If there’s anyone guaranteed to give Tory gentlemen of a certain age a thrill, it’s Louise Mensch – romantic novelist, Murdoch apologist and Conservative MP for Corby. Her dubious achievement is to hijack feminism and somehow weave it into the rhetoric of the right.
I rather like this article by Suzanne Moore:
It goes some way towards explaining why Mensch makes me feel uncomfortable. Her version of feminism has very little to do with emancipation or equality and everything do with using sexuality/’femininity’ to get what you want. It is highly individualistic and ignores the fact that the lifestyle choices on offer to someone like Mensch are not the same as those on offer to someone without her cash or connections. A woman earning £100 per week as a part time worker in Sainsbury’s (or even most middle class women) will not be able to afford the childcare that someone like Mensch takes for granted. If I was in a forgiving mood, I would put her pronouncements down to ignorance but she’s not a stupid woman (quite the opposite) so instead I’ll say her views are pure ideology.
I like to call her the ‘F**k Me Feminist’.
Here’s Louise in all her photoshopped glory:
She looks bloody amazing for a woman of 40.
I remember Louise from my student days when she was not only a Tory but a heavy metal fan – a curious combo for a 19 year old girl. She was blonde, bumptious and rather fun. I also remember other prominent political figures – it was a finishing school for politicians of all persuasions.
Since then, Louise has become a Tory MP and not just any old Tory MP. She is all over the media on an almost hour by hour basis. She is on TV, she writes and also tweets.
Twitter. I’ll confess to being slightly scared of Twitter. My husband has over 10,000 followers on Twitter – he runs cult website http://www.b3ta.com and has been online since the dawn of time. I know I can’t compete so steer clear of Twitter preferring to lurk on Facebook.
Mensch has recently been on the receiving end of some real nastiness on Twitter – love her or hate her, she’s been targeted by an especially vicious troll:
The following passages stood out for me:
Addressing the Corby MP as the “slut of Twitter”, Zimmerman said: “We are Anonymous and we do not like rude cunts like you and your nouveau riche husband Peter Mensch. We are inside your computer, all your phones everywhere and inside your homes.
“So get off Twitter. We see you are still on Twitter. We have sent a camera crew to photograph you and your kids and we will post it over the net including Twitter, cuntface. You now have Sophie’s Choice: which kid is to go. One will. Count on it cunt. Have a nice day.”
Nasty. What ever I feel about Mensch, her politics or her talent for shameless self promotion,
I find this revolting. Mensch’s public person – a kind of high Tory uber-vixen – may not really speak to me, but this kind of misogyny is totally unacceptable. A similar tide of hatred has also been unleashed against New Statesman columnist Laurie Penny.
It goes without saying that the internet has become such a repository for misogyny – it’s a place where you can poke and prod and then run away and hide. People say things on the internet that they would never, ever say in real life. It can be vicious – I know this because I foolishly wrote a piece a few months back about my involvement in a campaign to save a local nursery for The Guardian’s Comment is Free section.
I was viciously attacked as some kind of upper class Marie Antoinette
for daring to campaign for the nursery and also attacked for having so many children (I have 3). The article was useful as it got the message across but I ca’t say I enjoyed reading the abuse.
I do agree with Laurie that women are a favourite target, but also think that trolling online is a way for marginalised figures to have a pop at the closed circle of columnists and self appointed media luminaries that clutter up the blogosphere.
My husband wrote this the other day:
I really enjoyed this piece and felt that it explored the issues in an interesting way. Trolling may be vile, but it’s a way for marginalised people to take back some of the power. It is wrong that Louise Mensch received such vicious abuse from her troll, just as it was wrong that Laurie Penny did too. But do we want to live in a world where no one is allowed to have a crack at celebrities and politicians, and the only approved reaction to them is bland worship? The press has been totally captured by the PR industry – let’s face it, when did you last read a candid interview with a public figure? Mainstream media is about spin, leaving the internet as the last bastion of trolls, wind-up merchants, conspiracy theorists and also misogynists.
If we had more space for real debate on TV or in the press, then maybe the internet might not be such a frightening place. At the moment, all we have are stage-managed photo ops or broadcasts – anyone with anything controversial to say isn’t really welcome – like Ken, or George Galloway, or anyone on the more right-wing Eurosceptic side of the Tory party.
I could go on and on and on (sadly I’m not joking) but I do need to sleep.