In Verity Johnson’s column this week, she writes about what she is most often asked about being a “young person” today. I don’t know exactly how old Verity is, but I do know it starts with a 2, which technically makes me old enough to be her mother. Anyway, one question that gave her a bit of pause for thought was: “Why do young women these days put up with so much shit?”
What the man asking meant was, why have young women regressed when it comes to being good young feminists, happy to tout themselves as up for meaningless sex (though I’m not sure there’s necessarily anything anti-feminist there), and – this is the bit I found interesting – boasting about being happy to cook guys a steak and iron their shirts. Verity rightly labels it as the Madonna/ whore complex, reimagined for the Tinder generation.
What puzzled me, though, is why they think that defining themselves in such a rigid, gendered way (whether you’re the guy who laps it up, or the girl who’s offering it) is sexy. For those of us with a bit more mileage on the dashboard, announcing your aim is to please your man in both the bedroom and the kitchen seems so retrograde it’s just kind of barmy.
If Gen Z really want to embrace the whole Madonna / whore paradox, they could do worse than emulate our cover star this week, Madonna. Now there’s a woman who defines sex on her own terms … and I’m pretty sure has never felt the need to please her lover by whipping him up a tasty, post-coital snack.