When I was fourteen or so, I fell in love with Kate Moss. And I mean properly fell in love – I would have chopped my toes off for that girl. I would rip pictures of her out of my sister’s Vogue’s and pin then to my wall. I had quite the collection – Kate wearing a crown, Kate sat on a toilet, Kate snorting beer out of her nose, Kate stood out in the cold, dressed for the weather. To me, she represented all the wonders of womanhood. She’s a woman with personality – her character buzzes through each photograph, whether staged or papped, she drinks and she smokes and she is totally unapologetic for her unlady-likeness.
Today, The Guardian ran a little feature on her. A few photographs of Moss will go up for auction at Christies later this month. Underneath a collage of photos, The Guardian wrote ‘Which one is the real Kate?”
Which one is the real Kate?
Who the fuck cares? Can’t she be all of them? Why can’t women have a million different faces, a million different ways of laughing, a million different identities? Why does she have to be one woman and stay there?
Being a (mostly) homosexual male, perhaps I don’t have much license to wax lyrical about my ideas on feminism – but being a rampant fan of women, and being a son to a mother, a brother to a sister, a friend to many girls, I feel quite passionately about it, and I truly believe that every man on God’s green earth should feel passionate about it. I haven’t quite worked out why more men aren’t on board, to be honest. The women in my life are important to me, important as air is important, or water. All of them are sort of mental in their own way; all of them are brilliant and desperately funny. My sister is the funniest person I know, a mistress of puns, my mother is dry and sarcastic and quietly perfect. My best friend Julia, a girl who looks like she’s fallen straight out of a magazine, talks quantum physics in her squeaky Minnie Mouse voice, daintily sipping wine.
Being gay means that I get extra-special insight into the world of women. I get dragged into ladies toilets, privy to the secret goings-on, the tinkly weeing, the drunk laughing. The girls I know spend time straining on the loo or drunk in a ditch, sunburned, falling around, trying to find the fingers in a pair of annoying gloves. There are so many pictures of women that we are simply denied! But surely these are the things that we fall in love with? In real life, I mean? I’ve never known a boy to love a girl because she’s perfect. Why are the women I love so chronically ignored? It says a lot for popular culture when the only fictional women I recognize are Lois from Family Guy and Carmela Soprano.
There is no true woman, rather there are millions of equally true women – all of them reduced to their most boring features, arses, tits, legs. Sometimes it seems like the only true thing is that they’re all a little less to blame for rape if they’re wearing trainers.
Surely a ‘feminist’ is a woman who is unapologetically herself? And so why don’t we let women be unapologetic? You have no idea of how many times I’ve been with girl friends and had to listen to the shit they have to put up with. When they open their mouths and say something clever, something funny, some opinion that makes perfect sense, if they argue, if they’re not smiling enough, if they’re too drunk, or even only slightly drunk, if their makeup is running, if they have lipstick on their teeth, if they want to be listened to, or dare to be heard.
Why don’t we listen to women? Why don’t we listen?
And I suppose it got me thinking about Kate Moss. To me, she is the only female celebrity that seems human. In this world of twerking Miley’s and photoshop, she’s always dared to be the million women that she can be, and she is always unapologetic for her unputtogetherness, her fly away hair, her unmadeupface, her flat chest.
Anyway, here’s a poem I wrote when I was fifteen. Cheers Mossy.
Ah Mossy I love ya,
Mossy I do,
I stick you to walls
With pushpins and glue
But I can’t keep you there
Dear Mossy, you
belong to the world
Not a wallpaper zoo!