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Guest blog: Petronella Wyatt is wrong about teenage 'temptresses' - tell us what you think

(29 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 13-Mar-13 13:05:08

Our guest blog today is by Mumsnet Blogger Glosswitch, who writes in response to an article by Petronella Wyatt in yesterday's Daily Mail.

Wyatt says that, as a teenage girl, she was regularly propositioned by her father's male friends. But she pours scorn on the idea that their behaviour was in any way abusive - claiming, in fact, that it's 'predatory and precocious' girls who deserve our censure.

Read Glosswitch's post, and tell us what you think. If you blog on this subject, don't forget to post your URL on the thread.

AbigailAdams Wed 13-Mar-13 15:17:40

I love Glosswitch. Just thought I'd get that in before anyone else did grin Will read the post now <serious head on>

kelda Wed 13-Mar-13 15:30:51

The antidote to that awful Wyatt piece.

Agree with every word Glosswitch.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 13-Mar-13 16:04:37

Seconds AA.

AbigailAdams Wed 13-Mar-13 16:44:53

Spot on as usual Glosswitch. I found the article by Wyatt such sad reading. It was very difficult just to get past the Olivier anecdote (what a creep).

The whole Eve tempted Adam bit to justify men's behaviour is like basing your morals on a Disney story. So many excuses for the loser's men's behaviour.

Lessthanaballpark Wed 13-Mar-13 17:25:04

I find all these "I was groped and I survived it unharmed" stories very bizarre. They have the opposite effect to what they intend because it just reads like a list of opportunistic abuse of power by dirty old dinosaur perves.

It's kind of gross. The thought of those old leches salivating at the thought of a "ripe" young girl. I feel sorry for her for thinking it's normal. Her dad seems to blame, not protecting her.

GW is right. Girls growing up are caught between disapproving puritans and pervy vultures. And made to feel that any sexual desire or agency justifies them being presented as Eve-like temptresses. Just let them grow up at their own pace FFS.

gherkingirl Wed 13-Mar-13 18:24:47

I think it's time to post this again

It's from the last round of teenage girls bewitch the poor adult menz articles after Savile. It would do Petronella well to realise she was much more protected than many teenage girls ever will be.

Lessthanaballpark Wed 13-Mar-13 19:01:05

That article is heartbreaking. What is it in our culture that sets young girls up to be so in awe of older men that they need their approval for validation? I remember as a teenager not knowing if I was saying yes because I wanted to or because I didn't want to disappoint / be accused of being a tease. It's so complicated.

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 13-Mar-13 19:49:36

I wonder what Woodrow would have thought if it was Savile who was molesting his daughter?

I bet he wouldn't have been as enthusiastic, what with him being so lower class.

gazzalw Wed 13-Mar-13 19:53:15

PW is roughly the same age as me. I think those were very different times and men did behave like that towards young girls. I am not sure that I knew many of these teenage nymphets/femmes fatales who were predatory. Maybe she was but then she has form with BoJo amongst others!

ExasperatedSigh Wed 13-Mar-13 20:27:38

Brilliant post from Glosswitch. I haven't read PW's original article because I have a policy of never clicking on Daily Wail links, but I can fill in the blanks easily enough. Depressing.

I was going to namechange for this, but actually why should I? When I was 13 I had a crush on a man three times my age. I flirted, tested my powers of seduction, pushed to see if I could get his attention and make something happen. Something did happen. Thankfully it was only kissing and minor groping, but it still should not have happened. The interesting thing, though, is that it's only recently that I've realised how much it wasn't right and normal, that it was in fact his responsibility to behave appropriately because I was still a child. I thought that because I'd wanted it, it was ok. I thought of it as empowering fgs. What does that say about prevalent attitudes about teenage girl sexuality and older men?

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 13-Mar-13 20:33:38

I felt a bit sorry for Petronella when I read that article. She clearly wasn't properly looked after by her father. I can't imagine a normal man being amused by his friends making passes at his teenage daughter. Most men would be fucking livid and horrified.

And she's obviously internalised those values as a means of self-defence. Poor woman. She clearly believes that once girl-children have breasts, they have the responsibility for managing male adult sexuality in a way that those adult males don't themselves have.

It's so sad.

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 13-Mar-13 20:35:37

This bit from Glosswitch was spot on: "She doesn't seem to believe that girls can be given the time and space to grow up with positive attitudes towards themselves as active sexual beings, nor that men can have enough respect for themselves and others not to prey on those who won't be sure how to respond to them. What a grim view of humanity! And I thought sex was meant to be fun."

BelaLugosisShed Wed 13-Mar-13 21:10:50

That article gave me the creeps yesterday, Glosswitch has it absolutely nailed, a brilliant piece from her.

LineRunner Wed 13-Mar-13 22:48:58


Very good piece of writing.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Wed 13-Mar-13 22:51:39

On the one hand it's tempting to say who cares what a dickhead like Wyatt thinks; but then I think of some of the appalling cases we have seen recently of exploitation of teenagers, very often justified by perpetrators and those who failed to act on grounds similar to those advanced in Wyatt's article, and I want to slap her silly face.

Bessie123 Thu 14-Mar-13 00:39:28

That PW article is shock. She has a scarily warped view, as did her pa, by the sounds of things. Does anyone else think she makes it sound like her dad was grooming her?

Glosswitch's blog is great

JakeBullet Thu 14-Mar-13 06:25:23

The really sad thing about the whole article is that PW was groomed by her father to accept sexual advances from his rich and famous friends......and she doesn't even realise it.
As a survivor of sexual abuse as a teen....(and yes Petronella, I have NO problems with realising it was abuse) the article made me feel sick quite frankly.
I was not a "teenage temptress", I was a teenager over whom the man in question had some power....pretty much like your father and his rich pals did over you.

nooka Thu 14-Mar-13 06:43:46

Great article. Weird that teenage girls are ascribed any power at all, because of course they really don't have any in the normal course of their lives, let alone when meeting powerful older men. I flirted with my father's friends and business colleagues as a teen (hell I flirted with my dad) but I would have been scared stiff if any of them had seriously responded. Surely one of the reasons why girls do that is because they perceive themselves to be safe? Teenage girls should be totally and utterly off limit to anyone other than teenage boys IMO, regardless of how pretty/ sexual/ available they are.

I also have to admit I like the reference to Morten Harket - always nice to know you are of the same generation as someone you like/agree with.

FloraFox Thu 14-Mar-13 07:38:22

What a revolting article by PW. It certainly gives some perspective on why she would consider BoJo <boak>

Of course it feels to PW that she had power but I think it's more likely she was benefiting from her father's "protection" in dealing with this odious crew. She was able to set limits on the encounters she had. I wonder how she would have fared if she did not have an influential father behind her.

Flisspaps Thu 14-Mar-13 07:54:22

Poor Petronella, effectively being encouraged to drink and then 'pimped out' by her father for his rich friends to grope, and she now thinks it's all perfectly normal.

Flisspaps Thu 14-Mar-13 07:57:05

That's not to say I agree with PW at all by the way - Glosswitch's piece is excellent.

noblegiraffe Thu 14-Mar-13 09:14:00

The author of the DM article might have felt differently about her childhood had it not been famous people getting her drunk and sitting her on their laps. Imagine if she had to substitute 'Laurence Olivier' for 'Brian from the local garage' leching over her, cheered on by her father.
I suspect she is only letting the men off because they are rich and famous. Then it can be written off as glamorous rather than seedy.

maxicosifanjotutto Thu 14-Mar-13 10:42:00

Agree with flisspaps and Glosswitch blog post. sad that daily mail writer seems to think her treatment by these men as ok and felt sorry for them!

Fillyjonk75 Thu 14-Mar-13 11:20:43

This is all sadly a part of the same culture that led police and social services in Rochdale to think that teenage girls' disgusting sexual abuse by older men was a 'lifestyle choice'. Because they're little femme fatales, all up for it. Bleurgh, revolting.

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