Earlier this week – just one day before Theresa May was scheduled to trigger Article 50, propelling the UK out of the EU – The Daily Mail ran a front page about her meeting with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon over Scotland’s renewed desire to seek independence.
Rather than focusing on the rather important subject of their discussion, the tabloid decided to instead compare Sturgeon and May’s legs. And, understandably, people were furious over ‘Legs-it’, with many slamming the Mail’s sexist and outdated attitudes towards women.
Piers Morgan, as you may have guessed, did not share this opinion.
The Good Morning Britain presenter has come down firmly on the side of the paper (he is, after all, a paid member of their writing staff). And, during a recent episode of GMB, he attempted to defend the tabloid from further criticism by insisting that women “objectify” male politicians “all the time”.
However, while the 52-year-old’s misogynistic drivel often goes unchecked, Reid was unwilling to put up with this particularly obnoxious display.
“It is utter nonsense to say male politicians are objectified all the time,” she said.
Morgan, of course, was quick to respond.
“What about the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, who every time he appears in public, women who’ve been leading the charge of outrage over this start drooling like little puppy dogs about this handsome, devastatingly good-looking guy who they all want to romp with?” he argued.
Reid, unmoved by Morgan’s complaint, replied: “Unfortunately, women are constantly judged on their appearance.”
The 46-year-old continued: “I think the women – and the men – who objected to the way that [May and Sturgeon were] portrayed were frustrated that, at a moment of political crisis and opportunity, when the UK is negotiating the future of Scotland and the two most powerful politicians in that conversation are then judged and put up against each other in a competition over whose legs are better, trivialises the whole argument.”
Morgan was unwilling to back down over the matter, and, later on in the show, dragged guest Dame Joan Collins into the debate.
And Collins, who has firmly opined that she believes Brexit will be “good” for the UK, was – somewhat dishearteningly – on Morgan’s side.
“Was I offended?” she echoed, after he quizzed her about it. “Well, no.
“I actually giggled and then I showed it to [my husband] Percy and I said, ‘What do you think of these legs,’ and he said, ‘Yours are better’.”
The Mail, meanwhile, has apparently attempted to present its coverage of the Glasgow talks as a hilarious joke, describing the article (penned by journalist Sarah Vine) as “light-hearted”.
However, as Stylist’s Moya Crockett argued in her recent op-ed piece, the ‘Legs-it’ debacle was not all that funny. Instead, it was yet another overwhelming example of how women’s power and autonomy is stripped away by some sections of the media.
“Only women politicians still see themselves profoundly sexualised and trivialised on the front pages of national newspapers,” she writes. “Only women have their authority undermined and their bodies used against them in this manner.
“And if media institutions refuse to take responsibility for how they portray women in power – well, that’s not very funny at all.”
Images: Rex Features