Monday, January 19, 2009

More Women's Hour

Sandrine Leveque (from Object), Rebecca Morden (from LFN and Scary Little Girls) and I were all interviewed this morning by Woman's Hour for a piece to be aired on Wednesday about the rise of "lad" culture and the backlash against women, etc. I think although we were interviewed for ages probably it will wind up being a 30-second clip that is used. For overseas listeners you can listen online at 10am UK time here.

1 comment:

acm said...

Hi, Kate!

Lads mags, "objectification", pornography ....; isn't the world despicable, becoming steadily more perverted, particularly for women?

"Objectification of women". I came across the other day. What's the "objectification" it so objects to? Well everybody knows, so you don't need to say. What's so bad about it? Again, no need to answer. Or, rather, you're not allowed even to ask, because asking marks you as an evil person. (Have a look at on the topic.)

Well, sorry, I'm going to ask. What is this "objectification"? It seems to mean men paying attention to women's bodies, and commenting on them. What's so wrong about this? This "objectification" is an essential part of masculinity, being part of all cultures, and probably has a lot to do with the species not dying out. A black African man and a white Englishman will naturally admire and comment on the breasts and bottom of the Japanese woman up on the stage singing.

You're a stand-up comic, right? (Do you do the Edinburgh fringe, by the way?) If I were in your audience, part of me would be creasing up at the jokes, and the other part would be fantasising about waking up next to you, just like the other men. This is natural and normal. And the guys you've slept with, AT THE TIME YOU GET NAKED, care only about the shape, feel, and movement of your body and don't give a damn about your PhD in particle physics, or that you're now the managing director of a gazillion pound a year business. Of course, they wouldn't say that to you.

Why don't we admire men's bodies in the same way? Well, aesthetically, a male body is but a rather pathetic second rate parody of a female one. It has most of the same components, certainly, but just doesn't have the gorgeous curves, the proportions, the allure. Even women agree with this (otherwise, you would find unclothed men in adverts in women's magazines).

Trying to suppress "objectification" is trying to suppress masculinity. Boys have it tough, these days. A lot of them grow up without a father figure at home, their teachers are mostly female (teaching's a risky job for a bloke, when a single unfounded allegation from a confused or mischievous girl can get him suspended, humiliated and even sacked), and schools generally are being "feminised": "hunting" (exams, competitive sports, even fighting) is being replaced with "nurturing" (assessment by teacher, cooperative things, exams which nobody can fail).

If, additionally, boys can't even uninhibitedly wolf-whistle a girl or fire a "nice tits, love[*]!" at her, which she can disdainfully reject, then, just perhaps, he will plug that gap in his masculinity with internet pornography, and she will compensate for her lack of perceived attractiveness by stupid dieting, makeup, or even not-really-wanted sex.

Again, just perhaps, if men were more secure in their masculinity, real harrassment of women, things like rape and domestic violence, would be rarer. If you were a true feminist, you would distance yourself from silly sites like, and start encouraging the "objectification" of women.

See you at the Fringe!

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

[*] BTW, "love" is also a neutral term of address to strangers, commonly used in parts of northern England, much like the French "monsieur"/"madame". Go into a shop in Warrington, and the shopkeeper might well greet you with "yis, luv?".