Author Tony Parsons defends ‘high earning women make a man’s penis drop off’ comment

10:00 28 May 2012

Author Tony Parsons has caused controversy with his comments on the salary gap between men and women. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA

Author Tony Parsons has caused controversy with his comments on the salary gap between men and women. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Hampstead writer comes under fire from women including Times columnist Caitlin Moran for his views on salary gaps.

Hampstead columnist and author Tony Parsons has defended his comments that women who earn more money than their husbands leave them feeling emasculated.

The 58-year-old has been under the spotlight since he wrote a column in Grazia magazine. It said: “Does it rock the family boat if a woman earns more? No – it drives the boat into an iceberg. Because the man will feel as if his penis is dropping off.”

The column prompted a flurry of discussion on social networking site Twitter and Crouch End journalist and Times columnist Caitlin Moran wrote: “Tony Parsons’ Grazia column on how high female earners make a man ‘feel as if his penis is dropping off’ is worrying me.”

She followed by Tweeting: “At most media parties now Tony must fear the soft thudding sound of his genitals hitting the floor. We must all watch out for it.”

In an interview with the Ham&High, the Man and Boy author defended his comments and said: “If you are asking me do I believe that all men do want to be the bread winner – yes, I do, I believe that completely. I think it comes from a fundamental, elemental instinct which is the desire to provide and protect.

“To me, wanting to take care of your family financially is exactly the same as protecting them.

“If someone is kicking our door in at 3am, I would go down there – if they want to hurt my family they are going to have to kill me first. That’s the way I was brought up.”

He added: “I’m happy that people find it controversial. People get upset about nothing. It’s a changing world and not all men earn as much as their partners but, if they are telling you or me that doesn’t bother them, I don’t personally believe it.”

Mr Parsons was also invited onto the Radio 4 programme Woman’s Hour to discuss his comments.

On the show, he said: “My wife has bailed me out numerous times over the course of our 20-year marriage, but it is unthinkable that she could have consistently supported me – my penis would have, literally, dropped off.”

Dame Janet Suzman responded to the comments this week.

She said: “I’m laughing. My first reaction is to laugh. It is so old-fashioned. Does he fancy himself as a hunter-gatherer?

“Times have changed for women, though not as much as they should have. The struggle still goes on for women to be respected in work.

“If his penis is so fragile, let it fall I say. The absurdity of his fragile position strikes me.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Saturday, February 28, 2015
Alan Cartwright

The teenager stabbed to death while riding his bike in Islington last night has been named as 15-year-old Alan Cartwright.

Saturday, February 28, 2015
A 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death on Caledonian Road Pic: Google

Teen managed to carry on riding before collapsing - murder investigation launched

Friday, February 27, 2015
CCTV footage shows when the driver loses control of the black Honda car in Hampton Road

This jaw-dropping footage shows the moment a speeding driver smashes his Honda into five parked cars in a quiet residential street before fleeing.

Friday, February 27, 2015
A teenager was stabbed near the Emirates minutes before Arsenal's Champions League game

Knife attack - just prior to Champions League game - fifth in borough this month

Friday, February 27, 2015
The job spec says the succesful applicant will have to 'remain calm under pressure' (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images.)

Looking for a new job? Like driving, fan of the Royal Family? Then the perfect role for you might have just come up as the Queen is looking for a new chauffeur.

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

The former Star Trek co-star proposes a Twitter memorial.

Read more

Russell Tovey has admitted he didn’t realise he was being offered the lead in Banished at first.

Read more

Damian Lewis admitted he is enjoying portraying King Henry VIII in BBC Two’s period drama Wolf Hall.

Read more

Promoted content

A look at one of our previous Design Fairs

Chelsea Old Town Hall will be the venue for the renowned Desire Fair from 6-8 March 2015. This stunning mixed media jewellery and silversmithing event where visitors can purchase direct from contemporary designer makers selected from the best in the UK is an event not to be missed.

Take our quiz and find out!

A survey conducted last year revealed that Britain is the fourth sexiest country in the world, with the UK sex toy industry worth an estimated £250 million a year.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

The political editor will be taking time off for treatment.

It involves a picture of a hand. You can guess what shape it is making.

Quirky London