For the moment, I am only going to set out a couple of questions currently buzzing round my brain about the Caroline Flint affair, in particular the matter of those photos coupled with her angry comment that Gordon Brown used her and other women in the Cabinet as ‘window dressing.’
Yesterday I had at least two spats with friends and family about whether her agreeing to that Observer photo shoot fatally undermined her political credibility; everyone I spoke to was adamant; of course it did. She draped herself over a chaise longue, showed a lot of leg, put on scarlet lippy etc And then asks to be treated as a serious person!
Personally, I think agreeing to do a photo shoot like that, in scarlet silk Karen Millen and matching lipstick, is a risky thing to do. And, although she could not have known it, the timing could not have been worse from her point of view; those Observer photos were a dream for every single newspaper. Window dressing, what window dressing??
But I still have a question: Why does a woman who chooses to display her beauty and femininity in a national newspaper automatically disqualify herself from serious consideration? Was it perhaps the posing, rather than the clothes, hair, lipstick? The self display? Yes, that may be it. Even so, there is something cheap and tawdry and just too easy about the automatic dismissal of Flint on account of those photos. Isn’t the underlying message of the attacks on/dismissal of Flint that sex/women and politics/seriousness just don’t mix. Also, bear in mind that any woman who ISN’T deemed attractive gets it in the neck as well.
Am I wrong?
Of one thing I am sure; you cannot praise the Prime Minister to the skies in the evening and then launch an all out attack on him the next day. Better to do neither but simply make a decision – stay or leave – and stick by it.