#MediaWatch Musings on Muirfield



#WFIMediaWatch's champion blogger Kirsty Strickland muses on recent events among the Scottish gentlemanly golfing community, and considers matrimonial opportunities. 

(We are assured this is a photograph of the interior of Muirfield golf club.  We really wouldn't know.)

This week, members of Muirfield golf club held a vote on whether to change their long-standing policy of 'NO GIRLZ ALLOWD'. If you think, in 2016, that decision would be a pretty straightforward one, then think again.

Funnily enough, men who join Gentlemen's Clubs' are pretty adverse to change. The rule remained, after failing to meet the 75% support threshold required for it to be scrapped.

Gentlemen golfers do things a certain way. They have traditions, customs and schedules that must be adhered to. In a letter signed by 33 members of Muirfield before the vote they said ''The introduction of lady members is bound to create difficulties.''  They then outlined some of the things we might struggle with such as 'lunch arrangements'  and -heaven forbid - ''questioning foresome play''
They added "It will take a very special lady golfer to be able to do all the things that are expected of them" and women members "may not meet this standard."

We emailed Muirfield for #WFIMediaWatch to clarify whether women being so universally incapable of following their sacred lunchtime traditions meant that there were no women at the club cooking or serving the food. We asked whether their cleaning and catering staff were exclusively male too. No reply as yet, we'll let you know if it ever arrives.

Is it really a problem anyway? Veteran golf commentator Peter Alliss had a helpful solution for those perplexed by the decision.
“The women who are there as wives of husbands, they get all the facilities. If somebody wants to join, well you’d better get married to somebody who’s a member."

Muirfield don't want icky girly membership fees, but are happy to let you in providing you become Tarquin from Auchtermuchtys' 4th long-suffering wife.  If you've got a thing for wild nose hair and time on your hands then let the wooing begin. Starting presumably with shouting your credentials and/or measurements through the locked entrance gate.

It's quite romantic, actually. Just leave your opinions and feminist rage at the door and a life of slightly warm sherry and ironing tartan trousers could be yours.  You'll need to pretend Women For Independence is a group for recipe exchanges and flower arranging though.  They've never quite gotten over what those pesky Suffragettes did to golf courses.

It's quite easy to laugh at the absurdity of it all. Scottish women know that a few special snowflakes at Muirfield Golf Club don't really matter all that much. It's a silly decision, rooted in male-privilege.  And when the news hit the headlines, it was largely met with derision and mockery.  Something so blatantly out of touch is a pretty easy thing to condemn.

At #WFIMediaWatch we agree that gentlemen's golf clubs are ludicrous. Quite frankly we'd sooner winch David Coburn than pay to go and sit on Muirfield's dusty old futons. 

But we've got bigger, wrigglier fish to fry. This week the new batch of MSPs elected their committees for The Scottish Parliament Corporate Body and Business Bureau.  Each party proposed one of its members to serve on each committee. Can you guess where this is going readers?

Ten men were elected to the two committees. One #manel is bad enough, but two frankly seems like trolling us. Holyrood hasn't witnessed anything so overtly masculine since the days when Tommy Sheridan was swaggering around the chamber.

The good news (yes we sometimes do bring it) is that reaction in the Scottish media was swift. It says a lot for the work of high-profile campaigns like Women 50:50 that the gender imbalance was recognised immediately, and called out.

We hope it was a now-regretted oversight on the part of the parties who failed to take gender balance into consideration when nominating candidates. Such an oversight, however, cannot be allowed to become a trend. With three prominent female leaders at Holyrood it is easy for complacency to settle in.

The fact remains that just 35% of MSP's and 25% of councillors are women. We have seen from this recent election just how stubborn and ingrained gender imbalance is in public life.  We know from the election night results and EU Referendum coverage that women are far from represented properly on screen either.

The tide is turning, albeit gradually. While the men at Fortress Muirfield are supping their cullen skink, WFI women are campaigning, organising and working to effect change.

Anyway, who needs birdies & bogeys when you can have banners & boycotts?

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