After being inappropriately asked about her plans for motherhood on national television, Jacinda Ardern has faced yet another sexist jibe in running for Prime Minister of New Zealand—she was accused of being nothing more than “lipstick on a pig” by political opponent Gareth Morgan.
The tweet took place after Ardern soared 13 points in the polls, 7% more than current Prime Minister Bill English. English even weighed in on the Tweet, backing Ardern. He said the comment was “deliberately appalling” and other politicians should stop working with the sexist candidate. Ardern replied calmly, saying that she wasn’t “particularly bothered by it.”
“I’m happy to add Gareth Morgan to our email list so he gets updates on all of our policy announcements because it seems like he’s been missing out on them,” said Arden.
The next day, Kiwi news reporter Hillary Barry took to social media to point out the misogyny in Morgan’s Tweet. She shared a photo of herself applying lipstick, captioning it #lipstickonapig.
The hashtag eventually took to the stands, and other women (and men) began using it to point out Morgan’s flaws.
Morgan later announced on his website that lipstick on a pig was a “euphemism for a meaningless face lift or makeover” and included other possible euphemisms he could have made in its place, such as “a hog in armor is still a hog.” The latest update to the ongoing controversy was that he created and hung billboards regarding the tweet. Such advertisements include a picture of him with the words “Lipstick” (following it, an X), “Pig” (an X) and “Policy” (a tick).
The incident has caused a national debate about sexism in New Zealand. Being the first country to have given women to vote and already having had two female prime ministers, something quite like this is rarely heard of.
Since the tweet, Ardern has risen ahead in the polls, now with numbers comparable to those of Canada’s Justin Trudeau’s approval ratings.