In the wake of TV presenter Caroline Flack’s suicide, beauty salons across the UK and Ireland are removing gossip magazines from their premises.
Gossip magazines and tabloids cater to society’s obsession with celebrities, appealing to schadenfreude, the joy of observing the suffering of others. These kinds of publications are largely sensationalist and seek out opportunities to humiliate those in the spotlight in different ways, among them fat shaming, slut shaming and the publishing of pictures of stars without makeup. These publications are coming under fire as they are no longer seen to be harmless. Rather, they are seen to be contributing to a society where it is easy to hide behind one’s screen and hurl abuse at individuals, sometimes with dangerous repercussions. The tabloids and gossip magazines fed relentlessly off the minute details of Caroline Flack’s life and her death has reopened the debate on media regulation.
To counter the negativity of the scandal mongers, many hair salons across the UK and Ireland have decided to boycott such publications in favour of more uplifting content that promotes positive, empowering messaging. “We have decided to look for magazines featuring decor, personal growth, health, food, fashion and wellbeing. If you are a place of business that provides your guests with rag mags, join me and replace them with reading material that adds value to your guests’ lives and stop fuelling toxic publication,” says Dublin’s Hair Cafe Salon on its Facebook page. In response, one social media user called this the most positive thing she’d seen online in ages. The Boutique Hair and Beauty Salon Cullompton has also taken this step, appealing to other hair salons to do the same. However it’s the consumers of gossip magazines who will ultimately determine whether this campaign flies – and whether the bottom line is affected.
According to the World Health Organization, depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.The statement made by the hair salons is part of the larger #bekind movement and the widespread focus on mental health and wellbeing in order to create a society that eschews cruelty in favour of tolerance.
By: Faeeza Khan
Image credit: Aw Creative