‘Legs-it’ shows we’re not yet an equal society

Pictured: Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May were featured on the Daily Mail’s ‘legs-it’ front page. (Source: First Minister of Scotland via flickr)

By Sarah Harris

It seems that every other day the Daily Mail is causing controversy with their ridiculous headlines. Just last Tuesday, the paper caused a stir after their front page appeared with a picture of politicians Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May and the headline reading, ‘legs-it.’ The front page intended to compare the legs of arguably two of the most powerful women in the UK instead of focusing on the impending consequences of Brexit. There’s no doubt about it – the headline was clearly sexist and definitely written by a misogynist. It’s ridiculous that even in this day and age, female politicians are still struggling to be taken seriously and have their appearance and fashion sense commented on more than their political standing.

It’s not the first time the paper has been so overtly sexist and offensive. Just a few weeks ago they ran an article on the ‘questionable’ combination of burgundy tights and scarlet heels worn by Miriam Durántez, lawyer and wife of former deputy PM, Nick Clegg, Again, the article caused controversy with people suggesting that it’s clearly unfair that high rising women are subject to such scrutiny through the words of those who don’t understand what it’s like to take on such challenging roles.

It could be argued that the constant portrayal of women such as May and Sturgeon in the media is holding our country back from being a truly equal society. Sexist humor is a subtle reminder that many people in this country still have aged logic when it comes to the role women do and should play in society. It’s crazy to think that almost 100 years after Constance Markievicz, the first female to hold a place in the House of Commons, women who work in politics are still fighting to be taken seriously. Would we have the same problem if two male authoritative figures were to meet? Why did the Daily Mail never publish a front page article on the lack of facial hair David Cameron and Nick Clegg had or would that be too demeaning to their masculinity?

One twitter user commented on the cover, ‘this is what happens when you let the drunk, pervy uncles at a wedding edit a newspaper.’ Despite the shaky reception May had after being appointed Prime Minister, her poise and responses to political activities over the last few weeks including the London terror attack have proved to the public that she deserves enough respect by media platforms and British Citizens to not judge her based on her gender but solely on her performance as the leader of our countries.

Other politicians were quick to jump to the defense of the 2 politicians with Ed Milliband tweeting, ‘the 1950s called and asked for their headline back.’ It’s clear that feminism is still an ongoing movement and the undisguised sexism shown to us by arguably one of the UK’s most widely read papers (unfortunately) is not helping in the fight to allow not only women but also the rest of the UKs minorities shows us that we still have a long way to go.

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