“Clever and attractive women do not want to vote; they are willing to let men govern as long as they govern men.” So wrote George Bernard Shaw. Whether this is, or ever was, true I know not, but Janus Kowin-Mikke, leader of the Polish political party Nowa Prawica (New Right) probably has a view on this if his interesting belief that women are less intelligent then men is anything to go by, click here to know more.
According to remarks he made to the TVN24 new channel, women achieve lower scores than men in intelligence tests which, according to him, makes his view an objective truth leaving nothing left to discussion. Another day, another eccentric, you might well think, but for the fact that Korwin-Mikke’s party looks likely to win some seats in the forthcoming elections to the EU parliament. Hitherto, Korwin-Mikke’s unconventional views on many subjects have kept him outside the political mainstream in Poland, have attracted little electoral support, and his party has no seats in the Polish parliament. However, clearly riding the rising tide of frustration that is raising the boats of Eurosceptic and anti-EU parties throughout out the EU, a new poll by CBOS puts Korwin-Mikke’s party on six per cent, enough to give it seats in the European Parliament, and a better projected performance than the current minority coalition peasants’ party.
What women want, Korwin-Mikke says, is “a guy who is taller, stronger and smarter than her,” which seems an eminently reasonable strategy, although might I also suggest an ability to respect women and a sense of humour (si tu la faire rire tu peux prendre au lit, as our Gallic chums put it). When asked whether women, being “less intelligent than men” should therefore be deprived of their right to vote, the brave leader replied: “Well, as a monarchist, I think everyone should be deprived of voting rights” and “then the King would rule by the grace of God.”
Alas, Poland’s last ruling monarch departed at the end of the eighteenth century following the third partition when its charming neighbours Russia, Prussia and Austria helped themselves to rather more than the proverbial cup of sugar, and Poland ceased to exist as an independent state. The mistake Poland made was to have an elected king, which rather defeats the object, and constitutional arrangements, such as the liberum veto which, tending towards instability, made governing nigh on impossible but was at least a handy way of soliciting bribes.
And something of this destructive approach lives on in Korwin-Mikke who also said he was running in the European parliamentary elections “to blow the EU apart from within” adding for good order that the European Commission building in Brussels “should be turned into a brothel” demonstrating a keen sensitivity to the female vote. As an exhortation “beds before ballots” doesn’t have quite the same ring as “kinder, kirche, kuche”, but it’s early days, I suppose.
Be that as it may, I think Korwin-Mikke is on a pretty sticky wicket in Poland when he suggests that women are less intelligent than men. Many employers to whom I speak prefer to employ women – intelligence, dependability, and rationality being among the talents on offer – and, as we saw in Saturday Night Fever, the view of Polish men held by Polish women is not wholly flattering, which is hardly surprising given views of the type expressed by Korwin-Mikke (but, like Voltaire, we must accept his right to express them).
I had the pleasure one evening this week of chatting over a drink to a Polish woman who well surpassed the first three words of the Shaw quotation above and, in a femme fatale sort of way, seemed more than capable of the last two as well. I posed the usual question (no, not that one): why do Polish women roll their eyes whenever one mentions Polish men? The answer: a flash of incredulity, a smile, and a rolling of the eyes.
So there you have it. What women want has been a puzzle since the dawn of time. If Korwin-Mikke and Nowa Prawica seem a little off the ball perhaps Bill Cosby is nearer the mark: “Women don’t want to hear what you think. Women want to hear what they think – in a deeper voice.”