Today’s Gender Transgressors

// 18 April 2005

I just realised why I stopped reading the METRO; it’s guaranteed to make any commute more infuriating. For starters, Page 3 of today’s issue highlighted the apparently newsworthy fact that at the Bafta TV Awards, David Walliams from Little Britain was wearing nail polish. The headline read: “Of course I wear nail varnish, I’m a laydee”. According to the METRO, this made him look “as if he had just steppped off the set as ‘laydee’ transvestite Emily Howard.” In actual fact, he’s wearing a smart black suit and just happens to be wearing black nail polish too. Hardly Dame Edna Everage. But he’s a man! Shock! Horror! Well, this the beginning of the post-Beckham backlash, I guess.

More seriously, later on in the paper there was an example of their subtle juxtapositioning of news items to make some kind of point. There was a story about poverty-striken women in Eastern Europe being paid to give up their aborted foetuses to be used in beauty salons as a treatment for wrinkles (?! I know…); next to this just happened to be a box about how “increasing numbers of British women want ‘buttock augementation'” (?! I know, I know!). They do this a lot: they always seem to put scare-mongering articles about abortion next to ones about how fulfilling having babies is.

To change the subject completely: Paula Radcliffe won the London Marathan. I don’t know what’s more astounding: the media giving so much attention to the fact that she peed; or the fact that she peed in front of the nation. Wow!

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