I hadn’t personally noticed it, but apparently ‘the thinking classes’ are up in arms about the Daily Mail’s coverage of David Cameron’s recent Cabinet re-shuffle – specifically the fact that he axed a number of men, supposedly in order to promote women in their places for the express purpose of presenting a more voter-friendly Tory image in advance of next year’s General Election.
See here for a report on today’s website of THE GUARDIAN.
The one thing that irritates me about this ‘media issue’ – and I mention it at the potential risk of outing myself as an unreconstructed male chauvinist – is the presumption behind the outraged reaction of those who have pronounced upon the Daily Mail coverage (particularly the middle-class, chattering females who have done very well in life, thank you) that they have tapped into what the general public think.
I’m less than convinced of this personally.
Much as it may be frustrating for those characterised as ‘the Hampstead set’, in my experience – judging by what I read in the newspapers and glossy weekly gossip magazines, see in the kind of trashy, reality-TV programmes that have proliferated on British television in recent times, and hear when I am talking to the women that I come across – the vast majority of British women are de facto obsessed with how their counterparts in public life present themselves to the world.
In other words, not only their looks, but how they style their hair, whether they’ve put on (or lost) weight, which make of shoes they have chosen to wear, whether a particular dress suits them or not or, alternatively, constitutes a fashion disaster somewhere along the scale from minor to catastrophe.
When I worked in television – and okay, this was decades ago, but I strongly suspect the same holds true today – it was a fact of life that broadcasters received sack-loads of feedback (good and bad) every week about the female news and other presenters who had featured on the screen.
Almost all of it came from female viewers.