Those cheeky little beggars at the Daily Fail are at it again, and I know we’ve all been expecting it. Like a wayward child, it’s wont to brazenly make up lies and sell them to you as if you’d believe them, while wilfully causing havoc wherever anyone puts it down, but I still find myself always hoping of an evening that little DF will buck his ideas up and grow into a stand-up young man one day. Alas, today is not that day. Today, the Daily Fail is taking away your teddy bear and calling you a crybaby.
It all started with the tabloid nightmare of a political reshuffle, which sends every red-top writer into a frenzy. The necessity of reporting on something serious and which potentially doesn’t have a single racist/sexist/homophobic angle (well, unless it’s a Tory government, ho ho) is enough to make any Fail reporter quiver at the mention of the cabinet – but here they are, valiantly attempting to deliver political news in the way they know best. And in a way, you have to take your hat off to them for that.
‘Reduced to tears, three women who were sacked and the meteoric rise of the former Richard And Judy presenter’ was the headline that announced firings and hirings of female MPs in the reshuffle. It opened with the amazing line: ‘Three ministers wept as they were sacked or demoted in the reshuffle, it was claimed [by us] last night’ (in case it’s not clear, I added in the parenthesed addition that made it truthful.) Underneath photographs of former Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillian and ex-Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman was the helpful caption ‘Crying game.’ The article then digressed into a long description of how Anna Soubry was once on Richard And Judy, and ended at the disclaimer: ‘Last night Downing Street dismissed reports of ministers’ tears as simply ‘not true.’’ Well, don’t let that get in the way of your headline or anything.
Just to hammer the point home, the Failers (Failures?) decided to run a piece in their women’s section as well, where the Samantha Brick of career advice had been commissioned to write under the headline ‘Feminists will weep, but I turn on the tears to get my own way.’ Of course, the mention of ‘feminists’ was a fairly superfluous, incendiary tactic, and it might be easy to rise to the veritable worm-feast of bait that the Fail serves up in this one. Instead, however, I thought I’d just quote you my favourite parts of the article, verbatim, all in the right order, just to show you how incredible this piece really is.
‘My supermarket trolley was piled high with shopping in anticipation of the birthday dinner party I was throwing for my husband that evening, and time was ticking away fast. [She finds she has no money at the till.] Take my engagement ring, I said. My Wimbledon tickets? Anything so I can get out of here and back to my oven. But nothing worked.
A few minutes later, a nice man with flaxen-coloured hair and kindly eyes appeared beside me.
It was at that moment that I realised the only thing that would work was a radical change of tactic. My voice wobbled, my posture crumpled and heavy tears formed as I made my soulful appeal.
‘Please,’ I begged. ‘I’m a regular customer here. I’ve left my children with a baby-sitter.
Many feminists will cringe at such blatant emotional manipulation. As for me, I’m happy to douse the embers of those burning bras with my unapologetically girlie tears.
The fact is that when a woman cries — either by default or design — she’s on her way to getting what she wants, especially if her emotional display is directed at a man.
Only last week, celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman was quoted as saying women are easier to defend than men because they are more inclined to cry. [She concludes that he’s right.] Some people, women in particular, despise it, feeling it smacks of an innate weakness which undermines the sisterhood.
No wonder Facebook boss Sheryl Sandberg was recently criticised for encouraging women to cry at work, revealing that she regards her tears as part of her success. [She didn’t ‘encourage women to cry at work’ - she said that ‘being yourself’ was an important part of your career, then later mentioned that she herself had cried at work before. The Fail interpreted this in another article as a call to tears for all women.] Men, on the other hand, perhaps feel stung by the fact that they have reduced a woman to tears. It makes them feel like the playground bully, causing them to recalibrate and rescue the damsel they have plunged into distress. To them a weeping woman is hormonal and emotionally unstable, and that’s not a scenario they wish to be a part of.’
Well, I think we’ve all shed a tear or two when we JUST WANT TO GET BACK TO THE OVEN, but please, Angela. Keep it quiet or everyone’s going to want to do it. Where will I be if I want to weep my way out of a speeding ticket next time and the kindly officer has a copy of the Daily Fail on his dashboard, which he was flicking through with his morning doughnut after helping an old lady across the street in Old Fashioned Stereotype Land? Crying myself to a successful court case in a cell while I wait for Nick Freeman to appear, apparently. And who needs that kind of bother when my husband’s dinner is to be made?
Now, we all enjoy a bit of olde worlde advice from the Fail, but there has been a pattern to this sort of rhetoric from them (no, really.) I’d read these pieces in the print version of the newspaper, but when Googling them from memory, I accidentally stumbled upon a veritable shitload of articles throughout the years that have either advised women to ‘cry their way up the career ladder’, or ‘revealed’ to men that that’s what their weakling counterparts do. In between these, I found a disturbingly and disproportionately high number of articles that opined on ‘women who cry rape’, which sometimes weren’t even connected to a news story at all.
Tissue, please? Because every time I encounter this vile little corner of the internet I get the strong compulsion to, er, violently bleed from my ears.