Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Us British Munters

How thoughtful of the Daily Male to let us know how we British women are doing in the International "Whose Chicks are the Hottest?" Olympics. Today's line-by-line destruction will be of this dreadful piece by Sean Poulter entitled Why French Women beat Brits in the Beauty Stakes: They spend twice as much on products. And incidentally if you want to place a bet on the beauty stakes do call William Hill. My money is on Chile - they've taken the South American title twice recently and a lot of their national chicks compete with international clubs.

"The women of France may enjoy perfectly powdered and smooth faces, however they pay more than twice as much as their British counterparts to achieve this effect."

So the women of France all enjoy perfectly smooth faces do they? Guess all those holiday postcards of wrinkly weathered old women sat on street kerbs in Provence are staged then or done with latex special effects make-up?

"Spending on creams and potions designed to hold back the ageing process runs at £1.85billion a year on the other side of the Channel, compared to £854 million here."

Designed to hold back the ageing process or designed to rip women off? I'm calling this a victory for British women who have an extra £1bn a year to spend on enjoying themselves.

"Although Italian by birth, Carla Bruni, the wife of the French president, has come to epitomise the women of France for whom no price is too high to hold back the wrinkles."

You said it Sean. She's Italian. Italian. And she's an Italian supermodel. If anyone thinks she represents the women of France they should try speaking to a French woman. A real one. And if no price really was too high for the women of France the country would be bankrupt in about a week and every woman's bathroom cabinet full of royal jelly and placenta.

"Indeed, some of the 42-year-old's treatments, thought to include laser skin peels and botox, have produced some startling and bizarre results."

Startling and bizarre - no price is too high for me to achieve THAT look.

"By contrast, Samantha Cameron, who is three years younger, apparently enjoys a more natural - English Rose - beauty regime."

Samantha Cameron is also NOT a super-model. She's a part-time accessory designer. And comparing one English part-time bag designer with one Italian model and then drawing conclusions about all British and all French women is just weird. There is real news out there you know Sean? Try visiting Congo, I think some women have been raped. Let us know if that helps to "hold back the wrinkles", won't you?

"New reseach looking at the body hang-ups of the women of Europe identifies some surprising differences."

Surprising? So like German women wish they had two heads while the Latvians long for lustrous feathered wings? Something tells me I am going to be less surprised than I was when there wasn't a fiver in that novelty birthday card last year.

"Certaintly, the women of France are content with their enviably flat stomachs."

Ah, enlightenment... That's probably also why Shakira looks so smug. And like Carla Bruni - she's not French!

"Just 27per cent list their stomach as a problem area, which is a fraction of the 44per cent of British women who are worried about their flabby midriff."

The question of course is what percentage are actually dangerously overweight and what percentage have merely been convinced they are by the beauty industry? But that would be journalism wouldn't it Sean? And your speciality is copying out corporate press releases. Sidenote though: I don't believe doubling your creams and lotions budget is going to shrink your midriff - it might be a better idea to halve your dessert budget.

"However, British women are far more content with their breasts and thighs than their counterparts across the Channel."

I can't wait to hear what percentage prefer not to rate their bodies like cuts of meat.

"Just 31per cent of women here are worried about having chunky thighs, compared to 43per cent of the French. Similarly, 30per cent of women in this country are concerned about their breasts, versus 38per cent of the French."

The real issue is right across Europe women have been convinced to hate some part of their anatomy that is perfectly healthy.

"Looking at other nations, Italian women have a problem with their bottoms with some 47per cent listing this as a concern, far more than any other nation."

If you have "a problem with your bottom" you should see a doctor. [Se hai un problema con il fondo si dovrebbe vedere un medico.]

"Rather alarmingly, some 57per cent of Spanish women have a worry about their entire face. Again a higher percentage than other nations."

Well spotted Sean, that is certainly alarming. Can't wait for your in depth research to discover what is behind these numbers, why we allow the beauty industry to bully women into feeling this way...

"Among German women, 46per cent are worried about their bigger bellies."

...or you could just carry on cut and pasting that press release. Stick to what you're good at eh?

"The research was conducted by retail analysts at Mintel for a report investigating the sales patterns of beauty creams and potions."

It's like I'm psychic isn't it?

"It found that for British women, concerns about ageing are focused on the eyes and the dark circles, bags and wrinkles that give their age away."

I find for me what gives my age away is that I just tell people because I don't think getting older is shameful.

"Some 48per cent said the eye area is a worry, while 35per cent were concerned about a sagging jaw line."

I still want to know what percentage told the interviewer to go f*ck themselves.

"Sixty-two per cent were worried about fine lines and wrinkles and 49per cent wanted to do away with the dark circles they have."

What percentage were worried about all this rubbish BEFORE the market researcher started asking stupid intrusive questions?

"Nica Lewis, head consultant Mintel Beauty Innovation, said there is enormous money to be made by beauty companies that find a way to hold back the ageing process."

Indeed. So much so that it might seem like even some of the companies who haven't managed it will claim they have. If only there was a journalist around to investigate, but there's only you eh, Sean?

"'Ageing skin is no longer only a worry for older consumers. Younger women are now paying more attention to preventing wrinkles while they can rather than trying to cure them at a later stage,' she said."

So now they're selling wrinkle cream to women who don't even have wrinkles. Shouldn't you be exposing the lies, pseudo-science and creepy advertising tricks that make women believe they should spend a lot of money on products that don't even work? Sorry - almost forgot you're working for the Mail...

"'Educating these younger women about the benefits of a good facial skincare regime is an important way to ensure product take-up."

"Ensuring product take-up"? Honestly - I know you didn't write this, some PR puppy did - but really Sean - don't put your name on articles this humiliating. It's ... well ... humiliating.

"'Brands could use mobile phone apps to remind young girls when to cleanse and moisturise on a morning and at night..."

Mmm how helpful of my phone to tell me when morning and night come round. What if I run out of battery though - if only some giant glowing orb would appear and disappear from the sky...

"...and notify them of new products or competitions and offers they could take advantage of."

Wouldn't that be ace? Having companies send junk mail direct to your actual phone so you don't have to go downstairs and find it on the hall floor.

"'A clear link between teen lines and ranges aimed at women in their early to mid-20s could also help brands retain customers..."

Sean, really, I understand that besuited twerps doing "brand management" graduate internships say this sort of thing but you are a journalist. Or at least you probably think you are.

" they progress through their age-related skincare needs.'"

Oh gosh yes so here's a quick run down of your age-related skincare NEEDS...

Age 0-5: soap and water
Age 5-10: soap and water
Age 10-15: soap and water
Age 15-20: soap and water
Age 20-25: soap and water
Age 25-30: soap and water
Age 30-35: soap and water
Age 35-40: soap and water
Age 40-45: soap and water
Age 45-50: soap and water
Age 50-55: soap and water
Age 55-60: soap and water
Age 60-65: soap and water
Age 65-70: soap and water
Age 70-75: soap and water
Age 75+: soap and water

Oh sorry Sean, I thought you said NEEDS. No-one needs expensive anti-aging products and treatments. In any case the treatments you suggest Carla Bruni has had are medical procedures like Botox. She's not having those because she got a text about brand loyalty.

And worse still there is a real story hidden in here about body image - the rise in Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Eating Disorders and the irresponsible attitude of the beauty industry pushing expensive products that don't actually work on women across Europe. Instead we've got a male journalist regurgitating a press release that reads like an advert for these products. Please stop.


Iceman said...

If I ran a newspaper, I would fire a journalist who turned in a paraphrased corporate memo as a story.

And some genius editor put this in the "femail" section, since women need to know that they should hate their bodies and that buying more overpriced skin creams is the answer. "Femail Today" also includes "Modern Family star Sofia Vergara wanted to get a breast reduction", "Oops! Heidi Montag's cup nearly runneth over as she has a bikini malfunction in Costa Rica", and "'This body is all real...' says Kate Gosselin as she denies rumours of a romance with bodyguard". It's good to know there aren't any real feminist issues they could cover.

And obviously the article didn't ask the real questions of _why_ so many women hate their bodies, and why the media continue to push a monolithic standard of beauty instead of embracing women of different races, ages, body types...

Loraine Despres said...

LOL. In fact I couldn't stop laughing. Well done!

Chris Lo said...

Couldn't agree more - I hate that the beauty industry has managed to cast the natural aging process as the new boogey monster hiding under the bed. The mass of bogus surveys ("71 out of 89 women agree..."), calculated pseudo-science and words pulled out of the the corporate arse must be having a hugely damaging effect, and articles like this are a worrying symptom of the larger problem.

Ages ago, for a now dead website, I wrote a significantly sillier article on a similar subject:

T-Bird said...

while i enjoyed your rebuttal, it's a drag that in this day and age that someone would get paid to "write" an article like that--both in terms of the dubious "authorship" and the points that are *trying* to be made.
sorry, but it is just UN-NATURAL for a woman in her 50s to have the skin of one in their 20s. what is all this obsession with trying to look like an inexperienced kid anyway? beauty is not monolithic.


How much was the Daily Male (yes it is correct spelling) paid to promote the lie that women are in dire need of overpriced useless so-called beauty aids. Any guesses and also ask yourselves what was the aim of this article? Why it is yet more propaganda wherein women are being subtly and not so subtly told 'buy beauty products or men won't find you hot.'

Oh how I'd like to see an article focusing on men and why so many men are overweight and in dire need of the beauty industry to save them from not being 'hot' to women.

But it won't happen because the beauty industry's primary customers are women and given the Daily Male is a women-hating tabloid this gives them an excellent opportunity to yet again claim 'women you aren't good enough you aren't even human and that is why you need to spend enormous sums of money on useless products.'

Daily Male you have clearly not registered the fact the male-dominated Tory/lib dems are targetting women and it is women not men who will be the ones hardest hit economically. However, that is supposedly irrelevant because women aren't women unless they spend enormous sums of money boosting the beauty industries profits.

Hel said...

Lol, great rebuttal! It has always suprised me that the Mail is supposedly the most "female orientated" newspaper in the country, when it seems to bitch about women every day, especially in the "femail" section. Yes, Mail, that's all that us females are interested in, pointing and laughing at other people's cellulite, we couldn't possibly read a newspaper for NEWS could we?