A few days ago I looked at the Telegraph website for the first time. I like to keep up with what's going on in the world and I hadn't managed to catch the news that day. A tab at the top of the page read 'Women' and I didn't know what to make of it. I finished reading and clicked on the tab. The page loaded and the title 'Wonder Women' stared back at me. I figured they thought women needed a whole section to themselves because we are women.
I scanned the page, headlines like "Why is Miley Cyrus simulating oral sex on 'Bill Clinton'?" and "Your mate has married an idiot. Now what?" were listed. I was dismayed, is this what appeals to women readers? I wouldn't read those articles, I'm not interested in a stars attempts at making headlines. Miley Cyrus is an old Disney star trying to break out of the box everyone put her in. It's inevitable sex has a part in that. She's growing up and doesn't want to be seen as a child anymore.
I was offended the Telegraph thought this was all I wanted to read. Stars making fools of themselves and poking my nose into my friends business. I understand this fits in with every woman stereotype you can think of. All of us housewives are so bored that we want to hear about TV and music stars. We can't help being busy-bodies when it comes to our friends. I mean what else is there to do?
I switched the computer off. I couldn't bring myself to read anything the Telegraph had to say. Annoyed and offended I'd been pushed into a box, again. Yes, I'm a stay-at-home mum. Yes, sometimes I listen to the nonsense about various stars but it is not what I find interesting. Being an intelligent woman, I like to read interesting articles and learn new things. I abhor all those presumptions about my life just because of what I choose to do. I am not a stupid person because I opted to stay at home and take care of my children. Making this choice does not mean I want to watch Jeremy Kyle on the TV while I drink a hot cup of tea.
I moved away from the computer, steam spurting out of my ears, and made dinner for my family (another preconception?) I thought about what the Telegraph were trying to do. As my mood calmed I began to wonder if I'd just jumped to conclusions. Dismissing their attempts to pull me in because of my own preconceptions. Perhaps I was the one being judgemental.
Later in the evening I decided to try again and read through the articles. I stumbled across one about Edwina Currie and Ann Widdecombe and their opinions of women MPs these days. I ended up reading the whole thing, found it interesting and sided with these two ladies. You can find the whole story here. Further reading led me to Rebekah Brooke's Fleet Street legacy to women in media. It pointed out that women are under represented in the industry, particularly when it comes to news media. Here 78% of newspaper front page by lines are men, only 22% being credited to women.
These two stories made me realise that my initial opinion was wrong and I will be visiting this site again. I found the articles interesting and they inspired my writing, always a good thing when you write a blog. However, what if the Telegraph decided to have a 'Marvellous Men' section? I would be rather annoyed but does that make me sexist?
I believe in equal opportunities, I don't think women should get preferential treatment nor should they get penalised for having children. Men shouldn't be ignored when applying for a job if they are the better applicant. If women are putting in just as much work as the men they should get just as much credit, not more (or less).
The jobs I do in a day do not determine what kind of woman I am. A woman who spends her whole day in the office may not want to read about politics or finance, preferring fashion and gossip. Someone who spends their day taking care of babies and watching CBeebies may prefer to read about crime and current affairs. We all have these preconceptions about people and maybe we should think twice before we judge.
Have you made snap judgements you later regretted and what, if anything, changed your mind?
By Morgan Prince