A Labour shadow minister has today hit back at critics of her shoulder dress which she wore in the House of Commons, saying she had a ‘duty to call out every day sexism’.
Labour MP Tracy Brabin was subjected to a torrent of online abuse after delivering a statement in her black dress at the Commons.
Twitter users accused her of ‘looking like a hung over tart’ and as if she had ‘just been banged over a wheelie bin’.
In an appearance on ITV’s Lorraine, the 58-year-old said the criticism and abuse was ‘simply absurd’.
She added: ‘We’re talking about shoulders, which in the scheme of things, when there’s so much else to discuss, it does feel slightly silly.’
The former Coronation Street actress also said that she had the ‘chance to push back on behalf of other women’ as a result of the abuse.
She added that given how many young girls felt ashamed about how they looked, society had a duty to call out every day sexism and to protect young girls.
The mum-of-two also said that the reaction was part of an attempt to control and silence women over what they wear and was similar to the reaction men had given towards Muslim women who wear the hijab or niqab.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast this morning, Ms Brabin said she could shrug off the criticism but felt a responsibility to ‘push back’.
She wore a necklace with the Suffragette slogan ‘Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere’, and said: ‘I was startled by the vitriolic nature of (the messages) but it’s part of the territory as a politician.
‘I am in a privileged position that I can brush this off but I feel it’s my responsibility to call it out for those women that don’t have that amplification.
‘Because there are women around the world putting up with this day in day out.’
Ms Brabin added: ‘Twas ever thus. Women are judged continually by how they look… it is unacceptable that we are raising our daughters to be looking inwards rather than outwards.’
She had also hit back at the abuse on Twitter last night, posting: ‘Sorry I don’t have time to reply to all of you commenting on this but I can confirm I’m not….
‘A slag, Hungover, A tart, About to breastfeed, A slapper, Drunk, Just been banged over a wheelie bin. Who knew people could get so emotional over a shoulder…’
Ms Brabin admitted the £35 dress was off-the-shoulder but that it had slipped slightly further as she stood up to speak.
She wore the dress on Monday while raising a point of order after Downing Street’s decision to order journalists from some of the UK’s biggest news organisations to leave before delivering a briefing on Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans.
A Parliamentary Secretary said that the Government is ‘committed to being open in their dealings with the press and the principles of media freedom’ and added that ‘no journalists are barred from official media briefings hosted by the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson.’