Photo by: marcelo träsel
I was a bit surprised when a friend of mine recently sent me a link an article on The Daily Mail’s website. The article was about a TV-programme in my native Denmark and the headline rhetorically asked: ‘Is this the most sexist TV program in history? The chat show where women strip off while two men critique their naked bodies’
I’ll get back to the TV Programme in a minute, but I just want to throw another rhetorical questions into the conversation:
Is The Daily Mail proud to be one of the most tabloid papers in the World? Let for a second assume that the answer would be yes.
Arguments that support the claim are that tabloid papers usually resemble paper hamburgers with layers of sensational crime stories, astrology, gossip columns about the personal lives of celebrities and sports stars, junk food news and sports.
Oh, and sex. Lots of sex. Not out in the open, ‘hey look at us, we’re doing it!’ sex, but instead in the form of young women in bikinis.
If you pick up a copy of The Daily Mail, you’re likely to find yourself holding a bikini wearing hamburger, so that proves that the Mail is tabloid. It should, however, not be consumed without sceptical ketchup. Something we’ll get back to.
If you go to the paper’s very, very successful website, MailOnline, you’ll be presented with a veritable smorgasbord of articles featuring bikinis and/or tight dresses.
So when a paper like the Mail hits out at something for being sexist, then it really is a case of the pot calling the kettle black – or sexist in this case. The difference between the paper and the TV programme they were hitting out at is – in my opinion – only skin deep…or in this case cloth deep.
Now I’m not defending the show, which is the brainchild of Danish drummer slash X Factor Judge slash all-around knob, Thomas Blachmann. And the premise of the show is like a zoo meets soft porn meets X Factor. Basically, its two middle-aged men sitting around in leather chairs while naked women parade in front of them. The two elderly ‘gents’ will comment on the women’s’ bodies, asking questions like ‘so how’s that pussy working out for you?’.
Blachmann has defended the show by saying that it helps ‘revise women’s views of men’s views of women.’ Honestly, that’s an even poorer excuse for existing than the creators of Big Brother saying that the UN can learn valuable lessons from how people interact on the programme and thereby stop future wars before they take place. The proof? Well how many countries that both have Big Brother on TV do you know that have gone to war with each other?
It ass and tits on TV for people who drink too much red wine and drive cabriolet BMW’s. End of story.
However, nobody needs the Daily Mail to crawl up on its little soapbox and play holier than thou by pointing fingers.
Here are a few things amongst the plethora of arguments against them doing so:
Their lack of journalism: in the article about the Danish TV show the journalist claims that the show has been branded ‘ humiliating and sexist by viewers.’ but never offers any evidence to back up this claim. Instead the article quotes a Danish author a former deputy editor at the Danish version of The Guardian and the director of a left-wing theatre group, all of whom say that the TV programme is utter dribble. That’s like saying the average voter has turned on David Cameron by quoting Ed Milliband saying he would be a better Prime Minister and Chumbawamba saying neither of them are suited to run the country.
Attempts of critique of this sort should not be carried out by people at a paper that runs articles like ‘She must be thirsty! Heidi Klum tackles two drinks runs in one morning with boyfriend Martin Kristen and daughter Lou’. Or by journalists who also – either by their own volition or because their editors tell them to – ask questions like ‘Is this the most sexist TV program in history?’ one minute and then write stories like ‘The cat sat on the CAT: Hilarious moment a bullying cat traps its feline foe in a box’ the next.
And calling anybody sexist should not be done by a paper where a search for the phrase ‘all grown up’ results in more than 800 hits, including ‘Pale and interesting Dakota Fanning proves she’s all grown up in slinky sequin dress at the Now Is Good premiere’ and a search for ‘teen bikini’ results in finding more than 200 articles including ‘Pictured: Teen Mom star Jenelle Evans reveals results of breast implant surgery in pink bikini’.
For more on the Daily Mail, here’s a link to Matt Brugess’ very nice story about the paper’s obsession with teens in bikinis.
And probably best of all, a video from the TV programme Have I Got News For You: