The old witchhunters would project their fantasies on the people they accused. It wasn’t enough to torture and execute: they had to put their own thoughts and words into the mouths and lives of others.
A producer called Nikita Lalwani sent me an e-mail when I was 18. Read something like: “I’m writing a book based on your life. You need to answer the following questions. I’m going ahead with the book anyway, so you may as well co-operate.”
I ignored it: her book, a novel, appeared. It appeared she had talked to people at my old college, fused her childhood personality with mine.
Lalwani decided to “start a debate” in the Guardian on me. Not a lot of comments appeared: most seemed fairly uninterested in my life (not that interested myself, really. Eaten crisps. I want to look up Coloumbs Law and finish this blog post).
I contacted Lalwani once, wondering if she would help with some of my concerns about being stalked by the Press. Naively perhaps, but on her website she does present herself as a liberal philanthropist.
My e-mail was ignored. Lalwani had a child: last I heard, she was writing about it in the Times, predicting it was going to have issues with body image and self-esteem.
In all fairness, Nikita Lalwani has not been hugely detrimental to my life, good luck to her.
But: example of how the Press can transmit their own insecurities on people they claim to be objectively “reporting” on.
I’ve just been reading the Leveson Inquiry: Hugh Grant’s testimony, in particular. Hugh Grant names a man called Keith Gladdis, Assistant Editor at the Daily Mail. The mother of Hugh Grant’s child is called Tinglan Hong.
The story goes like this: Man and woman have a short relationship. Baby formed. They’re not a couple but father financially supports mother and they peacefully co-parent. Fairly dull. Then, the real story starts: Hugh Grant described how Keith Gladdis stalks Tinglan, bombarding her with texts and calls, running a strange and obsessive series of articles on her.
Aha! I thought. Keith Gladdis, I know him. He was working at the News of the World when he secretly filmed me in 2008. I’ll put a missing piece of the puzzle in, then. One of Keith Gladdis’s colleagues told me how his wife Caroline had run away from him soon after their child was born, taking the new baby with her. She didn’t feel her husband was masculine enough.
Ok. Not masculine enough? I can say something on that. Me, I had the whole angsty I’ll never be a woman thing in my teens and twenties. I didn’t think right I’ll go try and take over someone elses life and live through them
not a twat but it wasn’t good. I experimented with a few different identities, did the whole “fake it till you make it” social thing (felt like I was faking it an awful lot, though).
Then: I had a couple years peace, and it all clicked (about 28 I think?). It had nothing to do with weight, appearance, financial or relationship status, hair length or hijabs, motherhood, sexuality, eternal happiness, wearing or not wearing pink, make-up or dungarees, education, or girly cocktails.
I wasn’t a woman, then I was. It’s mysterious, and great. In a conversation with a group of other women, all comfortable with themselves, we all knew exactly what is meant by this transition.
Something I always had as background was the dialogue of feminism.
In my teens, a lot of older women I spent time with were fairly bitter. They reduced femininity to passive-aggressive resentment and frustration, competition over things that seemed to mean little. I thought if this is it, there really is no point. I read Greer. Being aware as a female there is and has been and will be a recognised struggle to live authentically with a solid identity was a life-saver. No easy answers, but that there was “a struggle”.
I could relate to that. Feminism isn’t all head-patting and mutual approving and agreeing. I can (and have, and will do) take a fair amount of criticism from other women. The emancipation of women has been, and will be, a very significant factor in the progress of the human race. Not a value judgement, an observation.
The next question: what about the boys? I grew up in a household where coping young women contrasted with broken men. I spent a long time hoping the men would come out of the pit before (forcibly) detaching for my own sanity. I still carry some of that compassion with me.
My point: I’m not naturally unsympathetic to men who struggle
probably why I made a rubbish call girl So: I’ll echo Germaine Greer. Where is the emancipation and identity debate for men?
Like his boss, Paul Dacre, Keith Gladdis is a man with weak male identity – as the actions of Caroline and his own career as journalist have confirmed. On his Twitter, he seems keen on football dialogue, perhaps thinking this gives him a masculine edge. I don’t think it does.
Both him and Dacre are drowning with vagina envy, obsessing over and living their lives through women. They think by throwing the spotlight onto women, they’ll just turn into a man and avoid scrutiny themselves. It is not women the “men” of the Mail are afraid of: it is not alternative values. It is themselves, their own lives and lack of identity.
Paul Dacre cannot face the spectre of Peter Dacre. I cannot pinpoint the origin of Gladdis’s issue. Perhaps, like many sexist men, his sense of inadequacy stems from a weak and pathetic father figure.
But certainly, it applies to his marriage. Keith Gladdis wanted to punish Tinglan, the mother of Hugh Grant’s child, as he wants to punish Caroline (back with him now, last I heard).
I didn’t go into journalism to impress Hugh Grant said Gladdis on his Twitter. I absolutely agree.
Like his Editor, Paul Dacre, he went into journalism so he could have easy access to the world of women. Paul Dacre targets women using words and carefully chosen, unflattering, photographs: Keith Gladdis gets his kicks from harassing women in person.
Keith Gladdis attributed a made-up statement to Hugh Grant: “I have come to protect my baby.” Hugh Grant was bemused by this, but it makes perfect sense to me. That was what Keith wanted to say to Caroline when she left.
Men who want to control women frequently get them pregnant, so they are tied to them forever.
All those calls and texts bombarding Tinglan? It’s a fair bet Keith did the same thing a few years earlier, with Caroline. He has anger towards pregnant women. Just like his boss Paul Dacre, Keith Gladdis is emotionally stuck and would like to, needs to, recreate the cycle, over and over again.
The Mail enables him to do this. It isn’t just women who bear the brunt of the “men” of the Mail.
Men who hate women also hate men who like and respect women (and thank God, there are many many lovely ones). Men who hate women want to create a world with an endless Battle Of The Sexes. Men like Gladdis (and Dacre) do not see women as people, equals, but as a mother figure to rage against.
One day, perhaps, they will find the Perfect Mother Figure to look after them and Make It All Better: they are not capable of doing so themselves.
Gladdis and Dacre have done no military service: they do not have an independent, adult, male perspective. They see themselves as little boys.
Paul Dacre stated in a Society of Editors speech: “Thus no moral delineation was to be made between marriage and those who would destroy it, between victim and victimiser, between right and wrong.” Worthy of further attention. Marriage and those who would destroy it.
Are sexual indiscretions the only thing which destroys marriage? I disagree. Paul Dacre’s mother and father divorced because his father was emotionally abusive and took his workplace misery home with him.
Perhaps Paul Dacre likes to delude himself into thinking his father was a Good Husband and his parents had a Happy Marriage because Peter Dacre kept his penis in the bed of his legal wife (at least until they divorced)?
Never mind the alcohol-induced gloom and the obsession with female celebrities.
Or the divorce. Victim and victimiser. Paul Dacre was a victim in his childhood. Now he victimises in response. He is both. I wish he was able to break the cycle.
Right and wrong. Those who say stuff like this seem to want to believe in some Absolute Truth, a perfect Right family system that produces perfectly happy children and people. A binary world: option one for HAPPINESS and option two for MISERY. (I don’t think it works like that though, I really don’t).
First rule of feminism: the personal is political. Applies to men. If men would choose policing women and policing sexual behaviour as their work description, then their own motivations are worthy of examination. In their personal lives, men like Keith Gladdis at the Mail make a mockery of marriage.
They preach Family Values, see it as an opportunity to secure access to a woman. They need a Commited Relationship as a tool to hate and control women.
They resent that women now have choices, which include turning them down. It is not women they are afraid of: it is social Darwinism.
They feel inferior compared to other men: one could argue they are inferior. And if women have choices, which include choosing men, they know they will be bottom of the list. They would like to live in Bridget Jones storybooks: any man is better than no man. Women should be grateful to be committed to a man.
In his Mail and News of the World articles, Keith Gladdis suggests every woman who takes a lover is deluded and being treated badly. He would suggest they are secretly desperate to entice a “man” like him.
In the real world, Keith Gladdis can’t even get his own wife Caroline Gladdis to want to stay married to him, let alone other women. (an interesting alternate universe the Mail has created. One for the physicists, maybe?)
Women (unless they’re desperate and self-loathing) gravitate towards men with a strong sense of self. Men who are fun to spend time with, not full of resentment. It’s nothing to do with relationship status or political affiliation. As for women’s sexual tastes?
“Men” like Paul Dacre and Keith Gladdis deny women have any sex drive. In their Mail alternative universe, sex is something women use to win male approval and attention. In the Mail alternative universe, it would appear everything women do is to win male approval.
Women do not choose or judge. If women have choice (indeed, the kind of choice Caroline Gladdis has used and may utliise again in the future) “men” like them would not rank that highly in terms of what women desire.
by Sufiah Yusof continued HERE
ps formatting on this page went weird for a bit – bit suspicious but that’s the joy of blogging!