Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine (aka Mrs Michael Gove) is reaching for her smelling salts again over the way some women are cashing in on their erotic capital. Has there ever been a more depressing year for feminism than 2014, she asks? It has been a terrible, terrible year, she tells us, what between Cheryl Cole (a grown woman) getting a tattoo on her bottom and Kim Kardashian (another grown woman) balancing a champagne glass in the same place.
What to do she wails, what to do? Well, it certainly has been a very, very bad year for feminism but not for any of the reasons cited by Ms Vine.
In short, here are some low lights of the year for feminism. Coming in first is no doubt the story run by Rolling Stone accusing a number of real, living, breathing men of taking part in a gruesome gang rape of a woman at the University of Virginia.
Some real journalists destroyed this story and revealed it to be a hoax, a shameful example of feminist agenda-driven narrative journalism. Hot on the heels of this feminist fiasco was the hounding of scientist Matt Taylor by the sisterhood.
The sisterhood targeted this man, an eminent scientist, who was responsible for the ‘first time in human history for landing a robot on a comet hurtling through space some 25 millions miles away from Earth.’ His sin? Wearing an inappropriate T-shirt.
This harassment was by carried out by wimmin armed with their ‘gender studies degree.’ I would like to see them launch a rocket with that one. In stark contrast to Mr Taylor, who has devoted his life to furthering the interests of mankind through a career in science, the whining, whinging sisterhood’s only contribution to the progression of the human race is to perpetuate their own victimhood. So all in all, a pretty bad year for the feminists.
Those who did not have a bad year are the following: Kim Kardashian, Cheryl Cole, Kelly Brook and Kelly Osborne or indeed the ‘over-paid, under-fed and perma-tanned supermodels of Victoria’s Secret’ Ms Vine dislikes so much. Who says that these models are over-paid, by the way? They are paid what the market sustains just like anyone else.
Anyway, Ms Vine compares these adult, fully-consenting career women to the ‘slave markets of Ancient Rome.’ “Not since these markets have women been judged so blatantly by their appearance, analysed so openly as little more than a collection of body parts.”
Sure, that is exactly the same thing, apart from the fact that these are consenting, adult women free to walk away at any time. Oh, and the small matter that they are getting paid for their labours – in some cases quite a lot of money. So yes apart from of all the above very important distinctions, this is indeed the Slave Markets Mark II.
I also think it is bit unfair to dismiss these women as “being judged as little more than a collection of body parts.” That is the case with prostitutes who are displayed in windows in Amsterdam and elsewhere. These women may not be free to walk away or indeed freely consenting to selling their bodies. But this is a world away from modelling for Victoria’s Secret.
Yes, you have to have the body to model. However, this is a necessary but not sufficient requirement for the job. I am no expert when it comes to lingerie modelling, but I suspect there is a lot more to it than “prancing around semi-naked.” It perhaps looks this way – but this is part of the job, to make it look easy, attractive and more likely you will purchase the underwear. If you do not fancy buying it, then you do not have to. This is the beauty of capitalism.
In fairness to Ms Vine, she does at least recognise that it is “women – and women alone – (who) are responsible for this rampant self-objectification. This time, we really cannot blame the patriarchy.” We can all agree on that then.
As I have written before, what Ms Vine is really engaging in here is some predictable and no doubt very satisfying matriarchal shaming of the younger generation. She tells us, “If I could wish for anything in 2015, it’s for this insanity to stop. For women to stop making such fools of themselves, to rediscover some dignity. Above all to stop frittering away the freedoms so hard won by our predecessors.”
Annoying isn’t it – when the younger generation engage in behaviours not exactly to your approval or liking? What your predecessors fought for was exactly this – adult, consenting women deciding for themselves how to earn a living. Enjoy!