This week certain news stories have made me cross, mainly because of the messages they’re giving out about how we view certain men and women. And yes, I am still going on about this.
Last week, a famous paralympian was sentenced to five years for killing his girlfriend, although actually he may only serve 10 months of that. 10 months. That means he’ll miss this Christmas but will be home with plenty of time to plan his next one. How nice for him. I’m sure the family of the woman he shot, four times, will be thrilled that he gets a second chance.
Apparently he’s a broken man, his life and career are ruined. The paralympic committee have been talking about all the great work he’s done, desperately trying to separate his private life from his professional life. Except he mixed them both up in one big, bloody mess the night he shot his girlfriend. Four times.
Unfortunately, her life actually is broken beyond repair, she wont get any second chances. We need to remember that this isn’t something that happened to him, he did this all by himself. He picked up the gun, he pulled the trigger. Four times. He apparently reacted on impulse. Four times. Did I mention that he shot her four times? Good. Poor lamb. Easily done. Who hasn’t heard a noise in the middle of the night and headed off with heavy-duty gun to shoot someone four times through a door without checking/noticing where their partner is?
Meanwhile in the UK a footballer was released after serving half his sentence for raping a young woman. He’s all over the newspapers asking for forgiveness from his victim. Sorry, my mistake, I don’t mean victim, I mean girlfriend, because to ask for forgiveness from his victim would imply that he has some responsibility for what he did, and he doesn’t.
There are photos of him sat with his girlfriend, in that classic ‘woman-silently-standing-by-her-man’ pose that nobody really gets and he keeps talking about his infidelity. Like that’s the worst part of this. But it serves a purpose. It dilutes the original case, shifting the focus onto what the victim did, not what he did.
At the time she was called a slut. We all love a bit of slut-shaming and if there’s a choice between criticising a man and criticising a woman, the woman gets it every time, probably because she was asking for it. Because the message here is that she was responsible for what happened. She was drunk. She probably had high heels on, and lipstick. She ended up in a hotel room with two men and whatever you may think about that she did not give her consent to sex. But what’s a poor man to do who only has his impulses to rely on? Well apparently, what he has to do is take advantage of her and force himself inside her even though she’s unconscious.
The message in both of these cases seems to be that a man’s impulsive, aggressive response to a situation is totally acceptable and should not be the focus of the resulting court case. It’s human nature, innit.
While I don’t want the footballer to stay in prison for the rest of his life, he absolutely should accept responsibility and turn it around. He’s a role model for lots of young boys. He could use that fame and money to show how wrong his behaviour was, and to encourage respect for women. That aggressiveness, which is a vital part of his skill at football, needs to be channelled in the right way.
But anyway, never mind all that. There were other, more important things to get worked up about last week because, for the love of God, what has Renee Zellweger done to her face!!? Forget your murderers and rapists, bless them, they were only acting on impulse and it wasn’t their fault, but a woman getting older? In public? How dare she, does she not know the rules?
(I actually wish someone would write out the rules for me and laminate them or something because it’s hard to keep up. I think we’re supposed to make ourselves look pretty at all times, but not TOO pretty, silly, because then some poor man might accidentally, impulsively, end up inside us, ruining his life in the process).
I personally couldn’t care less if she’s had surgery, it doesn’t impact on my life in any way. But if she has then it’s partly the repsonsibility of the very media outlets that are mocking her now. We’re bombarded with before and after pictures of these poor women. If I want to see some woman with fluctuating weight and the occasional (OK, regular) bad choice of outfit, I’ll look through my own facebook photos, thank you very much.
But as I said in my last blog post, women of a certain age in the public eye are a bit of a grey area (no pun intended). Once they’ve passed the age where it’s socially acceptable to be sexually attractive, there’s a brief holding period where they may possibly be called a MILF if they’re really lucky (what an honour! I’m SO flattered that you think we deserve a special name for still being vaguely shaggable even though we’re so obviously over the hill), or they might get to play a cougar so that we can all laugh at the thought of them still wanting to have sex, poor, deluded, sad cow. But after that forget it. There is no 50-year old woman-shaped box out there.
During this ‘awkward’ stage I think they’re supposed to go off to the part of society that’s like one of those big sanatoriums in Switzerland. Where they can sit around with blankets on their knees, drinking tea laced with bromide and evening primrose oil, waiting to be released again when it’s more obvious what their role should be, that of a Grandmother. Phewsers. We can all breathe a sigh of relief. Everyone knows where they are now, there’s no funny business. Everyone knows what to expect from a 70 year old woman. Their osteoporosis makes them nice and bendy so they fit quite nicely into the Granny/Character actress box (apart from those leopard-print clad rebels, but if we laugh at them they might go away).
So what we seem to be saying this week is that men get away with stuff because that’s how they are, but women can get away with absolutely nothing and are scrutinised at every step so they have a duty to make sure they look great while doing it.
Which leads me to my final little rant. Robbie Williams has had a baby. Well, obviously, he hasn’t actually had the baby, it was his wife but he still managed to make it all about him. He filmed the whole thing to show us how great his wife looked through labour. Because it’s a little known fact that women are generally lazy cows who use any old excuse to let themselves go. I don’t care if your pelvis IS splitting in two and you can feel your actual flesh actually tearing, put some lippy on and smile, damn you. And try not to punch your rubber-faced idiot of a husband as he sings to you while a man you don’t know puts his whole arm inside your vagina and tells you you’re not pushing hard enough.
I’m not sure where to go after that last sentence, so I’ll just leave it there and run away.