Last Friday at the Roundhouse in London, Amanda Palmer (otherwise known as Amanda Fucking Palmer) delivered an open letter to the Daily Mail in the form of a song. ‘Dear Daily Mail’ was a response to an article (and I use that term loosely) about her performance at Glastonbury festival, during which her breast “escaped” from her bra. It goes like this:
I think it’s brilliant. It’s scathing and gleeful and brilliantly witty, and denies the Daily Mail any power over Palmer or her sense of self worth.
The article Palmer refers to as “a feature review of my boob” looks like this:
Normally when I comment on articles I provide links on the basis that it’s fair enough to let readers take a look and make up their minds for themselves, rather than relying on me for a description. Today, though, I think a screenshot will suffice. The whole piece can be summed up in a sentence, I really don’t want to give them the traffic, and it really is so debilitatingly boring that I won’t encourage you to waste your time. The entire message of the article is communicated in the first 61 words, not all of which were necessary:
She’s never afraid to make a statement but Amanda Palmer made a bit of a boob of herself on stage at Glastonbury.
The singer saw her breast left on show after it escaped her bra, while performing at the music event on Friday.
Amanda’s bra rode up while her shirt opened, leaving her wardrobe malfunction on show for all to see.
That’s it. That’s literally all the content there is to the article. A few strangely-phrased sentences to justify the click bait that’s rather gutlessly published under the anonymous byline ‘Daily Mail Reporter’. Further topics half-heartedly covered in the padding that follows include:
- Amanda Palmer’s outfit
- Her tendency to perform in her underwear
- Her age and sexual orientation
- The fact that fans were irritated at the BBC’s lack of coverage of her Glastonbury performance
- Nothing about the performance itself. Not one reference to a song. I actually searched the word ‘song’ to see if I’d missed it in all 199 words of copy. Not one result.
Palmer has kindly provided us with all the lyrics here on her website. Here’s my favourite part of the song:
dear daily mail,
you will never write about this night
i know that because i’ve addressed you directly i’ve made myself no fun to fight
but thanks to the internet people all over the world can enjoy this discourse
and commune with a roomful of people in london who aren’t drinking kool-aid like yours
The best this about it is that she’s absolutely right. At the time of writing, here’s what a search for ‘Amanda Palmer’ brings up on the Mail Online website:
It says a lot about the Daily Mail’s editors that they have been provided with controversy and decided not to comment on it. It reinforces so many of the archaic expectation of women that we continue to struggle against: that the ‘fairer sex’ should be seen and not heard; that women should be shamed for their behaviour and take the stares, bearing their punishment meekly. It’s all a bit Scarlet Letter.
Not only has Palmer deigned to defy the Mail by speaking up for herself, she’s committed a far more heinous crime in the eyes of the woman-baiting rag. She’s refused to admit there’s anything to apologise for, by failing to be ashamed of her own body. The fact that they even referred to the incident as an “embarrassing wardrobe mistake” shows the sheer lack of thought that went into writing it. As Palmer sang in her open letter, topless photographs of her are easily available to anyone who googles her name.
Of course, this won’t deter the Mail from continuing to body-shame and slut-shame and generally shame women for merely being women. The Sidebar of Shame hasn’t imploded overnight. But it’s nice to see someone calling them out on it. And Palmer’s done it to great effect. There must only be a few people out there who’ve managed to render the tabloid (figuratively) speechless for a while.
All in all, it’s a bit of an embarassment, isn’t it, Daily Mail?