Monday, 14 April 2014

In which misogyny isn't art

The utter treat that is the guy who started the vile Women Who Eat on the Tube was on the Today programme on Friday, thereby raising the blood pressure of every right-thinking woman to dangerously high levels before she'd finished her first cup of tea.

Tony Burke (ah, there's some nominative determinism for you) talked about how the site isn't an issue, and how it's a celebration of women, and 'art'.

Oh do FUCK RIGHT OFF, would you. It's not 'art' in the way that street harassment isn't a compliment. And also in the way that some things just aren't art.

A post written by a woman whose picture was taken and featured on the site tells how she felt victimised, hurt and humiliated. It's not art so much as sheer and downright bullying.

There's an inherent weirdness to the project, as if in catching a woman in the act of eating, you're watching her do something inherently forbidden, as if women are above such base actions as eating, or waking up with morning breath. In a world where women are judged for what they eat or wear, or how they conduct themselves in public in a way that men just aren't, Burke's inability to empathise with women is indicative of the wider problem women have in society.

What this Neanderthal can't seem to grasp is that a quick snap on the tube (privacy issues aside) might not be a problem in a society where women aren't objectified on a minute by minute basis. But he's not stopped for a second to think about the position that society puts women in, in public, in 2014. Because the picture he's encouraging people to take of a woman who's doing a completely normal thing (albeit one that the late Granny Blonde would have deeply disapproved) won't be the first instance of misogynist scrutiny she's been put under that day.

She may well have listened to breakfast news, on which she heard segment after segment with a female perspective in none of them. She might have seen an article on the way to work about "women having it all" - yet when was the last time you saw a male CEO interviewed and asked about how he manages childcare? She might have made sure to wear a high-necked shirt, a sombre jacket and glasses because a male client refuses to take her seriously without.

She might have had a man mutter "nice tits" on her way to the tube; a guy yell at her from his car on her way to work - and then shout "fucking bitch" when she didn't respond. She might be putting in more work than her male colleague and not getting paid as much for doing exactly the same job. And then, when she's worked through lunch and is on her way home late, ravenous, a man on the tube takes a photo of her eating a sandwich that she feels guilty about anyway because she's a size 12 and media tells her that she'll only be attractive and worth something if she loses 10 pounds.

When, as a man, was the last day you experienced all that and didn't bat an eyelid because that's just the way life is?


Still think it's art?


Redbookish said...

Top post, Blonde! I was part of the Twitter storm during that segment on Friday's Today programme. Why the BBC gave him air time, I'll never know, but it did give him the opportunity to show what a vacuous individual he actually is. And how disingenuous is his grasp of both politics and aesthetics. The woman debating the topic with him rang rings around him intellectually.

[This is weird -- I thought I'd commented already ...]

Delirium said...

Art it isn't. Just spent 5 mins on the site and boring it most certainly is.

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