Bono, woman of the year? Seems it takes a male lens-tinted singer to save womankind | Nell Frizzell

He drummed home the message that poverty is sexist do women need this great flapping ego to protect them?

Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel prize, war became obsolete when Geri Halliwell was awarded a UN goodwill ambassadorship and feminism became obsolete when we all handed in our bra ashes and admitted that Bono should be the first man to be awarded the Glamour Woman of the Year award.

Thats right just to round off this glorious year of war, corruption and celebrity death, Glamour magazine has named the rock-honking, lens-tinted frontman of U2 one of the worlds very own women of 2016. Now, I know the notion of what even constitutes a woman is up for debate and rightly so but I think we can probably all agree that a cisgendered, self-identifying man is a fair way off the mark.

At least in this instance the man with the golden glasses was photographed alongside his fellow ONE campaigners including lifestyle blogger Jane Maynard, fashion student Alicia Lowe, mental health campaigner ADriane Nieves, founder of the Pudding Truck Carrie Cohen, Berkeley universitys Mazelle Etessami, another food truck owner Diana Lamon and Desert Aids Project campaigner Sue Lowe who are all, in their own way, working to promote the new Poverty is Sexist campaign.

As someone who has spent her life picking up emails, appointments and awards for the typo alter ego Neil Frizzell, I, like you, assumed that Bonos nomination was a result of some sort of hilarious administrative fuck-up. Someone had mixed up their Woman of the Year tabs with their Stack-Heeled King of Pseudo-Religious Bore Rock tabs on the Glamour spreadsheet again. Wed better call Johnny Depp and Cliff Richard before the mess spreads any further.

And yet, perhaps were wrong to call bullshit on this one. Perhaps, dare I say it, Bono has a point when he said that gender equality cant be won unless men lead it along with women. Because, as he points out, [men] are largely responsible for the problem, so we have to be involved in the solutions. After all, who gave two shiny shits about female empowerment until Ron Swanson was nominated for the Dorothy Everton Smythe Woman of the Year award in Parks and Recreation? I know I didnt.

One man was caught on a barbed wire fence; one man he resist, one man washed on an empty beach and that one man betrayed with a kiss was the 22 Grammy-winning, multimillionaire tax obfuscator Bono, who spoke truth to power and called Coldplays Chris Martin a wanker. He also, it should be noted, encouraged George W Bush to pay for life-saving Aids drugs in Africa, campaigned to wipe out the debt of the worlds poorest countries and pointed out on International Womens Day, no less, that young women apparently account for 74% of all new Aids cases among adolescents in Africa. Because its true that women tend to suffer the effects of poverty, war, sexual violence, disease and natural disasters more keenly than men. Its true that poverty is sexist. And perhaps we are wrong to complain that it took a man saying it for anyone to notice.

Bono, you broke the bonds and you loosed the chains. This nomination has made me want to tear down the walls that hold me inside to reach out and touch the flame. We may be beaten and blown by the wind but at least we have the great flapping ego of you Irelands greatest pleather-jacketed crooner to shelter us from the storm of female recognition.

Other great women of our age

Tian Tian

A sister we could look up to… Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

When the BBC named a furry, frigid, monochrome bear one of 2011s faces of the year I, for one, celebrated. Tian Tian (aka Sweetie), the panda who arrived at Edinburgh zoo from China in 2011, was a genuinely representative, aspirational, relatable woman. A sister we could look up to. A repository of female strength, valour and closed-knee grass chewing. Although, for my money, the award really belongs to Ai Hin, the panda from the Chengdu giant panda breeding research centre who faked her own pregnancy in 2014 to get more buns. Thats my kind of girl.

Wonder Woman and the UN

Something of a missed opportunity… Photograph: DC Comics

It was only recently that Wonder Woman you know, the drawing of a fictional non-human character was named an honorary ambassador at the UN. Now, I dont want to throw shade at the United Nations God knows that as a new cold war begins to ice up we need our international organisations more than ever. But it does seem something of a missed opportunity to mark the fight for gender equality by celebrating a whip-wielding, bosom-thrusting, wasp-waisted super-creation of a mans fervent imagination instead of, oh I dont know, an actual woman. Created and delivered by an actual womb.

White Irish pro-lifers

A pro-life poster in Dublin: who better to comment on womens rights than a selection of white, Irish men? Photograph: Paul Mcerlane/REUTERS
It seems almost churlish to single out just one all-male, all-white, pro-life Irish panel on abortion when there are so many great examples to choose from. But back in January the Dublin-based Family and Life organisation held a pro-life talk on How to protect the eighth amendment
entirely enacted by middle-aged white men. You know the eighth amendment its the part of the constitution that prohibits women in the Republic of Ireland from seeking abortions. And, frankly, who better to comment on womens health, rights, experiences, choices and bodies than a selection of white, Irish men?

The computer

A computer from 1982: hey, we all like buttons. Photograph: Don Fogg/AP

Back in 1982, Time magazine named the computer its person of the year. Because, hey, we all like buttons. To be fair to Time, it had taken the enormously progressive step just seven years earlier of putting American women on the cover. Nice and non-specific. And, sure, the year before that theyd chosen King Faisal of Saudi Arabia rather than, I dont know, Saudi royals, but you cant expect them to drill down to that kind of forensic detail every year. Theyre not machines, after all. Theyre not computers.

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