The battle over the status of London’s Garrick Club as a men-only establishment is flaring up again, as a new motion to admit women is tabled for a July vote. Opened in 1831, the Garrick is a gentlemen’s club located in Covent Garden, known for its select membership which has included Laurence Olivier and Charles Dickens.
Candidates have to be proposed by an existing member before election by secret ballot. The intake process is rigourous and exclusive, on the basis “that it would be better that ten unobjectionable men should be excluded than one terrible bore should be admitted.” The Club has a “gentlemen only” membership policy, but women are allowed into most parts as guests. Dismantling this very select male space has been a long-running project for UK Feminists.
The shaming campaign aimed at forcing the Garrick to take women members has emanated mainly from women in law and their less capable cohorts in the media. The Garrick is popular with British judges, and there have been grumblings about the detriment to diversity resulting from powerful members of the judiciary fraternising behind closed doors.
In 2011, Baroness Hale, first female member of UK’s Supreme Court (formerly the House of Lords) blamed a lack of female judges in top jobs on the existence of the Garrick Club. Speaking at a “Diversity Forum” hosted by the law firm Norton Rose, twice-divorced militant Feminist Hale complained about “systemic barriers” based on “personal network relationships” holding women back.
If It’s New Then It Must Be Good
In 1992 a motion to admit women to the Garrick was defeated by 363 votes to 94. Now, twenty-three years on, another motion asking “women may be admitted to the Club as full members” as of 2017 has been tabled by ex-Labour MP Bob Marshall-Andrews. It’s due to be voted on at the Garrick’s next AGM on the 6th of July.
The news was gleefully reported in the Evening Standard this week by feminist hack-in-residence Joy Lo Dico, who pens the Londoner’s Diary column. She foams with jubilation at the prospect of the Garrick “dragging itself into the 21st century,” but is none too happy at the “counter-crusade to keep it locked in the 19th” by reactionaries opposing the motion.
In her hit piece, Lo Dico refers to supporters of the motion as the “progressive wing” who want to give “gals the same rights as guys.” Opponents of the motion are “old boys” who are “muttering” that diversity should allow for the existence of a male-only club.
It’s clear on which side Lo Dico, typical as she is of the thousands of mediocre Oxford University graduates stuffing the offices of British newspapers, has her bread buttered: all-male spaces must be dismantled.
Do As We Say, Not As We Do
Since Joy Lo Dico is a Feminist who appears on panels with names like “Women and Equality,” it is safe to assume that she wants all gender-based spaces dismantled.
Joy Lo Dico is in fact intimately involved with opening and running female spaces that marginalise men. 2013, another feminist dross-merchant, Rhadika Sanghani, reported from the opening of Lo Dico’s “pop-up” women’s establishment—The Other Club—which she was happy to report contained none of the “pretentious ideals, elitism, mahogany (and men) typically associated with members’ clubs.” Lo Dico explained her motivation for opening the club:
There’s so many professional women working in London now, we wanted to socialise with them
Promulgating, in other words, the very same “personal network relationships” fostered between members of the Garrick Club that Lady Hale was railing against back in 2011. Sanghani also warned readers of thinking the The Other Club was just a space for socialising:
Don’t be fooled by the fun names though – the events are set to explore the hard hitting topics of slut-shaming, the page 3 ban and “the F word” again.
In other words, a club for professional women to discuss hardline feminist policies, including soft and hard censorship. The formula was again put to work by Le Dico a year ago when she opened The Trouble Club, an establishment for “talented, witty and cheeky women of today to challenge presumptions that women cannot talk politics, tech, philosophy.”
It’s far from clear how oppressed and marginalised the (largely white, privileged) women who frequent Lo Dico’s establishment actually are. The new place has had influential guest speakers such as politician’s ex-wife and professional victim, Vicky Pryce, who has been spearheading a major Liberal Democrat campaign for fewer women to be sent to prison. By the way, the male prison population in the UK is 81,709, while the female prison population is 3,867.
To be fair, Lo Dico’s clubs don’t exclude men. She was at pains to point out, in relation to the Trouble Club, that “Men can join – so long as they follow the rules of bringing a female plus one. It keeps women in the majority in this space.”
No need to imagine what prospect any man would have exerting influence in such an environment, and what species of tame, supplicating manginas and white knights would gravitate there. The hypocrisy of Joy Lo Dico on the Garrick Club gives away her crude Feminist power play: complain about the detrimental nature of male practices while appropriating those practices in a female context, wherein they are no longer detrimental, but “empowering.”
The Importance Of Male Spaces
We have written before on ROK that “men and women have different social and cultural needs, some of which can only be fulfilled in gender-specific safe spaces.”
Garrick Club members are among the most prominent minds in academia, law, politics and business. If so many of them are against the changing of the all-male rule, then there might be something more to it than what asinine hacks like Joy Lo Dico characterise as a refusal to “get with the times.”
They are probably well aware of the consequences of allowing women to infiltrate this formerly male space. As the Daily Telegraph’s unabashedly Neo-Masculinist Martin Daubney has written:
…it’s a fact that if you put a woman in a group of men, it profoundly and irreversibly changes the dynamic as we posture for attention, or say what we think women want to hear
What better way to flush the quality of bonhomie and banter down the toilet?
The New, Elite Mangina
If any Garrick members need convincing that the proposed rule change is a bad idea, they need only consider the most prominent proponent of the motion, Garrick Club member Benedict Cumberbatch. The actor recently went to great pains to show his progressive credentials by crawling on his belly to appease a baying mob of SJWs over his use of the term “coloured” in an interview about diversity in UK acting. Cumberbatch grovels like a Soviet functionary engaging in self criticism:
I can only hope this incident will highlight the need for correct usage of terminology that is accurate and inoffensive.
It seems that after almost two centuries, the Garrick Club’s admissions policy has proved itself insufficiently conservative to keep out the “terrible bores” it was designed to. It now harbours men like Benedict Cumberbatch, willing to self-flagellate over his failure of “correct usage of terminology” and willing to change the Garrick’s men-only membership policy to appease feminist consensus.
With “terrible bores” like Cumberbatch on its roster, it won’t be long before the Garrick Club invites women, and mediocrity, into its ancient, wood-paneled lounges.