How was your summer? For me it was time where although I enjoyed the break from deadlines and pressures, it was one where events around the world made me wish I could write a thousand letters for this column.
The Olympics were, once again, a hugely successful event for British athletes. Note I use the word athlete there and do not precede it with ‘female.’ The media coverage surrounding the athletes who happened to be women was archaic, often putting their success down to who they were married to or fathered by. There were also comments on how theses women looked and on what they were wearing. And this didn’t just happen to the athletes, but the commentators as well and I found myself frustrated by the reporting and belittling of their achievements by journalists needing to link these successful women to men. When their successes have nothing at all to do with men. Sure their husbands/partners must be wonderfully supportive – I’d like to think – in order for them to win a medal at an Olympic games, but that’s not why they’ve won. The men in their lives weren’t the ones training for hours and days and weeks. They weren’t the ones dedicating their whole lives to achieve their dream. No, that was them, the athletes themselves. This girl really can!
And then over the summer holidays there were horrific murders of women, where newspapers and reports focused on solely their killers, their husbands, portraying them as ‘troubled,’ ‘under pressure,’ and saying their murderous, violent, horrific acts were ‘out of character.’ The women killed vanished and became invisible. We were told nothing about them. There were no column inches dedicated to them. They were purely defined as mothers, or wives, not women. Women whose lives have been cruelly cut short by men they loved and trusted. It’s abhorrent.
Another incident that angered me was when French police made an unsuspecting, harmless, female, who happened to be dressed in a burka, to strip on a crowded beach. And these police officers were men. The four men surrounded the young woman who was sitting with her family and made her remove clothing while people looked on. Now, I know France has been victim to a number of insidious terror attacks and many innocent people have been killed. And yes, this may put the country quite rightly on high alert. But banning something on religious grounds for its potential to insight terror is taking things a step too far. Will Christians no longer be able to wear crosses around their necks? Do Catholics need to ditch the rosary beads? Must Nuns ditch their habits? I have no words.
And so reader, this proves more than ever that we need to keep addressing these things and shouting out loud and writing and sharing this column. And the media for one really do need to start listening.
Things need to change.
Love, Me x
If you would like to contribute to the letters column then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org