THE DAILY MAIL
There is a rather large percentage of the Daily Mail written by women. Out of 79 articles, 20 were written by women and 16 mention women. Maybe not so surprising, actually, considering that the Mail is the only newspaper with a more than 50% female readership. Considering that, I suppose it’s somewhat surprising the percentage isn’t higher.
Of course, let’s not get to painting Paul Dacre as a secret hero for women’s rights. This is a man (affectionately referred to by Peter Wilby as Ayatollah Dacre) who has established a ruleset for women appearing in his paper: No jeans. No black [clothes]. No trousers. Paul Dacre only wants women to appear wearing dresses. If skirts, only to the knee.
So the Daily Mail looks like a woman’s paper on the surface, but it’s not exactly waving the flag for women’s rights and with Ayatollah Dacre at the helm, I don’t think that’s going to change soon.
THE MORNING STAR
Ok comrades, surely the UK’s number one red flag flying rag, dedicated to egalitarianism and championing the poor and oppressed against the crushing onslaught of globalized capitalism would be a champion for the weaker sex?
Quite poor actually.
Admittedly, it’s a tiny thing, the Morning Star, with only 20 articles so 2 articles by women is still 10 percent of the paper. But that’s still not a lot. And the two stories that do mention women refer to, firstly, new moms going into debt and, secondly, the A4E scandal featuring its founder Emma Harrison not in a good light. Of course, many of the articles relating to labor disputes and political campaigning do kind of imply cross-gender involvement, but it’s still significant that there are so few female contributors. One news article and the reviews sections. That’s it.
For a paper heavily associated with trade unionism, this is very bad seeing as how more women than men are now members of trade unions. OK, that doesn’t make you an automatic Morning Star reader (apparently some union members have indeed voted Tory ever) but I would have thought that there would have been a correlation and a bit more representation as a result.
The Daily Star does pretty well overall as far female representation among writers. 13 out of 45 articles are written by women.
Of course, the Star drops the ball on pretty much every other aspect. The former EDL-supporters fill their pages with all kind of celebrity news; as far as women go there’s Madonna lookalikes, Kate Middleton lookalikes, women in bikinis, celebrity mums, Susan Boyle . In no respect are women presented in a positive light, which makes the relatively large number of women journalists on the paper seem a bit odd. Then again, I suspect Richard Desmond probably employed a large number of women in his baron days, but I wouldn’t say that makes him a closet feminist. Looking at the portrayal of women in the paper, I’d shudder to think what it must be like to have to work in the Star offices.
The Express is another tabloid which isn’t too bad on women contributors – the front page is written by a woman and there are sixteen other articles out of 66 which are by women. The content is also marginally more highbrow than usual the front cover proclaims dramatically that aspirin is a cancer cure, but otherwise you also have stories about pensioners choosing ISAs over the state pension, petrol tanker strike deals, the Granny Tax and, OK, Simon Cowell’s love life and dogs who look like their owners. The majority of the gossip and other lightweight that is actually written by men.
So, what is the result? Big win for the right-wing papers on women’s representation.
I suppose this isn’t that surprising women have historically tended to vote Conservative and the demographic of the papers just adheres to this. Generally, the right-wing papers establish a traditionalist view of family life and are seen as defending family values and it is this which has maintained the female following among Conservatism.