Stop press! Two women, who incidentally have four legs between them, met for a chat. Who had the best calves-on-show?
Or so goes today’s Daily Mail front page. Only it wasn’t just any women. And they weren’t discussing the veritable merits of their limbs nor their clothing. They were Prime Minister Theresa May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, two of the most powerful people in the UK. They were there to discuss the future of every single person in Britain following Brexit. And yet the media bods at the newspaper decided to reduce them to nothing more than their looks in a shocking show of sexism that hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Several angry politicians, journalists, women, and other human beings took to social media to express their outrage.
“2017 people 20 effing 17,” Labour MP Jess Phillips wrote.
Leader Jeremy Corbyn exclaimed: “It’s 2017. This sexism must be consigned to history. Shame on the Daily Mail.”
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan pointed out just how different a front page it would have been if the leaders were male:
Spot the difference:
How Cameron meeting Salmond was reported.
How May meeting Sturgeon has been reported. pic.twitter.com/uYav4JIX8t
— Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (@DrRosena) March 27, 2017
Whereas Lucy Powell MP went straight for the jugular with this:
— Lucy Powell MP (@LucyMPowell) March 27, 2017
Leader of the Women’s Equality Party, Sophie Walker, tweeted the following:
— SophieWalker (@SophieRunning) March 27, 2017
And that’s just the front page. The offensive language continued inside the paper, with a piece headlined: “Finest weapons at their command? Those pins!”
Sarah Vine referred to Sturgeon’s legs as “altogether more flirty, tantalisingly crossed … a direct attempt at seduction” in a column about the meeting.
Harriet Harman, Yvette Cooper, and even Tony Blair’s former Head of Communications Alastair Campbell expressed their dismay at the article. Campbell labelled the Mail “utter scum” and urged followers to rip up copies as and when they saw them.
Ever the king of Twitter sass, we’ll end with Ed Miliband’s post below:
— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) March 27, 2017
What isn’t yet clear is how far we as women actually have to go to avoid being judged purely by our appearances rather than our abilities. If being the Prime Minister doesn’t smash a glass ceiling somewhere, we’re not sure what will.