The Daily Mail may have told critics to “get a life” yesterday, but it also devoted five pages of editorial itself today to the debate over its “Legs-it” front page.
The paper showed that it was an equal opportunities title when it came to mocking politicians for their appearance with two pages of rag-outs from previous coverage.
- photos of a sunburnt David Cameron topless under the headline: “It’s red Dave!”
- Boris Johnson jogging in Bermuda shorts under the headline: “Yes, Boris does look ridiculous”
- A story mocking David Cameron’s legs
- An article speculating about George Osborne’s receding hairline
- And a topless holiday photo of David Cameron mocking him for his weight gain.
The Mail also published two pages of letters and emails reflecting conflicting views on its decision to focus on the legs of Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon yesterday in a front-page photo and inside piece.
And it published six photos of male politicians in shorts along with marks out of ten for their legs.
Columnist Sarah Vine used her regular weekly column today to show that she is unrepentant about writing the piece which yesterday prompted widespread complaints of sexism – and more than 300 complaints to press regulator IPSO.
She said that “endless pages of newsprint” were used to analyse “every nod, every gesture, every bit of fluff pertaining to the Nick and Dave show” during the 2010 to 2015 coalition government.
And she said: “If one really believes in equality, it has to cut both ways.”
She added: “It’s all the snowflakes still stuck in a rut of Seventies-style feminism who need to catch up.
“I could understand if Sturgeon and May were like Angela Merkel and Hillary Clinton: determinedly frumpy in order to close any sort of conversation about he way they look.”
She said that the choice dresses which exposed their legs “was deliberate”, adding: “I’ve lived politics up close. I know how this game works. Those choices would not have been accidental. The kitten heels, the just-above-the-knee skirts and carefully selected jewellery. All that would have been planned meticulously…
“Pointing out that they were making the most of their best physical assets… is not sexism, it’s observation.”
And offering an example of what she described as “real sexism…vicious prejudice of the most misogynistic kind” she offered readers this extract from an article by comedian Stewart Lee published in The Observer in January.
“As a student, David Cameron is rumoured to have put his penis into a dead pig. To outdo him as an adult, in an act even more bizarre and obscene, Michael Gove put his penis into a Daily Mail journalist.”