Whilst browsing Twitter yesterday, I stumbled across a tweet from The Daily Mail on my timeline which somebody had retweeted and it seriously bloody angered me. The Daily Mail aren't exactly famous for their intellectually stimulating and impartial reporting and as a publication frequently associated with sexism and homophobia, it is certainly no stranger to controversy. Whilst their comical headlines usually trigger nothing more than an eye roll or an occasional chuckle at the stupidity of the reporting from me, the shameful tweet in question triggered a full blown state of anger in me and it was all down to this headline...
The article published on the MailOnline received such a backlash and triggered such a storm of angry tweets from members of the public and in particular the LGBT community, it has since re-drafted the article, which now includes a completely different headline. However, the damage had already been done. The controversial article in question and the reaction from the public represent two dangerously different attitudes towards gender behaviours and social attitudes and as it appears practically nobody seems to share the same homophobic opinions as the writer of said article, so why then, is this 'Newspaper' continuing to publish articles with such similar underlying themes of casual homophobia in the headlines month after month?
Several days before their reporting on Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow, The Daily Mail had offended many and were blasted for their homophobic coverage of the HIV preventing PrEp drug ruling, branding it a "lifestyle drug" and a "promiscuity pill". Are you sensing a common theme here? Because I am.
So it's all good and well avoiding the Daily Mail and the MailOnline like the plague and rolling your eyes every time one of their comical headlines finds itself retweeted onto your timeline, but whilst the Daily Mail and other publications continue to publish article after article which reflect themes of homophobia, sexism and a backwards attitude and approach to gender norms and behaviours which are read by millions, then what does this mean for society? As a millennial kid, I am very conscious of and aware of the fact that I am incredibly lucky to have grown up in an constantly evolving and developing society, which in my lifetime has already witnessed the legalisation of same-sex marriage, seen the introduction of genderless toilets, witnessed the introduction of genderless fashion by brands such as Zara and thanks to the media, are constantly exposed to inspirational famous LGBT activists such as Caitlyn Jenner and Miley Cyrus, who are paving the way for the future generations and educating the children of today and encouraging a more accepting mentality than that of their older peers.
We sure have got a hell of a long way to go until homophobia is completely eradicated from society and I'm not naive to believe that that day will ever arrive, as of course, not everybody shares the same opinion in this world and sadly there will always be people who don't believe in same-sex relationships and no amount of laws introduced or exposure to the matter will ever change that, as much as I would love it too. However, eradicating casual homophobia from newspapers, from television, from songs, from movies, from books and most importantly from politics and laws, means we have a bloody good chance of a more accepting society and a LGBT community who don't have to open up a newspaper and feel personally violated or targeted by homophobic journalism from the likes of The Daily Mail.
I hope that with the influx of a younger generation of writers like myself who have been fortunate enough to grow up in a society which acknowledges the transgender community, celebrates same-sex marriage and acknowledges the fact that gender is not a black and white subject, attitudes in the media will slowly begin to change. Girls don't have to like pink and play with dolls. Boys don't have to like blue and play with Action Men and two men hugging should certainly not be considered feminine and trigger outrage from so called 'journalists' for not being 'manly'.
I honestly do believe that in 20 years time we will look back at articles such as the one I have discussed in this post and we will laugh in shock at the ridiculousness of it all, just like our future children will probably look back and laugh in shame at how ridiculous it was that same-sex marriage was illegal in the UK until as late as 2014....