delve a little deeper....
In the last 15 or 20 years, I've watched the British press simply go to hell. There seems to be no limit, no depths to which the tabloids won't sink. I don't know who these people are but they're little pigs.
John le Carre
Way before Le Carre's time Marie Antoinette was the subject of a campaign of vilification that took place from the time she ascended the throne as Queen of France in 1774. This carried on throughout her reign until her death at the hands of the revolution in 1793. Much of the reason she was so unpopular was due to the tabloids of the day; crude pamphlets that were circulated at court, in Paris and then later more widely throughout France.
Marie Antoinette was painted as extravagant, frivolous, arrogant and callous to the sufferings of her people. Whilst there is evidence of her extravagance, she was hardly single handedly responsible for the decline of France's fortunes! Not only that, she was also reported to be a bi-sexual nymphomaniac, rapacious in her lusts for men and women, forever cuckolding her husband King Louis XVI.
They even had illustrations depicting her liaisons dangereuses...
But how much has changed? The power that these pamphlets had in forming the views of society has continued through to today. The pamphleteers of the 18th century could make up stories, use unsubstantiated rumours and use images drawn by someone's imagination. These days our tabloids are no less vicious, but have modern technology to help them get the dirt and to satisfy the public need for evidence so rather than drawings we get to pour over photo and film.
Last week the trial of Tulisa Contostavlos for supplying drugs collapsed when the judge threw it out based on lies that had been told by the prosecution witness Mazher Mahmood. Full BBC report here if you're not up to date.
Tulisa was set up by Mahmood a Sun on Sunday journalist who posed as a film producer who wanted her to appear in a Hollywood film starring Leonado DiCaprio. It was an elaborate scam that including flying her to Vegas, meetings in smart hotels with the lure of fame, fortune and the acting career she has dreamed of. Incidentally Mahmood is also known as the fake Sheikh who gets his headlines from sneaky manipulation, hidden filming, flattery and a lot of elaborate lies. He has set up Sophie Wessex, Sarah Ferguson, Sven Goran Ericksson, although met his match with George Galloway.
But why Tulisa and for what ends? She might not be the most famous or talented person in the world but she did OK with her band N-Dubz winning a MOBO and releasing two platinum and one gold album. Despite this Simon Cowell was critisised heavily when he gave her the role of a judge on The X Factor. Tulisa baiting continued and reached a peak when a tape of her giving an ex boyfriend a blow job was leaked. The tabloids and internet gossip sites had a field day and the nation could unite in believing this was the proof she was just a common chav and a slut. Because of course only a certain sort of woman gives blow jobs, let alone lets her boyfriend film it...
Tabloids survive by feeding the masses salacious stories centred on young women and their sex lives. It's no difference to how the young, naive Marie Antoinette was viciously and continuously critisied, lied about and mocked, much of it based on her sexuality and sexual behaviour both real and made up. The printed press still continue to act as our moral guardians and perpetually prod the fires of outrage and shock. You'd think 200 odd years on from Marie Antoinette's death society would be a little less taken in by sex scandals and that we might have grown up enough to accept people have sex. Haven't we realised that sometimes people have lots of sex with lots of different people and sometimes they even have sex with more than one person at a time or have weird sex you can't even read about in Cosmopolitan magazine? No.
Tulisa isn't the only one by a long shot. Abi Titmuss was shot into the spotlight when her then boyfriend John Leslie was accused of raping Ulrika Jonsson a TV weather girl and presenter who incidentally received much critisism for daring to be married three times and having four children by four different men (the slut) as well as having an affair with Sven Goran Eriksson (double slut!)
Titmuss was forced to leave her nursing job because of tabloid attention and ended up making a career of being a glamour girl. She has since said she regretted it but felt at the time she couldn't continue as a nurse and needed to make a living somehow. She was subjected to the humiliation of the release of a sex tape showing her having a threesome with John Leslie and another woman. in 2012 she said I was devastated by the violation. It affected me very badly. I guess there was something accessible about me.”
Both Abi Titmuss and Ulrika Jonsson appeared at the Leveson Inquiry with regards to their phones being hacked. Actress Sienna Miller and singer Charlotte Church also appeared. Miller had her phone hacked in relation to her affair with Daniel Craig.
At the Inquiry Church said her overnight success as the ‘Voice of an Angel’ when she was just 11 had warped her childhood and meant she was hunted by paparazzi for years, with newspapers determined to portray her as a ‘fallen angel’.
It's easy enough to conclude that sex sells and that if society wasn't so obsessed with the miniature details of the rich and famous and with even the less rich and not quite famous then the papers would cease to exist. It is easy for a journalist (I use that term loosely) to maintain that the public should be told when a whiter than white celebrity is indulging in an extramarital affair or dabbling in class A's.
But what of Tulisa? Her case clearly showed that she was manipulated and lied to and was lead by a shiny Oscar shaped carrot to agree to supply drugs to the fake film producer. She was daft to arrange it but if you watch the recent documentary Tulisa: The Price of Fame you'll see how she fell for it, how she bigged herself up and acted in a way she thought they wanted to see to secure the pretend film role. But why? Why on earth would anyone sit down and plan a ludicrously expensive operation purely to bring someone down? To potentially get them sent to prison. Whatever you think of her she didn't deserve that and was it just to sell papers or just so the media hacks can wield their puppet strings to dictate who the public should love or hate?
I never managed to comprehend why I was outed back in 2011. I'm not famous, not on anyone's radar nor particularly interesting or glamorous. I actually don't know why I was chosen to be picked upon other than a bloke I had a brief fling with and didn't like it when I ended it apparently told his hack mate about me. At the time when he texted me to tell me this (among a myriad of other threats) I laughed because it seemed so ludicrous.
As it happened they waited a couple of months and after firstly telling my employer about by dalliance on adultwork (Written about here if you're interested) I had a visit from a journo who had heard I had resigned from my job. This was a couple of hours after I had resigned. I hadn't told anyone, all I had done was call HR and then write an email confirming my resignation. I also blogged a one liner stating I had resigned from my job. The blog was friends only. I am in no doubt that noone who followed me gave the journalist access. The bitter ex fling didn't know any passwords and never could have guessed. I never knew how they got their information. One can only assume something was hacked. And even now, I find that notion ridiculous.
Anyway, to cut a long story short (and I'm not sure I can even write about that period in detail without getting upset) I was outed in The Sun. I don't want to reveal too much about the article, but it wasn't very complimentary. It wasn't filled with much actual truth and it was incredibly damaging to my career and personal relationships.
I kind of related to Abi Titmuss (yes, I am slightly ashamed of writing that) when I read her book because I felt that same sense of shame, despite being quite happy with my own body and sexuality, it's horrible to have intimate images spread across the paper without your consent. It's horrible to read in print someone calling you a tart or a slapper and know your family, friends, colleagues and potential future employers or partners could read this about you.
The irony being it forced me into sex work full time, not dissimilar to Abi going down the glamour model route I suppose because at the end of the day we all have to eat and once that slut mark has been stamped on you it's not easy to go back.
What was the point in what that journalist did to me? I definitely was not news or public interest and only served to damage my life and upset plenty of other people in the process. What was the point in what Mahmood did to Tulisa other than just to be really fucking nasty and fill a few column inches.
I've written before about sex workers and the tabloids, but by the same token the outing of sex workers and the revelations about the private lives of women all comes down to 'slut shaming' and a total disregard for someone's privacy. These articles perpetuate the ideology that women should be chaste, monogamous and traditional in their sex lives. If we haven't reached the 21st century without this changing what chance is there of it ever changing?
The Leveson Inquiry has changed nothing.
We started with one royal woman so we shall end with another more modern one.
"....This is not a time for recriminations but for sadness. However I would say that I always believed the press would kill her in the end. But not even I could imagine that they would take such a direct hand in her death as seems to be the case.
It would appear that every proprietor and editor of every publication that has paid for intrusive and exploitative photographs of her, encouraging greedy, ruthless individuals to risk everything in pursuit of Diana's image has blood on his hands today."
Princess Diana's brother, Earl Spencer
"But if you do not heed me and do not keep all these commandments, if you reject my precepts and spurn my decrees, refusing to obey all my commandments and breaking my covenant, then I, in turn, will give you your deserts. I will punish you with terrible woes--with wasting and fever to dim the eyes and sap the life. You will sow your seed in vain, for your enemies will consume the crop.
I will turn against you, till you are beaten down before your enemies and lorded over by your foes. You will take to flight though no one pursues you.
Bullying has always been around and can be found in any area of the globe or period in history you might choose from. There are individuals and groups that target others with tactics designed to intimidate, coerce or harm them. In some cases bullying is used to maintain social order and ensure that no one acquires too much dominance, status or personal power.
According to psychological sources, bullying is a specific type of aggression in which (1) the behavior is intended to harm or disturb, (2) the behavior occurs repeatedly over time, and (3) there is an imbalance of power, with a more powerful person or group attacking a less powerful one. This asymmetry of power may be physical or psychological, and the aggressive behavior may be verbal (eg, name-calling, threats), physical (eg, hitting), or psychological (eg, rumors, shunning/exclusion). The key elements of this definition are that multiple means can be employed by the bully or bullies, intimidation is the goal, and bullying can happen on a one-on-one or group basis (Nansel et al, 2001).
Even animals can pick on each other. Research has shown that among baboons from sub-Saharan Africa groups of related females work together to compete over resources and in doing so regularly gang up on individual females. (Altmann, 1980). It has been observed that some individual rats and mice will repeatedly attack others and steal their food.
The mice that suffered repeated social defeats were more anxious and experienced changes in brain chemistry (Kinsey et al, 2007).
It seems slightly ironic that a week after David Cameron told us that "online pornography is corroding childhood" that the press is now full of stories about internet bullying. Is this the real problem with the internet or has the internet just given us a new outlet for those who wish to intimidate or cause upset to others?
The death of 14 year old Hannah Smith this week who was relentlessly sent abuse via ask.fm has opened up yet another storm about how websites manage cyber bullying, abuse and trolling. Last week it was Twitter under pressure to change how it deals with bullying after campaigner and journalist Caroline Criado-Perez was put under what she described as 'a tidal wave of abuse' with rape and death threats. Threats were also made to MP Stella Creasy and Classicist Mary Beard.
Of course these are three well known people and what they received was a fraction of the abuse, bullying and harrassment found across the internet and poor Hannah Smith is one of many children across the world to have become suicidal over online bullying.
A man has been arrested over threats made to Criado-Perez, but of course the cynic in me wonders whether this was due to the fact she has a public profile (and even more cynically if because she is white, straight, middle class and nice looking).
However, today after the death of Hannah Smith pressure has been put on Ask.fm. Ask is a site that allows people to join and offer anyone who wants to ask questions anonymously- in that they don't have to sign in or provide an email address.
David Cameron has talked about irresponsible websites and asked people to boycott such sites if they don't 'clean up their act'. The Sun described ask.fm as a "suicide site" and said said the men behind ask.fm were "troll kings" on its front page. The irony of The Scum taking the moral high ground here is not lost on me. Several advertisers such as Vodafone, Specsavers, Save the Children and Laura Ashley have also moved to withdraw their adverts.
Following the pressure of Twitter to review their report policy and the frankly pointless 'TwitterSilence' on Sunday spurred on by Caitlin Moran to show some sort of protest (I never did quite get the point) it feels the blame for all ills of society is to be put onto the people who run websites.
Just because a car may run someone over the blame isn't put on car manufacturers? It's not down to them to ensure people either drive safely or not walk in front of a moving car. The onus has to be put on ensuring people drive safely, children are taught their Green cross code and harsh penalties for those who drive dangerously.
Ask.fm has around 8 million accounts and Formspring (a similar site) 29.5 million. Facebook has 1.11 BILLION users and Twitter 140 million users and sees 340 million tweets per day. Whilst all these accounts won't be used that is still a massive number of people to manage.
All these sites have processes to block, delete or report abuse and there are moderators who respond to this. Ask.fm have said they have a team of moderators present "around the clock - 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days per year" who manually check all content posted to its site.
Like with the porn issue, parent's need to know what their kids are doing online, children need to be educated. They need to know the consequences of bullying online, the law with regards to making threats and of course how to respond when someone threatens or taunts you. This kind of thing has to start happening now. The internet has grown so fast and changed our lives so quickly, almost too quickly to manage and all of a sudden we find ourselves with 24/7 access to almost anything you could possibly want (or not want) to view and a new, more underhand way to hurt, abuse, insult and goad others.
I find it hard to comprehend why anyone would return to their ask.fm site once bullying started. Of course I'm not critisising Hannah Smith or anyone else who continues to read hate hurled at them or tries to fight back, but a simple lesson in life is that bullies like a reaction- any reaction. Silence bores them. Responding angrily or trying to argue against a viewpoint feeds them. Indeed, you'll often read 'Do Not Feed The Troll!' posted on forums when someone is spilling their venom or posting ridiculous or controversial view points. I think they are right. Responding to someone who is out to cause trouble won't make them stop and think about what they have done or change their views (unless you happen to troll Mary Beard and someone knows their mother!).
I'm not saying everyone should keep quiet about this kind of behaviour. The Twitter Silence day was met with a ShoutBack day by those who felt that being silent was offensive to those who don't get their voices heard often enough, whether it be women, sex workers or trans* women and men. Many see Twitter as a platform where they can be open about their life and experiences and by shutting up plays into the hands of those who don't think certain groups should have a voice. I certainly can attest to that and I do think that whilst there is no point engaging with trolls or hateful people I do think if you have the clout or the support network in place you can make others see what you are subjected to.
Freedom of speech is important though. I can shout pretty loudly about sex work and why I am not more inferior to anyone else and I have a right to do that, and I can do it in a reasoned manner. The person who thinks I should get a proper job or am letting all women down has the same right to make their views heard as me. However, once that crosses the line into personal abuse I'm shutting up. There is no point if you can't have a reasoned debate or exchange of views.
This doesn't help much when it comes to children being bullied on social media though. The answer isn't to limit the internet or reduce the ability to remain anonymous (in sex work circles for example staying anonymous is of paramount).
It's a change in education, it's making sure children (and maybe even adults) know the consequences of bullying, teaching them to stay safe, how to report bullies and where to get support and yes, maybe even teaching them to walk away. I really do believe sometimes silence is the right response. Retaliation only fans the flames of many who bully and abuse online.
There isn't a simple answer though, but screaming at the website owners isn't it either.
Anyone who knows this blog well enough will know of my loathing of the press and it has been at the front of my mind again because I was thinking about content for the wonderful Everyday Whorephobia website. I offered my blog post about tabloids and the outing of sex workers which was kindly accepted and posted (here if you're interested).
I'm reluctant to go into details about my own personal outing (Oh God, that sounds like I went to the seaside for the day; I mean in the press) because obviously I would prefer to protect my anonymity/.
What I haven't ever really written about is what happened when I was outed at work. I think it's time I got it down, firstly for my own cathartic reasons and secondly it is a perfect demonstration of whorephobia and the stigma sex workers face. I also feel a bit uncomfortable telling this story to other sex workers who also have other jobs because it scares the hell out of them. However, if this blog works as a reminder of why you should be really fucking careful then it's done some good. Some details are sketchy or have been altered to protect myself.
When I started escorting it was on a very part time basis. I had a full time job which was fairly demanding and meant working weekends, but this worked well because it meant I was able to work on week days when I was off work which tend to be the busier times. I didn't live with anyone I had to hide it from and my lover and best friend at the time were very supportive.
In a way escorting saved me. It sorted me out financially and I as I was started to feel disillusioned with one night stands and meaningless flings it gave me sex without the crap that went with it and despite what some people might think I found I didn't feel ‘used’ in the way I was starting to with men I would meet on civvie street. In fact I still say to people that most of my clients are nicer, kinder, more honest and more reliable than many of the non paying men I have had in my life!
Everything ticked along nicely, me being happier than I had been in a long time. Juggling work and clients was easy. I didn't have to see many clients because on top of a decent salary the extra £200 or so a week made a massive difference to me and I was getting debts paid off and able to enjoy life again. I was hardly out buying Louboutins and jetting off on luxury holidays, but able to do , you know, normal things like pay my bills on time, be able to afford to meet friends for dinner after spending so long having to turn down most social arrangements.
I'm going to skim over the story of who outed me and the background to that huge almighty fuck up of a relationship but I will say it was someone I had only known about six weeks, it was a bit intense and I felt I needed to tell him about my escorting work because at the time I thought it was a relationship going somewhere. Once I realised he was controlling, manipulative and a liar I got out. I ended it nicely (it's not you it's me type thing!) It was a fling, it was brief, it didn't work out, no harm done... you'd think.
Oh how right I was in my suspicions this man was a nutjob. He didn't take being ditched very well. After much pestering, begging, threats, anger, tears, accusations of STI's via text, voicemails and emails for two months he did finally go away.
However, four months after the end of the six week fling he reappeared. Well, actually he didn't reappear, what did appear was an email sent to several departments of the organisation I worked for. The email was written as if from a third party who knew that I was working for them and as an escort and how could they allow such a disgusting person be part of their organisation. There was a helpful link to my adultwork profile and a couple of personal bits of info thrown in such as my job title and where I lived.
The person who first picked up the email; someone I worked with a lot and got on well with came to see me with it. She assumed that it was all a made up lie and wanted to warn me that I obviously had an enemy. Incidentally, she got bollocked and taken down a disciplinary route for telling me first and not flagging it up to her manager first. She suggested I went to tell my manager and I felt I had to because she did have a responsibility to deal with it and I didn't want to have to make her feel disloyal by doing it. I'm glad I did because it would have come out anyway once other people had seen it (It went to the PR dept and the directorate too I discovered later).
So, I showed my manager and admitted that parts of it were true. He freaked the hell out and I ended up reassuring him that I was fine and I was happy doing it. Off he went to HR in a tizz. Seriously, for a senior manager he handled it appallingly and made it obvious he had no idea how to deal with me or seem to be able to cope with me as a sexual being. I was so the opposite end of his scale of the kind of woman he finds attractive! I also suspect he thought sex workers should look like Julia Roberts in Pretty woman or be heroin addled drug or some other stereotype.
Later that day I had to go to an informal meeting with him and HR where I was asked all manner of embarrassing questions. As much as I was proud of myself for getting my life together by escorting I couldn't help feeling excruciatingly embarrassed and shameful for having done it. I suppose in a way it was like discussing sex with your elderly granny which probably is a good analogy of the organisation I worked for. It wasn't a street wise teenager of a company, it was a prim, conventional, old fashioned stuck in the dark ages kind of place.
Fun questions included Why didn't you tell your manager you had a second job as per company policy? WHY DO YOU FUCKING THINK?!
Have you ever conducted business on company property? Now, if you knew where I worked you'd find this as hilarious as I did.
They asked me about the legality of what I did, who else knew, was I paying tax, where did I advertise, did I think it affected my ability to do my job properly. I mean seriously- I had been there ten years with a perfect record, little sick time and had been promoted in the last year, I hit targets, I ran a department and it's million quid budget, I was respected and frankly shit hot.
I reassured them that I would give up (ha!) and that my job wasn't effected, as surely my boss would have noticed. I only worked occasionally- maybe an hour or two a week and I was very discreet. There was nothing out there regarding my real identity or place of work and that it was only because of some insane, spurned dickhead it had been revealed.
Everyone who I told about this reassured me. It would be fine. Say you're sorry and you'll give up straight away. They can't fire you, you've done nothing wrong, it doesn't effect your work, it's not illegal, what you do in your own time isn't their business blah blah blah.
I was told they weren't going to suspend me whilst they 'investigated' further pending a formal disciplinary, but there were some limitations put on me and I know full bloody well they didn't suspend me because they needed me to cover over the Christmas period.... So I plodded on, more miserable than I ever had been, I was told not to tell anyone at all, so my team were confused at my behaviour and why I wasn't doing certain things and hiding in my office. My boss couldn't look me in the eye and actively avoided me. I was scared and upset about my job and bewildered as to what they were doing to 'investigate' and he was fucking useless. He was furious with me for 'being so stupid' and 'bringing shame on the organisation'.
So Christmas passed and then on New Years Eve I was hauled back to HR (who had come in specially) and told they had investigated and discovered 'incriminating evidence' on my computer. What they had actually found was a word document I had drafted, a Gumtree ad for a threesome, nothing to do with sex work at all but a private thing with a lover. They also had a couple of photos I had inadvertently downloaded (or uploaded, I don't know) wearing tarty clothes and one topless one. Again these were for the lover I had emailed (via hotmail, not the work email, I wasn't that stupid) but had somehow ended up on my hard drive.
Despite being comfortable with my body and taking my clothes off for strange men I was HUGELY embarrassed by this. It was mortifying. Despite quite liking men getting off on photos of me I was cringing like mad over the fact people in IT, HR and my boss had seen these photos. At this point I was suspended. I had the humiliation of being escorted to my office to collect my things, had my staff pass and keys taken away and escorted off the premises like some common thief.
As I walked to the train station I knew I would never go back.
A good friend had put me in touch with a lawyer who despite everyone else telling me that they couldn't sack me told me that yes, indeed they could sack me. Despite not using company property, assets or time to escort, the fact it isn't illegal I was still potentially bringing the company name into disrepute.
I had already decided that I couldn't face going back and never wanted to see my boss again and having discussed it with the HR woman (who was fantastic and kind in many ways) I realised by resigning prior to a disciplinary hearing I could go with an unblemished record and a good reference.
I think they would have sacked me if I had gone through the disciplinary process. I had worked for them long enough and with HR enough times on disciplinary hearings for both my own staff and as an independent manger for other departments to know how they operated and the things they kept raising such as policies regarding second jobs and using company equipment they were gunning to get me on something.
Ten days after I resigned the tabloid rag printed their story on me so even if I had got away with a slap on the wrist I'm pretty sure I would have been forced into leaving one way or another. Yeah, the psycho man was responsible for telling the paper too...
It's a shitty story I know, but it happened and I'm fine. Please don't feel sorry for me, these things make me a stronger person and quite likely I am much happier than where I was a few years ago.
The points I want to make are:
Be very careful if you escort and you work elsewhere.
The stigma of escorting sucks.
Can you imagine if I was bringing a company into disrepute for being a birdwatcher or into knitting or if I babysat the kids next door twice a week. What about firing someone for making a bit of cash on eBay or for staying up all night playing Candy Crush. Why is sex work a reason for forcing someone out of a job? Why does society think that this industry is akin with stabbing kittens or kicking old ladies in the street?
I have some theories but I'd love to know what others think.
The Scene: Daily Mail offices
A group of white heterosexual men in suits sit around a board table.
There is an air of unease. Circulation is down, The Mail Online aren't getting the hits they used to, advertisers are getting twitchy and rumblings from Dacre were getting louder...
'Any ideas anyone?' a white heterosexual man said hopefully.
Everyone looked thoughtful.
'Any gays died lately?' another white man asked 'We could get Moir in, she gave us no end of publicity when the poof from Boyzone copped it'
The room fell silent...
'You would have thought Littlejohn finishing that tranny off would have worked' someone else added.
The room filled with murmurs and headshaking. They were all most disappointed that that one hadn't made more of an impact despite the best efforts of those liberal lefties on Twitter.
'I suppose there's only one thing for it!' a white man who occasionally liked his bottom smacked by his Nigerian gardener announced. 'We'll have to get Brickie in!'
As she entered the room, the atmosphere changed. Air was sucked in through teeth, hard ons were hastily rearranged and the sound of wildly beating hearts could practically be heard as sweat glistened on many an upper lip.
'Fuck, she's so beautiful' one white man who had spent the night wanking over the Evening Standard's Thatcher pull out special said breathlessly.
She was a vision. She sat at the head of the table, her blonde hair spread across her shoulders like an angel. Her perfect legs crossed and the vacant look in her eyes was quickly changed with the smug self satisfaction that all these men would leave their wives for her.
'What can I do for you boys?' she said knowing the words on her lips were like a summer breeze across their fevered brows.
'We need something from you, we don't care who you upset but we need more readers, even readers who only read us because they hate us.'
'But, I already gave you my IVF trauma and heartbreak piece last week when you wanted me to do an obit of that IVF man who didn't give me a baby'. The pout on her lips was like the sweetest cherry.
'We know most pretty one, and we appreciate that but we need something more. Something to get the femin-lezzies going'
Samantha Brick looked thoughtful. The collective of white heterosexual men all waited, cocks still hard, pulses still racing.
'Well, you know how beautiful I am?'
'Yes!' a loud cry in unison was heard, each man hoping his affirmation was loud enough for her to notice him, even for just a second.
'Well, I thought I could share my secret of how one stays so beautiful. It's all about being thin.
The white hetreosexual men all removed the passing thoughts that they liked women with a healthy appetite, how they adored to see a pair of big bouncing boobs, slap a round peachy arse and any worry they had about their teenage daughter's eating disorder.
The beauty continued.
'Yes, that shall be my gift to you. I shall tell the world that being slim is the only way to be. Everyone should realise that only fit women will do well at work, I mean...'
She laughed daintily like a twinkling fairy flying by a crystal clear waterfall.
...'we all know dear Maggie never would have done so well if she'd been a lardy heffalump. I shall share the secret of my special polo mint diet and that it's OK to faint from hunger.
Samantha stood up, her dress rippling across her creamy (not that thin actually) thighs. She was getting into her stride now.
'I shall tell them to choose houses without kitchens, to holiday in predominantly vegetarian countries! I shall tell them to pick men who will DUMP them if they gain any weight!'
The white hetreosexual men all stood and cheered! Not caring that their trousers were still bulging and ruining the line, they whooped and yelled and cheered for their goddess!
'I don't care if even more women hate me, it's only because they are jealous of me, the fatties will all die of a cardiac arrest soon anyway!' she trilled like a bluebird on the first day of spring!
'Teenage girls need to know they won't be loved or get a job if they get fat. Starving yourself is the only way to be as perfect and beautiful as me!'
The cheering reached a crescendo. The white heterosexual men all knew that this one would be a winner. Tweets would be tweeted, blogs written, links posted on Facebook, commentary made in the lefty commie press (aka The Guardian) and general loathing and criticism across the land would fall at the feet of dear, beautiful Samantha and the advertisers and Editor would be happy again.
For those who are hard of thinking, the Daily Mail articles relevant to this post will not be linked here.
In honour of the Leveson Report being published today I am linking THIS blog post again.
Will be interesting to see the outcome and will anything change? I am cynical of course.
It's a tricky one, one person's idea of news that is in public interest isn't the same as others. It's very easy to say that journalists should remain squeaky clean, no phone hacking, no paying informants to pass them information and so on. Have we not all lapped up salacious scandals of the royals, pop stars and football players? Where is the line drawn between inappropriate journalism and genuine investigative journalism that uncovers corruption and wrong doing by those in power?
Do we need to know if a children's TV presenter who has made his fortune on being a squeaky clean family man has been bonking his best friends wife? Is it fair he might lose his job because his employers don's want to be seen as condoning his behaviour? Is that really newsworthy? Many people would say 'Well, it's his own fault for being a cad!' If the information came to light because his phone was hacked, do the same people cry out 'That's appalling! That's an invasion of privacy!'?
What if illegal practices result in a positive outcome? What if the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone uncovered where she was and found alive? That's probably a bad example, but you see my point.
The Daily Telegraph paid £110,000 to a mole who leaked documents about MP's expenses with regards to second homes. Is this 'good' journalism? That kind of information should be made public to the tax payers surely?
There is of course no justification in journalists hacking the phones of the victims of crime to get an exclusive story. There is no justification in exposing an individual's private life, and certainly not by hacking their phone or computer. Those who say 'Oh celebrities put themselves in the firing line!' should read this, adapted from Hugh Grant's Leveson witness statement.
One thing I did think about regarding The Leveson Enquiry...There is already a code of practice which the Press Complaints Commission produces as a committee of editors from the newspaper and magazine industry.
The Code has two purposes, as a solid set of principles for the press industry to follow and it gives the Commission a clear and consistent framework within which it can address complaints from members of the public. From what I gather it doesn't monitor the press, it only investigates when a complaint has been made.
If you read the code of practice, it's pretty precise and sensible. You only have to read any tabloid on any given day to find a selection of articles that breach these standards. Surely if these guidelines were actually put into practice the media would be a much more moral, fair place?
As much as I am loathe to link to The Scum, this article was brought to my attention and I felt the need for a rant. For those of you who don't want to click the link (I feel dirty, so I don't blame you) it is an article about a school secretary who has been working as an escort, or as The Scum put it a 'kinky hooker', cos well escort sounds too nice, The Scum like to sleaze it up a bit doncha know?
Shock, horror, a woman who sells sex. Regardless that thousands of women are doing it, it's not illegal and she's doing it through her own free will it's still in a newspaper. It's actually not news. Oh but The Scum (and other tabloids) continue to print these stories, for what odds? To fill column inches, to titillate or just because they get their kicks out of trashing people's lives? Certainly not because they feel they need to lead the nation to some moral utopia.
It appears The Scum even have a template to follow when creating these vile pieces of tripe...
Make a meal of the organisation the woman works for.
In this case a catholic school, despite the fact this school lets pretty much anyone in and is considered not particularly good. But tabloids need an emphasis. Do its illiterate, ignorant readers sit there reading such things and say 'Er, Gazza, look at this, a caflic school, blimey, those poor saintly children'? Probably. A 'Not very good state school secretary' doesn't quite have the same ring to it does it? Tick.
Make the woman sound like a cow. She 'boasts', she 'brags', add inverted commas round words such as 'classy' to let your readers know that really she isn't. Tick
Use the cliche 'by day she is...' as if she turns into some kind of a cartoon villain at night. Oh yes, The Scums rates prostitutes alongside pedophiles, people who mug old ladies and crack dealers who peddle outside infant schools.
Come up with some bollocks on how this was uncovered. In this case 'her sideline was uncovered after a parent of pupils saw photos of the petite brunette on the site'.
Utter rubbish. Any leak to the employers was made by The Scum themselves. I would bet money on that.
Steal photos off her website. Tick
Add another picture taken unawares in the street. Tick
Allow Scum readers (I use that word loosely) to make nasty comments about the woman's physical appearance. Tick.
As I said, this is not news. Her private life is her own and what she chooses to do in bed (paid for or otherwise) is irrelevant to her job. So what if she works with children? Sexual appetite is not contagious. I'm quite sure she wasn't seducing the kids and demanding their dinner money for payment.
The school will probably now sack her. Despite her not actually doing anything wrong, not in work time and probably not to any affect to her job the school will be within their rights to dismiss her. Contrary to the opinion of sensible people who think that even though what she does is legal and her own personal business; organisations that have a public or professional reputation to maintain can pull the 'bringing the organisation into disrepute' line. And it will stick. She can not say I am discreet, noone knows, because it is now in the fucking Scum! Argument void! Go straight to HR and collect your P45.
But why should she lose her job? Because the sex industry is seen as seedy, unsavoury and full of drug addled pimped whores and dirty old men in brown macs. Those who don't know any better will get their sensible granny knickers in a twist. Even those who do know better aren't usually willing to publicly stand up and defend the trade. Men in every single profession pay for sex. Very few of them would actually stand up and be counted when it comes to it. Even if the head teacher of this school has been shagging call girls for years, has an understanding of the industry and is thoroughly sympathetic he is not going to show that publicly by announcing that it doesn't matter and she can stay in her job.
This is why we hear about Harriet Harman and her ilk making ill informed proposals which come down to Ban all prostitutes! Criminalise all men who pay for sex! Do we ever get any MP's say, 'Actually, there is a genuine supply and demand here, but girls put themselves at risk because they can't work in pairs or groups because that means the premises becomes a brothel and therefore illegal, we should change that?'. Um no. No one wants to admit that actually there is a thriving industry with successful, professional, clever women who are happy to be paid for sex. Women aren't meant to want to do such a thing are they?
What accepting prostitution means is having to face that actually, we don't all want to settle down in the monogamous relationships expected of us. Wives want faithful husbands, men feel shame at choosing to pay for sex, mothers want their daughters to be virtuous, women can't comprehend how other women can fuck a man she has only just met and so on. Prostitution rattles what conventional society and culture dictates. Despite the adage that prostitution is the oldest profession it still, and probably always will be considered wrong, dirty, shameful and something that newspapers can use against women who have done nothing more than have a liberated sex life and make a bit of money.
As an aside, something does need to be done with the UK laws in terms of making it safer for women who choose to sell sex as well as a crack down on trafficking, but certainly not criminalising those who buy and sell sex willingly.
Back to the latest victim of The Scum. She will probably be out of a job (they may 'let' her resign, but she will be out (the irony being she may may have to turn to escorting full time), she may lose friends, have family relationships wrecked, be shunned by the neighbours and so on. She will be feeling absolute horror at having her private life splashed across the newspaper. She will feel invaded, violated, betrayed and sick. She will hate leaving the house, convinced everyone is looking at her. It's a thoroughly shit thing to happen and those who have anything to do with these (quite regular) outings of working girls should be shot. My heart goes out to her.
What happened to her happened to me.