Friday, April 28, 2006

Mixed messages

I've just been on BBC Leeds, talking about the shock-horror scandal of the teacher Kristina Howells (sorry no news link, it's in the paper edition of the Daily Mail but not online anywhere yet) who appeared topless - yes TOPLESS - in a magazine - and promptly - QUITE RIGHT TOO - got fired. Except that, hold on, she appeared topless in sleazy porn mag ... Cosmopolitan. Erm that can't be right can it? Well what actually happened was that she appeared in an article about real women's breasts and their health. So the 11 to 16 year-olds she's teaching are perfectly able to walk into their local supermarket and pick up (and buy) magazines like Nuts and Zoo, but they can't have a teacher who is prepared to discuss these things in a sensible way.

Essentially what's going on is the same-old same-old thing: Real women having real sex is considered disgusting, but air-brushed glamour models artificially posed with captions implying they were tricked into it ... well that's fine.

The thing that really bothers me today is a different story. Not much good news coverage of it but some info on theregister. Basically some guy has set up a website having convinced his girlfriend to bet him that if he gets 2million hits she'll have a threesome with him. All very well, of course it's a marketing trick, he's just getting paid by advertisers per hit, and stupid blokes around the country have been sniggering and eagerly forwarding it to each other. What bugs me though is this: if she made such a bet then clearly she doesn't actually want to have a threesome - otherwise she'd have suggested it without the stringent conditions. So why would he want to do something with her that she doesn't want to do? What possible pleasure could be garnered from tricking her into consenting to something she actually considers unpleasant and frightening? Unless of course the whole sordid exercise is more to do with power than sex and is just a reflection of the stench of misogyny that permeates our whole culture.


brunns said...

Well there's no advertising on the site. I suspect that he has no intention of forcing her into anything - it's just a bit of a plurile joke that's got out of hand. At least, I hope so.

Nice gig last night, by the way.

Simon B,

Cruella said...

According to The Register, the site links to advertising, they say:

"If you look at the link properties for his links to and (well, the gamefly link is gone, but it did the same thing yesterday), the actual href link takes you through a redirection website! I looked up the owner of the sites that the links redirect through and came across a company named:, an online advertising firm.

Now, this was before the statements listed for April 5 were posted. He has since stated that he is getting a financial bonus for signing people up for However, with a click-through redirection system, he's actually making money from people simply clicking on the link to metrodate (not from having them sign up!)".

The site also says - of the alleged bet between them "she said she was so sure of herself, that she would even put it in writing. This of course is an ultra-binding contract."

Anyway cheers very much, glad you enjoyed the show. I did. And thanks for coming. k

brunns said...

You are quite right about the advertising. Very sneaky. I didn't see any ads, just the links, so I didn't notice.

As for whether it's just a nasty joke, or whether one or both of them is sick enough to have meant it, I suppose we'll never know for sure. If you take the site at face value, it's the latter, but if it's a joke, well, it can't be taken at face value, can it?

I think I'll try to go on believing the nasty joke theory. I don't like to think that badly of people, though I know that the evidence isn't with me. :-(

Simon B,