In summer 2016 Theresa May came in for what footballers call “a bit of stick”—never so trenchantly as here (from Christie’s A book for her, also excerpted here):
I’m not entirely sure about women wearing a “This is what a feminist looks like” T-shirt. Or men, for that matter. It’s overstating the case a bit, isn’t it? It’s like wearing a T-shirt with “I am not a racist” on it. It makes me suspicious. I assume that most people’s default setting is feminist, until they do or say something that makes me think otherwise. If I went bowling with a friend, for example, and they took their coat off to reveal an “I am not a racist” T-shirt underneath, I don’t think I’d feel relieved at all. On the contrary, it would make me very on edge. I’d spend the whole night worried I was bowling with an ironic racist.
A few years ago, because Tory feminists were in the papers all the time, talking about Tory feminism, it made me think about what Tory feminism was, which fed into the standup in my show War Donkey in Edinburgh in the summer of 2012. This is how it went:
I’ve been trying to work out what a Tory feminist is, because I keep seeing photographs of female Tory MPs in the newspapers, wearing T-shirts with “This is what a feminist looks like” on them. What, like a T-shirt? How can a T-shirt look like a feminist? A T-shirt looks like a T-shirt, doesn’t it? It should say, “This is what a T-shirt with ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ written on it looks like”.
That’s what it says on the front, anyway, of the Tory feminists’ T-shirts that they’re all wearing now. And on the back it says, “Not really, I’m a Tory, you gullible dick”.
Then underneath that it says, “I axed the health in pregnancy grant. I closed Sure Start centres.’”That one’s got a smiley face next to it. “I cut child benefit and slashed tax credits. I shut down shelters for battered wives and children. I cut rape counselling and legal aid.” Winking face.
“I cut funding for CCTV cameras and street lighting, making women much more vulnerable. I closed down all 23 specialist domestic violence courts. I cut benefits for disabled children.” Sad face with sunglasses on. “I tried to amend the abortion act so that women receive one-to-one abortion counselling from the pope before they go ahead with it.” Winking face with tongue out. The back is much longer than the front, by the way. It’s a tailcoat, basically. They’re wearing tailcoats.