The Daily Female

A London tabloid refurbishes its attitude toward women.

Published February 13, 2006 3:46PM (EST)

There's an interesting piece in today's Guardian about how London tabloid the Daily Mail is increasing its number of female columnists. This is a meaningful development mostly because the Mail has been in the dark ages about women since, well, the Dark Ages.

The four new columnists writing for the paper's "Femail" section include Amanda Platell on single career women; Melanie Phillips, whom the Guardian darkly calls "the high priestess of moral posturing"; foreign correspondent Ann Leslie; and Allison Pearson, the author of the bestselling novel "I Don't Know How She Does It." The fact that the Mail is spending 300,000 pounds a year on Pearson, a woman who has written about the radical experience of working motherhood, is apparently a sign of progress for the paper. Yikes.

The Guardian's description of the Mail's historical attitudes toward women is pretty bleak -- "photos revealing celebrities' cellulite sit cheek by jowl with articles about how women are women's worst enemies" -- so these new columnists seem to be a move in the right direction, no matter how slight.

"This is an altogether more appealing Daily Mail persona than the ranting and bitching we had grown accustomed to," the Guardian generously concedes.

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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