Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Things that irritate me about the Daily Mail - Part 1 - Use of the word "Flaunt"

As everything about the Daily Mail irritates me, I potentially have an endless supply of inspiration...

flaunt  (flônt)
v. flaunt·ed, flaunt·ing, flaunts
1. To exhibit ostentatiously or shamelessly: flaunts his knowledge. See Synonyms at show.
2. Usage Problem To show contempt for; scorn.
1. To parade oneself ostentatiously; show oneself off.
2. To wave grandly: pennants flaunting in the wind.

According to the narrative of the Daily Fail, an assortment of famous women are perpetually "flaunting" themselves - or their curves - or if they've been papped on a beach holiday, "flaunting their beach body". This is bloody bad English displaying a blatant disregard for the actual meaning of the word, undercut with the Victorian assertion that famous and beautiful women all have the morals of a necrophiliac dockyard rat. All  because you've been seen in possession of hips, boobs and waist.

By this rationale, possessing the secondary sexual characteristics of ones gender, and wearing nice clothes at a public event is enough to make you a slapper. However, a woman with a prominent career, standing on a beach wearing a bikini with her family during a private holiday where someone surreptitiously takes a photo of her and sells it to a magazine, is realistically only guilty of one thing - having the courage to get her skin out in a public place.

Yes, there are copious amounts of ardent self publicists out there who seek out opportunities to wiggle and jiggle in an assortment of locations, but if one of the major expectations of your job is that you turn up in a posh frock and smile, it's just plain rude to somehow imply that that person is trying actually demand attention of a sexual nature by having the audacity to be a pretty woman with a public profile.
By the nature of the beast, fame means that you are instrinsically more visible than the average person, but looking good in a attractive frock or in a bikini is certainly not the same as "flaunting" oneself. 

Arguably a burlesque artist flaunts herself, but that is in primarily in the context of her act, and while she'll be beautifully groomed and dressed, I don't think Dita von Teese visits her local supermarket in tassells and a g-string operating with an overwhelming need to seduce all who cross her path. Strangely, predatory impulses accompanied by fabulously nork-enhancing top notch Vivienne Westwood and buying bog roll and cheese strings rarely go hand in hand (but I'm willing to accept that I could be mistaken).

She's not working so your right to use the word "flaunt" in the true sense has gone.  As worst it's an appalling example of the sexual double standard, implying that a successful woman and her unruly curvy body are by implication trying to grap attention. At best, it's a bitchy reflection of a restricted mindset that is profoundly unhappy with itself and seeks to make everyone feel lousy about themselves, no matter who you are.

It makes my wee boil....

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