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There’s No Excuse for Rosie Millard – an open letter

Oh lawks, an open letter – the dreaded mode of self-aggrandising outrage preferred by the pompous twits who think anyone cares what they have to say to another pompous twit they care equally little about. Well, my platform, my rules. Get over it.

"Get over it"

“Get over it”

Rosie,

You’ll notice that I used the phrase “get over it” – and that was a pointedly relevant gag to kick off this, my response to your piece in The Independent, the delightfully click-baity title of which is seen here below.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/theres-no-excuse-for-dave-lee-traviss-behaviour-but-we-need-to-keep-a-sense-of-proportion-9758891.html?COLLCC=3208324935&COLLCC=3862636359&

Your piece was brought to my attention, not by some bra-less, unwashed moon cup-sporting hairy feminist, but by a young man. A normal man utterly incensed that such shocking bilge could come from someone who owns a vagina. (Apologies if you don’t own a vagina, Rosie, I’m making an assumption here, and quite frankly I just wanted to type ‘vagina’).

I have read your piece; something which is quite uncommon among the keyboard warriors who police Twitter, in fact I read it three times as I like to be fully assured of my urine-boiling outrage before I dare let a finger tap a single key.

My problem with your column is that you trivialise sexual harassment – you tell your reader that sexual harassment happens and that we should just “get over it”. It is precisely this attitude which allows sexual harassment to bubble away like festering acne under a layer of thick metaphorical Maybelline . “It happens, get over it” – you may as well say “grab our norks and tickle our undercarriage, fellas, we won’t say anything”.

Just because it does happen, doesn’t mean that it should continue and it most certainly does not mean that women (and men) should put up and shut up. Men, yes men suffer from this too – the whole notion of shutting up and putting up has lead to such cringeworthy moments of impropriety as Geri Halliwell deeming it ok to clasp the buttock of Prince Charles in her poplet-paw and give it a squeeze. What a jape! Girl power! Sexual assault LOLZ!

"Oh Charlie, get over it!"

“Oh Charlie, get over it!”

I can’t say whether Dave Lee Travis, the focus of your piece, deserved jail time or not – I was not in the courtroom and was not privy to the full glut of evidence. I have to leave that judgement to the people who society deemed fit; the judge and those unfortunate enough not to have been able to think of a decent enough excuse to get out of jury duty, but your argument that, as it was an offence which took place two decades ago, it should be regarded with less importance, as something to be brushed under the carpet of “good old days” when totty was totty and knew her place, is ludicrous. Aren’t all offences “historical”, unless they are taking place that very second?

Well, Ms Millard, when do you propose that we wipe the slate clean for “historical” incidences – a few years? A few months? Weeks? When do we start making examples of such misdemeanours and putting our (stilett0-clad) feet down? Should we excuse all the Nazi criminals who tortured thousands, now that they’re old men and their “victims” have managed to find a way to move on? Yes, these people may be old men and they grew up in a different time, but not so different that molesting someone was ever right and proper. Guilt isn’t like milk – it doesn’t go off if you leave it a bit too long.

If we don’t start making examples of greasy-gropers and pop-perverts, we’ll carry on sending the message to all and sundry that tweaking the pink bits of people who would rather remain untweaked is not only ok, it’s something of a right.

Fair enough, we cannot say that the wandering hands of DLT were as horrific as those of jangly beast Jimmy Savile, but you can’t gauge the effects their actions will have had on someone – and you certainly shouldn’t dismiss them as you do in your piece. For some it’s merely an annoyance, for others, a harrowing deal and yes, there are women in therapy because someone squeezed their breast.

The “get over it” attitude isn’t merely confined to golden days of yore, when Benny Hill was considered the height of sophisticated comedy and when “bits of skirt” would welcome a slap on the rump by way of greeting (if ever such a time did exist) – today we have our very own “get over it” abomination by the name of Sam Pepper. This little internet oik is a modern day prankster who has seen it as acceptable to grope women in public for the sake of a a few extra hits on his Youtube page – a video in which the targets, once groped, actually state they are not ok with it. WHAT LOLZ! And he has permission, why? Exactly your sort of mentality – that these women must “get over it”, it’s no big deal, it was a joke, a laugh. According to you, every one of the girls in this insufferable princox’s video was being an oversensitive silly billy.

Sam Pepper's HILARIOUS prank

Sam Pepper’s HILARIOUS prank where complete strangers must “get over it”.

Working in entertainment is a paltry excuse for allowing a nipple tweak or an enforced tongue sandwich – in the same way racism and homophobia have always been a part of football, that doesn’t excuse the perpetuation of such abuse and it certainly doesn’t mean it should be tolerated and glossed over like some archaic tradition that adds historical richness – it’s not like morris dancing!

As for saying that it’s part of everyone’s lives, it’s not and furthermore it is sad that you should have to grow a thick enough skin to feel that way. No-one should have to develop such a callous on their posterior as to be immune to the definition of physical abuse and sexual impropriety when it pinches them.

Poor misguided Rosie – why should women have to “negotiate”? We are not the ones choosing for this to happen (unless we excuse it with permissive resignation as you are suggesting) . You wouldn’t tell someone they should have “negotiated” the world of pockets better when they are mugged in the street for £3.76 and a bus ticket and I sincerely hope your response to hearing of a brutal murder wouldn’t be “well, they should have negotiated that knife a bit better”. It should be the men who must negotiate the world full of seemingly irresistible bottoms and boobies, apparently just begging to be handled. The onus of responsibility lies firmly and squarely upon the perpetrator; it’s not your fault you own breasts and a bottom (again, I’m making assumptions here, as with the vagina), it is the fault of someone choosing to interfere with your breasts and bottom (again, as with vagina).

So Rosie, no, women should not “get over it”, men should get a grip – not on a woman’s posterior or on their own groin in an “appreciative” thrust, but on the reality of the situation, which is that it is not now, was not then and nor shall it ever be ok and women will not “get over it”.

 

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