Ideology and the Femail

Is there a moral difference betwixt The Daily Mail’s bird magazine Femail or the Guardian’s woman bit Women? There is notable content difference, because by and large contributors tend to lean either on or to the left, and on or to the right respectively. But isn’t the inclusion of a supplement dedicated to woman’s issues itself gender divisive? If the content of that magazine has bits in it that talk about equality of the sexes rather than ‘Of course we women don’t want a male pill – it would end those happy little ‘accidents‘ or “I lost 10 stone in a year – and here are the pictures to prove it!” then does that secure a progressively moral high ground?

Similarly, is a female car more sexist if an Iranian company makes it than if a car is made in Europe that is advertised for women? Both magazines mentioned above are designed with women in mind, like both cars mentioned, but is it the content alone which satisfies our leftist sensibilities? If so, is this not a little weak? What does the content tell us about what women want (to use that old chestnut): if the content is on gender inequality is this a marker that we are not there yet? Or, if the content is about cosmetics, is this a marker that women are equal and this an expression of what it means to be female today, and not just the desire (often hidden in equality discourse) to be more like men – like that was a symbol, or an End Point, of equality.

If we think the content of those magazines are moronic, then isn’t the problem not that women magazines are made, but that they are bought?

After pondering these circular questions I wanted to find out the ideology behind using Buddy Holly’s song Everyday as part of the advertising campaign for the Daily Mail’s female magazine Femail. Could it be for the reason that Buddy Holly’s widow Maria Elena Holly, who owns the rights to Buddy Holly’s  name, image, trademarks, and other intellectual property, has throughout her life used these things for her own gain? As one article mentions “[m]uch of the tension existing between Maria Elena and Lubbock [American city in the state of Texas] stems from Maria’s desire to make money off anything baring Buddy Holly’s name or image”. By some accounts Maria wanted to name a street the “Buddy Holly Walk of Fame”, and call a terrace “Buddy Holly Terrace” – all at the expense of the city of Lubbock. She also tried, unsuccessfully, to sue Peggy Sue Gerron, the woman to whom the 1957 Buddy Holly classic “Peggy Sue” was dedicated – for releasing an autobiography called “Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue?”, in 2008.

Here was a woman who tried, and often failed, to amass capital – and charge people for the pleasure – from her husband’s name. She presumably owns the rights to the song Everyday, which the Daily Mail have paid to recreate as part of their advertising campaign for their women’s supplement Femail. Is it implicitly because this is the sort of feminism the Mail subscribes to? Female capitalism in the Name of the Father – the paternal function which imposes the law and regulates desire? Probably.

See more Gender Targeting in Print Ads by Nicola Batchelor (first result, opens as doc. file)


2 Responses to Ideology and the Femail

  1. irene says:

    Arguments for trapping your man into fatherhood without his consent:

    “A rather more common scenario — and one that is a constant on the parenting site Mumsnet — is a woman desperate for a first, second or third child with an unwilling and very determined man.

    This situation, especially if the woman senses time is running out, tends to cause not just sorrow and anguish, but also a sort of furious frustration. A sense that her human rights have been unfairly and unreasonably denied her.”

    or my favorite:

    “Because, let’s face it, if all women had to wait for men to feel broody (and for this to coincide with his jab wearing off), the birth rate would drop like a stone.”

    To hell with theories that are “all great. Egalitarian, sensible and oh so very modern”, the whole human race is at stake!

    I think ‘Women’ wins

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