Mail annoys on princesses, gender stereotypes

// 29 July 2007

Reading the headline to this story in the Daily Mail, you’d be forgiven for conjuring up images of Paris Hilton-esque princesses having a tantrum on a 747:

Arab princesses kicked off British Airways plane to jeers and whistles after refusing to sit next to male strangers

On their way back from a “day’s shopping in Milan”, an unspecified number of women from the Qatar royal family were booked into business class with an “entourage”. But then, half way down the story, this little detail emerges:

After passengers had fastened their seat-belts and the plane had taxied on to the runway, two male passengers in the entourage got up to protest about where the women were sitting.

Later on, the Mail says that some of the party were removed from the plane because two passengers would not take their seats. So, I’m guessing it’s those two blokes again. Not the princesses themselves. Maybe the women involved asked them to throw a tantrum about being seated next to a strange man, or maybe not. It’s actually not clear at all. Ah, the Daily Mail, always ready to confirm any anti-woman stereotype.

Which segues nicely into the Mail on Sunday’s horrendously offensive “battle of the sexes” ad, playing in a cinema near you!

Ranks of women are lined up on one side of the battle field, men on the other. They proceed to unleash waves of gender-stereotyped consumer goods at each other. Women throw handbags. At one point, a woman is pinned to the ground, as a remote control car holds her down by her hair. The men throw footballs. One splashes a woman in a pretty dress with mud: she is horrified!

The upshot of all this: it’s an ad for the Mail’s two Sunday magazines. One for women, one for men. So, no surprises if both magazines are full of the most banal tripe imaginable. Let’s see: fashion for the girls, sport for the boys? Evidence that not only does the mainstream media fail to challenge stereotypes, it actively cultivates them.

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