Giles Coren on sexism
It’s a shame to see a man of obvious writing prowess producing a Daily Mail article to rival Ms Jan Moir’s (she loves is when you call her Ms) or
lesbian Melanie Phillips’. Remember, this article was not written for the purpose of Giles Coren’s self-promotion or pay packet. It was written to enlighten and empower, and to use words about women like ‘harpy’.
We’re treated to some real insights, which can be summed up thus:
1. Those fat, old, moaning harridans on Loose Women are disgusting and sexist. Yes, I went on that show, but not to promote myself, or get paid, only to expose their outrageous prejudice once and for all. Did I mention they were fat, old fishwives?
2. Women lie about pain in childbirth. It really doesn’t hurt at all; mummy said I just popped out. It can’t have hurt as much as when Cribbins got popped by a cricket ball in that game against Harrow.
3. All women think men are a joke. This must be true because I said it is.
4. Despite what all those awful feminists in their dungarees say, “there is no question that women today have it all … They retire younger and live longer to such an extent that minor inequalities in pay levels are obliterated when you consider whose money pays for those 25 years of retirement.” It doesn’t matter about Page 3 or Nuts magazine or rape conviction rates or eating disorders or pay gaps or endemic sexism or street harassment. WOMEN HAVE IT BETTER.
Then Coren goes on to make some misguided analogy comparing men’s status in society to “young Germans after the Second World War … We are expected to go through a period of atonement for the sins of our fathers. To be treated worse than we merit because of crimes previously committed in our name: in this case the crime of feeding, protecting, loving and nurturing women in accordance with our biological imperative.” Er what?! Biological imperative? Post war Germany? Fuck off Giles.
Smoke and mirrors
So Coren has written an article arguing that women accuse men of being sexist when they are actually sexist themselves, which he does using an array of sexist stereotypes (we tell penis jokes and drink Chardonnay and ‘chortle’ and ‘titter’, apparently). My mind is quite literally boggling. Surely this is not the writing of a self-absorbed, over privileged Oxbridge twerp but the ironic parodying of a true genius.
Thank you, Giles. I will imbue your posho food writing with an entirely new level of complexity, rising above thorny issues of Daylesford organic ox cheeks vs Sicilian carpaccio, name dropping of girlfriend and promotion of friends’ restaurants. Thank you for opening my eyes.
… blaming feminism for not speaking up for men is a bit like blaming the American civil rights movement for not speaking up for white people’s rights. Feminism came about because men had power in every sense and women had none; since the end of the 19th century they have tried to claw it back. They have made some gains, but just a quick look at stats and facts suggests they do not ‘have it all’.
Anyway, even a cursory glance of feminist literature shows that it often does analyse how society’s current set up isn’t good for men or women; there’s loads of interesting analyses of masculinity and the pressures it puts men under, and any injustices society produces for men are just that – unjust, and unfair. But why harangue feminism for failing to capture them? Why not analyse them yourself, Giles, and speak for the men who feel marginalised and alone and guilty, juggling their jobs and families and responsibilities, instead of indulging in writing such utter, lazy bullshit?
Loose Women is shit
I don’t like Loose Women either. Their programme is made up of knee-jerk, often offensive stereotypes about both sexes (ooh girls, we all like staying in with the SATC boxset and a box of chocs and a bottle of Lambrini, don’t we?) and, more importantly, it’s shit. Words like ‘man-flu’ are stupid. Films like ‘Valentines Day’ are stupid. People who say ‘if women ruled the world there would be no war’ are stupid (it’s as essentialist as saying we’re all naturally nurturing and caring). A lot of stuff is stupid, and it seems, Giles, that one of them is you.
I can understand why men wouldn’t like being belittled; nor should they. But when one group has less power than the dominating group (like gay people, whose gay hotels or gay spaces are different from the ‘no gays, no blacks, no Irish’ style hotels of Cornwall), it kind of changes the situation. Gay people taking the mick out of heteros, in this context, is different than straight people ‘mincing’ or making offensive comments about gay people. Jo Brand saying her favourite type of men are dead ones is different than a man saying it about women, cos of stuff like, you know, history and culture. I don’t think it’s very funny, but it is different – not unproblematic, but different. Because of the context, Giles. BECAUSE OF THE CONTEXT.
Perhaps Giles is surrounded by powerful, emancipated women; they don’t need feminism because they get paid the same as men, they never get shouted at in the street, they aren’t victims of sexual harassment at work or they have never been raped or ignored because they are a women. Perhaps it isn’t as easy for poor single mothers (and they’re less often single fathers), trying to bring up children with a low-grade job and paltry benefits and services being cut around them. Yes Giles, life is hard, for both men and women, but not equally. Forgive us if we use ‘women’ as a shorthand for ‘most women’ or ‘a lot of women’; funnily enough, there are quite a few experiences common to gender. Pointing out one gender’s grievances isn’t suggesting the other gender don’t have any. Ok?
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Tags: feminism, Giles Coren, sexism