84 Savile Row, Hall of Shame, Benny Hill, Great Britain

Many stories on Savile are emerging, as well several areas of debate opening up. I don’t see this as a backlash or witch hunt, these are issues that need to be addressed, so society can progress. My mother’s encounters with Jimmy Savile and some of the issues raised in my piece are referenced in this article today –

The Savile Culture of Shame by Jo Chipchase for The Argus

I like the more upbeat angle that came directly from my Mum’s friend, they were savvy, not vulnerable teenagers. When I read her version of events it made me chuckle, the ‘we weren’t having any of it’ attitude. An important message I think. Rather than perpetuating the all women are ‘powerless victims of nasty male predators’ tabloid myth. That’s not to devalue the seriousness of the issue when it comes to JS. He was rife. There were those younger, more naive, unaware…the victims.

He was trying it on with girls left, right and centre and so used to the knock backs. Nevermind being a celebrity, his relentlessly single-minded jokey approach of a typical sleazeball who chats up ‘anything in a skirt’ – eventually one will fall for it. Laugh at the jokes.

All part of the great British sense of humour…… Benny Hill, Carry On, cos we’re all at it, from the non PC ‘dirty old man’ school of ‘naughty boys’ thought, the stereotypical Sun reader, sexist sense of humour…

…..it’s no wonder! All a bit of harmless fun, laugh it off rather than lose face, just a joke ….of course!

My Mum and her two best friends were ‘groupies’, they were teenagers in the sixties. They idolised the pop stars of the day, and got to hang out with some of them. I believe my Mum snogged a member of Slade. I want to hear more now, the stories, the hysteria, the obsessions and encounters. I know they’ve got some great tales to tell from those days. I see this as the beginning of recording these anecdotes, not only to hear about my Mum but because it interests me how attitudes have changed, have they, what did they get away with, get up to, and how did the celebs of the day treat them, what were their views on being women, how were they treated in general, do think  times have changed?

They may have worn miniskirts but they certainly weren’t ‘asking for it’ , it was the fashion, and yet even now, 5 decades later, if a women wears a mini skirt, it is seen by some as a sexual invitation. For I’d like to think feminism has come a long way, but sexism is still rife, derogatory comments continue to objectify women on a daily basis. Some women are still flattered by the single minded intentions of men, it’s classed as being chatted up, and it leads to confusion, when the man’s advances turn physical. As if talking, responding politely, having a laugh, gives him the right to touch, and he is then genuinely shocked when, unless the feeling is mutual, his actions are rebuked by the woman. The situation swiftly turns from friendly to potentially nasty or at least  uncomfortable, as the man has to deal with ‘losing face’, his strength and the physical realm of sex can get tricky. Women can end up going through the motions of sex, to keep the peace.

A woman may not have a jot of wantonness on their mind when a man starts on them.  The every 8 seconds Benny Hill Billy Bloke embarrasses and leers their way into pointing the conversation downwards at any opportunity, as if it were his only mode of dialogue. This may be an exaggeration, but they’re at the ready, and if they mention it enough, flirt, flatter and joke about it enough, they might just catch a female who actually is up for it.  Otherwise dismissed as rigid I believe the term was, at school. Becoming no pay rise, no promotion, no career for you here!

About artbyjaxx

Contemporary British artist, Jacqueline Hammond, is renowned for producing strong, punchy images that are rich in texture and colour. A prolific painter and multidisciplinary artist, she exhibits widely and is commissioned by individual clients, collectors and high profile brands. Jacqueline’s inspiration comes from direct observation: subject matter is plucked from the world encountered every day. Some ideas evolve, others are reactionary. Thought-provoking themes explore today’s society, the media and cultural theory. Whether inspired by the street or the sea, Jacqueline’s work has an edge: her paintings are consistently striking. Her natural disposition is to let the paint dictate the creative process, trusting the medium and her mind’s eye to translate the vision.
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