Remember the ad ‘tog, togs, undies, undies’?

Do you remember the ad ‘togs, togs, undies, undies’? The person was wearing the exact same thing but once they left the beach area and were walking in an urban area the perception of what they were wearing changed. All of a sudden what was perfectly socially acceptable on the beach was seen as undies and therefore unacceptable in public.


The same seems to apply to Jacinda Ardern. The New Zealand media think that it is perfectly acceptable to treat her as a fashion model, a clothes horse, a sex symbol, a pregnant woman, Clark’s partner and a cover girl when they are focussing on those things instead of on her leadership and her government’s policies but…


The perception, however, somehow changes when foreign media treat her in the exact same way. The negative backlash in response to the ’60 Minutes’ coverage of her has been spittle-flecked even though her ‘Vogue’ cover shoot was perceived positively and raved about despite her being portrayed as a fashion horse, attractive and a cover girl.

Jacinda Ardern Vogue photo shoot was positively perceived (togs)
photographed at Bethells Beach, near Auckland.
Photographed by Derek Henderson, Vogue, March 2018

A writer at ‘The Guardian’ when describing the interview coined the term ‘fatberg of sexism‘:

For anyone who remains in doubt that women in positions of power must constantly resist being sucked into a giant, marauding fatberg of sexism and misogyny, Wide Awoke gives you 60 Minutes: an Australian TV interview with New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern. Or, as it might be hashtagged, #TheShitWomenDealWith.

Behold reporter Charles Wooley – referred to as a “veteran reporter”, which is supposed to denote experience, but in this instance could be read to mean a) that he should know better and b) that he has probably been getting away with asking “tough questions” for ages – saying he is “smitten” with Ardern. This seemed to be less because she is the first New Zealand PM to march in the country’s gay pride parade or because she marked her first 100 days in government by setting out a cornerstone policy to alleviate child poverty and more because he deemed Ardern “nice”. Or, as the interview promo put it, “young, honest and pregnant”, […]

The whole Jacinda-mania thing and the reason why Labour ended up in government had more to do with Jacinda being ‘nice’ and the voting public being ‘smitten’ with her than it did with Labour’s policies. They were the exact same policies that ‘boring’ Andrew Little has been trying to sell without success. The only thing that changed was the salesperson and the perception of Ardern being  ‘young and honest’ won over many of the voters. Even her now being revealed to be pregnant is a selling point to many feminists who are holding her up as proof that a woman can have a career and a baby. Jacinda represents, to them, the new, modern family; unmarried and with the dad as a stay-at-home father.

Cringe as Wooley gushes that he has met a lot of prime ministers, “but never one so attractive”. […] Ardern and her partner, Clarke Gayford, are probed about who does the laundry. […]  Barf into your mouth as Wooley asks whether their baby, due this summer, was conceived during the election campaign. […]

Wooley has defended the interview, calling the response “a bit Orwellian”.

The ’60 Minutes’ piece was perceived negatively (undies)


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