ladies day daily mail‘Wasn’t It Ladies Day?’ This was the headline The Daily Mail used to shame women having a fun time during Aintree’s Ladies day. The headline is obviously insinuating that these women’s actions were not ‘lady‘ like. This sentiment promotes an antiquated 1950s marginalization of women’s ability to express themselves and enjoy life with the same freedom from judgments that men enjoy on a daily basis. The Daily Mail’s report was not ok.

The Daily Mail used people’s exuberance and ‘fun’ behavior as a news story simply to get some more views and clicks. My issue with this is twofold.

Firstly, this is not news! Yes, the event needs to be covered. However, there is finding a news story and there is creating one. People getting drunk, falling over, having fun and taking ‘selfies’ with police officers is not news story worthy. If that were the case then every Saturday night at 3 AM there would be a new breaking headline ‘Drunk Man Eats Kebab ‘. 

It is always easy to tell when newspapers like The Daily Mail know what they are writing is not quality journalism. The clearest indication of this is the ‘reporters’ reluctance to attribute their name to the article. As they most likely know they have shamefully added to the copious attacks and shaming of women, personal freedom and ‘fun’- Articles and videos that have the base level goal of triggering the reader to look, judge in condemnation ‘‘ at this these people’.

Imagine coming home and finding your picture plastered over a national newspaper. Yes, some people might embrace this exposure for their 15 minutes of fame. However, others might find it deeply upsetting. Especially, if the picture is one of the many unflattering pictures The Daily Mail decided it needed to bring to public attention. Does the public need to judge and laugh at our fellow citizens that much?

Winner of Best dress lady, aintree

Best Dressed Lady- Aintree 2017

Secondly, Ladies Day runs a competition for ‘best dressed’ woman, whereby the winner walks away with a landrover worth £35 thousand!  Thus, the photographer could have focused on celebrating fashion, beauty and style. This is the story.  Yet, this story barely appears near the bottom of their report. Instead, it seemed the photographer went around searching for people, especially women, in the most unflattering poses and positions. Their selection of photos reeks of society’s share and shame culture. It is this culture which fuels fail videos on youtube, viral photos on Instagram and the foundation of Reality TV.

Personally, I cannot stand this ‘shame’ culture. None of us live a picture perfect life. At some point, we will fall, get drunk, find ourselves in awkward and embarrassing situations.How many of us have thought “thank god no one was recording just then”? However, increasingly one moment of embarrassment is too often turned into an eternity of ridicule on social media.

There was a time when we lambasted and hated paparazzi. However, in recent years we rarely even refer to them as paparazzi. Why? Because due to camera phones and our increasing lust for intrusive information about each other, we became the paparazzi! We actively support and contribute to other people’s public but personal moments being sharing by newspapers- never stopping to think, what if this was my life?

With that said, there are times when the citizen journalists can be very useful. Instances, where people have filmed police brutality, have obviously highlighted serious issues. However, that is not the same as a person filming a couple sharing a cheeky kiss or more in public. Or even worse, when people put derogatory headlines above these images. We have become far too comfortable making people the butt of our jokes- with little care about the potential emotional impact on their lives of us clicking ‘share’.

It was Ladies Day, so it is understandable that the majority of the pictures are of women. However, the fact that The Daily Mail decided it would use this as an opportunity to shame countless women, speaks volumes about how as a society we treat, view and judge women still. I have spoken to many women who are fearful of being judged and shamed because they choose to simply enjoy life with the same freedoms men are afforded. In 2017, surely we women can be free to not have to fit into some antiquated definition of ‘ladylike‘ behavior.

In truth, part of my annoyance is that no doubt a photographer with similar goals will sliver their way to Notting Hill Carnival and take copious unnecessary, not in the public interest and intrusive pictures of people enjoying the carnival spirit. I will probably be one of them- To which they will receive this reaction

With that said, let us allow people to enjoy life without the fear of someone exposing them over social media, for the sake of ‘likes’.

By Antoine Allen

Tweet us at @AntoineSpeakson

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