The Daily Misogyny

I fucking hate the Daily Mail. In the sense that I would happily pulp all known copies and turn them into papier-mache sculptures of Germaine Greer and Emmeline Pankhurst sticking their middle fingers up at Piers Hernu (in fact, I might do that anyway)

But I fucking hate it. In this case, I think the swear word is justified; I know they say that profanity is the last resort of the barely literate (or something) but bollocks, sometimes a well-time f bomb is the most effective way of emphasising just how godawful something is.

There are many reasons I hate the Mail; it’s obsession with things that will give you/cure cancer, the way casual racism is portrayed as legitimate news, the proliferation of ‘non-stories’ usually involving celebrities appearing in various states of undress. There seems to be an increase recently in the number of these, and they are starting to take an unpleasantly body-fascist stance.

Skim across the Mail’s website today (I did it, so you don’t have to) and the following articles appear at various points on the Sidebar of Doom:

Sarah Jessica Parker has ‘sinewy, bony legs’

Elle McPherson ‘has lumpy foot’

Natalie Imbruglia ‘wears same dress twice’

Estelle ‘has new teeth, looks better’

It’s fairly standard dross and typifies the kind of judgemental non-story the Mail specialises in. There is no story in these articles; they are not in the least bit newsworthy. Just a couple of pictures of an invariably female celebrity not conforming to the rigorous aesthetic standards the paper sets. However small their deviation (and really, who gives a shiny shite whether Natalie Imbruglia wears a dress twice) it’s written as if the celeb has left the house in, say, full Nazi regalia, or perhaps with a strap-on and nipple clamps.

The really unpleasant thing about it all, though, is that it encourages us to pass judgement on anyone who is in any way different – be it because they dress in an unorthodox way (or perhaps dare to wear clothes they spent good money on more than once) or because parts of their body are ‘imperfect’. It is symptomatic of a society obsessed with criticising women who have not spent every hour of their life moulding themselves to fit the current image of perfection. So Sarah Jessica Parker has muscly legs and is a bit on the slender side. Who out there thinks this is significant?

It might be fluff, but it’s also becoming the norm; where once we might have brushed these things aside as just a symbol of the incredible diversity of the human body, or a celebration of freedom of choice, they are now held up as fodder for mockery. Not only is it extraordinarily rude, it’s pretty depressing too.

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