When the Lady Gardeners saw this piece by Martin Van Beynen in Saturday’s press, there was shouting, sick feelings, and someone may have broken some of the tiles out by the pond. And so, we decided to shamelessly steal an idea from Femininsting and do a round table of sorts. (Not like the round table in the Garden where we sit and drink kir royales and talk about boys! and periods! and our slutty, slutty sex lives. Apparently.)
Tallulah: I attended SlutWalk in Wellington. I was not scantily clad, far from it, and I can report that I could count on my fingers the amount of women that were. Of course, you and I may have very different definitions of what “scantily clad” implies. Because, I would suggest, if not wanting your daughter to see women in their skimpies, you might want to keep them away from the ballet. Just sayin’. Also, if you’re looking for role models, how about NOT Cinderella, a simpering child who doesn’t stand up to her family, is basically the posterchild for domestic abuse, and waits around for a prince to rescue her. Unless, of course, that’s what you want for your daughter. I suspect if is, given you suggest the way forward for women is Redemption Through Housework.
The thing is, you really don’t like women very much, do you? We should be hard-working and chaste, and stand by our men, agreeing with them, no matter what. Apparently at all the “dinner parties” I go to with my “husband” (I live a very different life to you, Martin) I should just let him spout his “brilliant and noble” ideas, and keep my pretty little mouth quiet. Because that’s supporting him. You know, Martin, no man worth his salt, no man worth my time, has ever wanted that kind of support.
There is actually too much in this column of yours for me to argue with, and I am sure some of the other ladies will pick up the slack. But you know how you want women to hit the books? Perhaps you could do that yourself, and find out what SlutWalk was about, why your victim-blaming bullshit is harmful, and why it wasn’t about our right to dress like tarts. Go on, I dare you. Learn something.
Emma Honest, ‘Lulah, it’s like van Beynen read my How to Be an Opinion Columnist column as a genuine how-to, because he’s done every single thing in there. Factual inaccuracies: check. Strident opinions offered on things you know absolutely nothing about: check. Treating groups you don’t belong to as if they don’t contain people: check.
So yeah, van Beynen’s characterisation of SlutWalk couldn’t be more wrong. He clearly just didn’t care enough to pay attention to its actual message. And of course he had the assistance in his ignorance of people like that Stuff photographer by the bridge who was only taking pictures of women in fishnets.
And here’s the thing, for me, the reason I get so fucked off when people tell lies about SlutWalk. Anything you say about SlutWalk you say about rape victims. There were people there for whom being on the march was a huge emotional strain, but who felt it was so important that it was worth putting themselves through that, worth standing up in public for the first time and saying “Yes, I was raped, and no, I am not in any way to blame for that.” I’d like van Beynen to try putting himself in that position, imagine being one of those people, and then I’d like him to read what he said about them.
When women take to the streets to pursue the right to dress like tarts, you can see why I am often forced into the realms of fiction to find exemplary womanhood.
Those people, male and female? Would make fabulous role models for children.
Also, the car crash metaphor? Fucking seriously? Also, you know what? If I’m walking down the street and I get hit by a car, nobody gives a FUCK what I’m wearing.
[We have emailed Mr van Beynen for a response to this post. Fingers crossed! TS]
[Update: Mr van Beynen did not respond to our email, nor did he bother to join the conversation here. Mainly because I'm sure he'd like us to shut our mouths along with his wife. His 'response', such as it is, is here
I (Tallulah) have just one question (for tonight) Martin, did you really just tell rape victims to stop being so touchy? Jesus. ]