Another day, another Daily Mail fail post. I really should stop reading it for the sake of my sanity but it is like a car crash – I can’t help myself from being drawn to it!

There are lots of articles today that have made me laugh or want to cry in equal measures so I am going to just do a quick round up of them all

This image of Pamela Stephonson from Strictly Come Dancing is accompanied by the caption ‘make up strictly necessary.’ It continues with this comment ‘the usually immaculate psychologist looked pale and windswept as she hauled her bags along with the other contestants.’ For god’s sake, she is 61 and looks pretty good to me. ‘The contestant may have looked a little drab but she is still looking trim.’ Drab? Trim? So it’s ok to slag off her face as long as her body continues to conform to your bollocks ideal then? The thing that makes this article so laughable is the fact that they are also running a piece today about women’s dependency on make up. Flic Everett has written ‘Call me vain, but I’d rather leave home in jim-jams than without my war paint.’ She goes on to say how ‘many of us would sooner go without shoes than relinquish the Touche Eclat that makes us look human after a ­sleepless night, or the mascara that makes us resemble Anne Hathaway, when without it we’re more Ann ­Widdecombe.’ (I like how they got in another subtle dig at an older woman there as well who dares try and resist society’s pressures.) Flic goes on to quote a few statistics from a recent Superdrug survey that apparently found that 50% of women would never leave the house without a full face of slap on and how 10% would never let their partners see them without make up. I think that is pretty depressing to be honest. And probably true because look what fucking happens when women do take the make up off for a minute – they get called ‘drab’ and splashed over the pages of a national newspaper in an article tinged with spite and a whispered hint of ‘letting yourself go.’

Just in case we are left in any doubt of the Mail’s expectations when it comes to how a women should present themselves, they say this alongside the above image; ‘That’s more like it: Pamela looking glamorous and delighting the crowd with her show-stopping outfits.’

I love wearing make up but I am under no illusions that i do it for myself. I don’t. If I turn up to work with no eye liner or blusher on people ask me if I’m unwell or assume that something is wrong. The article states that ‘shockingly, one in four women is convinced if they didn’t wear make-up they’d be passed over for promotion, and management would assume they didn’t look after ­themselves properly.’ I sort of agree with those women – I know that if I see a girl out without make up on my first thoughts are ‘wow she’s brave’ and ‘ couldn’t she bothered to slap on some lipgloss this morning?’ I hate myself for doing it but we have been so conditioned as women to put it on every day, and as men to expect it. Putting make up on is part of my morning routine, as integral as brushing my teeth and faffing about for 20 minutes trying to decide what to wear. We are slaves to the mascara wand, so convinced that we need it and no wonder; every day we are bombarded with images and adverts showcasing the newest cosmetics using words like ‘corrector,’ ‘plumper,’ ‘smoothing,’ illuminating, ‘ lash extending’ etc – all words that scream ‘ you’re not enough as you are.’ All telling us that we should be glossy, with long dolly lashes and cheeks as pink as barbie’s accessories. But why? Where along the line did someone decide that we need to all look like a peodophiles wet dream? It scares me that we surround ourselves with tons of products all designed to cover us up, smooth us over, inject colour into parts that are pretty perfect as they are. The part of the article I like and loathe the most is this, ‘It would be a ­triumph for equality if we could all be bare-faced, boldly stalking the streets with un-groomed ­eyebrows and pale lips, like the crumpled, shiny-nosed men we live alongside.’ Because it’s true – men don’t have to worry about waking up in time to spend ages in front of a mirror fading and shading out all the bits that make us us.

Then again men have their own issues.

Gel inserts have long been a wardrobe staple for women looking to enhance their cleavage. So it was only a matter of time before a male equivalent was made – enter the Shock Jock Flirt Boxer and Brief. The briefs look like regular underwear but actually add two inches to a man’s anatomy.’ Right…

Now that Renee Zellweger has gone and upset the apple cart by settling down with a man and that running stories about sad singleton Jennifer Aniston is getting boring, we need a new ‘lonely’ women to target – enter Lisa Snowdon.

Society just doesn’t know what to do with single women does it? They present a challenge because they can’t be pigeonholed. When we see them smiling and looking happy we have to attack because. gasp, how can they be happy without a man to clean up after and service on a regular basis? The Mail have this headline today; Has Cupid finally found Lisa? Finally?! It paints an image of Lisa crying herself to sleep every night because she doesnt have a man next to her. Please. She is successful, attractive and who bloody cares if she is single or not? Why do we target women like this? It is the same in real life – we all have a single friend who we continually quiz over their love life, or lack off and despite their insistance that it doesn’t matter we secretly think, aww, she would love a boyfriend. She probably wouldn’t but never mind. We need to couple people off, it makes sense in our heads that way. Lisa Snowdon admitting that she hasn’t had a relationship in five years makes us uneasy. How dare she wreck the natural order of things?! The article states, ‘Last summer, Lisa spoke out about her non-existent love life and said she feared she is part of the growing phenomenon of single, attractive and successful women who have everything except a partner.’ It frustrates me that they are implying that her life is somehow lacking because she doesn’t have a boyfriend/husband/significant other in her life. I love my boyfriend very much but I am enough on my own. I want to be around him but can eat or go to the cinema by myself without feeling like a loner or weirdo. I think that the medias representation of relationships as all consuming, encouraging co dependency leaves individuals vulnerable and left feeling inadequate, Films like Twilight are terrible for this; they show the characters falling apart without the other, literally hollow shells and it is so negative. Relationships in my opinion should enhance your life, not be your whole life.

The last two articles I want to rant about are these:

‘After stepping out with Manchester City star Wayne Bridge we expected her to turn into a fully-fledged WAG looking preened to perfection at all times.’ Why exactly? Because that is what you’ve decided wags should be like? It is like the chicken and egg – which came first? The trend or the media representations? Frankie manages to claw back some approval after her awful faux pas of daring to be seen in public in tracksuit trousers in this shot:

‘Miss Sandford stepped out looking every inch the footballer’s girlfriend carrying a huge oversized Prada handbag on her arm. ‘ Well, thank heavens for that. It just wont do having women running about the place in anything less than skin tight lycra weighed down by expensive arm candy.

Another thing the media does that pisses me no end is painting any women larger than a size 10 as the ‘jolly fat one’. There are two articles today with women in swimwear. Cat Deeley has her images captioned with words like ‘stunning’ ‘purrfect’ (eurgh) and ‘beauty’ yet Jo Joyner has to make do with these comments; ‘Jo was showing off her curves in a black one-piece swimsuit that flattered her figure’ and ‘Bottoms up: Jo was wearing a sensible black one-piece swimsuit for her beach frolics  – and a big smile.’ Why isn’t she described as stunning or beautiful? She is, after all, stunning and beautiful. No, because she is slightly larger than a cocktail stick we have to put up with reading about her ‘clambering’ on board a boat having a ‘splashing time.’ Stars like Olivia Palermo and Cat Deeling have words like ‘glamorous’ and ‘reclining’ bandied around but no such luck for Jo. She has to make do with being the smiley big girl who has a ‘splashing’ time in her figure flattering sensible one piece. Fuck off.

I literally can’t put into words how angry articles like these make me feel. They are all so contradicting, so determined to put girls in their place. They tell us so much about what society expects from women and yet all hint that we will never satisfy, never be perfect or enough. And we bloody are.

Category: Discussion, Feminism, My Thoughts
  • Oh God, discovered the New York Post t’other day – definite Daily Fail rival. Posted this in a Twitter rage – they are pulling apart an innocent lady on the beach for not being a “beauty”. As one of the poster’s said, “That woman could have retired from a career in nuclear physics or be a world-class professional musician and it just doesn’t count because she isn’t young and pretty and sexually available/enticing”.

    Makes me worry about having daughters one day. I just think it’s getting worse.

    • em

      I completely agree with you – when I think about having children it scares me so much that they will be brought into a world where nothing is more valued than physical attractiveness. I want my daughters to be proud of their academic achievements and their friendships and successes in hobbies etc yet i know that is bollocks because nothing will matter more than how they look to other people. its enough to put me off having children. xxxx

  • About the make-up, I do the same. When I see someone in my school with no make up on I begin to think ‘Can she not be bothered, is she okay’ and then I want to slap myself! I then realise, that fair enough she doesn’t want to or feel the need to wear make up that day or ever. And then I begin to admire them because I know many of my friends and I wouldn’t be comfortable to do that. It annoys me so much how we feel we have to wear it to be taken seriously and then if we do and people consider it even slightly too much or not the norm we are then labelled ‘fake’ and other ridiculous words. It’s as though you can’t win some times.
    -Sorry for an essay. 🙂 xx

    • em

      I agree – we cant win sometimes! I hate that double standard that exists; girls who try are fake and trashy but girls who dont are lazy and cant be bothered. its ridiculous!

  • Claudia

    another brilliant post! so fucking true as regards the patronising language used to describe “real ” women [another phrase i hate]…I think you are stronger than me – if i read the daily mail [or the scottish equivalent] i would probably end up either crying or being sick.. haha
    also the make up thing- i would never not wear any…my mum was very critical of herself without it and i think i’ve become the same. people would make comments and i feel like i never should have started in the first place!
    this world we live in eh?

    • em

      It drives me crazy. The language used is so damaging as it is subtle yet kind of encourages a certain way of thinking about body shapes. I always remember a comedian who made a joke about her ‘fat’ daughter – she said ‘you could at least have the decency to be jolly.’ ha, bloody ha. its stuff like that which perpetuates the idea that bigger girls are ‘jolly’ ‘fun’ and ‘bubbly’ but thin girls are ‘stunning’ ‘sexy’ and ‘beautiful.’