Undressed party girls get a right old dressing down
Published 20/07/2014 | 00:00
To mark the appointment of a raft of new female Government ministers in the UK, the Daily Mail ran a two-page spread that concentrated entirely on their appearance and clothes. Tory MP Cheryl Gillan told Wednesday's Woman's Hour that she found it "insulting", and she was right. Yet, the questions she was asked by presenter Jenni Murray didn't feel very empowering either. How did she "feel" when she was first appointed Welsh Secretary? Was she "scared"? Was it true that she'd cried when she lost her post in a previous reshuffle?
Gillan insisted she wasn't the crying type, and steered the conversation back round to politics rather than her own feelings, but it's hard to believe that a man would be asked the same questions.
Six out of 23 Cabinet ministers is hardly a feminist revolution, but it still puts Fine Gael to shame. Discussing the reshuffle on Tuesday, alas, Today with Sean O'Rourke didn't mention the glaring absence of any female Fine Gael junior ministers, though the issue had been flagged by RTE political correspondent Martina Fitzgerald on Morning Ireland. By lunchtime, it was clear there would still be none, with Fitzgerald telling News At One that "there is not a female junior minister at all now on the female side of the equation", not the most elegant way of putting it, but a neat summary of the situation.
Speaking on Newstalk's Breakfast next day, Sunday Times journalist Sarah McInerney was blunt and eloquent: "What Enda Kenny has done is send quite a clear message to 50pc of the population that Fine Gael is not a party that is seriously interested in promoting the participation of women in politcs. They make all the right noises, but when it comes to action, he's just not interested." Whether the Irish airwaves are any better, is a discussion for another day. The daily line-ups on all the main stations are still as dominated by men as the Government itself.
The drunken exploits of young Irish and British holidaymakers in Magaluf continues to make waves. Moncrieff sent Henry McKean to the Spanish town and his report produced some odd remarks on the recent revelations about a young girl performing sex acts on more than 20 men in a nightclub.
"It happens all the time," one clubber explained, "but just because this video's gone viral, it's given Magaluf a bad name." So it's the publicity which gave the town a bad name, not the actual behaviour?
Either way, the scenes described by Irish Times reporter Sorcha Pollock on Today FM's Ray D'Arcy Show the same day would surely have made many parents' hair stand on end.
There is, she said, "something really disturbing and upsetting" about seeing young girls falling around the street at 3am in a state of undress. "These young people need to remember that safety is an issue, that there is a line they should not cross and they just have to be careful about that."
Amid much noisy hype elsewhere, her words were refreshingly pragmatic.