Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Some are more equal than others

What's the difference between exhibitionism and exposing yourself? That's not the set-up for a joke, it's a genuine question.

Two different women, two different outfits, two different nights out. Neither one seems to have any qualms about showing off the goods, and yet the Mail has two very different ways of reporting their exploits.

The first is Liz Hurley, who never met a dress she couldn't spill out of. From attending a film premiere dressed like a punk's earlobe, to turning up at someone else's wedding in a limelight-hogging frock, Liz has always had a penchant for picking the perfect outfit to guarantee column inches.

This week she and husband Arun Nayar arrived at the Love Ball charity event, with Liz sporting a sheer blue sari and nothing else. As a result the paparazzi's flashbulbs revealed Liz's Notting Hill's in all their glimmering glory.

But because La Hurley is plummier than a bottle of hoisin sauce, the Mail decided to give her weather-inappropriate outfit a fawning write-up - "Now that's sheer exhibitionism, Liz. With a figure like hers at 44, who can blame La Hurley for wanting to show it off?"

However, it was a different story for Peaches Geldof, who took a picture of herself showing some leg in the back of taxi en route to the Issa catwalk show. This time the Mail's slightly more condemnatory coverage read "Why IS Peaches exposing herself in the back of taxi? Dress rode up to expose her heavily tattooed thigh - the perfect picture to Twitter then."

Now, I can't blame the Mail for taking a dislike to Peaches, a woman so pointless she could have sprung from the pages of the Innovations catalogue. But why is she described as 'attention-seeking', whilst Hurley gets a commendation for 'accidentally' overlooking the need for underwear?

Attention is like oxygen to any celebrity - especially those who serve a mostly decorative function. Self-worth is measured in column inches. So by all means congratulate Liz on looking fantastic at 44, but don't give her a free pass only to condemn those who try a similar tactic.

Besides, if they really want to take a pop at Peaches, they're hardly going to be short of material - unlike her dress.

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