Politicians get asked a lot of tough questions when they're running for office — but the hope is that they'll be tough inquiries about the issues and not irrelevant, sexist observations. A line of questioning posed to British candidate Liz Kendall this past weekend fell clearly in the latter camp. But her response, to a reporter asking her how much she weighs, was pretty amazing.
Kendall, who is vying for a leadership role in the British Labour Party, sat for an interview with Simon Walters for the Daily Mail. In addition to covering Kendall's stances on the issues, a portion of the article was dedicated to Kendall's fashion choices and the reporter's apparent need to let readers know the politician is "slinky."
Walters wrote: "Kendall's jacket, navy blue ‘vest’ and trousers are from Reiss. L.K. Bennett and Reiss are two of the Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite fashion brands – and slinky brunette Liz...looks as good in them as slinky brunette Kate. In fact she looks the same weight as the Duchess – about 8st [112 lbs.] – though when I ask she slaps me down with a raucous ‘f*** off!’, adding quickly: ‘Don’t print that.'"
Kendall pointed out the implicit sexism in having such a question lobbed her way; it would be rude for a journalist to ask people their weight in general, but, as she said in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, her male counterparts are not getting those kinds of intrusive queries.
We're gearing up for our own election in the States, with the highest-profile female candidate in history likely to be on the ballot. The last time Hillary Clinton ran, in 2008, she faced a barrage of low-level sexism — from Fox anchors saying she's not pretty enough, to MSNBC talking heads calling her a ball-buster. Here's hoping it's better this time around.