Friday, May 27, 2011

Sexy MP - just a bit of harmless fun?

All my social networking feeds are a-buzz with a new website today. Sexy MP describes itself thus:
In addition to my wanting to create a fun and memorable tool to help the British public get to know their Members of Parliament, I thought it would be an interesting opportunity to hold the first ever parliamentary beauty contest and find out once and for all which MPs and Parties have the most sex-appeal. Although I fully expect this to offend some people, this was never my intention and I hope you will see the funny side. 
Mmmm. Well. It's not just a beauty contest, though, is it? The question you are confronted with is not "Which MP do you think is the prettiest?" when it shows you pictures of 2 MPs, it's "Which MP would you rather have sex with?" In the end of the day, it's pretty degrading.

I felt really uncomfortable being on the site. And it wasn't just because I was offered the choice of Edward Leigh and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

I know it's all supposed to be a big joke but I found it actually turned my stomach. It annoyed me that they couldn't get people's names right. The current "leader" if you like is Banff and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford - but they have her down as Eilidh Whitehead. And Dominic Grieve's name was spelt wrong. And they had John Hemming as John Hemmings. He was fairly  near the bottom, by the way. Yes, I had to look.

 I know why I am so against this site. A few years ago there was another such site which, unfortunately, allowed people to comment on the various candidates on show. Auch, it's all a bit of fun, we thought. And then I came across a young woman, a very talented young woman, who could easily make her career in politics, and politics would be better for it, who had been completely freaked out by what had been said about her by lecherous commenters. She literally felt violated and has never since put herself up for public election again. Bear in mind that people often stand or represent where they live, and may feel unsafe if they read graphic comments about what people might want to do to, rather than with, them.

People who stand for election or who are public representatives should expect to be robustly tested on their views, ideals and policies, but having their sex appeal rated by random people for fun is surely not an essential part of the job.

By all means have a bit of a giggle at this site, if that's your bag, but please remember there's a more sinister side to all of this. I'm just don't feel comfortable with dehumanising people in this way.


Ellen said...

Hi Caron, I agree with you this is horrid.

It's insidious, it puts women off politics yet to protest against it attracts claims of being strident and shrill.

I don't want a sexy MP I want one that is honest, diligent and principled.

Andrew said...

Harmless bit of fun? No, not really. It's not fun for starters.

I agree with you completely Caron. It is degrading and dehumanising. Why should public figures have to be subjected to this? It's embarrassing enough that someone of Karren Brady's standing is referred to as the Xth sexiest woman in business by mens magazines - as if that's relevant!

It would be a bit different if we were asked who we found attractive (it wouldn't be quite so bad) but I wouldn't want to be confronted with the question "which of these would you prefer to have sex with?"

I would be insulted if I was assessed in that way, so why wouldn't anyone else?

oneexwidow said...

Hear hear!

Nothing more to add!

martijn said...

I absolutely agree.

Keith Legg said...

I remember that other site you talked about - think it was one of the Scottish elections (2007?) Some of the comments on it were pretty risible to say the least.

It's not just women it puts off politics though. It's the abuse that people get just for standing up and being counted for things they believe in, regardless of parties.

It's not funny or clever.

Anonymous said...

It's not desperately funny, unless you are the kind of person who finds the Sun or the News of the World entertaining reading.

But I don't think it is degrading. It's not like they only did it to women. They treated all of them equally, men women and the rest. It doesn't do any of them harm to be brought down a peg or two. After all these high and mighty people are our employees, not our masters.

As for stomach churning? Yes, absolutely. The thought of sex with any of them is quite repugnant. Why is it that are all so desperately lacking in sex appeal, and most of them are downright ugly.

dazmando said...

Totally agree,


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