One of my favourite things is to take the piss out of The Punch. Unfortunately that means I sometimes have to read it, but usually I can just see what they’ve published and roll my eyes.
Some days I like to call The Punch “I Don’t Know Why People Care About This Issue But I Will Publish Something Anyway And Demonstrate That I Simply Don’t Get It”. Other days I just marvel at how News Ltd gets away with not paying contributors. Sure, there are some good writers who contribute every now and then, but on the whole, it’s pretty blah.
And today we have a piece by GQ Australia‘s chief sub, Nigel Bowen, who demonstrates that making all the required cultural references doesn’t mean you actually understand why they were important: It’s the Return of the Battle of the Sexes.
Don’t let the headline fool you. It’s really just a piece about how women either think all men are rapists, or spend all their time sexting their friends with benefits.
For those of certain age (that is, old enough to have spent any time on a university campus between the early 80s and mid 90s), the controversies of the last few months – the Penny Wong meow-slur, Slutwalk, the Brocial Network, the Pippa Middleton Ass Appreciation Society Facebook page, ADF sex Skyping, Julian Assange’s alleged sexual misconduct – are like déjà vu all over again… Gen X women sure knew how to put on a feminist protest.
Huh? Since when is sexual assault a feminist issue and not a criminal one?
Back then, when what Helen Garner memorably termed “feminism’s grimmer tribes” still wielded considerable cultural and political influence, every female arts student had a copy of The Beauty Myth on her bedside table, all sex was rape, all men were rapists and women wore sensible shoes and expressions of grim determination to marches protesting sexual assault.
Oh dear, where to start with this one? I was at university in the 90s (and the 00s, and the 10s – I’m a sucker for letters after my name) and “all sex was rape”, “all men are rapists” was not a part of the feminism I knew. Perhaps in a small part of radical feminism, but you can’t suggest that they “wielded considerable cultural and political influence”. And would he rather women smiled and giggled when they marched against being raped and sexually assaulted. Would he mock the “expressions of grim determination” of a group of men marching against being raped? (As an aside, it smacks of “honey, smile”, that incredible sense of entitlement that some men show when they tell a woman, a complete stranger, to smile for them.)
Then an Ariel Levy reference, and a reference to Boomer and Gen X feminists (they think “their Gen Y daughters are ungrateful little sluts”) without understanding that women of different age groups have different concerns.
And then this:
Now, much to the surprise of everyone, the girls gone wild of Gen Y have taken a break from sexting their friends-with-benefits and debating which Sex and the City character they most resemble to march in the streets for, erm, no-one’s exactly sure but it definitely seems to be something that would have once been called “a feminist issue”.
No one is sure what SlutWalk is about? Well, fellow Punch writer Tory Shepherd didn’t know but that didn’t stop her publishing something on the topic, but all of the other opinion pieces in the MSM have been pretty clear. Perhaps, Nigel, you should have read at least one of them before demonstrating that you’ve got no idea what you’re talking about. It’s a little embarrassing for you.
Oh, and SATC reference, check. Don’t let the fact that it’s a Gen X show, not a Gen Y show, get in the way of making your, um, argument.
Slutwalk is just the latest indication that the battle of the sexes is heating up again over, well, sex.
NO NO NO NO NO. SlutWalk is about demanding an end to our clothing being used to justify someone else’s crime. SlutWalk is about demanding an end to police perpetuating rape myths which stops them responding to crime. SlutWalk is about demanding an end to victims of crime being blamed for what happened to them. SlutWalk is about demanding an end to society shaming women for real or perceived sexual activity (I was called a slut when I was still a virgin).
So, as a veteran of the last war, my advice for the young men of today is this — if you’re dating an arts student, be prepared for her to announce she’s decided to become a radical lesbian-feminist separatist at least once before she graduates.
That was supposed to be witty, wasn’t it?