'Hannah Waddingham calling out a sexist photographer is proof we've got a long way to go'

'Hannah Waddingham calling out a sexist photographer is proof we've got a long way to go'

Hannah Waddingham has gone viral for successfully shutting down a paparazzi at the Olivier Awards, who requested that she 'show some leg' while posing for photos on the red carpet. Have we not made any progress when it comes to unsolicited comments on women's bodies?

In case you missed it, the Ted Lasso actress was posing outside the Royal Albert Hall in a gorgeous purple gown, when a photographer suggested she reveal a little more skin for his photo. She replied, "Oh my God, you'd never say that to a man, my friend.

"Don't be a dick, otherwise I'll move on. Don't say 'show me leg.' No. Have some manners."

Fans have been praising Hannah in the replies for calling out the inappropriate behaviour, with one writing, "Just when you thought you couldn’t love her anymore she goes and does that" and someone else saying, "Awesome response! Well done Hannah."

Someone else put, "Good for her" and "Absolute queen", while others said, "How dare a photographer at the Oliviers ask a woman to ‘show some leg’!! Delighted the woman who he asked was Hannah Waddingham who handed him his misogynistic arse on a plate."

And while, yes, she handled it brilliantly, and we are always up for calling out sexist and inappropriate comments made towards women. But how are we still in a position where this is happening? In what is essentially her workplace?

The 49-year-old was at the event to host the annual awards, no mean feat considering the calibre of person in the room; it was essentially a coming together of all the biggest names and faces in UK theatre right now. So why should she be subjected to misogynistic comments just minutes before? The fact a male photographer felt the need to share an uninvited comment on her body is indicative of a wider problem in the media industry, when it comes to how people treat women.

'hannah waddingham calling out a sexist photographer is proof we've got a long way to go'
Mike Marsland - Getty Images

And Hannah's right. A photographer would never ask a man to pose in a certain way, or show off additional skin. In fact, the treatment of male and female celebrities on red carpet is at complete odds, and always has been - to the extent that the campaign #AskHerMore was launched all the way back in 2014.

The hashtag was created by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, founder and CEO of the Representation Project, in response to the Academy Awards, when the likes of Lupita Nyong'o was responding to questions about her dress, while Bradley Cooper was asked about his fellow actors and roles.

Speaking a decade ago to The Hollywood Reporter, Jennifer explained how the red carpet of today “obviously perpetuates an unhealthy toxic culture. There’s so much opportunity here for the media to right the wrongs that it has been perpetuating by limiting women to [be defined by] their beauty and sexuality."

'hannah waddingham calling out a sexist photographer is proof we've got a long way to go'
Karwai Tang - Getty Images

This focus on what men say but what women wear is outdated and needs to be retired.

It's something Hannah has spoken out about, too, commenting in a 2023 interview; "When it comes to dealing with sexism, especially in my industry, I was on the receiving end of it mostly when I was modelling back in my 20s, with some of the nonsense that misogynistic male photographers would throw at me to put me in my place."

While Hannah sets an incredible example for not putting up with sexist comments, it shouldn't be happening in the first place.

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