It’s 2017, so you’d be forgiven for hoping that male politicians might accept and respect women as their equals. However, as the likes of President Donald Trump and MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke (oh he of the belief that women are “too small and weak” for equal pay) have proven time and time again, misogyny continues to reign supreme all over the world.
So it should come as no surprise that Vladimir Putin has also decided to stamp all over womankind with his polished black shoes.
When the Russian president was quizzed about his stamina and stability in Oliver Stone’s four-part documentary, The Putin Interviews, Putin smiled indulgently and leaned forwards, as if he had a great secret to share.
“I am not a woman,” he revealed, “so I don’t have bad days.”
Perhaps using all of his skills as a former KGB agent to pick up on the fact that his words had not been well received, Putin added: “I am not trying to insult anyone. That’s just the nature of things.
“There are natural cycles.”
Well, if it’s natural, then we suppose it must be true.
Don’t despair though, members of the weaker sex: Putin does think women are very good at some things. It just so happens that those things are pumping out babies, raising a family, keeping our homes as neat and tidy as possible, and, y’know, looking beautiful.
Penning a letter to womankind on International Women’s Day, Putin – who is divorced with two adult daughters in their thirties – wrote: “Dear women, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, wives, friends, our nearest and dearest ones, please accept my heartfelt congratulations on International Women’s Day!
“You fill this world with beauty and vitality, giving warmth and comfort, cordiality and harmony with your tenderness and generosity of spirit.”
He continued: “You care day and night for your children, grandchildren and your family. Even today, on International Women’s Day, you are still caught up in your routine, working tirelessly, always on time. We often ask ourselves, how do they manage it all?”
Ah, men. They’ll never understand how we women, with all of our flaws and weaknesses, cannily manage to function like real-life human beings.
Putin finished his letter by informing women everywhere that they were beloved by their menfolk.
“Most importantly, we love and treasure you,” he wrote. “No wonder men have been celebrating women in music and poetry for centuries. Konstantin Balmont, a Russian Silver Age poet, described women in a vivid and precise manner: A woman – with us when we are born, a woman – with us in our last hour, a woman – our standard during battle, a woman – the joy of open eyes.
“We always turn to women for inspiration and consolation, and always find it. Women give us life and perpetuate it in our children.”
Hmm. Remind you of anything?
On a completely unrelated topic, it’s worth remembering that Channel 4’s The Handmaid’s Tale (airing on Sundays at 9pm) is actually based almost entirely on real-life events.
That’s right: every aspect of Gilead’s culture has really happened at some point in history, somewhere in the world. And, looking at today’s political leaders, it seems as if the truth may just continue to prove far stranger – and more horrible – than fiction.
Images: Rex Features