Friday 20 April 2007

Her&Nu attacks Australia's Woman's Day

This week's Her&Nu (no.16 19 April 2007) has written a cover story about Australian tabloid weekly Woman's Day: Shock before birth.

While it’s normal in Denmark to send your child to nursery as early as from six months, Crown Princess Mary is accused in the Australian weekly Woman's Day of letting Prince Christian down because she is sending him to day nursery too soon. Woman's Day, which is located on the other side of the world, apparently has a very talkative employee as a contact at Fredensborg Palace, who reveals that Mary spends hours on teary telephone conversations with the family back home in Australia and that her fairy tale life has turned into a complete nightmare.

According to Woman's Day some media in Australia have lifted eyebrows because of Mary letting down Prince Christian, and that she clearly cannot cope with the demands of being a mother at home and that she therefore turns her back on Australian norms about keeping children at home until they reach school age.

[Some] Australian media have apparently started their own cycle of stories of perpetual motion which have completely misunderstood Danish norms where we start a child in a day care institution with playmates of a similar age – often from the age of six months. Woman's Day has published yet another terrifying cover with Crown Princess Mary. Under the headline “Princess Mary’s private family hell”, the Crown Princess is blamed for being a woman who has no influence on what is best for her own child, but is instead forced by the DRF to send Christian to day nursery. The apparently talkative employee within the palace walls also tells that Mary broke down in tears when she found out what the Australians felt about Christian starting in day nursery. According to the magazine, Mary couldn’t decide herself when he was going to start, but she had to conform to the same norms as when the Princes Nikolai and Felix started in a day care centre.

But it’s not only Mary who is accused of neglect. Crown Prince Frederik is also supposed to be letting Mary down by leaving her alone and lonely with all the problems. And this despite Frederik being home since his official visit to the Galathea 3 expedition, from which he returned home on the 11th of March. (by Sarah Køhnke and kindly translated by Muhler and thanks to cph and gudinde)

DRWs comment: It is no surprise that this kind of concocted tabloid journalism should provoke a reaction in Denmark. We have already expressed some thoughts about these kinds of stories here on the blog. These stories are more like the distortions of the mirrors in a fun house! They use the basic facts of events and inflate one or two random extreme views (most likely) encountered in online royalty forums. There is no real journalistic work done, but any whiff of criticism found on an online forum or around the water cooler is transformed into a story claiming to be a common view, but which has no basis in fact. If they have journalistic evidence they ought to account for their stories; trawling internet forums and regurgitating opinions which don't reflect a majority view is not journalism. It is well known that stories about stable, happy royals and celebrities do not sell magazines. In recent stories in Woman's Day multiple photos of a happy and beaming Mary have ridiculously belied the text accompanying them. The Australian women's magazines are perhaps attempting to reproduce the Diana/British royal family tabloid soap opera which sold them so many magazines ten years ago in an era now when magazine sales are falling.

The Danish royal family is very grounded in everyday life in Denmark and is very integrated into the Danish national identity. In the tabloid world these made up stories will unfortunately continue, unless, of course, magic dust is sprinkled all over the world and things are somehow totally different! In Denmark the approval of the royal family is very high and excessive attacks on the royal family are not well tolerated. Several Danish tabloids have retreated from similar baseless stories. There are interesting issues for the relationship between Denmark and Australia and how information and stories about Mary are understood and communicated. Australia is distant and there is a language barrier too which gives some space for mischief. And maybe it goes the other way too sometimes with misunderstanding in Denmark about Australia. However, the tabloids occupy a universe all their own. Some different angles on stories couldn't hurt Woman's Day though, and they might even manage to get an actual story over their competitors if they stop besmirching their own reputation.

It should also be noted that child care practices in Australia are quite similar to those in Denmark, although in Denmark it is even better supported by government funding and regulation of standards. On the whole, Australians are unlikely to find Christian's attendance a few hours a week for socialisation exceptional, as their own children are in exactly the same situation or in even longer periods of care.

Oh! and other tabloids are not off the hook either, both Danish and Australian - add Ekstra Bladet and New Idea to the list, even though Woman's Day has been the worst offender lately!

B.T. repeats the story 'Australsk presse: Mary er dårlig mor' (Danish) - Australain press: Mary is a bad mother'


Blogger Kirstine said...

This article is spot on! I am an avid follower of the Scandinavian royal families, and refuse to buy Woman's Day & New Idea here as they make such awful accusations about Crown Princess Mary and her life in Denmark. I just hope that the Danish people realise that most Australians are sure that Mary is quite at home and happy in Denmark. I'm sure she has family squabbles like any other, and my son also started in childcare when he was 6 months old. Woe betide anyone who would accuse me of being a bad mother because of that!

5:37 am  
Blogger Home Educator's Helper said...

The thing I find amusing is that all these apparant "secret" things going on within royal/famous families are not 'secret' when they are plastered all over the cover of a magazine - yet people are gullible enough to still think they are finding out some really hot goss, when most of it is made up tripe - I have better things to spend $3.40 (or whatever it is) on!

I would give the royal family credit enough to think they know how to employ loyal staff and maintain friendships that they are confident will not betray them.

I also find it amusing that people would think Mary could give two hoots about what Australian's think of her parenting choices. I personally don't even consider her an Australian! She is a *Danish* princess, I would imagine, that if she was concerned about what anyone would think it would be the people of Denmark and her own family - not a bunch of people she has no real connection with!

I too, have no doubt she has her troubling times - as we ALL do, we just have the advantage of not having every frown we may allow to cross our face from time to time not being turned into some major midlife crisis by a bunch of strangers who make their living by lying about others!!

I would imagine that Mary, and most other high profile folk have a good hearty laugh at some of the rubbish said about them, I know I certainly would, especially when all the physical evidence points to the exact opposite of what is being reported!!

I must stop raving, this is just one of my pet peeves - media who get away with telling lies - just plain wrong IMO!


11:52 am  

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