Experts have labelled an online article that attempts to body shame Julie Bishop as “degrading” and potentially dangerous.
The Foreign Minister was pictured on Monday morning going for a jog with foreign diplomats in Cairns, ahead of a busy day to promote Queensland trade investments.
But instead of focusing on her trip to Far North Queensland, the Daily Mail suggested Ms Bishop – who is well known for her love of fitness and exercise – may be pushing the limits of a healthy lifestyle, at least according to her figure.
“Is Julie Bishop pushing herself too hard? Foreign Minister, 60, shows off her VERY thin frame courtesy of a gruelling lifestyle that includes a daily jogging regime and FOUR hours sleep a night,” the headline read.
However, Ms Bishop’s office made it clear there were no issues with her health.
“The Foreign Minister is an advocate for exercise and healthy diet, and has undertaken her daily exercise regime for many years,” a spokesperson for the minister told The New Daily.
“This allows her to maintain a BMI (body mass index) within the healthy range, while helping cope with demands of travel and long hours of work in Parliament.”
— Julie Bishop (@JulieBishopMP) May 14, 2017
The Daily Mail ran 26 photos of Ms Bishop to accompany the story, which University of Technology Sydney digital media lecturer Fiona Andreallo said “belittles women”.
“This is a common thing for women in positions of power. They are judged more likely for the way that they dress and look [more than men],” she told The New Daily.
“[In the media] there’s not a problem with men ageing or men looking a different way, we don’t comment on the way they look as much as we do with women.
“It disregards the impact that they have and their knowing and that they are thinking human beings. It’s degrading. This is belittling women.”
It’s not the first time Ms Bishop has been at the centre of body-shaming outrage, with Darwin’s Sunday Territorian writing in 2016 that she looked like a “gaunt POW lookalike”.
Clinical psychologist Dr Vivienne Lewis said this trend of people saying whatever they like about someone’s body only has negative effects on the prevention of body issues.
“This is an example of the sorts of behaviour that we are trying to actively discourage,” Dr Lewis said.
“There’s this idea that people’s body’s are things people are free to make any comment they like, but we have to remember there’s actually a person behind this.
“We don’t know what she’s doing or how healthy she is so to actually make inflammatory comments about her or her body is going to have a very negative impact.
“If I was her reading those comments about me I’d feel pretty bad about myself.”
Queensland University of Technology psychology expert Evonne Miller echoed that statement, saying articles like the Daily Mail’s are never warranted.
“I think skinny-shaming and commenting about anybody’s body shape or size when you don’t know the situation is never appropriate and never called on,” she said.
“It’s something that we shouldn’t do and the media definitely shouldn’t do, we talk a lot about being body positive and accepting people’s body whatever shaping they are. We should focus on people’s health not whether somebody’s skinny or not skinny.”