The chorus of leftwing women complaining

Well we all know the rules. Women are either fuckworthy, or killworthy. There is nothing else. (Just this morning on Twitter someone called me “old superfluous prune” – meaning, I should be dead, because I’m too old and ugly to be still alive using up resources. Old ugly men are ok because men have multiple uses but old ugly women are not ok because women have only one use.)

Hadley Freeman considers one instantiation of this universal law.

You’ll be thrilled to know – and I’m sure May will be absolutely delighted to know – that this week a male writer for the Spectator officially declared her to be hot; hotter, even, than Jemima Khan, just in case you’ve ever found yourself flummoxed by this debate.

Congratulations, May! You’ve bested Harriet Harman, who was infamously deemed not hot in the Spectator by Rod Liddle in 2009, and even though Liddle has since admitted that piece might have been a bit de trop, that hasn’t stopped another sweaty Speccie writer from trying to rehash a similar furore all over again, while writing with one hand.

In case anyone is worried that all this chat about female politicians’ shaggability might be a little sexist, don’t worry! “I can just hear the chorus of leftwing women complaining that, here we go again – judging women in politics by their looks!” writes Cosmo Landesman, the Spectator’s Theresa May fan. “Well, actually, looks have nothing to do with it. By that criteria, I should be swooning over Jemima instead of drooling over Mrs May.”

Oh yes, we pesky crazy fanatical dogmatic (and no doubt ugly every one of us) women wanting to think we have more than one use. How silly can you get.

Anyway, well done to the Spectator’s priapic writers for capturing the zeitgeist this week. It just feels so right that a male journalist should take it upon himself to judge the shaggability of the home secretary, seeing as female politicians have just been reminded, once again, that whatever the size of their portfolios, all that actually matters is their appearance.

The Mail’s predictably demented coverage of the cabinet reshuffle has been widely mocked, with the paper getting frantically sticky-palmed over “thigh-flashing Esther McVey”. That the paper doesn’t talk about male MPs as though they are geishas being offered up to potential male customers is so obvious it hardly needs stating.

But the most telling detail is the way it described the female MPs as walking “the Downing Street catwalk”. Because in the deluded mindset of the Mail and many other media outlets, women exist to be looked at, and for their hotness to be judged accordingly, hence the paper’s insistence that women “flaunt” their legs (when they are in fact just walking) or that they are on a “catwalk” (when they are simply on their way to work.)

Well hurr hurr they thought they were just on their way to work but hurr hurr they were really taking their legs out for an airing because hurr hurr they’re women and legs lead to the bit with the hole hurr hurr.

But wait, you cry. Waddabboutdamenz?! Surely male politicians’ looks and fashion choices are discussed too, yeah? Indeed they are, strawman reader. But when a male politician’s looks and clothes are discussed, they are done so in regards to how statesmanlike he looks, how in-charge-of-the-red-button he seems – not whether some newspaper editor wants to give him one. And anyway, seeing as women are still – despite the talk of Manageddon this week – in the minority in American and British governments, any comparison between treatment meted out to them and male politicians by the press is, from the off, bogus.

So it’s bogus, so what?! It sells papers doesn’t it!



  1. says

    Somewhat off topic, but…

    I hate the fuckability test soooo much, and it’s so widespread and so invisible. I particularly love when some very attractive young woman will do something, an older woman will disagree (often in fairly muted, reasoned language), and a whole cadre of youngish men will show up to defend the young woman against the “denial of her lived experience” and “triggering”. Astonishingly, older women seem to lack both lived experience and traumatic memories to trigger.

    So, nice guys of the progressive left, many many of you do this – it’s not just Dawkins and The Pit. Stop it. Your online lekking displays are gross.

    And young progressive women? Please do not think that you will magically avoid becoming older and unfuckable. It will happen, just as you will accumulate a few decades of lived experience which you will try to share. I hope that your sharing of lived experience will be received better than ours.

  2. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    Reminds me of those retitled articles floating around the web. “Woman has legs, walks to work”

  3. Trin Tragula says

    Isn’t half this stuff written by women though? The Hate Mail does have a superficial, old-fashioned and tedious view of gender, but it’s largely by (and for) women.

  4. Blanche Quizno says

    @4 Trin, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that it is women measuring a fellow woman’s “fuckability quotient”. But I HAVE seen men of all ages trotting pathetically after a physically attractive young woman and yessing absolutely everything that comes out of her mouth.

  5. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    Seriously? My comment about how it’s misogynist as hell to treat all younger feminists as brainless and any of their friends who support them as only wanting to fuck them is deleted, but the one by a serial rape apologist stands?

  6. says

    Happiest Sadist: stop. Your comment was about more than that, and so is this one. Stop. That “serial rape apologist” bullshit is bullshit. Don’t try to continue some old feud from somewhere else here.

    And I asked you a question on another thread.

  7. Al Dente says

    Us old, ugly men are allowed to be “elder statesmen” and “wise men” and stuff like that. Nowadays I’m often asked how people lived before oxygen was invented and whether I knew Fred Flintstone or not.

  8. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says


    It is misogynist to claim that younger (than who?) attractive feminists cannot have real triggers and that they merely use them to manipulate older feminists.

    It’s also incredibly misogynist to claim that the only reason anyone supports said younger feminists is because they want to fuck them. That’s some slymepit bullshit right there.

  9. Andrew B. says

    I’d take one Ophelia Benson over a thousand Jaclyn Glenn’s anyday. Seriously.

  10. says

    The fuckability test actually has little to do with actually wanting to fuck someone, it has a lot to do with appearance/gender/age-based criteria for determining whose opinions matter and whose don’t, and which issues get prioritized.

  11. drbunsen, le savant fous says

    Ophelia, it is not Happiest Sadist who is “continu[ing] some old feud from somewhere else here”.

    A Surprise To Many has been repeating variations of the same grievance everywhere she posts for well over a year. Many of the people involved in the events she has been grotesquely and at length misrepresenting – including misrepresenting where it happened – across the internet for all that time are, or were, active contributors in many of the same spaces she has obsessively polluted with this farrago, and it is deeply disappointing and hurtful that she continues to bang this drum, endlessly and without challenge. Most of us, mostly, have chosen not to respond. We have simply walked away from the spaces where her well-poisoning is allowed to stand.

    But when we do, please be clear on just who has been shitting on the carpet here, and many other places, and for how long.

  12. says

    But that’s not what happened here on this blog and it has nothing to do with anything here on this blog, and I wouldn’t even know who that was if I didn’t have access to the dashboard, so kindly stop talking about it here. Stop importing some extraneous disagreement you have with a commenter who happens to have posted here. Stop it altogether entirely right now. Keep your extraneous disagreements to yourself.

  13. drbunsen, le savant fous says

    It’s not us importing it, Ophelia. That was the entire point of my post.

  14. says

    Yes it is. The comment you cite is very general. Any reference to some external quarrel is invisible to anyone who isn’t obsessed with that quarrel. Now SHUT UP about it.