I’m sat here writing this with two young sons by my side. I can only hope to god that they don’t turn out to be anything like the men described by The Financial Times in their recent article about The Presidents Club. Please familiarise yourselves with it. It’s pretty tough reading. To summarise a men only club holds a yearly charity fundraiser where they hire “hostesses” to parade around basically looking pretty and being leered at – and the rest. Money talks.
I’m not shocked, unfortunately.This goes on. A lot, I’ve seen it. I grew up, and still live, in Sevenoaks. A fairly wealthy part of the South East favoured by commuters due to its proximity to London. Growing up here I’ve witnessed first hand the stench of money, how it seeps into people, changing them, giving themselves a false sense of entitlement over others.
I grew up on the “wrong side” of Sevenoaks – not the posh part. Sevenoaks is like so many towns in that is has a huge amount of wealth but it is not evenly distributed and therefore there is a vast amount of poverty too. The local school was (and still is) a very much mixed bag of the haves and have nots. Even as a kid I remember telling one of my peers “my mum says such and such” to which her reply was “what does she know? She’s just a cleaner”. She was a charmer for sure. Yeah, my mum was a cleaner. She worked hard after my dad exited our life and, like many other women, worked as a cleaner as it fitted around bringing up a small child. But, it would seem your job (or that of your parents) and how much you earn determined your place in society even in primary school.
But back to the article, I shared it in the women’s group that I run with Anna. I wasn’t sure what reception it would get, you never can tell with these things. Thankfully the first comment from a member agreeing that she had witnessed this sort of behaviour too and was disgusted. The thing is these men (I am sure there are women capable of this but they are in the minority, lets be honest) think that they can buy ANYTHING. Money talks, if they flash enough cash you’ll flash your, well whatever they ask you to. But it’s OK, they’re rich they have power. You should be grateful that they like you enough (or your boobs because that’s more likely what they’ve been gawping at) to chuck a few quid your way.
Growing up here money flew around, men would buy you drinks and expect sex or respect in return. Both of which are a privilege you have to earn from me and neither comes easy. In my experience the rich tend to hang out together, the rest can’t keep up financially. I guess in a sense they segregate themselves and in turn the sense of entitlement becomes amplified. I’ve seen comments on Facebook like “They should get a job, I earn £xxx a year, so can they”. It doesn’t work like that. There are only so many jobs paying that wage. And, sir, just because you happen to have one of them doesn’t make you a better human or, dare I say it, entitled to that money. You may have worked hard but I bet no harder than the guy that cleans the hospital ward your mum stayed on when she was sick being paid minimum wage.
The thing that worried me most about the article is that the men involved seemed to feel that because the shindig was a fundraiser for charity that it was acceptable. No. That makes it worse! Look, if you have £400k to throw about – chuck it at the hospital without buying your wife plastic surgery (yes – that was one of the items for auction). Those “disadvantaged kids” you’re helping? Well, you know that pretty 20 something you’re plying with booze and groping? You helped her 15 years ago when you paid for a ward to be named after you. Ironic? Possibly. Distasteful – most definitely.
I am very pleased to see that Great Ormond Street have taken a stand and returned the “donation” given to them. Donations should not be tainted in such a manner. It’s about time we all took a stand and put a stop to this culture of money making the world go round – it doesn’t have to if we don’t let it.