As a fully paid-up feminist, what with a wife and two daughters, I would not wish to be a woman. Despite an apparent change in cultural attitudes in recent decades, I see daily just how rabid many men are when within the vicinity of a female, be they ‘real’ or virtual. I have just been on Facebook when, in the comments section beneath a picture of Margot Robbie I read gems such as ‘Beautiful sexy baby xxx’, ‘I Love you. If you come to Stoke, I will take you out and give you a good time’ (I’m not sure that’s possible in Stoke), and ’Sexy hot mamma, I will make babies with you’.

Now, not only did Ms Robbie not post the picture, she will likely never read the comments, so I am left wondering why some men would risk their careers, homes and livelihoods to ‘come on’ to a virtual image of a woman they have never met and likely never will, in order to profess how horny the said image makes them feel? It’s weird and bizarre and yet is not exclusive to online pursuits.

Whilst out and about in London over the previous few days I have noticed at least two men who have eyed up not only my wife, but my 16-year-old daughter, only ceasing their behaviour when I give them the death stare. I see women objectified at every turn: Waiting outside Primark (I still refuse to go in), I see middle aged men stare longingly at a woman’s derriere as they indiscreetly pretend to be looking in the shop window. It's true to say that, even though we have eliminated the wolf whistling from builders’ sites and the such like, the pervy nature of men is now more discreet, but has not gone away, as women continue to be objectified and vilified at every turn.

It is a constant worry for us husbands and dads. My daughter recently, after a trip into London in the daytime with two of her friends, reported back that she was approached by a man ‘in his thirties’ who told her how ‘pretty’ she was and asked her if she fancied a date. Thankfully I have versed her well as to how, sadly, many men cannot be trusted so she remained safe, but no doubt their success ratio is such that for every nine denials, they will ‘strike it lucky’ with some poor unfortunate teenage girl whose life will be affected irreversibly through that one moment of letting their guard down.

I am constantly on tenterhooks: If my wife goes out for the evening, I insist she is escorted home or gets a cab if I cannot pick her up. It’s a shame to have to admit that as we live in a relatively safe village with low crime levels, but the moment you let your guard down is the moment the predators among us strike and I just hope I can reach my last breath by ensuring my girls don’t end up as just another statistic.

Post a picture online and women are critiqued as if applying to become the front-page splash for Vogue. Hair's too short, legs are too long, there’s a bit of timber and the such like, before women are scared into a corner by not expressing themselves, as the critic’s cruel words take effect and they move onto cracking onto to celebrities like Robbie instead. Dolled up for a night out and they are leered at, with inappropriate comments made as men, on heat, objectify them at every turn as they watch their drinks don’t get spiked and they don’t end up exposed and alone as they try to get home after a pleasant night out. If the worse comes to the worse and they are attacked, then often they are victim blamed because they drank too much, or their skirt was too short as they ‘asked for it’ as we continue to see less than two per cent of all reports of rape end up in conviction as those predators continue unabated in their quest to exert control over women who are doing little but trying to enjoy their lives, come of age, and have a nice time.

No, I am glad I am not a woman, but just as alarmingly, the situation will not, despite our best efforts, change, until attitudes do. This behaviour is, in many societal subsets, ‘normal’ and it often makes me wonder how much less stress it must be to be the father of only boys as we do all we can to protect our daughters from the onset of a supposedly civilised and progressive society…

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher