Theresa May was make-up shamed during the election last night - and that's not ok

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
A BBC reporter has apologised after commenting on Theresa May's make-up last night [Photo: PA Images]
A BBC reporter has apologised after commenting on Theresa May’s make-up last night [Photo: PA Images]

A BBC reporter has apologised after being accused of making ‘sexist’ comments about Theresa May’s “thick make-up” during the election count last night.

“Sorry if I offended some by talking about May’s thick make-up but politics is about the personal and emotional not just stats and charts,” Nick Robinson wrote on Twitter.

No doubt the apology was in response to the social media backlash he’d received from viewers who’d spotted the remarks and took to Twitter to express their unease as what some described as a misogynistic comment.

“It was not even a slightly relevant comment and I expect more from @BBCNews allowing broadcasters to make sexist comments on air,” one user wrote.

“Basically, Nic, as a rule, if you wouldn’t use it as a measure for a man it’s sexist to use it for a woman and make-up is a good example,” added another.

“How long will it take before this talking about how women look is seen as totally unacceptable? It’s irrelevant and sexist,” another user commented.

“BBC “Theresa May, heavily made up as if she’d been in tears earlier”. Since when was he a make-up expert? Do men cry too? Ffs,” a woman added.

But not everyone agreed that the comment was unacceptable.

“Surely it was just an observation. Weirder not to have mentioned the make-up,” one viewer tweeted.

“Who can be offended by those comments?? Tories?? Quite frankly, there are bigger things for you to be worried about right now,” another user added.

But whether people find the comments offensive or not, shouldn’t commenting on the current Prime Minister’s make-up have been completely irrelevant? Particularly on a night when the politics should have been the only talking point? Would the same comments have been made about a male politician?

It isn’t the first time focus has fallen onto something other than Theresa May’s professional ability.

Since taking on the role of Prime Minister last year, it’s not just her policies that have been judged, but her wardrobe choices too. From daring to wear a skirt that sat, shock horror, above her knee, to opting for some bang on-trend animal print kitten heels. And who can forget leather #trousergate which practically broke the Internet.

Theresa May was make-up shamed last night [Photo: PA]
Was Theresa May make-up shamed last night? [Photo: PA]

Usually the PM manages to shrug off the intense scrutiny.

“I have grown used to the focus on my clothes and my shoes,” she told The Telegraph. “As a woman I know you can be very serious about something and very soberly dressed and add a little bit of interest with footwear.”

Its one thing having to take criticism about your sartorial choices, but having people scrutinise your make-up is altogether more personal. And it’s one more thing that women are having to field. For make-up shaming is a very real, very unpleasant new trend.

Whether it’s criticising someone for wearing too much make-up, or suggesting they need to wear more, just like it’s equally unpleasant body-shaming counterpart, make-up shaming is yet one more way for women to be judged. And it needs to stop.

Though Theresa has likely got more pressing issues to tackle right now than responding to those who comment on how made up she was, she might be interested to know that some women are taking a real stand against the type of make-up shaming she suffered last night.

Fed up of being criticised for their make-up choices, women are standing up for their right to do what they want with their own faces.

It all started with a video on YouTube from Nikkie Tutorials. “The Power of Makeup” video, which features 21-year-old Nikkie De Jager talking about why women wear make-up. She also shows herself with only half her face made up.

“I’ve been noticing a lot lately that girls have been almost ashamed to say that they love make-up, ’cause nowadays, [if] you say that you love make-up, you either do it because you want to look good for boys, you do it because you’re insecure, or you do it because you don’t love yourself,” she says at the beginning of the original video.

Before long Nikkie’s message had taken the Internet by storm and inspired make-up-loving women all over the world to perform their own half-glam-half-natural looks and post selfies of the results to social media with the #ThePowerOfMakeup hashtag.

The message the movement is sending is that it is empowering for women to feel comfortable in their skin, no matter how made up it is. Because the fact is that no one should criticise your face or what you choose to put on it! If you’re happy with who you are and how you look, that’s really all that matters.

Focus has often fallen on Theresa May's heels [Photo: PA]
Focus has often fallen on Theresa May’s heels [Photo: PA]

The fact is that women have the right to do whatever they want to their faces. Maybe Theresa May did wear more make-up than usual to hide the fact that she’d been crying, or maybe she didn’t? The point is it was her right to do so, just as it would have been her right to wear no make-up whatsoever.

And while people had every right to comment on her professional ability in terms of her election campaign, her policies, her speech delivery, what she was wearing on her face should really have been irrelevant.

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