The personal voice is everywhere in journalism, whether it takes the form of comment writing, personal columns, confessional journalism or blogging. The personal voice, argumentative, assertive, or emotionally revealing, is a dominant feature of contemporary journalism. Yet critical discussion usually ignores these types of writing, dismissing them as less worthy than ‘objective’ journalism. Speaking personally is about how and why these forms, which arguably have always been present, have now come to play such an important role in contemporary journalism.
This book, authorised by the Mandela Foundation, was co-written by myself , Mike Nicol, Tim Couzens and Amina Frense. I conducted the interviews with all the non -South African subjects, including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Bono etc.
2004 – DIANA: THE PORTRAIT. Authorised by the Estate of Diana, Princess of Wales (UK: HarperCollins, USA: Andrews McMeel, Australia: Hodder Headline, New Zealand: Hodder PQ, France:Editions du Chene, Germany: Knesebech Verlag, Japan: Aprica,)
This beautifully illustrated book was authorised by the Diana Memorial Fund. It includes a detailed discussion of Diana’s relationship with the press. I interviewed Diana’s mother, and sister for the book, along with a number of other people who had not been interviewed previously.
Published in 1999 with the UK still adjusting to the consequences of a major economic recession, Sacred Cows argues that feminism has in some ways succeeded far more than feminists sometimes imagine. Sacred Cows argues that the recession of the nineteen nineties caused a ‘gender quake’ and that it was men rather than women who had been hardest hit. Some feminist contrast , buoyed up by some problematic triumphalism , hadn’t taken this into account and derogatory ways about men.
This book , based on over a hundred interviews with mothers, explores why so many women choose to be stay- at –home mothers. To my surprise I found that even some of the most successful and high flying women prefer to stay at home with their children, indeed some seemed to welcome the arrival of children to allow them a break from the competitive environment of work. Is this female complicity? Or does it reflect deep psychological structures? Our Treacherous Hearts explores some of the psychological aspects of these decisions: fear of competitiveness, guilt, and women’s feelings about their own mothers.
Read a sample chapter on Envy, Competitiveness and the Unreality of Work:
The Whole Truth is a book about why the natural health (or alternative health movement ) became so popular throughout the eighties. I explore the ideologies on which alternative health is based – amongst others, the fantasies of the perfectible body, the fear of modernity, the belief in the ‘whole’ person, and the idea of individual culpability for developing a disease such as cancer.
U.S Edition: FEMALE DESIRES, HOW THEY ARE BOUGHT, PACKAGED AND SOLD, Grove Press , NY 1987
Female Desire, which was inspired by Roland Barthes’ mythologies, looks at symbols, emblems and cultural forms which inscribe ideals of femininity by engaging female desire. From romance to royalty, food to fashion, magazines to meals, romantic fiction to wildlife documentaries, Female Desire explores the semiotics of these cultural forms, deciphering how femininity is constructed and engaged. The different chapters in the book have been extensively reprinted in various collections of feminist writings. The term food pornography appeared for the first time in this book.
Patriarchy is a key concept for feminist thought. Sixties feminists, like Eva Figes and Shulamith Firestone, argued that the patriarchal family had emerged as a result of the development of private property. They took their ideas from Engels and, like him, believed in an original matriarchy. Patriarchal Precedents looks at how Engels was influenced by the nineteenth anthropologists whose own works were highly ideological and based on limited notions – and fantasies – of other societies. This book explains how out how the idea of patriarchy emerged in the 19th century as a key concept and how it has affected feminist thinking.
Re-issued by Routledge 1993
This was probably the first British introduction to semiology, structuralism . It explains the thinking of Lacan, Barthes and Althusser. It is still used today.