Monday, 28 September 2009

In which I beg your indulgence

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.


  1. I shall ask both sisters who live in countries not listed here. Will get back to you tomorrow. xxx

  2. In Finland there's a so called glossy mag called Gloria, and daily evening papers called Iltasanomat and Iltalehti. They're both real trash. Semi nude pics of women etc.

    Hope this helps.

  3. No dailies but we have a couple of weekly magazines called Hänt bild, Nu, Hänt extra as well as a Swedish version of In Touch magazine

  4. In Germany, there are two weekly (or bi-weekly?) glossies that dig in A-Z-list celebreties' personal affairs since ages. Bunte and Gala. ( and But nothing daily, as far as I know. Also, they don't seem to be as harsh as some of the publications in the UK. You wouldn't find close ups of wobbly bits or people picking their nose.
    I think there is a German version of In Touch, which comes close to the cruelties of heat et al.
    The German publications in this field are usually dominating the German speaking Swiss and Austrian markets.

  5. Are you saying the Daily Mail's raison d'etre is to criticise women's appearance? I can't think of a Canadian magazine or paper with that theme, but I'm not up on every tabloid that's out there.

  6. Further thoughts - from what I've seen of British style shows, specifically Triny and Susana, they seem to be more cutting about their victim's flaws. Quite snarky and superior when pointing out how completely dreadful whatever is.

    The American version, What Not to Wear, is critical as well, but they add more humour and back off from the total anhilation.

  7. The Daily Mail really does stand alone in its high-handed celebrity trashing, under guise of a Serious Paper. In the US we have the crazy tabloids, available at the supermarket checkout, such as Star, National Enquirer and the ever-fabulous Weekly World News (alien sightings a specialty.)

    Here's the Enquirer: (Breaking News: The Many Affairs of John Edwards).

    I am also quite fond of TMZ. ( -- their forte is grainy video footage of celebrities in compromising positions.


    Miss W x

  8. Thank you all so much for your help. Fascinating and instructive comments.

  9. No there is no version of the Daily Mail here in NZ. We do have crappy glossy magazines like New Idea and Women's Weekly which are truly terrible. We also have imported British crappy magazines - oh joy, there is no escape ;-)

  10. In Spain that attitude is displayed by weeklies Cuore and InTouch (less popular the latter).

    Cuore also runs several special issues throughout the year: hair, beauty, season trends and... 'Especial AARGHS!!', the horror edition.

    This weekly usually has a big fashion section about new arrivals at highstreet shops (Zara, Mango, Bershka, Women's Secret,etc. plus 'Copy the look of X', beauty pages...).

    I don't know if this is similar to English Grazia, since I haven't read it, but I'd say Cuore is less fashionista and focuses mainly on cheap teenager fashion (apart from circling bits and wrinkles, of course, which takes most of the pages).

    I mention the age aspect because it's relevant: Cuore spearheads a new generation of magazines devoted to what we here always called 'prensa rosa' or 'prensa del corazón = heart press' .

    This kind of press is almost an institution in Spain: they are old mags, having run for decades (some started in the 20's, I think, like "Lecturas", a literary supplement back then).

    They can go from, er, *cough*, high-end ("Hola") to positively tabloid stuff ("Pronto", "Diez Minutos", and many more). Actually, these are THE proper Spanish tabloids (no newspapers ever devoted to that).

    Anyway, stop with the boring ramble. The thing is that Cuore staff is quite young, and also their target readers. And suddenly, this kind of press that was always regarded as naff and totally uncool, read by elderly ineducated women ("I just read at the hairdresser salon", was the stockphrase cliché for everyone else) is now a hot item.

    1- The novelty of young people commenting on people that matter more to them (more LiLo and Twilight, less old tacky Spanish celebrities).

    2- Naughty laughs at crude one-liners.

    And Cuore justifies the nastiness as'improving reader's self-steem'.

    'Look, they have cellulite too!'

    Well, what did you expect, did anyone think famous women are aliens or what?

    You accept being judged by your looks, as long as others are too, so everyone is miserable?

    It seems twisted logic to me.

    PS.- Ah, on second thoughts, El Mundo newspaper (quite conservative) is quite a specialist in daily scopofilia and chauvinism. Is it because the director, Pedro J. Ramírez, is an acknowledged perv? Years ago there was a big scandal, including an embarassing hardcore video, widely circulated due to a political vendetta with former president Felipe González.

    (Extra irrelevant factoid: he's married to Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, fashion designer, whose Milan catwalk was assaulted in "Bruno").

    I enjoy your blog very much, please excuse larguísimo and probably inappropiate comment.



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