Daily Mail: Getting Creepier By The Day
Sunday, 10 January 2010
Now we all know that the Mail is a newspaper that loves to denounce the sort of women who wear tight or revealing clothes, whether they're immodest 'ladettes' or women in the public eye who should know better than to do something as 'unprofessional' as wear a short skirt. But it's just as quick to fill its website with stomach-turning, downright creepy pieces on the latest starlet to show some skin.
Consider if you will today's Mail Online. You can ogle Dannii Minogue as she 'shows off her curves in a tight vest'. You can salivate over Ashley Greene as she 'wears nothing but body paint in a sizzling new ad campaign'. Can we call this news? Or just an excuse to feature a lot of pictures of women wearing very little. In recent months things seem to have got worse over at Mail Online, with story after story after story featuring women in 'revealing bikinis/dresses/skirts/lingerie', 'flaunting their figures' and providing 'tantalising glimpses' of their 'perfect curves'. If it wasn't so sad, it would be hilarious that the newspaper which disapproves of just about everything has a great line in features which wouldn't be out of place in a lads' mag.
No matter how hypocritical it gets, one thing stays the same. When the Mail does a story on those terrible women who go out drinking in short skirts, commenters can't wait to weigh in with their opinion on how shameful, how depressing these women are. When the Mail does a story on a woman 'flaunting her figure', commenters can't wait to weigh in with criticisms about her body. Ashley Greene gets a good slagging-off for her 'droopy boobs' (clearly these people have minimum experience of breasts) and 'wonky nostrils'. Yes, you read that correctly. Someone has taken issue with her wonky nostrils. The debate over Greene's body rages on for 154 comments. People who don't like it are denounced as 'prudes', 'feminists' (ha!) and 'moaners'. Occasionally, someone can't quite believe the ridiculousness of it all:
"Is this zoo mag or femail from the Daily Mail?"
Exactly. Of course we all know Femail features are often little more than an excuse for women to make judgements about other womens' bodies and looks, so maybe the two aren't so different after all.
On Saturday, however, the Mail plumbed new depths of creepy with its piece on 15-year-old tennis player Laura Robson. 'Flirty love', begins the headline. The story talks about the 'rapport' between Robson and her doubles partner, 22-year-old Andy Murray, claiming that's she's 'sweetened his mood' and mentioning that Murray is 'newly single'. Remember, 'Daily Mail Reporter', that's a 15-year-old you're writing about. And you're insinuating that there's something going on between her and a 22-year-old. All this in a paper which just loves to get itself in a tizzy about underage sex and young girls having 'inappropriate relationships'. Thankfully most people commenting on the story seemed just as disturbed.
Should we be surprised? After all, this is the newspaper which has a worrying obsession with chronicling the clothes, makeup and exploits of three-year-old Suri Cruise. She may not have started school yet, but little Suri can 'stop traffic' in her high heels. And when she 'ventures out on a chilly night with bare legs', it's cause for a story not dissimilar to one the Mail might produce about a soap star or a member of Girls Aloud. Are you overcome with distaste yet?
If the Mail spent less time creeping us out, maybe its attempts at real news would be a bit more credible.