Masculinity and femininity are at risk in a gender-neutral society, says writer
- Modern society eschews masculinity, hero biographer warns
- Joanna Grochowicz is a chronicler of heroes like Ernest Shackleton
- She said the move to a ‘gender neutral society’ is ‘very disturbing’
- The author spoke about gender with Major General Patrick Cordingley
A chronicler of heroes like Scott of the Antarctic and Ernest Shackleton, Joanna Grochowicz knows a thing or two about machismo.
But modern society is shying away from masculinity, she warned this week.
“I find it very disturbing that we are moving towards this gender-neutral society where gender-specific traits are not valued,” she said.
‘Just as we shrink from masculinity, I think we also shrink from femininity.’
In an interview with Major General Patrick Cordingley, who commanded the 7th Armored Brigade – also known as the Desert Rats – during the first Gulf War, she spoke about “the lost virtue of manhood” before an audience at the Chalke Valley History Festival. .
He spoke of Joan Rhodes, who rose to fame as a strong woman in the 1950s. She could bend iron bars and lift anvils, but was also “very attractive” and had a 22-inch waist.
After being abandoned by her parents, she lived on the streets of London at age 14 with buskers teaching her to ‘be strong’.
Major General Cordingley said, “She was a nice lady too. She had a terribly bad upbringing that captured her whole idea of what to do in the world.
“Is that male?” Mrs Grochowicz replied: ‘I have nothing against a woman being called male. I think Joan is a classic example of someone who embodies both [manliness and femininity]† And why can’t we celebrate? She moved across two worlds and was actually incredibly successful.
“You don’t have to be overly muscular to be masculine, you just have to be confident, be able to keep your space, be able to speak your mind openly.”