Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

High time a female politician’s opinions were more important than her ovaries and hairstyle

AWARD-WINNING blogger Kirsty Strickland tackles the controversial issue of women’s equality on public boards in her latest article for The National after winning a bursary as part of this year’s Write to End Violence Against Women Awards.

THERE are many reasons why women are still vastly underrepresented in Parliament. The General Election in May saw a record number of women elected. The fact remains, however, that this “best ever” result of 29 per cent female MPs is still woefully short of true gender balance.

We can look to the way that female politicians are presented to us in the press to see with glaring clarity why for many young women public life just isn’t an option. There is a certain unique scrutiny about being female and occupying a politician’s platform.

A new hairstyle seemingly cannot be left uncommented upon. What she wears during an interview often gains more coverage than the words she used. The content of her wardrobe far too often has a higher significance placed upon it than her contribution to the debate. We require that she demonstrates that she is tough enough to do the job but deride her for being “cold” or “icy”. She must be presentable on camera, but if her dress rides up and we catch a glance of her knee then that is the photo that will be used in subsequent news stories. Sexy is frowned upon, but she also must not be frumpy or dowdy. ...

 

Read more at The National.

 

Inspired by our participation with the Write to End Violence Against Women awards organised by Zero Tolerance, we are now collecting examples of good journalism and writing about domestic and sexual violence and abuse to make it clear that it is possible to write about DSVA without resorting to myths, misrepresentations, minimisation and victim blaming.

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