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Girls & Women

The Ewan McGregor-Piers Morgan Feud Over the Women's March Misses the Point Entirely

Ewan McGregor was due to appear on “Good Morning Britain” earlier today to promote "Trainspotting 2," the much-anticipated sequel to the 1996 classic. 

However, he pulled out of the show abruptly after discovering the interview would be conducted by Piers Morgan. The host, no stranger to controversy, claims the actor pulled out only five minutes before he was scheduled to appear on air. McGregor tweeted a concise explanation for his decision.

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Over the weekend, McGregor had tweeted his support for the Women’s March: 

Morgan, on the other hand, publicly condemned the march on the basis of two speeches. Taking issue with statements made on stage in Washington by Madonna and Ashley Judd — two women out of the millions who participated in the global march for equality — he dismissed the purpose of the march as simply: “Trump-hating and resentment that he won and Hillary lost.”

From this limited range of evidence, Morgan decided, “No, this march wasn’t about women’s rights,” and tweeted: ‘I’m planning a “Men’s March” to protest at the creeping global emasculation of my gender by rabid feminists. Who’s with me?” 

There is no clear reason why any man should feel threatened by women seeking equality if he also believes in equality, which Morgan claims to do. He even identifies as a feminist.

Morgan’s critique of the march predictably outraged many, who celebrated McGregor’s decision to shun the show. 

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Yet others felt the actor should have stuck around to debate the issue, including Morgan’s co-host Susanna Reid who frequently stands up to her counterpart’s tirades.

While it may have made compelling viewing, perhaps McGregor did not want to give Morgan more air time, knowing that provocation boosts ratings? Morgan has since published a column launching crude accusations at McGregor for his past decisions.

It’s spiralled to unpleasant levels now. While allies are welcome, two men at the centre of a feud on women’s rights sounds like a contradiction in terms. Sound familiar?

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The Trump administration is already passing legislation that will dramatically affect women’s lives. Less than two days after Women’s March, Trump passed an executive order cutting federal funding to international health organisations that perform or advocate for abortion. Known as the ‘Global Gag Rule’ it is set to affect 27 million women and couples in developing countries who use contraceptive services funded by the US. This is despite the fact that no US funding for family planning is currently used to carry out abortion. 

The picture above speaks volumes. While not all women may be pro-choice, there is no clearer example of patriarchy at work than a room full of men deciding what a woman’s rights should be. Too often, the debate over women’s rights gets hijacked by the men who shout loudest. 

Morgan may not give up his propensity to provoke, but really, the story is not about him, or Ewan McGregor. Saturday’s march put women’s rights, however varied and complex these may be, in the spotlight. The global demonstration served as a sign that women will not stay silent in a world that still wants to confine them to the shadows. That's as relevant today, as it was on Saturday, or yesterday — and as it will inevitably be tomorrow.