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Friday, May 25, 2007

Incandescent: it's the Daily Mail again

I shouldn't ever pick up the Daily Mail. Remind me not to. It always renders me incandescent with rage; apoplectic; nay, I become "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" (if I lived there, of course).

Anyway, I somehow found myself reading the tired old rag today. What aroused my ire was a story about a woman's record £4m divorce settlement. The woman is pictured "beaming" at the news, and the underlying message from the Mail's story is that yet another poor hard-done-by man has been fleeced by his ex-wife.

The Daily Mail hates women. If you analysed the paper's coverage, you would find it regularly adopts a negative approach to women on anything relating to work (women should stay at home), single mothers (beyond the pale), career women (women should stay at home) and older women who try to look good (beauty is only for the young, old hag).

Whenever there's a story about a successful businesswoman deciding she can't have it all, and giving up work, the Mail crows about it triumphantly and the next day runs an article where more women state the same thing, giving it the chance to refer to "a trend."

Yet women who have "only" been housewives are similarly derided by the Mail when they have the cheek to expect a decent divorce settlement. Take this into account, misogynists of the Mail: often a woman has given up her career prospects to stay at home and have children. She contributes directly to the husband's career by making it easy for him to work. She makes ends meet in the early days of his career. If you priced her contributions individually - cleaning, washing, childcare, ironing, shopping for his family's birthdays and so on - it would come to a high price.

I guess what bugs me the most is that women continue to buy the Mail. They don't see how it diminishes them. The Mail in its advertising used to be directly pitched at women. Ironic, isn't it. I often wonder if the editor and his team laugh at the irony of persuading women to read a newspaper written by men who hate them. I guess they would see it more as an opportunity to re-educate foolish women about the error of their ways.

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