20 Horrifyingly Sexist Headlines About Female Celebs (And the Shocking Results of Taking Out the Sexism)
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A celebrity goes grocery shopping—not exactly the red carpet at the Oscars. But what happens if it’s a she not a he? The mainstream press loves to hurriedly assess her exterior: What's with that outfit? Is her hair just-rolled-out-of-bed sexy or hobo-chic? Doesn't that Golden Delicious apple clash embarrassingly with her beige eye shadow?
That’s why the editors at Vagenda, a UK-based online magazine confronting sexism in the media, thought it would be a good idea to challenge its Twitter followers to “take a snarky headline and turn it around.” They received a huge response.
“We expected our usual followers to get involved, but we were pleasantly surprised by the quite literally thousands of other people who also jumped on board,” said Holly Baxter, an editor at Vagenda. “Some of them came up with some truly brilliant, deadpan alternatives to the sensationalized headlines we keep seeing and passively digesting in everyday media.”
Vagenda was created in 2012 after Baxter and her fellow editors were fed up with the sexist messages pouring out of women’s magazines and newspapers. They hope to counteract the pressure on women to be perfect while creating content that’s relevant to women’s lives.
“Unfortunately, the whole world still has a problem with sexism,” Baxter said, noting that sexism in the media is produced by the sexism that exists in the larger society.
“We know that women have traditionally been seen as decorative objects or chattel rather than active citizens in almost every society,” she said. “The media to an extent reflects that. … It’s depressing in a way that a lot of women’s magazines, which are often written by women and for women, follow that trope. We deserve more than that.”
Fortunately, however, Baxter said there’s an ongoing backlash to sexism and stereotypes. Simply pointing out how the media portrays women keeps bolstering this backlash, she said. Meanwhile, Vagenda will continue to do this on its blog and also in its new book, The Vagenda: A Zero Tolerance Guide to the Media. The idea to hold a competition came from the publisher working with Vagenda. The winner will receive a free copy.
Baxter said the competition taught her that more and more people can easily see through these tabloid headlines for the sexist depictions that they are, and they’ve had enough.
“It’s content created out of nothing,” she said. “We were surprised people didn’t feel more conned, actually —though judging by how viral our headlines went it’s emerged that they feel the same way as us. And that’s brilliant.”
Below are some of the best-improved headlines:
— The Vagenda Team (@VagendaMagazine) April 28, 2014
— Laura Stewart (@ledavies) April 28, 2014
— Claire Corp (@ce_corp) April 28, 2014
— Rebecca Sutton (@bexatrex) April 28, 2014
— Kim Eggleton (@kimmibobs) April 28, 2014
— Siobhan Rooney (@bluevespertine) April 28, 2014
— Becca Jones (@pengetopeckham) April 28, 2014