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

Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, Finance, MSc, PhD)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, F...

Year 3 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Teacher Required We are curr...

Year 5 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 5 Primary Teaching positionRands...

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The power of anonymity lies in the freedom it grants

Boyd Tonkin
Rebel fighters walk in front of damaged buildings in Karam al-Jabal neighbourhood of Aleppo on August 26, 2014.  

The Isis threat must be confronted with clarity and determination

Ed Miliband
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone