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A lesiurely stroll round the online papers

September 25, 2009

I am still suffering the after-effects of the flu which put me in bed for two days this week.  The after-cough allows me to sit on the sofa, but not much else except for flicking web-pages – and what delights I have come across!

Starting with The Telegraph (I know, what do I expect?) I stumbled across Stephen Bayley’s piece entitled ‘Taking pleasure in the famale form’ in which he tries to defend his tits book (Woman as Design: Before, Behind, Between, Above, Below), using a variety of examples including Coco Chanel and Simone de Beauvoir.  You just know a book is going to be bad when it’s author feels the need to write:

The orthodox feminist view is that knuckle-dragging, male, sexist gorillas “objectify” woman by fashioning her image in a way that gratifies their crude lust. Maybe, but a great deal of objectification of woman was, in fact, by women.

I’m getting a familiar feeling, oh yes it was just yesterday I wrote about Terence Kealey who advocates seeing women, students on this occasion, as body bits.  How coincidental (not) then that Wiki shows Bayley was a University Lecturer. 

A quick google search came up with the reason for Bayley’s defence – Germaine Greer!  Greer picked up on Bayley’s tit book earlier this month and wrote in The Guardian:

When the verbiage is shaken down, we discover that for Bayley the imaginary brief is to design a fuckable thing. That is why defecation and urination (not to mention menstruation) happen in a dinky little out-of-the-way nook, so that they don’t need to be revealed until Bayley and his ilk are beyond being revolted. How clever. Then there are the breasts, page after weary page of fetishised breasts. All but a very few of them are high, hemispherical, pale-nippled and – except for those on Leni Riefenstahl’s pubescent Maasai girl, described by the caption writers as “this African tribal figure” – teutonic. A lot of them are upside down.

Greer goes on to point out other basic errors contained in Bayley’s tit book. 

Another Bayley defence can be found in The Guardian -which is well worth a read as it really is hilarious!  I blame Bayley entirely for a horrible coughing fit I suffered after laughing uncontrollably on reading:

Jenni Murray is the proprietor of a sexist ghetto called Woman’s Hour (why no Man’s Hour on Radio 4?). Hilariously, she accused me of producing a “coffee-table compendium of filth for perverts”. My US publicist, a woman, says this will work as a splendid endorsement on the jacket of the second edition. Odd, nonetheless, that Murray seems to find Titian, Fra Angelico and Norman Foster, all featured in the book, suitably stimulating as perversion.

I think Bayley sums himself up nicely in a following paragarah:

Another critic was inalienably disgusted that a double-page spread compared a car’s radiator grille to the vulva. If you find female sexual parts disgusting, then I sympathise. [my bold]

Job done!

Almost.  Amazon’s Product Description includes this:

In Part Two he examines pin-ups, stereotypes, cosmetics, hemlines and heels and looks in detail at how design has appropriated the feminine form. He illustrates how we see, display, dress, decorate and distort women – including how shoes and clothes form our impression of womanly ideal and how different ages and different cultures developed different womanly ideals

Been done before, been done better, been done by the women who are distorted by Bayley and his ilk, and been done by women who don’t ‘find female sexual parts disgusting’!

You can ‘listen again’ to Bayley in the sexist ghetto here.  But be careful if you have post-flu cough as it will set you off again.

So how big are your tits then

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