In Uncategorized on January 27, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Who DIDN’T I offend? To all of you, there’s only one thing to say: sorry.

I don’t subscribe to the opinionist posture of never apologise, never explain – I’m happy to do both. I don’t want to offend people. Not my thing.

But right now I want to devote my energy to replying individually to all the comments. So for the time being my explanation is on there.

And here’s what I should have written, to avoid all this rancour, because this is all that I meant:

Dita von Teese is one of the world’s most elegant and perfectly turned out women.

And for those of you who don’t want to – or can’t – wear very high heels, here are some pictures of her looking just as great in flat shoes, as she does in her highest Louboutins.


PS 28th January: I’ve amended the post, taking out the specific term which caused offence and which I honestly didn’t know was a derogatory term. I’m so grateful to Indiyesreally in comments for spelling that out to me.

I’ve also edited the rest of the piece in a way which I hope makes the points I was trying to make clearer.


  1. You didn’t offend me Maggie ! Loved your post… Don’t let this change your writing style.

    • I read your comments as about the style, not the person. And always find the discussion of our (shared) frailties, mistakes very helpful.
      A Maggie fan

  2. Dear Maggie,
    It was obvious that that was what you meant, and I fully agree.

  3. Maggie, no need to apologise! It’s a blog and last I knew, blogs were all about giving your opinions on items. What happened to freedom of speech?
    Regular readers of your blogs and columns enjoy your take on fashion and the fashion world. You say things as you see them and you are not beholden to the need to keep the fashion industry on side. When you discuss a celebrity’s style, you do so in a way that helps the reader see all of us can make styling mistakes and I, for one, learn a lot about how to wear more flattering styles as a result. Am I being shallow in worrying about how I can look my best? Yes guilty as charged. But having made hundreds of purchasing errors over the years, enough time and money has been wasted. How we dress makes a difference to our self esteem and the older we get we need every bit of help we can get.
    Cheers Maggie and keep up the good work.

  4. Honestly, what was there to be offended by? I too don’t perscribe to the never apologise league but no one is ever going to agree 100% with what you (or anyone else for that matter) writes or says. We are all adults who can make up our own minds and if we read or hear something that we find offensive, move on, get over it. You were writing about fashion, for Pete’s sake! (hey and I’m not belittling fashion….before anyone gets offended) Phew.

  5. I couldn’t understand the level of vitriol in some of those comments. If people can’t speak their own minds on their own blogs, when can they? There’s no law against feeling ambivalent about burlesque and saying so. It’s a big wide world with a lot of different points of view. The comments make Maggie’s original post sound like a hate-crime and it clearly isn’t. It’s more like a tribute to great flats. No-one’s saying people can’t express their opinions, but what’s with all the aggression??

  6. Dear Maggie,
    Hooly, dooly! I totally got you last post and I’m sure lots of others did too.
    Its your blog and being the well-respected, experienced and much loved fashion and media industry professional and published author that you are – more than entitled to share as you choose.

    Do you remember last year when Scott Schulman (the Sartorialist) posted some shots of one of the young European street fashion bloggers, Angelika and commented on how she (I am almost scared to paraphrase here for fear of gunfire myself) always ‘balanced’ her look with a chunky shoe? The flurry of fury and insecurities his well-intentioned comment stirred up was incredible!. If you want to revisit Scott’s terror I’m sure its in the achieves of his site (over a thousand responses if I remember correctly).

    I have been blogging on the WSIW site (out of Melbourne) for a few months now and I must say I occasionally recall the Angelika saga (when I feel like I might be misunderstood) and tone down sometimes to the point I fear of not getting through at all to those asking for advise/comment.

    Still with you 100% Maggie and looking forward to the new book.
    Thanks and regards, Bernadette
    PS I am sure that Dita is very happy to see great pics of herself in her great dresses and coats going about her daily business on your blog. I too ADORE her polished street style. I too don’t particularly like the burlesque thing either (like you for lots of reasons) but I am sure Dita is a total professional and copes admirably with not everyone totally approving of her stage acts (heavens, last time I looked there was plenty of deep conservatism in the US). Bx

  7. There was so much vitriol thrown at you for what was really a pretty inoffensive post, and one which many women, me included, agreed with. Some of the critics came across as wilfully misinterpreting your views. It’s possible to disagree respectfully with something and outraged attacks are rarely persuasive. You do have to be brave to blog these days.

  8. Yeah, I got it. I agreed with you.

  9. I love your blog Maggie, and isn’t the point of a blog for you to write whatever you think?? I started to read all the replies to DVT & to be honest, I just couldn’t be bothered to read all the long winded things that some of your critics wrote. All this feminism stuff can be a bit over the top & why don’t people just get on with their lives, & stop ramming their beliefs down our throats. As I said, — I couldn’t be bothered to read it. I have no interest in it. Keep doing what you’re doing – you have many fans.

  10. Wow, what a shame opinions aren’t allowed any more! I loved your post, loved the pics, and ‘got it’. I really don’t understand some people these days. This is your blog, your place, your opinions. I like them, I don’t always agree, but I enjoy them immensely. It’s why I subscribe. Isn’t that the point?

    Go Maggie.

  11. Maggie, what I love about you is your insights into fashion and pop culture. You are never offensive, you give opinion! I am sick of social commentators so frightened to offend they have no opinion. I have followed you since the early days writing in the Good Weekend, and have all your novels.
    At least you’ve got ’em talking! Don’t change a thing!

  12. More power to you, Maggie! You’re not offensive at all and I totally understood the point you were making. I like Dita’s style too (when she has her clothes on) but I’m a feminist as well and I often wonder about the messages our society is giving young girls these days. Above all, please don’t change the way you write – you’re an inspiration. I miss your newspaper columns which were always the way I started my weekend!

  13. Maggie

    geezz…. just keep on what you are doing Maggie. Its great. ABSOLUTELY no apologies required.


  14. You write a great blog Maggie, and you are as entitled to your opinion as anyone else. I really didn’t get what the offense was … sorry. But it clearly touched a few nerves and got some feedback. At least people are reading! Don’t stop and don’t not write something for fear of offending that would be the worst thing!

  15. I understood what you were saying. Can’t understand the backlash. Always love your column!

    • Thanks for that, but while it’s been scary at times I have still found it really interesting hearing such a wide range of opinions. SOme have given me real insight into burlesque culture. I do object to being called a ‘woman hater’ but everyone is entitled to their opinion! xxx

  16. I wonder if all those people are regular readers or someone notified them about that particular article. Have burlesque supporters been rallied to support the cause or are there that many readers who enjoy burlesque? I have my own ideas about what empowers women but I am not starting another argument here ! Keep writing Maggie and just say what is on your mind. Someone will always complain about your best intentions.
    Funnily enough I have found this out through fundraising for my children’s school. Everyone is a critic.

    • Thanks for that, Antoine. Yes, I think I did offend several communities of people, but after ‘chatting’ on here, I have had some real insights from people on the other side of the opinion – and experience – fence, so I’ve learned a lot from it. I’ve had some really lovely replies today from people who started out furious and then accepted I’d just been slack. All in all, it’s been interesting. But I would like to tell the ones who are still cross to look to people like Sarah Palin for the real enemies! xxx

  17. I must say that I was surprised at how many of your “regular” readers appear to be burlesque performers or in the sex industry in some way. They also seemed to be reading a lot in between the lines that I didn’t. Saying you don’t like someone’s profession, but admire their personal style is hardly call for the vitriol that you received.

    If any of them would like to forward some photos of trans-gender sex workers plying their trade in ballet flats I’m sure it will put down that vile stereotype that you used.

    Keep it up Maggie, I thought the post was great.

  18. No need to apologise Maggie – you are an insightful, clever, entertaining writer and I love your take on fasion and pop culture – and just about everything else you write!! Please dont soften your stance or opinion because a few single-issue drum beaters objected to your opinion. Keep up your great writing.

  19. Oh Maggie, your last post didn’t offend me at all. I agreed with most of it and shrugged my shoulders and kept reading at the bits I didn’t. In fact it so didn’t offend me that I didn’t even bother clicking through to the comments and totally missed the storm going on over there until I popped back to see today’s post. What fun to create a little storm and, as others have already said, who knew so many of your readers were burlesque performers or in the sex industry? Keep writing as you see it Maggie, that’s what most of us love about your posts.

  20. Not sure what all the fuss is all about – in my opinion you did not write anything offensive and you are entitled to express your opinions on your blog! I always enjoy your writing – please don’t stop writing about what you think is important.

  21. WOW! I read your previous blog early Maggie, when there were (I think) only 3 comments on there and I recognised Toby as a regular reader/commenter on this blog. Imagine my surprise to read the beginning of this entry on my email- I couldn’t for the life of me recall what everyone would be upset about- not sure what that says about me of course.

    I got what you were saying and am inclined to agree that some of these comments are from people who don’t usually read your blog (or other writing) and therefore lack some context. Trying to think the best of people, I guess.

    As for the personal attacks on you- including how long it took you to reply to some very unkind ones, well I’m just stunned.

  22. I wasn’t offended in the slightest … Some days I wear towering heels – but mostly I wear flats.

  23. I think you should be able to give an opinion without comments turning into a blood bath. I really enjoyed the blog post and I thought the reaction was way over the top.

    I say this as a former university women’s officer, who now seems to have a passion for gorgeous bras.

    I don’t see why burlesque and feminism have to be mutually exclusive, but this debate could rave on for years and not be resolved. I’ve blogged about Dita before and not been roasted by feminists (nor non-feminists).

    It’s very hard to write when you’re fearful of the reaction. I think you should promise to give us your opinions and we, in turn, promise not to kick you until you print a retraction.

    Plus I love the fact you’re posting again….I’ve missed you.

  24. thank you for the apology. your post was offensive to me, a sex worker, stripper & burlesque artist, and your acknowledgement and apology means alot. For those readers who have immediately jumped to Maggies defence or claim that the last post was not problematic, all I can say is that I am sorry that you don’t enjoy frank and open discussion with sex workers, trans people and our allies, for if you did you did they would tell you that they’re breathing a sigh of relief right now because a blog that appeared to be discriminatory was actually only a badly formed set of stereotypes mis-used to make a point that (obviously) could have been made without hurting anyone. Thank you for the clarification Maggie!

    • Your reply has actually made me quite teary – thank you for understanding. I am furious with myself for being slack and making a cheap stereotypical comment. I’m better than that. And I really respect and admire people who are brave enough to follow their heart. I’m going to post about Candy mag. xxx

  25. Maggie, phew what a reaction! Must be good to know that people are reading.

    I guess that as a well respected writer and commentator on contemporary culture your blog and opinion counts, and this is why so many commenters posted on the previous post expressing their dismay.

    The weird thing is that anyone who has read any biographical material about you, would know that you are a compassionate, intelligent woman who has had her share of life’s hard knocks and to accuse you of being a “hater” could not be further from the truth.

    I really enjoy your blog and very pleased that you are posting again. I love the fact that you have an opinion, and the fact that I don’t always agree with you, but it is the differences that provokes thought and analysis.

    Anyway, please keep posting and giving your take on the world.

  26. I am sorry too for being rude to you. I’ll probably return now and read your blog, that’s if you’ll have me back!

    • Hey Matilda – I just read your blog AND WE HAVE EXACTLY THE SAME VIEWS. All that you say about the current fashion culture for young women – and the picture of Cheryl Cole says it ALL – is what I was trying to say… It makes me terrified for my 9 year old daughter to see those women who came into the Celebrity Big Brother house, that was my point…. So yes, please read my blog and I’ll read yours! Are you in the UK or Australia? x

      • Oh! it’s not my blog Maggie! It’s my friend Gemma’s – she’s in the UK, wanted you to see the comments she got too! xxx

  27. Enough of the apologies already! Jeez! I read the post, grinned at the more Clarksoneque of the mini rant and took it for what it was; part throwaway comment, part underlying serious points: viz
    a) Sorry, but some girls do look all spray tan, fake boobs and eyelashes nowadays – it’s not a good look for girls to aspire to. We know this.
    b) Burlesque is striptease. This is not news. I personally don’t don’t care.
    c) Flat shoes can also be chic and possibly better footwear for everyday. Deep down we know that constant wearing of high heels damage feet and posture long term. Fact.
    Oh. How offensive. Not!!
    Leave Maggie alone!!

  28. I agreed with you.

    1. I think Dita von Teese is the world’s most stylish woman – nobody looks like her!
    2. The excerable Essex look is bloody everywhere and looks like it’s here to stay.

    • You put it so succintly – if only I had and not mentioned a lot of unrelated stuff that pissed a lot of people off, but I have really learned a lot through this, so it has all been worth it. Although I do feel a bit punch drunk x

  29. Maggie, I am really sorry that you inadvertently, maybe clumsily, upset some people so much that they responded in what appears to be a fairly coordinated attack, and that they have come at you with such anger, vitriol and aggression. Your post was clearly written in a light-hearted way, though their responses suggest that you wrote an incredibly nasty post, so I think their indignation – though justified – was disproportionate.

    I wrote an off-the-cuff post once that incensed a member of my extended family and I felt sick for a month afterwards, even though we talked about it and agreed to respectfully disagree. Remember what your intention was when you wrote this post. One badly written post doesn’t make you a bad person.

    And anyone who has been reading you for more than five minutes ought to have taken a deep breath before firing off an angry reply, and wondered if you had deliberately set out to insult or if you might be given the benefit of the doubt because you don’t usually say stuff like that.

    Just my two cents.

    • HI Trish
      not sure if I replied to your lovely comment already – it’s really hard to keep track on here. Thanks for your level-headed assessment anyway, and if I’ve already said that, well you deserve it twice!


  30. I didn’t read the original article but read some comments. Without wanting to form an opinion on either the post or the comments, I just wanted to say how much I admire your response, Maggie. It was honest, thoughtful and genuine and I hope that those who were offended accept it in the spirit it was intended. I have been a delighted and loyal reader of your columns for years and years and think you are one of the most consistently interesting, well-written, insightful and funny social commenters around. Kudos to you for responding personally to each comment as well – that’s courage.

  31. Good lord, I think this is why I don’t have strong opinions anymore. They’ve been bashed out of me. As a journalist you sit smack in the middle of scores of people telling you what they think all day – who are all SO sure they are right and don’t mind shouting it…. nastily sometimes as you found Maggie.

    I worked in talk back radio for a while (not the really opinionated shock jock type but our callers still had very strong opinions) For the most part I loved it but sometimes the program would hit a nerve. I listened and listened and argued a little but would hang up when the abuse really got going. At least I could hang up.

    Much has been written about just how vitriolic the comments left online can be – why do people suspend good manners on the web? So much for the sisterhood.

    Enjoy your tea and biscuit. And stay away from shoes and sex. x

  32. Hmmm…
    I’m impressed by the way you responded to each comment. Everyone has a different take on the post, and you understood that that’s OK.

    Some people might find the terms you used offensive.

    And yet…

    I have heard many members of the GBLTI community use the term “trannie”–and not in an offensive way, to refer to a trans person. I have heard the term “hooker” used to describe sex workers, giving varying levels of offence. I wasn’t personally offended, but I can see how some people might be.

    A high heel is sexy. But uncomfortable. I have a friend with a prosthetic leg. As a result she can’t wear heels. So she wears the chicest flats she can get her hands on–Chanel.

  33. Hello Maggie,
    I do think flat shoes are chic- at their best they can have a Lee Radziwill/ Jackie O holidaying in Europe vibe. And they allow women to move and be free and natural and that is beautiful. I can’t believe the ‘killer’ heel look is still in fashion; one day it will just vanish and become the flares of the noughties- slightly embarrassing & never successfully revived. I just wish I could find some graceful, gentle heels on beautiful shoes- for years now it has been a choice between flat to the ground and Victoria Beckham high.
    Anyway, shoe diversion aside I just wanted to say that I have enjoyed your articles and novels over the years,
    all the best,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Fragrant Cloud

I think in perfume

Style Notes

Style Notes

The Grooming Guru

An Expert's Guide To Male Grooming

Mad About The House

The sourcebook for modern living is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

En Brogue

slow comfortable style

North/South Food

Eating across the North/South divide

Jack Monroe

The #1 budget recipe website

Liberty London Girl

Just another site

The Selvedge Yard

A historical record of artistry, anarchy, alchemy & authenticity.

Cattle & Cane

Country Chronicles

The Blog

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: