Canada‘s former prime minister has claimed it is “demeaning” for women to show their bare arms.
Kim Campbell sparked a wide debate with a tweet which said sleeveless outfits “undermine credibility and gravitas”.
She linked to a blog by a man, Dr Nick Morgan, who wrote that women they will look “less brilliant” if they wear sleeveless outfits.
Ms Campbell, who was Canada’s PM for a brief spell in 1993, tweeted: “I am struck by how many women on television news wear sleeveless dresses- often when sitting with suited men.
“I have always felt it was demeaning to the women and this suggests that I am right. Bare arms undermine credibility and gravitas!”
In his blog on the Public Words website, Dr Morgan wrote: “Think about what this means when you put on that sleeveless dress, women, or that expensive, cool-looking casual t-shirt, men.
“Apparently, we humans are pretty simple creatures. If you show up in front of us with skin exposed, we’re going to think about your body. If you’re wearing lots of clothing, we’re going to think about your mind.”
Ms Campbell’s claim triggered debate on social media.
Canadian MP Michelle Rempel punned: “I firmly believe in the right of Canadians to bare arms.”
One user wrote “please stop policing women’s choices”, while others flagged the example of former US first lady Michelle Obama, who frequently wears sleeveless outfits.
Another joked: “Actually, I don’t have arms. I cut mine off because I know how distracting they are for men. Just doing my part for the patriarchy!”
Other people shared a famous black and white photo in which Ms Campbell shows her bare shoulders while holding lawyers robes on a hanger in front of her body.
Addressing the tweets, she said: “Photo was art- juxtaposition of bare shoulders (femininity) and legal robes -(male dominated power structure).”