The Sunday Times exposes an anonymous blogger for no reason

I’ve been reading Girl With a One Track Mind for a couple of months. It’s an anonymous blogger’s accounts of her sexual thoughts and experiences. I admit it’s a little sexy – I suspect women talking about sex is always appealing to men – but mainly it’s just fascinating. I’ve never particularly followed this kind of sex blog, but the quality of writing sets GWaOTM apart. With grace and wit ‘Abby Lee’ writes of a world completely different from mine, which is exactly the kind of thing I like to read.

Some months ago she was given a book deal for collected blog posts, and the resulting tome was published a week ago. Last weekend The Sunday Times took it upon themselves to expose her real identity1, and in so doing demonstrated their complete lack of journalistic standards. From a recent post of ‘Abby’s’:

I have been in hiding for the last seven days, scared to go out, because I don’t want to be confronted by the journalists pursuing me or have more ‘paparazzi’ shots taken, like that secret, hidden, shot of me last week. This isn’t just my paranoia speaking: photographers have been camped outside my home, and also my parents’ home, ever since that despicable article which named me was printed.

Journalists have also been contacting people from my past – even the vaguest acquaintances of mine – and offering them money to talk about me, or provide photographs of me.

Ugh.

There was no point to the original exposé by The Sunday Times; in fact the article is simply wretched. It insinuates that the book is a fiction, makes a snide comment about the standard of the writing, and is at pains to point out that ‘Abby’ worked on the Harry Potter film set, because clearly sex = corrupt = contagious. But worst is the supposed moral high ground it takes and invites the reader to share.

The book will reignite the debate over female “raunch culture”, sparked by Female Chauvinist Pigs, Ariel Levy’s book about the eagerness of young women to indulge in sexually overt behaviour. Levy argued “raunch” was corrupting women rather than empowering them.

The rest of the article seems to assume the veracity of this argument.

[Abby], whose mother is a Hampstead-based psychotherapist, is said to be an ardent feminist but she does not hide from the potential ambiguities of her situation.

Firstly, what does her mother’s profession have to do with anything? Secondly, from what I know of Female Chauvinist Pigs the argument is hardly applicable. Being sexually active is not part of the argument that the ‘raunch’ culture of Girls Gone Wild and Legs Eleven, and women who (supposedly) strive to be the sexiest rather than the most accomplished, are betraying feminism. There’s a definite undercurrent of ‘sexual promiscuity = slut’ about this article; my feminist knowledge isn’t great, but I’m pretty sure this is exactly the kind of backwards attitude feminism fights against.

With such a shameless interest in sex it is no surprise [she] has gone to great lengths to try to conceal her identity.

Shameless? You could argue the literal meaning of the word, but it’s clearly meant to be read as a moral statement; one that is, imho, both completely ridiculous and thirty years out of date.

[Abby] declined to comment when contacted this weekend. But she happily signed for a bouquet of flowers when told they were from her publishers.

I don’t know what this is supposed to mean. Is she obviously an attention-seeker, unashamedly signing for flowers like that? Turns out that the reporter sent the flowers with the sole, and successful, intention of snapping a picture.

It’s a pointless, purely destructive piece of writing. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of exposing somebody’s anonymity, to do it for no reason whatsoever is simply vindictive, and I thought The Sunday Times was supposed to above this kind of crap. If you want to see a far more reasonable article, ‘Abby’ has an interview in today’s Guardian.

  1. tagged with ‘nofollow’ []