Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
27 October 2014

David Cameron refused five times to wear ELLE’s feminist t-shirt

The PM refuses to pose wearing a "This is what a feminist looks like" t-shirt for ELLE magazine.

By media mole

“Why is David Cameron so afraid to call himself a feminist?” is the question ELLE magazine is asking today.

The magazine asked Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, and the PM (among some male celebrities) to pose wearing the Fawcett Society’s famous slogan t-shirt that reads “This is what a feminist looks like”. Miliband and Clegg obliged. But the magazine claims Cameron refused its request not once, but five times.

The editor-in-chief of ELLE, Lorraine Candy, commented:

We asked the Prime Minister five times if he would wear the Fawcett Society’s iconic This Is What A Feminist Looks Like slogan T-shirt and send us a snapshot (it would only take 10 minutes). Five times, he declined. This is a shame on so many levels, especially given he knew Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband had agreed without hesitation, alongside many other influential men who were more than happy to call themselves feminists. It seems the Prime Minister still has an issue with the word “feminist”.

I was personally disappointed that we couldn’t feature Mr Cameron in our Feminism Issue because it is ELLE’s aim to engage with men in the fight for equality: because of parliament’s current gender imbalance, it is men who have the power to make changes in every area of British women’s lives. When the man in charge doesn’t engage, it doesn’t bode well. Given the huge international male support for UN Women’s #HeForShe campaign, it does rather make our Prime Minister look like the odd one out.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Here are Miliband and Clegg sporting the t-shirts:

Photos: ELLE

It occurs to this mole that this situation has parallels with the time Miliband failed to pose wearing a Help for Heroes rubber wristband for The SunBut with Miliband close to reaching his aim of a 50 per cent female cabinet, and the PM’s enduring “women problem”, it sees this story as far more revealing of Cameron’s priorities.