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Sunday, June 01, 2008

A misogynist fest of weighty matters


The Daily Mail quite often renders me apoplectic with indignation at the way it villifies women (yet conversely claims to be a women friendly newspaper). But today The Sunday Times has got me going.

In their report about the "I'd Do Anything" TV show a male writer tells us that "the competition was won by Jodie Prenger, a size 14....."

And this follows last week's assertion by impresario Cameron Macintosh that Jodie was too large for the role of Nancy in Oliver. Listen Cameron: size 16 is the average in the UK: a size 14 is not fat. Real life is not about size zero women, even if you think it makes it easier for you to sell tickets.

Last night he and the panel were studiously avoiding any mention of weight but were trying to steer the public in the direction of pretty but raw and gawky Jessie from Ireland.

I was a bit of a Jessie fan myself, but in the end I'm glad the public stayed true to their principles. Jodie had never been in the bottom two; the public clearly thought SHE personified their idea of Nancy, not an 18 year old with tumbling curls and an Irish lilt. Or the frightfully bland Sam from the Isle of Man.

But to get back to the size matter: Jodie has lost 8 stone, and hasn't made a big deal about it on the show. Even during the programme's eight weeks you could see she was still losing weight. I seethe when male writers brazenly write about someone's size in the opening paragraph of a story. Do they ever write a man's neck or waist size in stories? No they don't. I don't recall when Paul Potts won "Britain's Got Talent" that the papers introduced the concept of him being fat in the opening paragraph.

I wish we could see an end to the way writers of both sexes perpetuate the warped view that women have to occupy the narrow range of a size 8 to 12 and if they're at the opposite ends of that scale they're too skinny, skeletal etc or too fat, obese, lardy. Even Allison Pearson, who writes in the Daily Mail and has a daughter, thought it was sensible to take a pop at Princess Beatrice, who is not fat but has a curvy figure. The ridiculous Amanda Platell also wrote one of her "analytical" pieces about pear shaped women, and all I can say about that is "pots and kettles."

Allison I hope when your daughter is 19, and wearing a bikini, she hasn't got a pair of bitchy middle aged women spitting venom about her being pear shaped in a national paper.

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