Kit Steinkellner
June 07, 2015 10:51 am

If you don’t know who Sarah Hanson-Young is, then sit up and get ready to meet your new feminist hero.

Hanson-Young is a senator in Australia, both the youngest senator and the youngest woman ever elected to Australian Parliament. As a politician, she has been a staunch advocate for working mothers, same-sex marriage, and education reform, amongst other issues. She has also stood up for refugees seeking asylum in Australia.

Regarding this last point, in July of 2012, Australian men’s magazine Zoo Weekly wrote a satirical piece on Hanson-Young, promising the senator the magazine would “house the next boatload of asylum seekers in the Zoo office” if she would say yes to a “tasteful” bikini or lingerie shoot. The magazine photoshopped Hanson-Young’s head onto a lingerie model’s body in an image accompanying the piece.

When it comes to determining whether something is sexist, here’s a good litmus test- just ask yourself “Would someone EVER do this to a man?” I can’t imagine a humor magazine writing this same article asking a male politician to appear in a Speedo or boxer-briefs. However, because Hanson-Young is young and female, this publication felt justified in objectifying her and turning her body into the punchline of a joke.

This kind of behavior can’t be tolerated. And it wasn’t. As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, Hanson-Young rightly brought a suit against the magazine’s publisher Bauer Media for defamation, and we just found out she won her case!

As part of the settlement, Zoo will publish the following retraction:

“We accept that the article was in poor taste. Senator Hanson-Young has made a significant contribution to asylum seeker policy in this country. We sincerely apologise for any hurt we caused.”

In the wake of her win, Hanson Young had some pretty powerful stuff to say about the importance of shutting these kinds of sexist situations down.

“As a mother it is a huge concern that my own daughter can Google my name and find images of my face Photoshopped on to the body of a near naked women.

“Young women need to see their female leaders taking a stand against sexism. My daughter needs to know I did.

“Whether it is a smutty men’s magazine or in pages of the daily newspapers, there is no place for the degradation of women and the right of women to have views or opinions.

“Politicians regularly face adversity, however, there comes a time when you have to draw a line in the sand and take a stand against sexism and bigotry.”

We totally get what Hanson-Young is saying about having to pick your battles, but we’re REALLY glad she chose this fight (and how important setting an amazing example for her daughter was in this decision), and we’re on cloud nine about this politician’s victory. Thank you Sarah Hanson-Young, for fighting the good fight, and doing your part to help eradicate the degradation of women. You inspire us!

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