Sarah Hanson-Young shares why this time she’s taking action.
My daughter is eight. She’s a smart kid and like most kids these days knows how to navigate an iPad better than most adults I know. Her generation has access to information about the world at their fingertips, like never before, and all this information helps shape the perception these young people have about themselves and others.
When I found out that ZOO Weekly had published a photoshopped image of my head on the body of trashy lingerie model I was shocked. But I was more shocked when they argued it was because of my views on refugees. What does my policy or views on helping families who are fleeing war have to do with being made to look like a prostitute? Nothing. It wasn’t about the issue, it was designed to belittle my opinion by suggesting I was worth nothing more than a sex object.
Making the decision to take legal action is never an easy choice, nor one I take lightly. But it was the right thing to do. Far too often the sexist and derogatory representation of women goes unchallenged. Even as women, it is often expected that we should just casually laugh it off. We’re discouraged from making a fuss about it. But it is necessary to stand up to sexism wherever is exists. And I am a firm believer that while words are important, actions speak louder.
Sometimes it is important to draw a line in the sand, and this moment was my line. As public figures, politicians have a responsibility to be role models. It’s not just that sexism itself is wrong, I want to set an example that it is acceptable, if not, critical, to take a stand against it.
My young daughter, like all children, looks for guidance. I want to teach her that it is okay to speak out when something makes her feel objectified or belittled just because she is a girl.
I wanted to make sure young girls and women across the country know that I stand for their rights to have opinions regardless of their age, gender or how they physically look.