As a white, university-educated, middle-class feminist, there are many things about which I don’t give a toss. My children’s health and earning enough money to pay the bills, for instance. When it comes to those things, I really couldn’t give a monkeys. I prefer to let the “real women” worry about such mundane trifles. Meanwhile, my children starve / die of cholera (I pay so little attention I can’t remember which it is), which gives me time to ponder bigger issues, providing they’re not too big. Page 3, Special K, the pay gap – that sort of shit I can handle. I think about these things all day long (there’s nothing else to do except mooch around the coffee machine in my imaginary Bridget Jones office).  As for the real things – FGM, forced marriage, slavery – now that I can’t cope with. Thank heavens, then, for people like Neil Wallis.

Neil Wallis has written a glorious piece for the Huffington Post  explaining why No More Page Three is a rubbish campaign run by “self-serving wimmin” (indeed, I discovered the piece via one such wommin’s excellent yet self-serving blog post on it). Such wimmin – “overwhelmingly white, middle-class, aged late 20s-late 30s, university educated” blah blah blah – don’t understand the concerns of real (aka Sun-reading) women:

[Sun-reading women] worry about their kids’ health, the rent, putting food on the table, work, their relationship, benefits scroungers, immigration, the telly, and a drink at the weekend.

Yeah! Go them! Such women don’t trouble themselves with critical thinking or having an imagination, like, ever! (Although to be honest, Neil, I think you missed “running out of loo roll” and “getting a decent shag”. My finger may not be resting, patronizingly, on the common woman’s pulse, but I’m pretty sure she worries about those things, too. And possibly not as much about being a racist twat). But anyhow, the posho wimmin don’t ever think about these things. They’re too busy reading the Guardian and watching Channel 4. And all the while, “there’s something in the world of sexual issues that really does need addressing”:

Why aren’t those [No More Page 3] petition signatories putting their energy into campaigning against, say, female genital mutilation? White slavery? Sexual stereotyping in the workplace? Forced marriages? Under-age sex and pregnancy? TxtSexploitation in schools? The list is endless – in my view, all these are far more important… but silence.

Indeed. That’s it, just total silence. No feminist has ever spoken out on these issues, ever. No one who’s bothered about Page 3 could possibly give a toss about “sexual stereotyping in the workplace”. Signing one single petition takes so much time and effort that there is no possibility at all that these self-serving wimmin might have signed other petitions. It’s a relief that Wallis has bravely done his research, otherwise how would we ever get to hear of these things? What’s more, Wallis not only understands real women and real issues, he’s bloody furious at the “patronizing way” in which the self-serving wimmin misrepresent the needs of their “real” counterparts. After all, if anyone’s going to patronize poor little thicko working class women, it’s gotta be a nice white man:

And why shouldn’t a girl stuck behind the bread counter at Tesco, an office girl down the local council, the unemployed, find a new glamorous life via Page Three? Who are the 32,358 to deny them that? What arrogance.

Yeah, what arrogance. What total arrogance, to fail to hide behind imaginary downtrodden women when contesting something you know to be wrong.

Wallis’s piece actually reminds me of an argument I had with my dad when I was in my teens (yeah, I know. Feminists and their “daddy issues”). His line was that feminists were wrong to assume all women were like them in wanting choices, since some women might choose not to have choice at all. He’s a lawyer and said this really smugly, as if he’d scored a point, even though it made sod all sense then and even less now (I never forget the details of an argument, me). I couldn’t help thinking – and still think it now – that in order to actively reject choice, you need first of all to have had it. And even rejecting choice is a kind of choice (admittedly it’s the weedy type of choice someone like Mavis off Coronation Street would make, but it’s a choice all the same). Feminists don’t claim to know what all women think and want (that’s something for men like Neil Wallis to do). Feminists believe women’s choices should not be limited on spurious gender-based grounds. And if some women – and I’d include myself amongst them – see Page 3 as having a damaging effect on the way women as a whole are perceived (and on the wider choices that are thereby available to them) then they bloody well have the right to say so. Just as Sun-reading woman should have the right to argue her case, too. Only she’s not doing so. Neil Wallis is, because he’s the one who invented her.

Neil Wallis isn’t alone in being a white, wealthy, arrogant man who claims to speak for the little people whenever one of the not-so-little people challenges him with ideas he can’t tackle head-on. Rod Liddle’s a dab hand at doing this too, whinging about how “everyone” (i.e. liberals) “hates the white working-class male” (i.e. someone who is not me, but whom I can hide behind whenever I feel threatened in my privilege). In attacking a liberal elite – or middle-class, university-educated feminists – men such as Wallis and Liddle aren’t attacking privilege. They’re attacking those who are closest to them in terms of privilege – those who don’t yet have quite as much, but who stand the best chance of undermining those who have most due to an unfairness that life’s current “winners” clearly wish to perpetuate.

Neil Wallis, please grant me a turn at being the patronizing tosser when I put it to you that you do not care about your imaginary downtrodden Sun-reading woman. You do not care about FGM and sex trafficking and slavery. You care about yourself and you care about tits. And that is okay. I understand. I, too, care about myself and care about tits. And ironically, that’s one of the many reasons why I’ve signed the No More Page Three petition. And if you’ll excuse me, I must go and berate my imaginary, working-class, Sun-reading cleaner.