An excellent example of the female Guardian column

I don\’t know, we don\’t know, rickets is all very complicated.

So I\’ll blame it on poverty
.

Rinse and repeat about any and every issue.

36 thoughts on “An excellent example of the female Guardian column”

  1. I know you disagree with the Guardian politically and that’s fine, but don’t make it about gender. There are plenty of men who say similar things, and women who say the opposite! To assert otherwise is sexist.

  2. Except, of course, that:

    1. Rickets isn’t particularly complicated.

    2. The only reason we don’t if there are any particular social causes behind the recent upswing in rickets is because no one has yet done a proper prospective study, and

    3. We don’t actually need to know what causing the rise in rickets to fix the problem with Vitamin D supplementation.

    That said, in mitigation, Ms Ellen is very noticeably a columnist of little brain and the Groan is far from being the only national newspaper with a sizeable crop of Glenda wannabes.

  3. Andy, if Tim’s right and this is characteristic of female hacks there, numerically, then he’s quite entitled to say so. It isn’t sexist to accurately mention gender differences, which do exist.

  4. Peter:

    If anything, columns like this are entirely characteristic of the kind of female hacks that the press as a whole tend to employ in the belief that their style of writing will appeal to female readers.

    The sexist assumptions start long before any of these columns ever hit the page.

  5. She even manages to work in a mention of climate change, though she seems to think that climate change means more sunshine, which I doubt is a common scientific view.
    If numbers of cases have gone up from virtually zero to negligible might it be more people moving from countries with lots of sun, (where they sensibly go about completely wrapped up) to a cloudy UK?
    But that argument wouldn’t fit the Guardian agenda.

  6. Alex nearly has it. It is people coming from sunny countries, but countries where they go about getting lots of sun to compensate for their darker skin. Here in the UK where their kids are “forced” to stay indoors because streets and parks are too dangerous to play in because a pedo could be at every corner and park, then they will not get any sun at all. To compensate for this lack of sun by taking supplements means that you are treating the symptoms, not the cause. The solution is to allow kids to go out and play outside without factor 1000 on.

  7. Yes, possible RATIONAL explanations include mass migration from parts of the world with lots of sun to a part with not very much, and a decade of advice/panic from the health establishment that any more than 10 minues in the sun will fry you to death?

  8. I suspect the truth is that Rickets occurs in the children of immigrants, and in the female immigrants who cover themselves head to foot.

    Quite well known really but this does not get reported.

  9. There’s also an excellent reason why our skins got paler as we emigrated out of Africa all those thousand of year ago and drifted north – melanin does a pretty good job of blocking the UV needed to make/activate vitamin D. Go look at people like the Lapps, or speculate why there is a higher proportion of pale skinned redheads in Scotland than in Spain etc. It’s because pale skin is an evolutionary advantage in high latitudes. Now bring in lots of dark skinned people to these northern latitudes and, moreover, ones whose sky fairy says their womenfolk can’t go outdoors much and must be covered up when they do (and hence their kids stay indoor too) – guess what you get ….

  10. Corrections and clarifications –

    An article in the Guardian of Sunday 16 December incorrectly suggested that cases of rickets have quadrupled in the UK as a result of those nasty Tories and probably also any business that UK Uncut hates.

    In fact, rickets are part of the magical, Danny Boyle directed tapestry of our wondrous multiculturalism and enrich Britain in the same way that curries and Mo Farah do. Only racist Tories or UKippers could possibly object to Britain importing a vibrant diversity of diseases.

    The Guardian apologises for its error.

  11. The argument is that due to the recession people are buying less fruit, vegetables, bread and milk and switching to other foods with less vitamin D. Fast food costs *more* than bread, milk, fruit and vegetables, so it is nonsense to blame the rise in rickets on poverty (there is also the minor point that the best sources of Vitamin D are not fruit and bread but oily fish, liver and margarine, but as these are cheaper than white fish, most other meat, and butter respectively, my point remains valid after adjusting for the Grauniad’s ignorance of the sources of Vitamin D).

  12. If I remember rightly, the direct link between skin-covering and rickets is breast-feeding – the babies of ‘covered’ mothers don’t get the vitamin D they need. Of course it’s well-known that higher rates of breast-feeding are linked with increasing wealth, so it would appear than in fact the exact opposite of the Graun’s theory is the case – if the parents of the children with rickets were poorer, they’d be much more likely to bottle feed, avoiding the problem.

  13. Apparently rickets has been appearing among the middle classes, so I’ve read. There is our clue.

    Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. A major dietary source is animal fat. The middle classes are in the grip of mad food fetishes, and actively avoiding feeding animal fats to their children, and insisting that others also not feed animal fats to their children, and so on. They even feed children milk with the fat taken out.

    Children in the past neither spent all day sunbathing nor ate very large quantities of oily fish.But they did eat a lot of animal fats. Which are now verboten.

    It is thus probably fair to say that this is another consequence of the madness of the middle class. The type of hysterical puritan-cranks who read the Guardian. Those people.

  14. Rickets is such an easily avoided disease that it seems to me that its appearance should be a matter for the police, not the welfare state.

  15. Couldn’t be arsed to read the article as the guardian is complete shite and I suffer from confirmation bias but just maybe the UK has more people with higher melatonin levels nowerdays?

  16. Ian: I’m not sure I’d use “logic” to describe it, but I think the thought process is that the mother isn’t passing on enough Vitamin D through the breast milk.

  17. When even the Independent refuses to drink the Kool Aid, you know the article is utter wank from start to finish.

    Still, red meat to the readers.

  18. Ellen –

    …there’s the 2011 Family Food survey, which says that, since the recession, people are buying 10%-20% less fruit and vegetables, and much less fresh milk, bread, and fish.

    Article Ellen links to –

    Intervention is needed because of the paucity of sunlight in Britain and fact that eating foods rich in vitamin D, such as oily fish, eggs and mushrooms, gives someone only 10% of their ideal intake, he said.

    Do these people even try?

  19. Is there not current theory that :
    1. We all need more vitamin D.
    2. It has much wider importance than rickets prevention.

  20. So Much For Subtlety

    Unity – “If anything, columns like this are entirely characteristic of the kind of female hacks that the press as a whole tend to employ in the belief that their style of writing will appeal to female readers.”

    I am not sure arguing that female readers are even more stupid than female columnists is a help. Unless you think that the newspapers readership figures and research is all wrong and women do not read these sort of articles? I would think that was a big call.

    “The sexist assumptions start long before any of these columns ever hit the page.”

    Well newspapers are doing a poor job of selling anything to anyone, but I would have thought that if your choices were 1. they knew what they were doing or 2. there is a vast conspiracy against women, 2. is not the first option you should be reaching for.

    john malpas – “Is there not current theory that :
    1. We all need more vitamin D.
    2. It has much wider importance than rickets prevention.”

    No, I think they are still working on the broad assumption that five minutes of sunshine will kill you. But I will state again the obvious – White people must have been under some real selection pressure to drop the melanin. No one so far has much of an idea of what it might be – although rickets does come close. But other health problems must exist or we would not be so white.

  21. In the debate over relative intelligence of the sexes, and newspapers’ opinions of their readers’ intelligence, I think Richard Murphy’s fame should be taken into account.

  22. Sorry I can’t give a reference, but I heard recently that the UK climate means that the entire population is deficient in vitamin D intake during the winter months, so we need to top up our reserves in the summer. If we don’t go out, or cover up, that’s not going to happen.

  23. “…there’s the 2011 Family Food survey, which says that, since the recession, people are buying 10%-20% less fruit and vegetables, and much less fresh milk, bread, and fish.”

    Could that not be that because food is more expensive, people are wasting less of it? And what, pray, are people eating instead?

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