Don’t Go There


johnwatersWe beseeched him.

You must never go there.

But he did.

We have been conditioned to think about the idea of pregnancy as some kind of imposition on a woman and her life. This idea actually runs back through Irish culture, predating even the earliest clamouring for abortion rights. It is related to the victim-status claimed by and ceded to women in Irish culture, which has long disguised the true nature of power structures in the domestic realm of Irish life.

Because women are prone to more extravagant shows of emotion than men, our society is far more willing to concede their demands than it is those of males. Not only that, but, almost regardless of how much we claim to repudiate abortion, we refuse to criticise or question the women who seek this remedy for themselves. We will condemn the abortionist who wields the knife, the politician who implements the abortion-facilitating law, the campaigner who demands the change, and so forth.

But the person who obtains the ultimate ‘benefit’ from all this activity is regarded as some kind of enfeebled innocent, upon whom the ‘necessity’ for an abortion is always thrust by unfortunate circumstances, for which the woman has no responsibility herself. Even the priests and bishops who lead the moral crusade against abortion will never speak a word against those on whose behalf abortion is being sought.

Listening to them, one would get the impression that the thousands of Irish women who go to England every year for abortions are the sorry victims of other people’s sins.


John Waters (above).


Absolutely hardcore.

More wary of female emotions than abortion (John Waters, Irish Catholic)

Pic via BMD

Thanks anon

197 thoughts on “Don’t Go There

      1. Kat8

        I don’t agree with him for the most part. However, I do think that sometimes when people try to be considerate or charitable about a given group of people (in this case women) they unintentionally reveal their low expectations of that group.
        Well illustrated by Chris Rock here:

        1. cluster

          So your point is that Waters is condescending and sexist rather than actively misogynistic?

    1. pedeyw

      I was just thinking that. Bets how long the comments thread will take to make the century?

    2. delacaravanio

      At this stage I think everyone knows Waters is a troll. The only people who take him seriously are curmudgeonly Roman Catholics who read him for self-validation. It remains a mystery why the Irish Times cuts him a cheque to spout out his misogynistic, archaic narrow-minded shite every Friday.

  1. Bacchus

    The first line of this piece, the very premise of his “arguement” is absolute bollocks.

  2. Kieran

    Catholicism is a private club, run by old men with subscriptions available for the lower orders of society.

    Who cares what some beardy oul baldy member of that club says, or thinks?

    (The problem is that people take this private club seriously.)

  3. Miss Carroll

    “Listening to them, one would get the impressions that the thousands of Irish women who go to England every year for abortions are the sorry victims of other people’s sins.”

    No. Many of them are women who may have made a mistake, or become pregnant unintentionally, but make the decision that is best for them. Deal with it.

      1. Miss Carroll

        Yes. A baby dies. Because a woman decides she can’t or doesn’t want to be a mother. Should we force these women to give birth???

        1. Grimes

          Technically, no, a baby does not die, a bunch of cells do. I’m not gonna cry over spilled cells…

          1. Bangalore

            You don’t have to be a scientist to have an adequate understanding of the biology. You barely need a leaving cert or the ability to read

          2. ZeligIsJaded

            Well Bangalore, I was watching Horizon the other night, and by god, I’m pretty sure that I’m a bunch of cells too.

      2. orla

        One in three pregnancies end in miscarriage. Sometimes the cells just don’t do what the cells should do and the body calls it. I don’t see the difference between that & a decision made by the owner of said body. It’s none of your beeswax.
        The body physically rejects the cells, as it’s just not going to plan. Or the person makes a decision that it’s just not going to plan, and takes the steps themselves.

          1. ZeligIsJaded

            Great to see the country is still producing deep thinkers.

            Careful coming up Orla, don’t want you getting the bends!

    1. Just sayin'

      That’s silly. He’s entitled to his views no matter how ill-informed they are. Tolerance works both ways.

      1. Finbar the Obliterator

        He’s the one with the mouthpiece. Everybody who disagrees should ring him up and tell him what an eejit he is.

  4. Ultan

    Ah, so it’s all the woman’s fault, again. Sure and wouldn’t we all still be in the Garden of Eden if it wasn’t for them. (Sarcasm)

    1. aretheymyfeet

      It’s sad that it’s gotten to the stage on Broadsheet where you actually have to put (Sarcasm) at the end of posts lest you be subjected to abusive posts for your obviously sarcastic comments by idiots who are too thick to see it for what it is.

  5. Willie Banjo

    Why is a man who (from the picture above) looks like a third-rate magician who has gone on the run in Paris deemed to have anything of value to say?

          1. pedeyw

            Yeah, accidental comma. I had hit enter before I noticed. While correcting my previous comment. I’m pretty much an idiot.

  6. Clampers Outside!

    I was getting annoyed with all the ‘we’ bullcrap until I realised this piece was published in the Irish Catholic…. gwan the Catholic guilt / persecution complex!

    None for me thanks, I’m wearing a rubber.

    1. C Sharp

      If it’s in the Irish Catholic, it seems he is deriding the religious right for being too lenient on women who, for whatever reason, get an abortion.

      He obviously missed the whole Magdalene Laundries thing.

      Seriously John, G.T.F.O.
      Borderline sociopath.

  7. Mick Flavin

    Waters is one of those good Catholics who are scrupulous when it comes to the notion of measuring sin, but apparently clueless when it comes to actual personal morality and Christian compassion.

    1. Oh...


      Has John Waters forgot about the child he had with Sinead O’Connor? OUT OF WEDLOCK…. Presumably the result of SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE…. Is the Irish Catholic condoning this sort of thing now?? I’m so confused!!! Cue moral crisis…

      1. joe101

        I was thinking to point that out.Who got him to “have a day with the pope”? day my arse, and he drifted off daydreaming before his reading from his book OVER st. peter’s. Ego and power took over. I reckon he went back to the Empire because of addiction therapy.

  8. Medium Sized C

    The only thing about this that surprises me is the reaction of you guys. He has, to say the least, form.

    A lot of people have referred to relatively innocuous people like Clare Daly and Bono as “Vile human beings”, but bluster, hyperbole and internet anonymity aside, these people are pretty tame. John Waters is an entirely detestable human being.

    I once passed him in a train station and all I could think was how much I would love to slap him in his crap-lousy face.

    I got quite angry just seeing him in person.

      1. Medium Sized C

        He doesn’t.
        I believe they are in a silver box on Sinead O’Connors mantlepiece

    1. cluster

      Not a fan of Clare Daly but no doubt that Waters is far worse.

      Waters seems a bit touched though. I’ve often thought that the IT is taking advantage of a guy that probably just needs help.

      I’ve never understood why he is published at all. He’s been on the scene since before I was old enough to know better so perhaps he was more reasonable or more skilled at ‘arguing’ a point back in the day?

      1. Medium Sized C

        He was involved in some story ages ago involving the IRA or something that is considered to be a milestone in Irish Journalism..

        And has been dining out on it ever since.

        I agree with you, he does seem a little off.

    1. Úna

      This was supposed to be beneath the ‘get over Sinead’ comment.

      Anyhow Broadsheet readers, your reaction to this vile man makes me proud. Keep it up.

  9. Leela2011

    was just going to say that his personal experience has totally coloured his viewpoints and he seems either hate or not understand women

    1. ZeligIsJaded

      I would say his investigation into his own personal experiences led him to come to some conclusions that are unpalatable for many, but are nevertheless valid.

      That’s not to say this letter is valid.

      1. Finbar the Obliterator

        It’s not valid when he assumes that the conclusions he draws form his particular circumstances are of universal application though.

        1. ZeligIsJaded

          Perhaps not, but there is always an element of truth and sense in what he says.

          I think he has hardened in his stance, and become fanatical, but it doesn’t alter the validity of his initial premise.

          1. ZeligIsJaded

            That national institutions, most notably the courts, are systemically prone to viewing women as victims.

            In other words that they are inherently sexist, biased, whatever you’re havin’ yourself.

          2. cluster

            ZeglisIsJaded, you are really stretching. You have to ignore an awful lot of what he is saying in order to come up with that more reasonable interpretation of his argument.

          3. ZeligIsJaded

            @ Cluster – I said he I thought he had become fanatical and his stance had become increasingly hardened over the years. And that I disagreed with this piece.

            I’m simply not surprised by this piece (I’m sure many aren’t).

            I also tend to agree with many of his sentiments, but not with his politics or religious beliefs.
            I was responding to a comment that suggested his personal experience had coloured his viewpoint. I agree that it has, and I am actually sympathetic to that.

            I just wish he had remained moderate. He is an intelligent journalist

      2. jean

        Except in his case the courts *didn’t* favour the woman in an inherently sexist move, because he and O’Connor were both awarded 50% custody of their child.

      3. John

        Are you honestly saying that the Irish court system views women as victims, the same system that allowed a rapist to pay a fee to avoid a custodial sentence and where a man with disabled dependents was able to walk free after being charged with repeated sexual abuse of two young girls?

        1. ZeligIsJaded

          I’m not sure victim is the right word .

          But I am saying that any man who has had personal experience of the family law courts will have a word for it.

          Perhaps a better phrase would be ‘Virgin Madonnas’.

  10. cluster

    Where do you even start with this tripe?

    Paragraph one above is a typical piece of Waters pseudo-intellectualism where he makes broad, sweeping, strident claims without any attempt to back it up.

  11. Atticus

    If it’s the woman’s fault, and obviously nothing to do with men, why are so many men allowed to debate the issue.

  12. yourcommentisawaitingmoderation

    “Because women are prone to more extravagant shows of emotion than men, our society is far more willing to concede their demands than it is those of males. ” Where is my equal pay? Where is my payed maternity leave? Where is my husbands’ right to paternity leave when our baby arrives? Where is my right to determine my own medical care? Fupp you and the horse you rode in on John.

    1. yourcommentisawaitingmoderation

      Oh I’m so mad I could take to the streets crying and eating chocolate, that would get me my equal rights if John is to be believed.

      1. Leela2011

        :) I feel much better after running into the street wailing and tearing my hair out. Now i think I’ll bake some cookies and warm my husband’s slippers by the fire….

    2. yourcommentisawaitingmoderation

      I must ring my mother and tell her that she will be entitled to a full state pension as long as she stamps her feet and screams and screams and screams until her face turns blue. She is 77, has been married for 51 years and does not qualify for a pension because she was legally obliged to quit her job in the bank when she got married. She’ll be fekking thrilled to hear the good news!

    3. Scared Vagina

      Grand yah we’re just making a fuss. Alright everyone calm down its only a bit of inequality. Sure black people were prone to emotional displays in the 60s too.

        1. This Is Not Darragh, Honestly

          No, sexism is far worse, deeper, broader, older and more vicious.

        2. Scared Vagina

          Oppression is oppression, and kicking up a fuss because you’re not being afforded the same rights is not ’emotional lashing out’, it’s asking to be treated with dignity.

        3. Nigel

          No they’re not. You can tell by the way they have different names and everything and by the way those different names are not synonyms. They do share certain characteristics, though.

  13. Anne

    I read this and all I can see is:
    broad sweeping generalisations about women, broad sweeping negative generalisations about women, blah blah, moany sweeping generalisations about women, moany negative sweeping generalisations about women, blah blah
    Then I hear it.
    …in Bosco’s voice.

  14. ABM's Bloodied Underwear.

    Really, isn’t he just writing this guff to cause a reaction and keep his wages coming in?

    Don’t read him, don’t comment.

    1. Anne

      He gets paid to write? Wow, being a writer must be EASY if you get paid to be this bad at it

      1. ZeligIsJaded

        He’s a columnist – he gets paid to stoke conversation.

        Apparently, he’s very good at it.

      2. ABM's Bloodied Underwear.

        I’d say he gets paid to bring consumers to the website/buy the paper. I wouldn’t necessarily say he gets paid to write :)

  15. Narkie

    This man lost any right to speak about anything when he brought us our worst ever Eurovision result. National shame. Even Dana must be embarrassed by him…

    (and yes, it was worse than this year’s last place, because this year we managed to qualify from semi final)

    Please don’t use his picture in any future posts. It upsets me

    1. Anne

      Yes if only he had won, then his right to speak and opinions would be much more valid.


  16. Gaydolph Shitler

    When I think of abortion rights I’m always struck by the idea that we could be deprived of a Brian O’ Driscoll or a Paul O’ Connell or even (to be open minded about it) a Sonia O’ Sullivan. I know the odds are against it , particularly in the case of O’ Driscoll, but still …

    1. Lu

      I’m pretty sure if you look at most of the highly successful sports people (including the ones you mention) that they will all credit the loving and supportive families who brought them to training, instilled self belief in them etc.

      Women / couples who choose to have an abortion know that they can’t provide this for their child, or that their child will not survive for this to be even a remote possibility. That is why they’re having an abortion.

    2. Huppenstop

      You could equally make the point as to how many women have had their potential and lives curtailed by forcing them to bear a child that they did not want.

    3. eneleven

      If Mrs O’Driscoll or Mrs O’Connell had been on the pill, it would also deprive us of their offspring. Or y’know, if they had never met Daddy O’Driscoll or Daddy O’Connell. Or if Mrs O’Driscoll had gotten pregnant a month earlier than she did, it would be a different egg and sperm, and Brian O’Driscoll would have been Ralph O’Driscoll or Jacinta O’Driscoll or some other person.

      1. Gaydolph Shitler

        While doctors are assessing the pregnant women seeking terminations perhaps they could also run a few fetal assessments ?

      2. Clo

        Reminds me of a great Durex ad from years ago, along the lines of: picture of cute old couple, caption ‘Mr and Mrs Hitler’; picture of another cute old couple, caption ‘Mr and Mrs Mussolini’, etc, with the eventual punchline ‘Aren’t you sorry they didn’t use Durex?’

    4. cluster

      Exactly Gaydolph, becase we all know that it is an athletic mother’s duty to bear the nation future sports stars.


  17. Sarah Murphy

    I think oddly enough that he is empowering women in this piece to take ownership of their abortions, to stand up and shout I HAD AN ABORTION AND I DON’T CARE

    1. Scared Vagina

      I kind of felt this too? Like if this is true and the fault (in his eyes) is wtih the woman, why don’t we let her own her moral choices and fucking well make abortion free safe and legal already?

    2. Scared Vagina

      I kind of felt this too? Like if this is true and the fault (in his eyes) is wtih the woman, why don’t we let her own her moral choices and f**king well make abortion free safe and legal already?

      1. Scared Vagina

        I wrote a clean version and then my sweary version got approved. Self-censorship fail.

  18. Tickle (T.B.C.)

    I like the yoda stuff under the pic in the article.
    “Men often feel uncomfortable are female emotions.”

    The pic also looks like she is p1ssed of ‘cos he is on his iPhone

  19. C Sharp

    I imagine writers typing away on a laptop with a smile on their faces and a thought bubble over their heads that says “they’re gonna love this”.

    I imagine John the same way, except his thought bubble says “they’re gonne hate this”.

  20. Gar

    Holy fupping fupp balls! wouldn’t know where to end if I started in on this, never have I seen such condescension and chauvinistic rubbish from an actual “journalist”, can anyone take him seriously again?

    Commence deserved shit storm in… he is going to be torn apart on VB and Prime Time over the next few days I hope.

    1. ZeligIsJaded

      I doubt that.

      Why would they tear him apart.

      He’s saying nothing he hasn’t said before

      1. Gar

        Because its all Reprehensible bull$h1t that is really offensive?

        the Actual article reads like something from the ’50s, unbelievable rubbish.

  21. well

    in one sense he is sort of right, women should be allowed to be responsible for their own actions, the prolife movement is painting women as incapable of making their own decisions.

  22. Lu

    I’d call him a c*nt if that wasn’t yet another example of the patriarchy keeping us women down

    1. ZeligIsJaded

      Explain that one to me.

      Always curious about it.


      I love that word – I use it incessantly.

      I’ll never give it up ya hear!

      1. Lu

        Associating a name for a part of the female anatomy with the most negative slur you can impose on a person.

        I use it, but I use dick a lot too so …

        1. Scared Vagina

          I think in America it’s used on women, kind of like Bitch, which is where it got it’s misogynistic reputation.

      2. Fat Frog

        I have reclaimed the word for womanhood and call people c*nts when they deserve it. As a woman (coz I am one) I’ve decided that it is sexist to make it a sacred word when we call people p*icks, d*cks, nob-ends and bolloxes. Oh yeah, and scrotes. Calling someone a c*nt is like equal opportunities, only different if you follow me.

        1. Ms Piggy

          totally agree, glad I’m not on a one-woman crusade to reclaim the word for everyday use.

          Most of our swear words are to do with sex/scatology and the body parts associated with those. Why should c*nt be seen as worse than dick, scrote, arsehole etc? Arguing that kind of implies people think c*nts really ARE worse than other body parts. And if you don’t think so, then USE it!!

  23. Bean Frilly Ní Keane

    A cry for help
    That’s what that is

    Look and learn lads. ‘Cause this is what becomes of ya when you don’t attract physical companionship or positive attention.

    Before we know it, someone will find John Wsyets rocking in a corner somewhere.

    Should we encourage his songwriting more

  24. Spaghetti Hoop

    Bizarre piece of writing. Waters really has a warped theory of equality. I really wouldn’t grant him the attention he so badly craves.

    1. scottser

      i try not to, but he reminds of my da when he hits the whiskey, all shout-ey and up his hole.

  25. Ronan

    There are many Irish journalists who can get my back up, but I generally find myself agreeing with most of them at some point or another. I once even agreed with Kevin Myers on something.

    But John Waters is not in that group. I despise every utterance that comes from his mouth, his very presence on a TV screen can set me 2 degrees below boiling. The children’s referendum debate had me close to tears (of rage). I have never agreed with Waters on anything.

    However, I actually appreciate this piece getting out there, as his attitude strikes the very chord which we know to be latent in many pro-lifers; his message is clear: that women should examine their own sins instead of punishing a tiny babby in their belly under the pretense of themselves having been sinned against.

    Waters, you are a cock, and I hope helps some fence-sitters to find the courage to stand up to the ideology of zealots, and ease their conscience and their moral compass towards individual choice.

  26. Naughtius

    I wonder how many women went to England to avoid the embarassment of having life out of wedlock.

    1. dave

      You see in the twisted Catholic mind, once your born it doesn’t matter a f*** what happens to you, born to die…born to die..etc. etc.

  27. Ted

    Wow. Just wow. If he doesn’t think life-long emotional and financial responsibility, months of sickness, and the potential for life-altering after effects, not mention the potential of death, is an imposition on a woman’s life, I’d like to know what he thinks is.

  28. Sidewinder

    Total pile of wank but at least he finally said what all the other prolife pricks are thinking.

    The PR people just don’t have the same iron grip over waters as they do over the very few actual youths in youth defence.

  29. Buzz

    Can’t believe The Irish Times are still giving this ejit a platform. He was being interviewed by Miriam O’Callaghan recently about meeting the Pope and revealed he has a partner (poor woman). O’Callaghan asked him if he was going to marry his partner (as a good Catholic and all…) and he hummed and hawed (think we can take that as No). Total hypocrite. Put him out to pasture.

  30. Lindyloola

    He obviously needs a good shag, in wedlock of course.
    Suggested advert:
    Baldy, Hairy, Christian seeks similar female with a whimsical sense of humor, bordering on insanity, at either extreme of the sub/dom spectrum; for fun nights in and marriage.
    Child bearing hips and a minuscule head the only other requirements.

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