A Morality Tale (dedicated to the Twitter Youth Feminist Army)

And then … the feminists arrived …

A few hundred tweets later…

The moral? Your words might come back to haunt you…

You are so, so welcome.


It’s not just about the panda

This article was originally published on Shrillblog.

As part of their ‘people who made the headlines’ feature, the BBC listed a panda called Sweetie in its female list.

You’d have to be a humourless, militant feminist to find that insulting, right?

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not just about the panda. Let me explain.

When you split anything – a list of newsworthy people, the education system, boxing outfits – by gender, you better make sure it doesn’t enforce insidious beliefs about gender. Such as, I don’t know, that newsworthy men are politicians, soldiers and shooting victims, whereas newsworthy women are rape accusers, brides and cute, fluffy animals.

The BBC, an editor was anxious to comment, wasn’t making a judgment about which men and women had made the most worthy achievements that year. Just who had ‘made the headlines’. So let’s make something clear – the BBC lists reflect our country’s appetite for new stories, and an incredibly disheartening view of what we expect from men and women who make our headlines.

The breakdown – Faces of the year – men

  •  An undercover cop
  • An award-winning actor
  • A binman who scored a YouTube hit with a rap video criticising the Health Secretary
  • A Catholic policeman killed by a bomb in Northern Ireland
  • A Vice-Admiral who masterminded the Bin Laden raid
  • A successful golfer
  • A former features editor at News of the World
  • A guy who got mugged during the riots
  • A farmer who told Rhianna to stop cavorting semi-naked in his field
  • A man who had a suspiciously close relationship with the Defence Secretary
  • A famous football manager
  • A Republican candidate who had to pull out after sexual assault allegations

What this tells us

Headline-worthy men, according to this list, aren’t simply successful actors or sportspeople. They are also Masculine Men™, doing Masculine Jobs (policemen, sportsmen, armed forces, political candidate) and often brushing with violence (getting killed, ordering other people to kill, getting mugged).

Since men are many times more likely than women to do the most dangerous jobs, it might seem logical to see these trends in the media. But if we are more likely to see men getting attacked, attacking others, and heading gung-ho undercover operations in the headlines than women, no wonder rigid expectations of masculinity endemic in our culture. If you aren’t successful, unafraid of violence, or a martyr to violence, you aren’t a real man. You’re certainly not going to make the headlines.

Faces of the year – women

  •  A US Congresswoman shot in the head
  • A successful pop singer
  • A Libyan woman allegedly raped by Gaddafi’s militia
  • A maid-of-honour at a royal wedding with a now-famous posterior
  • Another woman allegedly raped, this time by a high-profile Frenchamn
  • The first Chinese player to win a tennis Grand Slam singles
  • A woman who married a prince
  • A Rupublican Congresswoman beloved of the Tea Party
  • Brazil’s President, the first woman to open a debate at the UN National Assembly
  • Another woman marrying someone
  • A US Marine who went on a date with Justin Timberlake
  • The Infamous Panda

What this tells us

At first, it’s not so bad. Two congresswomen, a successful tennis player, a ground-breaking speech by a female president…2011 was a good year for women!

And yet…

There are 3 brides/bridesmaids in this list. There are 2 (alleged) rape victims. There’s a woman who bagged a date with a famous guy. That makes exactly half of this list focussed on women’s relationships with men, only some of which were consensual.

And there’s the panda. Yes, a carp was once featured in the men’s list, so well done human race, you’ve achieved gender equality (disclaimer: this post contains sarcasm). Did no one at the BBC notice the cringe-worthy fact that the whole story surrounding Tian Tian the panda was her ability to breed? Which is truly the sparkling cherry on top of this hateful cake.

 So, it’s not just about the panda, people. Allow the Feminist Rage to flow. And if any of you utter the sentence “why are you so angry at this when people are starving?!” I will unleash my Kung-Fu Panda moves (once I’ve finished breeding.)

Pippa Middleton and her Royal Arse

Originally published by The Yorker
She was educated at one of the best universities in Britain, she works in a highly successful party planning business, and she is an accomplished skier. Three things I guarantee you will not have known about Philippa Middleton.
Pippa – as her friends and the media dub her – is probably known to you for two rather different reasons. She is sister to, and was bridesmaid to, Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. She also has a Facebook fan page dedicated to her arse.
Once a woman such as Pippa Middleton becomes embroiled in the media circus that surrounds a family such as hers, certain things become the subject of intense public attention. Pippa may wish for the media to scrutinise her outfits, from the cut of her bridesmaid’s dress to the way she does her mascara; but if she doesn’t, there’s not much she can do about it. She may revel gloriously in the lustful attention her backside has garnered from the British population; or she may be offended by it. We have no idea; it did not stop the media from circulating photographs of her in her underwear, sold to American photographic agencies by unscrupulous friends.
To put the tarnished cherry on the proverbial cake, Pippa has been singled out for a potential career in the pornography industry. Co-Chairman of Vivid Entertainment Steve  Hirsch has reportedly sent a letter to Ms Middleton saying:
“As far as I was concerned, you were the star of the recent Royal Wedding. As I watched a broadcast of the event I couldn’t help but think that with your beauty and attitude you could be an enormously successful adult star. For just one explicit scene I would be pleased to offer you $5 million USD and, of course, you would have a choice of partners. If you would like to bring your brother James along, he could appear in a separate scene for $1 million USD.”
Without uttering a word, and merely by appearing in a flattering outfit on her sister’s wedding day, Pippa Middleton has solicited a job offer from a porn king and the leering attention of the nation. A quick perusal of comments on the aforementioned Facebook fan page of ‘Pippa Middleton’s Arse’ include:
 “I’d love to have a go on that! Sweet momma I’d eat it for hours!”
 “id defo smash her back door in.”
“Nice arse… shame about the face! Lolz.”
This is not coy affection for a nation’s sweetheart, but a masturbatory, undignified and humiliating appropriation of a woman’s body which bypasses any moral objections because she happens to be in the public eye.
This outrageous objectification is not confined to Pippa, of course; we all remember Huw Edwards’ comment on what a ‘splendid view’ we all had of Kate Middleton’s breasts as she climbed into her car on the day of the Royal Wedding. Nor is it confined to those who find these women merely sexually attractive; the endless speculation and affirmation of opinion of ‘fashion experts’ around the wedding seemed to ignore the individuals walking down the aisle, instead imbuing their clothing and make-up with the most value. Yes, it was a beautiful dress. But it says nothing about the woman who wore it.
I am not Pippa Middleton, and I would never presume to speak for her. However, no-one has any clue as to how she feels about her arse being idolatrised as an almost separate entity to the rest of her body; all we know is that ‘the Middleton family’ were very angry that the press circulated pictures of her in her bra. Pippa herself has no voice. I suggest that until she has one, we should end the public displays of lustful desire her body is at the centre of, and recall that in that body is a woman who may not feel flattered but saddened by her objectification. Shame on those who forget that.