Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Moral Lesson from the Daily Mail : You whores will probably get what's coming to you

The Daily Mail is a newspaper that can only be described as offensive to the feminist sensibilities, it is an odious rag that peddles dirty gender stereotypes, xenaphobia, racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogony. But, it is a dirty rag that a lot of people read and in the process of doing so subconsciously learn to parrot and defend the confusing and conflicting beliefs that come from the vile pens of people who write and edit it - and so we have to engage with it to some extent, to deconstruct the copy, riddled as it is with contradictions, so we can disarm it, or bring light to its problematic form.

I drift on and off the Daily Mail in my daily scour for news and occasionally I manage to get passed glimpsing the images and headlines and read one of the articles, today I read a story about a young woman called Amy Barnes who was murdered by a violent boyfriend she had tried to leave. The story is of course heartbreaking and a stark reminder that domestic violence, and violence against women is endemic in our world, but it is written in an insulting way.

The Headline : Killed by a tawdry dream: How the obsession to become a WAG led this beautiful girl into the arms of a violent psychopath

And so, the problems begin.

The DM roll out a list of Amy’s achievements they approve of, good grades, good school and then sneak in a disapproving look at her lifestyle of hanging around footballers, posing provocatively in hot outfits under the guise of backstory. It reads like the Daily Mail perhaps believe that if Amy had worked harder at being a voiceless woman, without sexuality, who stayed on at school and worked hard to reach their standards of normal and good she would still be alive.

killed by a man who - had she not been sucked into the tawdry world of nightclubs and footballers - she would probably have never met.

The Daily Mail is one of many media outlets which champions the subservient women, and where possible - the naked sexually subservient women. It uses women, consuming and dominating and embodies the insanity of the madonna | whore complex; asking first for women to guard and conceal their sexuality but to offer it up on demand, oiled and slicked, when wanted or deemed necessary by men. They may be happy to snipe at WAG culture and ‘the tawdry world of nightclubs and footballers’ but these are the things the DM feels are worthy of coverage, these are the people interesting, cool, sexy people that they choose to feature and champion. It’s schizophrenic to say the very least.

We’re made extremely aware, by the opening picture and statements that despite what it may seem from the saucy images and opinions of Amy and her friends, that they feel are necessary to frame a story about domestic violence and murder, she is really a good girl so it's alright to feel sorry for her.

'Apart from anything else, she had a big heart. From an early age, she did voluntary work: helping at pensioners' tea parties at Christmas, teaching disadvantaged youngsters performing arts (Amy inherited her mother's artistic genes) and working at a disabled riding school.'

Safe in the assumption this white beautiful woman's life was worth savign, the Mail chooses to run Amy’s life through the ringers, posting pictures of her and her friends in sometimes revealing outfits posed in provocative positions, that no doubt have been learned from mainstream media outlets like the Daily Mail with their porn culture imagery. The turning point of the tone for me comes at the statement ‘Morrison, who we now know had a history of violence against women, had only one real selling point for a certain type of girl

A certain type of girl’ is not a phrase that readily offers a friendly reading, it is often coached with the sort of statements that confer slut shaming, and could easily be a set up to saying only certain girls are stupid enough to go out with violent boys... perhaps they’re getting what they deserve... but they don’t write that, just imply it.

They imply when they post then and now pictures of a innocent, desexualised young girl and a bottle blonde, glassy eyed sexy woman - where did it all go wrong, one would imagine they were thinking.

The article turns into a shame parade, a long passage of text describes in detail the poses and outfits these young women are wearing in group pictures, it is out of this world.

'A friend has posted a snap of Amy in a pink negligee, stockings and suspenders and 'bunny' ears.'

'Another shows Amy in a top with the word 'Sex' emblazoned across it'

'The 'picture' shows the friends baring their cleavage at a promotion by lads' magazine Nuts.'

'Heather Stretch, wears black bra and panties and stilettos.'

I suppose the editors can’t decide if the readership should be furious or just furiously wanking. The nature of the beast; raunch culture as peddled by those pretending to live some higher moral code of old fashioned proper behaviour.

You can dress it up however you want, the Daily Mail is standing in judgement of all women, along with Amy Barnes, they're not reporting about domestic violence and the loss of women's lives this is a moral lesson for the readers: this is what will happen if you don’t do what we think is proper personal conduct. And while they punish women in print for what they praise in pictures they continue to uphold stringent, suffocating parodies for women to exist in.

The Daily Mail need to get a clue, fuck them for victim blaming, for undermining the lives of women lost to domestic violence, for judging women on lifestyles they've peddled on their pages.

So what is it that turns bright, respectable young girls into women who like to be photographed in a few scraps of clothing, and for whom some half-witted footballer is the ultimate prize?

Fuck me, it’s not the mainstream media is it?



laura-ann said...

Excellent! This is spot-on. I dislike The Daily Mail and it quite often features in my lessons to demonstrate New Right ideals regarding the family and gender roles etc. I was going to write an equally disparaging blog at The Daily Mail at some point regarding the attitude one of their writers took towards what the suicide of a successful career-woman and mother of children shows us about society. Again with the victim blaming.

Anonymous said...

What a brilliant and extremely well-deserved skewering!


Excellent analysis of women-hating Daily Male. But as this article states - far too many women and men too blindly read the Daily Male and believe the women-hating lies this despicable newspaper promotes.

Reality is, irrespective of any woman's background, ethnicity etc. all women cannot foresee or prevent a man/men from committing sexual and/or physical violence against them.

Accountability lies with the male perpetrators but the Daily Male is a rigid upholder of patriarchy and pseudo male rights of ownership and control over women's lives. Note too very little criticism was directed at the male perpetrator in Male's vitrolic and misogynistic article.

Why? Are men never to be held accountable for their violence committed against women. Not according to the Daily Male and their women-hating stand is not new since they have engaged in these attacks for nearly a century now.