Disclaimer: image owned by The Guardian
If we take some time to observe the world around us we are able to witness the slow evolution and growth of certain segments of society, made possible through the hard work of men and women who mould the future piece by piece. Angelia Jolie told us that we can all change the world and this year she has been voted the “most admired woman” in a recent YouGov poll, which is unsurprising due to the amount of humanitarian work she has undertaken. I in no way imply that Jolie is the sole carrier of the good in the world, but her status wealth and popularity benefit the scope and influence that her campaigns have, which is why it deserves reams of respect.
Angelina Jolie is a special envoy for the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) and on Monday she opened the first academic centre to help women in war zones who are oppressed by violence and brutality. Jolie gave a speech about the centre, which is the first of its kind in Europe, and stated that “the empowerment of women to be the highest priority for the finest minds, in the best academic institutions,”. She dedicated it to a 13 year old girl she met in Iraq, who is being denied education due to her label as a rape victim. The aim of the centre is to stop this and thousands of other cases and Jolie believes that “There is no stable future for a world in which crimes committed against women go unpunished,”. She and co-founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative in 2012 William Hague are fighting for equality. The equality of women, the equity of women in war zones and the equal opportunity to an education.
This is a wondrous moment in the crusade for women’s rights and the rights of humanity itself and I could praise this and similar achievements until everybody and anybody paying attention became very bored. However, this is not a news blog, and the point of this post was not to recycle The Guardians work. No, it is to gawk and gasp at the frankly ridiculous way that some news organisations covered the event.
A bitter attack.
Amazingly, Angelina Jolie had just announced how she would be freeing vulnerable women from the devastating effects of living in a war zone, but, blatantly, the key aspect here was most definitely the width of her leg. Yes, I can hardly believe it myself but Jolie was not in the news for her efforts but for the sight of her bare legs. It is no secret, the Lara Croft actress has always been slim and I am quite certain that readers do not need to be reminded. This is not news. The notion fourth estate journalism has just withered and died in response. Was this published under the impression it was what the world needed to see, or was it merely an attack on Jolie’s body- was there any actual concern for her health? Her ‘skinny legs’ should not have coincided with the opening of a new academic centre and I feel this is further evidence of the sad way society views women.
People would still rather discuss a woman’s physical appearance than any of her successes or actions. Ah yes, she flew to the moon on a hotdog, but isn’t she looking a little tubby around the middle??? Its ludicrous, if people are concerned about her weight then this should be a discussed in a different area (in fact, it shouldn’t be discussed at all, as it is her business only) and not be used to dismiss and overshadow the real story. Being thin is not healthy, granted, but Jolie has publicly spoken out about how the death of her mother caused the weight loss. Regardless, it is madness that this even crossed the mind of a news organisation. It is a sad attempt to tarnish the star whilst she carries out another human friendly act.
Will we ever see the day were women are valued for something above and beyond the ‘required’ amount of fat in certain places, the features on their face, hair on their head and clothes on their back?