‘Trolls said I looked like I’d just been banged over a wheelie bin just because of my DRESS’: Ex-MP Tracy Brabin says her campaign against ‘everyday sexism’ was sparked by abuse she got for wearing an off-the-shoulder LBD in the Commons
Former MP Tracy Brabin has revealed how her fight against ‘everyday sexism’ as West Yorkshire mayor is partly being driven by her experience of being trolled over a dress she wore in the House of Commons.
The ex-Coronation Street actress was subject to fierce abuse for the off-the-shoulder outfit she donned during a parliamentary debate in 2020.
Al tempo, Ms Brabin revealed how the dress – which cost £35 from ASOS – had prompted people to tell her she looked like ‘a slag’, ‘hungover’, ‘a tart’, ‘about to breastfeed’, ‘a slapper’, ‘drunk’, and ‘just been banged over a wheelie bin’.
She later sold the black dress, which had slipped down her arm as she spoke at the Commons despatch box, for more than £20,000 at a charity auction with the proceeds going to Girlguiding.
Ms Brabin left the Commons in May last year after being elected West Yorkshire mayor.
Parlando con I tempi about the dress row, the 61-year-old described how the incident ‘uncovered this split in the universe where the misogynists just fell on my head’.
She described how she had rushed to an urgent question in the Commons from a music event, which was related to her brief as a shadow culture minister, and so was not necessarily dressed for Parliament.
Tracy Brabin was subject to fierce abuse for the off-the-shoulder outfit she donned during a House of Commons debate in 2020
She later sold the black dress, which had slipped down her arm as she spoke at the Commons despatch box, for more than £20,000 at a charity auction
The former MP, who is now West Yorkshire mayor, has made sure local police are recording misogyny
‘I was called a slag, uno schiaffeggiatore, la crostata, ubriaco; someone said I looked like I’d just been banged over a wheelie bin,’ lei disse.
‘It uncovered this split in the universe where the misogynists just fell on my head.
‘It was all about the dress — but the reason I was in there was to haul the government to the Commons.’
Ms Brabin also told the newspaper she is now using the experience to tackle hate crimes against women and to call out ‘everyday sexism’.
One of Ms Brabin’s priorities as mayor was to make sure police were recording misogyny in West Yorkshire, which they have been doing since December.
She has hailed the move as a ‘significant step forward’ to misogyny being made a specific crime.
Ms Brabin has also put the safety of women and girls at the heart of a three-year police and crime plan for her region.
Her work also stems from her experience as a student, when she helped secure the conviction of a man who tried to rape her.
‘Lots of women don’t have that justice,’ lei disse.
‘It does help to be in a position where you feel you can be open and honest (about your) Esperienza. There is a job of work to be done with men to understand that.’
When she previously spoke about the ordeal in the Commons, soon after she had been elected as an MP in 2016, Ms Brabin described herself as ‘one of the lucky ones’ for seeing justice done.
She told the Commons debate: ‘I had managed to memorise his car number plate, and he was caught an hour later.
‘He went to court; not many do. He pleaded guilty; I did not have to go through the horrors of a trial.
‘He was sentenced; I did not have to look over my shoulder, checking if he was following me.
‘He was a stranger; I did not have to wake up in the same bed as him, or go to work with him as my boss.’