25/04/2014 15:43 BST | Updated 25/06/2014 06:59 BST

Beyond the Front Pages

I'm breaking my own rule this week, and starting with a story that very much made the front pages - the front page of Time magazine to be precise. Earlier this week, Beyoncé was crowned queen of the US title's 100 Most Influential People In The World list, or the Time 100 as it's more generally billed, and consequently pictured looking her usual stunning self on the front of the magazine.

So far, so good. The socialsphere, however, didn't take long to react and when it did, the reaction wasn't pretty. The issue in question? That Queen B was pictured in her pants; a pictorial decision not bestowed on anyone else who made the cut.

To be fair, we've seen plenty of fellow listee Vladimir Putin wearing not many clothes, and if anyone was going to be disrobed for the cover splash, Beyoncé was the better choice, but for once, just once, wouldn't it be nice for a woman cover star to be given the same treatment as the male ones?

Does Beyoncé care? In the same week she dropped the new single Pretty Hurts, taking on the beauty pageant industry in three minutes of pop ballad, one imagines not.


Another pop star making waves this week was Avril Lavigne, who can't possibly have predicted the backlash that accompanied the release of her latest music video, Hello Kitty. Variously described as 'racist' and 'culturally insensitive', Avril hit back at the accusations, but in a further twist to the tale, when we checked in with the HuffPost Japan team, they said reaction in Japan had been largely positive.

Tweets from the country backed up this view. "Huh? What is discriminatory about this video? Those who think "it is discriminatory" are the ones who are discriminating," read one tweet. While another blogger wrote: "It's a pleasure that she loves Japan and talks about Japanese culture in her song!"


Cultural clashes on YouTube were in plentiful supply this week, although for filmmaker Vanessa Black, the results were overwhelmingly positive.

Appearing as part of Elite Daily's Millennials Making a Difference series, her journey to Ukraine to capture what she felt the media had missed from the conflict was an important reminder about the human face to the front-page stories.

Using video, social media and photography, Vanessa says she is aiming to "report human news, not only breaking news".


In keeping with my women-in-the-media theme this week, I end with Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman's brilliant analysis of the reaction to Chelsea Clinton's pregnancy news.

While Chelsea herself used her happy news as an opportunity to speak about how positive she feels about the female role models her child will have in the future - saying: "I certainly feel all the better, whether it's a girl or a boy, that she or he will grow up in a world full of so many strong young female leaders" - the reaction from certain camps didn't give the rest of us much hope.

From those claiming the pregnancy was nothing more than a well-timed PR tactic to help Chelsea's mother into the White House, to others who used it as an opportunity to slam Hillary Clinton's views on abortion, the maelstrom was staggering in its not-at-all-veiled sexism.

The way we tell the news may be changing, but old attitudes are still in plentiful supply.