Have you heard the one about four ugly girls and the sexist footballer?

Joey Barton's appearance on Question Time really wasn't his finest hour

Share

To save you the trouble of sitting through a moment more than is necessary of a particularly dire edition of Question Time on Thursday night - skip forward to 12 minutes and 14 seconds and you’ll see Joey Barton expose himself as a sexist prat.

The footballer-cum-self-styled-philosopher was rabbiting away about the future prospects for Ukip, when he said: “So if I am somewhere and there were four really ugly girls, I'm thinking, 'Well, she's not the worst', because that is all you are, that is all you are to us.” Because what worse possible thing is there to be than a girl who hasn’t even got the decency to be attractive. But don’t worry too much, mingers of the world - as long as you aren’t the ugliest girl in the bar, Barton may still deign to shag you. Ah, “banter” - welcome to the political panel show.

In a week where a woman has been stoned to death by her family outside a Pakistan courthouse, another has given birth while shackled in chains on death row in Sudan for the crime of “apostasy”, two teenagers have been gang raped and hung in India, and a narcissistic young man has murdered six people in the name of misogyny, the moronic thoughts of a very average footballer would seem to be rather insignificant. But they’re not.

Barton tried to excuse his comment after the show. “Maybe I was a little nervous,” he said, and later tweeted three crying emoticons before: ”Should have left it at 'Best of a bad bunch' Ah well #imnewtothis”.

But Barton’s “joke” didn’t sound like a rushed, off-the-cuff analogy stumbled upon in a moment of nerves. It sounded like a well-rehearsed line, one that had been received with howls of mirth from his mates in the pub, and was then smugly pulled out as a trump card on Question Time, designed to make the big boys think he was cool. And this is from a man who tweets aphorisms from Seneca, Virgil and Nietzsche, who will start a philosophy degree at Roehampton University in September, who presents himself as something of a deep thinker. Is this really the best we can expect? 

Barton’s comment typifies the “lad” culture, which views woman as the punchline to a joke, objects who are designed to decorate and titillate on demand. His is another voice to add to the cacophony of sexism that forms the background noise women are constantly living in and fighting against.

And every voice matters. Taken individually, a lewd catcall or casual grope on public transport is a small drip of annoyance, but they add up to a relentless, overwhelming tsunami, a constant reminder of how society views and values you as a woman. Just look at the hashtag launched this week, #YesAllWomen, for a crash-course in what half the world face every single day.

Of course it’s not all men that are responsible, but by letting any man get away with it, especially when they have a public platform like Joey Barton, we are sending the message that it’s OK to treat women in this way, and inequality persists. So we must not let the small things slide; we must not let Joey Barton and his ilk think they are being clever. 

Because they do. Immediately after the show, the barrage began. “Wow Joey Barton!!! Probably the best question time ever!!! Footballer owned that UKIP cow JoeyBartonForPrimeMinister”, said one. “If you were offended by what Joey Barton said, you're probably an ugly woman”, added another. Ask yourself: are these really the kind of people you want in your corner?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The traditional Boxing Day hunt in Lacock  

For foxes' sake: Don't let the bloody tradition of the Boxing Day hunt return

Mimi Bekhechi
 

Letter from the Deputy Editor: i’s Review of the Year

Andrew Webster
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all