Sayeeda Warsi: Mrs T wasn’t a great Prime Minister because of how she dressed
Published in The Sun, Thursday 13th October 2011
I loved the Sun’s cartoon yesterday of me and Theresa May dressed like Mary Portas. For me, it summed up exactly why her comments about the dress sense of women politicians were so silly.
Of course, being in politics you expect people to scrutinise every aspect of your life. And I don’t blame Ms. Portas for chipping in.
But what gets me is the double standards of this kind of thing.
You would never get the same kind of sniping about men in politics. No one would have dreamt of giving fashion advice to any of the great men who led our country. Just imagine if someone had told Churchill what suits to wear.
Besides, I simply don’t think that Sun readers give two hoots whether their politicians wear designer dresses or high fashion labels. What matters is whether their leaders are up to the job.
Put it this way: Margaret Thatcher wasn’t a great Prime Minister because of her pussy bow blouses. She wasn’t the Iron Lady because she had a designer handbag. She was Britain’s greatest peacetime Prime Minister because she was tough, responsible and did great things for our country.
The same goes for all the women in politics. It’s ridiculous to judge them on what they do or don’t wear. People want to know: have they got what it takes to run the country? Are they hardworking? And are they taking the right decisions?
Just think of the signals that kind of sniping sends to young women thinking about going into politics. If you’re a woman, people will always be judging you not on what you’re doing but on how you’re looking. And if we don’t judge a man on the cut of his suit, we shouldn’t judge a woman on the style of her skirt.
Of course, what we wear sends a message to people across the country. Every politician has to be responsible and present themselves in the right way. But it’s idiotic to suppose that because we hold elected office we should somehow become leading style gurus. That’s the last thing politics needs.
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