Let us all stand together

It is a given that some men don’t look on women in way that they deserve (respectfully – no different to the way you’d look at anyone else) but why do some women in positions of responsibility make other women feel bad?

I received this email earlier from a female journalist today and it truly shocked me.

“On the back of pictures of Carol Vorderman taken at her daughter’s 21st looking way more glam that her daughter, we are looking for women in their late teens, 20s and 30s who say their mum is FAR more glam than them. Puts them to shame. Mum has perfectly manicured nails, salon perfect hair, always has her make up on and dresses beautifully whereas daughters is a quick comb through the hair girl, doesn’t wear too much make up and is more at home in jeans and Converse. Or even if she does dress up never looks as perfect as her mum. We want to talk to mum and daughter and photo them together (so what a lovely keepsake). We will do that at home. If this is you or anyone you know please contact me asap with a pic of mum and daughter and their ages and location. The piece is for a national paper’s women’s section.”

I hope you have taken that in.

Some questions immediately spring to mind, for example…WHY IS THIS NEWS? Or even, why is it a feature? Why would any Mum want to publically humiliate their daughter in a national newspaper? And why is it expected that a women, be it a daughter or a mother, would ‘glam up’ to outdo someone else? And what is wrong with jeans and Converse?

It is this kind of ‘journalist’, who will pander and offer their services to that kind of ‘newspaper’, who print that kind of ‘story’, that are preventing some women being able to fully empower themselves. The world is full of strong women, and I fully suspect that Carol Vorderman’s daughter is one of them, and those strong women who reach the position where they can write for national newspapers and influence others should take responsibility for what they write.

Everyone has to earn a living, but what is the price to others of earning that living? If selling your gender, selling the weak and selling those unable to defend themselves down the drain, is the cost of being a writer…then don’t be a writer. Or at least don’t write for the people who insist that you hurt others in the process.

For the record, I thought both Carol and her daughter looked absolutely fantastic and I really hope that she had a lovely birthday.

I believe that there is a groundswell of people who share the opinion that you shouldn’t hurt people through articles in the media, that a private life should be able to remain private and that news outlets should report news not abusive and humiliating descriptions of others.

That is why such initiatives as the Everyday Sexism project and the No More Page 3 campaign have taken off, but sadly these campaigns can only influence those who see them.

The vast majority of the people who could be negatively impacted by these stories aren’t on Twitter, they don’t read the Guardian Society section and they pretty damn sure don’t read blogs by blokes who got an email that they thought was wrong. They do read the Sun, the do read the Daily Mail website ‘sidebar of shame’ and they do read the magazines the put out this rubbish. Because of that I believe that journalists, both male and female, should make a stand and not write this kind of damaging bile.

The only way strong people can really show the disenfranchised and the disempowered the way forward is by taking the lead in their everyday life. This means being vocal as they can, as often as it takes, and speaking positively about others to as wider group of people as they can do.

Just to end, I want you to read this section of the email again. The last four words are chilling…

“On the back of pictures of Carol Vorderman taken at her daughter’s 21st looking way more glam that her daughter, we are looking for women in their late teens, 20s and 30s who say their mum is FAR more glam than them. Puts them to shame.”

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