This is our truth, tell us yours
So you may have seen the cartoon by Jacky Fleming, that No more page three and their supporters think is brilliant. The moment I saw it my anger and disappointment fought with my lack of spoons to try and yet again explain what consent it, and why sex workers, and glamour models are able to give it. I tweeted Jacky Fleming, and was of course ignored, and tried to get on with an essay on gaming, misogyny and why skyrim doesn’t, but might have sex workers.
It wouldn’t go away though, the anger, the not againness, the unrelenting and sometimes it seems impossible attempt to be treated as a human being with just the same ability to make choices as the women in their nice NMP3 t shirts blaming a pair of tits for all the worlds sins, whilst calling the Scum a family newspaper.
So here it is, this “brilliant” cartoon. A man reads of the Rotherham case and wonders, as many have, why no one stopped them, why the police and social services turned a blind eye to the abuse of young people and children who they saw as sluts, whores, poofs, chavs, sex workers, no better than they should be. He then turns the page and expresses appreciation for the model of that day. He doesn’t make a sexist or misogynistic statement, unless you see being a heterosexual male as inherently sexist or misogynistic, he simply moves on. Perhaps he should have commented on GBBO, that is the acceptable middle class way to avoid thinking about how our society is complicit is sweeping uncomfortable topics under the carpet of celebrity.
Why did no one stop the abusers in Rotherham. There are a number of reasons, as we have already explored here, but one that keeps coming up in the report is that it was assumed they consented. Thats how grooming works in so many cases, the building of relationship with the victim that creates a false sense of responsiblity and complicity in their own abuse. Of course for many of the victims it was simpler than this, violence was used. Those who should have been the safe haven, who should have stopped the abuse ignored this lack of consent, preferring instead to believe their own prejudices about who can and cannot be raped, be abused, be a victim.
Just like NMP3. In the second picture is our reader looking at a non consenting picture stolen from 4 chan? (That actually would have been a brilliant cartoon, showing how we all are responsible for creating a culture that ignores consent) No, he is looking at a picture Kelly wants published, one she has not ony consented to be taken, but which was taken expressly to be put on page 3. It is after all her job, it pays the bills, feeds the cat, ensures she isn’t having to stack shelves at tesco or jump through the latest job center hoops of degradation. Kelly choses to be on page 3, she consents.
By comparing the rape and torture of young people and children to the consentually taken and published pictures of an adult Jacky Fleming, and NMP3 have shown their issue isn’t misogyny, or sexism, it’s tits. They object to the sight of them, and most of all that some people make their money by getting them out, be it on stage, in print, or for a man in the privacy of their bedroom. They link the children of Rotherham with Kelly because in their minds glamour models and sex workers are victims, unable to consent. Kelly is not a real person to them, but someone who must regret her picture being on page 3 as surely as the girls of Rotherham regret believing those most dangerous of words “I love you”. The man in the cartoon actually understands better than NMP3 or the cartoonist that consent is what matters, not the job of someone, or their behaviour, or where they come from, but whether they gave consent.
Nothing will change though, the cartoonist has already claimed she was just making a point about wider societal attitudes (as I have pointed out, there is a huge news story about non consensual pictures she could have used to make that point.) NMP3 will continue to be the friendly face of OBject, pushing an anti porn agenda that puts internet blocks on childline while pretending to be whiter than white. And me? I will continue wondering when feminist campaigns will stop attacking other women and start doing something to change the capitalist patriarchy we are all just trying to survive under.
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