January 31, 2020

How does the unequal treatment of women in politics shape our perspectives?

Lauran Kelly, 32 | Sarah Hill, 28

In March 2017, Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May met to discuss the triggering of Article 50. The next day, The Daily Mail ran the headline: “Never Mind Brexit, Who Won Legs-it!” The reduction of two of the most powerful women in the United Kingdom to their legs provoked conflicting feelings in me; rage and sadness but also a strange sense of vindication. In the black and white sexism of the two-page article was the distillation of the argument I have been having with myself, friends, and family for my entire life – women in public are still held to a different standard from men. In Girlguiding’s 2019 “Girl’s Attitudes” survey, 41% of 11-16-year olds agreed they were “put off being leaders because there’s too much focus on their looks not what they do” and 50% “because women leaders are criticised more than male leaders”. Growing up as a girl with a lot of opinions whose early confidence has given way to crippling self-doubt, these statistics resonate with me. This work explores the impact that conversations around the appearance and likeability of women in public life have on the girls and women looking on.

Blether, 2020spoken word/graphic design