Mary Bowen Bravely Ascends to the Top With the Worst Column of 2013

Well, it appears that over at The Chronicle-Herald, Mary Bowen has taken the cake from earlier contenders Rosie DiManno and Naomi Lakritz for the worst column in Canadian journalism. Funnily enough, I’m not sure other perennial contenders Margaret Wente and Christie Blatchford even come close to the top this year.

Bowen’s profoundly stupid editorial — as best I can decipher it — takes aim at the sexualization of young women (slow opinion day, I guess).

She mercifully has the dignity to suggest that she’s not a rape apologist, though, methinks thou doth protest too much.

Anyhow, let’s take it from the top:

At a time when hormones are raging, near naked young women are constantly on parade. One has only to walk down any city street. Cheeks peek out from under far-too-short shorts. Low-rise pants draw the eye downward. Midriffs are bare and cleavage abounds — to say nothing of what is available online! Why is this?

Maybe it’s just me, but it actually appears that the low-rise Britney Spears jeans are on the retreat, and are swiftly being replaced by jeans that actually cover right up to the bellybutton. But then again, that tends to expose various curves, as I’ve heard the elder people in my family refer to them. So, let’s take off one point there for relevance, and we can dismiss the rest of it because of rippling pectorals, exposed biceps and the occasional perfectly-formed buttock that assault at all hours of the day the senses of those who are into dudes.

Then this:

Our popular “entertainers” twerk (yes, apparently it’s a real word now) — bumping and grinding to sexy lyrics. Crotches are grabbed and backsides thrust into groins.

Yes indeed — that ponderous tome of the English language has indeed endorsed the word. That said, the word itself is hardly new — though maybe to scandalized opinion writers it is — and neither is “bumping and grinding.”

See history for references.

Oh yeah, and Miley Cyrus doesn’t represent women. Case closed.

The next step in this train wreck op-ed is to basically equate the courtship process with … dinosaurs, drive-in movies and fishing … I think.

It’s a brutally tortured and confused analogy. So I’ll let it speak for itself:

Back in the day when dinosaurs roamed the prairies and I was a teen, there were names (which can’t be repeated here) for girls who paraded their wares and talked the talk, then wanted to bail when the car windows at the drive-in were thoroughly steamed and boys couldn’t have walked to the concession stand for the popcorn if they’d wanted to.

“No means no” is a catchy slogan, but is it really fair to spread out the goodies and then snatch them off the table at the last second when the bait is taken and the hook halfway down the fish’s throat?

Well, actually, if Bowen knew anything, she’d know to have the good sense to learn something about fishing. I think where the analogy is going is that the woman (who I suppose is the angler in question) should have clubbed the fish (read, poor young lad, overcome with lust) over the head and taken it home for dinner (read, sex).

As a brief aside, Bowen, if that’s what she meant, also takes the cake this year for the least appealing sexual imagery in a newspaper column.

But, to return to the point: if she knew anything about fishing, she’d know that fisherman (and women) regularly unhook their lure from the poor fish’s gullet and toss it back into the lake — with no clubbing, skinning and cooking. It’s for the sport of it.

As for that first paragraph, I think what she meant was “cocktease” and actually, that term hasn’t gone anywhere either. And why, exactly, is it a bad thing that a young lady might want to back out on a sexual encounter before it goes too far?

The thing is, Bowen, in my day, we have a name for the person who coerces, cajoles and bullies someone into staying in the backseat: rapist.

So, other Canadian columnists, the gauntlet has been tossed, the ball’s in your court — take your pick of tortured analogy and bravely set forth. After all, it’s only September, surely you can muster better than Bowen.

UPDATE: For some good reading on the rape chant at UBC that is linked to Bowen’s column, and has made headlines over the past week, head over to my colleague Brian Platt’s blog and check out his post.


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