That’s what the Guardian is asking, at least. To illustrate the question, they use a picture of Brian Taylor, who is a Scottish journalist and also apparently the rightful cutoff of sexual unattractiveness. In other words, women now have to be as attractive as Fiona Bruce to appear on TV, but the bar should be lowered so that anyone above the female equivalent of Brian Taylor should go on.
It’ll never work, of course. Even in the super right-on Guardian, articles about or by women are usually related to clothes, babies, sex, or getting raped or killed for being in a situation that might involve sex (clubbing, being Oscar Pistorius’s girlfriend). These articles are useful because they either can be illustrated with a stock photo of an attractive woman or they are about things happening to an attractive woman or have to do with things that you can buy to make yourself into more of an attractive woman. The formula passes liberal muster because the Guardian frames it as all part of the a feminist discourse, just like the Daily Mail frames its discussion of Eastern European issues through the hot Ukrainian prosecutor.* “BLI-MEA!”
And the formula works–these types of stories sell papers and drive page clicks, and far be it from me to call for the destruction of what’s left of ad-supported journalism.
However–it does bring up a question. Why aren’t men’s stories told in the same way? Does the formula not work for them? I mean, look at Brian Taylor. As far as I can tell, at some point in time he used to be handsome, but in recent years he’s blown up like a Big Boy balloon.
Like this, only Scottish.
His clothes don’t fit very well, and presumably he’d be easier on the eye if he could dress better for his body type (which he really should have to come out and defend—Jesus, he’s fat).It really doesn’t send the right message to young men who might want to be broadcasters—are we telling them that that it’s all right to be unhealthy?**
I demand a story where Brian Taylor talks about his weight gain and how it made him feel insecure as a broadcaster and the unfairness of it all, then he is made over and tells the reader how he now dresses to look slightly less like Moby Dick. And then there would be an advertorial about men’s girdles or something. (“Not since Beau Brummel…”) Of course, it wouldn’t be mean, like I’m being—it would be perfectly nicey-nice but the whole point of it would be that it is very, very important what Brian Taylor wears. In fact, that might be the most important thing about him, that he is showing the future generation of Scottish men that you can be fat and not very good looking and still be on television (doing what on television isn’t that important, just that he’s fit to be seen). He’s a… er, masculinist… hero! You go just by being, Brian Taylor!
Alternatively, they could put handsomer men on television. Your choice.
* Go ahead and click, it turns out that when you read the Mail you help to destroy it. No, really, Popbitch says so.
** Teenage girls are particularly vulnerable to copying everything they see and hear and therefore falling prey to all sorts of psychological perversions that do lasting damage, so whatever a woman does—any woman—has a moral implication on the next generation of females. See this article about semi-famous vomiting artist Millie Brown, which ignores the real questions–such as, the hell? and how does she get the colors not to mix into sludge?–in favor of stoking over her possible bulimic impact upon younger women. However, teenage boys are their own special creations and remain unaffected by older men’s actions (unless said teenage boys are American black children with absent fathers, but then that whole stereotype involves the absence of a man, not his actions). If the vomiting artist had a penis, she could splash his puke wherever she liked without fear of corrupting the youth.