Nobody expects formality from tabloid headlines. But maybe it's time to raise the bar at least an inch (make that 2.54 centimeters) or two. On Wednesday, London tabloid the Daily Mail decided to help readers understand the incredibly complex and definitely tumultuous impact of Great Britain leaving the European Union (or Brexit) with a front page focusing on... women's legs.
That's right: The real issue of the day was apparently determining whether Prime Minister Theresa May or Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon had the better-looking gams. The two women had come together to discuss the looming realities of exiting the EU. One potential side effect of Brexit could very well be Scotland voting to leave the UK in order to keep itself a part of the EU. That'd be, uh, a pretty big deal.
But not as big a deal as these ladies' shapely legs! That's according to the trashy Daily Mail headline: "Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-It!" Let's note the obvious: If these two were male, the angle would have been a tad different...
Thankfully, Twitter was there to absorb and transmit all the various and hilarious responses to the "Legs-It" controversy.
1Apply this to 1945, please
Call it patriotic bias, but I'm going to go with Roosevelt here.
Women can be smart, and they can have fashion savvy, and yes, they can do both simultaneously.
3Male legs have been unfairly ignored here
This particular tweet magnifies the total absurdity of the original "Legs-it" story perhaps better than any other. WHEN would anyone ever print this?
4Calling on feminism
Another reminder that the feminist aim of equality has simply not materialized.
5I don't know of this emoji
The Daily Male would be a better title, except for the incredible insult it poses to decent men everywhere. And now, I must look up what the "pervy crying laughing" emoji is...
6Needed: more women in government
The more women in government there are, the less shocking it will be when photos reveal they have legs.
7Maybe the Daily Mail has this one framed
Like, a big, bold poster in all-caps: "#EVERYDAYSEXISM." I can see it.
8Who's winning this race to the trash can?
Never mind dignity, everyone. The Sun and the Daily Mail are in it to win it by sleaze.
9Distraction is key
No one knows exactly how Brexit will impact the economies of the UK and all other EU countries, but one assumes the monumental change will have some crippling effects.
But look! LEGS!
10Sayin' it like it is
"Nob" is British slang for "penis," or as President Trump might say, "no problem down there." Anyway, Steve Bell at the Guardian illustrated what the Daily Mail might look like if male leaders of WWII were sexualized the same way Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon had been.
11When accomplishments are secondary to sex appeal...
... this is the kind of coverage we'd expect of females past who rocked their professions.
12Can't be sexist if a woman writes it, don't ya know?
The second edition of the Daily Mail highlighted that the article was written by a WOMAN, reading: "SARAH VINE'S / light-hearted verdict on the big showdown."
UGH x 1,000.
13Legs are not the problem here (!!!)
Obviously, the Daily Mail thinks all the backlash is just some regular PC nonsense, posting the same photo with May and Sturgeon's legs blocked out in response. "CENSORED BY THE LEFT," it reads.
Hey, here's a fun fact: Their legs were fine. It's the unjustified focus on them, as opposed to the actual work May and Sturgeon might be up to, that caused the reaction.
14One perk of the male dress code
You really can't tell a single thing about them!
15Sexist messaging, 100%
Well, there you go. Skip grad school and head straight for the gym, ladies. Obviously, that's how the promotions start rolling in.
16What's a medical professional to do?
Scrubs are not the greatest for showing off legs. And that means a lot of medical professionals who happen to be female are destined to be left behind.
17Can you tell?
I think I would fail this quiz hard.
18If it were you, and this was a person
19Don't ignore the first part of that headline
When the Daily Mail tells you to basically forget about Brexit, what the paper is really saying is that nothing these two leaders have to say or propose is very important. Focus, now: It's their bodies that matter.
20Oh yeah. That guy
Perhaps not "literally," but otherwise, Eva Wiseman hit the nail on its head here.
21"Remember to forget that we supported Brexit, now"
Brexit is probably not going to be the economic boon promised to voters, and the Daily Mail may have to answer for its Brexit cheerleading.
22Let's talk about how this is different
While the Daily Mail points out that it has indeed critiqued the appearance of male politicians as well, there's a crucial distinction here. May and Sturgeon were not just observed, but sexualized. The article itself makes explicit what the headline implies: These women are to be thought of in objectified fashion. That's it.
Sometimes, the initial and immediate response, however brief and pedestrian, is actually the truest.
24Because if you do care more about their legs than Brexit...
... you are living in the world of the absurd. Among other things.
25And the winner is!
The Daily Mail. For blatant sexism, that is.
26Why the fight matters
The photo and headline are proof positive that the fight cannot be over just yet.
I'm thinking NHS Million picked the top word for this cover.
28Powerful women, still objectified
Those in power are not entitled to better treatment than the rest of us. But in fairness, I'd be just as upset if this were a school superintendent meeting with a principal. There's just no reason for it.
29They didn't even get the grammar right!
If you're going to be offensive, at least punctuate properly.
30Once you see this as a 1950s throwback, it will ALWAYS LOOK THAT WAY
It really could be straight off the news stand by the diner jukebox.
31An insult to adolescent boys everywhere
But if this was cleared by a middle school team of hormonal boys, then we could at least cut the editorial department some slack.
Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon are trying to work out the best way forward for their countries in the midst of a massive economic and political change. This is not easy work. The last thing on any serious person's mind should be which one has "better" legs. It's asinine, utterly unhelpful, and offensive.