Outrage at Daily Mail's 'Legs-It' Front Page Is Swift and Fierce
The British tabloid decided women's legs are more important than global politics.
Those are the words emblazoned across the front page of a major British newspaper, the Daily Mail, in today’s edition, to describe a meeting between two world leaders.
The UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May met with Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon on Monday to discuss the forthcoming “Brexit” — which is officially starting Wednesday.
And while there was much to comment on — what will happen to Scotland, which is considering staying in the EU marketplace, how Brexit will impact the UK’s economy, and more — the Daily Mail ignored all that.
Instead, we got “Legs-It.”
Inside the paper, it was worse. A headline read, “Finest weapons at their command? Those pins!” A column by Sarah Vine was rampant with sexist observations. She described Sturgeon’s legs as “altogether more flirty, tantalisingly crossed … a direct attempt at seduction.” Read more of it, if you can stomach it, here.
The reaction around the internet was swift and fierce.
It's 2017. Two women's decisions will determine if United Kingdom continues to exist. And front page news is their lower limbs. Obviously pic.twitter.com/AMp0YvtISa— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) March 27, 2017
If Daily Mail was a person you'd get a restraining order, frankly.— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) March 27, 2017
Moronic! And we are in 2017! pic.twitter.com/LTGEZdtNo3— Harriet Harman (@HarrietHarman) March 27, 2017
Who won Legs-It, do me a favour 🤦♂️. Two women in positions of great power, something to be applauded, and it's about legs. Utter rag. https://t.co/e8ftksOJIh— Connor Preston (@CP90_) March 27, 2017
It's 2017. This sexism must be consigned to history. Shame on the Daily Mail. pic.twitter.com/V3RpFSgfnO— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) March 27, 2017
Later editions of the front page claim the “Legs-It” moniker was “light-hearted.”
Mail has adjusted Legs-it overnight to say it is "lighthearted" i.e. only humourless feminists won't like. pic.twitter.com/0pio5B2fEe— Janice Turner (@VictoriaPeckham) March 28, 2017
Some tried to correct the faux-pas with more appropriate imagery:
Female leadership is stagnant around the world. The US failed to elect its first US president last fall, and instead a man who once said he likes to “grab [women] by the pussy” is in office. Globally, there are just 16 women who serve as heads of states and government, eight of whom are their country’s first woman in power.
How do you fix this problem? Let's start with journalism outlets that treat female leaders with the same respect they give male leaders.