I try my best not to read the Daily Mail – or the Daily Fail, as I like to think of it. Inevitably, any time I follow a link there by mistake, I end up on the site for an hour, clicking from one hideous story to the next and ranting and raving to anyone who will listen about the sheer idiocy that’s generally displayed over there in such great levels. It makes me sad for humanity, it really does.
The link I followed to the Fail today (sent to me by reader Maayam) was no different: I ranted about it until Terry finally got up and went to the gym just to get away from me, but this time I wasn’t ranting about the poor journalism or the “lobotomised at birth” standard of the comments. This time I was ranting purely about the story itself, the title of which is “Terrified girl, 12, dyes ginger hair blonde after receiving death threats from schoolmates“.
I make no apologies, then, for linking to the Daily Mail just this once. This story really saddens me. It goes on to explain that the girl in question (Who, by the way, has beautiful hair, but even if she didn’t, wouldn’t deserve death threats over it) has actually been withdrawn from the school in question, who apparently refused to take the parents’ complains seriously, and is being homeschooled by her father. I’m not sure how much effort the Fail went to in order to coax a response from the school, but all they seem to have said is “Meh, bring the ginger in and we’ll talk about it.”
I was bullied myself at school, although NOT because of the colour of my hair, so I know how serious it can be, and how much of an impact it can have on a child. For me, it changed me from a happy-go-lucky, confident child who really didn’t have a care in the world, into a nervous wreck who jumped at her own shadow and had to be driven to school so I could wait in the car until the exact second the bell rung, and not have to risk spending even a minute in the playground with my contemporaries. As an adult, I still cringe when I walk past groups of children or young teens. I still expect to hear jeers and insults (and sometimes I do), and when I’m with a group of females I don’t know (because it’s always the women, isn’t it?) I’ll frequently get that sinking feeling that they’re just waiting for me to go to the bathroom so they can start bitching about me.
This is the legacy of childhood bullying, and let me be clear: I got off lightly. This poor girl is apparently too frightened to leave her house, and it doesn’t sound like she’s had the kind of experience you get over quickly. There is one positive in this, however. I finished the article, and steeled myself to read the accompanying comments, expecting the usual rash of “But gingers DO deserve to die!” nonsense from the Fail readers. This time, though, they surprised me, and I found myself nodding in agreement at the person who said:
“If she’d been teased because she was non-white the place would have been swarming with lawyers, police and politicians within hours.”
Very true. But of course, because the girl is “only” receiving death threats over her hair (and as we all know, it’s perfectly acceptable to hate “gingers” anyway), no one wants to know. So very sad, and I can only hope Nicole Nagington one day comes to realise how beautiful she is, and how pathetic are the people who want to bring her down.
As a counterpoint to this story, however, I present this article about how Kate Moss has – wait for it – lines on her face, OMG THE HORROR! I mean, can you even IMAGINE a 36-year-old having LINES on her face? And OK, let’s be honest: it’s true that Kate has clearly done her share of drugs in her time. In fact, Kate’s probably done everyone ELSE’S share of drugs in her time, too. But actually, Daily Fail, not many people manage to age without getting at least a few lines, and it seems a little hypocritical to me to publish one article commenting on how awful it is that someone is being bullied because of their natural appearance, and then turn around and effectively bully another person because of theirs. Women in their thirties get lines on their faces. They do. So do men. It comes to us all. I’ve never taken coke in my life (other than the brown, bubbly stuff, obviously), am younger than Kate Moss and I STILL have lines on my forehead. It’s called “not being 15 any more”. (It’s also called “Screwing up your face every time you’re in direct sunlight, because you’re stupid.”)
I’d also love to know what the Fail and its readers would like Kate Moss to DO about the lines on her forehead. She could get Botox, of course, but I absolutely guarantee that if she did, the Daily Mail would be one of the first to write an article saying, “OMG, Kate Moss has had Botox, can you even BELIEVE it?” and she’d be called “plastic” and “fake” and God knows what else. So Kate can’t win. Women in general can’t win. And no one who’s ever read the Daily Mail is in the least bit surprised by this…