I'm all for critiquing politicians based upon bad policies and political blunders but I will never be okay with the casual sexism that underlies most criticism towards female politicians. With this upcoming election we are being force fed mandates and party political broadcasts at every turn, regardless of your political dietary choices. Whoever you are, the general election is incredibly important and will affect you.
A brilliant part of living in a democratic country is that we have the ability to scrutinise the government and have our say. Recently though, I've seen a lot of tweets, articles and general comments online teasing and joking about Theresa May's physical appearance. Mocking her hair, outfits, makeup, wrinkles. You name it, it's been said. Personally I dislike the woman, you only have to take a look at her voting history on human rights acts to agree with me. But is a disagreement of policy, justification for harassment based upon a politicians looks? Absolutely not.
If I ever see someone having a political discussion and casually bringing in remarks about female politicians physical appearances, in my opinion they've just lost their argument. Despite what the media will try to convince you, a womans looks have absolutely no bearing on whether she is successful, powerful and could make a good leader. Female politicians face a daily battle to be taken seriously and it seems to me that they really can't win. If they wear bright colours and lipsticks they'll be called 'tarts' and if they dress in modest, grey clothing they'll be called 'boring.' The fact is, society still puts a womans self worth on a pedestal based upon her looks and that's so wrong.
Its our job to scrutinise the governing parties and pick apart policies brought about, but it is not our job to judge these people's physical appearance and take it into our own hands to decide whether or not those appearances make them electable. With front page newspaper spreads on Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May's legs, you must forgive us women for feeling a tad pissed off. These are two women, who regardless of your opinion on their policies have worked tirelessly to raise the ranks in a very male dominated field. Sturgeon who is one of the strongest and most capable female politicians ever, is subject daily, to ridicule and humiliation based upon her gender. They are both strong women who have been objectified, degraded and subjected to the male gaze.
And these strong female politicians are labelled as intimidating and power hungry when their male counterparts are praised for being ballsy and brave, the hypocrisy is dripping off the pages of newspapers and to survive as a female member of parliament is a constant battleground.
With the General Election just around the corner, please remember to keep your political opinions smart and above the physical objectification of female MP's. You're better than that and whatever you believe and wherever you place yourself on the political spectrum, be respectful. By all means use your political knowledge to scrutinise the choices politicians like Theresa May make (believe me, I will be too) but keep your opinions on her skirts and chunky necklaces to yourself. Casual sexism within politics isn't funny or clever and by taking part in it, you are contributing to a much larger, global problem.