[Ok, so before this short rant, I’m aware that I’m famously a bit of a scruffbag. But I wear actual, clean clothes to work. And I will always dress nice for your special day. Ok?]
I’ve always said “never trust the smug man who turns up to a meeting/date/formal event in a tracksuit”….
I come from a pretty privileged background, so I’ve been exposed to this character more frequently than many. I’ve worked with him. I know him.
The guy who turns up to birthday parties in dirty joggers. The subtext of his outfit: He needs you to know that your event isn’t worthy of his efforts.
The man who loves when you wear a short skirt, “babe”, but never changes out of his “dress-down uniform” and never shaves for your special day.
The man who doesn’t need to wear a suit for a pitch, because he knows he’ll still steal the show with his “charm”. He knows the clients will see his lack of shits given and they will like him all the more for it.
The man who intentionally wears the shabbiest shorts he owns for meeting your parents. He adheres to social norms for no one [especially not your parents].
The man who doesn’t see a benefit in changing his appearance to suit his surroundings. Why would he?
The man who won’t ever change his ways because he’s got on JUST FINE without doing so; without having his ego knocked; without being challenged.
This man should never be allowed into a position of power
He knows he can break the rules.
He’s cashed in on his privilege every step of the way to get there. Sure, he can act nice and humble, but deep down, he knows damn well [or chooses to ignore the fact] that the women around him, and people of colour, will never be offered the same leniency.
This man is everything I hate about the patriarchy we all currently live in. It’s been really difficult to find grounds for pointing him out… Until now.
The patriarchy finally has a “champion”.
Rise Sir Dominic Cummings.
Sure… he may have steered our island into a sea of fake-news-flavoured chaos; sliced our nation into two [made-up] warring divisions; put the integrity of our democracy on the line; risked thousands of lives for his own personal agenda; played our politicians against each other with absolutely no regard for our economy, our communities and the havoc his actions may play in putting further hundreds of thousands of lives at risk for years to come….
But I am actually grateful to him for one thing.
Dominic Cummings has united us in one very powerful way. He has shown us just how dangerous the individual [privileged, white] man can become when he taps into the power of the patriarchy.
Next time I’m told off for being a bra-burning feminist for blaming everything on the patriarchy, I will have someone I can point to. I’ll be able to say:
“You explain to me how else this was allowed to happen?”
I can’t wait for us to be able to put this chapter in shitstory behind us.
But hopefully now, in future, we’ll be able to point to Dominic Cummings, and have an actual conversation about why he was allowed to go as far as he did.
In years to come we will learn just how much he meddled with society [his role in the Leave Campaign potentially irreversibly divided us as a nation; forging social, racial and economic lines to polarise people over].
But. Together we might now be able to start picking at other aspects of the patriarchy; a structure so grossly embedded in society and embodied by people like Dominic Cummings. Maybe this painful process can be helpful, productive, proactive. Hopefully by having these conversations and asking for the truth, we can push towards fairness and honesty as the status-quo.
And next time someone like Dominic Cummings swaggers into your wedding party wearing torn jeans, turns up late to a pitch presentation and “steals the show”, or just generally shows utter disregard for the fact that the rest of us are following “the rules”, we can call him out on it and maybe even offer his spot to someone more deserving.