‘Nothing but sexism’ fumes Daily Mail in a report on Russian military pageants… filled with photos of Russian beauties

Few things scream ‘double standards’ as loudly as the Daily Mail accusing Vladimir Putin of running a sexist military in a story containing eyebrow-raising arguments and surrounded by articles that are hardly politically correct.

The Daily Mail tried its hand at being a champion of female emancipation and gender equality, producing a lengthy Russia-bashing piece. The Ruskies are now bad because they demean their brave female fighters, it seems. Their proof? The beauty pageants held for women in uniforms on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is damned for daring to call female soldiers the “weaker sex.” Women from the Airborne Troops were asked to “demonstrate their sewing skills” – a typical Russian propagation of gender stereotypes. And misogynists from the Missile Forces called their pageant ‘Makeup Under Camouflage’! And so on and so forth.


The Mail’s main source for the story seems to be journalist and blogger Nastya Krasilnikova, whose Telegram channel ‘Robber’s Daughter’ is dedicated to exposing sexism in the Russian media. The British newspaper for some reason mislabeled the channel as Krasilnikova’s handle @megabitch, but they didn’t take issue with the rude association.

Now, it’s true that women in Russia sometimes face problems due to their gender. The country has its Harvey Weinsteins, glass ceilings, violently abusive husbands and fathers and entrenched stereotypes.

But the Mail’s pearl-clutching comes across, frankly speaking, as a bit ridiculous: “Now that you’ve had your moment of anger over sexism in Russia, why don’t you read how‘Carol Vorderman, 59, displays her famous hourglass curves in skintight leather trousers’The link is in the right column.” Not to mention the newspaper’s pink-highlighted ‘Femail’ section, which is reserved for stories about fashion, food, gardening and Meghan Markle – but presumably is not furthering gender stereotypes.

Even if the piece were to distance itself from such neighbors, the Daily Mail just couldn’t help itself and packed its expose of ‘Russian sexism’ with photos upon photos of Russian fighting women – some shooting handguns or sewing, but mostly simply showing how beautiful they are. One has to wonder why.

The text itself leaves the reader with some questions. A Russian police officer with a ‘non-standard appearance’ won a contest for beauty and professional skills, after which online trolls harassed her and accused of benefiting from nepotism. And that proves the Russian police, who defended her win, are somehow sexist?

Really, Daily Mail, your headline for this one should have been: “Here is your daily reminder that Putin is evil, but look at those pics of gorgeous Russian women; aren’t they eye candy?”

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