Flora Cramp and Iris Clot bravely dredge the depths of the tabloid press
Dear, sweet Morning Star readers, we hope that you are largely unaware of most of the national tabloid press, for it is, quite simply, a festering cesspit.
However, on a weekly basis, we feel it is our duty to reprimand and mock those publications and journalists — and we use the term loosely — who present women as screechy/greedy/selfish/moronic/wanton gorgons, and we do so with our heads in our hands and sadness in our now dark, dark hearts.
We hope you’re having a sit down and a sherry, for here are five lowlights of 2014’s Year in Sexist News.
March — The Sun: Page 3 v Breast Cancer
After 43 years of availing the British public with daily breasts for the purpose of giving the chap next to you on the bus a fleeting chubby, the Sun revealed their true reason for Page 3.
We want to applaud them for sticking to their guns and waiting it out. There are some charity campaigns that blow their wad after a couple of days, giving us only a few short hours to mull over their cryptic offering before revealing their mission, but this act of misdirection from the Sun (teaming up with a breast cancer charity and splashing their intent alongside a lady in little pants on the cover) is somewhat staggering.
In fact, during 43 years, many of Page 3’s fans may have popped their sexist clogs thinking that Page 3 was all about ogling women.
But no, Page 3 is about saving women from breast cancer … Oh, well, it was from March to November, but it’s not any more — it’s about leering again.
April — The Sun: Shut It, Sister
In this endearingly titled article, Sun columnist and bitter Corby deserter Louise Mensch fiercely refuted Rashida Manjoo’s outlandish claim that Britain is a bit sexist.
Helpfully positioned between Page 3 and an article about a woman off the telly wearing “an eye-popping white frock unbuttoned past her boobs,” Mensch’s diatribe set out to prove that sexism is a non-issue by presenting a perplexing list of high-achieving British women.
Top of the bill was Boudicca — an unusual choice since she died 2,000 years ago and probably experienced a fair bit of misogyny herself, what with the flogging and raping and all but, y’know … details.
Next came Elizabeth I, praised for defeating the Spanish, Beatrix Potter for her timeless tales of handsomely attired rabbits and the Spice Girls, for wearing tops with flags on them.
How can sexism flourish in a land famous for burning ships, hedgehogs in aprons and Geri Halliwell? It can’t and Mensch knows it — “take a hike, sister” was her parting shot to Manjoo, presumably delivered with a carefully crafted New York twang. Ah, the Corby days are long gone.
June — The Daily Mail: Why Do Female Stars Swear So Much?
Dear, sweet, tender Quentin Letts of the sweet, tender, considerate Daily Mail is a fragile flower and — bless his soft, soft socks — his sensibilities were deeply offended by some famous ladies effing and blinding like sailors this June.
Poor, poor Quentin, he’s ever so vexed by the trollopy bawling of aesthetically pleasing lady-thespians Mirren, Winslet and Knightley.
Their vulgar, locker-room cussing meant he had quite the conniption.
We mock him, but maybe that is unfair — perhaps he is merely a supercilious, drivel-peddling time traveller lost in the wrong century?
We imagine he’s also aghast that these ladies don’t wear cotton gloves, carry parasols or play the lute.
Someone for the sweet love of God get the poor petal some smelling salts.
July — The Daily Mail: Cameron’s Cuties March Into Downing Street
One could imagine that sometimes, when Paul Dacre is too drunk to pay a morose hack to witter about diabetes, extreme weather and foreign people stealing things, a group of dim 11-year-olds take over, penning reports with glitter gel Sharpies.
“Look at that nice lady’s shoes,” they squeal, “she’s wearing BLUE! I love blue!”
This is clearly what happened in July, when the Mail published their turdstorm of an article about Cameron’s cuties’ style credentials in the wake of the Cabinet reshuffle.
After having troughed a bumper bag of Smarties at the previous night’s sleepover, the excited Year 7s couldn’t wait to report on the ministers’ blouses and to OMG over whether any of them wore shoes, carried bags or had a fringe inspired by the Duchess of Cambridge.
Considering the past seven months of patronising spaff, it appears that the tweens are now on the full-time payroll.
Do visit our blog for the full year of horror on Boxing Day. With love, Flora Cramp and Iris Clot (Twitter: @bloodytights).