Women need mouthy Hilary Mantel not flawless Kate Middleton

 

Share

You've got to love the cover of the new Chinese Harper's Bazaar magazine, which has done more to expose the airbrusher's art than many years of "real beauty" campaigns could. It shows a photograph of Sarah Jessica Parker, only it's more of a drawing than a photograph, painted with Photoshop by someone who clearly needed a bit of a screen break. Poor Ms Parker has been given crazy, turquoise, alien eyes, and cheekbones you could slice ham on. If supermodel perfection isn't good enough for these people, why don't they draw a cartoon?

It's been a bit of a week for the airbrushing of women, all told. It started with Nadine Dorries papering over 100 years of feminist history by claiming to be equivalent to a persecuted Suffragette, all because people want to know how she spends her expenses.

Then we saw the clumsy retouching of the words of a brilliant writer, when commentators took a nuanced speech by Hilary Mantel about royal consorts and Tippexed out all the shades of grey. Thus, an excoriating depiction of how the latest royal Madonna-figure is served up to us by the media, "the spindles of her limbs hand-turned and gloss-varnished", became, in effect, "Jealous bitch slams Kate Middleton!"

Until then, the airbrushing of women had been largely done by other women, but at least Harriet Harman is attempting to shine a light on the sisters (or the lack thereof on the telly) with an audit, as we report today. Perhaps she will join my personal campaign to get Judith Hann and Maggie Philbin back on our screens.

We might, however, not have any future Hanns and Philbins if Lego gets its way. The company has decided that girls can't play with dumper trucks and Millennium Falcons, so they've created special pink bricks for girls, to make beauty parlours and ponies instead. It may be patronising and offensive, but it's made Lego millions of quid, so that's good news.

If there's anyone who could do anything about the rude shutting-up of half the population, you'd think it would be the Prime Minister, but David Cameron pitched in last week in all the wrong ways. He castigated Mantel for her words, which he obviously hadn't read, and insisted that perfect, blank-canvas Kate – not gobby Hilary – is the model to which we should all aspire. At the same time, he said he's right behind women, because his wife nags him over there not being enough of them in the Cabinet, and really that is a terrible thing. If only he could do something about it, you might think, but to be fair he is only in charge of the entire country.

Samantha, dear, please go on at him a bit more about finding some decent women who can read, write and speak up for themselves. Perhaps Judith Hann might be available.

twitter.com/@katyguest26912

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photo Booth Host

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company offers London's best photo booth ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers



£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...

Recruitment Genius: Project Director / Operations Director

£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Freeman, centre, with Lord Gladwyn, left, and Harold Wilson on the programme The Great Divide in 1963  

John Freeman was a man of note who chose to erase himself from history

Terence Blacker
 

Letter from the Political Editor: Mr. Cameron is beginning to earn small victories in Europe

Andrew Grice
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'