So, Wayne Rooney has been arrested for drink-driving. He’s been allegedly drink-driving, allegedly cheating (specifically, if the reports are accurate, kissing and “cuddling” – the sickliest of infidelities), after asking a girl “if her boobs are real”. Nice one, Wazza.
A little context: in 2004, the Sunday Mirror reported that Rooney had slept with 21-year-old sex worker (before giving her his autograph as a “souvenir”). He was allegedly at it a month later, with another woman, at a brothel, where CCTV was said to reveal he visited 10 times, also sleeping with an older woman. Poor Rooney was reportedly powerless to resist another woman in 2009, while his wife, Coleen, was pregnant. More news emerged shortly afterwards that he’d had a threesome with two sex workers around that time.
And now he’s been (allegedly – allegedly) at it again and, as well as being a dick to his family, he's supposedly been a dick to everyone else on the roads, too. His entitlement, it appears, knows no bounds. Yet the headlines about his wife, Coleen – who is pregnant with her fourth child – this week might mislead you to believe otherwise. She’s off on holiday AGAIN, according to the tabloids, her 10th jaunt abroad this year. The Sun says she’s “eyeing up” her regular one week away with her three sons, during the half-term break in October. They’re apparently going to Dubai, where she has “been at least three times” – the cheek of it.
When it comes to the treatment of male and female celebrities in the press, there is a marked and entrenched difference
The headlines can hardly believe it – she’s acting “defiant”, they say, in betraying the wishes of her husband, who has reportedly told her he will only stop “boozing” if she cuts down on time away. She should put more effort in, the “ultimatum” he has issued implies, because he’s apparently incapable of taking responsibility for his own shitty behaviour.
Now, I don’t have any particular interest in the goings on in Coleen Rooney’s life. I don’t care where she is and what she’s doing or what colour/length/style her hair is now or what her kids’ names are. But I read the headlines this week and two questions immediately sprang to mind. The first was why, again, is a substandard man’s improper, offensive behaviour being subtly aligned as the fault of the woman he is hurting? And the second was if you were Coleen Rooney, wouldn’t you want a fucking holiday?
Make no bones about it, we are talking about a couple who are grotesquely privileged, arguably to the point of repulsion. But when it comes to the treatment of male and female celebrities in the press, there is a marked and entrenched difference, which privilege rarely affects. While Rooney gets a slap on the wrist, likely swiftly followed up by a pat on the back, Coleen is told she probably deserves it because she’s a “gold digger” and because “she hasn’t left him” on Twitter. Her decisions are used as paper-thin prompts to splash a load of pictures of a "bikini-clad" woman over several pages. And she's written about in shocked gossip columns for refusing to be responsible for a man who repeatedly abuses her emotionally, and for taking a fucking break “despite” what he has unfairly demanded of her.
Christ, she deserves it.