Undeserving Causes

One piupiu who won't get a Guardian gig

If someone gave you a blog in a national newspaper, what would you do? Would you use it to write about a political issue you care about? Or would you use it to ego-trip, write about yourself and to attack your detractors under a pseudonym, encouraging your friends and family to do the same?

I ask because I’ve come across something that neatly illustrates the points about class, privilege and media access made by so many in that feministe thread I blogged about yesterday. {see previous].

The pseudonym piupiu in the comments caught my eye :

piupiu says:

April 11th, 2008 at 2:49 pm – Edit

the thing that i liked about blogging, when i was really into personal blogs about 3 years ago, was that often i was reading someones blog for months even before i figured out what colour they were. for me, it was a really democratic way of getting insights into loads of different viewpoints and lives and backgrounds.


That name, piupiu, had already recently crossed my radar several times elsewhere.

That brings up a topic I was determined not to blog about, so as not to give it and them the oxygen of publicity, which is the Guardian Comment is Free section’s hiring of the dedicatedly self-publicising and equally dedicatedly untalented Fowler twins Ruth and Claire as bloggers, apparently because a] They’re young] b]They’re white c]They’re female and goodlooking d] They went to Oxbridge, oh and did we say they’re goodlooking and they’re twins, oo-er, and one was a stripper once, nudge, nudge? Cor, posh totty, that’ll get the hits up.

It’s a complete mystery to many Guardian readers and commenters how else they got the gig.

Can you think of any good reason why a supposedly intelligent and well-regarded left of centre newspaper would hire the writer of this solipsistic twaddle?

I started to think of feminism more when what I was doing in life became unconditionally anti-feminist. I was grinding cock for a living in a strip club, getting my tits out – c’mon, there’s no way around it. I was even more the antichrist for feminists. And suddenly I was heralded as a Messiah for Modern Women! Women, it seemed, felt oppressed and desexualised, and what I was doing was “unleashing my sexuality” and “expressing myself as a female”. There I was thinking what I was doing was making a quick buck and garnering some interesting stories along the way, and all the time I was illustrating that the cause of feminism had actually been about choice all along – and if you as a woman wanted to be an objectified commodity, you could go and do it.

Or this:

A friend of mine said wistfully the other day: “Politically I’m on the left, but Tories are so much more fun to hang out with. They laugh at themselves, they don’t cloak their prejudices in psychobabble, and they don’t tell me I can’t have an opinion or care about an issue because I went to private school, I’m white and my family’s well-off.” Anna felt uncomfortable, she said, hanging out with her leftwing friends who made her feel guilty for her “decadence” in having a hen night consisting of a meal and a few drinks. Her best friend, a Cambridge-educated lawyer, had pointedly avoided this, and spent her hen night planting trees in the countryside, before going to the (organic, local produce) pub with a clear conscience.

All her posts are like that.

So far I’d been treating the glorious invective in the comments to their terribly-written, self-obsessed posts as my own personal source of fun, determined, as I said, not to give them any more publicity.

Commenters had already debunked Ruth Fowler’s claims to be a working-class comprehensive girl with gusto and pretty much filleted her posts too:


Comment No. 1234907

March 30 15:07

“I’ve read the books, studied feminism’s history, seen the glossy pics of mutilated vaginas in Marie Claire magazine. The problem is, it just doesn’t affect me.”

Ruth, in these two sentences you reveal exactly why you are certainly *not* a feminist. I’m not sure if by ‘affect’ you mean ‘it doesn’t create any emotional reaction in me’ or ‘it has nothing to do with me and my life’ but either way, the root starting point of any movement for justice (and I for one would include feminism in that) is making common cause with the victims of injustice.

I don’t think it even requires a shared identity. I’m male and consider myself a feminist (although I know some feminists would exclude me, different argument.)

When I read about systematic brutalities such as FGM; when I read about mass rape being used as a weapon of war; when I read about the legal system’s wholesale failure to address paltry rape conviction rates; even when I read about mundane injustices in the workplace and payroll, then I *am* affected. I am affected enough to speak up about my anger, get involved, try to find some way to make a difference.

I would never condemn you for your former line of work and fully believe every woman has the right to do whatever she wants with her life and her body. That’s not part of the equation. But anyone who just doesn’t give a shit about injustice against women is, de facto, no feminist.

There. I hope I’ve solved your existential crisis

Then, what a co-incidence, her similarly untalented, yet equally attractive and Oxbridge twin Claire also turned up with her own Guardian blog and in defiance and disregard of all blog civility (such as it is) both Claire and Ruth regularly visited up in each others’ comments to roundly abuse their critics, sometimes as themselves but often using sockpuppets.

The trouble is they’re crap at sockpuppetry too. From details dropped or even direct allusions made it’s easy to tell who is who.

One of those sockpuppets is piupiu, aka feministe commenter aka Claire Fowler.

So when this secret stalwart of the comments sections of the popular feminist blogs gets a platform in a national paper, does she use that opportunity to write an informative and impassioned piece about her “…insights into loads of different viewpoints and lives and backgrounds” as she boasted about at feministe?

Does she buggery. She writes a horribly dated, Daily Mail circa 2001, asinine piece about googling her own name:

Me and me and me

It may be vanity, but Googling yourself can be a disconcerting experience. Especially when your namesakes seem to be doing rather well
Claire Fowler
April 13, 2008 11:00 AM

I Google myself incessantly. Most days. Definitely once a week. Yes, I know it’s a hideous vanity, but there you have it.

I don’t give a flying f*** about my namesakes, except to bestow upon them my mental wrath at their infrequent existence at the top of the virtual foodchain. These Googlegängers seem to be doing rather well. There’s a borough council’s housing options manager, an associate dean at Princeton University, some Bebo bimbo (but we won’t talk about her, except to confirm she ISN’T ME!), and then my favorite. The doctor specialising in the neurology of the bladder and sexual dysfunction. The last one is especially interested in something rather nasty (sexual dysfunction and urinary retention in young women – otherwise known as Fowler’s syndrome).

Groundbreaking stuff.

A platform in a national and international online publication is something many more seasoned and talented writers deserve than the Fowler twins. To see them, and Claire particularly, use their privileged access to a national and international readership for the purpose of mere ego-wanking, while posing privately – unless I’m very much mistaken – as a concerned feminist in the comments section of an actual feminist blog, that makes my blood boil.

It’s no crime to be young, gauche and self-regarding but this is arrogance and egotistical hypocrisy. This is what the Guardian wants in its writers these days? Not so, they say

Social justice has always been at the heart of our journalism and we will consistently give a voice to disadvantaged communities around the world most affected by climate change.

Uh, huh sure you will – disadvantaged people like the Gogartys and the Fowlers..

Shame on the Guardian for their cynicism in hiring these two, particularly in light of the Gogarty fiasco. Unfortunately given the pair’s undoubted talents for self-promotion, as with Gogarty I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of them in future.