Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I know that my mission here is to entertain you, but today I must ask you all a huge favour. Instead of offering you some lovely glittering little jewel of a post (one must have one's ambitions) I am asking you to help me.
I am noodling around with a piece about beauty and the media, and I need to know, from my cherished international or well-travelled readers, whether there is any equivalent of the Daily Mail and the celebrity magazines that we see in Blighty in other countries. My suspicion is that narrow Western ideas of female beauty are increasingly being found in the media of places as diverse as Lebanon and South Korea, but that there is not yet any equivalent of our Daily Mail/Heat axis, where women are constantly shouted at for being too fat, too thin, too old, too obsessed with plastic surgery, not obsesssed enough etc etc. You know the drill: pictures of Demi Moore with screaming headlines about her having 'saggy knees'. (Sarah and I have a genteel little rant about this in Backwards.) My sense is that in America this ethos is largely confined to Perez Hilton and the supermarket tabloids, not quite as mainstream as it is here, but I have not been to America for four years and have lost touch with the general culture (although I can of course tell you everything you want to know about the strange journey of the GOP). As for other countries, I am shamefully ignorant. Is there a Daily Mail in Karachi or Lisbon or Sydney? I long to know, and you are the only ones who can help me. Google searches are too diffuse. I need real actual people.
Forgive me for imposing. Tomorrow we shall resume normal service.