A response to ‘What’s in an expression’ http://www.varsity.co.uk/opinion/3575

This article asks a good question- what, indeed, is in an expression? Everyday we hear remarks such as ‘write more like a man’, ‘you throw like a girl’ or ‘strap a pair on,’ and particularly in Cambridge I find. Ms. Bates is absolutely right; such expressions are unacceptable and must be challenged even if those making them do not mean to criticise the female race or cause us offense.

However, I find the point behind the story through which she has chosen to challenge such loaded behaviour, well, wanting. ‘Daddy’s money’ is an offensive phrase for very many reasons: it implies that those who have will continue to prosper through no effort of there own whilst relying on a patriarchal system to do so. I don’t deny this. What I can’t understand is why Bates can’t see that this point has already been made in Mr. Mansigani’s statement.

When she asserts that Mansigani was not speaking out of contempt but from ignorance as to the weight of his turn of phrase, the desire to criticise appears to have jumped the gun. The phrase, and quite clearly from my reading of it in context, was used to criticize a political move that would force us back to the days where the rich would be able to access a higher education purely on the basis of their economic standing. This standing, due to wealth distribution within this country and across the globe, would have been afforded them by their male forbears. Even to this day women only make up 10% of the UKs richest individuals, and this number would have been far smaller even a decade ago.

In short, this expression was used to critique a gendered and classist ideal to which the plans of Mr. Willets and his friends would see our society return. It notes the ways in which patriarchy, economy, education and society interact and seeks to warn us that these realities are intertwined and must be addressed as such. I would hope that, upon reflection, Bates would support the statement issued by our student’s union and realise that there are a great many on our side, men and women, whose points we may have to sit back and think about in the wider context before we rush in to compare them to idiots such as Michael Sanguetti.


  1. John

    Good point. But do catch the ‘race’ thing in the future, it really made me cringe!

  2. sarahpetersharrison

    Agreed, apologies for that!

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