Friday, January 28, 2011

What is WRONG with Giles Coren?!!

I can only presume the Daily Male were advertising for a columnist and Giles Coren thought - fuck it, there's a recession on, I'll just put my sense of decency in this handy dustbin, I could sure use the money. Here's the line-by-line on a little piece called So why is it all right for women to be sexist about MEN?

"The two Sky Sports presenters who were caught on tape making disparaging remarks about women earlier this week are a pair of daft old duffers, and no mistake. It is important for me to say that first, before I get to the business in hand."

Well before I start let me say on behalf of women everywhere: thank you. Good to have you on our side for once.

"Andy Gray and Richard Keys are a couple of dull, flabby, middle-aged football bores and are just the sort of doddering old clowns you would expect to relax off camera by swapping ancient prejudices and poking fun at women — in this case a female linesman — for not understanding the offside rule."

I wasn't personally in favour of sacking them because of their age and weight. I'd call that ageism and sizeism. For me the problem was the whole sexism thing.

"You shouldn’t pass unflattering remarks about women behind their backs because it is not a well brought-up thing to do, and they needed to be told. I would never do it myself. Not because I am a feminist, but because I am a gentleman."

Oh so now it's classism? You don't believe women deserve equal rights and opportunities (that would be feminism), you believe working class people shouldn't have good jobs.

"But while Gray has now been sacked, I don’t expect that will be the end of the matter."

Lets hope not. Let's hope that the public consciousness on the matter has been raised far enough to wonder just briefly if we're really all ok with a 5.1% rape conviction rate or a pay gap the size of the rift valley.

"We will hear an endless shrieking to ‘kick sexism out of football’; a PE teacher will be fired for telling his goalkeeper to ‘stop crying like a girl’; and a hapless League One manager will be deported for describing a fight between players as ‘handbags at dawn’."

Wow - sexism in football getting the same treatment racism has had in the past. Yes that would really be going too far wouldn't it? And PE teachers (who by the way are all male) and League One managers should be allowed to be sexist if they like too.

"There will be the endless apologies, public soul-searching and self-flagellation. And as usual the rest of us men will be expected to atone as a sex for a couple of remarks by two fat, superannuated fools on the telly, and to grovel for forgiveness with every snivel and cringe of our waking lives."

How many times have you grovelled and snivelled about this one so far Giles? I've counted none. Nor have I so far asked any men I know ever to apologise for remarks made by other men. On the contrary the world of "other men" will be distinctly enhanced by the recent events in one obvious way: two of them are about to get jobs as commentators on Sky Sports...

"Not that that’s anything new. To be a man in this country is constantly to have to apologise for oneself and to be ever so very careful about every sentence we speak or write which contains any reference at all to members of the opposite sex."

If you have to be "ever so very careful" to avoid making overt sexist remarks Giles, then please go right ahead and be "ever so very careful". You would think you wouldn't need to worry though what with how frightfully well brought up you are and all that...

"While at the same time, and this is the shame of it, we ourselves are fair game for women. While sexism from men is the outstanding social crime of the modern world, women can say absolutely whatever they like about us."

Really? I said a few times on air this week that I thought it was right that Andy Gray was sacked (an opinion it appears you agree with though for odd and different reasons). Since then I've had the usual string of abusive messages on my blog, facebook and email. My work has been attacked on public forums by people who've clearly never seen it. And just for raising the issue I've been accused of "moaning" and told in no uncertain terms to get over it. I dread to imagine what would happen if I made an actual sexist remark against men.

"For make no mistake: sexism is alive and well in this country and applauded in all quarters — as long as it is practised by women. And they are allowed to say the most terrible, terrible things."

Hold on these are two very different things. Women are paid less, lack power, property and respect in every level of our society. Women (the oppressed group) are very much entitled to highlight their situation with humour and make comment on how to escape it. Men (the oppressing group) are not welcome to use humour to reinforce and perpetuate those negative attitudes and stereotypes.

"Only last week, for example, Jo Brand, the newly crowned Best Female TV Comic at the British Comedy Awards, was on Have I Got News For You and replied to the question ‘What’s your favourite kind of man, Jo?’ by saying: ‘A dead one.’ Oh, how the audience fell about. And the other contestants, all male, chortled away too."

On Tuesday night I watched a male comic say he had sex with his wife while she was asleep. Luckily, he remarked, she sleeps with her mouth open. Your go Giles.

"I’m not saying it wasn’t funny. I’m just saying we live in a world where the thorough-going awfulness, uselessness and superfluity of the male sex is such a given, that a frontline television comic can get big laughs by saying she’d prefer it if we were all dead."

We also live in a country where due to the violence experienced by women at the hands of their male partners and ex-partners two of us every week actually do end up dead. Hence why the other way round the joke doesn't really work.

"And I’m trying to imagine a world in which I am on that show and they say, ‘What kind of women do you like, Giles?’ and I reply: ‘Dead ones.’ I just don’t think it would get the same laughs, do you?"

Ah well let me explain the nature of humour Giles. Humour arises from the unexpected. There's nothing unexpected about a man killing or wanting to kill a woman. I get death threats fairly regularly from men who find an opinionated outspoken woman who believes in actual equality an unbearable possibility. Do you?

"Here’s another of Jo Brand’s (excellent) gags. ‘What’s the way to a man’s heart? Straight through the chest with a kitchen knife!’ Again, not unfunny. But predicated on the idea that killing men is hilarious. Whereas killing women, as we all know, is a very serious affair and not to be joked about."

Actually killing women, as I explained above, is a fact of life in the UK. And a fact of life that neither the government nor the police seem all that bothered about.

"It’s not just Brand, it’s all women. ‘What do you call the useless flap of skin attached to a penis?’ they joke. ‘A man!’ they all reply, and clink their chardonnay glasses and chortle till dawn. How on earth did this get to be OK?"

Well two things: (1) Earlier on you complained you and all other men were expected to take the blame for Andy Gray. Now you are blaming me and all women for remarks made by Jo Brand. Fuck off. (2) What parties do you go too?! Chardonnay? Did your parents spend all that money on your upbringing only for you to spend your evenings in Yate's wine lodge? I last heard that "joke" when I was about 16 and I don't remember it being funny or interesting then.

"I’ll tell you how. It is because pretty much from birth women are schooled by their mothers to deride men. They are sugar and spice, we are slugs and snails."

If only women were all well brought up like you eh? Shame your expensive prep school probably doesn't even take girls. What's the word for that? Oh that's it - discrimination!!

"They are reflective and sensitive, while we run around kicking balls and shouting. And then as girls push towards puberty their mothers take them aside and tell them: ‘Boys are only after one thing!’"

Firstly I'm not sure that is what parents do to girls any more. I think they're just a touch more nuanced than that though since you grew up in a Victorian novel perhaps you had it differently. But secondly if we "warn" girls that boys only want sex, we seem to be simultaneously warning girls that they don't (or shouldn't) want sex, that they won't (or shouldn't) like it and certainly shouldn't have it. All lies. We (if we do, I think a lot of modern parents are past this though) are effectively telling our girls that regardless of their personality, their academic achievements and physical strength, their true value lies in their virginity. That's a horrible hateful message that values women purely in their desirability to men.

"The great lie. All men want is sex. Not so. If anything, it is women who think only of having it off. Girls on average lose their virginity much younger than boys and have more sexual partners in youth."

Girls on average go through puberty earlier than men. And excluding the gay community men and women have to be having, overall, the same number of partners, if girls have more sexual partners in their youth (and you would think he would lay on some statistics here cos I'm not familiar with this "fact") men must be having more when they're older. Dirty fuckers...

"As a teenager, I was terribly shy about sex and yet girls were trying to do it with me all the time. I used to run, literally run, from their bedrooms when they tried it on. And yet women are allowed endlessly to harangue us with our supposed lechery."

As a teenager I never ever, not once, got as far as a boy's bedroom seeking sex and then had him run away. Not that there aren't sexually forward women and sexually inactive men, but I don't see any evidence to suggest your experience was typical Giles. And lechery is actually very different from wanting to have sex. If you want to have sex with someone, you can ask them out. There's no need to be lecherous. Lechery is stuff like overtly gawping at someone's body, making repeated sexual remarks, etc. The vast majority of lecherous people would jump out of their skin if the object of their attention turned round and said "ok, lets have sex".

"And the prejudice festers. Harriet Harman says that men caused the banking crisis, and the harridan legions nod their heads. ‘If women ruled the world,’ they cry, ‘there would be no wars.’ "

So name the women behind the banking crisis? Is Fred the Shred short for Frederica? And a minute ago you were saying you had to watch every word you said - now you are calling women harridans. Maybe you should add that word to your special dictionary of words to watch out for...

"What nonsense. Women are far meaner, more brutal, aggressive, small-minded, jealous, petty and venal than any man.

If women are so much more brutal, why do we commit so much less of the domestic violence, the street violence and the crime in this country?

"If women ruled the world countries would be invaded because ‘she’s always been jealous of my feet’ and because ‘she looks down on me for going out to work’."

Which women are these? Not the ones in my life. I've never known anyone look down on another person (male or female) for "going out to work". You really have to be super-super rich to fail to appreciate the necessity of earning a living in this world. You might as well look down on people for eating yogurt with a soup spoon. Peasants!!

"Millions would die, torture would increase. If women ruled the world there would be carnage."

Yes women who right now commit a tiny tiny fraction of the violence in the world would definitely get into power and decide to kick things off with a big old round of torture. Is your article based on anything but hate?

"And what sort of an insult is it anyway to suggest that most women don’t understand the offside rule? It’s true, for a start. Most women don’t. And most of them declare it proudly."

Erm, how badly are you not getting this. Andy Gray and Richard Keys were saying a female linesman - with a professional refereeing qualification - didn't understand the offside rule. That's like saying a dentist can't fix teeth because of her gender. It's rude and way out of line (pun intended).

"Most of them use football as an example of one of their favourite gags, the one about how men never grow up, about how we’re all just children — most often manifested in the one where a mother-of-two says ‘I’ve got three children’, you raise an eyebrow, and she nods towards her husband. Hilarious."

How awful it must be for these men to be looked after like a child - to have their food made for them, be exempted from housework and their clothes laid out every morning. If you don't want to be called a child - act like an adult.

"And nor are men, in this female narrative, merely puerile, aggressive and underdeveloped. They are hypochondriacs, too."

Amazing that in the face of all these inadequacies we've let so many into the cabinet isn't it? Not to mention the management of all the big companies...

"‘He’s got a touch of man flu,’ say the womenfolk and titter. But what nonsense is that? It is women who make a big fuss about mild discomfort, not men."

I even saw this one on Mythbusters and it was proved the other way - women had a much higher pain threshold than men. Also by the way "titter" is misogynist for "laugh".

"I have never had so much as a cold in my life, nor claimed to. I even suspect sometimes that the whole palaver about the pain of childbirth is a conspiracy to ride roughshod over men."

Seriously? We're making it up about childbirth? You deliver a watermelon through your penis and call me back on this one ok?

"My own mother, a consultant anaesthetist herself, has always claimed that giving birth was a breeze but that she pretended it had been painful to build bargaining chips with my father."

Yeah things that can help ease the pain of childbirth part one: being a consultant anaesthetist. And why the hell did she need to build up bargaining chips? Couldn't she just do what she wanted or did your father have to issue permission first?

"You look at shows like Loose Women and you wonder how on earth they get away with the terrible things they say about men. I went on once and it was horrific. I wanted to die."

Well you had a bad experience. You would hope you would come away from it with a sympathy for women who go through something similar every time they go to work. Imagine being a camerawoman on Top Gear. Or a female co-presenter with Andy Gray. He'd probably make lecherous remarks asking you to help him adjust his microphone cable in his trousers...

"No male-hosted show could treat women the way those outsized harpies treat men."

(1) As we've seen, they can, and do. (2) What has size got to do with it? (3) Another word for your "watch every word" dictionary: harpie, noun, derogatory term for women.

"I don’t especially want to throw my hat in with Dominic Raab, the slightly bonkers Tory MP who has called for an end to legislative discrimination against men, but there is no question that women today have it all."

Oh yes we sure do - last I heard there were almost as many women in the cabinet as there are Magdalen College Oxford graduates. We've clearly made it. Release the party poppers...

"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. And it just isn’t fair that they are allowed to be so vile about us."

Of course female poverty in old age is another area of inequality we haven't even talked about. Also bear in mind that the gender life expectancy gap is actually mostly down to lifestyle - to the fact that men drink and smoke more and eat less healthy diets.

"I suppose, in a way, British men are like white people were in Nineties South Africa or young Germans after the Second World War."

That seems unfair - white South Africans and younger German people seemed on the whole at least willing to admit and learn from the mistakes of the past.

"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."

Who knew that "feeding" would involve so little cooking, "protecting" so very much murder, "loving" so much rape and "nurturing" so much direct discriminatory behaviour? And biological imperative? Don't make me laugh. Go and read Cordelia Fine, and come back when your top notch education has actually taught you something worth knowing.

"They don’t want that any more. They want to be linesmen. And so we have to let them tell us endlessly how they wish we were all dead."

Oh whoops ladies - apparently we now have to choose whether we want to be loved and nurtured or whether we want to be linesmen. And I know, I know, earlier on he said we could have it all but of course he didn't actually mean IT ALL, he meant, y'know either a partner or a career. Or neither if you like!

"If that’s not off-side, I don’t know what is."

Oh well let me explain. Offside is when there are less than two members of the defending team between yourself and the goal line at the time that the ball is passed. It doesn't apply to free kicks, corners and goal kicks or when you're in your own half or not interfering with play. Let me know if I can help you with anything else. For instance looking for that sense of decency...


Unknown said...

Nice one, you said everything I was thinking. Giles Coren has demonstrated just what a well brought gent he is with this article. A horrible, mean and truly miserable whinge about the terrible 'plight' of modern man.

sianandcrookedrib said...

man, that coren article is unbelievable. it sickens me to think DM readers will believe it.

was talking about this on radio yesterday in bristol and the presentre brought up loose women. as if loose women is the symbol of women's liberation! as if sexism against men excuses sexism against women.

sickening stuff.

Cruella said...

I know I've been asked about 300 times in the last two days why I'm not "doing something" about Loose Women. I don't even watch the show, though I might start now I discover it's the embodiment of women's liberation...


It is commonplace for men who oppose womens' rights and feminism to make the most ludicrous claims whenever the issue of men's hatred and contempt for women arises. The aim as always is to derail the central issue which is the right for women to be treated with dignity and respect - not male contempt and male hatred.

I do wonder how sexual harassment within the workplace particularly since it is overwhelmingly males who continue to target female work colleagues was finally accepted by the state as workplace intimidation. Perhaps the 'men' had a day off from their daily barrage of women-hating comments and sexualised insults.

'Plight of modern man!' Not again Giles Coren - this has been raised every time women dare to demand the right not to be reduced to men's dehumanised sexualised commodities and the issue as always is about men maintaining their male domination over women. It is men's power and domination over women Coren which you attempt to defend and has nothing whatsoever with women's right not to be subjected 24/7 to men's hatred and men's contempt.

Misogyny is not only rampant it is now seen as 'just banter' and aren't we terrible calling for misogynists such as Gray and Keys to name just two men known only for their knowledge of sport, to be suitably punished for their contempt of women. Would there be such an outrage if these two men had engaged in disparaging non-white males? I think not because as always men's interests, men's rights are central whereas women - well once again we are not human are we Coren?

Слінк Ядранко said...

I started out thinking he was just being a bit misguided, but trying. By the end of the article he's just being downright hyperbolic, and obstructive. To insist that torture is inherent female behaviour? That's actually steps beyond what Gray and Keys were fired for.
That said, if only Sky fired Keys. I think they took the cheap way out letting him resign instead.

I see he as well missed the point that, while complaining about this woman getting an offside call wrong, because she's a woman, she got it completely right! Just 'cause the crowd and some bigots with their minds stuck in the 50s wanted it to be offside doesn't mean women can't understand it.

And anyway, this idea that football can't be infiltrated by women because the offside rule is so complicated just highlights how mouth-breathingly stupid most people in the world of football apparently are. It's not even a remotely complicated concept! The number of women employed in the NFL (though still not in the positions of power I'd like to see them in) is vastly higher than in British football, and yet is a phenomenally more complicated sport. That goes for viewers as well - you see the stadium filled with women, all of whom enjoying a game with far more to get your head around. That our British football is inherently less interesting and inclusive is as much the reason why so many women don't understand the rule, and it doesn't matter one jot to them.

I can't believe we live in an age where this discussion still needs to happen. I simply can't believe that there are men out there who are allowed to get away with airing such obnoxious, misguided, offensive opinions about anybody, let alone at around half the population. As you stated about hoping we could treat sexism in sport like we did racism, if any of these guys aired generalisations about black people, or the disabled they'd be out like a shot. But generalisations about women are somehow considered acceptable, or at least not harmful.

I say all this as a despairing man, truly apologetic of half of my gender.

Kate Treacy said...

Many of these male stereotypes that Coren seems to be so wounded by only serve to perpetuate misogny itself - that men can't help being useless in the home, or a bit immature with their silly sexist comments or a little bit violent because that's just what silly men are like. These stereotypes offer excuses for the behviour of men.

Also, I think many feminists would recognise that we need men on board and that belittling and alienating men only does women an injustice.

Coren is a narcissistic, self-publicist who writes pieces like this to attract attention. And it's infuriating because he really is too clever for this sort of thing.

BB said...

this is very worrying and frustrating, not only are women oppressed and is getting worse with the cuts but now they are not even giving us that? they are not even acknowledging that?! that women are the oppressed sex? they have the audacity to say that it is men who are the blood is really boiling right now

Lisa-Marie x said...

Excellent retorts Kate - well done! x

Unknown said...

I think we had the same idea, to tear Coren's crap apart line by line! :)

florencemary said...

Thank you so much, Kate, for picking Giles' crappy, actually lazy, article apart. And I usually love him! I particularly had issue with 'my anaesthetist mum giving birth with no pain' shit. I'm hoping that the birth of his own daughter might shock him into the real world. But perhaps his wife found the whole experience fun! and painless!

Orphiel said...

I have absolutely nothing to add to your analysis except I wanted to comment and tell you that it made me pump my fist up and down shouting 'yes, yes you bastard, yes.'


criminalgirl said...

Good stuff, I'm reading his book at the moment, Anger Management blah blah, I started off quite liking him, then didn't, then did, then didn't, ..etc.. This rant is moronic at best, he does seem to run away at his mouth a lot, but I also think what a waste, as he really is a very clever and talented. Real shame he stoops to such drivel, he's married too with child on the way or already here too? You know it ladies this is his growing up period, he is having a daughter after all, he'll find out soon enough. His world is about to change completely whether he denies it or not.