| 10.9°C Dublin

Colette Fitzpatrick: This princess made a certain someone I saw at the Style Awards look like they were channelling their inner tranny

SOME nights I've gone out wondering how much of me is actually real and how much of me is effectively false advertising.

Fake hair, fake lashes, fake nails, fake tan. (The Ronseal look never looks quite right on Irish skin.) Oh, and the fake waist. (Thank you Mr Marks and Mr Spencer for your secret support). Shapewear, I think is the PC word for those industrial strength tyre rubber body slimmer thingys that cinch you in and squish down the muffin top.

Irish and English ladies have all gone a bit WAG in the past few years, trowelling on the make-up and wearing clothes that are too low-cut, short, tight, see-through, cheap and nasty and headline grabbing.

Case in point at this year's VIP style awards -- the ever tacky and trashy Katie Price.

Like the Eighties, she brings bad taste and leaves. What exactly was that she was wearing? A crochet table cloth? I never got the memo that belly buttons on show at black tie events were okay. And not just a VPL. For God's sake, you could see all of her underwear. All three cubic centimetres of it.

Contrast Katie with our new favourite royal-in-waiting, Charlene Wittstock, who didn't skip a fashion beat this week in Dublin on the arm of Prince Albert.

Man, she has class. Muted daytime make-up; not a tide mark in sight. Simple jewellery. Her clothes -- elegant and stylish. Appropriate without being conservative. Her evening dress, as simple and subtle as it was, was a style triumph.

SILICONE

Katie, somewhere under all that silicone you're a really pretty girl.

Stop channelling your inner tranny. Take a leaf out of Charlene's style guide and make 'less is more' your motto.

Go find your modesty pants. Or maybe even start by not having your underwear as outwear.

Joke is on us as a society if we think we can laugh about sexual crimes

I have never overheard anybody saying that they would rape somebody.

I have never heard anyone 'joke' with colleagues or pals about raping someone.

If I did it, I think it would perhaps be the most sickening, revolting and savage thing I would ever hear.

I wouldn't regard it as humorous. I would see it as vile, stomach-churning barbarity masquerading as humour.

Disturbed

But this week I was possibly even more disturbed by the reaction to the alleged remarks made by gardai policing the Corrib gas field.

The force itself was too slow in coming out to condemn the remarks. They should have been leading, not following, the Rape Crisis Centre, politicians and every right-thinking citizen in their denunciation of the incident.

Questioned

But now people all over the net and in private conversations (ironically), have questioned whether what was allegedly said was 'really that bad'.

"Have you not laughed at an inappropriate joke behind someone's back?" I was asked.

I have never laughed about sexual assault. Laughing at someone's personality quirks or some minor everyday incident is nowhere in the same ballpark as joking about rape.

"The conversation was private," said someone else. It doesn't mean they didn't say what they said. The conversation took place. Full stop. They weren't breaking the law, was another defence I heard, "Sure they weren't even serious."

How about if they were talking about your daughter or sister or wife? Think about it. Do you take it seriously now?

"Men joke about these things," said another. Excuse me? Not the men I know. That type of talk is not in the vast majority of Irish men's vernacular. They weren't directly threatening anyone was another defence. I find anyone talking about raping someone very threatening. How else could you take it? It has cost us a fortune to pay for the policing of the Corrib gas field. Agreed. But that has nothing to do with this.

Sickens

Not laughing at jokes about rape (to even have to accept that there might be such a thing sickens me) is not being too PC. It is the only thing to do.

The point is, if you were raped or sexually assaulted and were extremely vulnerable and about to report it, you might not do so after hearing a conversation where someone was joking about it.

One of the things this country has been guilty of is not taking rape and sexual assault seriously enough. Survivors have spoken about the added trauma of not being believed, their perpetrators getting suspended sentences, family and friends telling the 'to get over it'.

If these allegations are proven to be true, how deeply upsetting and disturbing they will find this whole sorry episode, serving to affirm that feeling that sexual crimes aren't really taken seriously after all. Sure it's only rape. No one died. We can joke about it, after all.

The joke is on us, as a society if we think it's okay to laugh about sexual crimes.


Privacy