Georgie Purcell didn't deserve this. No woman does.

Victorian MP Georgie Purcell is taking a stand. And for good reason.

This week, The Animal Justice Party MP had an image of her digitally altered in a Channel Nine broadcast of the Melbourne news bulletin.

In the edited photo it appeared Purcell's breasts had been made to look larger, and her white dress had been altered to look like a midriff bearing top. The original image, published in the Bendigo Advertiser, does not show her midriff. 

In fact, the edited image shows Purcell's midriff as tattoo-free, despite Purcell's stomach featuring numerous tattoos.

At the time of the photograph being taken, Purcell had been advocating to ban the practice of duck hunting. 

"I endured a lot yesterday. But having my body and outfit photoshopped by a media outlet was not on my bingo card. Note the enlarged boobs and outfit to be made more revealing. Can't imagine this happening to a male MP. What gives?" Purcell wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. 


Purcell's story soon went viral. She says it's been a devastating experience, noting that the day she discovered the altered image was "the worst day I've had so far in politics".

"The message this sends to young women and girls across Victoria is that even at the top of your field, your body is always up for grabs," she said on her Instagram stories. 

"Let's be clear. This is not something that happens to my male colleagues. Unfortunately, the difference for women is that they also have to deal with the constant sexualisation and objectification that comes with having images leaked, distorted, and AI-generated."

Channel Nine has since issued an apology to Purcell. 

In a statement, Nine News director Hugh Nailon said: "Our graphics department sourced an online image of Georgie to use in our story on duck hunting. As is common practice, the image was resized to fit our specs. During that process, the automation by Photoshop created an image that was not consistent with the original.

"This did not meet the high editorial standards we have and for that we apologise to Ms Purcell unreservedly."


Sadly, this isn't the first time Purcell has encountered misogyny during her time in politics. 

When she entered the field, she was worried that a job she had done in her early years would be "weaponised" against her. 

While at university in 2012 doing a five-year double degree in communications and law, Purcell was living out of home. It was incredibly expensive - not being able to maintain a part-time job while studying, but still having to pay the bills. So to get by, she took up stripping and topless waitressing gigs.

In her maiden parliament speech, Purcell said it became one of her biggest fears, worried her past would be used against her in whichever workplace she entered. 


"I then realised if I just made it a known thing, it couldn't be weaponised anymore. It's interesting to even consider the word 'outed' and the negative connotation. Why should it be seen as shameful when a woman does a job that empowers them, allows them to have control over their own body and finances, and provides flexibility?" Purcell previously told Mamamia.

"The only shameful thing about having your information shared is the act of the person who did it. That's something I wish I knew at the time, because I carried a lot of deep shame around my own decisions and for a long time really thought I had done the wrong thing. Now I know that's absolutely not the case. I have nothing to be ashamed about."

Now having to deal with an image of herself altered without her consent, Purcell has said it's been a "confronting" experience. And this story isn't just about her. It's about how we treat women more broadly.

"I'm glad to have had a chance to talk about the perverse mistreatment of women and gender-diverse people in public life that our male counterparts simply don't have to cop. And while I'm not convinced on the reasoning, I've accepted Nine's apology, and I'll leave the commentary on AI and photoshop fails up to the experts. All I ask is that we learn from this," she notes.

"Because the last thing I want is to deter women and girls from achieving their dreams and contributing to public life after witnessing what I endure."

Mamamia has reached out to Georgie for comment.

Feature Image: Bendigo Advertiser/Nine/Instagram @georgie.purcell.ajp.

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