Women regardless of their position have always been reduced to their bodily features. This is exactly what happened when the Daily Mail reported a frontpage story on the meeting of Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon and British Prime Minister Theresa May that took place on Monday. On Tuesday, Daily Mail reported the story with a condescending headline that said, “Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!”
With that headline, Daily Mail implied that if two women – even if they are global leaders – are having a meeting, they are mere sexual beings whose body parts are liable to get undue attention.
The headline was not the only problem with the mindset of the organization. The story had more shocking revelations about the details of the two female leaders’ appearance. “Finest weapons at their command? Those pins!” was one of the phrases that appeared in the story which was supposed to be a piece of hard-hitting journalism on the basis of the meeting.
A column by Sarah Vine referred to Sturgeon’s legs as “altogether more flirty, tantalisingly crossed … a direct attempt at seduction”, reported The Guardian.
As soon as a picture of the front page was uploaded on Twitter, it saw immediate uproar from some influential people who understood the grave attempt at sexism that the newspaper invoked by their article.
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Labour MPs Harriet Harman and Yvette Cooper are one of the early protesters of the story. Tony Blair’s former spin doctor, Alastair Campbell, called the paper “utter scum” and asked everyone who comes across it to tear it down.
While this was UK Daily Mail talking its thought-process out loud in its daily, the Scottish Daily Mail was the saving grace and stuck to the topic of discussion, portraying how news should be reported. The discussion was between the Scottish leader and the UK leader that happened in Glasgow over the tumultuous Brexit. The Scottish edition used the same picture but the headline said, “Oh so frosty! Secrets of Nicola and PM’s talk-in.”
The Daily Mail was quick at understanding the mistake and tried to dilute the headline in a later edition to “Sarah Vine’s light-hearted verdict on the big showdown” but in vain.
Picture credit- The Forward