Opinion: Put aside talk about Judith Collins' hair and Amy Adams' jacket - National's leadership race isn't a beauty contest

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The truth about Judith Collins and Paula Bennett's hair?

The truth is the contest to be National's leader is not a beauty parade.

Judith Collins and Amy Adams.

Source: 1 NEWS

And the really ugly truth is the moment you start talking about a female politician's appearance, you diminish her power, her value and her contributions.

Judith Collins on why she wants National's top spot.
Source: 1 NEWS

How much does Paula Bennett weigh now? Why have she and Judith Collins changed their hairstyle? Where did Amy Adams get her jacket?

Do the answers to these questions help you decide who is the best person to lead National? Of course not.

But, when you bring up a woman's hairstyle, her shoes or even whether she "looks a bit tired" you invite contrary or concordant opinions.

Ms Adams says it's her "ambition and goal" to win the 2020 election.
Source: 1 NEWS

Before you know it, assessing her attractiveness becomes the lens through which she is viewed. It becomes the prevailing narrative.

It's 2018. We've had three female PMs and countless competent ministers. How is it that female politicians are still judged in stereotypes? As ball-busting dominatrices, too light-weight or too emotional?

Last year a UK charity – Girlguiding – found sexist media coverage was putting young women off going into politics.

The former deputy PM said she’s not an expert on the topic, but sympathises with those who cannot afford the surgery.
Source: 1 NEWS

A 2013 US study found there was a 7-8 per cent drop in vote share when respondents were shown material (positive or negative) focusing on a candidate's appearance.

The incessant objectification of women is hurting female politicians and side-lining young women from the conversation.

Women now make up 38 per cent of Parliament. There are already enough barriers to women in politics – we need to stop demeaning female candidates by treating them differently from their male colleagues.

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