Nicola Sturgeon is fed up that ‘literally every time I’m on camera’ people discuss her appearance. She’s so fed up, in fact, that she’s done a photo-shoot with Vogue to prove how ‘inured’ she has become. Yup, that’s right, Vogue, a magazine that is all about policy and principle; a magazine that has no truck with our image-obsessed age.
The endless commentary on her appearance is, she says, ‘hideous and quite cruel’. Is it? Perhaps I have missed something — and no doubt nasty Tweeters have said many horrid things to poor Nicola — but I’ve always been struck by how generous the media has been about Sturgeon’s looks and her fashion sense. In the run up to the election, we saw countless articles applauding her latest ‘makeover’ and her ‘stunning’ appearance. ‘Nicola Sturgeon is living proof women become sexier with age, income and office,’ said the Daily Mail. At the height of the Lynton Crosby-inspired panic about the SNP, she even became something of a sex symbol for right-wingers who like their women scary and stern.
I know, I know — that’s not the point. She is a politician; not a clothes horse. To discuss Nicola’s looks — whether in a positive or negative way — is demeaning to her as a stateswoman. Let’s not objectify her. But it’s obvious that Nicola cares a great deal about her appearance. Why else has she had so many makeovers down the years? Why else has she had herself snapped wearing a Holly Fulton sweater for Vogue? Is she not trying to have her feminist cake and eat it too?