I remember being excited seeing tweets and reports of a new website for Irish women at the beginning of the summer. I love reading blogs, websites or magazines that feed my interests in fashion, food, current affairs and everything in between, that this would be given an Irish twist really piqued my interest.
Truth be told, I seriously considered sending in my CV to see if I could add my tuppence to what appeared to be the next big player in Ireland’s online community. I didn’t in the end, as they were only looking for full-time writers, something I couldn’t commit to. However, since its launch during the summer, Her.ie has been disappointing, frustrating and at some points, offensive to me, the Irish woman it’s aimed at.
A brief look at today’s posts (10 October) reveals that the pertinent issues being ‘Our boobs are getting bigger! Hooray!’, ‘What would you do if you found THESE in your date’s bedroom’, ‘Matthew Mc Conaughey topless? Surely you’ll want to tune into that tonight!’ ‘Want to know what men think about when it comes to sex’. That’s a taster of the journalism being offered from ‘The Website for Irish Women’.
As a fashion and beauty blogger and avid media consumer, I am acutely aware of the dangerously blurred lines between body image issues, fashion and the media. I am also sensitive to the continual objectification of the female body in mainstream media, and here is where I think Her.ie ‘s biggest failing lies.
Women’s magazines and blogs are notorious for drawing unhealthy parallels between the female body and self-worth and value. A few years back, thin was in, anyone who wasn’t waif-like was out, as ridiculous as it seems, this penetrated both the female, and the male psyche and became ‘the norm’ or what was expected to be the norm. Now, ‘curvy’ is in. But don’t mix up ‘curvy’ with ‘normal’, no, curvy means, a small waist, a shapely bottom and a well-endowed chest. There’s to be no deviation from that formula. So, if you’re neither of those you might as well give up now. You’re worthless.
Her.ie is adding fuel to the already sky high fire by producing more articles on ‘bigger boobs’ ‘zero calories’ and the likes by placing yet more value on the female body and its proportions. Surely, the writers of these articles realise the unwanted pressure they’re landing on the desktops of those who read their words?
Trundling along down the road of insecurities, the girls at Her.ie then throw in a few articles on men, ‘what they really think about sex’ ‘’why men are so obsessed with boobs’ and my favourite ‘Three strikes and you’re done: most women give men three chances to change their ways.’ This not only infers that the objectification of women is acceptable; it is also offensive to the opposite sex who are reduced to zombie-like brainless creatures when faced with a pair of breasts. This quote from Amy Wall, a Her.ie writer really makes me want to scream with frustration.
‘So ladies the next time you catch your man having a sneaky glance at your boobs, just remember, it’s an evolutionary urge and he can’t really help it.’
Because of the high-profile writers and large marketing campaign, Her.ie is probably being read by thousands of Irish (and non-Irish) women every day. This both worries and offends me in equal measures; I worry as to the long-term damage to these women who ingest this offensive, condescending writing, and I am offended that Her.ie brands itself as ‘the website for Irish women’. Given the resources and energy put into the site, Her.ie could do a lot better than the generic, one-dimensional commentary it is currently producing.