Sounds…Important. This soiree is featured in the “Talk of the Town” section of this week’s New Yorker under the title “Better Halves.” An Important Dinner for Women is a gathering of high-powered rich ladies like Wendi (Mrs. Rupert) Murdoch and the wives of national and international politicos to raise awareness and money for various causes, including ensuring maternal and infant health at partuition, in appropriately fancy settings. So what’s Geri “Ginger Spice” Halliwell doing there?
Oh, right, she’s a Goodwill Ambassador for the U.N.
Ennywayz, as author Rebecca Mead tells it, Halliwell did her part for the cause by insulting the spouses of the women present by comparing them to children in want of a stern-but-loving mother: “a lot of these men are little guys in grownup suits,” “you know guys—you have to nurture them a bit,” and “With collective energy, we can mother men into doing the right thing.”
I’ll grant that a lot of the powerful men in this world can’t be bothered to think about maternal mortality, and that that sucks; and I’m glad to see some of the female Haves making an (unnecessarily oblique and/or fabulous) effort to be part of the solution to an overlooked problem.
And perhaps Halliwell was simply tapping into the “maternity” theme of the evening, but comparing men to little boys needing cheek-pinches and the occasional gentle, ladylike remonstrance seems more than a little counterproductive: “Oh, those silly billies! Good thing we women are here to set them straight without giving away the game, amirite ladies?”
Enlisting women to help other women: brilliant.
Enlisting women by insulting and yet pandering to men (“better halves” my Aunt Fanny): un-brilliant.
Enlisting women to play the non-threatening, power-behind-the-throne game, rather than encouraging them to just flat-out take the reins like the capable adults they are: anti-brilliant.
Shut up, Geri.