Sometimes I read something and I just have to respond. Some things are just so completely out of order that they cannot be let pass without comment. There are many things I dislike, but pretty near the top of the list is the Daily Mail. There are many things I don't like about the Daily Mail, but the way it portrays women is disgusting.
I can remember spending an evening discussing the awful rag with sadly missed cousin, film director Midge MacKenzie. The highlight of Midge's career was the BBC drama "Shoulder to Shoulder" about the suffragette movement. Midge was a self made woman, who started her life sharing a bed with my mum (her auntie) in a run down Oldham slum. She was sent to Dublin during the war, to escape the bombings and started her career as a secretary in an advertising agency. By the time I was old enough to appreciate her she was an established director and amongst other things set up the Sheffield Film festival. Midge had a great intellect and a way of seeing things as they were. That is one reason why Director John Huston chose her to make the last documentary about his life.
Over a bottle of wine a few years ago, I happened to mention my dislike of the Daily Mail. She spent the next hour explaining how disgusting the paper was and how it had done more damage to women and their self esteem than everything else put together. She explained how the Mail's agenda was aimed at keeping women suppressed and concerned about their appearance, rather than their rights and their careers. Midge explained that the Mail had a systematic editorial policy of ridiculing anyone who didn't confirm to their view of a perfect woman (ie a stay at home mum lovingly kowtowing to their husband).
I'd fogotten this conversation until just now. I got an email from my sister with a clip from the Mail concerning Kate Nash. Now my sister has lived in Florida for the last 30 years. She's married to an eminent retired doctor, once responsible for the emergency health care provision for the US senate. A couple of years ago, whilst visiting, she came with her husband to watch a gig I was promoting for MacMillan Cancer relief. The support act was a then unknown Kate Nash. Kate is the daughter of one of my best friends. She put on a storming show at the Mill Hill Jazz Club, donating all her fees to charity. Within a few months she was number 1.
My sister has followed Kate's career from afar and sent me a clip from todays Daily Mail online entitled "Spotty Kate Nash Braves the Cameras". This disgusting little story shows a blown up picture of Kate's face with a spot on it. The audacity of the girl.
Well I'm sorry Daily Mail, 21 year old girls get spots. It is normal. To put a story like that in you paper just shows what a bunch of lowlifes you are. What message are you sending to girls? Don't go out unless you are perfect. What will my 13 year old daughter think if she has acne? She'll think she's disgusting. She'll feel undermined. She'll feel worried. To be honest, this story makes me sick.
Well Kate, we're four square behind you. It would make more than a few spots before you were anything other than fantastic. You have talent, unlike the cowardly Daily Mail reporter who didn't even have the guts to put his name on his masterpiece.
I'm sorry to say that I had almost forgotten my conversation with my amazing inspirational cousin. I just wish the thing that made me recall it was something more inspiring than that horrible little story in the awful rag.