Monday 18 December 2017

Annie Lennox: Trump's 'locker room talk' acted as catalyst to empower women

Bianca Jagger, Annie Lennox and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan ahead of the March4Women in London
Bianca Jagger, Annie Lennox and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan ahead of the March4Women in London

Annie Lennox has suggested that US President Donald Trump has been "helpful" in drumming up support for women's rights.

The Eurythmics star, 62, said his "locker room talk" acted as a "catalyst" for many women, as she took part in an event in London ahead of International Women's Day.

Comments made by Mr Trump in a 2005 leaked video in which he bragged about grabbing women "by the pussy" made global headlines during the US presidential campaign.

Lennox told the Press Association: "In a weird kind of way that kind of event that happened actually catalysed the issue for a lot of girls and women in a particular way that became very strong.

"All of a sudden there were a lot of people putting on pink pussy hats and saying no.

"It actually became very real for them, because when someone says 'It's just locker room talk', actually don't we think it's time that we should address that particularly if they're the leading representative of one of the biggest most influential countries in the world?

"So that made women very angry, that made the issue very clear for them.

"But actually what we're saying is that the issue is huge, looking at the developing world, that is just the tip of the iceberg.

"So there's so much more to address. We've been banging this drum for a long, long time. I welcome anybody that comes here, men and women.

"So in a funny way, the Donald Trump statement is almost helpful as a catalyst."

Lennox is among a host of campaigners at the CARE International rally and march which aims to shine a light on the inequality faced by women and girls around the world.

Dr Helen Pankhurst, the great-granddaughter of suffragette Emmeline, said having someone like Mr Trump in power is a "major problem".

But she said the problem is not just the man himself - but also the people who voted for him and "therefore the wider social attitudes".

Dr Pankhurst said she feels the world is "more polarised than ever before", telling the Press Association: "I feel right now the world is so much more polarised between those who believe in going backwards and those who believe in going forwards.

"I just hope, on balance and on reflection, as we continue to explain why we still need to have change, that the world will continue to progress."

She added: "I absolutely feel that what we are seeing at the moment through this polarisation is more boots on the ground in terms of people expressing their views."

Asked what her great-grandmother would make of today's world, she said the famous campaigner would say "let's celebrate your successes" - but would also warn not to take anything for granted.

"The type of misogyny that she experienced - that the suffragettes experienced - still presents itself today.

"It presents itself through things like social media, so it's changing, it's morphing, but it's still very much there.

"And she'd be saying 'Get out there, get out there on the streets, use modern technology', so use those same methods of social media that can be used against you, use them in terms of getting that voice of change and keep doing what's needed so that we can get to equality," she said.

Asked if she thinks her great-grandmother would have been surprised at comments like Mr Trump's being made in today's era, she said: "No I don't think she would have been surprised, because there's a theme running through these ideas of a male-dominated society.

"It's the same today as it was 100 years ago. I mean, she'd be sad. We all are. We all are slightly in disbelief at what's happened."

Thousands of people took part in the march from City Hall across Tower Bridge, with the famous London landmark closed to traffic for the event.

Lennox led the crowd alongside Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and campaigner Bianca Jagger.

Other familiar faces at the march were singers Emeli Sande, Melanie C, Natasha Bedingfield and Kate Nash, and Labour MP Emily Thornberry.

Placards and banners were emblazoned with messages such as "#march4women", "pussy power" and "I'm a woman phenomenally, phenomenal woman that's me".

Press Association

Promoted Links

Style Newsletter

Stay on top of the latest fashion, beauty and celeb gossip in our Style newsletter.

Promoted Links

Also in this section