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Former Canadian PM sparks fury over tweet about women who bare their arms on TV

A former Canadian prime minister has sparked outrage after saying female TV news presenters who bare their arms "undermine credibility and gravitas".

Kim Campbell, 70, faced criticism over a tweet which called the sleeveless dresses worn by journalists "demeaning".

Canada’s first and only female prime minister, who served for about four months in 1993, included a link to a blog post claiming public speakers who wear more clothing are viewed as smarter.

In the post, US public speaking coach Nick Morgan urged people not to wear a sleeveless dress or casual T-shirt when they give a speech, saying "the less clothing you have on, the dumber we’re going to take you to be".

Ms Campbell told her 23,000 followers that the post supported her theory that it was "demeaning" for female news presenters to bare their arms on TV.

She wrote: "I am struck by how many women on television news wear sleeveless dresses – often when sitting with suited men.

"I have always felt it was demeaning to the women and this suggests that I am right.

"Bare arms undermine credibility and gravitas!"

Mr Morgan’s post cited a study claiming "the more clothing you’re wearing, the smarter we’re going to think you are".

He added: "Think about what this means when you put on that sleeveless dress, women, or that expensive, cool-looking casual t-shirt, men. It means you’re going to look less brilliant than if you covered your arms.

"Apparently, we humans are pretty simple creatures. If you show up in front of us with skin exposed, we’re going to think about your body. If you’re wearing lots of clothing, we’re going to think about your mind."

Ms Campbell’s tweet was met with criticism from social media users who said she should be "ashamed" and women shouldn’t be judged for their appearance.

One Twitter user wrote: "I think dismissing women because of their outfits undermines credibility and gravitas. Wouldn’t it be nice if credibility could be weighed by the content of one’s work rather than their apparel?"

Ms Campbell, a former lawyer, responded: "Yup. But do read the article I shared."

Another user wrote: "Women should be judged for their competence. Women’s liberation was supposed to free women from petty evaluations and let them choose their own way/look/career options."

One tweeted: "I train people for TV appearances and always recommend both women and men wear long sleeves and formal clothes for credibilty in interviews. That being said, news anchors and some politicians already have that credibilty, so clothes matter less."

And another added: "I am a lawyer, which has some of the most antiquated traditions of any profession. And guess what? I wear sleeveless shirts to the office year-round, because MY SHIRT SLEEVES DID NOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL. You know who cares? No one. You’ve dated yourself here and should be ashamed."

Canadian Conservative MP Michelle Rempel wrote: "I firmly believe in the right of Canadians to bare arms."

She later posted a video with her take on Ms Campbell’s tweet, adding: "Wait. Wut? Credibility is earned by wearing sleeves? I give up."

People pointed out that former US first lady Michelle Obama often wore sleeveless dresses.

Ms Campbell wrote back, saying she was referring specifically to female presenters.

In response to one person who said people should "wear whatever they want", Ms Campbell wrote: "Was just struck by this article and my own sense that women on tv are expected to present a different image from men."

Twitter users pointed out that Ms Campbell was once pictured bare-shouldered behind her Queen’s Counsel robes in a Barbara Woodley portrait taken in 1990.

The famous black-and-white photo proved controversial when she ran for leadership of Canada’s Progressive Conservative party.

Ms Campbell responded: "Wasn’t presenting the news! Photo was art – juxtaposition of bare shoulders (femininity) and legal robes -(male dominated power structure). No, I haven’t forgotten!"

Source: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/former-canadian-prime-minister-sparks-12022734

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