I had the radio on this afternoon and as usual it was tuned to R2. The lunchtime show was Jeremy Vine. I really shouldn’t listen to it; it’s the radio equivalent of the Daily Mail, but never mind.
One of the topics for “discussion” was whether or not the government should ban cosmetic surgery adverts. Pick up any women’s magazine and flick to the back pages and you’ll see page after page after page of adverts for cosmetic surgeons, promising you a perfect body and making no mention of the risks, or the fact that even with the “perfect” body you might still be unhappy with your life.
Speaking in favour of banning the ads was feminist activist and writer Kat Banyard. Speaking against banning the ads was editor of the Erotic Review Kate Copstick. Copstick spoke first, and her opening sentence was something like “when I agreed to come on the show today I didn’t know who would be taking the opposite argument, but I figured it would either be blah blah blah [I can’t remember what she said] or one of the humourless feminists, and I see it’s one of the humourless feminists.” She then went on to muster a very poor argument against banning cosmetic surgery ads.
When Banyard spoke, she chose not to acknowledge or respond to the personal insult Copstick had started with and just got on with her argument. At no point did Jeremy Vine as the host or any of the listeners phoning in question why Copstick had felt she could start her argument with a personal insult. (I have to wonder why they even asked Copstick to take part in the first place – surely if one of your contributors is speaking out against cosmetic surgery ads, the best person to give the opposing point of view is a cosmetic surgery clinic which thinks the ads are a good idea).
The thing about the “humourless” adjective is no matter how unjustified or unnecessary or snide it is (and it was all of those things today), the minute anyone, feminist woman or not, objects to it, they’re always told “it was just a joke, but see, you’re humourless.” It’s just banter. And the more you protest, the most justified people think they are in calling you humourless.
Kat Banyard might be humourless, I don’t know. She’s definitely a feminist. Jeremy Vine is a poor host for allowing his guests to insult each other without calling them on it, and Kate Copstick is a clichéd and very rude bitch.