Sexist BBC interview with female MP in 1970 shocks viewers

'She is the most gorgeous redhead'

Rachel Hosie
Wednesday 07 February 2018 12:58 GMT
Shocking sexist interview with female MP Janet Fookes in 1970

A clip of a female MP being interviewed by the BBC in 1970 has shocked the internet because of the sexist way she was treated.

Janet Fookes was elected a Member of Parliament representing Merton and Morden in 1970, and she was interviewed by the BBC on election night.

Except she was barely asked about the result at all.

Presenters Cliff Michelmore and Robin Day are seen complimenting 34-year-old Conservative MP Fookes on her appearance and asking about her love life.

She is described as a “lady MP” and a “gorgeous redhead.”

Day asks her age, and when Fookes replies saying she’s 34, he goes on to say: “Really? You don’t look anything like that if I may say so.”

Fookes remains professional, revealing that she’s “particularly interested in the role of women in modern Britain and the law as it affects them adversely.”

And Michelmore feels the need to tell any viewers watching in black and white that Fookes “is the most gorgeous redhead” which is “something you are missing.”

It certainly makes for uncomfortable viewing and has provoked a strong reaction amongst modern viewers, with many exclaiming disbelief that such interviewing styles ever existed.

“Jesus Christ,” said one person.

“Society expected men to demean the professional experience of women and concentrate on their looks,” another wrote on Twitter.

While some people argued that such behaviour was normal at the time, others pointed out that things haven’t changed as much as one would hope, calling into recollection the Daily Mail’s headline from last year comparing Theresa May’s and Nicola Sturgeon’s legs.

And the clip even moved some people to tears, with one woman commenting: “Made me want to cry and yes, there are still men like that unfortunately.”

Fookes was a member of the House of Commons from 1970 to 1997, and was Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons for the final five years.

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