Body sham­ing? Sex­ism? This week’s had it all. Look’s Han­nah Banks-walker re­flects on how women are still be­ing rep­re­sented in the me­dia…


‘Well, what a week it’s been for women ev­ery­where. The year is 1953… oh no, wait. It’s not. It’s 2017. Not that you’d know it from some of the news sto­ries dom­i­nat­ing head­lines. As two of the UK’S most pow­er­ful po­lit­i­cal fig­ures met to dis­cuss Brexit and the pos­si­bil­ity of a sec­ond Scot­tish ref­er­en­dum on in­de­pen­dence, the Daily Mail re­sponded ac­cord­ingly. By that, I ob­vi­ously mean with an out­ra­geous ex­am­ple of puerile, mind­less sex­ism. We wit­nessed Ni­cola Stur­geon and Theresa May re­duced to their body parts un­der the head­line ‘Legs-it’ claim­ing ‘there is no doubt that both women con­sider their pins to be the finest weapon’. No won­der David Cameron quit. How he put up with such rig­or­ous ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion is be­yond me. Oh no, that’s right, he didn’t. He’s not a woman.

Mean­while, as writer, di­rec­tor and all-round over­achiever Lena Dun­ham tries to go about her busi­ness, the world has other ideas. Re­cently, Lena felt there’d been so many com­ments about her weight loss, she took to Twit­ter to post: ‘Right now I’m strug­gling to con­trol my en­dometrio­sis through a healthy diet and ex­er­cise. So my weight loss isn’t a tri­umph and it also isn’t some sign I’ve fi­nally given in to the voices of trolls.’ Why did she do this? Be­cause var­i­ous ‘news’ sites and Twit­ter users had ac­cused her of be­ing a ‘hyp­ocrite’ for dar­ing to lose weight. Yes, hers has been a body con­sid­ered ‘rev­o­lu­tion­ary’ but only be­cause we’ve been taught that women in Hol­ly­wood should as­cribe to one par­tic­u­lar body type. And, more im­por­tantly, as Lena says her­self, it’s her body and no­body else’s busi­ness what she does with it.

I for one am tired of wit­ness­ing this overt sex­ism, only to be told to ‘lighten up’ – which in­ci­den­tally is pretty much what was sug­gested in re­sponse to the back­lash over the front page (above). You know what? I’ll lighten up when women can just get on with their jobs without be­ing re­duced to their ‘pins’. I’ll lighten up when some­one as in­tel­li­gent and ac­com­plished as Lena Dun­ham is judged on the high qual­ity of her work and not her dress size. I will also lighten up when women are paid ex­actly the same amount as men for do­ing ex­actly the same job, not less. And I’ll lighten up when all women all over the world have ac­cess to the same op­por­tu­ni­ties as their male coun­ter­parts. Un­til that hap­pens, you’ll find me fight­ing back against this out­dated, ridicu­lous men­tal­ity. Enough is enough.’

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