Women hit back over ex-PM’s sleeve­less sug­ges­tion

The New Zealand Herald - - WORLD -

Cana­di­ans have called for the “right to bare arms” af­ter a for­mer prime min­is­ter sug­gested fe­male news­read­ers should not wear sleeve­less out­fits on tele­vi­sion.

Kim Camp­bell, the first fe­male Prime Min­is­ter of Canada, who served briefly as leader in 1993, caused a back­lash when she said that women who wore sleeve­less dresses “un­der­mine cred­i­bil­ity and grav­i­tas”.

She tweeted: “I am struck by how many women on tele­vi­sion news wear sleeve­less dresses — of­ten when sit­ting with suited men. I have al­ways felt it was de­mean­ing to the women and this sug­gests that I am right. Bare arms un­der­mine cred­i­bil­ity and grav­i­tas!”

The post led to her be­ing ridiculed, with many women, in­clud­ing Michelle Rempe, a Cana­dian MP, say­ing they wanted the right to “bare arms”.

Camp­bell’s orig­i­nal tweet linked to a blog post by Nick Mor­gan, an Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ca­tions coach, which says: “Ap­par­ently, we hu­mans are pretty sim­ple crea­tures.

“If you show up in front of us with skin ex­posed, we’re go­ing to think about your body. If you’re wear­ing lots of cloth­ing, we’re go­ing to think about your mind.”

Many pointed out that Michelle Obama fre­quently wears sleeve­less dresses, and peo­ple take her se­ri­ously, but Camp­bell replied that she was talk­ing about fe­male re­porters.

Natasha Pace, a re­porter, replied: “I don’t be­lieve bare arms un­der­mine cred­i­bil­ity. Shouldn’t the au­di­ence be fo­cus­ing on what is be­ing said and not an out­fit? I think peo­ple should dress how they are com­fort­able and what makes them feel con­fi­dent. Women on TV are ev­ery sin­gle day, wish stop.”

Jan­ice Dick­in­son, a po­lit­i­cal re­porter, wrote: “I’ve worn sleeve­less dresses on TV in the sum­mer. I never got the im­pres­sion that I was taken less se­ri­ously be­cause I wasn’t dressed for win­ter in July.”

An­other critic said: “I’m sorry @AKimCamp­bell, you may have been our first fe­male prime min­is­ter, but this tweet just un­der­mined your cred­i­bil­ity of be­ing a good role model for young women. Your words mat­ter more than your out­fit.”

How­ever, Camp­bell tweeted: “It is hardly sex­ist to care about women’s cred­i­bil­ity. This is an is­sue un­suited to Twit­ter de­bates.” crit­i­cised it would

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