Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Female MP shares “creepy” letter telling her how to dress, to highlight sexist abuse

michelle rempel mp 2.JPG

A skin-crawlingly “creepy” letter advising a female MP on how to dress has gone viral after being posted on Twitter.

Canadian MP Michelle Rempel shared an image of the typed note, in which an anonymous “girl watcher” makes unsolicited comments about her clothes, with her 28,000 followers yesterday.

“Nobody will notice your bare neck and decolletage if you wear a blouse and necktie as do your male counterparts,” the letter begins.

“Hide the skin and people will look you in the eyes,” it continues. “Were you wearing a bra on Thursday?”

Early morning CIMM committee meetings.

A photo posted by Michelle Rempel (@michellerempel) on

The sexist letter goes on to insinuate that Rempel will not be respected as an MP unless she changes the clothes she wears.

“The Queen never wore revealing clothes and she and her ideas are well-respected around the world,” the letter sneers. “Or you might take a page from Michelle Obama.”

Read more: Female politicians should be trained to handle trolls

The missive ends by stating, “I’m a girl watcher… and you are not that bad looking.

“What was it that you were talking about…?”

Giddyup - back to it in Ottawa on a Monday morning.

A photo posted by Michelle Rempel (@michellerempel) on

Rempel, 36, told BuzzFeed News that she receives “this sort of fan mail all the time” and that, while she doesn’t want to give it a platform, sometimes it does “get under her skin”.

Alarmingly, the note could actually be considered tame in comparison to the other letters she regularly receives, which have included both rape and death threats.

“I don’t want it to come across as victimisation, because I don’t feel victimised,” she said. “It’s just more like, come on, really? Like this person actually thought this was appropriate to send to me.”

Calling the person who sent her the note a “creepy weirdo”, Rempel added that this kind of abuse is “not acceptable in any format”.

The trolling of female MPs is a problem here in the UK, too.

Back in June of this year, Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by Thomas Mair in an “act of terror”. Although no direct link has been made between her murder and online trolling, her office had previously reported that she had received two “malicious communications of a sexual nature at her parliamentary office in Westminster”. It later emerged that several female MPs had independently written to Downing Street asking for increased security measures due to the fear of a fatal attack motivated by online trolling.

Read more: We remember Jo Cox MP

And just days before Jo Cox’s murder, MP Jess Phillips said she was “not safe” when Twitter refused to act over thousands of rape threats being sent to her via direct messaging. The Labour MP, who received some 5,000 abusive tweets in less than 36 hours, said at the time that “the targeted harassment I have suffered... is persistent, illegal harassment, specifically designed to harm and silence me – and worse, to do the same to the people who interact with me”.

Also in June, Labour MP Tulip Siddiq said the trolling of female politicians in the UK was so widespread that she didn’t “know anyone who has not had to deal with it”. 

Siddiq recommended that women are given training in how to deal with a trolls – a situation that, infuriatingly, does not seem to be going away.


amy schumer.jpg

Amy Schumer pens powerful letter to fat-shaming trolls

paloma faith baby name nhs thank you.jpg

Paloma Faith pens emotional letter to NHS following birth of her baby

Felicia the mechanic 2.jpg

How three women transformed their lives in wake of the Ebola crisis


The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Amanda Seyfried’s new abode to Jessica Chastain’s feline friend

by Nicola Colyer
17 Oct 2017

Jennifer Lawrence was forced into a naked line-up by a producer

In the name of weight-loss “inspiration”

by Amy Swales
17 Oct 2017

Abigail Breslin’s photo reveals how domestic abuse can stay with you

The actor has opened up about the realities of living with PTSD

17 Oct 2017

“Why Liar is proof that TV's depiction of rape is damaging to women”

The proliferation of rape in TV and film is a real problem for the representation of women

by Harriet Hall
17 Oct 2017

Nigella Lawson reveals why red is the ultimate foodie colour

As she tracks her gastronomic love affair with all things crimson

by Stylist
17 Oct 2017

Reese Witherspoon says she was sexually assaulted at 16 by a director

“Producers made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment”

by Amy Swales
17 Oct 2017

Courtney Love tried to warn us about Harvey Weinstein in 2005

This video shows her speaking out against Weinstein over a decade ago

by Susan Devaney
17 Oct 2017

Hillary Clinton praises NHS after receiving medical treatment in UK

Clinton spoke about the UK’s health service during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show

by Moya Crockett
17 Oct 2017

Maisie Williams’ response to Sophie Turner’s engagement is perfect

There’s a reason these two have been dubbed #BFFgoals, you know…

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Oct 2017

America Ferrera reveals she was sexually assaulted as a 9-year-old

‘I believed that I was somehow responsible for the actions of a grown man’

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Oct 2017