Do women really need life tips from gay men?
A message to all women in thrall to high fashion
- Gok Wan is not your best friend
Sunday September 7 2008
Women are a rum do. Born everywhere without high heels - and then seeking to cripple themselves at the first opportunity by adopting them as some ludicrously alleged weapon of liberation and empowerment - 'killer' heels, my arse! Look at Posh Spice's ever-mis face - a bunion-wracked testimony to a life lived on the balls of one's trotters. The only thing high heels appear to have killed in her case is her ability to have a laugh.
And then there is the way that, having come a good way towards freeing themselves (thanks to a combination of feminism and science) from the tyranny that heterosexual men once held over their lives, they promptly hand the reins over to gay men, the clowns!
As I get older I think, contrary to modern assumption but in line with the old Lerner and Lowe song, that it would actually benefit both them and society if - to quote Professor Higgins - a woman could be more like a man. The different attitudes which men and women hold towards gay members of the opposite sex is a case in point. What straight men want from lesbians is very simple; they want to watch them have sex. They're quite happy to pay, even! (Don't get me wrong, I love being a hack. But when I hear about women getting paid to have sex with other women, I do wonder if I'm in the wrong business...)
Many straight women, on the other hand, want far too much from gay men. They want them to be best friend, wardrobe mistress, facilitator, father figure... they want them to make everything all right, wiping the slate clean of all the disappointments that men who were actually vile enough to see them as sexual beings - the dirty swine! - inflicted on them.
The latest beneficiary of this colossal collective female soppiness is Gok Wan, who like many other men, straight and gay alike, seems to have one of those magic mirrors - you know, those lunatic looking-glasses that reflect back to the ugliest of men a veritable love god who is in some way qualified to comment on the physical deficiencies of women. Mr Wan has successfully seen off the two-headed atrocity that was Trinny and Susannah with his Channel 4 show, How To Look Good Naked; wow, dig the logic there! A man who is, by definition, at best unmoved and at worst repelled by the naked female form being paid to show you sad bitches how not to make men run screaming for the sanctuary of the gay bar.
And now we are to be treated to a new spectacle starring this strange creature; Channel 4's forthcoming Gok's Beauty Show. 'Calling all fabulous females!' went the cattle call. 'Gok Wan wants you! Are you proud of who you are and what you look like? Could you be Britain's most beautiful babe? The King of Style is launching a nationwide search. Curvaceous, slender, natural or glam, tiny to towering, unconventional beauty or model material... he wants you all for his brand new series. It's all about beauty that's more than skin deep... it's the show that every gorgeous gal should be part of...'
Isn't life grand? No sooner do women take on board the message that there really is more to life than pleasing straight men, than they're invited to caper at the court of King Gok. No wonder that a certain type of rag-fag, seeing this weakness and willingness to please transferred from straight men to themselves, has reacted with contempt, barely disguising, and sometimes even flaunting, their misogyny. It is interesting that the women who most immerse themselves in fashion - and in taking orders from gay men - lead emotional lives of bleak desolation, as though such contortion renders heterosexual men complete strangers to them.
It is also interesting to note that the original supermodels are now making a comeback after being dismissed in the Nineties as being 'greedy' by a gaggle of male designers who lived like Sun Kings. Linda, Claudia, Naomi, Christy, Stephanie and of course Our Kate are bagging the big campaigns and the editorial pages alike. Most notably, 43-year-old Linda Evangelista has bagged the Prada contract from 23-year-old Sasha Pivarova, who fronted the past six. The seeing off of the compliant, cheap Easterners by the bolshy homegrown workers that the credit crunch has led to in the most humdrum of jobs has found a grotesque, gilded echo in the rarefied super-strata of luxe living. With their histories of divorce, childbirth, miscarriage and drug scandals, the supers are seen as 'survivors', despite their charmed lives.
'I suppose it's just our way of expressing ourselves,' says Keira Knightley's sad Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, in the new film The Duchess. 'You [men] have so many ways of expressing yourself, whereas we must make do with our hats and dresses.' And this lament echoes down the ages. No matter how old and glorious the models, sad indeed is the woman who sees fashion as a means of self-expression rather than an agent of social control.
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