I've recieved a massive response to my first post about Katie Price. And I am not backing down
...so extended version of rant (which is actually a response to a commenter who called me "disgusting"):
The fact that Katie Price’s rape has become a daily tea time gossip topic – perpetuated by the tabloid media and fuelled by her own PR – is not only making light of the topic in my opinion: it’s extremely dangerous for women and insulting to other rape victims. The difference between Ms Price and other rape victims – which some people fail to recognise – is that Katie Price opened this dialogue herself by writing about it in a trashy magazine in order to advocate Alex Reid’s appearance in a porn film which feature scenes of violent rape. To young girls and victims of sexual assault, to see a media personality and supposed role model speaking out about her “horrendous” rape in the public domain, then flaunting her relationship with a violent porn actor using the same platforms is confusing to say the least. I agree that some of her testimonies following the disclosure of the alleged rape are somewhat typical of a rape victim’s but only in that she is supposedly and/or conveniently too scared to report the crime. What makes her decidedly atypical is her behaviour in disclosing the story, baiting the media almost daily in order to profit from it, and then asking for the public to “forget about it” when the press attention was less than sympathetic. How on earth is this not damaging to other women who have gone through rape and find themselves unable to “just get over it and get on with [their] lives” and aren’t popular enough to make a few bucks on the side?
The pseudo feminist rants like Barbara Ellen's in this week's Observer aren’t feminist at all because they don’t accept Price as an individual and evaluate her behaviour objectively. Not all women are homogenous victims of rape and other sexual discriminations and sticking up for anyone who claims they’ve been raped isn’t a feminist argument; it’s actually sexist. Women get raped, yes, and the law is weighted out of their favour. But women also lie about rape as well. Who’s to say which is which in this case…I actually haven’t – but the supposedly typical “feminist” argument here has already made a decision on who’s the victim.
Regardless of gender our laws still maintain the “innocent before guilty” idea. Don’t you think that immediately assuming Price is the victim of the situation – particularly with the lack of evidence, forensic or otherwise – is actually a little anti-feminist?
Finally, the difference between Price discussing *gasp* her own life and other people having a discrete chat over a cuppa is this (and this is hypothetically imagining Price is a rape victim): not all other rape victims have the world press on tenterhooks for their next “revelation”. Not all other rape victims choose to talk about their rape as a means to endorse rape-based pornography. Not all other rape victims reveal purposefully tantalising details about their attacker to everyone other than the police, and maybe help stop the same thing happening to someone else.
I simply don't believe other rape stories are alike to what has happened to Katie Price - that's not a crime is it? Not all women are the same, neither are all rape victims - it's insulting to women and to rape victims to think they will all prescribe to the same coping strategies and assume because "I did, she must".
I wish I didn't have to post this but I feel I have to. When I go into my office, the girls are all talking about Katie Price. What she's saying and doing actually seems to mean something to the general public. And is not that the point? Doesn't she make money from the general public? I'm not sure that this hasn't gone a little bit too far. This woman is - clearly - far from stable. But she has three children. Those three children one day are going to research their mum and dad. And it will be a whole lot more interesting than my Google search on my dad (I wish he was a neuro astronaut!) but the thing is, they aren't going to like their mother slagging off their dad and claiming they were raped to get press. And that's the thing - the police have had to drop Katie Price's rape claim as they have no substantial evidence. Hmmm. Is that because there is none? There is nothing I hate more than people making light of rape. Those that sling the accusation around make it harder for genuine victims to get justice, as if it is not hard enough. Katie Price dropping the accusation in the press and then hiding the accusation is terrible for victims. It's saying that she is either too scared to disclose it - just what the rapist wants; or that she's making it up; making it 10 times worse for genuine rape victims.
To any liberal or sane person (or those I know anyway), the Daily Mail is an unequivocal symbol of all that is wrong with British society. Fascist and overly obsessed with Diana and/or illegal immigrants, I have always avoided it for reasons I hope you can identify with. However, it struck me today that I haven't ever read it from front to back, as I would have done a set text at university. Having an allegation thrown at me from a disgruntled subject of one of my more vitriolic posts has perhaps made me more considerate of my outpouring. So, when I by happenstance found a copy of the Mail shoved between two bus seats this evening, I picked it up and started the flick-through. Yes, the readership of the London Paper reduced by one (or two because I used one to shield myself from the rain earlier) as I delved into the unknown, into the pages of the newspaper equivalent of a young girl dressing in her mother's clothing, calling herself a woman when she is an ignorant slip of a girl; a tabloid in a broadsheet's ill-fitting clothing.
I have to say I was surprised. And pleasantly at first. Shock horror. They lead with an article about Gary McKinnon, who is the subject of an extradition order due to his hacking into Pentagon computers to research his theories on extra-terrestrial life. The US are apparently trying to get him sent over so they can incarcerate him for 60 years (10 per crime). The UK want him here for what may be only five. The crux is that this guy has been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. Anyone who has an autistic family member will know what this means - basically that Gary has brilliant capabilities and a phenomenal intelligence, which is the good side of autism. But Gary also finds it difficult to get on socially. He probably can't look people in the eye when he talks to them, and finds interaction uncomfortable; he doesn't have any ulterior motive but to satisfy his own curiosity - using his own means to do so, which just so happen to be that little bit more advanced than the rest of ours. The US are using a law designed to impede terrorists to extradite this man, in order to enforce a sentence that is longer than that endured by rapists or some murderers. The Mail have launched a massive campaign towards disabling the extradition order - no doubt motivated by their incumbent opposition to the liberal US environment - but nonetheless, the have struck a good chord. I'm thus far convinced.
The next article I read was regarding Harriet Harman, the Labour minister for women and equality and her views on the recent "pink" war between Tories and Labour. Harman is not without fault, but I don't really want to bother commenting on the expenses furore, it's been done. Regardless of that, Harman has made a few brilliant points recently. Both Labour and Conservative have been vying for the "pink" vote. This means gay. Both have been actively badmouthing those who make judgement on same sex marriage, both suggesting that equality is the ideal state of human interaction. We all know that's the way forward, don't we, but does either party mean it?
Sarah Brown appeared at the London Pride march. David Cameron - of late - has been sitting in on plans to financially reward the married heterosexual couple and bandies about statistics suggesting children in a separated or non-traditional heterosexual mother/father unit will be significantlydisadvantaged. I am willing to listen to attitudes that suggest an orthodox family unit spawns happy and adjusted children, but I have dozens of examples and personal experience that informs otherwise.
So, the main statistics are:
1. One in eleven married new parents split up, as opposed to 1/3 unmarried new parents 2. Children do best when brought up by two parents who are committed to each other, long term 3. Children of separated parents are 50% more likely to do badly at school
Fair enough? Not really. The Tories haven't bothered to look at statistics on marriage. Marriages in 2008 were actually at the lowest they have been for 150 years, which means that the people getting married - for the most part - are thinking about it considerably more, and making the decision sensibly. The financial implications for divorces are also a factor.
However, as a child of divorce, I have quite strong feelings on the matter. My response to the statistics are this:
1. Once you're married it is more difficult to separate. Financially and socially. Parents of newborn children are equally stressed whether they're married, co-habiting or otherwise. It's just more difficult to separate when you're married. 2. Children probably do do better when they're brought up by two parents who are committed to one another. They also so pretty terribly when they are brought up by parents who are together for the sake and appearance of marriage but aren't committed to each other. 3. Children of separation or divorce are 50% more likely to do badly at school? I refute this. My parents separated when I was in the middle of my GSCEs and I had more friends whose parents were apart than were together. Yes, single parents are at a disadvantage, and they must spread themselves more thinly. Rewarding married couples and doing nothing to help them - a la Torie - will not resolve anything. Children should not be penalised or influenced by their parents' decisions and feelings.
So, on to the main rant.
Of course, the true colours of the Mail come out in the Comments section. It's so much easier to let a columnist wax lyrical about her disgust with equality than admit to it in black and white, isn't it?
I'm not sure who Melanie Phillips is, but she is undoubtedly characterised by the subtitles to her own article: "Abuse", "Bigotry", "Bullying". All pre-requisites to working for the Mail it seems. In a completely weird and misguided column, Phillips outlines her support for the Conservatives' line on marriage, but states it is in contradiction to their stance on gays - in that they should be equal. I agree, actually. The Tories' behaviour smacks of approval seeking with no preference of how its gained. Gays: yes. Married: yes? Gay Marrieds? NO! This is clearly ridiculous.
What infuriates me is that the objection Phillips has it towards the gay aspect of Conservative policy. She isn't actually critiquing their stance on marriage, she's refuting their Gay policy. Admittedly, its well dressed-up as a debate on Conservative consistency, but statements like this give her away: "...marriage is a not a 'relationship' but a unique institution for safe-guarding the upbringing of children. It has to be protected in turn by a web of law and custom, tradition and attitudes. That web has been destroyed by the 'all is equal' doctrine". What?!
If you want to take that tact...Fred and Rose West were married and brought up their children together. Quite a lot of other things have also been destoyed by the "all is equal" doctrine - like inequal pay, only men being able to vote, apartheid being outlawed...
Unfortunately the Mail has not quite redeemed itself!
Just a note about my last post. Thanks a lot to all those who got in touch to say they liked it and agreed with me. Unfortunately, I have been threatened with some pseudo-legal action, so have decided to remove much of the content. This pains me massively, as I am a firm believer in freedom of speech and the right to publish opinion. It's something women have had to fight for...so believe, the irony of this particular situation isn't lost on me. I'd also like to stress that I have looked into the implications of the accusation against me, and they are limited. My papa dearest is a lawyer, luckily I'm told I'm largely innocent in the eyes of the law. My blog may be in the gaol, but at least I'm a free woman for now!
Someone told me this week that Glamour magazine had published a list of the 50 best employers for women in the UK. So I bought it for the first time in ages. I really wish I hadn't!
I have to admit, I have bought it before - it's very little, so it's relatively convenient for train journeys and stuff like that. Unfortunately it appears that in creating a pint sized mag, Conde Nast have succeeded in doing away with any kind of intelligence or depth along with the excess pulp (if you absolutely have to read a mainstream fashion mag, make it Marie Claire...it's still rubbish, but is trying not to be).
I really shouldn't knock the "Best Bosses" feature, as it is well-intentioned, but I have to: because it is terribly researched. For example, it states that Enterprise Rent-a-Car's board of directors is 56% women. Great...except I happen to know that those women are all the daughters of the chairman of the company. I can't comment on their ability, but it's irrelevant because it didn't get them the gig. Furthermore, this is a company that employs graduates to the seemingly business-orientated management programme and requires them to clean out cars, and graft till 9pm. (Insider info!)
There is also a faux thoughtful article about domestic violence, with the now uncomfortably familiar photo of popstarRihanna's bruised face making up most of the content. Much of this article states the obvious, and turns into cliche: women stay with their abusive partners too long, they have no self-confidence, they think things are going to get better. "Experts" back this up - yeah, so? We know all this already, don't we? The ground isn't breaking here. The article ends pretty prematurely with a rather impotent word of warning: once a hitter, always a hitter...but hey, those "real" people that we interviewed escaped and are now amazingly happy, so you can be too! No mention of where women can go to get help, no real and non-idealistic statistics, and absolutely no understanding of the realities of the situation. Just waffle about a topic that I suspect they don't have the confidence to get stuck into, so just skim the surface instead which is frankly insulting to victims of domestic abuse and valueless to all others.
Turn to page 121 (irony!) and there's another serious and investigative piece on the topic of female teachers sexually abusing their pupils. This isn't an easy issue to tackle, I admit, and Glamour seriously shouldn't have bothered trying. The Times magazine actually published a far superior investigation on the subject back in March...actually worth reading. What I learned from Glamour was that a) not only attractive women commit these crimes, contrary to popular belief , ugly ones do it too, and b) that women receive less harsh sentences for the crimes than their male counterparts. Oh, and the boys don't actually benefit from the abuse long term, just in case we thought they did. Again, I don't think we'll be stopping the press...although I wish someone at Conde Nast had.
The rest of this post has been removed. So much for freedom of speech.