March 13th, 2018
They are deeply sorry. But are they sorry enough? I don’t think so.
The University of Oxford has apologised after an image of a female cleaner being made to clear a message reading “Happy International Women’s Day” was shared on Twitter by a professor.
Oxford Associate Professor of Political theory, Dr Sophie Smith, tweeted the photograph, writing: “Oxford security makes a woman cleaner scrub out ‘Happy International Women’s Day’ on the Clarendon steps. What an image for #IWD, @UniofOxford.”
This message was widely shared on social media, with thousands of people retweeting the image and many sharing their disgust.
When they say they ‘made’ her clean it, they make it sound like they grabbed some poor old Doris off the street, threw a bib on her and thrust a mop in her face and said “here you go, you old trollop, GET CLEANING!” Knowing that she was a mere female and could not argue with her male overlords she simply grabbed the mop and went to work as the men laughed, twiddled their moustaches, and smoked cigars.
One person wrote: “Utterly shameful, Oxford. Degrading, demeaning & insulting that security men believe they had the right to instruct a woman cleaner to remove a message that seeks to celebrate women.”
Another said: “What a powerful image, and poor judgement on behalf of Oxford University.”
The university said it was “deeply sorry” for the incident, and that it “should not have happened”, tweeting: “We are deeply sorry for this and for offence caused.
Yes, it is powerfully telling that in modern society, a woman who is paid to clean should actually have to clean.
It was no longer International Womens’ Day. So leaving the writing there wouldn’t have made any sense. It’s not like it was an art masterpiece or anything.
“International Women’s Day is hugely important to Oxford. This should not have happened.”
Dr Smith responded, asking the university to give the cleaner: “a heartfelt apology, a warm cup of tea, the rest of the day off and, along with all our precarious staff, good enough pay to live in this city.”
Some were unsure as to why the university apologised, with one sceptic tweeting: “Are you for real? I’m assuming it’s her job as a cleaner. Why would she get an apology and the rest of the day off? That’s bizarre.”
We are just getting our strings of bullshit all tied up in a knot aren’t we! One minute it’s liberating for a woman to go to work and the next it’s degrading that she is expected to actually do something.
Another said: “How ridiculous. Why are you so disrespectful of that women’s job? Perhaps she’s proud to be working and providing for her family. We can’t all have Doctorates.”
Garrick Taylor, president of the Oxford UCU union, expressed his sympathy for the cleaner, writing: “During a peaceful International Women’s Day rally. A low paid and probably precariously employed female cleaner was sent out in the freezing cold to clean chalk writing saying Happy International Women’s Day. Did it have to be removed? Then?”
The chalk message appeared to have been written during a UCU strike International Woman’s Day rally.
Okay so if a man had cleaned it off would that have been okay? Of course not, the story would have been “patriarchy again!” Funnily when men are cleaning it’s not degrading.
If it wasn’t “freezing cold” would the left have said “no problem here…”? I mean, she is wearing a t-shirt and a bib. That’s all. But presumably that’s because her fat-cat male oppressors told her she couldn’t wear a jumper, to heighten their enjoyment of her suffering.
The problem seems to be that this woman had to do some cleaning. Despite that being what she is paid to do.