Sunday, October 25, 2009

Daily Mail reminder of misogyny

Today I was on the Daily Mail, getting my daily dose of the thoroughly constructed expectations of women demanded by the kyriarchy (via Jezebel!). Halfway through the page, I came to this gem:

Picture: Bulleted list of news headlines

Just a reminder: fat women are only valid when they lose weight. Only thin bodies are attractive. And "a man" is the end goal of any life plan.

This isn't shocking. It's not exceptional. Look at the two above it and below it: the upper reinforces the normative ideals of youth as necessarily active and valid in contrast with age, and the lower suggests that being happy with a bigger body having experienced thinness is extraordinary. And there are probably more offensive hooks elsewhere on the page. That's why the "gettin' a man" story caught my attention: compared with the rest of the waste on the page, this patently, traditionally sexist snippet seems normal and commonplace.

Of course, that's what the kyriarchy does; it places high-contrast, oppositional expectations on complex, nuanced and relative structures. In weight, gender, sexuality, appearance, age, presentation, language - every action and plan and idea that we as humans undertake is shaped or at least flavored by the injustice of the world we exist in. The Daily Mail is just a heightened expression of what those specific expectations are for women.


  1. Well, the Daily Fail, or the Daily Male, or the Daily Heil, is known for being the most kyriarchal "news" paper in the UK ... in fact, that's probably quite a tame story for them. :(

  2. I read "I lost over half my body weight and found myself a man" as an odd way to do a sex change.

    Oops! Just everyday misogyny instead. As usual.

  3. One of my students mentioned Freud's "penis envy" theory. "According to him, everyone wants to be a man," that student observed.

    "Well, I'm living proof that he's wrong!," I interjected.

    A few students looked at me, agape. But the rest were beside themselves with laughter.

    At least there's hope for the upcoming generation.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin