British Prime Minister Theresa May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon are currently trending on twitter. Not because they are women leaders, not because they are two of the very few women in politics whose voice actually matters, but because of their legs. Yes, their legs.
In its March 28th edition, The Daily Mail British News Paper decided to disregard any Brexit news and focus on the two women’s legs, accompanying the following statement “Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it” with the image of the two women sitting.
Because the legs of two ladies matter more than Brexit and Scotland’s future to a newspaper in the 21st century. The headline was incredibly sexist and shows how double-standards for women still exist and how we women, even when in the biggest positions, are still not taken seriously in politics. In the end, our legs are what makes the headlines.
Would this be a viable headline if, instead of May and Sturgeon, were two males? I can’t think of a possible objectifying headline if they were, simply because one doesn’t exist. Male politicians are never reduced to their body parts, while women are.
What would a young female reader think when she sees this? That politics is not for her? That she is nothing more than just another women with nice long legs? Is this the idea we would want to be propagating to the minds of young women?
What about young men? When they see that a large newspaper was able to make this comment and not think twice would they take sexism and feminism any seriously? They will think it is still okay to make such objectifying statements because even the world’s most important women can be reduced into their legs in public and that is not a problem!
What about parents? I know this type of publicity is what makes so many conservative parents so discouraging of their daughters who would like to pursue political studies or who could get some media attention from their social activism. This is just a reassurance to them that the world of politics is still a male dominated world in which games are played by male rules!
It is outrageous that such sexist comment would be given in 2017 and by, arguably, a respected newspaper. This shows a dangerous normalization to sexualizing comments in order to grab attention.
So this is another one for those who think that women have it equally. I am sure our legs being called out in newspapers is very normal. Please, continue calling us nazzis for not accepting this as a joke and for demanding our fundamental rights.