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Women Are Tweeting Selfies Because A Politician Was Asked To Prove She Wasn't "Lipstick On A Pig"

"Even if a phrase is commonly used, it doesn't somehow make it any less sexist."

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New Zealand women are tweeting selfies wearing lipstick because the nation's new opposition leader, Jacinda Ardern, was asked by a male leader of a minority party to prove she was "more than lipstick on a pig".

Jacinda Ardern.
Dave Rowland / Getty Images

Jacinda Ardern.

Opportunities Party founder Gareth Morgan made the comment during a Twitter conversation about whether the popularity of NZ Labour's new leader was a distraction from policy.

"Jacinda should be required to show she's more than lipstick on a pig," he tweeted.

@jordan09365341 Sure but it's pathetic isn't it?All that matters is policy.Jacinda should be required to show she's…

Ahead of the nation's September election, Labour surged 13 points to 37% in a poll released last week, while Ardern's rating as preferred PM (30%) is the same as current PM Bill English.

Kiwi television presenter Hilary Barry took to Twitter to tweet a selfie of her applying lip gloss, accompanied by the hashtag #lipstickonapig.

Others followed suit.

#LipstickOnAPig @Hilary_Barry thanks for highlighting who the real pig is. #equalopportunityhashtag

"Even if a phrase is commonly used, it doesn't somehow make it any less sexist," this woman tweeted with her selfie.

Hey @garethmorgannz even if a phrase is commonly used, it doesn't somehow make it any less sexist πŸ™„πŸ™„ #lipstickonapig

"Gareth was never getting my vote anyway."

Gareth was never getting my vote anyway. #LipstickOnAPig

It wasn't just women tweeting selfies.

#lipstickonapig πŸ’„πŸ’‹ (albeit with whiskers and a bit late, but it took a while to build up the courage to post this!)

Morgan later released a statement on his party's website in which he "assured everyone" the comment was "not a personal attack".

"'Putting lipstick on a pig' is a euphemism for a meaningless face lift or makeover," he wrote. "And until such a time that we see real change from the Labour Party we think that the euphemism is appropriate."

Prime minister Bill English condemned Morgan's description as "deliberately appalling", but Ardern said she was "not particularly bothered by it".

Earlier this month, just hours after Ardern was unanimously elected leader of her party, she was asked by a TV host about whether she had made a decision between "having babies and having a career".

The next morning, co-host of The AM Show Mark Richardson asked her whether New Zealanders had a right to know whether a potential prime minister might take maternity leave.

β€œIt is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace, it is unacceptable, it is unacceptable," Ardern told Richardson.

Because sexism in politics is so put of date, I've dug out some old selfies for y'all #LipstickOnAPig

Gina Rushton is a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Gina Rushton at

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