dress me: Do my cankles look fat in this?

The Daily Mail isn’t exactly known for its quality journalism. In fact, surely it will soon be time for it to collapse under the weight of its own sneering, holiar-than-thou, hateful undertones? It won’t come as a surprise to anyone outside of “Middle England”, I mean, after all, who hasn’t sighed in despair/laughed hysterically as the paper has either orchestrated its own hysteria and whipped its own readers into a frenzy over, lets face it, nothing worth being whipped into a frenzy over or caused everyone with access to the internet to go slack jawed in amazement and wonder what the hell the paper is thinking allowing certain things to be published?
Sadly, my mum reads The Daily Mail. Every day. I’m not entirely sure why, every time I’ve asked her to explain its appeal she’s replied with a “I just like it, okay?!” (she’s very defensive about her reading of the newspaper, its almost like she knows) but its been very interesting for me over the years that she’s been buying it.
It’s means that when the latest Daily Mail controversy hits Twitter (which seems to be a breeding ground for mass outrage) I can see it in print, and I know exactly how it fits in with its practice, as opposed to some people who, due to their hatred of the paper, never read the goddamn thing and instead see a celebrity on Twitter retweeting something to do with the unsavoury side of the Mail and jump on it. I do flick through the Mail, not because I particularly like it, or because it writes in a way that appeals to me, but because its nice to know what my mum is talking about and also because I’m interested in seeing how different newspapers report on the same stories (being an almost-journalism-student).
Their ‘FeMail’ section, which, as its name suggests, is the ‘female’ section of the newspaper (catchy, huh?) and before its redesign, was one of the more enjoyable parts of the newspaper. Yes, it featured Liz Jones harping on about designer clothes and eating disorders (surprisingly, not about her ex-husband) but, as someone with an interest in fashion, it was refreshing to read after 30 or so pages of BROCCOLI WILL GIVE YOU CANCER’. It was like a watered down version of Vanity Fair, or a slightly-less-good version of the Sunday Times’ Style supplement, which made it alright, for what it was. Now, however, it has turned into a very strange thing, where women are categorised and dissected and just generally torn apart, and its not nice. They are categorised according to how old they are (“You’re in your 40s? And you still think you can wear blusher? Oh my, oh my. Come through. We’ll show you how its done”) and celebrity women and fashion models are strangely idolised, not in an outright “Doesn’t she look great?! Here’s how you can look like her” like most magazines, but in a strange, roundabout way where you, the reader, are UGLY and WRONG and FAT and how dare you try and dress like ANYONE?!
Case in point is their “How will a real woman look in…?” section, where they take an often size 0 celebrity in the latest trendy dress and put it on a “real” woman, which, to be fair, would not be a bad idea, showing how fashion works in the “real” world, if only they didn’t insist on purposely making the “real” woman look as bad as possible – not because of her size, but because of her bad posture and the fact that she is ALWAYS wearing a dress that is a few sizes too small. Its as if they’re telling their readers to not even think about it, if you don’t completely meet their criteria (are you young enough? Thin enough? Rich enough?) then forget about it, fashion is NOT for you. Which of course, is bullshit.
Today I read ‘FeMail’ but only got about 3 pages in until I was laughing too much to go on (it wasn’t because I was amused, most of it was in pain, you understand)
Do you ‘dare’ to wear flat shoes? I would take a guess that you do. There is nothing daring about flat shoes now, is there? I wear flat shoes every day. They go with everything. They’re comfortable. They, dare I say it, can even look a bit cute. I like them. I’m certain I’m not the only one to do so.
So what is this, really? What is the point of it? I don’t understand what they are trying to do. Are they trying to make women feel bad for not spending the rest of their days in 5 inch heels? Are they trying to make you wonder if your ankles are fat? You know, just to go with fretting about every other part of your body!
I was on the phone to my boyfriend shortly after I read this, not to specifically ask him if my ankles are fat, but I did talk about it. I did seriously look down and wonder about it. And why? Who REALLY wonders if their ankles look fat? Who really cares?!
Ah, the Daily Mail do. They don’t even name the journalist that wrote this piece (why?!), so I can only assume that the Daily Mail as a newspaper are on a mission to get everyone to put their ankles on a diet. The model they use, who they have helpfully pointed out is a size 10 (ooh, daring), looks fine, apart from the fact that she’s wearing some ugly shoes. If this wasn’t an article all about ankles and you just saw a photo of this girl, would you really focus on her ankles and go on about how her “cankles” offend you? No. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her ankles. Yes, Alexa Chung is a lot thinner than the woman featured, and her ankles do look good. Good on her. However this doesn’t mean that bigger women can’t wear the same kind of shoes and look good. This isn’t skinny jeans we’re talking about here. They are shoes!
The sheer hypocrisy of publications such as this one astound me. They go on about how “dangerous” the fashion industry and the cult of size 0 is to women while in the same breath going on to criticise “real” women for nothing real at all. No one can win. They want “real” women to be better represented in the media, but when they are featured in the media they’re either vilified or made to be a figure to laugh at and criticise, to pick apart for laughable reasons such as this one.
I don’t know if its lazy journalism, or what, but it seems that The Daily Mail are not just content with merely bringing poisonous articles on politics and domestic issues to the masses, but rather they want to spread this to every area of our lives, where not even our ankles are good enough.


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