'Irish women attack me just because I'm not afraid of my sexuality'
Katy French won't be drawn into controversy over abortion views, she tells Brendan O'Connor
Ireland's favourite model, Katy French, clarified her position on abortion prior to going into the wilderness for RTE's People In Need Telethon this weekend. The blonde beauty decided to clear the air about the matter to the Sunday Independent because, she says, "I am very aware that there are people on both sides of this argument, always on the lookout to drag it up again, and they will use anyone or anything, including me, to do so."
"As much as I'm not averse to being used, if the situation is right," she joked, "I wouldn't want to be the catalyst for another re-run of the divisive abortion referendum arguments, particularly when both extremes in this debate are so entrenched in their own views.
"A productive, realistic discussion about abortion in this country is long overdue, but I could see by the kinds of people who were reacting to my comments, and how they were reacting, that it was the same-old, same-old again."
Katy's latest controversy blew up after she responded honestly to a question in an interview. She was asked if she became pregnant during the peak of her career, would she consider an abortion? She said she would. She said she did not think it was right necessarily, but that she did not think it was wrong either.
But she went on to say she would not risk getting pregnant by accident in the first place, and that factors like financial security, and so on, would play some part in such a decision.
On Friday, just before going on the Late Late and prior to heading off on the Celebrities Go Wild challenge, Katy expanded on her views. "I am part of a new generation," said the 23-year-old stunner. "We are a generation who do not carry with us the baggage of the abortion referenda in this country.
"We are, to my mind, a more humane generation. We are a generation that weighs things up in human, humane terms, without being guilt tripped about things by either the church or State.
"I believe that our humane generation is a much healthier generation than previous generations. Despite the kind of crap I get for it, I have always liked to be honest and open about sex and about sexuality. Does anyone need to be reminded that dishonesty about sex was the ruination of this country in recent years?
"How someone can be pilloried for being open about sex, given what we know about the fruits of repression in this country, is quite staggering. Would a whole generation have been stained by child abuse if Ireland had been a bit more open about sex?"
Katy was also anxious to point out she was not in anyway suggesting that abortion was not an awful and painful option for any woman to have to consider.
"I was asked a question and I tried to answer it as honestly as I could," she said. "But I wasn't in anyway being some kind of cheerleader for abortion. We all know that abortions can scar the women who have them, and the men involved, for years. It wasn't like I was suggesting it was in any way a casual option, to be undertaken lightly.
"And I think the people, motivated by their own agendas, who tried to portray me as some kind of pro-abortionist, chose to ignore that. I am as pro-life as the next person. We're all pro-life, but some of us are more humane than others."
Katy suspects some of the backlash to her comments may have been motivated by other aspects of the interview.
"I think the real problem for some of the people who have attacked me for my comments actually relates to the fact that I am not afraid of my sexuality," she said. "I talked in that interview about how I think sex is being debased in our society and how I'm not a big fan of one-night stands, and how I think sex should be something sacred and special. But that doesn't mean I don't love sex, and that doesn't mean I don't like to get wild occasionally, and as I said in the interview, while I am a good girl and quite prudish about casual sex, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy my vibrator now and then.
"Quite simply, I think a lot of Irish women are as hung up as Irish men on the whole Madonna/whore complex, and they find it hard to accept that I am not a tart but that in the right relationship I can really embrace and enjoy my sexuality."
Katy hopes this will be the end of the matter now.
As I spoke to her, Katy was still trying to make a last-minute decision about what one luxury item she would bring on the show with her.
"I was thinking about bringing my vibrator, but I'm giving up cigarettes for the week so I wouldn't be able to have a smoke.
"But, in the end, I plumped for mascara. After all, a girl's gotta look her best."