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When it was revealed on Monday evening, the March 28 cover of the Daily Mail had the internet aghast with its blatant display of sexism in the form of the headline, “Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!” plastered next to a photo of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and British Prime Minister Theresa May, taken earlier in the day following the pair’s discussion about the future of the U.K.’s economy.
On Twitter, critics of the cover were loud, lambasting the Mail for its poor word choice. On Tuesday morning, the paper shot back, telling the naysayers to “get a life” and justifying the headline by noting that they also critique men’s bodies.
“Sarah Vine’s story, which was flagged as light-hearted, was a sidebar alongside a serious political story,” said the paper in a statement to the BBC. “For the record, we often comment on the appearance of male politicians including Cameron’s waistline, Osborne’s hair, Corbyn’s clothes — and even Boris’ legs.” The paper did not comment on the fact that while the ridicule of male politicians seemed to be focused on their frumpiness, the focus on Sturgeon’s and May’s legs was implicitly sexual.
It continued, “Is there a rule that says political coverage must be dull or has a po-faced BBC and left-wing commentariat, so obsessed by the Daily Mail, lost all sense of humour … and proportion?”
“Get a life”, says the Daily Mail on legs-it complaints. pic.twitter.com/NqlpHna7c5
— Joseph D’Urso (@josephmdurso) March 28, 2017
A second edition of the paper also seems to promote Vine’s “light-hearted sidebar” by highlighting her byline in yellow and enlarging it, in a move that some are saying shifts the blame from editor Paul Dacre to the writer. For her part, Vine told the BBC, “There was quite a lot of serious stuff about this meeting and then we saw the picture and thought, ‘Gosh, look at those kitten heels and look at those fabulous legs, let’s write some words about it.'”
Paul Dacre now trying to shift the blame (in later editions) from the Mail to Sarah Vine. #legsit #sexist #DailyFail pic.twitter.com/wPf6kxEPJv
— Phil Moss (@philmoss5) March 28, 2017
Meanwhile, the internet has continued to troll the Mail for the “Legs-It” cover, with men and women posting photos of their own gams.
I feel much more positive about outcome of Brexit negotiations now I’ve seen chief EU negotiator’s legs. Far inferior to May’s. #legsit pic.twitter.com/NvQ1oZ8Zpf
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) March 28, 2017
These are my legs. They are badly shaved and rather short.
This is a public information tweet for people surprised that women have legs. pic.twitter.com/FOOJz3WUo7
— Susan Calman (@SusanCalman) March 28, 2017
Additionally, Dacre’s own Wikipedia page has undergone a bit of editing at the hands of a displeased reader, and many amateur Photoshoppers tried their hand at “fixing” the headline.
Excellent Wiki trolling of Paul Dacre this morning in response to @DailyMailUK‘s depressing #legsit headline. pic.twitter.com/MqU04Iuecy
— Tom McKenzie (@TomMcKCharity) March 28, 2017
Paul Dacre on the cover of the Daily Fail. #FixedIt #Legsit pic.twitter.com/i3aljUvIsX
— Design Room (@DesignRoomC) March 28, 2017
Sadly I can’t find the source for who made this, but whoever you are, you’ve made my day #legsit pic.twitter.com/wgbFYLb8XZ
— Emily Davies (@EmilyDTV) March 28, 2017
Ah, the digital age.
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