UNTIL last week, I didn’t think Gordon Strachan had much in common with Miley Cyrus.
The former is the Scotland football manager, a man who lives and breathes the game and bemoans the height of his players with extraordinary comments like “we cannae put them in a growbag and make them six foot six”. No indeed, Gordon.
The latter is a teen pop sensation, the daughter of a country music star with an Achy Breaky Heart, and a woman who appears to possess the ability to twerk* on command.
After Scotland’s respectable performance against England at Wembley last week however, Strachan got a taste of what it might be like to be Cyrus when the rumours started – on Twitter of course – that the red-headed Strachan may have dyed his hair blonde. “It looks as though all the colour from Strachan’s hair has run into his face,” one wag tweeted, while another remarked that he looked like “a wee troll”. When Cyrus cut her hair and dyed it blonde earlier this year, she received similar criticisms, although the volume and extremity were, it should be said, tenfold.
The comments about Strachan came hot on the heels of an extraordinary collective outburst over the discovery that Jeremy Paxman had had the temerity to grow a beard, and even movie star Leonardo DiCaprio has not been immune, attracting remarks such as “the great gutsby” (see what they did there) after he was photographed on a yacht looking as though he may have filled out a little.
I spend much of my life railing against the fact that women today are constantly judged on their appearance – how shiny their hair is, how thin their hips are and how deep their crow’s feet are. But if that is a constant and alarming problem, it is also true that we are becoming more critical of men and their physical appearance too. And while the deep-seated schadenfreude I possess may lead me to think that a little bit of their own medicine might be no bad thing, I can’t help but think that it is dangerous – for all of us – if we start extending these ghastly judgmental attitudes that have become so endemic in our society about women’s appearance to men.
Cyrus should not be judged solely on her haircut any more than Strachan should. Both should have the right to dye their barnet candyfloss pink should they so wish, and while we are – of course – likely to remark on it, the small-minded nastiness of so much of it must stop. We really do need to start being, well, nicer to each other. The misogyny in this country is appalling. Let’s not start turning into misandrists as well.
* If you don’t know, it’s best not to ask
SPEAKING of criticism, Facebook has been under the spotlight in the past week after new research carried out by the University of Michigan revealed that the more you use the social networking site, the more miserable you are. Apparently, spending our lives on Facebook can actively make us depressed. Well, colour me surprised. A website that trades on image and competition, as we all struggle to post the most interesting and uplifting extracts of our lives, can only serve to bring us down. Perhaps it’s time to log off for good.
I LIKE Lady Gaga. She’s wild and different and challenging, and while I am, perhaps, a little old for her schtick, I appreciate that it has a slavish and devoted audience. Gaga has a new album out. We know this because she has been photographed extensively with different coloured paints on her face all week. Her new album, ARTPOP, has the feel of something that is Very Important And Serious, because “the point of ARTPOP is that art and pop can have an exchange”, according to Gaga. What a shame then that the first single, Applause, sounds like something knocked out on a Casio keyboard by a nightclub singer named Marge. «