Get in touch

Caitlin Moran – a step too far?

It’s easy to find things that annoy you on Twitter but I view it mostly as a place for discussion and debate, not always with the people whose views I share and often with those with whom I have little in common. I retweet blogs and articles that I find interesting, not necessarily because I agree but because the writer has thought through a subject and presented a sound argument, structured in an interesting and thought-provoking way. But today I was left speechless by comments made by Caitlin Moran to an Australian magazine.

She was asked this:

MF: And of course it should never be about victim blaming but I worry about the idea of saying to women “don’t change your behaviour, this is not your problem!”. I feel like that’s saying, ”You should be able to leave your car unlocked with the keys in the ignition, or leave your front door unlocked, and expect nobody to burgle you.”

And replied:

CM: Yes. It’s on that basis that I don’t wear high heels – other than I can’t walk in them – because when I’m lying in bed at night with my husband, I know there’s a woman coming who I could rape and murder, because I can hear her coming up the street in high heels, clack-clack -clack. And I can hear she’s on her own, I can hear what speed she’s coming at, I could plan where to stand to grab her or an ambush. And every time I hear her I think, “Fuck, you’re just alerting every fucking nutter to where you are now. And [that it’s a concern] that’s not right. Society should be different. But while we’re waiting for society to change, there’s just certain things you have to do. But again the thing is, so many things you could do instead are predicated on having money. She could come out of a nightclub and get into a taxi, that would be the right thing to do.

This is what’s called victim blaming. You’ll find it easily enough in the pages of the Daily Mail and other tabloid papers that on the hand sexually objectify women, and on the other, will then hold them solely responsible when they are attacked, raped and killed. But never before now would you have found it in the words of a celebrated feminist of the likes of Caitlin Moran. It beggars belief that someone who so highly thought of among young and old feminists could entertain such a harmful and retrograde view of women.

Moran doesn’t welcome criticism. And her supporters, who are legion, are quick to rally to her defence. I think though, that even they in all their loyalty, will struggle to find words of support. We may never know if Moran was misquoted, or regrets her words or wishes even to explain in some way because she does not, she will not engage.

I hope, however, that in time she will at least have the integrity to recognise that she has harmed rather than furthered the cause of feminism.