I was somewhat mystified and appalled by what ‘Dean of Sydney’ had to say about the Gordon Ramsey/Tracy Grimshaw debacle on the Meanjin blog. Unless it’s deadpan irony, too sophisticated for me, the comment was pretty odd.
While I believe there is little doubt that in the Matthew Johns scenario, the solicitation of ‘consent’ from a young woman, intoxicated, disoriented, in the company of well-known sportsmen and possibly frightened, is questionable at best – the law doesn’t merely interpret the lack of resistance to a sexual advance as ‘consent’, the person needs to be able to proferr their consent freely, unimpeded by unconsciousness, severe drunkenness or forms of duress – whichever position you take on this question, it’s hard to see that Tracy Grimshaw is a ‘hypocrite’ for how she conducted her interview.
Yes she was a determined, maybe even polemical, interview who kept returning to questions if she felt they had not been sufficiently addressed – although there are a vast store of male commentators who have conducted far more bracing and confronting interviews – but so what? Are we now to assume that if women presenters maintain a confident, assertive, persistent approach in interviews they then deserve to be compared with pigs, labelled “lesbians” and publicly derided for being ugly? This is backwards logic at its worst.