OK, Daily Mail. Let’s discuss all the ways in which this is wrong.
- 'Comes from fine stock'? She's a woman, not a horse. By using language like that, you're reducing her to an animal. You're implying that she's inferior to men and that she's been bred - and for what purpose, I wonder? Well, to be photographed in a bikini and slapped on the front page of your online newspaper, of course.
- Speaking of the afore-mentioned front page, let’s take a look at how many photographs you have of women on the beach, shall we?
Seven. On a front page that has perhaps a hundred photographs, seven are of half naked women on the beach. I didn’t include photographs from photo shoots, apart from the last one, as that’s a candid photo taken at a shoot (ie it’s not part of a larger editorial). If I’d included those, about fifteen photographs out of a hundred would be accounted for. Now, let’s see how many candid photographs there are of men wearing few clothes:
Oh. Awkward. There aren’t any.
Add that to the fact that every photograph of these women is described with a nauseating pun (‘Feel the burn!’ - excuse me while I vomit up the memories of everyone I’ve ever loved) and we have a pretty great example of newspapers pandering to the male gaze in the lowest, most basal way possible.
- As previously mentioned, most of those photographs are candids, taken without the woman’s permission or knowledge. Of course, there’ll always be the debate as to how candid such photographs really are or whether they were commissioned in order to raise the public profile of the subject, but we know that this isn’t the case all the time. Even if we assume that only three of these pictures were taken without the subject’s expressed permission, that’s still unacceptable. What should famous women do when they go to the beach? Either they wear a bikini and end up in newspapers and magazines, being described as ‘fine stock’ and ‘fab at 50!’ or they don’t go out at all. Men, however, can do whatever the Hell they want; photographs of them in swimming trunks don’t exactly end up on the cover of the Sun or the Daily Mail. Women wearing bikinis at the beach is not an invitation to be leered at or photographed any more than a man wearing swimming shorts. Men don’t wear boiler suits or tuxedos to swim in the sea, so why should women have to cover up? We aren’t inviting the male gaze. We’re just trying to be practical.
I know there are many arguments that can be made against my point. People will say ‘the Daily Mail isn’t a reputable paper’, or ‘all newspapers do it’. That’s not my point, however. I chose the Daily Mail completely at random as I happened to be on the website, reading another link, when this headline caught my eye. I’m fairly sure that I could go on any number of newspaper websites and be faced with a similar situation.
Women do not exist solely to please men. We have a purpose in life beyond looking attractive for men. Misogyny is not a natural state; it is one forced upon us by a media that looks to make a quick buck from cheapening and degrading women, and it shouldn’t be so readily accepted.
I don’t know how to end this rant other than by saying that I’m fucking sick of it.