A commentary and resource on Law and Sexuality by Professor Chris Ashford and guests
Oh deary dear. My Attitude subscription lapsed this month and because I didn’t realise it was about to expire I didn’t get this months Attitude magazine. As is the way of these things, that issue (already sold-out online) will surely now be sold-out in stores as it is the source of an almighty row and the wonderful Stephen Fry has gone and vanished from Twitter leaving fellow twitter geeks (myself included, follow me @lawandsexuality) worried as to whether he will ever return. His Twitter feed which can be viewed here, was last updated yesterday with ‘Bye bye’. An hour earlier Fry had tweeted: ‘So some fucking paper misquotes a humorous interview I gave, which itself misquoted me and now I’m the Antichrist. I give up’.
I’m tempted to point out that Fry can use the word fucking in his tweet feed and still be a hero of the nation, someone for children and middle-class men alike to aspire to be. If I used the word I’d probably get dirty looks off the Dean. Such is life. I say tempted to, I think I just did tell you. Sorry – cantankerous ranting is just another facet of my personality so it seems fitting to reflect it in my blog.
Anyway, back to this Fry strop. As a fellow stropper, it seems to me to be a rational reaction to a miss-quote that then led to some groups turning their fire on him. Poor Stephen. The Observer – apparently the must read for feminists sipping their soya milk fueled drinks on a Sunday morning (I’m being ironic, easy tiger!) took some umbrage to Fry’s ‘humorous’ remarks that women don’t like having sex – that it is the price for a relationship. The Observer wrote:
‘”For good reason,” he declares in a candid interview in the November issue of Attitude magazine. “If women liked sex as much as men, there would be straight cruising areas in the way there are gay cruising areas. Women would go and hang around in churchyards thinking: ‘God, I’ve got to get my fucking rocks off’, or they’d go to Hampstead Heath and meet strangers to shag behind a bush. It doesn’t happen. Why? Because the only women you can have sex with like that wish to be paid for it.”
To make matters worse, they then get a quote who runs off with the cottaging angle and then displays her utter ignorance of the topic whilst attacking the ignorance of Fry. It’s a media frenzy driven by an odd mixture of shock, outrage, ignorance and practised by those with an apparent humour-bypass. Boycott was quoted as saying that Fry’s comments were: “kind of rubbish. Women are just as capable as men are of enjoying sex. We don’t go cruising or cottaging on Hampstead Heath because we don’t need to. Cottaging on Hampstead Heath is presumably a hangover from the days when, sadly, [homosexuality] was illegal… Women have other ways to get our thrills, and we can go and get them in bars or clubs. Having said which, we probably also do it in parks sometimes too. It’s just that we don’t call it cottaging. I’m sure I’ve done it in parks in my time.”
Pink News covered the row and included a response from the Observer following Fry’s tweeted complaints at the story which seemed to portray him as the ‘anti-christ’, commenting that:
‘We have faithfully and fairly reproduced Stephen Fry’s quotes in his interview with Attitude magazine. It fully and accurately reflects the opinions he expressed. He has no grounds for complaint against this newspaper.”’
For any feminists still reading, I agree with Fry that for some women this is probably the case; however I’m pretty confident (I’m a single gay man so I’m getting out of my depth at this point…) that many women love love love sex. Fry’s comments were in that sense absurd but I do think the media need to develop a sense of humour. Read the Observer piece here, and make up your own mind. For what it’s worth, I think we all need to find our sense of humour and get a grip. Ooo errr.