Monday, 13 July 2015

A Response to Peter Lloyd of The Daily Mail.

Peter Lloyd of The Daily Mail wrote this today. Here's my response. 

Hello Peter!

I hope you're well. I'm fine. Thank you.

Just a few teeny weeny notes on that there article you wrote in response to my blog:

1) Michelle Thomas was hailed a feminist hero for criticising a Tinder date who rejected her because of her size.

The thing is, I didn't. I criticised him for sending me a 400 word text after one date, detailing, in forensic detail, that he didn't fine me sexually attractive because of my figure (I'm a size 14). As I write in the blog, it's fine to have a physical preference. That's biology. What's not fine is to make your physical preference someone else's problem. Sending that meticulously crafted, 400 word message (read here) which twisted and turned between condescending tenderness (“baby....honey...I adore you”) and breathtaking brutality (“my mind gets turned on my someone slimmer....I'd marry you like a shot if you were a slip of a girl”) is an act of cruelty. It's an assertion of power. It says “I could love you thiiiiiiiiiiiis much...if only you were different”.

I wrote the blog to redress that imbalance of power which he asserted by imposing his views about my body upon me uninvited. To let him and readers know that I know that the language he used - of manipulation, of control – was transparent in its intention to wound. And to let them all know, while it worked briefly, it never will again.

2) ...her response reinforced the odd, unwritten rule that women can say whatever they want about sexual desire and attraction, but men can't.

Pretty sure that men have had quite a large say in shaping the rules of sexual desire and attraction over the last 1000 years or so, Pete mate. You know? Artists. Filmmakers. CEOs for multi-national companies that profit from constantly, covertly and overtly telling women that they are physically inadequate. I don't want to patronise you, but you might want to Google that one.

3)….she claimed his behaviour was somehow 'body shaming' and 'objectifying' the female form, but, sorry sisters, I disagree...

You disagree? Really? Because I think that sketching out a detailed hypothetical situation where I'm lying naked in bed next to him, pleading with him to make love to me, it pretty objectifying.

4) In fact, the only thing he's truly guilty of is having an honest opinion about women - one that isn't deemed 'on message' by the sisterhood - and actually voicing it. Something women have long done to modern men.

This is wrong. The examples you give (especially the John Prescott one) are horrible.
IT'S NOT ALRIGHT FOR WOMEN TO BODYSHAME MEN.
It's not. It's just not. Bur progress is slow. And decades of objectification (I mentioned that earlier Peter, it'll still be up there near the top of the article if you need to refresh your memory) are going to provoke a response. First of all, simply YONKS back, we didn't know we were oppressed. Then we DID know we were oppressed (and we were, rightly, quite cross about it). Now we're slowing, slowly moving into knowing we're not oppressed. We should aim for not knowing we're not oppressed. And this won't happen unless until everyone treats everyone else with respects, kindness and compassion. (N.B. I concur with Ms. Allen. Her songs are about specific men, so it's not hypocritical. I'm sure she's written songs about how lovely specific men are too, and how excellent they are at the old biblical. Balance, Peter. It's important)

5) It's hypocritical. You know, like when we're told strip clubs are harmful and degrading - by women thumbing a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey while in the cinema queue for Magic Mike XXL.

Peter. I can't wait to see Magic Mike XXL. I haven't seen the first one, but someone posted a trailer on my social media page and OH. EM. G-STRING. It was as sexy as a sexy number of sexy things having a sex-off is Sexville, Sexylvania. And yes, in the trailer I saw, you could argue that the two gentlemen performers are being objectified. That their bodies (their beautiful, beautiful bodies) are being used as a commodity, with no consideration for their personalities, their strengths, their weaknesses, their hopes, dreams and aspirations. BUT. The difference, Peter love. THE MASSIVE GLARING, DIFFERENCE. THE DIFFERENCE BIGGER THAN CHANNING TATUM'S GLORIOUSLY BITEABLE BICEPS – is that men who DON'T look like Channing Tatum have been and are fairly widely represented in the fields of politics, medicine, science, culture, sports, arts and literature. Men who don't look like Channing Tatum haven't had to endure watching teen movies about boys their age who don't look like Channing Tatum, taking off their glasses, getting a haircut, miraculously BECOMING Channing Tatum, then landing a rich girlfriend, rending any academic or social qualifications superfluous. Men who look like Channing Tatum are not the most widely-documented definition of male power and male success that young boys have as a role models. Men who don't look like Channing Tatum – as well as men who do in fact - aren't paid £100 per week less than women, irrespective of whether they look like Charlize Theron (God I love that woman).

Do you understand that now, Peter? Do you?

Now the thing is, I know that you think you've got something in your artillery (or at least you would have if you'd read the blog, something I can't see much evidence of.)

This:

P.P.S. You're not 5”11”.

BODYSHAMING. HEIGHTSHAMING. MANSHAMING.

Well....no.

This comment was made to highlight to this chap that while he was happy to criticise my body (which, by the way, I had been upfront and honest about on my dating profile with full body pictures), he had fibbed about his own. His profile said he was 5”11. He wasn't. I even (very gently) broached this with him on the date. He needn't have lied because I didn't agree to go on a date with him because of his height (in fact, most of my boyfriends have been 5”9 or shorter). However, without that background information, I can understand how that comment could be misinterpreted. Please forgive me, Peter. I've never gone viral before. If I'd known the blog was going to be read over 170,000 times all over the world, I would have made that bit extra clear.

If you'd like to read the blog, thar she blows:


If you'd like to know more my campaign against bodyshaming and bullying please visit my website for  Healthy. Happy. Hot.