“Is the Telegraph running some sort of refuge for vapid female columnists of limited intellect and life experience?”
So read a comment underneath an article in the Telegraph Women’s section the other day. Since its inception, the content of what calls itself “Wonder Women” has been getting more shrill and politically correct by the day, to the point where Telegraph readers are questioning what on earth the traditionally right-of-centre newspaper is trying to achieve.
Blogger Radhika Sanghani is by far the worst offender. A recent article of hers which garnered some attention (and repulsion) on Twitter was, “The 9 words so offensive that we need to ditch them. Now”. The words ‘rapey’, jokily used in the context of describing someone who’s creepy, or ‘paedo’ to describe someone with a younger girlfriend, must apparently be banished not because they could be hurtful to the target, but because they apparently “trivialise serious crimes”.
No, really. Last I checked, child molestation is still a crime thought to be so severe it practically inspires lynch mobs, and after serving a sentence for a rape that even moderate female columnists said very much occupied a grey area, feminist mobs can seemingly ensure men are never employed again.
Unbelievably, “cretin” makes it into the list, because “the seemingly harmless word for ‘idiot’ actually refers to someone with ‘cretinism’ – a congenital disease.” Sorry, Radhika, but if you’re looking that hard for people to be outraged on behalf of, you probably should have cut your list of words to 8. Radhika tells us to instead use the word, ‘stupid’, but unfortunately for her, people higher up on the politically correct chain have declared ‘stupid’ to also be an ableist word.
Oh and from the same link, so is ‘lame’, which Sanghani uses earlier in her piece to decry the way some people use the phrase ‘that’s so gay’ to mean ‘that’s so lame’. You see, this is the problem with joining the ranks of the perpetually offended: there will always be people even more precious than you, so you’re always in the firing line no matter your intentions.
How about banning “fascist” for everything from the bedroom tax to capping benefits at £26,000 a year per family for doing nothing, or “far right” for anyone who suggests that Europe permitting entry to millions of people from poor countries with incompatible cultures, in historically unprecedented volumes, is perhaps unwise in the long term. Best of all, let’s ban buzzwords like “toxic” and “problematic” that leftie types use as non-explanation of why whatever it is they don’t like must be purged from the cultural landscape. No? Then let’s not “ban” words at all.
If you still think there’s no problem over at the former newspaper of record for retired colonels, consider entry-level-Guardian stuff such as “7 sexist myths about women in sport. Busted”, which contains about the flimsiest “myth-busting” in history, and is torn apart in the comments. We’re told that while women’s cricket is a lot slower because women can’t bowl as fast, it’s also more skilful because it involves “batting in a different way”. Often similar things are said about women’s football.
That’s nice, but if women are so desperate for women’s sport to be put on the same level as men’s, with demands that the women’s World Cup is celebrated to the same extent, the women complaining about it are going to have to do rather more than their usual tactics of screaming and signing petitions.
Sport is driven by money, and people can’t (yet) be forced to watch something they don’t want to. If women’s sports are so fabulous then their armchair cheerleaders are going to have to tear themselves away from their feminist blogs and buy tickets to go and watch. Every week. Like men do.
Sanghani also does her bit to push for the causes of noxious self-promoters, without bothering to fact-check. Promoting “social justice activist” Zoe Quinn’s supposed anti-harassment project Crash Override, which the article hilariously says “fights for marginalised nerd communities”, Sanghani is so stricken by Zoe’s tales of death threats driving her out of her home (in actual fact, a pre-planned trip to Europe), that she fails to do any research and find that genuine “marginalised nerd communities” have been stalked and threatened by Quinn and her cronies.
British games journalist Georgina Young notes the irony of a supposed anti-harassment project being “run by someone who profits and gains notoriety by openly harassing people online,” but because the story fits Sanghani’s narrative and agenda – that women are constant victims – she dutifully relays every word of Quinn’s tale unquestioningly.
Another article, “Why these naked women make me feel uncomfortable”, complains about the likes of Kim Kardashian and Keira Knightley posing for topless photos, and of course the omnipresent menace that is Page 3. The message of the article is that while the author thinks female nudity is great, when attractive women do it then it must be because of patriarchy. Again: no, really.
“These women may feel they’re in control, but” begins one sentence, and “Until I can safely say that all these women showing their nude bodies are 100 per cent doing it without any external pressures – subconscious or not -” begins another. But guess what kind of female nudity is always wonderful and marvellous? Why, breastfeeding of course! And in the constant, obsessive celebration of breastfeeding there’s never any talk of the growing stigmatisation directed at women who can’t breastfeed or who choose not to.
While every third story on the Women’s section seems to be about rape, the horrors of being wolf-whistled or else along the lines of generally insinuating women should be paying private detectives to do background checks on potential partners, there’s outrage over the fact women have been “aggressively prosecuted” for false rape accusations. Apparently 98 of the 109 women who have been prosecuted over the past five years have been done for perverting the course of justice, which carries a maximum life sentence, rather than wasting police time which has a much lesser maximum sentence of six months in prison.
One organisation, Women Against Rape (WAR), are campaigning for women to only be prosecuted for the lesser offence. The representative from WAR says there are many miscarriages of justice against these women and that, “There are a number of cases where the women are still maintaining their innocence even after they’ve been convicted,” and that they are working to get them overturned. As there are many men who, after being convicted of rape, maintain their innocence, perhaps these brave warriors on this same logical basis want to try to reduce the sentence for rape. Nah, thought not.
I can only assume the Telegraph is trying to ride on the coat tails of the Guardian and its tactic of publishing ridiculous articles designed to irritate, in order to generate page views. Unfortunately, unlike the Guardian, judging by the comments below the line, left wingers and people who might appreciate “Wonder Women” content are failing to appear and instead readers seem simply filled with ire, scorn and disbelief that the Telegraph is publishing such risible drivel.
The Telegraph is using these women of, as the commenter I quoted at the beginning of the article suggested, modest intellectual capacity, for clicks and the best thing we can do is recognise this and ignore their postmodern musings. Now I’ve written this article, I’ve certainly resolved never to go there again.