Not what we meant by a feminine mystique

Just a tiny, weeny, last point on the Stephen-Fry-being-a-wanker debacle.

A heck of a lot of people who frankly should know better have been pseudo-defending Fry along the following lines:

Stephen Fry’s gay.  Of course he doesn’t know anything about women’s sexuality!

Stephen Fry’s wrong about women because he isn’t a woman, he’s not attracted to women, he’s [many would presume but who knows?] never interacted sexually with a woman, of course he says ignorant shit about women and sex.

Now obviously it was very naughty of him to presume to comment on matters of which he is profoundly ignorant.*  And of course we can’t expect him to know any better, the dear over-excited puppy.

Hang on one fucking minute.

We’re women, not tablets of Linear fucking B.  Our vaginas [for those of us who have vaginas] aren’t Rubik’s Cubes and our boobs [for those of us who have boobs] aren’t the Grand Unified Theory.

And when we fuck, if we fuck, we fuck just like normal human beings.

I am, really, just a bit fucking disappointed that the defenders, and even the people not defending Fry’s comments, have happily seized on his own sexuality as being the cause, or at least a mitigating factor, in his comments.

As though “women’s sexuality” were some mystic unknown whose secrets were revealed only to The Enlightened, who by virtue of not being A Gay Man must be, or presumably have fucked, a woman.  As though women’s minds were that idea feminism has fought and raged and yearned to destroy:  strange, alien, different things, things that cannot really be understood or acknowledged or Gods forbid treated on a par with the minds of men.

And simultaneously, as though gay men are by default this detached, unaware, unthinking, unempathising group who couldn’t, even if they tried, ever really understand the thoughts and feelings and lives of a group of people they are wholly uninteresting in fucking.

At this point my brain is stuck on a bit of a “what the fucking fuck?” loop.

So just to be clear, here’s some things that even gay men like Stephen Fry can understand about we bizarro women and our sexuality.

1. There are three billion women in this world.

Odds are, some of us do actually enjoy fucking.

2.  The sex women have is policed and punished by society.

Those in a state of disbelief may wish to turn on the television for five minutes, or perhaps read a quaint hard-copy newspaper.

3.  To be open about sexual interest is to be vulnerable to attack.

Or you could crawl out from under that rock you’ve been calling home forever.  Hoyden About Town’s tragically ongoing it’s not sex it’s rape series may be illuminating.

4.  Women trading sex for a stable relationship is the bedrock of patriarchal capitalism.

If women had to be paid for their labour in terms of childrearing and homemaking the economies of the West would die screaming.  [Old sauce, new sauce.]  Entire industries are dedicated to convincing women that they must marry, that they must have babies.  Disbelievers can go read any single issue of Cosmo picked at random, then get back to me.  It is of course necessary for this transaction to occur that women be taught to think of sex in terms of its value as a commodity, and not as something that’s actually fun.

5.  Being a gay man doesn’t make you inherently a fan of anonymous sex in parks.

Shockingly, I as a hetero woman feel entirely secure making that call.  I also feel certain there’s probably some other reason why the practice of cruising has sprung up in societies which massively stigmatise and oppress homosexual behaviour, but darned if I can think what it might be.

6.  Four plus five = REVELATION

[Straight] Women probably haven’t ever had to seek out anonymous sex in parks because they already had an acceptable outlet for sex, vis-a-vis monogamous heterosexual slavery marriage, and weren’t told they were meant to actually enjoy themselves in the process – because if they did, see threeThey were sluts who deserved to get raped.


Hope that answers all your difficult little questions, Mr Fry.


*Henry Wright of 103 Mein Street, Wellington represent!


  1. toad

    Just a tiny, weeny, last point on the Stephen-Fry-being-a-wanker debacle.

    Um, QoT, what’s wrong with being a wanker? I’m confident it’s much more fun than being Stephen Fry at the moment.

    Anyway, short comment, because a good wank before sleep beckons.

    • toad

      Might add that I agree with the rest of your post.

      Just don’t think denigrating masturbation is a good look. There was a slogan back in the ’80s:

      People like you give wankers a bad name


      Meaning people like Stephen Fry, QoT, not you. You, it seems, are usually wonderful.

      That said, I will still watch “Kingdom” on Sunday mornings on UKTV. Despite this mysogynist brainfart, his humour is usually brilliant.

      • QoT

        Merci beaucoup for the kudos, toad. And I can’t fault you for watching Kingdom – as many noted during the Roman Polanski debacle, if we refused to watch any and all media created by or starring bigots, apologists and those with severe foot-in-mouth syndrome, who’d own a TV?

    • QoT

      Oh, but it’s so difficult in this world to find non-gendered insults that really convey truly self-indulgent deliberate ignorance of life outside one’s own existence.

      Of course the downside is to demean the fine art of self-gratification, but them’s the breaks!

  2. toad

    How about “arsehole”, QoT?

    As a bi man in his 50s who has been around the block a bit, and whatever the gender of a sexual partner, that part of the anatomy is often not kept in a condition to warrant more attention than a cursory glance in my experience.

    • QoT

      It certainly has merit … I’m just reminded of George Carlin’s musings on “cocksucker” and “motherfucker”, there’s something so satisfying about a nice hard K in a word.

  3. Boganette

    Great post. I agree on all points. I think it’s weird to claim that he’s wrong because he’s gay. He’s just wrong. For a dozen reasons – that have nothing to do with being gay (or frankly with being bipolar).

    The other argument of ‘he’s wrong because he has bipolar’ is just hideous. And so freakin’ offensive. And just – I can’t even tell you how many people have tried to school me on bipolar by saying fucking awful things like “when you’re bipolar you can’t think properly and so your opinions don’t come out right” and other totally WRONG WRONG WRONG shit. In a way those arguments have just proved how far we HAVE NOT come in terms of destroying the stigma of bipolar (and all mental illness really).

    I don’t know why – if people want to defend him – they can’t just say “He said something stupid – like we all do”. I don’t know why his “defence” has to be that he’s gay (which is insulting) or that he’s bipolar (which is insulting).

    And I’m not going to stop saying wanker. I was born in Australia and it’s the only thing I’ve kept from that country. When I call someone a wanker I’m not saying “he who masturbates a lot”. As an outspoken feminist I would think most people would know that when I say wanker I’m just insulting someone – I’m not trying to rid the world of masturbation.

    Masturbation is awesome. Everyone knows that. Being a wanker isn’t awesome.