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Monday 20 June 2011

Verity Murphy | 15:26 UK time, Monday, 20 June 2011

Tonight on the programme we have an exclusive report from inside Syria by one of our reporters, who has just returned from a week undercover in the capital Damascus spent meeting opposition activists who are leading the anti-government protests.

We hear powerful testimony about what is really happening on the ground in Syria's revolution.

Michael Crick will have the latest on government plans to make women wait longer for their state pension.

And we ask if we are living in an over sexualised society, and if so whether that is necessarily a problem.

Are double standards in the media to blame? Should the government be intervening, or do we need a new kind of feminism to respond?

Our guests include Caitlin Moran, whose new book, How To Be a Woman, attempts to reclaim feminism in a deliberately non-academic way, Brooke Magnanti, author of the call girl blog Belle du Jour, and Kat Banyard, author of The Equality Illusion and founder of UK Feminista - an organisation supporting grassroots feminist activism.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    THEY NEED A BOOK NOW?

    Things are worse than I thought.

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 2.

    Sex sells - marketise everything and you'll find sex all over it - why are we surprised? Just look around you...

    Create a zero dimension space as a libertarian playpen and you're provided an unregulated means to sell pornography anywhere, anytime.

    Allow the mass media to pander to the lowest common denominator and we can understand why young girls perceive the likes of Katy "Jordan" Price as someone to look up to and seek to emulate, when that's all they see in their magazines and on TV.

    Make women obssessed with the way they look to create demand for clothes and makeup etc - then make men obssessed with young womens' physiology - it sells OK Magazine and The Sun and keeps the supermarkets full of useless rubbish which sells at a tidy profit.

    For many successful so-called feminists, being a feminist simply meant gaining the right to be as avaricious and as unprincipled as men, so in our post-feminist world, women now have the right to be equally exploiting and exploited as men - somewhat of a Pyrrhic victory?

    If you really want to find the roots of sexual discrimination, start with what society thinks women are worth - despite decades of equal pay legislation, women still earn a lot less then men, but women aren't excluded from most areas of work anymore - yet they still earn less.

    Employers use the difference between men & women just as they do with any other attribute to create a dual labour market sothey can pay less to the group perceived to have less value and it is this process that puts the bedrock under sexism and keeps it there, combined with the objectification of women as sex objects to help them sell that has taken the wind out of the sails of feminism.

  • Comment number 3.

    Can they start by defining 'feminism' please otherwise I is all confoose.

  • Comment number 4.

    Greece fails to muster package.....Greece return to drachma....loads of debts buy, hey, what's new....domino theory kicks in...Portugal returns to escudo...mass resignations....run on Irish banks...they cut and run back to the punt....what's not to like!!

  • Comment number 5.

  • Comment number 6.

  • Comment number 7.

    Well, my ghast has been well and truly flabbered.

    I wonder who thinks they were the winner in that pointless pile of porn. I can tell you, it wasn't Caitlin, Kat and Brooke, - they were putty in the hands of whoever thought it would be fun to let three girls talk dirty on late night tv for the titillation of...............

    There is a need to debate the issue of public sexuality, especially where very young children are exposed to and manipulated by images and expectations.

    Newsnight failed to address the real issue at all and I am desperately disappointed and saddened.

  • Comment number 8.

    Finally, someone from Labour with a brain. Well OK, a Labour peer, but its a start.

  • Comment number 9.

    Interesting comments on tonight's programme here:

    http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=165465

    With the Euro on the brink, with Greece facing being booted out of the Euro.. With calls from Jack Straw to get this over with, what is on tonights show ?

    Features on Syria and pubic hair/vajazzles ( I kid you not )

  • Comment number 10.

    :D Excellent Jeremy tonight, both with the Syrian Political Spokesperson and also with Goodman & Glassman on Blue Labour. However, the highlight of the night had to be the discussion on feminism with Moran, Magnanti & Banyard! There's a demand for porn, and the market provides it. Note that none of the feminists wanted to ban it.
    Yes "The Only Way is Essex" Met "Newsnight" - but what a cop out having a vajazzle on an arm..... as for female (or male) grooming below, how many people really like getting a mouth full of hair :p? I have to say that this edition of Newsnight was one of the most entertaining ever :o)

  • Comment number 11.

  • Comment number 12.

    EXCELLENT JEREMY WITH THE THREE SWITCHES (#7)

    Oh gawd BYT – you’ll notice that I have been driven into facetious mode, to escape reality. "Images and expectations" - nuff sed.

    But why did the edgy producer not prompt Jeremy to ask which Switch wasn't wearing any? You don't win awards like that, in the media space, going forward!

  • Comment number 13.

    WHO SHUT THE DOG IN?

    Um - I teased you NewsyNighty, but 76 has gone 'full frontal' (metaphorically).

    Have you 'done a Blue Peter' and swapped the Blogdog for a laissez faire Poodle?

    I think we should be told.

  • Comment number 14.

    I once watched a Channel4 programme with young teenage boys talking and looking at female bodies, they were quite shocked when shown natural womens bodies.

    "They actually grow hair there! They are different shapes, some actually have small boobs, some are thin, some fat, why aren't they shiney, why aren't they tanned, they get old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    Obviously they'd only seen naked porn stars, and were quite disappointed when faced with reality.

  • Comment number 15.

    #10
    ' I have to say that this edition of Newsnight was one of the most entertaining ever'

    Then for you and many others BBC has achieved its evolved policy:
    'to ENTERTAIN the masses' and thus eclipse its founding policy priorities of 'to educate, inform and entertain'. Dum diddy dum dumb

  • Comment number 16.

    DUMB DUMB (#15)

    Talk to yourself cos the Beeb ain't listening.

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 17.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    @ #15 - Actually Indignant, the BBC's mission states that it is

    "To enrich people's lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain."

    Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/purpose/

    :p

  • Comment number 20.

    'And we ask if we are living in an over sexualised society...
    Are double standards in the media to blame?'


    Pot, Kettle... your thoughts?

    meanwhile...

    '9. At 23:23 20th Jun 2011, tawse57
    Interesting comments on tonight's programme here:
    http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=165465
    With the Euro on the brink, with Greece facing being booted out of the Euro.. With calls from Jack Straw to get this over with, what is on tonights show ?
    Features on Syria and pubic hair/vajazzles ( I kid you not )


    Wot 'e sed. And, possibly, 'er.

    I am only surprised that, as a top BBC talent, Jezza couldn't 'accidentally' let slip a NaughtieMarr/Ex-US President combo to snickers all round (as the guys in the edit suite pul the plug on any guest who is non-narrative).

    Not that standards are slipping.

    http://glinner.posterous.com/you-should-have-seen-the-other-guy-93213

    (though if told it is today, depending on the source one might need to check a diary)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/purpose/

    'Our mission, Jim, now we've decided to tie bonusses into ratings...

    How common. As in the 'purpose'.

    Actually, post 'Game of Thrones' the boys need a new cultural destination. Looks like Newsnighty may be it.

    Sort of 'Geordie Shore' meets 'The Only Way Is Essex', only without the laughs. And more pretension. And...

    One's licence fee at work. Unique.

  • Comment number 21.

    OK, let's try 18 again, segmented, just to be clear exactly what the Mods were so uptight about.

    was it.....this?

    "DIGNITY DEPARTS - LEAVING DOOR WIDE OPEN FOR DEGRADATION

    The more I thought about it (and I did - a lot) the more disquieted I became about the ‘sexualisation’ debate??? last night. There were opportunities, to pick up on the most interesting comments, unexpectedly Brooke Magnanti – the other two practically had their agendas (one 'I'm a serious academic activist', the other to sell her book!) tattoo’d on their............... bottoms was it Liz?? "


    or......

    "The image that kept coming back to me was of a ‘Little Princesses’ sleepover, and whilst Mummy and Daddy weren't paying attention, the little girls giggled and fluttered and tried to outdo each other in the level and quantity of ‘naughty’ words they could say. "

    tbc...

  • Comment number 22.

  • Comment number 23.

    Syria and UK

    can anyone imagine someone not from the windsors as head of state? how many people love them? How many votes did they get?

    would not the british state be gunning people down in the street if they marched on windsor castle?

    The NNjazzle

    According to the Vedas human society is in an age of ignorance and will increase in ignorance. The evidence supports this.

    The Best NN ever

    i'm glad the new daytime tv focus is working for someone. I can't believe vjazzles was the main feature on NN?

    Tomorrow will women talk 'my boyfriend left me for another man'?
    Maybe Kilroy and Trisha should be the next presenters?

    we can see were NN is going. The Vedas are right.

    Blue Labour

    makes a lot of sense.

  • Comment number 24.

    21 Cont'd.........


    So, maybe it was this then.....

    (reworded since 'telling it like it is' is probably distressing to some)

    "I just kept getting the feeling that there was someone listening at the door."

    It surely wasn't...... this.....


    In response to another comment upthread, I recall a message I heard many times over when I was younger: “If you don’t like tapioca (it always made me gag as did desiccated coconut) you can have bread and jam – or go hungry.


    I felt so disquieted after that item I had to go and lie down in a darkened room. And what I did once in there is my business."


  • Comment number 25.

    #19 et all

    “The BBC’s original mission as set out by Reith was to inform, educate and entertain, in that order”

    http://www.bairdtelevision.com/reithreview.html

    “Professionally he stood for something fine that has now almost disappeared from today’s broadcast programming, appealing as it does to the lowest common denominator. Despite his personal shortcomings, we should respect his life’s achievements and mourn the decline of his ideals”

    To mourn its passing one must, of course, have lived through that era - and its ethos. I was brought up to the subdued, but perfectly enunciated tones of newsreaders (not anchormen) such as Alvar Liddel informing me of the News - without the distraction of the crashing of drums and cymbals or other razamattaz.

    I’m not as anti-auntie as some. Tonight and all this week BBC4 has an excellent mix of their stated aims, and I look forward to their coverage of the BBC Proms next month (when Wimbledon, with its screeching transgender players have gone home) and I will again provide BBC with regular feedback, rather than just blog. But, Barrie (#16) is partly right as BBC continues to counter my complaints about ‘edgy noises’ drowning out speech; implying that I’m insensitive to mood, whilst I respond that I don’t need mind control. Regrettably, I’m in a minority with my more modern family members.

  • Comment number 26.

    25

    the bbc has no need to reform. its not reformable anyway.its just become a game for extracting money from the public to fund executive gold card lifestyles.

    licence fee should go to £30 and only have news and a website.

    while NN were talking about vjazzles we could have had stories like

    http://thebureauinvestigates.com/

    or

    http://centerforinvestigativereporting.org/

    but no vjazzles it is.

  • Comment number 27.

    never seen a newsnight like the one last night where Jeremy didn't know where to look...for the best....embarrassing...or what, well it was well after the watershed...

  • Comment number 28.

    Don't know about 'clown porn', but having just watched 10 minutes I'll never get back I think I now have "Topical 'news' porn" better sussed for future dismissal.

    Folk get paid to witter like this?

  • Comment number 29.

    For decades and centuries, women kept control of their sexuality and pretended men were the only ones who had needs. That is how the ladies used to gain the upper hand in domestic lives during the old days. Unfortunately, the sweet little system broke down, along came the sexualisation of our society – young women are now botching bikini wax, putting crystals on their private parts, mimicking moves from porn movies, all of which screamed sex (as loudly as men) and this sadly killed off our only game in town. Now modern day women have to be an amazing multi-tasker of being a bread winner, a homemaker and a porn star in the bedroom. Who said feminism gave us more powers again? I think it is about time the smart women gather and re-evaluate the mess we`ve got ourselves in and work out a new game plan. :P

  • Comment number 30.

    COUNT ME IN

    Mademoiselle H

    Though I'm not sure I was ever out. The natural order never needed turning on its head - just a few tweaks here and there.

    We can start by valuing the individual, whatever the gender, age, colour for WHO they are and stop looking at WHAT we are or are supposed to be.

    Then we find a way to tolerate and support each other that does not rely upon humiliating and debasing anyone else for who they are or what they are not.

    I know that's a novel concept, but..............

  • Comment number 31.

    Syria - Turkish invasion:

    http://articles.cnn.com/2011-04-07/world/syria.kurdish.citizenship_1_kurdish-region-kurdish-identity-stateless-kurds?_s=PM:WORLD

    Turkey has NO legitimacy regarding the rights of civilians not to be murdered en masse by the State, and its intervention, if it goes ahead, will almost certainly to be to put down the Kurds in the areas bordering Turkey. Turkey has slaughtered many thousands of kurds in the Kurdish Lands Turkey is still occupying, and its concern for human rights (i mean the State, not the populace) is quite historically lacking.

    Assad and the Baathist Party however have truly shot themselves in the foot, they did not make reforms fast enough, and they are STILL DELIBERATELY LYING AND ATTEMPTING TO BEFUDDLE THE PUBLIC. We Brits know all about Govts who behave such - thankfully however, Camoron has NOT ordered MI5 and the Army to open fire upon protesters. It is very hard, as it is in Libya, to see how the situation can restabilise now, with the current leadership in power. It is also very hard to see anything but worse outcomes from continued slaughter of Syrian people.

    one more thing, when reporters say "Iran is supporting Bashir", could they make it plain that actually it is only the Iranian GOVT that is so doing - and hardly surprising that Ahmadinadjad cares not for the deaths of protesting civilians wanting rights and reforms. He has ordered many thousands of such murders himself. The Iranian People i am sure are 100% behind the People of Syria, like across the entire World, the Peoples have more in common with each other, than with their 'own' Govts.

    let us hope that one day the Peoples can live together in Peace, with Govts who are democratic, and responsible for the well-being of ALL.


    on sexualisation of the UK:

    kids **DONT GET** the undertexts from mainstream media adults do!!! DUHHH!!!!! :/

    "lads mags" just show tits etc, this may come as a HUGE shock to many reactionaries, but kids have been looking at naked breasts for hundreds of thousands of years. I hope you were sitting down for that revelation. ;D

    "bejazzling" - its normal Iranian/Persian practice. Its just a cultural choice. :)

    wonderful debate by the 3 panelists in the sexualisation of society however -

    Miss Fun, Miss Smart, and Little Miss Uptight.

    ever want to meet people for a good chin-wag after a show in the pub?? ;)


    jail terms: worth listening to that audience member in QT in the prison episode. I also didn't agree with "plea bargaining", because of the American experience, but she convinced me. After all, it gives the women who have been raped the possibility to avoid having to give evidence in court. It is rare someone changes my mind through rational/emotional argument, so i was very impressed with her. It actually makes sense, pity the wing-nut press have scuppered it through constant attack. This was a measure that could have eased the misery of the victims, greatly. What a GREAT BIG CRYING SHAME that the press hasn't gone to town to the same extent criticising the Govts "cuts" programs, or the idea of lowering taxes on the corporations.

    still, what's the point in hoping for impossible miracles?

  • Comment number 32.

    #29: freedom based upon a lie? All that brought was that "Men's Needs" (being the only game in town) were protected by Law, and tradition. Remember it was only a couple of decades back that UK Law stated Husbands COULD NOT rape their wives - before that the wife could only give in, and do her "Christian Duty".

    imho this debate is missing the point - which is that crisis in MALE confidence first noted in the 80s, as far as i am aware. There are two genders in this debate, and 'victimhood' is not only restricted to one of them.

    until the UK stops living in the shadow of the Victorian Age (where, btw, sexual atrocities were very common, especially against children), and UK Feminism realises that equality brings responsibility as well as freedom, and that a permanent 'victim' status is hardly conducive to a progressive solution, we're going to have problems.

    not that this discussion ever really ends... nor should it.

  • Comment number 33.

    #31
    "...kids **DONT GET** the undertexts from mainstream media adults do!!! DUHHH!!!!! :/..."

    Not sure how to read that - but if you are suggesting we should not worry about our children because they 'don't get it' then I totally disagree. It is because they don't have the understanding to match the input that we should protect them more. Too much, too soon with too little understanding is a disaster in the makings. Isn't that why educators judge performance on Knowledge AND understanding as the first without the latter is at best pointless and at worst dangerous.

    "...."lads mags" just show tits etc,.... "
    Er, no, they don't. JUST that is.

    "but kids have been looking at naked breasts for hundreds of thousands of years....."

    Yep. But the manipulation of the image, and the not so subtle message contained within poses is rather less innocent now - I really don't want to see naked women wrapped in gaffer tape at my eye level I(I'm 5' 4.5" short!) as I am paying for my fresh fruit and veg at the check out.

    One or two people could vouch for the fact that I am no prude, but there should be places where we are not assailed by these sorts of images whatever height, gender or age we are.

    As for some of the comments by the panel last night, I call upon any females above the age of consent to tell me the last time they were in the buff in the gym, the swimming pool or the store changing rooms. I change in private cubicles in these places because for at least two decades, that is all that is available.

    I found 'Miss Fun' to be nothing more and nothing less than a shameless self publicist. I wonder if what the conversation would have been with three similarly sub titled chaps?


    #32

    Can't argue with any of that.

  • Comment number 34.

    "I wonder if what the conversation would have been with three similarly sub titled chaps?"


    probably utterly pointless, in the sense of adding to the debate. Too PC-aware, or too ignorant. Frankly these days, in general women simply have more balls. Mind you, looking at the furor over Ken Clarke's comments on the radio show, and it becomes obvious to see why.

    where is the sexual discrimination there then?

    "Not sure how to read that - but if you are suggesting we should not worry about our children because they 'don't get it' then I totally disagree. It is because they don't have the understanding to match the input that we should protect them more. Too much, too soon with too little understanding is a disaster in the makings. Isn't that why educators judge performance on Knowledge AND understanding as the first without the latter is at best pointless and at worst dangerous. "

    and you will also campaign against the way women's mags regard men? The way they portray both men AND women? Or is it only male-aimed publications that need censuring?

    "Yep. But the manipulation of the image, and the not so subtle message contained within poses is rather less innocent now - I really don't want to see naked women wrapped in gaffer tape at my eye level I(I'm 5' 4.5" short!) as I am paying for my fresh fruit and veg at the check out."

    there are lots of things that cause small harm, but we allow them as a society because we are NOT all robot clones (they mainly seem to go into politics). "No sex please we're British" - some cultural baggage is *good* to get rid of. I'm very glad however many disagree with me here, because a balance is also good. As i said, this discussion should never end.

    "Can't argue with any of that."

    spoilsport! :P

  • Comment number 35.

    "....in general women simply have more balls...."

    That's because some of my sisters snitched them from you chaps in the playground while you were having fisti-cuffs and now refuse to give them back. Your black eyes healed long before the sugar and spice girls will let go Girl grudges rule!

    "...and you will also campaign against the way women's mags regard men?..."

    Absolutely - perhaps more so. I am the mother of sons - they need protecting from the carp as much as the female of the species. In fact perhaps more so - in an attempt to improve the respect between the sexes - perhaps the better place to start currently is with our sons.

    "...The way they portray both men AND women? Or is it only male-aimed publications that need censuring?...."

    Parity in all - see above.


    "..."No sex please we're British" - some cultural baggage is *good* to get rid of...."

    Babies and bathwater spring to mind. We appear to have lost the art of moderation and personal dignity.

    "...spoilsport!..."

    No 19..... The unexpected ??

 

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