A feminist article, by a feminist journalist in an archly pro- feminist magazine, has provoked anger from politicians and the twitterati because the accompanying illustration was not feminist enough.
Nicola Sturgeon and others have attacked the image as “cringeworthy,” “crass” and “sexist.” Ms. Sturgeon’s Europe minister, Humza Yousaf, called it “outrageous” and Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, said, “Oh, do sod right off.” Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, added: “Outrageous! When I see things like this, I wonder how much progress on equality we’ve actually made.”
The cover story of the New Statesman is titled ‘The motherhood trap’. It acknowledges there has never been a better time to be a woman in the upper echelons of politics, as the number of powerful women has shot up, but conversely claims that “barriers stopping the ascent of MPs who are mothers reflect the structural discrimination throughout society.”
The front page carries a picture of the SNP leader, Angel Merkel, Teresa May and Liz Kendal beside a crib containing a ballot box, but no baby. The article points out that successful female politicians generally have less children than their male counterparts; argues that women are persecuted for having children and for not having children, whereas men are praised; and blames things like the sitting hours in parliament, child care, maternity leave and sexism for the discrepancy.
“…With other highly mobile careers, it is a fact that an MP’s job, often splitting time between his or her constituency and Westminster, places a particular strain on family life,” Jon Bercow is quoted as saying in the article. Twitter quickly lit up with a response.
Outrageous front page. For a once respected publication can’t possibly understand why they thought this acceptable! https://t.co/IhBvLFa5w2
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) July 16, 2015
— Jonathan Haynes (@JonathanHaynes) July 16, 2015
The article interviews various MPs and discusses job sharing for minister, longer parliament summers and various forms of affirmative action to help women fight biology and have families as well as reach the top of politics.
Oh look, the article’s online. Shall we all calm down, have a nice cup of tea, and reconvene after we’ve read it? http://t.co/U2kEPR4GC6
— Becca Reilly-Cooper (@boodleoops) July 16, 2015
After reading the very PC article, many early critics had nice things to say, but were still angered by the cover, which is still not PC enough for them.