When it comes to powerful, successful women, one assumes she should wear dresses that end below the knee, no heel should be higher than a couple of inches and certainly no cleavage should ever show. For a woman to be taken seriously, she must be careful how she carries herself. Especially in male-dominated careers such as politics.
These rules are implemented so women are seen as professionals, not sex symbols.
But Scarborough’s own MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan knows firsthand that when the two cross each other, it can create a windstorm of controversy.
Recently, Sitsabaiesan’s official parliamentary headshot was photo shopped to get rid of the cleavage that was shown. Frankly, it is not a question of whether it is right or wrong, but a wake-up call for our priorities.
What is seen as more important in a politician? Breasts or their campaign platform?
I get it: it’s a controversy. It’s different and needs to be published in newspapers and websites to create traffic flow. It’s not a story you come across every day.
We have to remember she is still a young woman. For a 29-year-old, she is creating a promising career for herself. She is not only actively in touch with community organizations, but still goes door-to-door promoting her position and is currently working on a petition with Olivia Chow to make a federal infrastructure strategy.
As the first NDP candidate to conquer a dominant liberal riding, Sitsabaiesan is to be commended for what she stands for as a politician. She makes being powerful and sexy possible.
She’s a woman. She has cleavage. Embrace it. Of course, she could have worn a more conservative shirt, but maybe this controversy did her a favour. More people know her name – no publicity is bad publicity.
We have to prioritize before we start jumping to conclusions about professionals in any field. Hard to believe, but they are people too. They make mistakes.
Sitsabaiesan should still be respected as a professional and a strong, independent women, known not only for her curves but for the positive changes she is bringing to our community.