Labour’s Jess: I had £6k breast reduction op to stop men leering at me
By Nick Constable
LABOUR MP Jess Phillips accused male MPs of harbouring an obsession with the size of her chest after revealing she has had breast reduction surgery.
Ms Phillips said the operation, which she underwent two years ago, was not done for cosmetic reasons but helped relieve a lifetime of neck and back pain.
However, she also blamed ‘the male gaze’, adding: ‘All they’re talking about is your cleavage, especially in this place.
‘I couldn’t wear anything that didn’t make me look like a tent or trying to look sexy. If you wear anything even slightly tight and you have big boobs, you’re done for.’
She called the surgery ‘the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me’, apart from her husband and children, and dismissed criticism that her decision was anti-feminist.
She said: ‘People can think whatever they like. But I paid for it with money that I earned. It cost six grand. In London it’s ten grand, so it’s cheaper in Birmingham.
‘I get the feminist argument. Why do I feel this way? It’s undoubtedly because of the male gaze. But the outcome is, I feel better. I can exercise more. I’m healthier. It’s my body, my choice.’
The Birmingham Yardley MP, who last month quit Sir Keir Starmer’s Shadow Cabinet over his refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, also told The Times Magazine it felt ‘exhausting’ that misogyny, sexual harassment – and even rape – were still part of parliamentary life.
‘It feels a little bit like two steps forward, one step back,’ she said.
‘It isn’t a man’s world. It’s a world in which women are much more tired than they used to be. People will refer to any argument you make, regardless of how economic it might be, as being emotional. “The honourable lady is led by her heart, and who could blame her?” F*** off, I’m led by the data.
‘I do still feel like women have to club together to get heard – across parties as well.
‘It feels like we can’t just say something – 20 of us have to say something. That’s annoying.’
Ms Phillips, 42, said her decision to quit as Sir Keir’s Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding was amicable, and added that she was not taking sides in the Gaza conflict and instead trying to get British Gazan families, including some of her constituents, out of the area.
She also told the magazine that Israel had ‘a right to defend itself’ and that she had not joined any pro-Palestinian rallies.
‘It worries me that they’re anti-Semitic,’ she said. ‘The idea that Jewish people feel frightened to share their identity is chilling.’
‘Why do I feel this way? Because of the male gaze’
Israel At War
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