The tragic cost of sex jokes

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MY MOTHER always used to say there are two types of men in this world: men who like women and men who don’t.

By: Camilla Tominey

I’m no feminist and find women who refuse to be bought dinner or shave their armpits as insufferable as the next man.

Yet I’m fast coming to the conclusion my late Ma was right. She said this more than a quarter of a century ago and yet depressingly, it is more relevant today than ever.

Despite the march of the PC brigade and so-called “equal opportunities”, there is a new generation of male chauvinistic pigs out there who make the bum-slappers of yesteryear look like Harriet Harman.

It is one thing having to put up with sexist dinosaurs making jokes about the fairer sex’s ability to parallel park, but when teenage boys think rape is funny what hope is there? Universities were last week accused of failing to combat widespread “lads’ culture” which has seen unwanted sexual advances and jokes about sexual assault become commonplace.

Student leaders warned that harassment was “rife” on campus after a survey found that a third of female students have been groped or touched inappropriately and almost two thirds had heard jokes about rape.

Some of the examples cited by the National Union of Students suggest that the women’s libbers should not have bothered burning their bras after all.

A poster for a club night at Cardiff Metropolitan University showed a T-shirt with the words: “I was raping a woman last night and she cried.”

A website called UniLad published an article called Sexual Mathematics in 2012 featuring the following pearl of wisdom: “Think about this mathematical statistic: 85 per cent of rape cases go unreported. That seems to be fairly good odds.”

And in Durham, that hotbed of intellectual enlightenment listed among the 100 best universities in the world, a college’s rugby club social saw members play a drinking game where they had to complete the phrase: “It’s not rape if…”

NUS president Toni Pearce has called on universities everywhere to ensure that campuses are “welcoming, safe and supportive to all”.

JOKES about rape hide behind blokeish banter.

This isn’t just sexism. It is pure misogyny. The question we should really be asking ourselves is why some young male students think women are nothing more than sex objects to be used and abused at their will. Such is the skewed nature of our sexed-up society that it is women themselves who often get the blame. Wear a short skirt or drink too much and you are “asking for it”. Do both and it is practically your own fault.

The question should not be what women have done to deserve it, but why men are doing it in the first place.

Is online porn responsible? A generation of young men who have grown up with the internet appear to have become so desensitised to aggressive sexual imagery that they regard all women as potential conquests whether they like it or not.

It also does not help when this view is supported by the inappropriate behaviour of supposed role models such as footballers and their celebrity ilk.

TalkSport, the sports radio station, has just given former Sky Sports presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray their own show. If you remember, they were the pundits who used the phrase: “Did you smash it?” to ask Jamie Redknapp if he had slept with a former girlfriend.

Women called “it”? Sexual assault seen as sport? All of this goes far beyond sexism into the realms of something altogether more sinister.

I have huge respect for Andy Murray’s sporting achievements but his “anyone but England” mentality means I’ll be supporting Djokovic next year

THE CURSE of Strictly strikes again. Now Ben Cohen, the strapping rugby player who competed in last year’s series, is “taking time apart” from his wife Abby. He is the latest in a string of celebrities who have found their relationships on the rocks after starring in the BBC dancing show.

Rumours that the marriage of the former World Cup-winning winger was in trouble surfaced when a picture of Cohen with his arm around his dance partner Kristina Rihanoff surfaced.

Miss Rihanoff has previously had affairs with Vincent Simone, one of the professional dancers on the show, and former contestant Joe Calzaghe, the boxer.

Meanwhile Countdown’s Rachel Riley last week confirmed her relationship with dancer Pasha Kovalev after splitting with her millionaire husband of 15 months following last year’s series. Contestants including Natasha Kaplinsky, Ali Bastian, Matt Di Angelo, Jimi Mistry and Kara Tointon have also fallen in and out of love on the show.

Well is it any wonder when the contestants and their dancing partners are always all over each other? I’ve often wondered why on Earth it is necessary for them to be locked in a loveydovey clinch while waiting for the judges’ scores.

The way they carry on, you’d be forgiven for thinking Len Goodman was just about to declare Armageddon.

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PHOTOGRAPHS of Prince Harry enjoying a “date night” with Cressida Bonas suggest they are “back together” but did they ever really split up? Granted, the couple haven’t been pictured together in the past four months but perhaps that’s exactly the way they wanted it.

There is nothing like a bit of breathing space to work out whether or not you want to be together for ever. William and Kate tried it and look what happened to them. While I won’t be buying a hat just yet, I suggest we watch this space.

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HE WON an Olympic gold medal under the team GB banner. He became Wimbledon champion with the support of the English and has raked in millions in sponsorship while living in Surrey with his Sussex-born girlfriend. Yet Andy Murray still backed the Yes campaign. The No camp’s “negativity” apparently swayed him just before the referendum.

One wonders what the dour jock made of a Yes supporter punching a blind pensioner in the face. “Positive” campaigning? I have huge respect for Murray’s sporting achievements but his “anyone but England” mentality means I’ll be supporting Djokovic next year. Stick that in your sporran and smoke it, Andy.

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HOW REFRESHING to read that even the Archbishop of Canterbury sometimes doubts whether God exists. The Most Reverend Justin Welby admitted he wrestles with disbelief and acknowledged that Christians have trouble explaining why God allows suffering in the world. “There are moments where you think ‘Is there a God? Where is God?'” he said.

Describing a moment recently when he was out running, he added: “I ended up saying to God, ‘Look this is all very well but isn’t it about time you did something, if you’re there?’ Which is probably not what the Archbishop of Canterbury should say.

“We can’t explain all the questions in the world, we can’t explain about suffering, we can’t explain loads of things but we know about Jesus. We can talk about Jesus. I always do that because most of the other questions I can’t answer.”

I am a lapsed Catholic who regularly goes to church. Why? Because I like the priest and the people. For me it is more about community than Christianity. Surely you can believe in the moral teachings of Jesus without Adam and Eve-ing nonsense about the world being created in six days by Gandalf’s doppelganger?

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COLEEN ROONEY has been criticised for taking nine holidays in 12 months but wouldn’t you do the same if you were her? If I were married to someone earning £300,000 a week, I’d be attempting to rival Phileas Fogg in the passport stamp stakes. And if I had to wake up next to Wayne Rooney every morning, I’d positively insist on turning left on planes and going six-star all the way.

 

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