Why it’s better to be a man

Toronto Star columnist Heather Mallick on why she wishes she was born a man (she’d be a more successful journalist, for one).

“I always regretted being born female. True, it has its moments, but it is lesser. This is a weird thing for a feminist to admit, but who better to notice how much glossier life still is for men and who more likely than a woman to brood about that fact and speculate about an impossible reversal of fortune?

“The inbuilt failure of womanhood is brought home to me every time a list is published. Recently a digital magazine published a list of the greatest magazine features “of all time.” An American list, it betrayed its insularity by choosing almost all American writers.

“This offended several Canadian journalists, but what positively slayed me was that no one noticed there were only about 26 women in a list of 225. We are more than half the population but only 10 per cent of us win, I said. Men looked at me blankly, which proves my point.

“Time magazine recently published a list called Best 100 Novels of All Time. There were only 16 women on it.”

Mallick adds:

“Take Penguin Canada’s recent series of brief biographies entitled Extraordinary Canadians. Of the 17 planned or published, the pompous series editor John Ralston Saul has deemed that only three Canadian women so far are extraordinary — Emily Carr, Nellie McClung and L.M. Montgomery. Worse, only four women were considered to have sufficient gravitas to write the biographies at all. Ralston Saul included some writers I admire, Douglas Coupland for one, but their worth is not the point. It is a male series written by males.”

Mallick lists varies places where women are an afterthought, including parliament, art galleries and museums. She writes:

“Yes, I greatly enjoy being a woman, a state that comes with delights that elude men. . . . But my earning power would be much higher if I had entered journalism as a man. I would not be constantly assessed on the basis of my face and hair by readers, which is tiring. I’d be competitive rather than fretfully compassionate. Getting dressed in the morning would be cartoonishly simple, for my wife would buy my clothes and oversee the fiddly bits of home life.

“I would have what an acute female friend called the eternal “completely unjustified self-confidence of the young, not-very-talented man” who will best you just by being himself. Sounds good to me.”