In defence of sluts

As fun as it is to take the piss out of Godfrey Bloom’s ludicrousness, it’s worth remembering that just as we thirty/forty something bleeding heart liberal Twitter users aren’t down with the kids we also aren’t actually down with the older generation either.

In 1963 Katharine Whitehorn wrote an article for the Observer called “In Defence of Sluts”. In it she meant slut like Godfrey Bloom meant it. It was considered a watershed in women’s journalism. For a brief period every one of the newly liberated single girls with jobs, living alone in bedsits or in groups in shared houses, was a slut; she identified with the article, she bought books like Whitehorn’s own “Cooking in a Bedsitter”, and she took dirty clothes from the clothes basket because they were the cleanest thing in the house.

In 1963 my mum was 18 and living in the YWCA. My dad was 20 and living “in digs”. To them the word slut has always meant slovenly. They’ve always known that it could also be an insult — sexually derogatory — but like so many words they’ve never really accepted the change in meaning.

And that’s the generation of the UKIP heartland.

So when we all get up in arms about the out of touch dinosaur that is Godfrey Bloom and his ludicrous choice of words pretty much the entire UKIP core vote sighs dramatically and slams the door to its bedroom shouting “you just don’t understand” over its shoulder as it goes.

For all of Nigel Farage’s complaining he knows that what it really did was to highlight the difference, highlight how even David Cameron doesn’t understand them and build the barricades just a few inches higher.