Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It was the NUJ wot won it.

The National Union of Journalists took action several days ago at the Daily Star to prevent a racist spoof, purporting to show what the paper would look like under shari'a law. This newspaper is, suffice to say, a hideously misogynistic piece of shit that made itself notorious in 1989 when it published a front page picture of a fifteen year old schoolgirl holding her hands over her nipples. The paper informed readers that when she was sixteen, they could see the nipples. It does not, of course, purport to tell you a great deal about the news. It's target audience is apparently working class and lower-middle class men, to whom it offers a cheering up after a horrible day at work with some semi-pornographic pictures, celebrity gossip and humour: the sort of inconsequential shite that one can recite to mates without any controversy ("here, listen to this, Katie Price has gone and had her baps deflated, hur hur hur"). To put it another way, the Daily Star is not a champion of women's rights.

The paper's first reaction to Mr Straw's bogus "veil" controversy was to exclaim: "Get 'Em Off!" This in a big headline, mark you, in case any passing Muslim women might have missed the instruction from Whitey. Had it not been for action from the NUJ, there would have been a "Daily Fatwah" page devoted to explaining "“How Britain’s fave newspaper would look under Muslim rule". The spoof headline was to be "Death to all Infidels", and there would have been a page 3 called "Burqa Babes". I referred to this kind of fantasy about Muslim women as 'Veil Fetishism', but the reality is that it is simply another way in which non-white women are specifically targeted for oppression and, let's be blunt about it, rape. The newspaper that encouraged readers to crouch over their rags, cock in hand, awaiting the appearance of a sixteen year old girl with her nipples displayed, is not terribly scrupulous about encouraging fantasies about rape, even of minors.

Trade unionists have often been at the forefront of challenging both Islamophobia and sexism. In this case, the NUJ struck a blow against both. If you feel like commending them, contact your MP to support George Galloway's early day motion, and also send messages of support to the NUJ.