Sunday 18 April 2010

Congrats to Grazia Magazine

I rather like Grazia Magazine. I’m told its informal category is ‘News and Shoes’ which fits very well. It is a glossy weekly magazine that’s not really glossy. (It has a pleasing matt finish.) It cites celebrity but does not lean back on it. It highlights style and beauty without being slavish. Most importantly to me, it highlights significant public issues without being preachy or didactic.

Last week, amid the shoes and scandal, was a very good piece focusing on women candidates of all parties who are standing in the forthcoming election. These are women who don’t just sound off about subjects; they step up to the mark in their high heels and say their piece. They are young and savvy and all have their own particular ambitions and sense of their potential for power. They don’t want to be anyone’s babes or beauties. They don’t want to be trophy female politicians. They want to be politicians and they feel they can make a difference.

Recent research among young women indicates that when asked to name women in politics, they name Mr Cameron’s wife or Mr Brown’s wife. Politics by association rules. It is no coincidence that these wives/women are bright and well turned out and attractive role-models for young women of this generation.

The inability of these young women to name an actual woman MP could be down to the fact that as a group, women MPs are on the tidy side of dowdy and often sound defensive, even when what they say makes sense. Their earnestness comes over as uncertainty and lack of authority. (Unlike the tousled, charismatic ex MP Shirley Williams who is a delight when she turns up on something like Question Time and exudes knowledge and authority. And smiles. The other exception was the charismatic equally tousled late lamented Mo Mowlam.)

I hope that this collection of potential female MPs produces some sound parliamentarians who don’t dowd down like the current crop and don’t have their bright ideas dumbed down by the processes of a male dominated parliament.

Articles like this in popular women’s magazines are a great source of informed insight for young women who can’t be doing with the effort of burrowing through the pages of The Guardian or The Telegraph for their political education. The are intelligent and can enjoy their political education alongside the latest shoes and celebrity fairy stories.

Why not? I say.

One proviso - I wish Grazia had carried a coverline on its front about this excellent article. You’ve got this level of credibility, so flaunt it…



  1. Why not? I say too. I've always been partial to a bit of Grazia - its got style; a great mixture of fashion, fun and intelligent commentary.

    A x

  2. Ack, how frustrating that young women see wives as "in politics" and ignore mps.

    There have been a number of Women in politics who make good role models Downunder.

    We haven't had a female prime minister, but we have had a number of female state premiers. Unfortunately, the earlier ones were given poison chalices, they became premier when their party was in such a bad position that they were never likely to win the next election. No matter how they shone as individuals.

    That is changing, at the last Queensland election Anna Bligh was our first woman to lead the Labor Party to victory.

    Also our current Deputy Prime Minister is a woman by the name of Julia Gillard. She is a politician who is taken very seriously.
    Yet at the same tim Gillard has been called "selfish" by social conservative for choosing a career instead of a family.
    Also, she has had various groups refer to her as "the sexiest woman" in Australia.
    I cringe at this sort of rubbish. But then I wonder, if young Aussie women might find it easier to take a female as a role model who is not only clever and powerful, but also "sexy".
    In the end Gillard is still a woman who has made decisions based on her choices, who is succeeding on her terms.



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