Daily Mail Columnists Should Wear Burkas
Daily Mail columnist Liz Jones has provoked the ire of Twitter with by declaring that mummy bloggers are blinkered dimwits whose lives are spiced by Napisan. I'm afraid I have to sympathise with her, for all of her prejudices echo my own:
Writing about my life has pretty much ruined it. Supper last night was an elderly carrot glued to the fridge shelf by a pool of brown mucus and the floor was flooded when I left the bath taps running because Blogger has diverted me from domestic essentials. I've had to shut the children in front of the television when a new post has assailed me and some family members no longer speak to me because Twitter interactions leave me no time to reach the telephone.
But there is a big part of me that thinks writing should be hard: you should cringe whenever you press that 'publish' button. Artists – and I'm sorry, I do consider myself an artist – have to wrench the dirtiest, most disgusting part of their inner soul and show it to the world so that others can make of it what they will. I shed anguished tears before deciding go public about the shredded tissues that emerge from a hot cycle with the vicarage smalls and, if I were not burdened by artistry, I would never have found the courage to tell the world about what I did to the Vicar's Le Creuset. I am aghast when people say they will stop writing when it comes too hard for others, or too exposing. My confession about the business with the nipple tassles after the Sunday service left me feeling naked, but writing is only interesting when things go wrong.
Occasionally I raise my head from the cut-throat world of blogging and find myself confronted with Daily Mail columnists. I've not been a columnist's best friend over the years, not because I don't like newspapers, but because I'm the one left taming toddlers and scrubbing the lavatory rim, while columnists disappear on eight-hour stints in air-conditioned offices - or as I like to call them, holidays.
It appears that Daily Mail column-writing has become the new powder room, enabling women to hog a desk in the workplace writing things like, and I quote, 'I was still smarting from the fact I'd discovered, via a casual remark on Twitter of all places, that my boyfriend had been to London and had not even bothered to get in touch with me. He'd been out to dinner and not invited me!'
Every Daily Mail columnist I read says pretty much the same thing. These women whinge about celebrities who show their faces without make up and ponder the relative merits of Strictly Come Dancing and The X-Factor.
I have queasy feelings in my exhausted womb about all of this. The most influential tool we have - namely campaigning journalism - has been turned into a giant gossips' coven with women being PAID to sit at their desks, ignore mass annihilation in Syria and celebrity paedophile rings, to write about the vices of their ex husbands.
Questions raised in Daily Mail columns, and by God they are bitchy and competitive, range from ' 'How dare a greasy, tasteless chef insult superstar Nigella?' and 'Who'd have thought the sexiest dress ever made would be so demure?'.
Suddenly, rather than feeling I'm following a group of women who want to change the world, I am in a cage of lemmings ranting about traffic jams on Home Counties trunk roads and the pain of stiletto heels, so that they can remain in their latte-scented offices.
I had no idea that column writing could be so lucrative. I wonder too what their husbands (those of them that have managed to retain one) think of them and their rantings. I imagine it makes them feel like proper men with little women who, instead of raising the next generation of tax payers, offer opinions on Kate Middleton's dress sense and how to look after ear piercings.
As I close my Daily Mail I feel the hand of patriarchy on my back. Women have again been duped into thinking that the world exists in their safe, open-plan offices and revolves around bitching.
Columnists might just as well don a burka and shuffle, so narrow is their vision.