Colonel Gaddafi must be feeling like a complete ass. On a recent visit to Italy, he invited 700 call girls to listen to him pontificate on women’s problems and his important role in solving them. In a fit of zealous pride, he urged them to migrate to Libya, boasting that the status of women in his country was an example to the world. The call girls naturally took this to mean that prostitutes earned fabulous rates of pay there, and a dozen or so eager beavers flew to Tripoli to make their fortunes.
On arriving, they were shocked to discover that hookers in Libya were paid less than the average shoe-shine boy. When they tried plying their trade in hotel bars frequented by foreign nationals they were shooed away like cats. Nor were they allowed to advertise their services in high-quality periodicals like the Camel Breeder’s Gazette. Enraged by this turn of events, they rushed to berate Gaddafi in his tent, telling him that unless he reimbursed their expenses they would tell everyone that Libya was a shit-hole. Gaddafi had no option but to cough up the cash and apologise for having misled them, which he blamed on a mistranslation of his words. The girls then returned to Italy and told everyone that Libya was a shit-hole.
The actual position of women in Libya is not a topic on which I have reliable information. Certainly, the young ladies in Gaddafi’s bodyguard detail must have a pretty cushy life – a woman who walks around with a semi-automatic weapon slung over her shoulder doesn’t have to take crap from anyone. As for the rest of the female population, who really knows? The Colonel likes to present himself as a progressive revolutionary type, but men in that part of the world are used to wearing the trousers and hogging the poufs. If a wife gets too lippy with her husband she might find herself being bartered for a goat at the souk.
To find out where women are truly respected, one must ignore the rhetoric and look at actual behaviour. Take the recent example of Senor Gustavo Rojas, a candidate for Venezuela’s National Assembly. He is raising funds for his campaign by means of a raffle in which the first-prize is breast enlargement surgery. The fact that he chose such a prize shows his interest in women’s issues and his desire to attract their support – or more particularly, the support of women who want bigger boobs. On getting elected, he will no doubt offer the winner of the raffle a secretarial position in his office.
Now recognising a woman’s right to have big jugs (should she wish to) doesn’t mean a society has dealt with all its gender issues. The political classes in Venezuela should view this as a stepping stone for other equally important rights, such as a firm and peachy butt. But it does make one wonder what Colonel Gaddafi would have to say if he toured Venezuela on a fact-finding mission, meeting the flower of its voluptuous womanhood. I wouldn’t be surprised if his famous eloquence deserted him, and he found himself tripping over his tongue.
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