for the Toronto Star. She wrote a piece throwing Paul Gomille under the bus for a speech he is alleged to have delivered at Archbishop Dennis O'Connor Catholic High School in Ajax.
In his speech, Gomille is alleged to have discerned between those girls he likes and those he dislikes, something every male in history has talked about with other males. Winning his approval are: the silent ones, the intelligent ones, the one's that don't talk about people behind their backs, the ones that guys don't flock to in droves, the ones that don't dress in revealing clothing...According to Ms Mallick, his principal, Donna Modeste told him to skip that section when he delivered the speech.
She allegedly approved this line: Attractiveness doesn't come from wearing the latest fashion, and it doesn't come from being scantily clad in public, or putting on makeup, of having a pretty face, or a nice body. No. Real attractiveness comes from having a certain dignity. (Ms Mallick calls that sentence, "Slutwalker Starter in Miniature" in an obviously controlling and patronizing tone.
Gomille allegedly did not obey the principal, and for passing out his speech (dubbed by Ms Mallick, "Dress Down to Win Me as a Boyfriend") in the cafeteria, he was suspended for two days, a decision Ms Mallick lauds: and this is what I like about the Catholic system--they don't worry about popularity. Students will obey. High praise to Modeste.
Next Ms Mallick proceeds to ridicule Gomille's own attire, dressed in dark pants, a grey hoodie and navy jacket, dresses like all teenage boys, nondescriptly and then in his Star photo against a grey Ajax sky, he looks like a disembodied head. Shockingly, and ironically, Mallick then patronizes him again, He looks perfectly pleasant...At 17,. I would have gone out with him, right up until he told me my dress was too revealing, at which point I would have run away, as girls will, and this well-intentioned young man will learn that. (Sorry, Ms Mallick, Gomille likes 'the silent ones, the intelligent ones and the one's who don't dress in revealing clothing'..so he would never have selected you, in the first place!)
After mentioning Gomille's sister's character assessment of her brother, Mallick mounts her bully pulpit:
Females from age 2 to 92 speak as one: We do not care to hear male opinions on our clothes unless it's 'You look fabulous is that. Radiant. Wow. When we ask you does the sweater works with the scarf, the word we want to hear is "yes." And then, frankly, we'll change the sweater. If he's a Controlling Man who says it's too tight or uses the phrases "no wife of mine will..." we detach....
(Truth be told, this is far from the truth. Many women far less filled with venom than Ms Mallick are far less anxious to join the Mallick "army" of Controlling Patronizing, Condescending Women.)
Mallick concludes her piece with:
Gomille may be 17 but he sounds 102 and we hear from males like him all our lives. They're correctors, judges, buzzkills. Mothers sound like this too, for different reasons. "You're going out like that, Cyndi Ahmadinejad? Over my dead body!"
Mallick continues: There is a worrying prescriptiveness in Gomille's unasked-for definition of how his fellow students should dress. We women are half the world. In the workplace men and women stand side-by-side and are gradually learning to to accommodate each other's differences.
Isn't it strange that a feminist columnist can pour such invective all over a 17-year old male student for a speech, and if a male columnist poured a similar invective over a 17-year-old female student who wrote a speech containing the sentiments and phrases contained in Mallick's piece (or Gomille's speech for that matter), there would be hell to pay.
When did females acquire immunity from unsolicited (and by the way, not far off the mark!) criticism?
Was there some opening of the skies and another set of tablets tossed down, granting immunity to all women, if and when any male attempts to point a finger at what most adults would call "immodest" dress, and that's in the most polite circles.
SLUTWALKS say much more about the women walking than they do about any suggestion of patronizing and prescriptive attitudes among males.
This piece of invective by Mallick directed at Gomille should require a retraction, and an apology, and the Gomille speech, in its entirety, deserves to be published in the Toronto Star. If I were Gomille's parent, I would also pull him out of Archbishop Dennis O'Connor High School, and find a school where his views can be aired, debated and discussed, perhaps at a school assembly where both teachers and students can demonstrate a maturity and a respect for "the other" that is completly outside the possible with Ms Mallick. That might, just might, lend some light and leven to the discussion about teen attire.
Congratulations for your courage, your maturity and your clarity, Paul Gomille. We can only hope that Ms Mallick's rant gives you an even larger podium than you would otherwise have enjoyed.