I was standing in a check-out line of a grocery shop the other day scanning the magazines and sweet selection as one does, when my eyes rested on something extraordinary. A picture of John Bercow’s wife, Sally, draped in a towel looking like something out of a B-grade X-rated movie in front of the UK House of Commons for which her husband is Speaker. The caption above her seductive expression explained how her sex life with the House’s Speaker had improved since being in Westminster. I was taken aback to say the least and this got me thinking about what kind of space has politics moved in to these days?
I also came across a picture of Belinda Stronach, a member of Canada’s parliment, who in her words ‘doesn’t stay home and knit on Friday nights’ literally looking like a porn star posing in front of the Canadian flag.
I began to explore this interesting phenomenon, because I was concerned about what kind of message these powerful and influencial women might be sending out to young ambitious women via the media.
To my bewilderment, I came across a website titled ‘the top 10 sexiest women in politics’. I couldn’t believe my eyes. On the website there was rating after rating accompanied by images of these female politicians looking like movie stars at best and porn stars at worst, with the exception of Hillary Clinton, rated 9th, who was really only rated sexy because she is so powerful in American politics.
Ironically the number one sexiest female politician in the world is the Italian Minister for Equal Opportunity, named Mara Carfagna. Especially ironic methinks because there was no such site rating the top 10 sexiest male politicians. Perhaps men should be fighting for the equal opportunity to be rated sexy? But honestly how is it that the Minister of Equal Opportunity can be taken seriously in this role and in a political space when she poses like that and is splashed all over the Internet?
It is really interesting how political focus is shifting. I think it is good that politicians are painted as more human, more real etc., but do think the message that this kind of exposure poses is extremely dangerous. Whatever happened to just being informed on policy?