Volume 17, Issue 5
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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After a record number of women were elected to the House of Commons in 1997, many incidents of sexism and abusive behaviour were reported. The aim of this article is twofold: on the one hand, to scrutinize the mechanisms and effects of sexist discrimination and stereotyping of women MPs in the House of Commons; on the other, to identify the strategies used by female (and male) MPs to subvert discriminatory representations, and to counteract gender-biased and sexist treatment. The focus of the multi-level analysis is on three recurrent strategies: objectifying women MPs through fixation on personal appearance rather than professional performance (e.g. making trivialising comments about women’s hair and dressing style); patronizing women MPs through the use of derogatory forms of address (e.g. directly addressing them by the terms of endearment “honey”, “dear”, “woman”); and stigmatizing women MPs through abusive and discriminatory labelling (e.g. ascribing to them stereotypically insulting names.


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