Australia’s youngest MP has made a controversial fashion statement outside parliament, literally wearing vile gender-based online slurs on her sleeves.
Georgie Purcell, 30th MP from the Animal Justice Party, appeared at Victoria’s Parliament on International Women’s Day, proudly rocking a white dress that was emblazoned on the front and back with abusive remarks, tweets, emails and remarks she has been swamped since she was elected.
The new MP of the House of Lords has been the target of attacks from vicious trolls and political enemies more than a decade ago for her trademark tattoos and former life as a stripper and topless waitress.
Some of the phrases printed on her shirt included “Parliament of w*****,” “S****,” “scr**,” “brain dead bimbo,” and “tatted up trashbag.”
Georgie Purcell carried gender-based online abuse to work on International Women’s Day
The dress was inspired by gruesome feedback from her maiden parliamentary speech last month.
“The first notification I saw on my phone was that someone called me an unworthy person,” Ms Purcell recalled outside parliament on Wednesday.
“The answer is that men have to do better.”
She added that the terms taped to her dress were some of the “lower level” messages received.
She hopes to put a face to online gender-based violence by making a strong case for online trolls.
“(I am) a politician, but still a person,” Mrs. Purcell wrote.
“I show a health and safety problem that affects all female politicians, a burden that is shared across party lines.
“I emphasize those words that come to me every day and that I carry around like weights on the worst days.
“Maybe it will make just one of those sending these messages reconsider.
Because all women deserve so much better.
The young Victoria Upper House MP has been the target of vicious troll attacks for her signature tattoos and past life as a stripper
Earlier, Ms. Purcell explained her outfit choice in an op-ed The protector – draw attention to the mental scars and damage of online harassment of women in politics.
‘Every politician, regardless of gender, expects to be held accountable for his policy. As we should be. But for women, it consistently goes beyond politics. It goes to the personal,” she wrote.
“A healthy democracy requires a diversity of voices, but a rational fear of normalized abuse of women, with no means to stop it, prevents women and gender-diverse people from running for public office, and from being able to resist it.” and are most effective once they are in.
“We’d much rather spend our time promoting positive social change than emptying our inboxes with violent threats, sexist remarks and attacks.”
Later on Wednesday, in parliament, Ms Purcell later changed her outfit to adhere to a more appropriate dress code.
“If I can’t bear it, why don’t we do more to keep them from saying it?” she joked.
Georgie Purcell proudly donned her dress as she addressed reporters outside parliament
Ms Purcell is the youngest woman in an Australian Parliament and the second-youngest ever elected to the Legislative Council of Victoria.
She recently opened up to Daily Mail Australia about the horrific moment when photos of her work as a stripper while studying law at university were leaked online.
At the age of 19, when she thought her future dreams of working in law or politics were over, she came across the photos posted on Facebook.
“I worked far away from where I studied and grew up, so I wouldn’t meet anyone I knew, and while I felt there was nothing wrong with that job, I knew many others would think otherwise,” recalls Ms Purcell.
“Then one day I was at the hairdresser’s and when I logged into Facebook, I saw that I had been tagged in a photo of me as a stripper without my permission and there were tons of comments.
“I grew up in a small country town in Geelong, so everyone pretty much knows everyone else and it just spread really fast and viciously.”
Georgie Purcell, 30, is the youngest woman in an Australian parliament (pictured)