Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

The Daily Mail loves the Sisterhood

October 2, 2011

A few weeks ago the Daily Mail website ran an article titled “Self-critical, can’t take compliments, always focus on your own failings? Why ARE we women so hard on ourselves?”  It also ran the following:

As Katie Holmes shocks navel-gazers… the ins and outs of a beautiful belly button.
This piece starts by suggesting that anyone on Earth gives a single solitary shit about Katie Holmes having an ‘outie’.  It then goes on to describe a procedure you can have to ‘fix’ your protruding belly button called an umbilicoplasty, and presents the findings of a survey on belly button preferences in which “nobody expressed a preference for an outie”.  But hey: love the skin you’re in!  You’re perfect just the way you are!  Except that tiny little thing on your stomach which, you know, kept you alive until you got out of the womb.  That thing is an eyesore and you need to sort it out.

Don’t make a boob on the beach! Bikinis for the fuller figure
This article suggests that “before you even think about hitting the High Street” you get a tan.  Fat and orange, apparently, is fine.  Fat and pale is not allowed.  The bikinis themselves are pretty nice but the model demonstrating bikinis for fatties is no bigger than a size 10.  You will quickly notice, when you read the Daily Mail website regularly, that there are two very distinct types of plus size: the models they use when they’re trying to sell something to ‘plus size’ women are size 10 but with boobs over a D cup, and the women they use in articles about how bad it is to be plus size, who barely have necks.  The Daily Mail thinks Kerry Katona is a fatass after a week on the takeaways, but it thinks Christina Hendricks is the epitomy of female beauty.  I know; I don’t get it either.  (In all fairness, it has to be said, Christina Hendricks looks like the Greek goddess of tits and I love her.)

Fashion mismatch: unwashed hair, gum, tattoos – is this Wimbledon or Glastonbury?
Ladies: nobody gives a shit if you are an incredibly fit, ambitious woman excelling in the male-dominated arena of competitive sport.  GET A BLOW DRY.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed but all that running around whacking a racket at things is rather undignified.  You’ll never attract a husband like that, darling.

Nancy with no obvious means of support: Dell’Olio arrives at summer ball seemingly without a bra
Your underwear is not your decision to make.  You owe it to the public to have those babies hoisted as far up on your ribcage as they can go – even though it would have looked fucking ridiculous in that dress.  Nobody cares that you’re like 50 years old: the Daily Mail are VERY upset that you denied them the opportunity to crow over your wrinkled, leathery cleavage.  Very upset indeed.  How do you even sleep at night?

Little bit Close to the mark, Glenn? Damages actress wears thigh-skimming dress
Glenn Close wore a dress on the red carpet.  ‘Thigh-skimming’ is an accurate term only if you understand that it was skimming the knee-end of her thigh.  But of course, the second your hair goes grey you have to put your legs away.  Nobody wants to see that shit any more, grandma.

‘I can’t get a man!’: Charlize Theron bewails being single.
Because being a beautiful, talented, successful millionaire is pointless unless some dude is putting his wang in you on a regular basis.  I can’t believe you thought your glittering career and offensively massive bank account was enough without a man to validate it!  Go and cry over your Oscar, Charlize.  You are worthless.

Women feel invisible to men once they hit 46 and confidence plummets
This one sort of speaks for itself.  YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED, LADIES.  ENJOY PEOPLE GIVING A SHIT ABOUT YOU WHILE IT LASTS.  Your children hate you and you will die alone.

What I am getting at here is that I really can’t believe the balls it must take to be this openly duplicitous.  On the one hand it’s “Why can’t we all just get along and realise that everyone is fabulous no matter how fat or old they are!  Yay sisterhood!” and on the other it’s “Oh my god will you look at that disgusting slag. She’s put on a good five pounds since she won that Oscar and started dating that gorgeous millionaire.  Bitch.”  The Daily Mail particularly has it in for Jennifer Aniston who, it seems, is still crying into her pillow over Brad Pitt, burns effigies of Angelina Jolie, and is generally a joyless figure of public humiliation and widespread pity.  Or could it be that women are jealous of her beautiful hair, amazing figure, vast wealth, astounding property portfolio, and frequent flings with attractive men who she doesn’t have to depend on for anything?  Hmm.

While obviously it’s too much to expect the media to be without bias, the Daily Mail has something of an obsession with certain celebrities – mainly Lindsay Lohan, who has done nothing of note apart from act like a spoiled little bitch and get increasingly skanky-looking for like the last five years, and the Kardashians, a family of women with gigantic backsides who seem to be famous mainly for shopping a lot and being engaged to American athletes.  It’s not the bias I mind though; it’s the double standard.

Mischa Barton puts on a couple of pounds (or just wears a particularly unflattering pair of slacks; whatever) and she is ‘out of control’.  The blonde one from Steps packs on yet another three stone and is ‘curvy’.  Lady Gaga has a ‘worryingly thin frame’ but Lara Stone is ‘full-figured’.  It’s fair to say that it’s all getting a little bit fucking ridiculous.  How do we decide which famous women are allowed to put on weight and which aren’t?  It seems to be completely arbitrary.

What bothers me is that this sort of thinking – “It’s ok for YOU to be a size 16 but holy fuck doesn’t Kerry Katona look fat in that size 10 bikini” – is everywhere.  And no matter what anyone says, it is damaging.

The Daily Mail itself has the gall to run a story along the lines of ‘how dare the Topshop website use pictures of a skinny model thereby causing an epidemic of anorexia on the same day as it runs a story about how chunky Kim Kardashian’s taller sister has been looking recently, and this really doesn’t help anyone.  It can’t decide whether it’s more concerned about anorexia or the ‘obesity epidemic’ but at the same time, anyone who dares to be average-sized and in the public eye is slated for some aspect of their appearance.

If I ever get famous I’m going to get some tshirts printed up that say “Hey, Daily Mail!  Look how fat my ass is today!” and make sure I get papped entering and leaving a gym, visiting a lipo clinic, and spending 10 hours in a Krispy Kreme all on the same day.  Because I wouldn’t want those poor journalists to have to do any actual WORK, or anything.


Why I am better than other people

March 12, 2011

Sometimes I worry that my stomach is not flat enough.  Sometimes I obsess about my teeth.  Sometimes I wonder if there is a way to accidentally break my nose which will result in it healing without the little bump in the middle.

One thing I have never had a crisis of confidence about is my skill as a writer.  Given my other insecurities, I don’t think this makes me big-headed – in fact I think I’m being pretty objective about the whole thing.  Most people have at least one thing they’re really good at, and my thing is writing big long rants about nothing and making them somehow entertaining.  The stats back me up here, by the way; ever since Wil Weaton retweeted some shit/genius joke I made about a garlic crusher named Wesley and I was famous on Twitter for about twenty seconds, my views per day have been hovering somewhere between 20 and 227.  Presumably some of them even like it enough to come back.  Hi, guys!

Anyway, my actual point is that my local paper, The Southern Daily Echo, appear to have awarded a man called Simon Carr the title ‘Columnist of the Year’.  What this tells me is that they must only have one columnist because I could write a more coherent piece of journalism than Simon Carr by the time I was seven years old.  That’s not an exaggeration, by the way – when I was seven I wrote a newspaper article about local youths leaving broken glass in my school playground.  My mum still has it to this day, preserved in a scrapbook, and last time I looked at it I was pleased to note that it was still superior to most of Simon Carr’s output.

Simon currently ‘writes’ (it’s a strong word) a column called Single in the City.  The ‘city’ in question is Eastleigh, and for those of you not from round ‘ere, Eastleigh consists of a railway station and three streets populated almost entirely by hair salons and kebab shops.  It is almost impossible not to be single if you are limiting yourself to Eastleigh.  Its Wikipedia page teaches us that Colin Firth went to college in Eastleigh, and the ‘Economy’ section is one sentence which I will reproduce here in its entirety, for your benefit: 

The B&Q head office is in the Portswood House in Eastleigh. The town was formerly home to a Mr Kipling bakery.

To clear something up, while we’re on it – B&Q head office is in Chandlers Ford, not really in Eastleigh itself.  I know this because I work there.  And factories which used to exist and now do not, really don’t count towards the economy of a place.

Anyway, Simon Carr is a 32-year old man who doesn’t seem to have realised yet that the reasons he is still ‘single in the city’ are fairly simple.  A:  He is the kind of man who, in his thirties, still perves over much younger women and calls them things like ‘fitties’.  B:  For all his whinging about being single and not being able to get a date with a ‘fitty’, he really likes going on about all the totally fucking stupid reasons he has dumped every woman who was ever dumb enough to go out with him.  C:  He is the kind of person who thinks an entire newspaper readership will be interested in the fact that he paid to upgrade on the train the other day.  This was actually the entire point of one of his recent articles, cleverly entitled ‘First Class Male’.  If this is what he considers interesting enough to put in a national publication I can only imagine how boring, arrogant and self-serving his normal conversational material must be. 

For anyone who’s going to trot out the old favourite “if you hate it so much why do you read it,” don’t be ridiculous.  People LOVE hating things, and I am no exception.  I used to love hating Liz Jones, although recently I have found myself warming to Liz – mainly because I discovered Jan Moir and realised I had to save up the great majority of my hatred for her.  There is something delicious about reading Simon Carr’s badly written, pointless articles about how he is a loser who hates everyone including his own friends, and thinking, my god I am so much better than you in every way.  It’s an ego boost and I love it. 

The point here, really, is that far from depressing me, Simon Carr gives me a great deal of hope.  If a publication with a fairly large readership deems him the cream of the crop, imagine the heights of success I could soar to!  I could be a younger, hotter, female version of Charlie Brooker.  Maybe.  I just need to find a newspaper that’ll put up with me cursing like a sailor.