A Politician Was Asked To Prove She's 'More Than Lipstick On A Pig.' So Obviously Twitter Joined In.

The hashtag #LipstickOnAPig has gone viral.

Women in New Zealand have found a clever way to show their support for new Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern after a fellow politician referred to her using what many see as an offensive phrase.

It started when Gareth Morgan, leader of the Opportunities Party (TOP), wrote that Ardern "should be required to show that she's more than lipstick on a pig" during what the New Zealand Herald describes as "a Twitter spat over personality-politics-versus-policy" and Labour's improved poll numbers.


Macmillan Dictionary defines the idiom"lipstick on a pig" as "an unsuccessful attempt to make something ugly look more attractive." It was famously used by Barack Obama to describe opponent John McCain's proposed policies during the 2008 election. (The McCain campaign accused it of being an insult to running mate Sarah Palin, which the Obama camp denied.)

Morgan's use of the phrase drew criticism from many, including the very Twitter user with whom he was communicating, who called it "a horrible expression to use."

Morgan later released a statement defending his comment and explaining that it was not a "personal attack" on Ardern. "'Putting lipstick on a pig' is a euphemism for a meaningless face-lift or makeover," he wrote. "And until such a time that we see real change from the Labour Party we think that the euphemism is appropriate."

Still, many viewed Morgan's use of the phrase to describe Ardern — who is Labour's second female leader — as sexist and disrespectful. That includes New Zealand morning show host Hilary Barry, who tweeted a photo of herself applying lip gloss with the hashtag #lipstickonapig.

The idea caught on, as dozens more women — including fellow Kiwi politician Mojo Mathers of the Green Party — took to Twitter to share selfies of themselves applying or simply wearing lipstick, adding Barry's cheeky hashtag.

One woman argued that "even if a phrase is commonly used, it doesn't somehow make it any less sexist." Another added that "sexism in politics is so [out] of date." The response brings to mind the reclamation of Donald Trump's "nasty woman" comment about Hillary Clinton during last year's election.

Ardern, who made headlines earlier this month for her response to questions about her baby plans, told stuff.co.nz that she wasn't bothered by Morgan's comment. She did, however, have something to say about it.

"I'm happy to add Gareth Morgan to our email list so that he gets updates on all of our policy announcements because sadly it looks like he's missing out of them," she said.

Check out some of our favorite #LipstickOnAPig tweets below:

And it wasn't just women donning lipstick:


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