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Friday, November 09, 2007


17 months ago I wrote:

Just because a woman enjoys sex, it seems that she must be seen as pathological in some way; that she must be abnormal, or bad, or – as in my case – an addict. Why can’t women just like sex? Why can’t we be seen to enjoy it, without being called ‘sluts’ or ‘whores’ or ‘addicts’? Why must something be wrong with us, just because we openly express our needs, desires and wants?

I was an anonymous sex writer at the time I wrote that; now I am not. So yesterday, when another journalist called me a "sex addict" in a newspaper, the impact of the label resonated more personally with me, although my thoughts about it are still the same
as they were last year:

I am bored of this stereotyping; it’s tiresome to see the same old shit dragged out, whenever we challenge the view that women are ‘naturally’ passive, or when we counter the sexist labels assigned to us through the mainstream representation of female sexuality.

My parents read the piece in the paper yesterday and were furious, as was I.

Why are they calling you an addict just because you have written about your sex life? my mum demanded. They wouldn't have dared call you that if you were a man.

But it's easy - and somewhat expected - to chastise a woman, isn't it? Put the slut in her place if she talks about fucking. So whilst the overall article may have been sympathetic, the subtext of it was that something is wrong with me because I enjoy sex; or because I objectify men; or because I make noise about how the media/society/porn still has a predominantly male gaze. I
'd talk about this latter point more, but right now my head is filled with cold (I am still ill) and my friend Bitchy Jones sums it up with more passion than I can muster:

Tell you what, girls, we’ll file all the naked men under gay porn. You can go there and the straight guys will know not to look at that. That okay? I mean, it’s not offensive or anything to mark all porn featuring men as homoerotic. Like women don’t fucking exist as viewers. Fuck. As if women’s only role is to be *in* the porn. You utter cunts. God, sometimes, I really do hate everything in this misogynistic wankfest...

Women want to fuck and wank and come, and have the freedom to express their sexuality in whatever way they choose, just as men do. This is nothing new. But when the sexist double-standard rears its ugly head yet again, under the guise of a derogatory label issued by mainstream media, this basic premise bears repeating, I think.

[I was also very unimpressed by the newspaper failing to credit the photographer, my friend Meg Pickard, for her work - it was bang out of order not to attribute the picture to her.]

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