I’ve made a conscious effort recently to read other newspapers than the Guardian, the Independent and the Week. So this morning I decided to read two articles online, (mainly because I’m a massive supporter of the ‘don’t buy the sun’ campaign) but also because I didn’t think I could write with any authority on the right wing media, if I hadn’t read anything other than a hyperbolic headline.
Coincidently there was both an article in the Guardian and the Sun looking at feminism and examples of how feminism is being challenged in Britain today. The Guardian went with the headline ‘Sexual harassment ‘at epidemic levels’ in UK universities’, an article which highlights the inherent Sexual harassment, misconduct and gender violence which has been shown through the Guardians own investigation. The Sun however published the headline ‘KARREN BRADY Let me womansplain it very simply: Guys, don’t patronise us, as the former national security adviser Sir Mark Lyall learnt this week’. This piece however connects numerous vague examples of men degrading women, using the role of Theresa May to illustrate both that women have done well (patronising much) and that they are under attack. If this was the only message from the Sun within this argument I wouldn’t have an issue, but the fact that Karren Brady, a donor and active spokeswomen for the conservative party, shoehorns this article to advertise herself and the conservative party is deceptive and clinical.
The Guardian article gave me the general hypothesis, before the introduction of the figures and supporting evidence within the opening segment which reads ‘Freedom of information (FoI) requests sent to 120 universities found that students made at least 169 such allegations against academic and non-academic staff from 2011-12 to 2016-17. At least another 127 allegations about staff were made by colleagues.’ The article goes on to give specific details of individual universities before concluding with a section which quotes spokespeople from the exampled universities including my own (University of Essex); saying “We have a zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual harassment and have robust procedures in place for students and staff to report instances of sexual harassment.” This article makes it clear that there is a real problem in the higher education system for women’s rights, a point which is made consistently and conclusively.
The Sun however is basically journalistic diarrhoea. Unfinished points which only seem to relate to each other through the pure discourse of having ‘women’ and ‘men’ in the same sentence. It rightly points out how ridiculous it is in 2017 that women are regarded as different within parliament particularly, but by advertising Theresa May I believe the true motives of this article are shown. One of the opening sentences of this article is ‘The word in Whitehall is that the real reason for Sir Mark’s departure is his fondness for “mansplaining” to the ladies around him — which doesn’t go down too well when the Prime Minister is, you know, a woman.’ Although the evidence within this statement is ‘the word in Whitehall’ as well as the really beneficial information that Theresa May is a woman, I don’t disagree that it might be a story of journalistic interest. So what did I expect the final sentence of this article to be? Maybe a concluding thought on the wider impact that gender inequality has socially, or a comment on the work that MP’s are there to do or even a look at what major female figures have achieved in politics.
The Sun goes with ‘ANYONE who watched Stephen Bear on Celebs Go Dating will, I hope, have been shocked by him asking his date if he could “play her bongos”, then feeling her up within minutes of meeting her.’ Although I don’t disagree with the fact this individual is obviously an example of men objectifying women, this bears no relation to the start middle or indeed the sentence before it, in clarifying a coherent message on women and politics. (Oh did I forget to mention that Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom and Joan Collins are also included in this non-existent argument).
Hopefully this is a reasonably conclusive look at how different publications address serious issues. I will look to do a blog on feminism and where it belongs in modern politics soon, but I thought I should first legitimise the sources I use within my blogs.
Bellow are the links to both articles for you to judge for yourself as well as an article detailing why you shouldn’t buy the sun. Thank you for reading.