The Vagenda

FLEET STREET COCKS




So much for good journalism: Fleet Street Fox’s anti-feminism just shows once again that tabloid journalists can’t be trusted to provide good analysis



There is really nothing worse than an anonymous tabloid reporter. 

Had a bad day? Problems at home? Cut your own fringe while three sheets to the wind and regretting it? An anonymous tabloid reporter will simply make you feel worse. She’ll tell you either that it was all your fault or that her day was MUCH more dramatic and make you feel bad for whining, and then she’ll use your fringe anecdote in her next column.

Tell the same problems to a proper journalist and they generally listen, are at least faintly supportive and genuinely hadn’t noticed you’d done anything to your hair.

An anonymous tabloid reporter will think it’s all right to make crass generalisations about the female population. She will compete with you- whether you like it or not- to write the most provocative copy, she’ll use one of your writers to forward her agenda, and be seen by herself as just better according to the unwritten set of rules that anonymous tabloid journalists carry around in their heads.

The New Statesman? Well, her mum’s never heard of it. Founded in 1913 by members of the Fabian society? So what? Her twitter  has a bigger following. 

I know plenty of journalists who aren’t like that, and who I don’t feel are trying to raise my heckles with sexist generalisations. But as reasonable or sisterly as I try to be, there’s always an instinct at the back of my brain which makes a note when anonymous tabloid journalists write anti-feminist crap.  I can’t stop it and I don’t understand the rules any more than you do.

But that’s why we’ve got Fleet Street Fox and the New Statesman arguing over whether or not women are dicks. How grubby, how bitchy, how many new tips did the Fox pick up?

And on Friday our writer who hasn’t shaved anything for 18 months went on This Morning to discuss it alongside a well-maintained woman with hair extensions and a fake tan. The groomed lady praised the self-confidence such a choice must have taken, while physically recoiling.

The ungroomed lady was pretty and extremely intelligent. She said: “If you’re getting your self-esteem from your looks then it’s not with you when you wake up in the morning, it’s not with you as you get older… you have to remember you’re a wonderful person and you’re interesting.”

And who passed comment about it? Anonymous tabloid reporter Fleet Street Fox, of course. And my was she bitchy.

Someone else’s lack of writing ability doesn’t affect my life in the least. But I too felt a little queasy when she showed off the paucity of her analysis, and I caught myself thinking that she wouldn’t be able to get away with it if she weren’t writing for the Mirror. 

So why do we care? Because WE’RE ALL PRETENDING, that’s why.

We pretend that tabloid newspapers offer valid comment and analysis. We pretend that they know what they’re talking about, that’s they’re all good journalists really, that everything is the Guardian’s fault and that when tabloid journalists go to the toilet it’s not to slimily listen in on the conversation of the Z-list reality TV star in the stall next door, it’s to take a dump. 


We pretend to ourselves, and to other people, and to the world that tabloid journalists are not walking shitsacks undergoing a series of basic chemical processes. We pretend their points are valid.


And as soon as someone breaks the pact and admits that their hands are covered in blood and they are worse than the skid marks in the loo, we will round on them like hyenas on the weak member of the herd, because if everyone starts saying that the whole game will be up.

It’s not going to change any time soon, because humans have been putting up with ‘uncivilised’ members of society since the days of Ancient Greece, and tabloid journalists have been our worst enemies since the year dot.


But can’t we at least admit that it’s a game? And that it’s one we play only with bad journalists, using a scoresheet which is impossible to understand and for a prize no-one’s ever managed to win? We all know what the journalist who pleased all of us would be like. She’d be utterly AWESOME. She’d be a six foot tall Suzanne Moore/Caitlin Moran mash-up with Polly Toynbee’s debating skills and Marina Hyde’s wit.

The truth is that the writing ability you’re born with – no matter how lumpy or imperfect – is the greatest instrument you will ever own. It will carry you through life and in return you will exploit it dreadfully with crass generalisations and senseless bile. People will never think  it’s are as good as you do and yet it’ll going to still be with you when your minor fame and your book deal and your column inches disappear with old age.

The trouble with giving up a pretence is that you have to face the truth. And the truth is that the only reason you’re not writing for a broadsheet is because you’re so busy running other women down.

Foxy, don’t you think there are enough people doing that to us already?

21 thoughts on “FLEET STREET COCKS

  1. I think the fact that Emer is pretty and intelligent is irrelevant to her message, particularly to those of us less favoured who still have to make our way in the world

    And you may be pretending those journalists aren’t crap but I would never even dream of reading them in the first place…

  2. Well, this is a load of self absorbed crap. I read the Guardian, I don’t read tabloids, but I’m not one of those twats that thinks they are so much better because of it. I’m also a vegetarian, have been for life, don’t go around berating those who chose to eat meat like so many other vegetarians do, live and let live. Too many people, including the writers of this blog have too much of an agenda. I’m not saying FSF doesn’t have one, but at least she’s funny and not a completely boring knobber who can’t seem to see that women do have their faults.
    Feminism when based around female equality is brilliant, it shouldn’t be needed in modern society but untill all men and women are equal in all respects, long may it go on. However I’ll finish on the main reason I find hard core feminists completely disgusting. It’s not the lack of shaving, or the boots, it’s that Andrea Dworkin is still held in high regard despite labelling all men as rapists for sleeping with women, yet if a man dares to call a single woman anything that can be termed misogynistic, even if said women may have done something to deserve such labelling, it makes the man as bad as Hitler. Look in the mirror and see who the real hypocrites are and recognise your faults before slagging off someone who is a better writer and has a more successful blog than you do.
    Anyway, Foxy shouldn’t worry about what you have to say, after all, haters gonna hate.

    • perhaps he/she thought it was for vegetarians ??

      I don’t agree it’s snobby to look down on the red tops, they are demonstrably rubbish!

    • You can’t hurt me because I’m a vegetarian and a member of the green party and a post feminist new woman and I read the Guardian and I only eat free range eggs and what are your views on postmodernism?

    • for that matter, I hate prejudice, cruelty and injustice and no amount of clever argument is going to convince me otherwise, so to that extent I am a blinkered hater…

    • Dude. There will be people who create Andrea Dworkin straw-feminists until we’re wiped off this sorry planet, and no one will convince them otherwise. Ergo, haters gonna hate.

      But you’re right, it’s meaningless unless you spell it HATERZZ

    • “….yet if a man dares to call a single woman anything that can be termed misogynistic, even if said women may have done something to deserve such labelling, it makes the man as bad as Hitler.”

      See Godwin’s Law
      “Godwin’s law states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches” In other words, Godwin observed that, given enough time, in any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope—someone inevitably criticizes some point made in the discussion by comparing it to beliefs held by Hitler and the Nazis.
      There are many corollaries to Godwin’s law, for example,that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress.”

      Thanks Wikipedia….

  3. Isn’t there, like, an actual article on this site somewhere that deals with people who make a straw man out of Andrea Dworkin’s sex/rape argument and beat that up on the grounds it is ‘all’ feminists? Why would ‘all’ feminists be stuck on this one tiny extract from this one text from forty years ago? That doesn’t even make sense. It’s like I’m watching someone argue that once, back in ’88, this one French dude was sick after two pints THEREFORE all of Europe can’t hold its drink.

    The rest of the comment was well boring and nonsensical so I won’t bother replying to it.

    • I’d certainly be sick if I tried to drink 2 pints of beer, but I’ve never considered habituation to alcohol as anything to be proud of…

  4. I love that under the article in the Mirror you can check out more pics of her armpits in a post titled ‘ten worst armpit disasters’ or some such. So depressing.

  5. Just being amazed by the pics myself …Plus, did you check the pictures? I have really good eyesight but I struggled to find the ‘disasters’ in most of them. I should send to the Mirror a picture of mine (very Italian and proud style today! But I will shave for the weekend, I’ve got two weddings to attend. I choose when and where to shave depending on the mood.)

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