Did you see this? The Daily Mail, the fairly satirical tabloid paper in the UK, ran a photo of the Prime Minister Theresa May and First Minister of Scotland Nicole Sturgeon in the paper yesterday. The photo captured the meeting between the two ministers to discuss what Scotland’s future would look like post-Brexit. Two strong, world leaders. Meeting together. The title of the feature? “NEVER MIND BREXIT, WHO WON LEGS-IT!”
I joined with all of the women reading it- with a grit of my teeth and a angry twinge in my gut. That commenting on their legs is even an option. That a woman’s body is constantly praised or criticised. That the cycle of young girls thinking that their worth is based on their looks will just never break. That cycle that contributes to submission when girls/women should be sticking up for themselves or potential sexual dysfunction in the future keeps spinning around.
I chewed thru Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a couple of nights ago. And I’ve had her voice bouncing around in my head ever since. Basically, the book is 15 suggestions that she wrote to one of her friends about how to raise her daughter to be a feminist. In her intro, she speaks of Feminist tools. She says:
The first (tool) is your premise, the solid unbending belief that you start off with. What is your premise? Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not ‘if only’. Not ‘as long as’. I matter equally. Full stop.
The second tool is a question: can you reverse X and get the same results?
As in, am I holding men and women to the same standard? There is not a set in stone response to things, but if it was done for/to/by a man, would I have the same response for/to/by a woman?
Back to Legs-It, the Daily Mail came out with the opposite of an apology after there was a bit of outrage at their article. Urging critics to “get a life.” Which caused gritting teeth and twinges in guts even more.
However, I was struck by something within their response. That they run the same criticisms about David Cameron’s waistline or other (male) politicians’ hair or clothes. Which got me thinking- am I getting outraged when that happens? I think it distasteful and I just plain don’t like superficial critical talk, but it doesn’t make me grit my teeth. And so am I actually holding men and women to the same standard in having an outraged response to this? What do you think…