Dr Liz Gordon: The White Woman’s Day

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Update on my struggles with big corporate….

Four weeks ticked over last Thursday and still waiting for Vodafone. In the meantime, they have admitted to me that lots of other people are waiting too.  The problem is a queue! This is evidently a profit thing – poor customer service and too few staff reduce costs. Disgraceful. Last message from customer service was that I have been treated very badly by them. Go figure.

Stop Press.  I have just received the phone call from Vodafone.  They are coming next Friday (5 weeks and 2 days). I guess I should be thankful for small mercies. I am looking forward to a discussion about compensation (don’t get mad, get even).

Racism and the women’s magazine

I have never been a fan of women’s magazines.  I am a book-lover and my trusty Kindle accompanies me everywhere. However, the other day in an airport lounge I picked up a free copy of the Women’s Day out of curiosity. And this blog was born…

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Apart from Meghan Markle, who is portrayed not as a black woman but a naughty and haughty anti-royalist who cannot get on with the Royal Family, there was not a person of colour in sight. The racism that Meghan Markle is faced with comes generally in a reasonably subtle form – perhaps it even fits the definition of unconscious bias?  But it is defined by the three big discourses – gender, race and class. It reminded me of the power of the British elite which is so prominently on show at the cricket ground Lord’s, where the members prance around in their orange and yellow ties and blazers, mainly old and plump and so sure of themselves. I did spot a few younger members there this time – boys with upper class haircuts (you know that Eton look with the fringe falling over the tall smooth forehead). Jolly Boris J etc.

In the WWD the world is white and rich/famous and dressed in designer clothes. Women want to get married and get a ‘baby bump’.  People have babymoons, FFS. They spend all their time on the beach to show off their miraculous bodies, still so firm after all these years! Except when they have a bump to display, of course. Not a wrinkle in sight.

I picked up three noxious themes out of this one issue.  The first, not surprisingly, is a prurient interest in (white except Meghan) people who are completely unknown to most of us.  Poor old Meghan Markle gets the worst of this. She is portrayed as highly demanding, creating rifts (especially between the brother Princes and/ or Kate).  The issue I read used ‘body language experts’ to demonstrate that Kate and Meghan just don’t get on, and what a scandal that is! They are apparently supposed to spend every second together making good eye contact and laughing at little jokes.

Their past lives, different personalities, massively different experiences and so on must apparently be shed at the door and the women must be close for the sake of… I dunno – the WWD readers, or their husbands, or the institution of the Royal Family?  Apparently, things have got to such a pass that the Queen Will Have to Step In to quell the bad factional behaviour of her grandsons. OMG pass the puke bag.

Then there is the focus on so-called celebrities, including actors, reality TV people and women whose fame is in being famous.  And it is all about their looks and their relationships, especially with a man (I can’t remember any LBGTQ persons in this issue, so perhaps can add heterosexual-except-for-Ellen to the list of participants).

The second theme can be summarised as: ‘Good Women Stand By their Man’.  This also includes the sub-themes that ‘good women have to look their best at all times’ and ‘good women should spend a fortune on hair and face products’.  Good women are white and have blonde hair (usually) (except Kate and Meghan) (but Saint Diana was definitely blonde), slip out babies while having their nails done, can probably cook up a storm and knows a designer dress at 20 paces.

There is not much talk about their work.  They are true forces of nature, and so old-fashioned in their devoted love for their men. Who are these paragons?

Then there is the third category.  They cheat or are cheated upon, or are oppressed as a result of man trouble, or, and this is shocking, they may have got fat or thrown out a wrinkle. See diet recipes on p. 98 or health tips thereafter.  Oh thou fallen women!

The perfect woman in the WWD is tiny, blonde, dressed in latest designer gear and married harmoniously to a decorative and rich husband, preferably with a royal title. She may have a ‘cause’ but this is sick children or homeless pets, not the unseemly side of inequality, poverty and race politics. She loves everyone and everyone loves her. It is like a fairy tale.  And it is a fairy tale, quite a damaging and destructive one. Do not read this magazine.

 

Dr Liz Gordon is a researcher and a barrister, with interests in destroying neo-liberalism in all its forms and moving towards a socially just society.  She usually blogs on justice, social welfare and education topics.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Royalty like most other parasites, have many institutions in place to groom the idiots who defer to them

    The legal system and banking system are controlled by the cartel of “Royal Privilege”, Each coin and note contains the class system of ruler and serf, roles we fall into by default.

    UP THE RULING CLASSES and all that supports such rotten fetid erosion of human dignity and equality.

    This is not a matter to be overlooked but most Kiwis are enslavened to the imposed power grab by these low life parasites.

    Trickle down crumbs from the royal table is the most that will ever be received or eve has been offered yet stupid folk remain emotionally tied to the royal worship they have been taught in childhood.

    GROW UP KIWIS

  2. “Apart from Meghan Markle, who is portrayed not as a black woman but a naughty and haughty anti-royalist who cannot get on with the Royal Family, there was not a person of colour in sight.”

    I’ve never read women’s magazines. The closest I get to them is as I go through the supermarket checkout. At which point, I stare at the covers thereof, usually while thinking about something else.

    However. I have noticed recurrent faces on them; not so many years ago, the Kardashians were everywhere, along with sundry black men, presumably their partners. Last I looked, the Kardashians aren’t white; at least, they don’t look it. Then there have been various men and women – presumably Hollywood types – who don’t look white to me. Though I freely admit that I’m no expert in such matters.

    There are two things to be said about your statement above. First, why on earth would it matter if it were the case that the only people in these magazines are white? So what? There would be no harm in it; the possession of white skin doesn’t entail a lack of ethnic diversity, you know.

    Secondly, with regard to the Duchess of whatsit: not being much interested in the royalty, I take little notice of the articles about her. but I’d point out that the early gossip about the late princess of Wales turned out to be largely substantiated, much of it from her own mouth. So I wouldn’t dismiss out of hand that which is now being reported about said Duchess.

    For what it’s worth, and I’m just going by what’s in my news feed here; she’s married into the royal family and she needs to accept the royal conventions regarding – well – everything. She needs to stop acting like a Hollywood diva; she was only ever a TV actress. Enough with the ridiculous blocking out of the news media at the infant’s birth and christening. A certain amount of exposure is expected of the royals: she needs to accept that reality. And graciously.

    • +1 D’ESTERRE

      Race relations seems to be rewritten for neoliberalism. Instead of zero discrimination for race, it seems to be, wokies putting their ‘phenotype’ assessments… which tend to be completely wrong because colour is not necessary a reflection of culture, you can have black Germans and 2nd and third generation Asian born NZer’s and increasingly people of mixed race, that can look like one or the other parents.

      Should siblings be judged on their appearance if one looks more white, asian, Maori, personally think no! The obsession of ‘look’ is taking away from real things like actions.

      We hear so much about racism in NZ, but actually real things like ensuring every person born in NZ has a house to live in, or can get an equal education, a job that they can survive on and health care is absent, in fact, obviously getting much worse statistically. Race obsession is a distraction from actually doing something to solve social issues in NZ.

      You seldom hear about exploitation of NZ workers anymore, it has been replaced by MSM and politicians who only seem to think of migrant exploitation. Weird when jobseeker shows that the biggest people now being discriminated against are not migrants at all, the growing unemployment is prime NZ employees in the 25 -40 age group, youth, Maori and Pacific Islanders. (But the discourse is apparently it is their fault by politicians and the media because they are drugged out, lazy workers).

      I have absolutely no idea what wokie mean by the work ‘white’ because there are so many different ‘white’ cultures and plenty of mixed races that look white too.

      Then there are the blended families with non blood siblings of different races… in the racially charged eyes of the woke, are they not an equal?

      It is pathetic that kids or even celebrities get a hard time depending on their phenotype, too white, too black, too asian looking, too middle eastern.

      The new obsession with race is more a reflection of appearances are more important than actions these days is the MSM message to help neoliberalism.

      It is a significant coup for British royalty to ‘modernise’ not just have a new ‘black’ family member and royals but American blood too! It brings us back to the days of royal marriages to keep alliances and power! Good luck to them, I say! Unlike the European royals that have been disbanded the UK will keep going and be as popular as ever around the world!

      As for magazines if you look at more ‘upmarket’ magazines you might discover most advertisers use black and Asian models to reflect the rise of globalism and more importantly to sell western designer goods to any colour that can afford them which is just as likely to be Asian (in particular Chinese or Indian), middle eastern as Russian, US or black Americans/British nationals or the 0.01% of rich African/middle eastern nationals who own their nation’s wealth, get educated into the neoliberal methods by going to UK or American schools …

      • SaveNZ: “…which tend to be completely wrong because colour is not necessary a reflection of culture…”

        Yup. Skin colour is an extrinsic characteristic and pretty much irrelevant when considering differences between humans.

        Culture is the real marker of distinction between peoples.

        “….not just have a new ‘black’ family member and royals but American blood too!”

        Well….maybe. It is to be hoped that this latest matrimonial adventure across the Atlantic is more successful than the last time a scion of the royal family tried it.

    • “I’ve never read women’s magazines”

      There are WORDS in womens magazines?? I thought they were all just pics of Royals and bikini-bodies?? (As opposed to PLAYBOY magazine which, as all men can attest, we read the WORDS in the articles )

  3. Last time women’s mags featured here I made a point of asking my local Paper Plus who buys them. They said old women. My elderly mother had a subscription to one – they can an antidote to loneliness I guess.

    Poor old Meghan Markle, my foot. She knows exactly what she’s doing – and the Brit online tabloids report on her assiduously. One million dollars on clothes alone in the past year ? She may be harming the royal family, but she is the head of Commonwealth Universities – or something like that- so I daresay that next time they inflict Harry and her upon the colonials, our (fairly useless) vice chancellors will be bowing to her.

    There’s a new story out there every time that we step outside our front doors, but probably not click-bait enough.

    I think there was fierce competition in Ma’s prayer group with the plates that they took along each week, and the recipes had to come from somewhere, but I hate to think of poor old widows reading tripe and wondering why their own lives didn’t pan out more brightly coloured.

    • Snow White: “….so I daresay that next time they inflict Harry and her upon the colonials, our (fairly useless) vice chancellors will be bowing to her.”

      Heh! I’m guessing that your reference here is to the (fairly useless) VC of Victoria? He against whose half-arsed ideas about name change we the alumni have been recently obliged to fight. Grrr…..

      Last time those royals were here, I managed to miss pretty much every piece of news and publicity about them. I intend to go on as I began. However, I think that you’re right about Guilford: he’ll be all over them like a hot rash, poor things.

      • D’Esterre. Oui. VUW’s VC’s name change efforts were a bit like JK’s flag change efforts – and both for no good reason – unless hungry egos count; he could be still trying it now through the derriere door.

        But I think Auckland’s VC was in the news some time back – I think for docking the pay of academic staff for striking for something like half an hour, during their lunch break – and I believe he’s one who has to personally approve of all research subjects, which if true, is incredibly unfair to all post-grad students whose field of expertise or interest could be unpalatable to, or intellectually incomprehensible, to money motivated men.

        Further south there are murmurs about VC’s Treaty requirements for research
        work which again may be of a nature unrelated to NZ, or to Treaty Issues;
        medical and science academics have had to struggle hard for research funding here, and having to now factor in unrelated dimensions to satisfy pc, or power interests is of debatable value – aka plain mean.

        Maybe there are still people out there able relate the principles of the Treaty to the poetry of Donne, and to the body language of Camilla Parker-Bowles’s hubby, while whipping up cupcakes ( oh no oh no) and walking the dog – and they’ll be multi-tasking women – not the other.

        • Snow White: “…he could be still trying it now through the derriere door.”

          It seems that he is; an odious little man with an ego the size of Jupiter.

          “Further south there are murmurs about VC’s Treaty requirements for research work…”

          Yup, I’ve also heard that. A relative doing medical research is affected. It is completely barmy: a reductio ad absurdum. I can just hear the derision of my former lecturers from all those years ago!

          “…medical and science academics have had to struggle hard for research funding here…”

          This system of funding allocation has infuriated me ever since it was set up. And Simon Upton is to blame; he must wear that fair and square.

          “…having to now factor in unrelated dimensions to satisfy pc…”

          Exactly. In truth, it risks undermining the intellectual rigour of the research enterprise. Just what we don’t need, right now or at any time.

      • D’Esterre – I think Guilford grew up in east ChCh and they may be more impressed by royals than the west, north or south, and I don’t care what he and Harry and Meghan do except that they stuff up the traffic and waste police resources – every crim knows where the cops will be when royals visit us for unfathomable reasons.

        But one of Guilford’s least attractive antics was described in Wikipedia :
        “There has been tension between Guilford’s administration and the Tertiary Education Union, where in one instance the University was offering higher salaries to those who chose not to be union members.[14][15] This, and other contributing factors, led to industrial action undertaken by union members”

        This, alongside his justification for getting an annual salary of roughly half a million bucks, may be women’s mag material, and they could toss in some glossy green shots of the exemplary work that he and his missus are doing out saving the environment in the countryside – or something like that.

        Higher salaries for employees who agree not to be union members is so obscene
        that it could make a sobering human interest story in a women’s mag, who knows.
        I think it sinister.

        • Apple Wood: “Higher salaries for employees who agree not to be union members is so obscene
          that it could make a sobering human interest story in a women’s mag, who knows.”

          Indeed. A particularly repellent manifestation of the influence of neoliberaism in our universities.

  4. I did enjoy this Liz. I find it hard to understand why people buy and read this shit. I suppose it is much like watching married at first sight and other junk on TV. Let me have a great book any time.

  5. As with the NZ Herald, one may flick through the WW in waiting rooms etc, to pass the time, but to believe what’s seen and written amongst its pages is another thing altogether.

  6. Why would anyone expect Woman’s Day or any other magazine to cover anything other than what its readers are interested in? Some people (mostly women) like to read about royals and celebrities. Some people (mostly men) like to read about cars. Why should either have to be “diverse” in their coverage (of people or cars)? Magazines are businesses that need to discover, week by week, what their readers want to read about. They find out pretty quickly with plummeting sales when they get it wrong. They are not social services.

  7. Where would Jacinda be without those glossy mag photo shoots and fluff about how hard it is being a mother and PM etc etc!

  8. Gosh Liz, you seem to have come a bit late in life to the realization that most readers of “Women’s magazines” aren’t feminists. And who could blame them, considering feminism’s latter-day journey into woke irrelevance.

  9. Chruski… In fact, the women I know who like Woman’s Day are staunch (and very well-adjusted) feminists. They are just happy to indulge in some escapism from time to time. They don’t worry about every publication having an appropriate gender balance or sufficient diversity to satisfy their ultra-woke sisters.

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