Being referred to as “the missus”, whether you’re in a longterm relationship or actually married, is annoying as hell.
Among friends, it ignores that fact that you have an identity separate from your partner, but in a professional context, it completely undermines your achievements, suggesting that becoming “a wife” is the be-all and end-all for women.
So when The Sunday Times referred to four-time Olympic gold medalist Laura Kenny as Jason Kenny’s “pregnant wife”, broadcast journalist Libby Dawes called the paper out on it.
The Sunday Times captioned an image of the two cyclists at Wimbledon, saying: “Cyclist Jason Kenny was with his pregnant wife Laura.”
In response, Dawes tweeted the photo saying: “Hey, @thetimes you spelt ‘four-time Olympic champion’ wrong.”
Her tweet soon went viral and has been liked more than 8,000 times, with many calling the caption “insulting” and “sexist”.
In the full story later in the paper, Laura was referred to as an Olympic cyclist with full acknowledgement of her achievements. But many have still questioned the paper’s choice of photo caption.
On Twitter, some have pointed out that the The Telegraph referred to Jason as Laura’s “husband”, sparking debate about whether the reverse is just as bad.
But as The Telegraph’s caption begins “Olympic cycling gold medalists”, others have argued it paints the pair as equals.
Laura, who is the most successful British female Olympian, has long proved she isn’t one to conform to gender expectations.
As an ambassador for Always #LikeAGirl, the 25-year-old has used her platform to end period taboos and encourage more girls to take up sport.
In a recent interview with HuffPost UK, she also showed that her becoming a wife and mother has had no impact on her career ambition.
“Although I’m the most successful female Olympian, I want to go higher up than that, I want to be on the all-time list, not just the female list,” she said.
In response to Dawes’ tweet, people on Twitter have been suggesting alternative captions for The Sunday Times photo.
If space was an issue for the paper, “Cyclists and parents-to-be Jason and Laura Kenny”, has fewer characters than their original caption. Just saying.
HuffPost UK contacted The Sunday Times, who chose not to comment.