As the years go on, more and more of the news young people hear comes from social media. Scrolling through Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter while eating breakfast has replaced flipping through the newspaper that was dropped on your doorstep at the crack of dawn. Access to social media has increased humans’ general knowledge of the world around them; by providing access to not only local but global news stories, it’s hard not to stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in politics, entertainment, and society as a whole. However, it has also fostered an environment whose negativity is beyond anything that humanity has seen before for teenagers and young adults to grow up in. They are constantly criticized on the Internet for their appearances if there is even one “flaw” that makes them look “imperfect”; they are pushed to conform to society’s unrealistic standards for beauty and personality, which requires them to put both their bodies and their minds through the wringer. News outlets that claim to keep viewers up-to-date on all the goings-on with their favorite celebrities criticize those celebrities for not looking and acting perfect, and one of those outlets is Daily Mail.
Daily Mail is a division of Mail Online, a newspaper based in the United Kingdom. Daily Mail runs a Snapchat story available to anyone who has a Snapchat account that covers the outfits of celebrities, their social media posts, changes in their lives, and so on. These topics appeal to all sorts of young people, who love to live vicariously through their favorite influencers’ lives and want to see who’s dating who on TikTok, or who posted a funny picture on Instagram, or who just released a song for the first time. However, Daily Mail covers these matters in a derogatory way that teaches young people that they must conform to impossible standards of beauty in order to be praised and loved by their peers. More often than not, when covering women, their news staff sexualizes them and demonstrates to their young audience that they are worth nothing more than their bodies. A list of grievances against Daily Mail is more than necessary, so that both girls and boys just emerging into the world of social media and the Internet know that they should look elsewhere for their news about celebrities, and that not only Daily Mail but the Internet as a whole learns that covering news can be done without setting up the world’s next generation for a host of insecurities and self-consciousness.
The Kardashian-Jenners have frequently been the subject of Daily Mail’s scrutiny. When one of Khloé Kardashian’s assistants posted a picture of her by a pool in a bikini without her permission, Daily Mail presented it as a catastrophe surrounded by a panicked scramble to scrub the picture from all branches of the Internet. They emphasized how it was “unfiltered and un-airbrushed,” failing to mention themselves that there was nothing wrong with how Khloé looked in the picture, and used the term “leaked” to describe how the picture was released – a term usually used for when pictures that are explicit or contain classified information, not a picture of someone smiling by the pool, modeling a cute bathing suit. When they are not thoughtful with how they cover these sorts of events, Daily Mail teaches teenagers and young adults that if society thinks there is anything wrong with your body, it’s best to Photoshop it out of the pictures you post than to embrace your body and refuse to conform to society’s standards. Following their coverage of this event, Daily Mail reposted Kylie Jenner’s “busty selfie,” writing that she “put on an eye-popping display” and “flashed her cleavage…as she posed for a sexy selfie in front of her private jet.” Not only is Kylie Jenner stepping out of her private jet quite an insignificant event to cover, but focusing most of the write-up on the sexual features of Kylie’s body and devoting only one or two sentences to her return to LA and the outfit she was wearing shows viewers that appealing to sexual desires is more important than anything else in their lives (including their fun outfits or what they’re doing that day), which is detrimental to the younger audience of Daily Mail. Young people should just focus on enjoying their time as kids, but coverage of celebrities like the Kardashian-Jenners in a way such as Daily Mail did takes the enjoyment out of childhood and forces teenagers to grow up fast and present themselves as perfect to the rest of the world, in order to please the society around them.
Not only are celebrities in the entertainment industry covered, but popular political figures don’t avoid the eyes of Daily Mail writers. While Daily Mail posed their coverage as a debate over whether “FLOTUS [was] bold or trashy,” they largely criticized every aspect of her ensemble, citing many tweets that said she was “‘too old for fishnets and stiletto booties,’” “‘an embarrassment of [a] 1st lady,’” and “‘too ancient to rock fishnets. Melania [Trump] definitely has the legs for them not crusty old Jill Biden.’” The authors of the story included two tweets that defended Jill, versus five that attacked her- quite an uneven balance for a story posed as being objective. Fashion is more of a subjective topic, and Daily Mail could have focused on citing tweets that criticized the clothes themselves, but instead, they attacked Dr. Jill Biden as being too old to wear certain pieces of clothing, which teaches young women in their audience that once they grow older, they will have to limit their fashion choices in order to avoid society’s scrutiny. This is something that should never be enforced in young minds; teenagers and young adults should be encouraged to wear what makes them feel comfortable and happy throughout their entire lives, without the limits of society being imposed on them.
Daily Mail has always been known as a tabloid-type source of news, and as a result, coverage of events like these is to be expected. However, it can be done in a way that avoids sexualizing and speaking in a derogatory manner about celebrities, which teaches their young audience harmful mindsets that will follow them throughout their entire lives. If Daily Mail doesn’t fix how they cover celebrity news soon, maybe it’s time that viewers completely ignore the news source altogether. After all, depriving a fire of oxygen kills it off entirely.
Junior Alex Martinez-Garcia is the co-editor of the 2020-2021 Colonel. When she’s not playing lacrosse or swimming for LHS or the Westerly YMCA, you can probably find her planning events as class president or in Outdoor Adventure Club. Outside of school, Alex loves to play the piano and watch every TV show that Netflix and HBO Max have to offer.